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Saturday 31 August 2013

Russian Infantry in Soft Hats

The final figure types in the Douglas Miniatures Russian infantry range are line infantry depicted wearing the soft field caps. There are two figures, R16 Russian Infantry Advancing Greatcoat and Cap and R17, which is the same figure but in the firing position. This latter figure will be covered later.

R16 is quite a nice figure and in my view is a better casting than the line infantry in helmet model and I believe it is a completely different figure and not just a head change.

Unfortunately there are no command figures in soft hats, so you either have to find an alternative or use helmeted types. John Cunningham thinks that some additional figures may exist in the Russian infantry range, but to date none have surfaced. As an alternative, I have tried the offering from Tumbling Dice. Here is the link to their website:

I like the Tumbling Dice figures and they work quite well with Douglas Miniatures, but there are a couple of problems. The first is that all figures are in winter dress, which means they are in greatcoats. This is fine for the Russians, but not so good for the British. The second issues is that they come as mult-part kits, which is fine for a few command figures, but would be a chore for complete units. That said the castings are excellent and the figures do fill a gap in the Douglas range:

Friday 30 August 2013

Russian Dragoons - Hussars


Douglas Miniatures produce three types of cavalry figures - Cossacks, Dragoons and Lancers. Here we look at R9 Russian Dragoon, who rides R9a Dragoon Horse. The figure is armed with a sword and slung carbine and wears the stovepipe shako and the drab greatcoat. I researched dragoon figures and from what I have discovered Russian Dragoons normally wore the spiked black leather helemet, as opposed to a shako. However on campaign the Hussars would look very similar to the figure depicted by Douglas Miniatures.

I have depicted my dragoons as hussars, in fact the Ingermanlandski Hussars, who were involved during the battle of Balaclava. I suspect the greatcoat cuffs would not be blue, but collars and shoulder boards would have been:

Here the same Regiment tests the thin red line - does not look good for the Russian horse!!

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Russian Light Infantry

  R13 & R15 Caucasian Riflemen

Douglas Miniatures represents Russian light infantry or skirmishers in the form of R13, Caucasian Rifles. Dressed in the distinctive green uniform, with black facings, piped red and the fur trimmed headdress they add a colourful change to the normal drab Russian grey brown greatcoats. There is an officer figure: R15, Caucasian Rifles Officer.  Here is a view of a battalion formed up in line:

In the centre the officer figure can be seen armed with a sword:

Sunday 25 August 2013

Scots Greys 

Douglas Miniatures have two types of British heavy cavalry, the dragoons, already examined below, and the Scots Greys. Listed as B2 Scots Grey, the figure depicts this branch of the cavalry in campaign dress, wearing the distinctive fur bearskin. The horse is BH1, which is common to all the British cavalry figures in the Douglas range.

Friday 23 August 2013

The Thin Red Line

The 93rd Highlanders at Balaclava

There were three stirring episodes during the battle of Balaclava; the charge of the Light Brigade, the charge of the Heavy Brigade and the famous thin Red Line. This last incident, again portrayed by artists and writers, marks the occasion when the 93rd Highlanders formed line to prevent Russian cavalry threatening the port of Balaclava. After a couple of volleys the cavalry turned tail and the rest is history.

Douglas Miniatures have just one highland figure in their Crimean range and he is B19 Highlander Advancing. Unfortunately there is no officer figure or standard bearer and so substitutes have to be used. In this case I have used a Hinton Hunt officer and the piper and standard bearers are from the Miniature Figurines S Range (all available from John Cunningham). The standards are made from masking tape and painted with gloss enamels.

