Back to the Russian Civil War again this LPL round with some Copplestone 28mm Bolsheviks. I really like the whole Copplestone Back of Beyond range, even the “rank and file” infantry have loads of character and lots of really nice details.
The tan background and khaki on the Bolshies gives this photo quite a nice sepia tone overall; that wasn’t really planned but looks good!
Round Five of LPL7 was one of three Theme Rounds; this time the theme was “Historical Civil Wars”. This fits perfectly into my ongoing Russian Civil War project, and was one of the reasons I pushed myself to participate in this year’s LPL.
I pulled out some RCW figures that I’d finished very quickly and roughly, stripped them, and repainted them to a much, much higher standard. The main scene depicts a group of raiding Cossack cavalrymen coming around the corner of a village church to find the locals armed and waiting for them, with a big farm wagon pushed across the road as a barricade.
The local militia are Copplestone Castings Russian Partisan figures; they’re great figures loaded with character. I own twenty or thirty of these guys (at least two packs worth, maybe three, I’ve lost track!) and I have very few duplicate figures in that collection. I pulled out seven favourite poses to repaint for this scene. I painted them up as a mix of young men & old. The young men would likely be returned frontovik (Russian veterans of the Great War) or, if this is a Bolshevik militia, young radical Bolshies come out from the cities. There were rural militias for every political flavour of the Russian Civil War, and quite a lot of no distinct flavour at all — the “Greens”, who were either peasant militias formed for self-defence or anti-revolutionary bandits, depending on who was telling the story!
The Cossacks are from Brigade Games. Brigade’s Russian Civil War/WW1 in the East range doesn’t get as much attention as the Copplestone Back of Beyond ranges, but there are some lovely figures in that range, including these fairly recent Cossack cavalrymen. There’s a pack of regular riders with swords and slung rifles, and a command pack with officer, trumpeter and standard bearer; all six of these guys are from the regular Cossack pack. They’re very nice figures, a bit more fine-boned than the Copplestone figures but very compatible. The one downside to these Cossack figures is that some of the details are quite delicate, especially the sabres and scabbards.
By the time you read this my Round Six figures will be competing in the LPL; head over to the Lead Adventure Forum to see how they’re doing!
Round One of Lead Adventure Forum’s Lead Painters League 7 (LPL7) painting contest has wrapped up. The (non-mandatory) bonus theme for this opening round was “Headquarters”, so I touched up some of my Russian Civil War White Russian figures from Brigade Games.
By the time this is posted the Whites will have won their round against a rather nice Second World War company HQ of French goumiers – North African colonial troops – and Round Two will have opened. You can check out the whole contest over on LAF. LPL7 is ten rounds long, so ten weeks. I’ve got Rounds One, Two & Three done and entered, but things are going to continue to be fairly quiet around here as I’m neck-deep in painting up Rounds Four through Ten!
Doing final organization for my Trumpeter Salute Russian Civil War game this evening, I did something I’ve never actually done in the two years of this project — laid out every single painted, game-ready RCW figure and model I have together. The lighting in my dining room is awful, so this is a terrible photo, but it’s fun to see everything laid out for review!
On the left, the White Russians. Officers and machine gun in front, two dozen Cossack riflemen, then a couple more officers, then 32 rifles from a regular rifle regiment. All of my White Russian figures are from Brigade Games.
In the centre, the 77mm field gun (nominally Red), sixteen cavalry, one armoured car, and one protected railcar. These figures are (so far, at least) all deliberately painted without much in the way of identifying insignia, so they can and have appeared for both sides in our games.
On the right, the Bolsheviks. Officers, machine gun and banners in front, and the long column is forty ordinary Red riflemen. Far right is twenty Red Sailors and their leaders, and behind them is the Red militia of 15 rifles. The Bolsheviks all happen to be from Copplestone.
This gives me a total of 56 White rifles, 75 Bolshevik rifles, and a grand total figure count (including gun crews) of exactly 190 figures, apparently. I’ll tick over 200 fairly soon, as there’s another round of White rifles to paint up. That’ll pretty much finish off the regular infantry, although I do want another section or two of Red sailors. After that it’s off to more of the toys and quirky bits, tchankas, armoured cars and such!
