Saturday, August 23, 2014

Painting Soviets for 1981

This weekend, I've decided to break out of my East German/Danish painting rut and do something different. Quite a few posts ago, I said I'd (try to) stop going off on tangents and stick to finishing units that I actually need. In an effort not to wander too far afield from that effort, I've chosen something that I will certainly need, though that need is somewhat in the future, as I've still got quite a few East Germans to finish, as well as some Poles. I'm doing Soviets this weekend!!

I've already talked about doing some VDV troops (Soviet airborne), but operations in the LANDJUT area would almost certainly have involved at least some Soviet ground troops. The seizure of the Kiel Canal was a priority that was reasonably high up the Soviet "to do" list and while the VDV would quite likely have been used in the initial operation, they couldn't have held out for long without heavier support. So, at least some armor and mechanized infantry would had to have been committed as a support/relief force.

So, how to paint Soviets? Firstly, like all my painting, this isn't the real Soviet Army. It's MY Soviet Army, so certain wargaming realities must be accounted for; primarily, easing tabletop identification at a distance. Soviet troops, like all armies, wore different uniforms at different times of the year and in different periods of the Cold War, as well as different types of Soviet troops wearing different uniforms. My scenario begins on March 30th, which in northern Europe is still quite cold. Snow in northern Germany in late March and into April is common. 

What I'm getting at is that I should be portraying winter uniforms. But those aren't the ones I like!  I like this:
The brown summer uniform! This photo would appear to have been taken in the late 1960's or possibly the very early 1970's. The right-hand figure carrying an RPK dates this to no earlier than 1961, but Soviet military color photography in the early to mid 1960's was relatively rare, so it's very likely to be a bit later. In any case, for mechanized infantry, I like the uniform and it helps me differentiate my Soviets from my other Warsaw Pact troops. To get close to that particular shade of darkish brown, I make a 50/50 mix of two Vallejo paints: Game Color Charred Brown (045) and Model Color US Field Drab (873). It looks pretty close to the correct shade to my eyes:
For the helmets, I use Vallejo Russian Uniform (924).

For VDV troops, I've already touched on the blue beret (see my post of May 4, 2014), but for the uniform, I like the look of this:
Again, it wasn't their only uniform, but it's the one I like. I use Vallejo Reflective Green (890) with tiny patches of Model Masters Sand: 
Let's be honest, at 3mm, there's only so much you can do to represent a camouflage uniform. That macro lens does come in handy from time to time, doesn't it?

For vehicles, the Soviets used a fairly dark green, which, like all paints, faded due to sun, wind, rain, etc, but I've chosen to go with the darker shade, again for purposes of differentiation. Vallejo 894 used to be called Russian Green, but the name has been changed to Camouflage Dark Olive Green. Whatever they call it, it's an extremely good match for recently painted Soviet vehicles: 
I then apply the usual wash of thinned black enamel and finish off by dry brushing with Russian Uniform, then paint any obvious details and add "bling". In this case, in addition to white dots for vehicle numbers and silver for searchlight lenses/headlights, there are dots of Vallejo Deep Red (926) to represent Soviet stars on the turret sides. 

And here's a company of T-64A's that I've finished:

You'll notice that I put one digit of the vehicle number on each of the left-side turret stowage boxes. When I was looking at T-64 images on the Internet, I was struck by these two:
On the right-hand side, the number is all on the single box, as it's larger:

I plan on doing a regiment with two battalions of T-64A's:
And one battalion of T-64B's:
(It's honestly not easy telling the real things apart!) As well as the requisite support units, ie: a motor rifle battalion (tracked), antiaircraft and reconnaissance companies, and a field artillery battalion. 

That's all for this post. More as projects progress (or as I think of other drivel to drone on about). 

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