Zvezda KV-1 Platoon (MechaNovember ’18)

Zvezda Soviet KV-1 Tanks 1/100

A quick one today. I’m still trying to do some painting some nights at home, but work is now in insano-mode – so most nights I have no energy to paint, let alone blog, let alone read blogs or go through comments – so that stuff is super-scattered at the moment. I’ll catch up when I can, but it’ll be a few weeks before work eases off, and no break until we finish on the 21st of December. At which point all that Christmas junk takes over, so no normalcy until perhaps a week after that when I can go to sleep for a week or so and not have to deal with people…

The models are from Zvezda, which is (appropriately) a Russian company. I got five of them – probably in a set of five. I know tank platoon sizes varied by nation, time and even size of tanks during the war, so I’ve just painted the five of these as a set, with consecutive numbers. Speaking of markings, I have managed to learn a little about Soviet tank markings, so I’m quite aware that these wold not be accurate. (Often Soviet armour had no markings, the red hull star was not especially common, I’ve got guards icons on one side, etc) – but like my T-34/85 platoon, I’m okay with going with “easily recognisable as Russian tanks by my non-modeller or treadhead wife & friends even if there are also American/British/German tanks all over the table.” Which we can call “Hollywood WWII”, if you like.

Zvezda Soviet KV-1 Tanks 1/100

The thing is that I find armour markings are a horrible minefield, even if you’re trying to get everything right. Soviets seeming like one of the easier ones to get right. I’ve got British tanks here where trying to work out the “correct” markings have cockblocked me for more than a year. There are people out there who definitely know their shit, but even with a guy online willing to answer questions, knowing exactly what to put onto (and not put onto) a tank so that it’s accurate is a bloody nightmare, especially when there are ones that you’d like to get right to a specific kind of vehicle in a specific unit in a specific theatre. “Hollywood WWII” is much easier…

Zvezda Soviet KV-1 Tanks 1/100

The painting on these was pretty straightforward. I assembled them months ago, and even sprayed them months ago, firstly with a custom spray can matched to an image of the “bottle green” type of Soviet Armour colour, then zenithally sprayed with a lighter shade of same. They then sat unloved for several months until 2 weekends ago, when I did everything else over the Sunday.

A couple of layers of drybrushing Reaper’s HD29812 Meadow Green over the entire things, then Vallejo Coloured Primer Dark Panzer Grey on the road wheels and tracks (the worst, most tedious part of painting any tank, IMO). Then added the decals (Zvezda tanks don’t come with any decals, so I picked up some from Battlefront, which were hard to find in stock). For their choice and placement, I pretty much followed the lead of the aforementioned T-34/85s. The main difference was that given these tanks are 1/100 rather than 1/56, I used decals for the crew’s graffiti and turret numbers.

Next up were two layers of sponge weathering across the hulls and turrets to represent paint chipping and general wear on the surface of the green paint. The first in Vallejo Model Colour 70.994 Dark Grey followed by Vallejo Game Colour 72.045 Charred Brown. I painted the stowage in Vallejo Model Air 71.017 Russian Green, gave the tracks a light drybrush with Model Air 71.072 Gun, then hit the whole lot with Vallejo Model Wash 76.514 Dark Brown, thinned down with “Dr Faust’s Magic Wash Base” – which you make yourself out of 1 part Pledge with Future Shine and 4 parts Distilled Water. (Keep it in a large dropper bottle).

Eventually, I’ll get to play with them. Need to get more armour in this scale done, first – but rulesets I own and would like to use with them include Flames of War, Bolt Action’s Tank War (shrunk down to 1″=1cm), TANKS!, and probably What a Tanker! in the future – as I continue to follow Mark Morin’s adventures with the game.

Done!

Flames of War M4 Sherman Tank Platoons (Battlefront Miniatures) (June-it ’18)

These ten M4 Sherman models are some of Battlefront’s early product – resin shermans with metal guns. I picked up these two platoons secondhand, and so they lack turret MGs (if these early models even had those). I picked these up as two sets of 5 tanks for £15.00 each back in 2012 – they were old and long OOP even then.

And that’s where this story ended. Or took a rather long intermission until very recently. While I was looking for something else, and had Marouda helping me look through the boxes and tubs of figures in storage, I spied the two sets of Shermans, and then decided to pull them from the shelf, and also grabbed out all the plastic Open Fire! Shermans as well (sadly, they’re the dodgy ones from the first edition of OF!) Thanks to Just Needs Varnish, and his endless stream of cool looking 15mm stuff, I decided it was time to get a few little tanks painted up.

They’re really nothing special. I got two versions of OD spray made up at the local paint store (I’ll need to get a Brown Violet match made as well, but I need to get the Vallejo paint first!). I used the darker as the base, then the lighter as a zenithal shade. I used the Battlefront decals (they’re fucking awful to use – they take forever to lift off the sheet, they’re thin and crinkle and tear easily) as I couldn’t get the PSC ones. I can out of Allied Stars and so found a larger-scale sheet of them from Warlord, and used the smallest ones. I’ll have to buy a bunch more of the Warlord ones, as they were great decals to use.

The ten Shermans have been painted in a rather generic style. I’ve gone for all-Allied Stars to save the ringed stars for later units. I figure I can use the turrets with top-stars on them as Platoon leaders as needed. Not that I’ve played Flames of War in many, many years now. Not since 1st edition, in fact. While I can recognise a lot of WWII armour in it’s basic forms, I don’t know them well enough to know where exactly to place all of the optional markings, or which of the many variants that these Shermans are.

Battlefront Shermans imitate the start of a typical round of World of Tanks.

What will I do with these? Well, I have a few different 15mm armies worth of figures and armour to build and play with one day. There’s obviously Flames of War out there, and plenty of other WW2 rulesets besides for that scale. At one stage I hoped to play Bolt Action with a bunch of 15mm models, using cm for inches, but it never happened. I have a DAK army that’s been in storage for well over a decade now that could probably be a project for both “Finishing Units” months as well as, obviously, Neglected Models. The problem for me is painting 15mm troops. Because as cool as they can look when complete, I find them painfully boring to paint.

I painted the turret ring area to visually represent destroyed/burned tanks.

I’ve been considering picking up that TANKS! game by GF9 as a bit of a light game. It would certainly give me an outlet to use some of these tanks with, not to mention potentially giving me some motivation to paint some additional 15mm armour. I suppose there’s also the Bolt Action side-game, Tank War.