My first batch of Soviets for Stalingrad.
These are mostly Warlord plastics from the Siberian veterans set. There are a couple of Crusader leaders in the set.
First, I should tip my hat to Sidney Roundwood’s blog (http://sidneyroundwood.blogspot.com/). There are a lot of great ideas there and I borrowed a couple. I really like the idea of putting leaders on a different kind of base. You can immediately see which guy in the group is the leader by using a slightly larger hex shaped base. I also nabbed the idea of using a mix of gray and brown on the base for urban terrain. It fits perfectly for Stalingrad. And putting some bricks on the base too helps. These are bricks that came in a bag from the local hobby shop, made by Pegasus maybe, although I tossed the label and am not really sure about that.
Second, these figures are for skirmish in Stalingrad which I plan to use Chain of Command for. I’ve written about those rules previously, and they are great rules. We’ve been playing and when I’m not playing I’m mostly thinking about when I can play the next game. In Chain of Command the Soviets (late war) can get a scout squad that has a leader, 4 guys with smgs, and 4 guys with rifles, so I did up my first batch to use as that in our Chain of Command games. The Soviets in Stalingrad seemed to have a mix of between 10 and 25% of their soldiers with smgs so I’ll be doing a few smg guys for my Soviet order of battle.
Aside: I’m not sure I’ve figured out how to take photos on a white background yet, but I have figured out how to adjust them with the photo software on my mac. The above started as gray and I adjusted the exposure to get them onto white. So I’m probably taking the pictures wrong, as this is about as true to the actual colors as I’ve seen. I’ll keep working on it.
Third, the Warlord plastic Soviets. I’m fairly disappointed in the set although they do have some really positive aspects. The sculpting is overall really nice. I particularly like the weapons – the rifles with bayonets are particularly believable. There are a couple of places on the sculpts where it almost looks unfinished – I can’t figure out where one feature ends and the other begins. I got these because of the ability to mix and match weapons between the Soviets and the Germans. I expect to have a lot of Soviet figures with captured German gear and I bought German pioneers to do some pioneer units kitted out with Soviet gear. There is a description in Island of Fire about one of the pioneer battalions that was down to around 40 guys that went in with a few flamethrower teams and everyone else had sacks of grenades and submachine guns mostly of Soviet manufacture.
(Aside: if you haven’t read Island of Fire and you are interested at all in Stalingrad, you should get your hands on a copy. It’s an amazing read).
The most disappointing thing about the set is the lack of variety. You get 3 guys in the padded winter jacket and 5 in the summer jacket. Adding different arms and stuff can give them some variety, but really not much. Oddly enough I’m trying to figure out how to supplement them with metal figs to give a suitable variety of the figures.
At a meta level I’m not a fan of plastics. They are a fair amount of work to put together and it’s often hard to find a combination of arms and weapons that actually work. And because of the fine detail the mold seams really stand out, and they are really hard to get rid of. I’ve tried filing them and just end up with a mess. If you carve them with a sharp knife you have to be really careful not to gouge into the figure.
So I got the Soviet plastics and the German plastics and expect to build forces with them. But I really hoped for more with the Soviets.
I can’t imagine guys crawling around in the rubble, sleeping in slit trenches, and hanging out in cellars aren’t pretty filthy pretty quickly. So I wanted to experiment with some AFW weathering techniques to make these guys look dirty and dusty. I painted mud on my ACW guys and that was a good start to think about making troops look worn, but I’m not entirely convinced by it. So here I tried AK interactive weathering effects. I’m fairly pleased with the way they have come out though I think I have more work to do.
Basically I painted the figures as normal. For Soviets in padded jackets I’m using a variety of yellowish brownish greenish colors of the jackets and trousers. After the figures are painted and sealed, I take the AK interactive weathering effects to them. These are enamel washes. I pick out some of the thick bits from them and dab them on the figure, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then come back with a brush that is damp from white spirit and move the effects around on the figure. I use a mix of Kursk earth, Africa dust, and dust, and occasionally plain Earth. After that has dried I give it a second treatment with just dust. After that has dried I put on a few dots of dust with acrylics then seal with a final coat of dull sealer. I’m fairly pleased with it – it shows up really well on the more green fabrics and on the boots, and is a bit less visible as the fabrics get more brown. I think I want a little more very light dust on the figures – so far I’ve mostly concentrated on the elbows, sleeves, knees, and bottoms of the coats, as well as the boots.
I also put some GW stuff on the bricks to make it look like there is mortar on them – some astrogranite texture drybrushed with longbeard gray.