Wayne’s Estonian SS-Volunteer Grenadier Company

This week we are launching the Bagration: German book over on the Flames Of War website. Wayne has plenty of new models on the workbench for it, but thought he would take a look at a previous army he built and see how it comes together with this new book…

Many years ago I started work on an Estonian Grenadier Company. I’ve always had a bit of a fascination with the unusual volunteer units the Germans recruited, mostly for the Eastern front. Here the dispossessed peoples of Soviet expansion took up arms against the Soviet Union, not so much out of pro-Nazi sentiment, but in the eventual hope that they would once again earn their independence. The Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, in particular were keen to take up arms against the Soviets. The largest corps of such troops was organised under the SS, as SS-Freiwilligen (SS Volunteers).

Estonian 20. SS- Freiwilligen-Grenadierdivision at Narva 1944…

With the release of German: Bagration I thought I’d revive my Estonian project. Currently the models in my Estonian company consist of an HQ of 2x MP40 SMG teams, two SS Grenadier Platoons with 7x MG42 & K98 rifle teams, 2x 15cm Infantry guns, 3x 3.7cm AA guns (which I think I actually painted to use for 11th SS Nordwind, as the Estonians did not have any of these), and 3x 7.5cm PaK40 anti-tank guns (painted as Heer, but I did have plans to replace them with SS crewed versions). I usually filled it out to fieldable force with some StuG or Panther support from 11. SS-Panzergrenadier Division ‘Nordwind’.

I had two Panzerschreck teams I could add to my HQ. These I have now rebased from four man teams to two man teams giving me four Panzerschreck teams.

I also used an Ost Truppen Grenadier Platoon I had as a third SS Grenadier Platoon if I needed it. This I fielded as “new recruits”, transferred from German Heer Estonian raised units and still in their Heer uniforms. However, the miniatures do have the wrong arm shield as I painted them for Normandy.
So looking at what I have, here is my Force using Bagration: German in conjunction with the 20th SS-Volunteer Grenadier Division 1st Estonian command card:

The StuG Tank Platoon is drawn from 11th SS Nordwind, as a Black Box support, and since we don’t have any 3.7cm AA guns available as yet, I will field them as 2cm AA.

I have planned to paint a machine-gun and a mortar platoon as well, some recon (also from 11th SS Nordwind) would be handy for a Spearhead and an artillery battery sounds like a good idea too…

~Wayne

No Business Like Snow Business…

It’s been a bit quiet on the Flames Of War Soviet front over the past few months with other hobby projects taking priority. Those of you following the Fig Four Of Late-War Instagram account will have seen some of the photos of my expanding winter terrain table, and of course Victor, Wayne, and I took a detour late last year to paint up some WWIII Soviets.

I’ve got quite a few units on the for my Soviets at the moment (IS-2s, Rota Razvedki, Captured Panthers, SU-76’s, and ZS M15’s) so I thought I’d start clearing some of these off my table starting with my SMG company. This is a useful infantry company for any Soviet player to have as it’s an infantry unit inside most tank formations, so is good at giving you tanks some staying power, looking after an objective, or dealing with enemy infantry on an objective. They are even scarier if you have a spare point to give them the RPG-6 Anti-tank grenade command card.

For this company I’m using some old Soviet Scouts that I’ve had hiding in my hobby space for over 10 years. Originally, I had intended not to do any new infantry for my Big Four of Late War army, but when I found these I was hit by a wave of nostalgia, as these were the first Flames Of War miniatures I ever painted (I painted an entire infantry battalion in 6 weeks, so they were pretty bad), I decided to actually spend some time on them to do them justice.

The paint job on these is pretty simple. Since the rest of the army is in whitewash the obvious thing was to paint the overalls in white camo. This was achieved by base coating in Deck Tan followed by a white dry-brush and black and grey washes. The overalls were then tidied up by block-painting some white over the top. I used my basic flesh recipe on them, and their sidecaps are painted in a standard Khaki Grey, black wash, Khaki highlights scheme.
I spent a bit more time on the basing than usual. Since it’s a Hero unit I wanted to show that they’d taken casualties, so I’d only enough to do a mix of 3- and 4-man teams. I used Battlefronts Rural bases because I wanted the fence elements there to add some structure to the bases and to make it not look like I’d just been lazy. The bases were then flocked to match the terrain table that I’m making. I found some German casualties that I had already painted and left-over from my previous Soviet army and added those to the bases as well.

