Saturday, March 18, 2017

Onto the Field of Battle - Deploying the Muscovites

It is time.
After weeks of preparation and relentless efforts to muster and train the forces, the Golova is finally ordered to move his troops into battle against the Ottomans...

So today he moved out to fight a first resounding defeat against a much larger Ottoman force...

More details on the battle might follow in a later post, if I ever feel like working my way through the foto-editing.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Golova - Russian Skirmish Force Command

Time for another update on my ongoing project.  Next week I´ll have to be ready to field at least the most basic skirmish force for our wargaming day. To work towards that goal, I´ve greated my Commander and russified the Musician and Bannerman from the Totentanz Mounted Cossacks Command set.

Together, thes should make a nice command stand to represent my Golova, the commander of my Muscotive Skirmish Force.

With all the work done so far, I´ll have to finish the Command Stand and the last two Boyar Son cavalrymen to get a basic playable skirmish force on the table.  I´ll probably have to lend a unit of cavalry to represent a skirmish sotnia if need be - but we´ll see.

Then I can focus my attention on adding the Reiters and paint mounted Cossacks to represent my Servant Cossacks when mounted and moving on horseback.

So far, my Scratch-Build Boyar Sons unit looks like this:

Two more to paint.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Recruitment Rapport - Mustering the Tzarist Forces

The buildup of my Muscovite Skirmish Force is progressing.
Since my last entry, more Miniatures have been sculpted, painted and purchased.

Dismounted Servant Cossacks -  left and middle base with my own designs, right base with Totentanz Foot Cossacks - lovely figures :)

 First member of my Reiter unit who are supposedly better-performing than any of the other cavalry options in my intended build....

...such as the Boyar Sons, one of which can be seen below.  These are the Muscovite Levy of the Nobility and are said to perform poorly.

My intended build for the first skirmish games: 

Basic Skirmish Force with 2 Boyar Son Sotnias replaced by 2 Servant Cossacks of equal strength (4 FSP) 
  • Servant Cossacks (3 Bases)
  • Servant Cossacks (3 Bases)
  • Boyar Son Sotnia (2 Bases)
  • Boyar Son Sotnia (2 Bases)
  • Boyar Son Sotnia (2 Bases)
  • Additional Skirmish Sotnia (3 Bases) - for the Miestnichestvo  Special Rule 
  •  Reiter Sotnia  (2 Bases)  (+1 FSP):  + 2 bases by the "Ludiej Unas Mnoga" Special Rule
  • +4 Boyar Son Bases (+1 FSP)   - to bring the base force up to strength 
  • Skirmish Sotnia (+1 FSP)

This will be the guiding template to build my force. Most of the Base Force is complete, the most annoying part is the Additional Skirmish Sotnia as I don´t know if I´ll actually use it in my first engagement.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Raising the Levy - Muscovite Army in the Works

It´s time for a little update!  Since last I posted about my plans to raise my Muscotive Army, a lot of progress has been made.

My lovely little horses have indeed arrived a while ago and I instantly started raising the Boyar Son Cavalry unit. Obviously stratch-building them with only the horses, putty, some metal dollies and plastic strips is taking some time, hence the long intervall since the last update. But I´m finally able to show you the first results both painted and the next batch as Work in Progress:

Here is the first base of Boyar Sons, sculpted on AB horses:

And another base finished as sculpts, but yet to be painted:

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Humble Beginnings - The Muscotives are gathering forces!

Today I´m going to show you my first results in building my Muscovite Forces, as promised in my last post.

The core of the force so far is formed by a pike and shot infantry unit. The miniatures were made all by me - my first attempts to do 15mm models - in one of my earlier attempts to start a force. Unfortunately I soon realised that this kind of formation is not suitable to field a quickly playable skirmish force, as these are either cavalry or dragoons, not pike and shot units.

