First in the firing line, so to speak, are the last few Russians for my Bolt Action army.
Most of these are made from some Plastic Soldier Company models which I’d given to Matt after I’d used a bunch to create my VBCW BUF force. I retrieved them (much to his delight, allowing his painting vs acquired tally to start the year in a very healthy position) mainly because I wanted to add some crew to my SU-76 (I’d lost the original crew somewhere). As he’d returned the whole bag of the PSC miniatures to me, complete with the pennies he’d based them on (so I made a 14p profit too!), it seemed silly not to add at least some of them to my army.
The Plastic Soldier Company Russians are, quite frankly, not great. However, they are cheap and serviceable, and if your are starting Bolt Action on a budget, they are the best way to acquire a fairly sizeable force for minimal cost.
The infantry box contain 57 models, allowing you to build several LMG squads and command. The heavy weapons box adds MMGs, anti tank rifles and mortars, and there’s also a box with 45mm anti-tank guns. If you throw in the fact that you have less fiddly assembly time than with a Warlord box, then there really are advantages to this range.
The downsides are that they lack an amount of detail, you get duplicate models and some of the sculpts are just funky. There is one model throwing a grenade with what looks like a withered arm that’s been dislocated at the shoulder...I’ve not used him.
I have used one of each of the sculpts to try to keep variety in my force.
I’ve painted the commander as a Commissar, as that’s something I’ve never used and it adds something different...blue trousers. In game it gives you the chance to reroll morale tests for the cost of one model, as the Commissar shoots them! I needed to find a new arm for this one, but simply used one of the many spares from my Warlord sprues.
The female officer is going to serve as a medic for me. I’ve never used a medic, and they’ve become a little less useful since the 2nd edition rules no longer counter-intuitively make them the best option for manning the machine guns in transports. I know the picture is a little blurred, but don’t worry, she doesn’t really have any sort of facial features to speak of that you’re missing.
The riflemen and sergeant have all been done in the same slapdash way I did all of my Russians. They’ve turned out okay, and so will slot into the army well.
The LMG team has been done in much the same way. I quite like the pose of the gunner as it is quite characterful (for these guys) and also marks him out from the more ‘action’ poses of the Warlord LMG gunners.
The AT Rifle gunner is actually the last of my Warlord models with a slightly converted PSC LMG loader. The rock was added to the base when I realised that when I’d clipped everything off the Warlord sprues, I’d neglected the AT rifle stands, therefore I needed something for the rifle to rest on. What I like about this model is that the Soviet rules allow me to take up to three Anti-Tank teams, and so I can use this alongside my other AT rifle team and either the surprisingly effective Mine Dogs or the surprisingly less effective Tank Hunters.
The SU-76 was painted some time ago, but I’ve taken the opportunity to add some decals and the crew.
Sticklers for historical accuracy would point out that the crew would not be wearing their full kit in the cramped conditions of the vehicles.
In response, I intend to point out that it’s even less historically accurate to have a light howitzer firing by itself without any crew.
Personally, I’m quite pleased with how this has turned out. It still comes at least second to my T-34/85 as my best tank, however, it is a cheaper option, there’s an optional rule that allows me to take an inexperienced SU-76 instead of the free rifle squad, and I have enough tanks for a game of Tank War, and so this vehicle will see some action.
Overall I pleased to get these guy off my painting table and put a lid on the Russian army. I’d still like to add some decals to my two tanks, and I may still add vehicles, but I certainly think I’m done for infantry. The only infantry I can see myself doing now are a few casualties using the renaming PSC models - perhaps as pinned markers.
Expect to see some more projects reaching ‘completion’ as I endeavour to clear some space on the painting table for the influx that follows my birthday this year.