The Russian Invasion
After the Fall
The collapse of the Soviet Union had unanticipated consequences for people all over the world, including toy soldier collectors. Many talented Russian artists who had previously drawn stipends from the state suddenly had to find a way to make a living from their art. Some turned their skills to miniatures, and starting around 1995 and 1996, exquisite model soldiers began to emerge from Russia (especially St. Petersburg) in ever-increasing numbers. The impact of this Russian Invasion on the staid traditional world of military miniatures was as great as that of the British Invasion on rock music in the 1960s.
Right from the first, the best Russian makers demonstrated a flair for dramatic poses, painting skills that were second to no one, and a passion for fine detail that was unprecedented. Take a look at this confrontation between an English archer and a French knight on a battlefield of the Hundred Years War. These two figures were among the first Russian medievals to grace our shores, back in 1996 when the Russian Invasion was just gathering speed.