Thursday, 21 August 2014

Quantity has a Quality all of it's own

Hi folks, something new for you today. My first Bolt Action models. I actually painted them quite some time ago but hadn't gotten around to photographing and sharing them. Time to do so!

My first Bolt Action army is the awesome might of the Soviet Union. The picture above is of a Light Machine Gun squad. I've always had a soft spot for the poor bloody infantrymen of the Soviet Union. They basically won the second world war (or the Great Patriotic War to the Russians) despite what the movies say. We helped, don't get me wrong, but the Eastern Front was pure murder for the Germans. However, in order to do this they took massive casualties. 14% of the population of the USSR was dead in battle at the end of the war. This compared to 0.95% for the UK. Mind numbing numbers. Mostly because of the theory that forms the title of this post. Quality was all very well - and sometimes Russian tech was brilliant - but Russian combat doctrine essentially boiled down to throw enough men and cheap materiel at the enemy and you will win. Quantity has a Quality all of its own...

General Mulder in da house
Bolt Action itself is a cracking game. I'll go into the mechanics and so on in the future (a battle report vs. Maisey's Germans might be in order), for now, I'll just say that it is an engaging game. Mid sized skirmish with a brilliant turn mechanic that keeps you concentrating as your plan has to adapt fluidly to events on the ground. It is one of these games where list munchkins could run a bit riot though. There is nothing stopping me filling my Russian army with veteran submachine gun squads for example. It's history and recreation that save you from that. Like I say, mechanics another time. Now lets see more figures.

These are an inexperienced rifle squad. The Soviet special rule is that you get one of these for free. Yup, inexperienced troops are so chaff worthy that we get a squad for nuffink. Other nations get snazzy guns or more leadership. Us? More men to throw at the guns. Very Soviet. Painting wise, I will confess that these are not the best painted models. Mostly because the models themselves range from very good to ooookay.... Some of the eyes are lopsided and a lot of details are soft. They're ok for what they do though. Just don't expect top of the line. There is a lot of argument about Soviet army colours. Most people go with brown because that is what Osprey's illustrators default to. Trouble is, they're actually mostly green-brown with varying shades because the factories just used whatever dye or cloth was closest to the colour they needed (Quantity not Quality comrade!). As the army was distinctly late sprine/early summer weight clothing I didn't have the brown greatcoats to do either. Using a paint guide for Battlefront's Flames of War models I set to work. Vallejo Russian Uniform was used as the base coat with occasional bits of Khaki and Flat Earth mixed in to give that variety. All the webbing, blankets and the like got picked out then a whole load of Agrax Earthshade got deployed.

These are the nastiest squad in the army. Submachine gunners were a big part of the Soviet plan. The Winter War against Finland had taught them the usefulness of large numbers of small-bore automatic weapons. In Bolt Action they are lethal, especially on the charge. I expect these lads to be rather heavily shot at in future games... Once the Agrax has dried I picked out the flesh in the usual way (little darker for the steppes lads) and the helmets in Val Camo Olive Green washed in Athonian Camoshade. Black boots and some basing and we're pretty much done!

Snipers team, anti-tank rifle and the officer (destined for a metal replacement as the face is... not good) with his ADC. Officers in Bolt Action really do lead, you need them to get pinned guys back in the fight, to force men to advance when the bullets are flying. Another "feels right" sort of rule.

Finally we have my ZIS-3 divisional gun. The Soviets were big on artillery and this thing was called "the god of the battlefield"! It's a versatile piece able to fire as either an anti-tank gun or a high explosive howitzer. Very handy. The model is a tricky build, tiny contact areas and ill-fitting axles. Worth it though, looks cracking. Easy to paint too as it is essentially one colour all over! In order to prevent the gun from falling apart all the time I mounted it on one of Renedra's large oval bases with slots for the crew.

sad gun has no crew
To do this, just use a curl of masking tape to stick down appropriately sized bases before you start texturing with the sand and rocks and the like. Once the sand is dry you pick off the bases and paint the resulting blank areas. The small bushes are just clump foliage soaked in watered-down PVA to fix their shape and prevent shedding. Afterwards they are firm to the touch not squishy like the clump foliage is before the glue.

And that is that! The first 500 points of the Soviets. Will definitely be increasing this army as I've already got a gorgeous Hobbyboss 1:48 T34/85 to add to the force and intend to add even more basic infantrymen. Proper Soviet tactics. Overwhelm them! Then it'll probably be little reinforced platoons of other nations, British Commandos are on my mind, but then so are Desert Rats, Afrika Korps, US and UK paratroopers... the list goes on...


1 comment:

  1. Fantastic-looking force! I too have a soft-spot for early 20th Century Russian military. I really like this whole army, but especially the guy with the Molotov!