Just like last time I decided to batch paint the whole box - Warlord's Siberian Veterans - in one go. The paint jobs are simple enough that 20+ batches aren't such a trial. I've needed some more infantry for a while and the Siberian box had the advantage of including a medium machine gun and a nifty commissar with loud-hailer so seemed a no-brainer. Lets start with the least interesting unit first.
Least interesting maybe but very useful nonetheless, this is the second light machine-gun squad of the army. The mainstay of any Sov infantry army, these are unremarkable but effective. The painting follows exactly the same model as the first time round, but this time I did a few tweaks. I ditched the tonal variation in the greens as, bluntly, it didn't really produce results worth the extra time. Instead I separated the Val Russian Uniform green summer uniforms from the padded telogreika uniforms by painting the latter in Val Khaki Grey mixed with a dab of Val Russian Uniform. This still breaks up the unit a bit but doesn't take forever. For those who may be curious, the mix of summer and padded uniforms indicates to me early spring. I'm designing the army's look to be around about April. Still cold enough for soldiers to be comfortable in the telogreika but not so cold that they must be worn. Equally, cold enough that those exposed to the elements - tank riders for example - would still be wearing greatcoats. Thus giving me a nice excuse to include some of their nice new winter troops as tank riders later on!
The maxim MMG in the Siberian box is modelled in a pose I can best describe as "cheese it!". I'd have preferred a firing one, as they don't move often in game but beggars can't be choosers and I'm sure I'll pick up another one in time. The painted sections of the maxim are in that ubiquitous russian green used on helmets, tanks, artillery, frankly, I reckon they'd have painted soldiers that green if they could. It's Val Cam Olive Green with a glaze of Athonian Camoshade to add some subtle shading.
And now what I suspect is the reason for the "cheese it!" pose on the gun, there's a commissar yelling behind them and no-one wants to show insufficient zeal... The Commissars of the NKVD were a hangover from Stalin's first purges, initially as a second in command rubber-stamping the commander's orders if they were politically acceptable. This proved... inefficient at best and around 1942 the "commissars" were retired and turned into "zampolit" responsible for morale and discipline. In practice this usually took the form of rounding up those who ran from the enemy and shooting them. Stalin's regular "not one step back" orders were almost literally enforced, much of the Soviet reputation for relentlessness came from a lack of choice. It was the enemies guns or the guns of the NKVD. At least the enemy might give quarter...
Neither of these models are what I'd call "top notch" but both have character. The standard bearer is displayed in the only good angle it has available I'm afraid and has a face only a mother could love. He is though carrying a whacking great flag and is the perfect ADC for a bolt action commissar. The flag is an overhighlighted red going through the GW reds up to Wild Rider. It was then glazed first with a shade of red and chestnut ink. Then a glaze of Bloodletter to brighten the red. The zampolit, aside from the blue uniform trousers and cap is essentially identical to the men. The coat is Val US Drab with lots of little red piping details. Both were quite a lot of fun to paint. Especially getting the ruddy faced commissar's skin tone right with layers of glazes of mixed flesh tones and reds.
Finally, we have that rarest of things in the Soviet Red Army: Veterans. The Red Army had a nasty habit of treating war as a numbers game alone, those who survived the first few weeks of battle were tough indeed and forged into lethal fighters. They also had a habit of scavenging equipment from all and sundry leading to them being rather more enthusiastically armed than the average troopers. Aside from some battle damage to, and a couple of slogans on the helmets their uniforms are the same as the normal lads.
One of the real differences is in the scavenged German gear some of them sport. An MG-42 - one of the best machine guns of the war - an MP-40 and a couple of Panzerfausts mean these guys are armed for bear when added to their PPSh-41's, Thompson's and their DP-28 light machine gun. These were scavenged from German infantry frames I've got for doing a small Pioneer army. It's strange how different just adding a belt of ammo - not normally a Soviet feature - makes to their "feel". I decided to push that feel a little further though:
The soldier on the left is from the veterans squad, the right is from the Light MG squad. I wanted to make the veterans look tired, ill, stressed. Being a veteran soldier in the hell of the Eastern Front means more than being an experienced fighter, it also means having seen and endured rather a lot... that leaves a mark. This was achieved by using light grey instead of Flayed One Flesh in the final highlight mix for the skin. Combine this with a purple wash into the eye sockets and stubble and you have tired, strung-out, ill looking people. It tuned out quite effective and helps mark them out as veterans.
|General Mulder approves|