Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Of Vostroyans and Bulgarians, Part I

First of all - Vostroyans are incredibly cool. Even though they are.. you know.. I.G.
Which reminds me that I haven't shared with you one of my failed projects.
Alas.. Here's the story of the..

The Bulgarian Opalchentsi of Shipka
Shortly after the Adepticon Team Tournament of 2010 I really, really needed a break from my Orkz and wanted to start a new army. It had to be something special and it definitely needed to be a long-term commitment, supposed to commemorate and show-off the skills I had learned in my first year of hobbying. 
Now, at that time I already had a few boxes of Space Wolves but they were nothing but a few scattered packs in the deep snows of Fenris. Skarvald the Troll-faced was still a young Blood Claw who had yet to tame his Thunderwolf...

So it had to be Vostroyans. At that time (and even know) I was so impressed by their models! Not only because of their awesome carapace armor and lasguns, though. The fact that they were reminding me of my ancestry was definitely one of the major reasons to pick up their sweet, sweet models. And thus, the idea of an all (well, mostly) infantry army of Vostroyans was born.

An all metal Vostroyan army. Yes, I was out of my frakkin' mind, ladies and gentlemen. But you knew that already.

This one is for the Forgotten
"No weapons are left! What remains is the slaughter!
Each stone is a bomb and each tree-trunk a sword is.
Each object – a blow, and each soul – flame that sears.
From the peak every tree, every stone disappears.
"Grab hold of the bodies!" they hear a voice crying,
At once through the air lifeless corpses are flying,
And over the hordes like black devils they dive
And tumble and roll as if they were alive!
The Turks quake and tremble, not having seen ever
The living and death fight a battle together,
And raise a shrill cry of demoniac rage.
In life and death combat the armies engage.
Our heroes, there standing as steady as boulders,
Meet bayonet steel with steel breasts no less boldly,
And sing as they cast themselves into the fray
When they realize Death shall now snatch them away."
- translated from Ivan Vazov's "The Volunteers at Shipka"
The army was supposed to capture the spirit and essence of  the Bulgarian Resistance volunteer combatants (Opalchentsi) and army from the end of the 19th century - 1870-1880 with special attention to the April Uprising of 1876 and the key battles of Shipka Pass, Sheynovo and battles of Pleven under the command of Russian General Mikhail Dmitrievich Skobelev and during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. It was a war meant to liberate the Bulgarian state from the Ottoman Empire after almost 500 years spent under Turkish yoke.
The most pivotal battles of the Russo-Turkish war fought over the crucial Shipka Pass - a mountain pass through the Balkan Mountains which divide Bulgaria evenly. Four major battles were fought between the Russian Empire aided by the Bulgarian Resistance against the Ottoman Empire with the second and fourth battles being the most important.

The test-models I painted..
The Bulgarian and Russian forces were repelling the better-armed Turkish hordes for days with empty bellies and no ammunition. They were throwing rocks and fallen trees on top of the ascending enemies, then they started to bombard the Turkish hordes with corpses of the fallen, following with bayonet charges (which is what the Bulgarian forces were known for during the Russo-Turkish War, the Balkan Wars and BOTH World Wars, especially at the battle of Dojran lead by Vladimir Vazov - Ivan Vazov's brother).

Bulgarian Opalchentsi making their last stand against the Ottomans..
The idea was to use the Imperial Guard Special Characters - HQ's, Unit Upgrades. All of them.. or at least as many possible. The "Command" aspect of the army if often non-existent in many Imperial Guard armies, especially the ones with tons of vehicles and Vendettas/Valkyries. It's a pretty cool concept and is basically casting tons of psychik powers each turn, except without any Perils of the Warp.. and nothing can stop them. Nothing! Sooo good!
So here are the Heroes I wanted to field.
Prepare yourself for there be History!

Lord Castellan Creed as....
General Skobelev on the Horse (1883)
Mikhail "White General" Skobelev of the Russian Empire. Participated in the Russo-Turkish War leading the Caucasian Cossack Brigade and 7 Bulgarian regiments. His greatest feat was crossing the Balkan mountains during a snowstorm and then defeating the Ottoman Elite (and thus securing a victory in the war) in the Battle of Sheynovo near Shipka. British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery wrote that Skobelev was the world's "ablest single commander" between 1870 and 1914 and called him a "skilful and inspiring" leader. Coming from Britain's highest ranked military dude it's like calling General Skobelev some kind of a.. TACTICAL GENIUS! While modelling him on top of a white horse would be pretty sweet (especially running him with some Rough Riders) I really can't legally do it. The model that I'd totally use for him would be the Imperial Guard Valhallan Officer with Power Sword.

