From the Shed: Russian Airborne Armour.

Following on from my post on VDV Air Assault Brigades I’ve done some light armour to give them some support.

asu85

First up we have the ASU85: a light self propelled gun on the PT76 chassis, designed to give the VDV some anti- tank support. It was a replacement for the much earlier ASU57. At the time of its introduction its 85mm gun (based on the WW2 tank gun) was barely adequate for the task by the 1980s when it was still in service it would have been useless at its intended role. Still any soft skins or light armoured cars would be vulnerable to its gun.

sprut

Next we have the little known 2S25 Sprut SD, the replacement to the ASU85. Mounting the usual Russian 125mm smoothbore gun it can fire all the same ammo as an MBT but from a lightly armoured chassis based on the BMD3. Given the ammo types it can fire it makes up a pretty potent support vehicle for the modern day VDV.

Pt76

Although not an airborne vehicle I painted up a few PT76 amphibious tanks. Developed after WW2 as a recce vehicle it is fully amphibious, accordingly it means it is not very well armed or armoured. Kept in service untill surprisingly recently in has seen combat in the Middle East, Vietnam, India, Africa and even Chechnya.

light armour

All models are 1/300th (6mm) scale and are from Heroics and Ros.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

 

 

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From the Shed: Contemporary Russians- same figures but two paint jobs.

In Elhiem Figures (ultra)modern* Russian ranges there are some very nice packs labelled Pro- Russian Militia/ Russian SOF that are great for representing those forces doing the Kermlin’s work in areas as diverse as the Donbass in the Ukraine** or Syria or even using them for modern what if? games. The interesting thing from a painters perspective is that as the Russians (or their proxies) use such a wide range of camouflage patterns see here you have a lot of choice.

russians in partisan camo

The first batch I painted in the ‘Paritsan’ pattern, oddly for a country that suffered so badly from the depradations of the Waffen SS in WW2, it is based the SS ‘Oak Leaf’ pattern but with a different palette of colours. A search of the web will show it being worn all over the place so these figures should be useful for militia in the Ukraine or Wagner PMCs in Syria.

winter modern sovs

The second batch have been painted in plain white and have appropriate winter basing to join my small, but growing, winter collection.

Cheers,

Pete.

* There seems to be a standardisation in table top wargaming to call anything post WW2 up to the turn of the millenium ‘moderns’ wheres as 2001 forwards is deemed ‘ultra- moderns’ both are a bit clumsy imo but it is what most people know so it is what I go with.

** It is with interest that I’ve spotted an upcoming Osprey book on the subject by Mark Galeotti.

Film Review: Come and See. 1985. Directed by Elim Klimov.

Given I referenced Come and See in my last film review it makes sense to make it the subject of this next one.

When I heard that this film was the late J. G. Ballard’s favourite war film I knew I had to see it. Ballard has long been my favourite author and I knew that his recommendation would mean that this film would be something special… I wasn’t disappointed, but I wasn’t expecting such a powerful visceral gut- punch reaction to a film like the one I got from Come and See….

 

 

The film opens with a young Byelorussian boy recovering a rifle from the site of an earlier battle, so he can take it to join the local Partisans who have a base in the forest. Leaving against his parents’ wishes he makes contact with the Partisans and their solemn but charismatic leader.

 

His age prevents them from taking him seriously as a fighter and much to his evident disappointment they decline to take him with them when they go on their next mission. As he is left alone in the camp he makes friends with a girl, also left behind, who is a few years older than him. They play in the forest, children having space within a respite from the horrors of the war to act as children.

 

This is cut short by the bombing of the camp by the Germans. With several near misses the boy is left disorientated and with a permanent ringing in his ears that renders the audio slightly garbled as the film is told from his perspective.

 

Making his way back to his village he arrives just as an SS unit is conducting a reprisal/ massacre of the village. For the next half hour or so the boy wanders through the scenes of near unimaginable horror as the SS men go about the atrocities that so characterised their behaviour throughout the war. Given that very little dialogue is said directly to camera and so no subtitles are present, and the audio is still distorted as a result of the effect of the bombing on the boy the part of the film has a hideous, near surreal tableaux that is more horrific than anything Bosch has come up with for the events and action perpetrated by the SS men and their locally raised auxiliaries are wholly representative of the reality of the time.

 

The senior SS Officer during the massacre is shown with a pet monkey, this is a very clear nod towards the SS men being from the infamous Dirlewanger Brigade led by Oskar Dirlewanger; it is with out hyperbole that he can be described as once of the nastiest and most abhorrent men in WW2. biography book link

 

The Partisans do return and ambush the SS men as they are leaving the destroyed village and take the boy with them, the boy is forever scarred and broken by what he has seen happen to himself, the young girl and the whole village. Finding a portrait of Hitler, the young boy shoots in repeatedly, the film at this point showing a montage of photos of Hitler’s life in reverse ending with him as a baby…

 

… the film concludes with the young boy, hardened and no doubt embittered as a fully-fledged Partisan.

 

Come and See is a difficult watch, it is hard to say you ‘enjoy’ the film in the same way you’d enjoy a normal film, but such is its power and vision you can’t help but engage with it on a deeper level. Well shot it draws you in to those terrible days and makes you confront the reality of it. A reality that is today being lost by it fading from living memory as people die, anodyne history books that fail to do justice to their subject matter and worst of all those deniers who try to say it never happened. It really deserves a wide audience in my opinion.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.

28mm Cold War Soviets.

Bill at Under Fire Miniatures [clicky] was generous enough to give me some his new 28mm castings to paint up. Expanding upon his initial Cold War releases for the Germans both East and West he has brought out some Russians in the classic 1970s/ 80s khaki uniform.

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The job lot painted up. Plenty to run some small skirmishes with the previously seen West Germans.

 

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At Bill’s request I photographed the figures in the packs that you buy them in. Here with have the PKM pack.

 

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The platoon HQ pack with and SVD armed Marksman.

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The RPK pack.

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Finally a pack with 1 RPG7 and three riflemen with AK74s.

 

Painting was done with Vallejo acrylics. The main uniform was Green Brown, Webbing was Khaki and Leather Belt with the NBC pouch in Canvas, the helmet was Russian Green lightened with a little bit of Yellow Olive.

 

Many thanks to Bill for the figures.

 

Cheers,

 

Pete.