The ‘featured figures’ this time, as promised, are the Sardinians from Ukrainian manufacturer, Strelets. This is part of their impressively diverse Crimean War range, which I have been avidly painting on and off for a year or so now.
The box lists these figures as Sardinians. What they specifically depict is the Bersaglieri, a famous elite regiment from Italy. The regular Sardinian infantry has never been released and so this set is likely to be the only one depicting the Sardinian forces for that campaign. I read some criticism on a forum somewhere that this was a pointless release as the Sardinian contribution to the Crimean War was negligible. This is unfair. Although the junior partner in the allied war effort and a late-comer, the Sardinians provided essential fresh manpower at a time the British, Turks and French sorely needed it when the war’s attrition rate began to tell. Furthermore, the Sardinians did take a full part in battle and apparently impressed observers immensely.
Plastic Soldier Review offers some criticism that it is possible the Sardinians didn’t wear the uniform portrayed here, but instead wore long greatcoats. That’s as maybe but in their vivid black and white, they make for a visually attractive figure; particularly when displayed with the scarlet-coated British, the green-coated Russians and the blue-coated French.
They are fun and relatively easy to paint. The black coat is a bit of a conundrum for me, though. I mix a dark Prussian blue with black as a basecoat, add a black wash, highlight with layers of dark prussian blue and then dark blue. The result? Yes, it just looks black! In my mind, I like to think that it provides the black uniform with a more ‘fabric’ hue. I’m sure there’s other more important things in the world than worrying about Crimean-era Sardinian Bersaglieri tunic colours, but I just can’t think what at the moment…