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Set 72144

Ukrainian Peasant Infantry

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All figures are supplied unpainted    (Numbers of each pose in brackets)
Date Released 2023
Contents 53 figures
Poses 17 poses
Material Plastic (Medium Consistency)
Colours Green/Light Tan
Average Height 24 mm (= 1.73 m)


Every country had its peasants, and the Cossack communities of Ukraine were no different. Indeed, many such were the descendants of peasants that had fled from neighbouring countries where they faced serfdom or oppression, and while they may have found more freedom in their new home, they did not find wealth. Still in times of trouble all able-bodied men might be called upon to fight, so the majority of most Cossack armies were made up of what might be described as peasant infantry, men who were not registered or paid to fight, but would be required to grab whatever weapon they could and muster ready for action.

Naturally the peasants had limited access to weapons, and usually did not have any sort of a lord that could provide these for them. A couple of the more fortunate figures in this set are handling muskets or carbines, but these would have been few, and most of the weapons here are either blades (swords, spears, axes or agricultural blades attached to poles) or impact weapons. Both come in various forms here, but the impact weapons are the more unusual, including some flails and a couple of men holding what look like branches or large animal bones as clubs. The first figure in the top row seems to hold a nagaika (short whip) in his right hand, but the most exotic type is in the bottom row, where one man is holding a maslak (which just means ‘bone’), which was a horse’s jaw bone, teeth and all, bound to the end of a long pole to make an improvised but still effective weapon. Those either side of him have the luxury of pistols, but the main theme of this set is a wide variety of often home-made weapons, which reflects the subject matter nicely and adds much interest.

Peasant clothing followed the normal Cossack pattern, although naturally of poorer quality and usually lacking in much decoration. As with the other Cossack sets, here we find men wearing the kaftan coat, trousers (often very baggy) and either boots or, in many cases, just peasant shoes with thongs tied round the lower leg. The usual variety of warm caps are also on display, and one man wears a cloak as well. One man in the last row has managed to acquire a helmet such as might be seen on a Polish hussar, so perhaps a trophy from a previous fight, and another at the start of our third row also has a helmet with mail coif, of the type known as misiurka as worn by Commonwealth pancerni, plus a mail corselet. The man with the hussar helmet is not wearing a coat, revealing his under clothes, which are patched in places, so the overall effect of the clothing here is exactly what you might expect of often poor peasants. Similarly, while those with firearms have the usual accessories, most have just a simple pouch or purse, and only a few have a sidearm, so everything looks very accurate.

Figures using bladed or impact weapons tend to be harder to sculpt because of the complex position of the body as a blow is being prepared, and it must be said that several here do seem rather flat. There is a lot of swinging of weapons, but all are more or less directly above the head, so they look better face on than they do from other angles. However this is a normal problem with such sets, and we thought all the poses were nice and lively and pretty good choices. Eyebrows were raised at the third man in our third row, who is holding his small hand axe with both hands, which seems bizarre, but in general the poses are good, if not always as three-dimensional as we might have liked. Special attention must go to the very final pose, which is a really unique piece. What we have here is a Cossack sitting with a hurdy-gurdy on his lap and apparently singing (or yawning!), while a woman, well wrapped up against the cold, snuggles by his side. It is a heart-warming scene, and some might feel it is not the most useful of poses, but when you consider this set is one of three released portraying 17th century Cossacks, providing 49 poses in all, we would say there was plenty of room for something a bit different like this. The Cossacks loved to sing and hear music, so whether at home or in the field, interludes such as this would have been welcomed by all, so this is a really nice touch and rounds off a very impressive range of poses over the three sets combined.

On our sample set we found very little flash, and there were only a few small areas of excess plastic in all the usual places such as between weapon and body, but this is by no means a serious detriment to the set. These may be simple people, but the level of detail on them is still very good, with good texture on mail and fur surfaces and, of course, lovely faces.

So this wraps up the last of the three sets of Cossacks from RedBox for the tumultuous era of Khmelnytsky’s Revolt and the 17th century generally. They have certainly covered the period in considerable detail, and in our view very well too. The peasant infantry in this set would form the bulk of most Cossack armies, so is the least glamorous but arguably the most important element of them all, and this is a really great representation of such men in all their guises. Apart from some rather flat poses, there is plenty here to like, and it means that at last we can bring to life a pivotal period in the history of Eastern Europe in an interesting and attractive way.


Historical Accuracy 10
Pose Quality 8
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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