So some time ago, after the mother of all trades, and before the wackiness that began in January, I swapped out a pile of British FoW models for some cossacks and cash. The plan was to add some of the cossacks on to the existing Soviet force I had been working on. For those of you unfamiliar with Soviets in FoW, they are the horde army, i.e., to play them, you have to paint a lot of them. I've painted them twice now, and both times, ended up selling them off to help pay for lawyers - the first time during my divorce, and the second time to fight (again) for residential custody of my son. For me, Soviets are associated both with significant labour, struggle, and a deep sense of bitterness.
While this may help put me in a historical mindset for playing them (and it is at this point I wish Blogger provided smilies), it left me with little motivation to paint the horsey horde, until quite recently. It's occurred to me that if I actually want to get a game in, or at least a game that's not GW (more on that in another post), FoW is my best bet. The 1/72 Napoleonics are going to be a while before they're playable, even at full-tilt production, and while there are some secret projects in the wings (no, I won't say what, it's secret), they're at least several months away.
To be honest, I'm a little iffy on the sculpts. I've painted some OG horses, and seen 15mm horses by the folks at AB, and they look like little horses. The BF ones, however, just seem off somehow. I kept wondering if the cossack horse herds were suffering from some sort of degenerative nerve disorder. That said, the riders are decent, and once I get a couple dozen stands on the table, I doubt I'll much mind.
The plan is to start working towards a 1000 point list, with one mounted company and one dismounted company, along with some AT guns and mortars in support.
These are Don cossacks, unlike the Kuban cossacks that BF typically illustrates. The Don cossacks are an odd case - while most of the cossacks that went over to the Axis were from the Don host, several Soviet cavalry divisions were still raised from the Don as well. The Don cossacks had a slightly different uniform - their schapkas are red with a black cross, and they typically had a red stripe down their trousers. I've painted this, but it doesn't seem to show up well in all the pics.
Between what I got in the trade, and a box set my beloved gave me for Christmas last year, I have enough for 5 mounted and 2 dismounted platoons. I'm hoping to stretch the latter with some judicious head swapping, but may need to pick up a few blisters of the dismounted fellas. In the mean time, I'll have plenty of painting to do.
Even as a relatively elite army for Soviets (rated Guards, i.e., fearless trained), their are four bases to a platoon, up to four platoons to a company, and at least two companies in the battalion. That's lots of horses. I'm going to keep plugging away at this between now and Christmas. What I'd like to do is get a 1000 point army done by then, punctuated by the occasional burst of napoleonic painting when I need a change. Around Christmas, the secret project should be kicking in. I'm pretty stoked about it, but for now, mum's the word.