Colour Sargent Kell as....
Nikola Korchev, Standard Bearer of the 3rd Opalchentsi Batallion's Samara Flag. But first, what the heck is a Samara Flag? It's this. "Sewed by local nuns and given to the Bulgarian volunteers by the citizens of the Russian city of Samara on 18 May 1877, it became famous when it was heroically prevented from being captured by the Ottoman forces in the Battle of Stara Zagora, with many soldiers perishing while protecting it from the enemy. The flag, a tricolour 1.85 × 1.90 m in size, was sewed from thin silk cloth and has the pan-Slavic colours (red, white, blue). Icons of the Holy Mother of God and Cyril and Methodius were drawn on it in a golden cross by the Saint Petersburg artist Nikolay Simakov. It has a silver point designed by Graf Rochefort."
The Samara Flag
During the battles in the city of Stara Zagora on July 31, 1877 the Samara Flag kept on changing its color-bearers who were sacrificing their lives to protect it from Ottoman hands. First it was Private Simov and then the Batallion's Lieutenant-colonel Kalitin died while carrying it away from the enemy. Three others were hurt while carrying it! As the Turkish forces advanced and surrounded the batallion, it was Nikola Korchev's insane bravery and perhaps brave insanity that saved the Samara flag. With bullets flying from both directions, he ripped the flag from its pole and hid it under his shirt, thus becoming a primary target. But the brave Korchev survived to tell the tale! Guess which model I'd be using for him?

Captain Al'Rahem as..
Vasil Levski
Vasil Levski (born Vasil Ivanov Kunchev), the Deacon Ignatius, the Lion, the Apostle of Freedom! Every country has one and in Bulgaria's case, Vasil Levski is THE National Hero. Known under a hundred names, he was the man who dedicated himself to God but later resigned from his life as a monk and devoted everything he had to his country. A monk, a spy, a teacher, a politician, a master of disguise, an inspirational leader, a tactician, in 1868/69 Levski started his tour around the country informing people of the necessity of a revolution. His simple and sincere way of talking moved people deeply, convincing them that "Bulgaria must win her own freedom and shape her own future." One of his slogans was "Even God helps the resolute". For seven years Levski traveled around the country dividing it into regional centers, building a net of committees on each place, collecting donations for the April Uprising.

Levski in a First Bulgarian Legion uniform
More than a capable fighter, Levski joined numerous secret organizations, even Bulgaria's First Legion and many armed groups known as "cheti". However, Levski realized that hit and run tactics would not save the country and that the entire country must be involved in one grand event if freedom was to be achieved. Like Robin Hood he stole from the rich and the corrupt for a higher cause and recorded every coin gathered for Bulgaria's Freedom in a little notebook. Later in his life he created the Internal Revolutionary Organization, whose committees purchased armaments and organized detachments of volunteers.
The Apostle of Freedom was captured by the Ottoman police and later sentenced to death by hanging. Even in his final moments he refused to reveal any locations or names, he denied the existence of IRO and based all of his action on Christian beliefs.
Even though he died years before the execution of the April Uprising, even though the rebellion was a failure it was his efforts that began the true Desire of Freedom, it was his words that started the fire and the will to fight for freedom despite all odds. A true National Hero.

This is it for Part I. I still need to figure out what I'm basing the other special Characters on, but there will  be Marbo, Straken, etc. etc.. You shall see.


  1. Vostroyans+Foot horde+Mass of special characters+Strong connection/theme=AWESOMENESS!

    Look forward to part II!

    The great thing about all the SCs is that with most books they're all clustered in HQ, while in IG you only have to make one decision to cut out (Creed/Straken/Yarrick), as the rest are spread around. Sounds like you're going with Straken, which I agree probably benefits the army more and fits with the charge/counter assault nature of the story.

    Chenkov, with his stubborn radius and extra get back in the fight orders could really benefit a foot list too; look forward to seeing who he will represent. IMO while SITNWave can be fun, he's a good value without conscripts.

  2. Very cool. I'll be watching for this. Love it when people get behind an army thematically.


  3. @Sonsoftaurus: Thank you, thank you! I'm having some struggle coming up with adequate representation of Marbo and Harker (sp?) right now as there are a few suitable historical figures that match their description but I can't choose which one to pick. Chenkov will surely be there and there will be Rough Riders with Mogul as well! :)

    @firemonkeyboy: Thank you. I have decided to wait patiently for Vostroyans to become resin or plastic, however. IT WILL HAPPEN.

  4. Great stuff! I love tying the SC's to the army like this!

  5. lol the way you wrote about Levski man....that just moved me. You made him sound more awesome than my 5th grade teacher X_X

    Bah they should make a HOllywood movie about him lolz

  6. @Hudson: Your Vostroyans look great! I love the addition of the HD.11 Kolony Militia winter heads!

    @Jimmy: DUH! Levski was a bro.

  7. Great article! I've been to Bulgaria (wife is from there) and learned some of the liberation from the Turkish. (after 5 centuries of brutal occupation) There are many monuments and museums dedicated to the history. Awesome how you tie some real history in.

  8. @Skywatcher: You're lucky to have a Bulgarian wife, man! :) That is awesome. I hope you had a great time in my humble little country. And I appreciate your comment as well, it is really giving me a reason to even start this craziness.

  9. Wtf lucky to have a bg woman??? o.O Our girls are so hardheaded. Asians for the win ^_^

  10. @Jimmy: I almost wrote a pretty racist comment there, buddy. :P

  11. And months, MONTHS later, Part II is finally out! Go ahead and read it!


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