Thursday, June 8, 2017

More STS

A few days ago I finished a set of figures I started last summer - well I had them prepped to paint and put them down for "a bit." They are all from RH Model's STS line (shirt-trousers-sandals). To make them fit my Post-Soviet collection better I filed, cut, filled in and "green stuffed" the sandals to make shoes (not too hard to do). Using green stuff I also added a prayer cap to one, headbands to two and added pant side pockets to another two. Those with green headbands are suitable for Chechens or Abkhazians whereas the guy with a red headband could be a PMR fighter and the one with a white headband is a Moldovan perhaps. In the future, this summer, hopefully, I plan to do two or three more groups of these great figures. There's lots of head swaps I want to do with these and I definitely need figures with plaid shirts and some with gym suits, etc.




Chechen rebel fighter standing near burned out AFV, Grozny, August 16th, 1996.

Chechens fighting in Grozny (August 24th, 1996).

Russian soldier talking with Chechen rebel in Grozny (August 28th, 1996).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Be Careful!

Well, who says painting miniatures is a safe hobby? Ten days ago I cut myself badly with my trusty Exacto knife while converting some figure during my lunch time break. The incident led to five stitches in my finger and has slowed me down a bit. For now I'm putting off green stuff sculpting. I need ten fingers for that! :) Fortunately I prep figures faster than I can paint them so I've got some prepared figures in reserve.

I finished this last batch with 9.5 fingers. I had a tough time taking good pictures of these (dark colors just don't seem to photograph well, but they're accurate to the pictures I've found), but I'm very pleased with them and happy to add them to my forces. They add a lot of regional character, I think.

Civilans and fighters in photographs I've collected for post-Soviet wars wear all manner of hats. I think the variety of hats and the inclusion of certain hats in a force/collection complete the look I'm after. In the pictures I have derbies, especially for civilians during the Tbilisi unrest of 1991-1992, are fairly popular. Rolf's Irish Civil War figures are a great source for these hats. I'm not sure what to call it, but I've found a few photographs of persons wearing a 1930's gangster like hat, so I also create a guy with one of these. Similar to a derby one can see quite a few "worker's caps" (that's my description) in use. Georgian felt caps can be seen worn in Georgia and here and there in Chechnya. To make these caps I used Rolf's baseball cap head, trimmed off the visor and filled up the back.


RH Models URBAK74 with head swap; URBAK* with head swap

RH Models URBAK74 with head swap; URBAK* with head swap

RH Models URBCIV* with head swap

RH Models URBAK* with head swap; URBSVD* with head swap; MULTBCAK

Lastly, I added two teenage fighters to this group. RH Models makes two such fighters with RPKs. I wanted them to be carrying lighter weapons so I swapped out the RPKs for an AK-47SU and an AK-47. I also made them a bit more suitable for my period by changing the heads.

RH Models PLO14 with head/weapon swap

Opposition leader Jaba Ioseliani being escorted in Tbilisi (January 6th, 1992).

Tbilisi, January 7th, 1992.

Opposition fighter in Tbilisi (December 22nd, 1991).

Chechen rebels, Grozny, January 1995.

Chechen youth, Grozny, January 1995.

Young Chechen fighter in Grozny, January 1995.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Teenage Fighters

I don't normally put up works in progress here, but I do enjoy seeing them on other people's blogs and Facebook sites so here's such a post. Normally, I guess I just like how paint hides all the green bits. During the past two nights I converted Rolf's PLO14 (2 KIDS/YOUNG LIONS WITH RPK'S - BAREHEADED) to what I think of as EERKIDS (2 KIDS/TEENS MIX OF HEADGEAR & WEAPONS). It takes me a while to sculpt anything, but it sure is fun. I'm pleased with how these came out. They are my first try at a weapons swap too. Leaving the cast rifle butts in place and just swapping out the front end of the weapons worked rather well, although getting them just the right angle took a while and until I sculpted the hands they were really fragile. I also swapped the heads for two that fit my genre more, sculpted new left hands, sleeves, a jacket extension and a rifle butt. I'm a bit tempted to try to make a similar figure with an RPG7, but I don't want to over do it. ;)

RH Models PLO14 with head/weapon swap; PLO14

RH Models PLO14 with head/weapon swap; PLO14

Friday, April 28, 2017

Special Forces

Recently I found some great non-professionally taken pictures of special forces during the Kizlyar-Pervomayskoye hostage crisis that took place in January, 1996 during the First Chechen War. These half dozen or so images inspired this next unit. I'm not sure exactly which special force they represent, SOBR, Alfa Team, etc., as picture captions tend to be sloppy with the specifics, but they should be suitable for any winter season Russian special forces 1995-1996. To add variety and winter character to the figures I did a few head swaps, gave almost all large fur collars and replaced most of the cast back pockets with sculpted pockets of the three side by side type. Two of the figures' jackets were extended so as to give them winter coats. When painting them I chose a mix of camouflage patterns, VSR, winter SMK, winter tiger and dark spring tiger (that's what I call it anyway). I'm very pleased with how they turned out - not so much with some of the pictures I took, but these dark camouflage schemes are tough to take photos of.

