A tabletop gaming blog, with a vague bias towards Central/Eastern Europe and the Early Modern period.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

another helping of Tatars

It's the holiday season, so seconds are encouraged!

Constructed as before, except that the unit leader has an ACW sword-arm and a Conquest Games Norman body. I believe the Tatars did sometimes wear padded/quilted armor, but the pictures I've seen show a vertical stripe pattern, not diamonds like here. Also the sleeves on the padded coat probably ought to be full-length.

Like a doofus, I forgot to take a picture of all eight Tatars together. Ah well, maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What's "Tatars", precious?

Well, I'm glad you asked! The Tatars are an ethnic group found in various parts of Eastern Europe through Central Asia. They are the descendants of Genghis Khan's nomad armies, and in 17th-century Europe the Crimean Tatars were still a military force to be reckoned with, fighting mostly as skirmishing horse archers. They fought sometimes as mercenaries (as did other smaller Tatar enclaves elsewhere in Europe), or as raiders seeking loot and slaves, but they would also take to the field en masse under their Khan for major set-piece battles, usually aiding the underdog so as to preserve the regional balance of power.

I would suggest that you do not  boil 'em, mash'em, or stick 'em in a stew.

These Tatars are constructed from Wargames Factory bits... mostly the Celtic Cavalry kit, but Persian Infantry heads and archer arms, and War of Spanish Succession spears. Oh, and one Perry Zouave head for variety. I tried to keep them pretty generic... I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to use these for the original Mongal invaders of the Medieval Era. Maybe just in the back ranks?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here is a Puritan, lecturing you.
"We take nothing from the womb but pure filth. The seething spring of sin is so deep and abundant that vices are always bubbling up form it to bespatter and stain what is otherwise pure.... We should remember that we are not guilty of one offense only but are buried in innumerable impurities.... all human works, if judged according to their own worth, are nothing but filth and defilement.... they are always spattered and befouled with many stains.... it is certain that there is no one who is not covered with infinite filth."
some guy

pointy sticks and movement trays

Cossacks with pointy sticks.

Cossacks with movement trays.

I really need to get some banners done. Maybe with the holiday weekend...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Horses comparison (version 2)

After some constructive criticism, I decided to redo the horse comparison. This time around I've limited myself to the ones that can be purchased on their own, without riders. I've also used scraps of cardboard to compensate for different base thicknesses. Prices in US dollars, unless unavailable.

GW medieval horse - $15.00 for 5 horses, available here

Warlord Pike & Shotte horse - $6.50 for 4 horses, available here

Conquest Games Norman horse - £3.50 for 3 horses, £10.00 for 9 horses, or £16.25 for 15 horses, available here

Wargames Factory "feral" horse - $3.60 for 12 horses (possibly limited time offer), available here. Note: no tack at all

Wargames Factory ancients pony - $3.95 for 3 horses, available here. Note: no saddles

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Cornucopia of Cossacks

Got some more Cossacks here...

Unpainted cavalry (including unit leader):

Painted infantry (using the WSS firing arms previously seen here). Warning: they're rather sloppily painted, even for me, so consider yourself warned.

Also, while I was at the laundromat today I flipped through the latest edition of Glamour, and was pleased to note that my Cossacks are totally on-trend for the upcoming winter season.

Horse comparisons

As I've been collecting this project, I've dealt with many different horse sculpts from a variety of manufacturers. It occurred to me that a quick overview might be handy for potential collectors. So, here is a selection of Games Workshop, Warlord Games and Wargames Factory miniatures, from biggest to smallest.

First off are the Games Workshop horses, because they are the biggest. The unpainted monstrosity is a Warhammer Empire Pistolier horse. It's big even by the heroic scale standards of the current Warhammer Fantasy range, and as you can see, it's downright monstrous compared to a typical historical miniature. This horse is only available as part of the pistoliers box, though bitz sellers or ebay might provide them without riders.

The painted horse is the "generic" Warhammer horse. They used to be nigh-ubiquitous throughout all the horse-riding races in the Warhammer World, but as ranges get updated they are more and more replaced by army-specific sculpts. They are, however, available for order without riders here. This horse is about as tall as the largest historical horses, but a bit beefier. Non-GW riders may not fit well.

