Saturday, June 7, 2014

Don Cossack (cavalry): Figures Ranges

There a plenty of Cossack ranges out there but many of them are for the renaissance period and wars up to the end of the nineteenth century. So, who makes Don Cossacks that I can use for the Crimean War?

Before continuing, there are a significant array of Cossack ranges which come close. Eureka Miniatures (for example) do a nice range of Don Cossacks for the French Revolutionary Wars. I am sticking closely to the Crimea War period; however, in order to limit conversion requirements. The Eureka figures would require the addition of putty to lengthen the frock coats and the removal of papakha cords for starters and so it is with most sculpts depicting Cossacks before and after our specific period.

Wargames Foundry
Sculpted by Michael and Alan Perry long ago, they offer an unfortunately limited series of poses for generic Cossack cavalrymen all of whom wear a fatigue cap. Superbly sculpted, they conform to the older 25mm size which might not actually translate too badly to the table top along side modern ranges if one identifies their mounts as Steppe ponies.
With only two trooper poses, attempting to furnish an entire regiment with neat, uniformed and uniformly posed figures would not enable me to convey the irregular visual impression I am after for my Cossacks.
The Command set is useful both with and without converting the headdress. Aside from them, the entire and limited range does not readily identify or differentiate between the Cossack Hosts present at Balaclava. I won't mention the stirrups.

The only specifically identified Don Cossacks from Wargames Foundry are an artillery crew and limber set. After them, their offering for Cossacks for this period is exhausted.

Warlord Games

I understand that the evolving range of 28mm figures from Warlord Games is to include the addition of Cossacks. This statement of intent is to be found on their own discussion forum but dates back to February 2012. In the intervening period they have only committed to a gorgeous but slow growing range of British troop types only (Hussars, Lancers and Foot). I will continue to monitor their progress but they appear to be more focused on Napoleonics and WWII for the time being.

Essex Miniatures
An extensive range across many periods: old company with an old series of sculpts. Whilst they don't cover the Crimean War they do have suitable figures from their Russian Napoleonic range. They are simplistic sculpts in comparison to modern styles and in my opinion the poor paint-jobs for their on-line shop doesn't help sell these figures at all. I have experience with Essex Miniatures and find them a solid product which paint up well.


Two lancer variations are offered with a sword wielding third amongst the range. They give a fair representation of the papakha (headdress) minus the pom-pom or plume. The trouser may require extending to the heel for our period but the tunic is about the right length. Reposing these figures is easy given the malleability of their particular white metal alloy. Some modest filing and a bit of putty should take care of most requirements including absenting those misplaced stirrups! Certainly these chaps would make a worthy addition to the irregular ranks of a Don Cossack sotnya.

Perry Miniatures
Always a sought after addition to any 28mm army, we are fortunate that they offer a range of Napoleonic Wars Cossacks, some of which fit the bill nicely.
RN43 Ataman Cossack with Command
Their Ataman Cossack figures are pretty well spot on for the Don Cossacks wearing an oilskin cover cap in lieu of their papakha. Their coats are perhaps a tad long and yet another depiction with stirrups makes me question have I misread something?
RN44 Ataman Cossack winter dress

I believe these figures will fit well for any Don Cossack cavalry of the 54th regiment or above (see my previous research posting on the Don Cossack cavalry). Of course, Perry's do a good variety of wonderfully animated poses.
RN40 Don Cossack Command
Their Don Cossack Command also fits nicely with the unadorned papakha in evidence. I doubt very much if specifically sculpted Cossacks for the Crimean War could be much more fit for purpose.
RN47 Cossacks Skirmishing

Whilst the centre figure is close within their skirmishing pack, they do not provide us with the Caucases fur cap for the Cossack regiments up to and including the 54th regiment. At this time, no one does that I've found.

Great War Miniatures
My favourite range for my Balaclava Build has yet to add to their Russians and include Cossacks. The only option is to brand their light cavalry in caps as Cossacks. Sometimes portrayed as wearing such in illustrations of the Crimean War, this may have been opted for but there is little evidence to confirm this mode of dress. It is certainly the approach adopted by Wargames Foundry (above). If confirmed, the Great War Miniatures sculpts would require removal of the sabre guard and the replacement of at least some sabres with a lance. Of course, some headdresses might be replaced with putty oilskin caps, modelling of uncovered  papakha or the Caucasian fur caps if you're up to the challenge. All in all, it would take some effort to turn these line cavalry figures into Cossacks.

So, as far as I am aware, this is our lot. I am near to deciding on my approach for the 53rd Cossacks. Whilst yet to commit, it will most probably be a mixture of the above. Either way, I will have a lot of hat building to do.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review - the thing about Cossacks is they can be used throughout a wide range of periods/wars - they have that "timeless" look about them :)!