Saturday 19 August 2017

The Petrograd Hussars and the Completion of the Russian Napoleonic Project.

Although the dragoons were the most numerous of all the Russian cavalry types in the Napoleonic Wars nothing speaks of eastern European cavalry more than the hussars. There is something inherently romantic about hussars, especially Russian hussars. Any mention of them sets my mind racing with those spectacular movie scenes with the dashing hussar officers at the grand balls in the St Petersburg palaces. 
When I came to add a regiment to my Russian Napoleonic army, choosing which hussar regiment to do was never really an issue. It was always going to be the Petrograd Regiment and there were three reasons. First, it was the regiment I painted way back in the 1970’s for my original Russian army and sold some time in the 90’s. As I have mentioned before that 1970's army, made up from Hinchliffe figures, provided the inspiration for creating this one. Second, it was the regiment in which Nicolai Rostov served in Tolstoy’s War and Peace – and who can forget the imagery of that charge after Kutuzov (or was it Bagration) ordered “...send in the Petrograd Hussars”? Third, it was the uniform - green breeches and dolman, turquoise facings and pelisse, yellow braid and red houndstooth edging on the shabraque.

As usual these are the Perry figures. In service most units dispensed with the shako plumes and the pelisse, but what is a hussar without the plumes and pelisses? So my hussars are in full dress.

So the army is complete…well maybe. There may be a "need" for a few more units (perhaps some in the 1809 uniforms since many units did not receive their 1812 issue uniforms until as late as 1813) and maybe some limbers and supply carts at some time in the future, but for now at least it is finished.
And the final count:
1 High Command Group (8 foot figures)
1 Infantry Division command group (2 mounted figures)
3 Infantry Brigadiers (3 mounted figures)
8 Musketeer Battalions (192 foot figures)
4 Jäger Battalions (96 foot figures)
1 Artillery Commander (1 mounted figure)          
2 Field Batteries (16 foot figures, 4 guns)
1 Position Battery (8 foot figures, 2 guns)
1 Cavalry Division command group (2 mounted figures)
2 Cavalry Brigadiers (2 mounted figures)
2 Cuirassier Regiments (24 mounted figures)
2 Dragoon Regiments (24 mounted figures)
1 Hussar Regiment (12 mounted figures)
1 Horse Battery (8 foot figures, 2 guns)
All in all that is:
328 foot figures
70 mounted figures
8 guns
Laid out in their Divisional Review they look an impressive force.

The Infantry Division, the artillery, two musketeer brigades and the jäger brigade (rear)

The First Musketeer Brigade

The Second Musketeer Brigade

The Jäger Brigade

The divisional artillery

The Cavalry Division, the cuirassier brigade (left), the horse battery and the dragoon brigade, with hussars attached (right)

The Cuirassier Brigade

The Dragoon Brigade

The high command group
But they pack away neatly into four plastic drawers...

...that in turn slide into a stacking case.

This week also sees the finish of the base for the Russian winter church, the completion of which closes out another project.


  1. Superb work Mark! Looks fabulous!

    1. Thank you Mark. It was only an hour after I posted this, I started planning forcthe expansion...

    2. Not surprised and glad to hear it too! :)

  2. Mark, your Petrograd Hussars are sharp dressed me! My, oh, my! Your Russian army is a handsome sight. I think your HQ stand and guns are my favorites. The church is a work of art.

    How do you make the labels for your storage boxes? Quite professional looking.

    1. Thank you Jonathan. I too like the command set. When I look back I painted it way back in 2012, but left them boxed for a couple of years until I based them up. Very soon they might even make it onto the table.

      For the labels I have drawn up a template in InDesign (using whatever image seems appropriate), then print on a colour laser, trim them and then laminate them, trimming them again. The label is fixed to the trays with double-sided tape.

  3. They look a fearsome sight! Love your reasoning for including the Petrograd Hussars. It is always nice to have a favourite unit on the table that you can cry about when it gets routed!

    1. In that case I may have to treat them like Napoleon treated the Guard...never commit them.

  4. A complete, and beautiful, army! Stunning job, I love the hussars, command stand and church especially...Excellent!

  5. Superb army. Very nicely done indeed

  6. Great work on the Hussars, and "completing" the army. I do miss the 1970's version and remember them very fondly (apart from when they blew apart my Scots Greys, which was my favourite unit), but these are very impressive.

    What are you planning in terms of expansion?

    1. My favourite unit in the old army was the cuirassiers - big figures on big horses they did were just the part, but they cost so many points under WRG they rarely made it onto the table in competition games.

      The expansion will probably be something like eight battalions, a couple of cavalry and a battery or two. The idea would be to be able to use them against the Ottoman Turks (that I want to do to oppose the eventual French in Egypt army) and possibly against the Swedes in the Finish War - if the Perrys do Swedes as they are rumourd to do. I also plan a French 1812 army at some point to fight my Russians and Prussians (the latter of which will get a couple more cavalry regiments later this year).

    2. Well that's the next few years sorted then, and some exciting projects in amongst that lot.

    3. Well if money wasn't the issue that would be six month's work tops...but it is so I reckon that is most of next year mapped out. But if some notable manufacturer was to turn out an Austrian range for 1859 things could change.

  7. Lovely looking army, and nice reasoning behind your hussars, surely they should always be in full dress! Sounds like something from the exploits of brigadier Gérard !
    Best Iain

    1. Thanks Iain. I hope this regiment does have equivalent exploits to Gérard.