The centrepiece is, of course, the sandbag-and-rail tie flatcar that will be one of the centrepieces of my Russian Civil War game. I got the sandbags to a satisfactory paint job, and if I have some extra time before Friday I’ll do one last round of drybrushing and weathering on the whole car. I can’t really call it an “armoured” train car, so I’ve been referring to it as the “sandbag car” or a “protected railcar”. Anyway, it looks good, especially with some red Bolshie flags hanging off it to proclaim it’s current owners to the world.
The US Navy gunboat sailors crowded around the back of the railcar are part of my “Well, I’m painting, might as well paint something else” drive. They’ve sat on my painting bench for a terribly long time — you can see them in the blurry background of quite a number of previous workbench photos on this blog… a bit of extra paint moves them slightly closer to being done, at least!
The six extra Russian cavalry (Brigade Games Cossack figures, to be precise) are also coming along nicely. That’s the Cossack horses in amongst the sailors there.
Three days until Trumpeter! (although I only really have Wednesday evening to myself, with other commitments Thursday then off to Vancouver Friday… yikes…)
In a cavalcade of firsts this Sunday, my (mostly) freshly-painted Chinese met their match in our new armed train, all being played on our new gaming mat, some 6′ by 9′ of fully flocked canvas drop cloth.
The game, a preview of Brian’s Trumpeter Salute convention game, was the defense of a small Russian town by a combined White and Chinese force. Thankfully for the Whites, they had managed to scrounge up a field gun plus a machine gun. The wealthy Chinese warlord Wu Do also brought one along to the party. Facing against them were a large Red force, including the newly-built armed train and the armoured car.
Due to a lot of luck, the Chinese ended up being the central troops in the game. They had lots of officers and their cards kept coming up, so they quickly occupied the central building and started taking fire. Another squad rushed up a hill, only to discover what happens when a HMG opens up on you when you cannot respond.
The maddest moment of the game came when Sean’s Reds cavalry attempted to run down the White field gun. The gun was right in the middle of town, which meant that his close assault was rudely interrupted by two squads of Chinese, including the Warlord’s aggressive Household troops. This did not end well for the Red cavalry, which were slaughtered to a man (and horse).
By the end the train had done its job and had cleared a route into the town. We called it when it became clear that the Chinese would retreat (having no interest in defending this particular muddy bit of Russia to the death) and the Whites were too weak to hold back the largely untouched Red infantry (even if they couldn’t move due to bad card luck.)
First “Links of Interest” miscellaneous post for 2013, so it’s a long one!
The fantastic blog Wargaming with Silver Whistle is, like I was recently, also making fields. His are spectacular, and might inspire me to re-visit the subject again in the near future! He’s got fields and allotments, large wheatfields, and finally some haystacks, all lavishly illustrated.
TutoFig.com is a multilingual European website that aggregates links to all sorts of tutorials – figure painting, sculpting, terrain, and all sorts of other stuff. Lots of high-quality links there, and I’m flattered they linked to my hot-glue fields tutorial, which is how I discovered them in turn.
Staying with the scenery theme, The DM’s Craft Youtube channel has lots of short terrain videos, focusing on the quick-and-cheap (but effective!) end of terrain making, and especially the many, many uses to which one can put a hot glue gun!
Moving on to the Russian Civil War and World War One, the Photo Palace blog, WW1 & RCW Photos Found is a post about an amazing collection of photos by an American who was working with the YMCA in both France and Russia during World War One, and who then escaped the Russian Revolution via Siberia and China – and he took photos the whole way, as well as buying photo postcards and such as he travelled. There’s only a few photos from the collection up online right now, which is unfortunate, but they’re really neat, atmospheric photos! The same blog also has French WW1 Photos Found Still in Camera, but again, too few of the actual photos posted online so far!
The US Army’s famous West Point Military Academy has, unsurprisingly, a first-rate History Department, who have put online their Atlas of Military History. There’s no maps of the Russian Civil War, despite American forces being involved both in Northern Russian and Siberia as part of Allied Intervention forces, but there are great clear maps of World War One on the Western Front, as well as maps for nearly every other war the Yanks have been involved in.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been rebuilding the entire deck of cards needed for Through the Mud & the Blood-powered Russian Civil War large skirmishes. I first made these cards back in November 2011, and after a year of use, we realized we’d wound up scribbling extra notes and other edits all over the cards we used, so I sat down and rebuilt the entire deck to incorporate the changes and edits we’d made while using the cards.
