I acquired these WW2 cavalry figures over 20 years ago (undoubtedly at my old favorite hobby store, the long-defunct San Antonio Hobby Shop in Mountain View, California). To have finally finished this project after looking at the box for so many years is definitely satisfying. I posed them with a snowy mountain range in the background (from a photo I took heading north on I-5 a couple of years ago), with the intention of recalling the Caucasus campaign of 1942. Soviet cavalry corps would include horses and tanks, so I went ahead and included a T-34 I had recently built.
The Cossacks are an ethnic group distinct from Russians, who have made their home on the steppes of southern Russia and in the Caucasus mountains. Over the generations the Cossacks fought to retain their autonomy within the Russian empire, into the Soviet Union, and then into the Russian Federation of today.1 Given the historical tension between the fiercely independent Cossacks and their imperial Russian overlords, it should perhaps not be too surprising that some Cossacks chose to fight on the German side in WW2.
I find these figures to be somewhat unique and ambitious. The designers wanted to have flowing capes trailing behind these miniature horsemen — in soft plastic. Their solution was to make the back of each cape a separately molded piece that had to be glued on, a step I took only after I had painted the riders themselves. Of course, gluing the back half of the cape on left an unmistakable, deep seam down each side, which required some extra effort with putty to fix. As sometimes happens with my models, the photo close-ups reveal plenty of flaws that aren’t a problem when looking at the whole group from a bit of a distance, but all in all, I am happy with this product — some 25 years in the making!
1Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Cossack”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 2 Apr. 2020, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Cossack. Accessed 27 February 2021.