More Soviet vehicles rolling off the production line as a result of Battlefront’s last sale: this time it’s the SU-57 self-propelled guns.
More correctly called the T48 Gun Motor Carriage, the Samokhodnaya ustanovka 57 was what the Soviets called the M3 half-track with a 57mm anti-tank gun mounted on top. The Russians received 650 of them, and used the SP AT guns in Operation Bagration et al. in 1943/4.
I usually hate putting Battlefront artillery together, especially those with a gun shield, so was pleasantly surprised at how easily I could build the four SU-57s. The M3 body has a fits-just-right post for the gun, with a lovely little ledge just in front of it for the edge of the gun shield. No swearing required at all!
The crew are good too. I chose to mount them as part of the initial build (as opposed to painting them separately then putting them into the painted vehicles) and this seemed to work quite well. There’s enough room to get a brush right their way down to the feet, if necessary, so my standard block colour-wash-highlight technique worked well.
Almost to my surprise, another highly recommended.
This is a cracking little encounter written by the big man himself, Richard Clarke, back in about 2005. I actually have a Word version of the scenario, designed for IABSM v2, although where I got it from I have no idea!
Adolf himself has told his troops that “the Soviet Union is a rotten structure, that we only need to kick in the door, and the whole thing will collapse before us”. Click on he picture below to see if that’s true!
I’m continuing to work my way through all the tanks I bought last time Battlefront had a significant sale, moving on from the Germans (Jagdpanzer IVs) to the Soviets.
The first batch of Stalin’s toys off the painting table were a company of heavy tanks: KV-85s to be exact. These filled the gap between the KV-1E (and a few lend lease Churchills) until the arrival in 1944 of the JS-III.
I’ve always liked the shape of the KV class of Soviet tank: nice and chunky!
These, the usual Battlefront combination of resin body/turret and metal tracks/gun/hatches, went together really easily (makers of plastic vehicles take note), and were a joy to paint up as well.
I did add a bit of extra stowage to a few of them: somewhat ironically given my previous comment, the canvas rolls on the front two tanks are actually the furled up canvas tops to the PSC Steyrs that I posted about a few days ago. Nothing ever goes to waste!
It’s September 29th, 1939, and Independent Operational Group Polesie are marching south towards Koch. Attacked by Soviet cavalry and tanks, the Poles are at first beaten back, but then counter-attack and manage to re-take the village of Milanow. This they then prepare to hold in the face of further attacks from Russian infantry with tank support.
The above is a condensed version of the background given to scenario #31: The Battle at Parczew from the September War scenario pack. I would play the Poles, defending Milanow; with John and Dave commanding the advancing Soviets.
It’s always great when someone sends me an AAR for inclusion on the site, especially when they also say nice things about one of my scenario packs.
Here’s an example of what I mean: Captain Cliche (you can read his excellent blog here) and his wargaming friends have begun playing through the Bashnya or Bust! scenario pack (more details here, opens in a new window), starting with the first encounter: Near Osen.
Click on the picture below to see all, including some great 6mm figures:
This time, The Sergeant and the Dice Demon, Steve, are playing one of the scenarios from the Bashnya or Bust! scenario pack for IABSM: scenario #4A Holm.
What's quite fun for me, as the author of Bashnya or Bust!, is working out which exact scenario they're playing from the photos. On this occasion, I knew it was Holm immediately (distinctive terrain!), but which one. Well the only one with that exact number of T-34/85s and that exact number of Panthers is 4A...so hopefully that's it!
Anyhow, click on the pic below to see all. Recommended...along with a quick visit to the two blogs this comes from as well. Excellent stuff.
As usual, I hope that neither of the gentleman mentioned above objects to me re-posting their text and pictures. It is genuinely intended as a way to spread awareness of both IABSM and their excellent blogs rather than anything else.
Those of you who follow the site will know that I already have loads of 4Ground 15mm Russian village buildings to which I recently added a few extras from the Minibits/RedVectors range (click here to see post, opens in a new window).
Now Things From The Basement, the US based 'manufacturer of dollhouse and wargaming miniatures' has also released a 15mm Russian village set of buildings, based on their 25mm range.
Two Log Cabins
Two different 'fancy' houses
A Farm Buildings set (a basic farmhouse, a barn, a well and an outdoor privy)
A Blacksmith Shop & Tool Shed
An Orthodox Church
I, of course, bought these immediately, and have just spent a very pleasant evening and morning, sat at my workbench in front of the open French windows, building them.
