Peter Laing 15mm Bulgarian WW1 Infantry



I have bought the odd small mixed lot of gaming figures recently online because they contained small caches of 15mm Peter Laing figures. Now that the moulds are missing, this is one of the few ways to acquire new Peter Laing figures.

Amongst one lot was a small group of about a dozen WW1 Russian Infantry figures with rolled greatcoats F759 and officer F760  but  all painted brown with unusual black and white cross-gartered boots.

Ahead of many other makers, Peter Laing produced 15mm WW1 figures of many of these nations.

A quick check in Military Uniforms of The World in Colour suggests that the original owner painted them as WW1 Bulgarian Infantry. They needed basing and some of the paint touching up, whilst about half of them have no fixed bayonets.

An unusual choice of figure. I had to go and look up which side the Bulgarians fought for in WW1  – with Germany and the Central Powers from 1915  – and against whom.  After a period of early neutrality, courted by both sides, they joined the Central Powers and fought initially against the Serbs, then against other Allied troops including the British on the stalemate of the Macedonian / Salonika Front.

“The Kingdom of Bulgaria participated in World War I on the side of the Central Powers from 14 October 1915, when the country declared war on Serbia, until 30 September 1918, when the Armistice of Thessalonica came into effect.” (Wikipedia)

The unusual leggings are called Opankers and a dull brown woollen uniform was already in use amongst other ranks.

Bulgarian Infantry information in Military Uniforms of the World in Colour

During basing and flocking, I managed not to obscure the well painted opanker leggings too much.

Bulgarian troops in WW1 with distinctive foot gear (Wikipedia public domain image source)

So these Bulgarians were  part of the army that invaded and pushed back the Serbian army, whose soldiers  that Marvin at the Suburban Militarism blog has been  beautifully  painting recently, albeit in slightly larger 1:72 plastic figures.

Alongside the painted Peter Laing Bulgarians were some unpainted original figures of  Russian infantry and others in peaked caps that may be British, Russian or other figures.

With Peter Laing  figures details being so slight at 15mm size, there are a range of similar looking figures in similar helmets or soft and peaked  hats which are almost interchangeable with some suitable painting.

Unpainted Peter Laing WW1 Russian infantry, F759 and officer F760, the originals of the Bulgarians and an artillery figure with shell British A703? Russian A728? German A711?

A suitbale painting guide for these figures as Russian WW1 infantry can also be found in the same uniform guide.

Russian and Serbian infantry from Military Uniforms of The World in Colour.
Useful uniform notes on WW1 Russian Infantry.

Amongst some of the other mixed figures were these artillerymen, one type medieval and the other Russian fur hatted artillery men.

A749? Soviet Gunner kneeling with fur hat, flanked by medieval range A904 kneeling gunner.

There were also a couple of machine gunners. Not sure which nation or side the left  hand figure represents, the right hand figure may well be ANZAC machine gunner Fseven five two.


With so few of these Russian figures it is difficult to know whether to paint the remaining nineteen unpainted infantry as Russians.

Alternatively I could paint most of them as Bulgarians  to make a small Bulgarian skirmish force of about thirty to thirty five figures to fight my British pith-helmeted infantry in a Macedonia or Balkan scenario, aided by the WWI Turkish infantry that I have.  The two uniforms are pretty close anyway to paint and use interchangeably with a bit of gamer’s licence. I may keep one figure back to use as a future mould original and one to paint as a Russian figure.

17 thoughts on “Peter Laing 15mm Bulgarian WW1 Infantry”

  1. Really interesting to see a Balkan army represented in paint at this scale. It’s been a real oversight in 1/72 scale that no Bulgarian army has been made. I suppose Russian army conversions, much like these ones you’ve discovered, are the option to take.

    The Bulgarians were courted by both Allied and Central Powers but I think in the end the chance to even the score against hated Serbia (who’d beaten them in the previous 1913 Balkan War) swung the decision. I discovered a number of similar propaganda images depicting ‘treacherous’ Bulgaria stabbing ‘brave Serbia’ in the back as Serbia defied the invaders.

