Wednesday, November 26, 2014

20mm WW2 Because Why Not

1/72 WW2 Russians from Plastic Soldier Company
I already collect WW2 figures in 3mm, 6mm and 15mm.  Dallas has an amazing collection of WW2 stuff in 28mm (just one example here).  I love gaming WW2, and I'm really lucky to be able to play many different games and rules sets, everything from a skirmish in rules like "Bolt Action" or "Chain of Command", as well as Dallas' own excellent "Blitzkrieg" rules, all the way up to company-level scraps in games like "Flames of War", to division-level abstract encounters in rules like "Spearhead". With this very fortunate background, it would make no sense to try yet another scale for this period. If we already play 15mm and 28mm, then what is the point of 20mm?

But on the other hand, hey - why not?  Logic has never really driven my hobby decisions...just look at the mess of different stuff on this site.

Platoon officer on hex, NCOs on square bases
Long before I came around the group, the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts played a fair bit of WW2 in 20mm. I believe they played Rapid Fire or Crossfire...or maybe both? I don't know for certain, but I suspect Conscript Kevin H may yet hold a small reserve of 20mm stuff. Conscript Curt (now in Regina) had a reserve of amazing figures from AB. Recently he came across them in his pile and started painting some up - see this great post on his Analogue Hobbies Blog.

LMG team on square base - all that wasteful space required because they are prone (sigh)
Curt's stuff got me wondering again about 20mm in the context of my own preferred area of focus in WW2 - the Eastern Front, particularly from 1943 onwards. I was further spurred to check out 20mm when I purchased a copy of the "Battlegroup" rules set, which is intended for both 15mm and 20mm figures. Taking the plunge, I picked up some figures from the Plastic Soldier Company - not too pricey, so kind of "low risk", plus the tanks (at least in 15mm) are pretty gamer-friendly for plastic models.

Nice figures from PSC - they look great in 20mm
I started with a box of some Russian infantry in summer uniform and a T-34 box from their WW2 Russian 1/72 range.  Here are some test models - about a squad and-a-half of infantry and a single tank.

Another view of the infantry
I am not crazy about PSC's 15mm plastic infantry - I find the details to be soft.  But these 1/72 figures are quite sharp, and it leads me to believe that, at least for infantry, 1/72 is the ideal scale for their models.  You get quite an assortment of troops for a good price, making this kit an ideal one to start with.

Check out the terrible job I did on the track pieces...I'm useless with these two-piece track sets...
I based the models using the same approach as I used in my individually-based 15mm WW2 stuff - round bases for grunts, squares for NCOs and a hex for the senior leaders of a unit (inspired by Curt C). 

Decals from PSC too - including Russian lettering for the turrets - I love that!
Russian WW2 infantry paint up fast - that's how a couple test models quickly turn into 15 guys in a week or so! The box gives enough infantry for a platoon of guys - either a rifle platoon, or an SMG platoon (although not quite both together). This is a very good value.  The only criticism I would have is that the poses of the LMG teams are either prone (blah) or marching (much worse) - they are sculpted well, I just find those two poses to be the worst ones for gaming (personal quirk - everyone else looks ready to fight and the LMG guys are road marching?)

Used oil paints and a old brush to do highlighting and chipping on the hull
The 1/72 scale T-34 from PSC is a fabulous model.  I still screwed up the tracks, of course, but you will not, because anyone out there will be a lot sharper than I am when it comes to modelling skills :)

With PSC T-34s, you can switch between T-34/76s and T-34/85s - very sensible!
A Russian tank from WW2 is a pretty quick paint job, but I experimented on this vehicle using a oil-paint detail wash, basically to pick out the plates, hatches and seams in the amour.  It was quite a striking effect.  The downside is that oil paints take like a billion years to dry, so you need to use Dullcote spray to set the paint and move things along, and I cringe every time I use Dullcote, certain I am about to wreck the model...

Anyway, I will never get to the level of the master tank painters like Piers Brand, but I look forward to messing around a little more with this technique, and I think 1/72 models will be a good means to do that. 



Moiterei_1984 said...

Awesome looking Russians! They'll certainly teach the Germans what fear means.

Terry Silverthorn said...

Excellent work on those Russian troops & the tank turned out very well!

Curt said...

Wonderful looking Soviets Greg! I look forward to matching them up with some of my Germans. 20mm is such a nice 'compromise' scale - much of the detail of 28s without the attendant cost and table space. Again, great job!