The last thing I did was fashion some dead branches from some twigs and autumnal Heki leaf foliage. They are probably a little orange for my liking, but I think they add a bit more interest to the bases and make them pop. I might make some more of these branches and add them to My IS-2s as camouflage later, but on those I might give them a light airbrush of a dark brown to tone them down a bit.

The next half-finished project I’m going to work on are my IS-2s. I have 13 of them ready for pin washing and want to make sure that I get them done in time for our next tournament.

~Casey

Victor’s Plans for 2021

It probably sounds like a broken record by now, but good riddance 2020! I have a lot to be thankful for, but on the flip side this has been a really trying year for me personally, and I’m sure many of you out there. This has affected my Big Four painting output, so I’ll be using the new year to get back on track. There was some assembly and painting going on in the background, but here is the only platoon I manage to complete for my Americans; some M12’s.

The painting project from the year I am most proud of is my WWIII: Soviet army. This was done very quickly by my standards, but it turned out well and gave me almost 150 points. Although it’s not my Big Four army, I’m still calling it a win for this year.

I have big plans for the first half of 2021. It’s no surprise that Bulge: American will be released next year, and I’m currently doing the graphic design and photography for it. Of course in my downtime there’s been some list noodling, and I’ve come up with a bit of a shopping list of what I’d paint from the new book, and what I still need to tick off from D-Day.

D-Day: American

  • Complete my Cavalry Recon Troop
  • Complete my Armoured Rifle Platoon
  • 6x M4A3 105mm

Bulge: American

  • 7x M4A3E8 Easy Eight
  • 4x M4A3E2 Jumbo
  • 4x M26 Pershing
  • 1x Super Pershing
  • 5x M24 Chaffees
  • 5x Calliope Turrets (as an option to upgrade my existing Sherman 105’s)
  • 4x M15/M16AAA halftracks
  • 4x M36 Jacksons
  • 8x M18 Hellcats

I’m excited about this list, as they’re all new plastics and just so cool. I should give me a solid core to build many different lists with. The Easy Eight is one of my favourite tanks, and I know the Hellcats will be popular. I think American players will get a kick out of the new book.

See you all next year and I hope you stay safe over the holidays.

~ Victor

Wayne’s 2020 and Beyond

This year I only managed to paint a few things for my Big Four of Late-war German army. I added more Panzer IVs, I painted a second Panzergrenadier Platoon, and I even assembled some Möbelwagen AA tanks but then knocked over the box they were in and disassembled about half of them. I still haven’t got around to repairing them yet.

However, 2021 sees the Bagration: German book coming out and there is a bunch of new kits coming out with it, so I’m excited to expand my German force some more. There are two great Tank-hunter plastic kits, each allowing you to make two different tank-hunters. One is the Hetzer/Marder kit, this can make a either the Jagdpanzer 38(t) Hetzer or the Marder III M tank-hunters. My plan it to make at least one platoon of four Hetzers to take as support.

The other new plastic is the Panzer IV/70/Jagdpanzer IV kit. This will let you build either the Panzer IV/70 (V) tank-hunter, a powerful vehicle with Front Armour 9 and a long 7.5cm gun (the same as found on the Panther), or the Jagdpanzer IV (with the same guns as the StuG and front armour 7). I’m going to be a little more ambitious with this and build an entire company with at least 10 Panzer IV/70 vehicles.

Bagration: German will also see the release of the Wirbelwind/Ostwind plastic kit. This combines a frame that allows you to make both turrets plus a Panzer IV from which to get the hull for the complete vehicles. I plan to paint both types of turret so I can field either AA tank as required.

I’m sure I’ll get distracted by something else during the year.

I don’t have any firm New Year’s resolutions, I never really do. It kind of explains my life really. But I’d like to get a couple of partial Flames Of War projects expanded into full 100 point forces, these include my Estonian SS/Nordland SS and my Soviet Hero Shock Rifle Battalion. Both have the core infantry painted, I just need to paint a few more weapons units and support units.

