Friday, 28 April 2017

(P)Russians


 The Archduke correctly deduced that my new flag was intended for the Russo-German Legion, or Russisch-Deutsche Legion (RDL) to give them their proper title.

The idea of painting the RDL came about thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Mark S in the US, who contacted me early this year with  an offer of some Der Kriegspieler Russians which were surplus to his requirements. All Mark asked in return was that I cover the postage.

The RDL was raised in  Russia in 1812 by the exiled Graf Peter of Oldenburg at the instigation of the Tsar Alexander I. Its ranks were filled with German prisoners and deserters taken during Napoleon's invasion of Russia. It eventually rose to a strength of 10,000 men and included cavalry and artillery units as well as eight battalions of infantry. Its early adherents hoped that it would be the revolutionary vanguard of an all-German uprising against Napoleon. Its paymasters, however, were British, and Britain wanted it to form the backbone of the new Hanoverian army that was raised in North Germany in 1813.

It is not known if flags were ever issued to the infantry of the Legion but it is known that one was proposed for them by Ernst Friedrich Graf von Münster, an influential Hanoverian member of the British cabinet. Münster proposed St George as the central motif, accompanied by an inscription calling on all and sundry to join in the downfall of the "Dragon". Other sources mention that St George was to be surrounded by oak leaves.

It was a logical proposal. St George already appeared on the Russian imperial coat of arms, and the white horse would also appeal to Hanover. The colour scheme, however, is entirely my own invention, although with inspiration taken from other Russian flags and the arms of the Moscow Governorate, which also features St George and oak leaves intertwined by a scroll.

The figure I've converted to carry the colour is a Der Kriegspieler from Set # 55: Russian Line Infantry 1812, At Ready. He is painted to represent a soldier of the 1st Brigade of the infantry of the legion, which had red facings. The 1st Brigade would eventually be absorbed into the Prussian Army as the 30th Infantry Regiment and it would fight in this guise during the 100 Days. One can be sure, however, that the Prussian authorities would have ditched the flag!

Most of the rest of the battalion will use Russians from another DK set, # 191: Russian Line Infantry 1812, Attacking. I've modified these by removing their plumes and turning their heads slightly to the left in order to give them more of a charging appearance. Also pictured is my drummer conversion, who was made by soldering an old Hinchliffe drum to his leg and replacing his musket with stainless steel pins for the drum sticks.


The last variant I've used, pictured left, is the charging Russian line infantry officer from DK set # 57: Russian Line Infantry 1812, Command.

 To finish off, the last shot shows the 15 figures I've completed so far. The complete battalion, plus their commander if I can make up my mind about who this should be, will feature in the next post.


My thanks, once again, to Mark.

WM

12 comments :

  1. The start of a fine looking regiment there sir !

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    1. Cheers. Tony. I'm hoping the OTT flag will compensate for what is otherwise be a fairly sombre looking regiment, what with their black straps and grey trousers. I'm wondering also whether I should have opted for the 2nd Brigade, which had light blue collars (and cuffs according to some).

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  2. Well done!!! Not sure that I've ever seen anyone paint up this particular formation, although the thought occurred to me back when I used to do 15mm Waterloo era Napoleonics. Great stuff, and I still cannot get over how lovely the flag is.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. There aren't too many examples online that I could spot, Stokes, so they don't appear to be all that popular! Their failure to actually make it on to the battlefield at Waterloo may have something to do with it.

      The flag is a bit of a cheek, but guaranteed to be unique!

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  3. I don't think they're sombre, and anyway the contrast between units will only help to make those showy frogs stand out the more - always good to have a high visibility target. Did you repaint the green on the flag? It looks quiet different in tone to the earlier post, or is that just an artefact of flash photography?

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    1. No, Rob, but I did go out and buy a much whiter light bulb for my anglepoise. That and the blue background made my camera decide it was a different colour!

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  4. Super job, WM, but that is what we would expect!

    Smart looking chaps - as ever, I got sidetracked in the study of the particular castings used and the conversion work - the drummer is sensational, by the way, I didn't realise it was a hatchet job until I read his origins.

    Excellent - really enjoy these posts.

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    1. Der Kriegspielers are tremendously under documented, Foy, so I'm trying to create a visual catalogue as I go along. Hinton Hunt collectors of the future need to know what to avoid!

      These particular castings are not the Duke's finest. They have the stumpiest legs and their Kiwers (which I think Marcus struggled with a bit in any case) are rather short of definition. However, as these Not Hinton Hunts are being used as Not Russians they seemed just the ticket somehow.

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  5. Your usuall high standard of Work WM, though the drum cords are a little , ahem , startling?

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    1. Peter Gilder liked 'em big and bold, LG, and no mistake. Nevertheless, when I stuck them together they didn't look tooooo out of scale, and as I couldn't bring myself to chop up one of my super precious drummer castings I decided it was good enough! It was also a chance to see if it was actually possible to solder drum and leg. He's my first proper drummer conversion, believe it or not, and I'm very proud!

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  6. Never thought about the idea of taking a drum off an existing figure. Obvious when you mention it! Must try it. Excellent work as always.

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    1. It never really occurred to me either, Alan, until I looked in my odds and ends box and saw a Hinchliffe Old Guard drummer looking back at me! Its amazing what you pick up along the way.

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