Tuesday 20 August 2013

"There my Lord is your enemy, there are your guns"

Russian Artillery

Douglas Miniatures produce a single Russian artillery piece, which is made up of four parts: A2 Gun Carriage with open trail and three other parts common to both the Russian and British guns, which are: A5 Wheel x 2 and A6 gun barrel. Here is a picture of the Russian version of the gun:

The artillerymen themselves depict Cossack horse artillery, but strangely there are two versions. R4, R5, R6 and R7 which are Cossack Horse Artillery in small fur cap, Officer, Gunner with Ramrod, Gunner with Spike and Gunner with Ball. Here they are:

The second version is made up from figures R24, R25, R26 and R27, which depict Cossack Horse Artillery in tall fur cap; again an officer, and gunners with ramrod, spike and ball. These are completely different castings from the short fur cap fellows, and I prefer them:

And just for fun, the Light Brigade has a go at taking them out:

British Light Infantry 1854 

There are no figures designated as light infantry in the Douglas Miniatures range, but as they wore the same uniform as their line infantry counterparts it is possible to use ordinary line infantry as skirmishers. Apart from the light companies from line battalions and light infantry regiments, there were also two battalions from the Rifle Brigade in the 1854 British order of battle. The 1st Rifle Brigade formed part of the 4th Division, whilst the 2nd Battalion was part of the Light Division. 

In order to distinguish my British light and rifle troops from other line units I use the Douglas Miniatures figure B7 (Infantry Firing) along with line infantry officer figure B5. I removed the bayonets from the firing figures too. The unit stands out anyway, clad in their dark rifle green uniforms:


I have also used a seconded Hinton Hunt Crimean figure as an extra officer, as he was spare. You can see him lurking in the background with an advancing infantry figure (B6) also painted as a Rifleman.

Saturday 17 August 2013

The Light Brigade

When the Crimean war is mentioned most people conjure up the image of the Charge of the Light Brigade, as this event, as part of the battle of Balaclava on 25 October 1854, though of little military significance, became a symbol of courage and valour in Victorian Britain. The charge prompted writers, poets and painters to interpret the glory of what was really a huge military blunder. Debate continues today over who was to blame, but the outcome of misinterpreted orders and personal rivalry was the destruction of the British light cavalry force in the Crimea.
The British cavalry was divided into two brigades; the Heavy Brigade, consisting of five regiments of heavy dragoons and the Light Brigade made up of five light cavalry regiments; two hussars, two light dragoons and one of lancers.

The Light Brigade was commanded by Major General James Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan (known commonly as Lord Cardigan). The five regiments in the brigade were the 4th and 13th Light Dragoons, the 8th and 11th Hussars and lastly the 17th Lancers. Up until Balaclava the Brigade had seen little action and on that fateful day, through a combination of errors and the burning desire to at last get to grips with the enemy a force of around 670 light cavalry charged headlong down a valley defended by the Russians, with over 50 guns, 20 battalions of infantry and a significant cavalry force. The result was inevitable and the Brigade ceased to be an effective fighting force, losing around 278 killed, wounded and taken prisoner, as well as 335 horses.

Douglas Miniatures does a fair job representing the light cavalry, with a light dragoon and a lancer figure. This permits the recreation of three of the regiments, namely the 4th and 13th Light Dragoons and the 17th Lancer. Both the dragoons and the lancer use BH1 Cavalry Horse. There is no hussar figure in the Crimean range, but it is possible to use the Douglas Miniatures Napoleonic range as a substitute.

So far I have painted three regiments for my interpretation of the Light Brigade:

B1 Light Dragoon – painted as the 4th Light Dragoons:

B3 Lancer, painted as 17th Lancers.

From the Douglas Miniatures Napoleonic range – NP21 British Hussar in busby with carbine, mounted on NP21a British Hussar horse (both available from John Cunningham). I removed the plume from the busby and replaced the carbine with a sword:

Wednesday 14 August 2013

One piece castings 

Although not included in the list below, it seems that Douglas Miniatures produced at least one mounted figure with the horse and rider as a single casting. This figure is available from John and it represents a British Heavy Dragoon trooper.

It is very similar to the two piece figure, B4 British Heavy Dragoon. When set side by side the one piece figure is slightly larger than the two piece, but it is not really noticable. Here you can see the two examples shown together, two piece on the right:

I would be really interested to know if there were ever any other Crimean figures produced like this by Douglas. I think the one piece is a finer looking figure and I will be painting a full unit of these.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Russian Infantry in helmet advancing. 

