Here we go with another small project: medieval Russians.
The reasons for collecting the army are manifold – I”ve never collected an Eastern Medieval army, my friend Flor has a large Teutonic Order to field against them, and my other wargaming compatriot Pascal just happened to offload two boxes of Fireforge plastic Russian infantry last year!
After many swervings through different historical rulesets I think I’ve settled on WAB as my go-to framework for composing armies. In this case I’ve chosen to build up this project as a Western Russian army from WAB: Age of Chivalry, mostly because it was the Western Russian states that came into contact with the Teutonic Order and because it has a lighter emphasis on the cavalry arm.
One issue with the plastic Russian infantry from Fireforge with regards to my own project, though, is that they are rather too well-armoured and well-equipped to make for convincing city guards – the bulk of the Russian army. Fireforge do sell bow- and spear-armed city guards, but these are single-pose resins which can look a bit samey in a big regiment, not to mention the cost when compared to plastics. All of which means I have had to be slightly more creative with assembling these models – let’s take a look.
This smallish 12-strong unit is all I have right now – I’m an inveterate batch painter so even my test models come in batches!
In WAB: Age of Chivalry, many units can have a mix of archers and melee troops, with the former usually standing at the back. With some well-timed reforming when enemies approach, this means you have a unit that can do a bit of both.
Experienced Dark Age hobbyists will undoubtedly spot the Gripping Beast plastics I used. For these archers I used the two bodies on those frames that don’t have their left arm in front of their stomachs, and clipped off the left hands to replace them with the bow hands from the Fireforge Russian plastics. I also added the quivers from that set. Lastly, for the right arms, I mostly used a few different arms from a stray Wargames Factory Bondi set, which allowed me to create a few poses where the archers are grabbing an arrow from the quiver, and one who actually does have an arrow in his hand – sourced from a GW Skeleton set. Bitz boxes galore!
For the unit leader and bannerman, I did use the Fireforge Russians in their entirety – although I used a slightly longer banner pole taken from their Templar Knights set as it’s slightly longer than the supplied spears, and a resin banner from their Russian command set.
For the rest of the infantry, the other three Gripping Beast body types were used, with a mix of the Gripping Beast handweapons and some taken from the Fireforge set as you can see on this warrior on the left, and the GB musician’s horn also came in handy as the Fireforge set doesn’t have a musician option – an unfortunate omission for WAB players! The shields and heads on these warriors were also taken from the Fireforge set, and these two parts were really critical for the Russian city guard theme to come together!
Putting those Russian armoured heads on plain dark age warriors meant I had to take out the modelling putty, and as it has been ages, the result is far from perfect. I had to make do with 15-year-old Milliput – not even the fine version! – to add some mail coifs to these models.
Painting-wise I’ll be brief – I used three different reds plus a few other colours, with the red being a focal colour for this regiment. I’ll probably do a second city guard unit with a different scheme to get the point across that they’re from another city, and I’d also like to do more heraldic types of tunics with split or quartered schemes. The reason I didn’t do it on these models is that I made the mistake of undercoating them black which meant I didn’t want to go in with fifty coats of white for that kind of scheme. Lessons learned! I did add some different kinds of patterning to many of the models, which took me right back to Viking times!
Lastly, I really like how the bases came out – it’s sand painted dark brown, drybrushed white, with some arid-looking static grass and snow effects from Vallejo. It fits the bill for Lake Peipus and surrounds!
What’s next for this army? Well, I have all these Russian plastics, so I’ll probably be making a largish unit of dismounted Druzhina from them. The excellent Alexander Nevsky model from Fireforge is also on the painting desk. Sadly, the rest of the unit will have to wait until later this year, as I am out of Gripping Beast Dark Age Warriors to complete this unit.
I hope you liked reading this article as much as I liked writing it. See you next time, tovarich!