I’ve been trying to think if anything I painted this year really stands out to me. I’m not sure I was really satisfied with anything I completed this year? I’m quite happy with my T-80s I painted for my World War III: Team Yankee Soviets, but I think they could have benefited with a little more time spent on them.

Hopefully next year will be a little better for all of us. Stay safe over the holidays and see you in 2021.

~Wayne

Casey’s Reflections and Intentions

What a year we’ve had!

Looking back I’m quite happy with what I’ve achieved given all the disruptions we’ve had. Like Chris I’ve achieved both more and less than I wanted with Covid, work, and other projects getting in the way.

I’m quite pleased that I managed to finish the core of my army, my 13 T-34s, as well as add some BA-64 and Katyusha support units. I also managed to paint a Captured Tiger, which was also my favorite model that I painted this year.

My plan for next year is simply more.  I started more projects this year than I actually finished. Sitting on my painting desk in various states are;
10x IS-2’s (half finished)
3x IS-85’s (half finished)
8x Captured Half-tracks (assembled and base-coated)
2x Captured Panthers (assembled and base-coated)
3x ZSU-M17 AA Half-tracks (assembled)
5x SU-76’s (assembled)
1x Hero SMG Company (half finished)

My priority is going to be the IS-2’s as Chris and I are planning on teaming up again for Panzerschreck (tournament) and I’m going to paint both halves of the army. This also means that I’ll need to paint up a couple of objectives as well.

One of the benefits of working in the Battlefront Studio is that I get to see books and lists as they are being developed, and there are some exciting things in the pipeline that may cause me to detour and paint a few thing for other nations…cough…King Tiger…cough

The other big news for 2020 was that the NZ office moved to a new, larger building that has a dedicated gaming area, so I’m looking forward to being able to play more games in the new year.

I hope you all stay safe and that Santa brings you plenty of Flames Of War (and WWIII: Team Yankee) joy this Christmas.

~Casey

Chris’ 2020 Reflections and 2021 Objectives…

Wow, what a year! Pretty much sums it up really.

Thinking about the Big Four Of Late War project I’ve both achieved more and less than I expected, which is probably how a lot of us are looking back on the year.

Looking back, I managed to paint quite a lot this year:

  • A full-strength Cromwell Squadron (less the 3-4 tanks I painted in advance for the D-Day: British book photography.
  • A mid-sized Churchill Company with AVRE support.
  • A pair of Daimler and Dingo Recon Platoons (and HQ)
  • A Motor Platoon (will have photos of this up next year along with some of the other infantry and 6-pdrs… assuming I finish them over Christmas)
  • Two Universal Carrier Platoons.
  • And a pair of Objectives!

Strangely, it is the last item on the list that I am most pleased to have completed this year. I love painting objectives for my armies, even simple ones like these, but they always get pushed to the bottom of the list, or forgotten in favour of another project.

So, what is in store for next year? I am hoping to get some time over Christmas to work on a few projects including a little Big Four Of Late War action. In a perfect world I would get my 3” Mortars, Vickers HMGs, 6-pdr AT guns, Bofors AA guns and a second Motor Platoon finished. The reality of it is I think this might be a little too hopeful, but I do love a good stretch goal! I’ll update you in the new year on my progress and with any luck I’ll convince Casey or Victor to take some photos of my completed Cromwells as I just realised there aren’t any images of these bad boys on the blog yet.

Thinking longer term next year means the release of the 2nd Late War British book and it is pretty safe to assume (if you have played one of the previous editions) that we are likely to see Comets (will be needing a Squadron of those!), Challengers (big guns = big yes from me!) and presumably  some other “late” British toys like Archers! Sounds like another big year on the brushes for me!

I hope you have enjoyed keeping up with our collective progress this year and ask you all to stay safe over the coming festive season. Catch you on the next Live Stream in 2021!

~Chris

Catching Up With Casey’s Backlog

You are probably sick of hearing about how much Covid has really made a mess of schedules this year but how about hearing it one more time…

Because of Covid lockdowns I havent been able to take photos of everything that I have finished over the past year, as our photo studio has been super busy playing catchup, so here are some photos of my recently finished Katyushas and, BA-64s and T-34s.

