Russian Napoleonic Grenadiers, 1812–1814

ESCI 1:72 Scale Figure Review

18th (1st Westphalian) Infanterie-Regiment using 1:72 scale ESCI Russian Grenadiers

Soldiers of the Prussian 18th (1st Westphalian) Infanterie-Regiments, 1813–1815. We've used ESCI Russian Grenadiers for this conversion. The four men on the right flank of the unit, two loading and two kneeling, had the Kiwer (shako) replaced by a Schirmmütze taken from Airfix Prussian Landwehr. The four men in the center are unchanged, except that a loading grenadier has been converted to a standardbearer. The musket has been removed and replaced by 0.6 mm pianowire. The flag was made from paper, it shows the Iron Cross which was introduced on 10th March 1813. The volunteer Jägers in front of the unit are Prussian Füsiliers from ESCI, with the bicornes replaced by a shako.

Contents

50 Figures with 15 Poses – 23 mm equal 166 cm Height

  • Officer, pointing (1)
  • Officer, with sword drawn (1)
  • Drummer (1)
  • Bugler (1)
  • Russian Grenadier, marching (3)
  • Russian Grenadier, bayonet fixed, advancing (3)
  • Russian Grenadier, running (6)
  • Russian Grenadier, charging (6)
  • Russian Grenadier, standing firing (6)
  • Russian Grenadier, kneeling firing (6)
  • Russian Grenadier, loading, priming the pan (3)
  • Russian Grenadier, loading, ramming the charge (3)
  • Russian Grenadier, fencing with bayonet (3)
  • Russian Grenadier, kneeling (3)
  • Russian Grenadier, falling (1)

War and Peace

Russian infantry regiment Libava, 1812

Russian troops participated in most of the important campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars, including the German Wars of Liberation and the occupation of Paris on 31st March 1814. Napoleon was banished to Elba, France returned to its 1792 borders and Bourbon rule was restored. With the war finally over, the Russian army began its long march home. Only 11 month later, Napoleon returned to France and raised a new army. Russian forces were directed to turn around and marched back toward the theater of operations, but the allied victory at Waterloo decided the issue before the Russians were even close enough to join the fight.

The ESCI miniatures are sculpted in the 1812 uniform, with the famous Kiwer M.1812. Russian soldiers wore a very practical uniform, which was gradually adopted by other armies as well. A comfortable greatcoat, the Shinel, often replaced the uniform coat on campaign. When not worn, the Shinel was rolled up and carried across the left shoulder, offering some protection against sabre cuts. The rolled greatcoat was a distinguishing item of Russian dress, as can be seen in many 1812 uniform plates, like that of the Libava Regiment (7th Division, 2nd Brigade) above.

Evaluation

Excellent Detail. Shakos and cords, buttons, cuffs and facings, crossbelts, ammo pouches, knapsacks, canteens, boots, weapons and metal fittings are clearly visible.

Useful historic poses. The advancing, firing and loading figures allow the formation of very realistic and cohesive looking wargame units.

The miniatures are generic enough that they can be painted as Guards, Grenadiers, Musketiers, Carabiniers, Jägers and Marines. The main distinction being the metal badge on the shako, a double-eagle in the Guard Regiments, crossed cannons for artillery, three-flamed grenades for grenadiers in standing Grenadier Regiments and those in the line Elite Companies, or a single grenade for Musketiers, Jägers and Marines of the line. The three-flamed grenade sculpted on these figures can be painted over to represent any of the other shako plates.

Excellent casting quality, very little flash. These soldiers are a delight to paint, because the raised detail remains visible even after the figures are undercoated.

The Kiwer M.1812 can be used for many interesting conversion, it was worn by Russian hussars, mounted Jägers and gunners of the foot artillery.

Only 36% of the figures are shown wearing the typical rolled greatcoat across the shoulder, the others seem to have discarded it. When the figures are displayed in formations, the resulting mix of uniforms and equipment is not historically accurate. Manufacturers need to make a decision about sculpting their figures in full-dress or campaign uniform and then be consistent with it. Anything else is a disappointment for the serious collector and military historian.

Russian grenadiers did wear their tall plumes on campaign, to distinguish themselves from the musketiers. It is very unfortunate that the plumes were omitted on these figures. The conversion is rather difficult and time consuming, it would have been easier to have the plumes on the shako and cut them off when they are not needed.

Some figures are sculpted without the sabre and bayonet scabbard, but they still wear the crossbelt to which the scabbards were attached! In the unlikely event that a soldier decided to discard the sabre and bayonet, he would have dropped the entire bandolier. An inexcusable mistake, considering the vast amount of available uniform information covering the Russian army of 1812. It is surprising that such mistakes are made at all, and that expensive molds are produced from obviously inaccurate master figures.

Flagbearer not included. One of the officers and three grenadiers, particularly the man loading his musket, can easily be converted to a flagbearer. The conversion involves removing the weapon and pushing a flagstaff made from 0.6 mm pianowire through the figure's hands.

Historical Employment

  • Standing Grenadiers 1812–1814 (normally wearing tall plumes on the Kiwer)
  • Converged Grenadiers, formed from the Grenadier Companies of the Depot (2nd) Battalions of the line infantry, 1812–1814 (normally wearing tall plumes on the Kiwer)
  • Line Elites, called Grenadiers in the Musketier Regiments and Carabiniers in the Jäger Regiments, 1812–1814 (normally wearing tall plumes on the Kiwer)

Possible Conversion

  • Musketiers 1812–1814
  • Jägers 1812–1814
  • Marines 1812–1814
  • Guards 1812–1814 (normally wearing tall plumes on the Kiwer)
  • 1st and 2nd Brigade of the Russo-German Legion 1812 to March 1815, transferred to Prussian service thereafter:
    • 30th (4th Rhenish) Infanterie-Regiment, Prussia 1815
    • 31st (3rd Magdeburg) Infanterie-Regiment, Prussia 1815
  • The Kiwer M.1812 can be used to convert Prussian hussars and gunners into the Russian equivalent.

ESCI's Russian Grenadiers are correctly proportioned and wonderfully detailed, they look very realistic after painting. Russian soldiers in the Kiwer shako are exceptionally popular with collectors and wargamers, because this is the uniform worn in the decisive 1812 and 1813 campaigns. The Russians fought at Smolensk, Borodino, Lützen (Großgörschen), Bautzen, Dresden, Kulm, at the Battle of Nations (Leipzig) and many other engagements. In 1814, they marched into Paris alongside the allied armies. Unfortunately, the Russian army of the Napoleonic Wars is virtually ignored by manufacturers of 1:72 scale figures, despite the fact that the 1812 campaign is the most popular wargame subject and the Russians are needed to simulate the event. ESCI deserves praise for these attractive and versatile miniatures. It is hoped that Russian dragoons, cuirassiers, foot artillery, Cossacks and Opolchenie (militia) will become available some day, enabling the collector and wargamer to raise the victorious Russian armies of 1812–1814.

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Russian Napoleonic Miniatures