There are four pages for Reds and four for Whites, with ten Big Man cards per side, ten Command Initiative cards, a full set of the basic “National Characteristic” cards as laid out in the main M&B rules, and ten more Support or blank cards so you can customize your deck and add scenario-specific cards. The front page also has two Snifter and one Blank card per the main M&B rules, so one printing of all nine pages should give you everything you need for quite large M&B games.
Feedback in the comments, if you’re having problems, find a typo, or have ideas for the next edition of these cards!
In just under three weeks our local big convention kicks off – GottaCon 2013 is February 1st, 2nd & 3rd at the Pearkes Recreation Centre.
I’ll be running a Russian Civil War scenario, possibly with a Back of Beyond flavour. It’ll be a variant of my Even Whites Bleed Red scenario from last year’s Trumpeter Salute convention, mostly because I haven’t yet come up with a more entertaining title than that!
I’ve got Red sailors, cavalry and more Red regular troopers on the painting bench as we speak, and some nice scenery bits to add to my existing Russian scenery. Now, to get off the computer and back to that painting bench!
It seems “what colours do you use for WW1 Russian uniforms?” is one of those things that comes up again and again. I’ve been painting an awful lot of Russians (of various WW1/Russian Civil War flavours!) for a year or two now, and I’ve been asked for painting recipes in email, in comments here, and on forums. It’s time to do something I should have done months ago – write a flippin’ blog post that I can link people to, to save myself the trouble of typing the same thing out again and again…
I paint with Reaper Master Series paints, largely because they’re carried by my FLGS and the price point (especially when you buy in Triad sets) is better than GW or Vallejo. Reaper has this awesome web-gadget called the Power Palette that you can fire an image in, then extract the closest Master Series colours from. I scanned a couple of images from the Osprey Publishing RCW books and got the Power Palette to suggest a list of colours for me.
I’ll add better shots of my painted figures eventually, but here’s my basic World War One/Russian Civil War Russian uniform recipe, all paints Reaper Master Series unless stated otherwise.
For all figures: Base: Khaki Shadow Wash: GW Devlan Mud (note that this is now out of production (thanks, geniuses at GW…) so I’ll eventually have to find an alternative…) First highlight back up with straight Khaki Shadow.
My Reds get a much darker Devlan Mud wash, the Khaki Shadow highlight, and that’s pretty much it.
My Whites get another round of highlighting with Terran Khaki. Officers in especially spiffy uniforms get a final highlight with Khaki Highlight.
Some Russian uniforms seem to have darker, greener trousers; I use Military Green as a base there, sometimes just as a wash over Khaki Shadow.
The Russian uniform procurement process, even before the Civil War started, was known to produce quite a bit of variation in what was nominally the same colour of cloth. I use Bone Shadow and Polished Bone as alternate base colours, especially in the Red forces. For the Reds, I also use a lot of other random colours – other greens, browns and greys especially, as the early RCW Red Guard/Red Army had enormous trouble (even by the usual Russian standards, which is saying something!) keeping anything like an actual “uniform” appearance!
The Whites had equal trouble at various stages, but I keep my Whites in neater trim than my Reds, purely so the two forces can be told apart on the tabletop!
For Cossack blue trousers, Soft Blue base. I need to rediscover what I highlight Soft Blue with, I appear not to have written it down in my painting notes… I also have no photos at all of my Cossack infantry plaston, which is a shame.
For Red Sailors, Worn Navy for blue base, Leather White for white base, Pure Black for black, Khaki Shadow (again) for khaki/green. Kerchiefs are Sapphire Blue.
The Worn Navy gets a very thin wash of 1:1 Worn Navy:Pure Black for shadows, then highlighted back with Worn Navy and Soft Blue. Pure Black coats get a highlight of 1:1 Walnut Brown:Pure Black. Leather White gets a Pure White highlight. The white stripes on hats and kerchiefs is actually a 1:1 Leather White:Pure White mix.
I’m probably going to go back into my entire batch of Red Sailors and do another round of highlighting on the blue clothing, it’s a bit bland currently. More Soft Blue, maybe with one further brighter highlight.
Hope this helps, I’ll add better photos as I take them!