Astrakhan Cuirassiers

My daughter proudly presenting the next box of nappy cavalry

The next regiment in the (never-ending…) Nappy Cavalry Project will be the Astrakhan Regiment using Zvezda’s Russian Cuirassiers. They make for a pleasing challenge for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s been a while since I painted a regiment wearing a cuirass, the French carabiniers and cuirassiers being painted over a year ago, and I’ve never painted a black cuirass before. Secondly, I’m keen to tackle some of the wonderful Russian cavalry as the only previous Russian contribution to the project were my Cossacks.


I’ve considered a number of possible Russian Cuirassier regiments and opted for the Astrakhan Regiment. The difference between regiments is mostly in the colour of the trim (the Astrakhan being yellow). The rest of the uniform is principally a white coat, grey trouser and black cuirass.

Zvezda Russian Cuirassiers – Primed and ready for paint!

I admit that aside from a vague awareness of the wonderfully exotic name, I was largely ignorant of exactly where Astrakhan was in Russia. So I looked it up. Wikipedia showed me the following disambiguations:

Astrakhan hat (78th Regt.)
  • Astrakhan Oblast, a federal subject of Russia
  • Astrakhan Khanate, a Tatar feudal state in the 15th-16th centuries
  • Astrakhan, a Buyan-class corvette of the Russian Navy
  • Astrakhan, Russian name of newborn karakul sheep’s pelts, and hats and coats made from these pelts
  • “The Astrakhan”, a style of fur cap historically and currently worn by elements of the Canadian Forces and some Canadian Police
  • Mrs. Astrakhan, a character from the animated film Happy Feet

It seems that Tartar history and a luxurious fleece are it’s principal claim to fame. The old city has an “East meets West feel” according to the Lonely Planet guide, which sounds intriguing. I know that I could certainly use “The Astrakhan” hat on these chilly winter mornings.

Anyway, the 1/72 scale figures by Zvezda are of their usual very high standard. The details aren’t quite as crisp as some of their other sets, but they’re fine enough. The thing about Zvezda figures is that their figures just don’t seem to want paint to stick to them, so I brush them clean with detergent and paste some PVA glue on them as a primer before even adding any paint, all of which seems to help. I doubt that they’ll be approaching completion prior to the end of 2016, but hopefully I shall find some time over the holiday period to progress them.

Not long until Christmas now, and I’ve been completely outrageous in buying myself some new figures as an early present to myself! More on these soon…

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