Saturday, September 16, 2017

After the last two groups of miniatures I painted I decided I needed a break from camouflage painting so I chose to work on this group. Somehow some camouflage sneaked in there. :) I'm not entirely sure what the unit is, but some favorite pictures of mine show some supporting units, Russian, that operated during the Kizlyar-Pervomayskoye hostage crisis (January, 1996). They wore some different clothing I thought would be fun to paint. Most in the few photos I have show the group wearing an obscure Russian helmet known as a BSH-1, its similar enough to the Maska helmet RH Models makes so I went with that one.

RH Models RUS26 with head swap; RUS21* with head swap; RUS26H

I "made" the above navy blue winter coats by carving the bicep pockets off these guys, sculpting a big collar and adding a jacket extension. The white/snow pants don't have pockets so I carved those off too.

RH Models RUS20H; RUS26H; RUS20H with weapon swap

Two of these guys have a navy blue coats like the figures above. The other has an VSR camouflage Afghanka coat (the prototypical Russian outerwear of both Chechen wars). I converted this with a sculpted big fur collar and a jacket extension. I also did a weapon swap for the third figure - originally he had an AK74, but I chopped this off along with his hand and then glued an AKSU in its place and sculpted a new hand.

RH Models RUS20AK74O; RUS20H with weapon swap

I didn't do much to the first guy besides a head swap. For the second guy I swapped an AK74 for an AKSU like above (kept the old AK butt, chopped the hand and sculpted a new one). The first guy is my first attempt at Spring SMK camouflage (see below). The colors for these scheme can vary quite a bit. My favorite is the more green variety, but for this one Vallejo Canvas/Off-White, Canvas and German Gray with Off-White accents seems to work pretty well.
Russian special unit outside Pervomayskoye. (January 17th, 1996)
Russian Interior Ministry forces during the Kizlyar-Pervomayskoye hostage crisis (January, 1996)
Spring SMK Camouflage

Friday, September 1, 2017

Engineers and What Not

Just before vacation I finished a mixed batch of miniatures - it took me a while to gloss coat, matte coat and photograph them.

RH Models RUSENGH with head swaps and green stuff wires

To make these figures look a bit more like pictures I've seen of Russian engineers in Chechnya I swapped their helmet heads for these heads with earphones. I also sculpted on some headphone wires with green stuff - sure is tough to get those wires so thin. I'm not sure what the name of the metal detector on the left is called, but I found some pictures of it online in more modern use. The right metal detector is an IMP.

RH Models RUSGUNH with head swap; Elhiem Figures PL21

RH Models RUSGUNH with head swap; Elhiem Figures PL21

A post on The Guild pointed me to these great little German Shepards by Elhiem Figures. They are the first miniature animals I've ever painted. It was fun trying to get the fur colors just right, especially the blending. In the end I'm very pleased with the evening I spent on them. RH Models gunners make good stand-ins for all sorts of military personnel. If possible I wish all of his lines had similar figures - no weapons, little kit, standing around, etc. These figures originally had helmets on them, but I swapped on knit hats to make them fit my period a bit better. I suppose all four of these engineers would also look great with Panama hats for the Soviet-Afghan war.

RH Models RUSAK* with head swap

To beef up my winter Moldovan forces I painted up these two. I've got a big bag of bodies like these so it was a good chance to use two - such figures look great with bare heads, I think. They are done in the KLMK-like Spetsodezhda camouflage scheme.

RH Models USA18 with headswap; RUSGUNH with headswap and green stuff cap and beard

These two figures are meant to portray Aslan Maskhadov (1951-2005) the former Soviet artillery general who led the Chechen military effort of the first Chechen War, was elected president between the wars and was assassinated late in the second Chechen War. One picture, below, I've found of him from 1996 shows him wearing a PASGT flak jacket and a traditional Chechen hat. I couldn't resist making the unlikely union of an RH Models 1990s's US figure with a Cossack head. The other figure, a later portrayal of Maskhadov, is a Russian gunner, a swapped on bald head and a green stuff cap and beard. I'll have to get more proficient at sculpting beards like this (and bigger ones) to better depict my Chechen forces.


I also added four IED's to this batch ... I was painting up some sappers after all!
Russian sappers and dogs at Severny Airport, Chechnya. (February 16th, 2000)

Russian sappers looking for explosives at Severny Airport, Chechnya (February 16th, 2000)

Re-enactor with Russian mine detector.
Russian special forces at Khankala, Chechnya. (May 18th, 1995)
Russians searching vehicles in Grozny. (December 11th, 1995)

Checkpoint at entrance to Gagauzia(southern region of Moldova (December, 1991).
Shamil Basayev and Aslan Maskhadov conversing in Grozny. (January 30th, 1996)

Aslan Maskhadov, Chechnya, 2004?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Special Forces and Border Guards

This morning I finished up some miniatures. :) The first half of this batch is meant to complete a unit of winter season Russian special forces 1995-1996 I worked on a few months back and put aside until my finger healed completely. Like the first half of the unit they have some green stuff jack extensions, new big collars (more green stuff) and a few head swaps (Rolf does make a special forces, H helmet, RPG pack, but I didn't have it when I worked on these.).

RH Models RUS20COMH; RUS20BGH; RUS23* with head swap; RUS21* with head swap

RH Models RUS20BG* with head swap; RUS23B with head swap; RUS23* with head swap

Kizlyar Airport immediately after fighting (Kizlyar-Pervomayskoye hostage crisis). (January 9th, 1996).

Russian forces in Pervomayskoye (January, 1996).

The second half of this batch is a quick set of 2nd Chechen war Russian border guards. There's lots of pictures of such soldiers available online as most photographers weren't allowed into Chechnya during the 2nd war and they had to photograph something, etc. I had been wanting to do these for some time because they wore camouflage variants not used by more front line troops (a darker winter tiger stripe, a more black/gray winter SMK and a winter/urban reed pattern). These figures have some pockets trimmed off of them, hoods added, sculpted on big collars and a few head swaps.

RH Models RUS20COME; RUS20* with head swap

RH Models RUS20* with head swap; RUS25R; RUS20* with head swap

Russian border guard and Chechen civilian at Sleptsovskaya checkpoint. (January 20th, 2000)

Russian special police at checkpoint on Ingushetia border. (January 12th, 2000)

Russians near border of Ingushetia and Chechnya. (January 12th, 2000)

Chechen woman and Russian guards at refugee camp near Ingushetia border. (December 18th, 1999)

Saturday, July 1, 2017


Last week I went vacation with my family. Like most miniature painters I faced the vacation dilemma - do I or don't I bring my hobby stuff along? I choose not to and so got some good reading done, but little progress on "my guys." I finished up these just before I left.

I did these pretty straight. The one exception is I changed the rolled up sleeves of a couple of the guys so that they had full length jackets without rolled up sleeves (green stuff). For colors I made sure to mix in some stripes/patterns as well as some bright colors here and there. My collection didn't really need more Chechen fighters in civilian clothes, but I couldn't resist painting up these great new sculpts. I've even got some more similarly kitted guys to do soon.



RH Models RH Models URBEERBG some with green stuff sleeves


Chechen fighters assembling in Grozny (December 14th, 1994).

Chechens in Grozny looking on dead (January, 1995).

Father and son Chechen fighters in Grozny (January 3rd, 1995).

Chechen rebels in Grozny (January 6th, 1995).

Russian Interior Ministry Troops with South Ossetian civilians (January 24th, 1991).

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.