Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cossacks! & Pals

Cossacks!  Right up there with Pirates and Vikings...  sure to add more fun to any wargame!

Cossacks!  For some reason I think the word should always be accompanied with an exclamation point.  You don't say Cossacks, you YELL Cossacks!  The only time it's not needed is when they've passed out.  Otherwise it's drinking, fighting, burning, riding, raiding, partying, gambling, pillaging, singing, revolting, dancing, sailing, plundering, laughing, shouting Cossacks!

Well, last night I pulled out my Cossack miniatures from Wargames Foundry.  You can find their mounted and dismounted figures here and here.  I've always loved these figs, and the only problem with them has really been to decide what to do with them.  Historically, these minis are good for the 16th Century until the 19th.  They also make great Black Sea pirates, characterful Kislev handgunners for Warhammer, or even Vampire henchmen for Pulp and Gothic Horror games.  But why choose?  Just figure out how to base them so they can be used for everything!

I think in the end the primary role these guys will play is part of my Seven Year's War Russian Army.  At least that's the shelf they'll sit on in my display cabinet.  Right now I'm thinking most of my infantry units for SYW and Napoleonics will be on 40mm x 40mm bases with four figures to a base.  Although the Nappys might end up a little wider with more figs to a base, they should still be 40mm deep.

The problem for my Cossacks  is not only do they look a little cramped when compared to my "marching" figures, but I'd like to base them individually on 20mm metal washers so they can be used for all sorts of other fun stuff.  On a 40mm base that doesn't leave a lot of room, much less any room to still make some sort of scenic bases for the unit.

As the pictures above show, I think it's just better to go with a 50mm base.  The Cossacks are more of irregular unit anyway.  More akin to militia or other special units like Frei Corps or Jaegers.  I'll only ever have one "battalion" of these guys with five or six stands, so it should be a small matter.  Especially when playing very flexible rules like Black Powder.

I still want to have some fun with the unit bases, and even have an extra sled gun to add for fun.  My plan right now is to drill circles into my 50mm Litko bases where each fig will be placed with the bottom of the hole magnetized.  The top of the individual base will be flush with the unit base much like Games Workshop's bases for War of the Ring.  That's my idea anyway, but it might change a bit as I work out the details.

Whether I start painting other stuff for SYW or Naps, my initial project goal is to set up a small village raid skirmish scenario complete with terrain, mounted and dismounted Cossacks, musketeers, and hussars.

The mounted Cossacks pose much less of a problem.  Since most cavalry are based two to a 50mm base, I'll just mount these guys on individual 25mm x 50mm bases.  I'll probably do the same for my hussars and then make movement trays for them.

My color scheme is another thing I'm working on.  I certainly don't want to paint these guys as colorful as the Wargames Foundry examples, nor do I think I want them too uniform looking like maybe painting most of them in blue coats for Don Cossacks.  Although I'm open to suggestions on everything, right now I'm leaning toward more drab natural colors like the examples below with some reds, blues, etc. mixed in.

This should be a fun project, but I don't expect it will be a quick one.  Instead of painting a uniformed line infantry unit, this will more like painting a whole bunch of individual 28mm minis.  So I expect to work on these guys off and on between my IG Mordians unless the project momentum carries me away.

Finally, I don't know if Blucher or Gneisenau had any Cossack pals, but the old Prussian Field Marshal certainly shared a lot of their vices.  I've been itching to do a Blucher command stand/vignette.  This would either give me the Napoleonic Prussian "fix" I need so I can work on my SYW stuff or it will be the "catalyst" that will plunge me into placing a Prussian order with Perry and Calpe Miniatures.

I have a few questions I have to answer as I'm gathering more minis for this project.  First off, should I even put Blucher and Gneisenau on the same command base or give the Chief of Staff his own?  Hopefully someone with more 28mm Napoleonic wargaming experience than me will chime in with a good answer.

