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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Maxim Number One: Buy the Right Maxim

"What do you mean I can't play with it. It's my army."

As I'm working on my project for the Russian-Anglo war in Central Asia and the British Raj using The Men Who Would be Kings (paid link), I envisioned it taking place in my fictional universe sometime between 1895 and 1905 to give me the maximum use of figures that I like for the game. As I mentioned earlier, I am not an expert on the Imperial Russian Army of this time frame and guess what? I bought the wrong Russian Maxim machine gun. This is what it should look like: The caption reads:

The caption reads: "In postion. Mounted machine gun before an enemy attack," and is credited to Special Correspondent V. Taburin of Niva.

The gun above is the PM M1910 and was used by the Imperial Russian Army during World War I and the Red Army during the Russian Civil War and World War II. Interestingly, the gun saw service in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. 

Decisions, decisions. I found many manufacturers that sell the correct Russian Maxim for the period and they do look great. As you probably can guess since you can see the pictures of the completed models, I just decided to go with what I bought. Fictional War? My Universe? Too lazy to order another model? I report, you decide. (Don't be surprised when the British Indian Army show up wearing shorts prior to World War I!). 

I'm using The Men Who Would be Kings (paid link) for the upcoming tabletop battles and a machine gun per the rules has a crew of 4, one of which is an officer. The Copplestone Castings White Russian Maxim blister for the Back of Beyond range comes with 3 men; I added a figure from the European Advisors in the same line to be the officer for the machine gun.

Капитан Ричард Брайтонов (Kapitan Richard Braytonov commands the deadly Maxim. He is wearing a privately purchased tujurka, a short grey coat for travelling

Ефрейтор Патя Алексеева (Corporal Patya Alexeev) is in charge of the gun crew. 

General officers observe the placement of the deadly Maxim.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The 21st Imperial Russian Frontier Guard Company


The 21st Imperial Russian Frontier Guard Company

First of all, researching uniforms, flags, etc. of the Russian Imperial Army of the late 19th to early 20th Century was a little harder than I thought. There is some good material out there in English on the Russo-Japanese War but most of the good stuff on uniforms and flags is in Russian. (I don't speak or read Russian). 

"I say Charlie, all of their material is in Russian. Not very sporting of them again!"
"Yes sir."

With this being a new period for me (and quite ignorant about) I want to give a good shout out to those groups who have been of great assistance in helping me with my research and questions (especially the Russian members and those that know Russian):

Lead Adventure Forum: Colonial Adventures and Back of Beyond (especially cuprum and Mark Plant for their assistance with Russian Flags).

"Captain, you're men are filthy!"
"Yes General. Men filthy and rifles clean."
"Captain, you are definitely the man for the job."*

The Frontier Guards were company sized units that were a border patrol force which also performed internal police duties in distant provinces. They were recruited from veterans who had already completed their Army service. In addition they received a higher rate of pay and had better conditions than their counterparts in the Imperial Army. Needless to say, they had a better class of soldier and were among the most capable and well-trained of all Russian Troops and had a fearsome reputation for bravery. During the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, Japanese admiration, and frustration with the tough resistance and fighting abilities of the Frontier Guards is indicated by a quote from an unknown Japanese officer: "Make no prisoners of green uniforms; kill them without mercy.

The Frontier Company also had a unique uniform that was different from the rest of the Imperial forces. They wore a dark green jacket and light green shoulder pads, collar pads, collar patches, piping and pointed cuff braid. My eyes are not that good to attempt the collar pads, collar patches and piping on the collar of these 28mm figures from Copplestone Castings; but, I did do the easier shoulder pads and pointed cuff braid. There is also supposed to be the Company number on the shoulder patches - nope, not going to try it. I might find some number decals later.

The uniform pants were grey-blue without any piping and are tuck into boots if available. If not, puttees were used in various shades of khaki. 

On campaign uniform resupply could be haphazard, so the items from the regular Imperial Army would be issued or "acquired". To build my Frontier Guard Company, I used the Copplestone Castings pack "Ragged White Russians" which I feel gives a good luck to a tough, frontier fighting unit. I painted all of the figures with the grey-blue pants but mixed up the shirts to show a unit that has done some hard fighting. There seems to have been no standard hat worn in the field as I have seen numerous photographs and sketches of Frontier Guards wearing a variety of headgear.

From left to right: Starshiy unter ofitser (sergeant), standard bearer, and Kapitan (captain).

I honestly have no idea if the Frontier Guard Companies had flags due to conflicting evidence and problems of translation. But heck, I like flags so my Company is going to carry one. Plus the standard bearer would look silly on the table without one.

Капитан Кароль Егоров (Captain Karol Agorov). The old man. The men trust him emphatically. He wears a privately purchased overcoat and his cap is based on one in the Central Armed Forces Museum of the Russian Federation in Moscow.

Сержант Онисим Зайцев (Sergeant Onisim Zaytsev). Nicknamed (but not to his face) Папа (Papa) by the men. 

Капрал Митя Ильин (Corporal Mitya Illin). You need it, he'll find it.

Младший капрал Иван Волков (Lance Corporal Ivan Volkov). The beard is not regulation. I'm not telling him, you tell him.

One of the interesting items I discovered with my research (interesting to me anyway) is that the enlisted ranks' greatcoat has a separate hood that could be worn as a hood or detached and wrapped around as a scarf.

"Got him!"

The 21st Frontier Guard Company will be one of the stalwarts of my Russian Field Force using the Rules The Men Who Would be Kings. They will be Regular Infantry (6 points) and Fierce (Fight becomes 4+) for a total of 7 points.

отвага, отвага, доблесть (Courage, Bravery Valor)

*With apologies to Bernard Cornwell.

Monday, January 11, 2021

The Warband is getting Bigger!

My French allied Native Warband is now 12 figures strong (technically 13 as I painted a leader just in case I put him in charge of a French or Native Force).

The Warlord Games Woodlands Indians War Party metal boxed set has 18 figures + 1 sachem figure which makes it easy to build a Large Warband for Rebels and Patriots. I am doing a Large Warband which will consist of 18 figures. Currently I now have 12 painted figures which can be fielded as a regular sized Warband.

The extra "sachem" that comes in the Warlord Games box.

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, painting a non-uniformed or mixed uniformed unit is a challenge for me, and a challenge for many gamers. It is always easier to paint an identical uniformed force as it is easy to set up using an assembly line technique. The technique I use for a mixed figure unit is to paint 6 figures at a time which for me, makes the painting go faster and allows a way to visualize how the unit will look.

Slowly but surely (the multiple projects help give me a break!) the Warband is getting bigger. It's great that each figure in the Woodlands Indians War Party metal boxed is unique so I am taking my time to make this unit look visually appeasing and dramatic on the tabletop when they join their French Allies. Here are some pictures of where I am at, and also some more of the new terrain I am making which will be in another post.

Until next time, keep your powder dry!