Here are painted samples of R2, with R1 and R14 at their head:

 Russian Infantry

R1 Russian Officer in helmet - This is the only Russian infantry officer figure in the range and he wears the standard greatcoat, with the tall spiked helmet of the period.

R2 Russian infantry in helmet - advancing.

R14 Russian infantry standard bearer in helmet. This appears to be the same casting as the officer, but with a standard added. The standard is moulded into the helmet and unfortunately does not include a spike/spearhead on top of the pole, which makes it look a little odd.

There is also a firing figure (R3) to be added later.

Monday 12 August 2013

Where to get hold of Douglas Miniatures figures today?

As mentioned earlier John Cunningham, who is a great enthusiast for all things 20mm, now owns the moulds and has just about recreated the whole range, with just a few exceptions. He has a wealth of knowledge and offers a friendly service. In addition to Crimean figures he also supplies Douglas Miniatures Napoleonic and Marlburian ranges and other 20mm items.  To contact him you can find him here:

R10 Russian Cossack Lancers

The first offering are examples of R10 Russian Cossack Lancers, mounted on R10a (Cossack Horse), which if I recall were the first ones I painted back in the 70s. I use gloss enamel paints and paint my figures in the toy soldier style.

The Douglas Miniatures 20mm Crimean War range. I have compiled a list of all of the known figures in the 20mm Crimean War range. Most of the moulds for these figures are now owned by John Cunningham who produces the figures for sales. Sadly not all of the moulds were preserved and John is eager to find masters of these figures (especially standard bearers). There are also some gaps. For example as far as is known no officer figures were produced for any of the cavalry units. The French have no officer or standard bearer and the same applies to Russian infantry in soft caps; only officers and standard bearers in helmets being produced.Furthermore, there is no figure for the Britsh 11th Hussars, which had the distinctive busby, but Douglas produced such a figure in their Napoleonic range which can be used as a substitute. Here is the list of known figures in the Crimea range:


B1 Light Dragoon
B2 Scot Grey
B3 Lancer
B4 Heavy Dragoon
B5 Infantry Officer
B6 Infantry Advancing
B7 Infantry Firing
B8 Guards officer, drawn sword
B9 Guardsman Advancing
B10 Guardsman Firing

B12 Royal Foot Artillery Officer
B13 Royal Foot Artillery Gunner with spike
B14 Royal Foot Artillery Gunner with ball
B15 Royal Foot Artillery Gunner with ramrod
B17 Line infantry standard bearer
B18 Guards standard bearer
B19 Highlander advancing
B20 RFA outrider for horse team
B21 Guardsman running


F1 French Zouave


R1 Officer in Helmet
R2 Infantry in helmet advancing
R3 Infantry in helmet firing
R4 Cossack Horse Artillery officer, small fur cap
R5 Cossack Horse Artillery gunner, small fur cap with ramrod
R6 Cossack Horse Artillery gunner, small fur cap with spike
R7 Cossack Horse Artillery gunner, small fur cap with ball
R9 Dragoon
R9a Dragoon horse
R10 Cossack lancer
R10a Cossack lancer horse
R11 Lancer
R11a Lancer horse
R13 Caucasian Rifleman
R14 Infantry Standard bearer in helmet
R15 Caucasian Rifles Officer
R16 Infantry advancing greatcoat and cap
R17 Infantry firing greatcoat and cap 

R24 Cossack Horse Artillery Officer in large fur cap
R25 Cossack Horse Artillery Gunner in large fur cap with ramrod
R26 Cossack Horse Artillery Gunner in large fur cap ball
R27 Cossack Horse Artillery Gunner in large fur cap spike
R28 Cossack Horse Artillery outrider for horse team

Horses and Artillery

BH1 Cavalry horse
BH 2 Artillery horse saddled
BH3 Artillery horse off side  

A1 Gun carriage solid trail
A2 Gun carriage open trial
A3 Limber, centre pole
A4 traces
A5 wheel
A6 gun barrel
A7 Russian limber