Later, I laid my hands on some cheap cavalrymen that I found suitable to represent Russian Traditional Noble Cavalry - even if not historically accurate, these riders at least give the right feeling and impression.  Here they are, painted up, representing some Boyar Sons Cavalry bases:

Some interesting features that you might not discover on first glance:

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Muskets will be back...

Hello again and sorry for the silence - again I´ve been working way to quietly on my projects without documenting and posting them here.

I´ve recently focused on my long term project of renaissance warfare. Remember, this blog is called Rifles and Muskets? Well, we´ve been skipping the muskets part way to much in the past. When I re-entered wargaming in 2012 one of my intentions was to create a 17th century army, as this period always held some fascination for me.

Back then I tried building up some 10mm forces, quickly aborted the attempt after moving into a region where this period is played in 15mm and never recovered from that setback. Then, about two years ago, I purchased a copy of the then new ruleset By Fire and Sword and set my mind to starting a muscovite army.  Unfortunately, I was never happy with the figure choices on the market for muscovites. I sculpted some of my own 15mm Soldats Infantry and had them cast along with my 20mm Minis (pics will appear when the unit is fully painted)  but that never kicked off either.

The problem is: I need cavalry, dragoons and cossacks to build a suitable skirmish force - not Soldat infantry that I built in the spur of the moment. I can only use these guys in engagements that are way larger than what I need to start. And while I managed to sculpt Infantrymen, I wasn´t able to do horses. Hemmed by this frustration, my focus shifted to other projects and miniatures.

In the last few weeks I´ve felt the urge to continue/restart the buildup of my muscovite forces as they were gathering dust on my painting shelf, waiting to be finished.  After getting in the mood, I built some 15mm Cossack/Dragoon half-figures that I can fit with spears of muskets in different poses after getting them cast in metal. This will form the core of my dismounted light Infantry.

Yet I had still not found cavalry that suited my taste - there are some nice high quality choices for infantry figures that have been released by Totentanz. I´ll definitely purchase some at some point to supplement my own minis, but that doesn´t solve the cavalry-issue... Well, Totentanz has some nice cavalry for eastern europe as well, but it would require quite a bit of conversion work to transform them into Boyar Sons / Pomiestna Cavalry. I don´t mind the work, however, the miniatures are very nice and a bit pricy to cut them up and rebuild up to 60% of them.

The Wargamer figures / BFaS-Range Boyar Sons are an option, but I don´t like them.
All the other manufacturers I found don´t really offer nice Muscovite Cavalry with a variety of poses that would make an order worthwile.

At that point I went back to analyse my problem. I wanted/needed cavalry, but I don´t like the choices or chopping up nice and expensive figures when I can sculpt them from scratch on my own. But I´m not proficient enough to build horses.  Well then, maybe we can find 15mm horses...

Yes we can!  And very nice horses they are!

AB Horses - Picture from
 I found these excellent AB Horses in 15mm which they offer for their Napoleonic Range. I went ahead and ordered 4 packs, which will yield 48 horses to build my very own Russian cavalry force.

I´ll be building some dollies for cavalrymen and start customizing them according to my needs. That should enable me to field a sizeable cavalry force all by myself.  It will probably take a lot longer, but I´m already 2 years behind schedule and don´t really care. This is a long term project after all.  I´d be more than happy to field my first playable force in spring or summer.

I´ll do my best to document my progress here. Let´s hope this is not another failed attempt to restart this project ;)

Friday, January 6, 2017

Christmas Break is over!

Hey all,

I took a few weeks off of wargaming, painting and sculpting during christmas and new year to spend some time with my family. But fear not, I´m back now and have already commenced work.

I´m not so much into painting right now, but I made good progress with sculpting a few new minis.
So today I want to show you another part of the new Portugese Support Weapons:

This LMG-Gunner carries a HK21 into battle and was requested by several supporters at the Guild, who helpted to bring the range into being in the first place.

I´ve also prepared another MG3/MG42-Gunner to provide an additional. more combat oriented pose and supply more options for gamers who already have a lot of riflemen, but few support weapons.