Next up is a batch of civilians and fighters with all manner of caps I haven't painted much of, worker's caps, derbies, gangster hats and traditional Georgian felt hats. I'm also putting together two Chechen child fighters with my first weapon swaps to paint with this group as well. After that I'll get back to this Russian winter special forces squad and paint up some figures with RPG's, PKM's etc.

RH Models RUS20COME; RUS20H; RUS20BGH; RUS20* with head swap

RH Models RUS26H; RUS25H; RUS24H

RH Models RUS20COM* with head swap; RUS20BGE; RUS20H, RUS20COMH

RH Models RUS20H; RUS20* with head swap; RUS20H

Russian Alfa team in Grozny (February 6th, 1995).

Russian special forces unit (Grozny, January 3rd, 1996).

Kizlyar Airport immediately after fighting (Kizlyar-Pervomayskoye hostage crisis). Left is Junior Sgt. A. Matancev; Right is Sgt. A. Andreev. (January 9th, 1996)

Russian Sobr at Pervomayskoye (January 16th, 1996).

Senior Lt. M. Churkin during Kizlyar-Pervomayskoye hostage crisis (January, 1996).

Russian forces in Pervomayskoye (January, 1996).

Friday, March 24, 2017

Cossack Hats

Acouple of months ago I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Rolf of RH Models was putting out a range of figures sporting Cossack hats. His packs contain figures with two varieties of Cossack hats, a.k.a. papakhas, the more common cylindrical type and the less common pinched cylinder type. The first type is extremely common within Chechnya. Pictorial evidence shows that during the initial stage of the war it was worn by some Chechen fighters, but afterwards it was worn mostly by civilians. Presumably it was not very practical to fight with such headgear and a knit cap was chosen instead. I've only found one picture of a Chechen fighter wearing the second type of papakha. The pinched cylinder papakha can be seen in use by Cossack forces defending Russian speaking parts of Moldova in 1992 (Transnistrian War). Other limited uses of these hats during the Post-Soviet wars I've seen are in Georgia (usually a far more furry variety, thick fur would need to be sculpted onto Rolf's hats to represent this hat) and a slightly more stouter papakha worn during the Armenia-Azerbaijan war. In the future I might paint a handful more of these guys, but I don't want to over do it.

I also added to this batch two prone conversions.

Next up is a batch of Russian elite forces wearing Maska helmets and winter camouflage for use in the First Chechen War.

RH Models COSSSQU with green stuff jacket extensions, COSSQU

RH Models COSSSQU; URBRPG with head swap; RUS9* with head swap

RH Models URBAK with head swap; RUSAK* with head swap; RMRRPK* with head swap

RH Models URBCIV* with head swap

RH Models PLOPROSNI with head swaps and green stuff collars

Chechen men rally in center of Grozny (December 6th, 1994).

Chechen fighter riding horseback in Novy Ataguy (December 31st, 1994).

Chechen rebel with PKM in Grozny suburbs (January 17th, 1995).

Chechen fighter with young boy (Novoznamenskoye, February, 1996).

Cossacks fighter prepared to defend Transnistria (1992).

Cossack fighters relaxing during defense of Russian speaking Moldova (1992).

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Russians in Snowsuits

Russian Interior Ministry forces patrol Grozny (February, 1996).

I'm not sure why, but the above picture is one of my favorite pictures from the First Chechen War, but it is. I've decided to create a unit to represent the guys shown in pictures. First up is a bunch of Russians in snowsuits. The bulk of these use Rolf's new RUSAK74H pack with head swaps to represent the soldiers in this unit. I also used some other packs for figures with other weapons. The one kneeling guy with binoculars is meant to be a Chechen gunner. In the upcoming months I hope to paint additional figures for this unit, modern Russian figures with mostly O helmets, VSR camouflage jackets and pants, with black and other vests - as well as modern Russian figures with body armor and O helmets also in VSR camouflage (I'm hoping Rolf will sculpt some figures with modern Russian body armor, 6B3-5, or I might convert my own). Lastly, I'll need a trio of BTR-70's with this camouflage pattern. That's it for snowsuits for me ... I'm on to some Cossacks.

RH Models RUSAK74H with head swap

RH Models RUSAK74H with head swap

RH Models RUSAK74H with head swap

RH Models RUSRPK* with head swap; RUSRPG* with head swap; RUSSPOTV?

Motorized Russian infantry in Grozny (1999-2000).

Russian marines in Grozny (2nd Chechen War).

Russian soldier smoking cigarette in Grozny (February 6th, 2000).