Right now I plan to keep them separate as "Marshal Vorwarts" doesn't seem like the type to hang out in the back with the staff weenies.  On Blucher's base I do plan to to include an A.D.C. representing Graf Nostitz, but also with him being "out front" maybe it would be appropriate to include at least two other cavalry models as part of a bodyguard.  My question on this is, what type of cavalry should I use?  Hussars?  Uhlans?  Cuirassiers? Something else?  Any idea on a particular unit that would make sense?

So right now I'm thinking Blucher's base with 4-5 mounted figs, and Gneisenau's with 4-5 mounted and foot.  Or one big base with both of them on there with everyone else.  Either way, a couple of fun projects brewing, and any input or thoughts are appreciated.



  1. This looks like a great project Der Feldmarschall,

    As to Blucher and his pal Gneisenau surely they would have had to hang around together sometime? Although I could be totally wrong.

    You could have the big guy passing some troops at attention in admiration with a few hangers on (Cuirassiers would cut out waterloo if you were a stickler, maybe a hussar officer in there with him being an old Hussar at heart?).

    What ever way you go I forward to both projects.

  2. Thanks Paul. I was thinking hussars myself for the same reason, but no particular historical one.

    I'm not sure if my Nap Prussian army will be 1813 or 1815, but I'm leaning heavily towards 1813 with the ability to do both.

    As for B & G being separate, I was channeling Ligny as well as post Warterloo when Gneisenau lead the withdrawal and pursuit respectively. I have to read up more on the 1813 stuff to get a better idea, but still curious if any of that matters for the table top.

  3. The Foundry Cossacks are very nice looking figures. One of their better ranges, lots of character. Sounds like an interesting project right enough, will watch this one with interest.

  4. What a great post and project to boot; I knew it wouldn't be long before I saw something that I liked the look of! I shall be watching with interest. With regards to your dilemma, might a suggest that it is query that could be raised in the 'Gentlemen's' Forum'?

  5. I love the cossack project, reminds me a little of Taras Bulba......for some reason.

  6. Very nice!

    I'd put the Jerries on two separate bases to double your Command bases, but make them flat edged and able to be adjoining if you want them together

  7. Wow - great looking Cossacks! Didn't occur to me to see if Foundry had them. I though OG was the only source. Best, Dean

  8. Great blog Jason - and I'm having similar thoughts about Cossacks and Kalmuks (I have the Foundry Cossacks too and some TAG Tartars to use as such). I'll be following closely to see what you are doing.

  9. Welcome to the blog Chris! I've looked over the TAG stuff a number of times for a possible Eastern Renaissance project, but I'd love to see those minis up close. Honestly they just don't look the greatest on their website, and I know someone that has painted up some of their fig for them that admitted they are really hit or miss.

    Dean, I've bought a couple of packs of OG Cossacks in the past (and even their rules), and while they might be OK on their own the quality difference when I got them home with WF's figs puts them to shame.

    Paul, I like my Cmd stands round, but your comment actually gives me another idea... two Cmd stands that fit into a larger display base to form the Voltron of Cmd stands!

    I was reading just last night how Prussia didn't have a cavalry reserve like the French or any especially gifted cav commanders like Uxbridge or Murat to organize and lead things, so the Old Hussar Blucher would usually ride off and do that himself leaving Gneisenau to actually lead the army/battle.

    Fran, unfortunately there's no beautiful Polish love interests in this project... :-(

    Michael, I'm glad you finally found something on my blog you liked the look of... ;-)

    and Rory, these figs do have tons of character. So much so, it's hard having duplicates of some of them.

    Thank again guys for the comments and input!


  10. Very nice project, I regret these great minis aren't in 15 mm scale :P

  11. Have a look at this company, they sell excellent bases, it may give you a few ideas!!

  12. Yori, I think there's enough sweet 15mm Eastern Renaissance out there. ;-) The available quality 28mm figs need some help though! :-D

    Thanks Ray, I'll check 'em out.

  13. First time, I have had a chance to go through your blog, it is very, very nice. Great layout and lots of information. Really like it, I am posting a link.



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