    I had that Military Uniforms of the World book as a child – brought back memories – bet it’s still in the parent’s loft somewhere…

    And thanks for the mention too!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting they both wore the same opanker footwear. I think I will do the remaining unpainted figures as Russians that could pass for Bulgarians as needed, likewise these brown Bulgarians could be a Guards Unit etc.
      Quite a few Peter Laing figures seem to have come from this popular uniform book. Well worth buying a second hand copy if you cannot find your old one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s an interesting conversion of the Peter Laing Russians. I must remember that for farther plans. A while back I won a lot of Peter Laing Serbian figures; unfortunately someone else received those and I received figures that I already had! I always regret not getting the Serbs. When I get a sizable lot of figures, I put one figures aside as a possible master for a mold. (Comment from John Patriquin)


    1. With no further moulds probably existing, home casting is a good move. I now keep an individual master figure back when painting others. How gutting to not receive those Peter Laing Serbs – I have never seen the Serbian figures. Looking back his very wide WW1 range was quite unusual and exceptional, I wish and wish I had bought more.

      P.S. If all those Peter Laing wishes were (his) horses, they would all look a little bit charmingly odd … (“horses sometimes a little strange” as one of the figure listings said).


  3. I still have my copy of that book – and still refer to it.
    I am lucky enough to have acquired a complete Russian Army a couple of years ago – plus a matched pair of Russian Civil War armies – all of which I desperately need to re-furbish and re-base! Also, amongst the many unpainted Laings I have, there are (very) few Serbs, including the officer.
    Currently all boxed up in storage following a house move, so I can’t access them!
    As regards the unpainted figures you posted pictures of, the two fur hatted Russians are from the Russian Civil War range – unfortunately I don’t have a list with those figures included. The second machine gunner I think is actually F0733 – British M/G & gunner, (SH). The first one is more of a mystery, though I have my suspicions, especially as the gun is a Vickers rather than an MG08 or Russian Maxim – and that hat looks remarkably like a Spanish side cap….


  4. Military Uniforms of the World in Colour is a great little book.
    I am as puzzled by this Spanish style side cap. I have no record of a Spanish Civil War range. Double peaked forage cap?
    I know in Vanished Armies by AE Haswell Miller there is an Similar style cap – Italian? Spanish? I can’t remember. I will check later in the week when I have time. I know there was an WW1 Austrian Italian Machine Gunner.
    Re checking the later ranges and the Ww1 Civil War section – One of your PL catalogues is available as a PDF at
    At a Link From one of Bob Cordery’s posts
    I look forward to seeing your Serbs and WW1 Russians / Civil War Russians photographed one day when you have the time and have fully unpacked.
    One day between us all when we have time we will have to ID and try and put together a complete visual catalogue of Peter Laings …


    1. Now that is weird – I must be missing a page from the paper copy of my catalogue, as the one I have is missing the RCW page and I had not realised it was in the one that I scanned (about 3 years ago!)
      I’ll definitely take those pictures when I finally have everything sorted (likely to be a few months as we need some building work done in this house before the toys find a new home!) – but if I can find a particular box in the meanwhile, I may be able to shed some light on that mystery figure….
      I don’t believe that it is the Italian MG as I sure I have some of those and they are in peaked caps

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah that book (Military Uniforms of The World in Colour ). I think I had it out on semi-permanent loan from our public library. I dreamt nightly of it in recent years until I bought a copy online. The dreams stopped. As much as people complain about it’s possible shortcomings, it still inspired many I think. Does anyone know more about the author? I wonder?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know just what you mean, Stephen. To me Preben Kannik’s book is how soldiers at different periods should look. (Despite its critics) I now happily own the (ex) library copy that I read and borrowed so often.
      Maybe one of our Danish / European gamers will know more about The man behind it?


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