~Casey

 

Detour: Wayne vs Chris, a WWIII: Team Yankee Battle Report

For the launch of the WWIII: Soviet book, Wayne and Chris went head to head in a nail biting game. Wayne’s latest army (a Soviet T-80 based force) took on the Studio West German army.

The first half of the game was played and shot in advance, with the exciting conclusion live streamed over on the Battlefront Twitch channel. Check out the two halves below…

(sorry about the low audio levels in the first part…)

We’ve already started discussing how we can put a few more of our games up on Twitch in the future. Stay tuned…

~The Big Four Of Late War

Detour: Wayne’s WWIII: Soviet T-80 Battalion

With the new World War III: Soviet book out I have an opportunity to try a few things out with my Soviet forces. At the moment I have a bunch of T-72 tanks, a large BMP-2 Motor Rifle Company and a mix of supporting elements painted up. At 100 points I’ve been running my T-72s in to companies of 6 or 7 tanks with a BMP-2 Motor Rifle Company, a pair of SA-13 Gophers, two Shilkas, some more BMP-2 scouts and a battery of three 2S1 Carnations. I been playing with some sort of combination of these since Team Yankee first came out, so I thought it was time to change it up.

I plan to put together a force based around the new T-80s. These are better protected than the T-72s, more mobile with their Advanced Stabiliser, and can also fire the AT-11 Sniper gun launched anti-tank guided missile. The AT-11 is particularly impressive with a range out 120cm as well as being able to fire on the move, as long as to keep your tactical speed under 10”/25cm.

The other new things I’m tempted by are the new 2S6 Tunguska AA Tank, BM-27 Hurricane rocket launcher, and the BMP-3. With the BMP I just gabbed three to get me started, which I can either mount some of my already painted infantry in, or use them as a scout unit. As a scout unit they also make quite good tank destroyers with their AT-10 Stabber ATGMs.

This is my initial 100 point force.

The Big Four Of Late War have also been discussing playing some large point games, with the idea of focusing of the more expensive tanks and playing with a decent number of them. With this in mind I also made this 150 point force.

With the T-80s being quite meaty and expensive it won’t take me long to paint the 11 I need altogether. I’ve so far painted six and have another five sitting on my painting desk at home. I also already have my BMP-3s assembled. I just need to grab the BM-27 Hurricanes and the 2S6 Tunguskas.

I’ve done my T-80s in a camouflage scheme, which is probably post-cold war Russian rather than Soviet, but I wanted them to be completely different to my T-72s.

I’ll try and keep you up to date on my progress.

~Wayne

Detour: Victor’s WWIII: Soviet T-80 Battalion

With this force I toiled for a while about whether or not to do camouflage or plain green. There are some really cool camo schemes out there for Soviet tanks, and it was very tempting. However when my army lists started to contain more and more vehicles, I settled on plain green to ensure I’d get them all finished in the time frame. But what shade of green?

As you may know there no one green to rule them all. I’ve painted plenty of drab olive greens before, so I aimed for something more vibrant.

I started by airbrushing a dark green, and then panel fading with a pale green, intentionally going quite light. Next was a dry-brush and a wash to tone it all down, followed by a second dry-brush to bring back the edges. This is a really quick way to get a lot of tonal depth on your tanks quickly.

The result is quite an intense green, more towards blue than yellow. It won’t be for everyone tastes, but I’m quite happy with it and it pops on the table.

I chose to paint the rubber parts to add another colour to break up the green. In reality they would likely be painted the same time as the tank, but there are examples with bare rubber. Same goes for the wooden un-ditching logs, tools, and exhausts where paint might have come off and rusted over time.

Another additional colour I used was an olive drab, which I used for anything consumable (MG ammo tins, fuel drums, missile canisters, etc).

So even with a “green horde” I’ve managed to get some other colours in there which hopefully add some visual interest without looking too patch work.

That’s 34 vehicles completed in 18 evenings, the largest army I’ve ever painted, and the fastest. Time for a break before I work on the infantry to ride in the BMP-3’s. I’m looking forward to using these all in a game soon!

~Victor