So are they any good?
The log cabins are fairly standard . I like the way they do the windows (cardboard sills that stick on the outside of the HDF) but I found it very difficult to build them in way that the roofs came off easily. My advice: buy one pack if you want a bit of variety in an existing village, but don't base your entire village on several packs of this set, stick to the 4Ground stuff.
The fancy houses (House 1 and House 2) are both good. I didn't much like the roofs, but they do come made to come off so you can put figures inside. What is really nice is the level of detail on the outside. The really fancy one has some lovely decorative woodwork that looks really nice when built, and the other one has a little porch that is exactly like the one I saw on that Russian TV show about the WW2 pilots "The Attackers". I would definitely buy both of these if you want a Headman's hut or two.
The farmhouse and barn from the Farm Buildings set is a bit like the log cabins: alright but nothing special (although the roofs do come off in these ones). What makes this set an absolute must-buy is the well and outdoor privy. Cracking models that I would buy again if available separately. Recommended.
The Blacksmith Shop and Tool Shed is another excellent bit of variety for your village. I can take or leave the tool shed, but the blacksmith shop, with it's open sides, roof vents, forge and anvil is another must-buy. Recommended.
Finally we come to the Orthodox Church. Come on, Robert, I hear you cry, you can't need yet another Russian church (I already have five...or is it six?) but actually, yes I can. This is a beautiful model that I really, really love. The build is intricate but not particularly difficult: to get the spires and the roof you end up building an internal framework that I just felt so proud of having managed! There's a real sense of achievement when you've built this little baby! Did I mention that it looks really good too?
So there you have it: a solid recommendation to buy from me. There is just one teensy-tiny little problem: the shipping from the States is quite pricey. The shop on the TFTB website won't let you buy outside of the US: you have to e-mail Joerg and ask for a PayPal invoice. The set is $55 for one of each of the above, but shipping is $23 on top of that...so that's £56 to get it to our front door if in the UK. No problems with the ordering and delivery, I hasten to add, my set arrived very promptly, but perhaps a bit pricey.
How was the build? About the same as a Sarissa build actually: so slightly more difficult that a 4Ground or Minibits build, but still nothing very problematic. I would, however, strongly advise downloading the instructions from the TFTB website (free to do) and build them with PVA glue not Superglue: there's quite a lot of finickity moving about of parts to do to get them to fit together just right. Nothing too difficult, but not something that Superglue will let you do.
So overall, a hearty recommendation from me, despite the price, and if you do order from Joerg, do mention Vis Lardica when you do so please.
Those of you who live in the UK may be aware that the Wyevale Garden Centres always sell off their winter model Christmas trees in early January (see previous post here). This year, I’d taken full advantage of the sale and bought several packets worth, and then added a new snow mat from Tiny Wargames to put them on. Now all I needed was an excuse to get everything onto the tabletop, and a game this Saturday just gone gave me the opportunity to do so.
As I seemed to have bought lots of trees, it would need to be a big game. Out came the extra bit of table, giving me an 8’ by 5’ playing area, on went the new mat, and on went the new trees. The result: a winter wonderland of epic proportions.
This was to be a Soviet/German encounter battle set sometime in and around January 1944. As I found myself short of time in the preparation stages, I used the troop lists from one of the scenarios from the IABSM Bashnya or Bust scenario pack. A couple of the scenarios give listings of a re-inforced company for each side from which the players pick a number of platoons. As this was to be a big game, I used those lists but gave each side the entire list, not just a proportion of the list.
See how we got on by clicking on the picture, below...
Here's a quick battle report from Ioannis Pavlidis, take from a recent post on the IABSM Facebook page.
It's 1941. A unit of Soviet soldiers has fallen back in disarray in the face of the overwhelming German assault. The German spearhead has now moved on, leaving a force behind to mop up the battered Soviets, who have fallen back to an abandoned barracks not far from the Niemirov Ferry crossing.
Click on the picture below to find out what happened.
Vis Lardica is a website devoted to wargaming and military history, with a special emphasis on the company-sized rulesets produced by the TooFatLardies: I Ain't Been Shot Mum (WW2); Charlie Don't Surf (Vietnam); and Quadrant 13 (science fiction)
Welcome to Vis Lardica, a not-for-profit website mostly dedicated to the company-sized wargaming rules produced by the TooFatLardies, but encompassing my other gaming interests as well.