Saturday, 30 November 2013


Can't have a Russian army without Cossacks!  My horde consists of three sotnias, representing Eureka Miniatures, Perry Miniatures and Wargames Foundry.  Cossacks played more of a psychological role in the Russian army than a battefield one.  Their main strength was to raid all over the countryside and put the fear of God into the enemy, including soldier and civilian alike.  They apparently had no business being on a battlefield, unless the battle was over and there were some corpses to rob.

Here is the Eureka sotnia.  I did some research and found that the cossacks had a uniform in this period.  After painting them up, it was pointed out to me, very politely, that the uniform was more of a theoretical ideal than actually achieved, so these must be a special group assembled to put on a good show for the Tsar.

Having taken the advice on the Eureka sotnia to heart, I was determined that the other sotnias would be more rough and ready.  Unfortunately, the Wargames Foundry lot are all in the same pose, and their clothes are cut identically.  I decided to see how much could be done by mixing and matching colours for jackets and trousers and caps.  Shabraques are all similar to give them a hint of being from the same group.

And finally we have the new(ish) releases from Perry Miniatures.  These are all in winter clothing, and are ready to take to the (snowy) field to chase down the remnants of the Grand Armée during the great retreat.  Lovely figures, very dynamic and fun to paint.

Russian Heavy & Medium Cavalry

I've completed a unit of 12 cuirassiers, the Military Order Cuirassiers.  I decided not to try to get their badge on the shabraque.  I chose the Military Order mostly 'cause the name seemed cool, as well as for the black facings.  After finishing the unit, I realised that the Russians gathered all the cuirassiers into their own division, so in order to justify having one unit on the table, I'd really need a whole division's worth, or at least a brigade.  Anyway, I still like the look and they were fun to paint.  Figures are Perry Miniatures, and the flag is by GMB.

Here's the trumpeter - I still haven't figured out how to paint a white horse to my satisfaction, so my musicians are less likely to ride distinctive coloured mounts.

My single unit of dragoons represents the Tchernigov Dragoons.  They are also Perry Miniatures, and also GMB flags.  I like these Perry single castings for horse and rider - nice not to have to struggle with fitting the rider onto the horse and not have a gap.  Plus I really like the charging pose, with the pallasch held point forward - I think it looks intimidating.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Russian light cavalry

My major painting effort over the past few years has been to build a Russian army from the time of Tsar Alexander I.  Others might call it "Napoleonic", but since it never belonged to Emperor Napoleon, I prefer not to name it after its primary opponent!

I'll present the army as it is over several blog posts - I'm certain that since it will never quite be finished, I'll end up adding bits to it forever, so this will end up being an open-ended series.  My original plan was to collect figures from a variety of sources, and even started off that way.  However, the bulk of the figures are from Perry Miniatures.  They are just such a delight to paint, and certainly competitively priced, so I find myself going back to them every time I'm inclined to expand on the army.  Plus, they keep putting new toys in front of me, and the 'oh, shiny' syndrome gets me every time.

So without further ado, here is the light cavalry.  First, the Elizabethgrad Hussars (Front Rank)

Second, the Lithuanian Uhlans (Front Rank)

And finally, the Sieversk Mounted Jaegers (Wargames Foundry)

Monday, 11 November 2013

Wandering monsters for Retreat scenario

Here's a list of potential encounters for the Retreat game.  Not certain how best to work these out - we could have a table and roll every time there an encounter is triggered (shades of D&D!) or maybe write an encounter description on the back of a card, and flip the card when the event occurs.

Some of these can be ambushers.  When the encounter is triggered, the French squad will get to make a test to see if they are surprised.  If surprised, then the ambushers are allowed to deploy to take advantage of the situation.  If the squad is not surprised, they can redeploy up to one move after the ambushers deploy.

1.  Cossacks!  d6 (or d8 or d10) cossacks!  Will attack from ambush, but will break off the attack if there is strong resistance.  Each cossack has d4-1 rations and is armed as the model (typically, lance, sabre and pistol)
2.  Angry peasants!  6+d6 peasants armed with improvised weapons will immediately attack the party.  Each peasant will have d3-1 rations.
3.  Stragglers.  d6 stragglers.  Armed as model - possibly no weapons, or may have a musket or pistol.  d3-1 rations per model.  May be attacked and robbed or recruited to join player's squad.
4.  Wolves!  Pack of 4+d4 wolves will shadow the squad and will attack any model that moves more than 6" from another model.
5.  Bear.  Not sure about this one - suggestions?
6.  Civilian stragglers.  Improvised weapons & pistols, may have a wagon or cart.  May be robbed or recruited (bonus points for rescuing?).
7.  Grisly remains of another party.  The squad finds frozen corpses of men and horses.  May be a chance to upgrade weapons.  May be able to scrounge rations (frozen horse meat).

If things aren't challenging enough for the French, we could add Russian regulars into the mix, in the form of hussars and/or jaegers.

Please suggest other encounter ideas in the comments box!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Retreat from Moscow scenario idea

We're planning a 'Retreat from Moscow' game, tentatively to be played in January.  Here are my ideas for the game.

This will be a multi-player game, with each player in charge of a group of 6-10 survivors of the Grand Armée.  Ideally we'll have around four players.  The objective will be to get the survivors across the board to the Beresina crossing.

Rations and fatigue:  Each team will start with two rations per survivor.  Hard physical work like fighting or moving in difficult terrain will cost rations.  Teams may obtain more rations by foraging.  They may also take rations from defeated opponents, including other players' teams.  Rations will be represented by tokens (smarties or m&ms).  Any figure for whom there are no rations will be designated as 'fatigued' and will be at a -1 penalty for all dice rolls.

Foraging:  The GM will set out a number of locations for foraging, included farms, ruined wagons or carts, or anything else that seems appropriate.  A figure may move into contact with the area to be searched, at which time the GM will reveal what is to be found at the location.  Possibilities may include:

  • 6+d6 rations
  • Angry peasant mob, 6+d6 members.  If defeated, these will provide one ration per peasant.
  • Cossack ambush!  d6 cossacks immediately attack.  If driven off, they will shadow the team, staying 12" away.  Defeated cossacks will group together and once in a group that outnumbers a team of survivors, they will attack.
Ambushers will be played by another player.

Rules:  The game will be played using GW's Legends of the Old West (LotOW) and its supplements.  LotOW is based on the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game.  Figures will have weapons and equipment as shown on the figure.  Weapons will include muskets, flintlock pistols, sabres, improvised weapons, two-handed weapons, bayonets, lances.  Other weapons may be added if appropriate.  One change will be that muskets have a half-move penalty rather than full (otherwise we're likely to be stuck and won't get anywhere).

Turn order:  At the start of each turn, one playing card will be dealt to each player.  Each player will go in turn starting with the highest value card and proceeding to the lowest.  In case of a tie, each affected player will draw a second card to break the tie.

Russian peasant:
S   F  St  G  A W P
6+ 2  3   3   1   1  2
Special:  Safety in numbers

S   F  St  G  A W F
5+ 3  3   3   1   1  3
Special:  Life is precious

S   F  St  G  A W F
4+ 3  3   3   1   1  3
Special:  none

Civilian Refugee:
S   F  St  G  A W F
5+ 3  3   3   1   1  2

I'll add lines for heroes once I think a bit more about them.  Heroes will include officers, NCOs, village chiefs, cossack sotniks and other significant figures.

This is a work in progress, comments welcome!