Thursday, 6 January 2011

Счастливое святки!

Which, if Babelfish is to be trusted and your computer is set up to read Cyrillic, is Russian for "Happy Sviatki". This being the time for the Russian Orthodox Church's two-week celebration of Christmas.

As way of marking the day, here is my scene of Russian priests (monks?) blessing the troops on this auspicious day in 1813, prior to them going on and kicking Boney's butt all the way to Paris- if with a few setbacks along the way.  

This little vignette was inspired by this scene from War and Peace, which captured my imagination ever since I first saw it.

The miniatures are from Front Rank, all heavily converted.  Old Rasputin wielding his cross was actually made from an old Ral Partha ashigaru miniature as a frame, with arms from a Dixon ACW officer and a head from a Front Rank Cossack.  Robes and beard from epoxy putty.  

The reliquary for the icon was from- of all things- the bridge from a Tamiya 1/700 Fletcher class destroyer (it comes with two versions).  I added doors from plastic card.

The kneeling infantrymen also show the dark green I want for my Russian army.  I used Vallejo Russian Green (go figure), given a wash with Ceramcoat's Jungle Green.  

I despair of ever finding a really matte varnish; I've only got the remnants of one can of Testor's Dullcoat, and when that's gone, that's it as it is unobtainable here.  So I use it very sparingly!

These were fun to do, and have been about ten years in the making- I kid you not.  Hopefully the dragoons I'm working on now will be done in a fraction of that time!


von Peter himself said...

"These were fun to do, and have been about ten years in the making- I kid you not."

If I'm not careful my Saxons will have a similar gestation period!

Very nice and an amazing parts list.

von Peter himself

Paulalba said...

Very cool Robert,
I would guess the monks were clean shaved when you started the project ;-)

I have a really nice colour print of the scene before Borodino I picked up on ebay last year:


Doc Smith said...

Wonderful vignettes Robert - the painting is excellent and the whole thing is evocative of the Russians deep spirituality at the time. According to Zamoyski, the parading of the Smolensk Madonna icon was a very clever bit of theatre by Kutusov and gave the Russians an enthusiasm bordering on fanatical zealotry before the battle. The parading of icons before big battles was a feature throughout the rest of the Napoleonic wars. Your men will be well equipped to flog a Frenchie or two in any stoush!


Ray Rousell said...

Love the figures, I've not done much converting of figures before, but you've done a fantastic job. Let's hope your next conversion takes you a little less time!

Robert said...

Я благодарю вас джентльмен!

One reason it took so long was simply that there was no hurry and not much motivation, as I was doing no gaming at all for years. It was always in the "one of these days, I'll get around to finishing it" category.

Now I find myself actively gaming, and gaming Napoleonics at that, it is easier to get on with these partially-done projects knowing that there is a purpose to it all!

I often think I'm more of a modeller than a painter. The conversions are fun, and I've a lot more of them to get finished up.

But they are a lot harder to do nowadays. More recent castings from Front Rank are made using a different alloy. Although the ramrods and bayonets hold up better to handling, and the detail is crisper than before, the models are more resistant to hacking and drilling than they were.

On the other hand, there are all those plastics out there to chop up and convert!

Achilles said...

beautiful conversion and nice clean painting! I am looking forward to seeing some battalions ;)

Paulalba said...

It is always nice when you manage to get 1 of those "to do" projects done especially if it has been sitting a while.

Schrumpfkopf said...


love everything here but therather thick base.

Robert said...

Thanks, Schrumpfkopf

I've come to terms with the thick bases, largely because other gamers- and especially myself- have thick fingers! I would much rather the bases get the handling than the miniatures.

I used to use thinner bases, but found that the figures were far more likely to get damaged.

And these are close-up pictures. On the tabletop, they don't really appear that thick- either that or the eyes get used to them.

Paulalba said...

Just to let you know I have nominated you/your blog for the stylish blogger award!!!

Keep up the great work!!!
Best Regards

Belgium Diorama World said...

These figures are really great painted...

Phil said...

Those russain priests are realy impressive, a very nice work...and a very nice blog, too!


Simply Awesomeee


Baconfat said...

That is a wonderful set of priests. It'll be a nice touch to any table.

Seb Palmer said...

Great stuff Robert.

I found you whilst searching for ref on Russian Napoleonic artillery.

Your various blogs are great. It's really nice to read such an articulate voice, with some piquant quotes peppering your posts. I like the one from Huxley about Caesar- and Boney-philes, and Ol' Uncle Abe is always so quotable. I personally love what he said about the 'glory' of war: “Military glory - that attractive rainbow that rises in showers of blood."

Your conversions are wonderful. I'm planning something similar (for some unspecified point somewhere in the future): apparently a Russian cleric of some sort was involved in a key moment during the crucial battle of Maloyaroslavets, which I'm planning to wargame in 10mm (at some other unspecified future juncture!).

My first attempt at a conversion (the first, that is, since returning to the hobby after a 20 year break) was the addition of plumes to some 15mm AB Polish Lancers. I plan to post something on this experiment on a blog I've just started to post on, which I originally set up two or three years ago - - I would be chuffed if you were to take a look at my blog, and leave a comment or two, if you felt moved to.

Regards, Sebastian