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Set 72143

Ukrainian Zaporozhian Cossack Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2023
Contents 52 figures
Poses 16 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Light Tan, Brown
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)


The name ‘Zaporozhian’ refers to the geographical location of these Cossacks, meaning beyond the rapids of the Dnieper, but while they were a part of the wider Cossack community, they developed more of a group identity. Sometimes referred to as the ‘wild ones’, they were less tied to the land than the more settled Cossacks of western Ukraine, which gave them more freedom to be independent of external pressures as they had less to lose from attack. This free spirit did not prevent them from having social structures and a ruling council where all decisions were made, but their love of raids and plundering meant they were particularly valued as a border buffer zone by several powers, and also feared as unpredictable allies or subjects.

While the distinction between the Zaporozhian and other Cossack hosts was important, this did not mean there was any noticeable difference in appearance between them. Their proximity to the Crimean Tatars meant they adopted some aspects of that culture, most notably the long drooping moustache, but this and other aspects of their appearance, particularly the single lock ‘oseledets’ hairstyle, were not unique to the Zaporozhians. Their clothing too was typical Cossack style, generally involving one or more long kaftan coats, often over very Ottoman-style baggy trousers and long or short boots, and most of these figures wear this and a sash around the waist too. Some Zaporozhian’s are reputed to have stripped to the waist when in battle during the summer, but those here are all dressed for a cooler climate, which varies from the way they are depicted in earlier sets on this subject by other manufacturers. Some have obligingly removed their caps to reveal their ’herring’ or ‘crest’ haircuts, but the caps of the rest are all typical and authentic, and this applies more generally to all of the costume on display in this set.

The weaponry these men carry is diverse and extensive. Many are using a musket, while others have in hand a sword, axe, pistol, knife or even a grenade. The design of these such as the muskets and pistols with almost flattened stocks, and the curved swords, is properly done. Many if not all have multiple weapons of course, but the first man in the last row is particularly interesting, because while he has a pistol and knife, he holds only a rope, which naturally would have many uses. The figures are richly endowed with an assortment of pouches, bullet bags, powder horns and other items, either attached to the waist or held by a strap over a shoulder, which is another attractive feature.

While people today associate Cossacks with horsemen, in the 17th century there were few horses available to them, so most fought as infantry. The 16 poses in this collection offer a good variety of mostly combat fighters, with most utilising their weapon rather than apparently moving quickly. We cannot find fault with any of the poses here, and much enjoyed the more unusual kneeling poses in our top row, but it is the bottom row that really stand out for us. There is only one of each such pose, which makes sense as how often would such men be throwing a knife or a grenade, yet they add some depth to the available figures without causing more standard poses to be excluded. There are no apparent officer or musician poses here, but these can be gained from other sets from RedBox in this series, so all good news on the pose front too.

We have long been accustomed to high quality sculpting from RedBox, and these are more of the same. Very nice detail, good proportions and expressive faces make for some attractive figures, and the posing of the men is good too, though occasionally not quite as dynamic as they might have been (the man with the grenade is a case in point). The locks on the muskets are a particularly impressive and delicate feature, so this is a lovely exercise in figure design. On our samples we found virtually no flash at all, but where the sword scabbard protrudes from the man’s back, the gap between scabbard and legs is inevitably filled with plastic. As in other sets, on some this seems to have been extended somewhat to ensure the end of the scabbard is better protected from breakage, so if you really must have no extraneous plastic then some careful trimming will be required. The only other observation is with the man holding the rope, where, as you can see, the rope itself has not been completely filled, but otherwise this set has very good production.

This is a very nice set of figures by itself, and when viewed in conjunction with the other sets on 17th century Cossacks from RedBox, forms an important part of a very enjoyable range covering a vital period in the history of Ukraine. Given the current terrible war, it is not difficult to see why Ukrainians would want to celebrate this part of their history, and with splendid figures like these, the rest of us can also experience this well-made glimpse into their past.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 9
Pose Number 9
Sculpting 10
Mould 9

Further Reading
"A History of Ukraine" - University of Toronto Press - Paul Robert Magocsi - 9781442610217
"Charles X's Wars Vol.1" - Helion & Company (Century of the Soldier No.80) - Michael Fredholm von Essen - 9781914059759
"Infantry of the Ukrainian Hetmans" - Tempora - Sergey Shamenkov - 9786175690000
"Lost Battle of a Won War: Battle of Berestechko 1651" - Tempora - Victor Brekhunenko - 9786175694305
"The Army of Bogdan Khmelnytsky" - Naš Cas - Kateryna Lypa - 9789661530415
"The Cossacks" - Manchester University Press - Shane O'Rourke - 9780719076794

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