The unpainted plastic one above is a Perry Miniatures ACW horse. It is definitely the biggest non-fantasy horse I've encountered. I do not know if all Perry horses are this big, the ACW kit is the only Perry cavalry I've gotten. The saddle-bags and bedrolls can interfere with rider sculpts, and also may not be period-appropriate, but the horse itself looks great. They share a sprue with their ACW riders, so are not available separately.

The painted horse here (with rider) is a Warlord Games plastic horse. These are provided with every plastic Pike & Shotte cavalry kit the company produces, and they also accompany the otherwise-metal dragoons. They are also available on their own here, and may be the most generically useful horse for the time period. Note that the sprue contains separate holstered pistols, which is handy.

The metal horse accompanies the new Warlord Games Winged Hussars. A bit slimmer than all the previous horses I've covered so far, it's the first creditable "warm-" or "hot-blooded" horse yet. They aren't available separately, but they're pretty enough that I figured I'd throw one in anyway.

The next three are all from Wargames Factory. The first is from the War of Spanish Succession cavalry box. They are not available separately, but the box is chock-full of 18th-century bits, and worth investigating if you like conversions.

The second horse is basically the same size and build, and it is available separately here. It's also super cheap, but the downside is that it has no saddle or bridle or anything sculpted on. Super handy if you want a herd of feral horses, or a base for a centaur kitbash, but probably not great for cavalry unless you have even more time on your hands than I do.

Finally, we have the Wargames Factory ancients pony. I got mine from the Celtic Cavalry box, but they are also available separately here. The tack might be a bit anachronistic, and they don't come with saddles when bought on their own, but for skirmishing light cavalry you could do worse.

In conclusion, here is the biggest horse next to the smallest horse, just for funzies. Also our faithful scale reference musketeer, who has probably had enough of horse butts for one day. Poor guy.

Hmm. I forgot to include an Assault Group horse or a Conquest Games horse. The former is equivalent to the naked WGF horse, the later is equivalent to the WG hussar horse.

Feel free to leave questions in the comments.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cossack Horse from ACW Cavalry (WiP)

Ok, I've been fiddling with the Perry Miniatures ACW cavalry set, and I think it's time to document these conversions before I go any further. It's not a difficult endeavor, but it's definitely a project.

The number one issue is headgear, and if you weren't feeling particularly energetic, you could probably just deal with that and call it a day. The original miniatures have bare heads with a fringe of hair. It looks like typical male-pattern baldness, but the idea is that you attach either the wide-brimmed hats or the forage caps (both are included in the kit) to determine whether your troops are Confederates or Winners. For our purpose, it's quite easy just to greenstuff a fur-lined Cossack cap over their heads instead. You can even use the hair fringe as the back part of the fur lining.

For variety, one of the riders is hatless. I cut off the hair fringe, and sculpted the traditional Cossack forelock on his scalp. Only slightly more work than the hats, and very distinctive. Which reminds me, only about half the riders are sculpted with mustaches, so you'll want to fix the rest of those.

I want my half-hearted historical accuracy to at least continue past the models' heads, so I extended some of the coats a bit. I sculpted the coat extensions before attaching the riders to the horses, which is a bad idea, since the greenstuff can easily end up conflicting with the canteens and bedrolls and such on the steeds. The ones without long coats are supposed to be in their shirts, though maybe I should trim off the buttons on the one. Also, one of them has had baggy pants added.

Weapons! The kit comes with enough swords for every rider, although the basket-hilts are not ideal for Cossacks (at least not in my era, Napoleonic-era Cossacks maybe different?). There are also revolvers, but those go straight into my bits box, obviously having no place in the 1600s. Finally, the box contains three banner-poles and matching arms, which could be used as lances in a pinch. For my lancers, though, I used Wargames Factory plastic bits - Persian infantry right arms and WSS infantry pikes.

A word on the horses - they are not small. I considered mounting these guys on smaller spare Wargames Factory or Warlord Games horses, but then I decided that the stowage sculpted onto these horses made more sense for Cossacks than any of the other cavalry at Berestechko. I'll just have to pretend they don't tower over the pancerny and hussars...

I think my next post here will be a size comparison of the various WGF, WG and GW horses I have on hand.