Here’s my finished Zrínyi Assault Gun Battery. I love this little assault gun. It’s like a Semovente on steroids, or a StuG trying to hide behind a wall…
I chose to go with plain green as I thought the shape and details of the kits are interesting enough (glorious rivets!), and I think it helps the markings stand out. However, part of me is still tempted to do a second formation one day in 3 colour camo…
I’ll do a future article about some of the research I did, and some of the unique markings and details on the Zrínyi, but for now, here are each of my units.
I’ve painted two HQ options, one with the long 75mm barrel. There was only one prototype built, but I’m glad we included it in the kit. It’s a cool option for the HQ to have an extra direct fire threat.
You can see some work in progress pictures on our Instagram. My next step is to add some Panthers and either Hetzers or StuGs, and challenge Casey to a game!
I’ve been collecting and painting Hungarian forces since the we first published out first Flames Of War Hungarian intelligence briefing back under the 2nd Edition of the Flames Of War Rules. With both the Bagration: Axis Allies for Late-war, and Hungarian Steel for Mid-war coming out I thought I’d revisit my Hungarian forces and see what more I can add. The new plastic Zrínyi is very tempting, and I’m sure I will paint a few of them, but I have one glaring hole in my collection, some cavalry. The Hungarians are famous for their horsemanship as well as being the inspiration for the introduction of a type of light cavalry to armies across Europe, the Hussar, or Huszár in Hungarian.
Back when we added the first cavalry units as options for the Hungarians I converted and painted an entire troop (Unit) using a mix of Soviet Cossack and Romanian cavalry by doing a few head swaps. However, now I don’t have to go to all that trouble as Evan has sculpted some nice Hungarian Huszárs to go along with the horses that James originally sculpted for our 1939 Polish cavalry range.
To make my force I will be using two command cards. The first is the 1st Cavalry Division Huszár Squadron which lets you build a formation of Huszárs. This lets you take 2-3 Huszár Troops from page 69 of Bagration: Axis Allies.
The other card is the 75mm Huszár Battery. This lets you field horse artillery battery armed with little 75mm Skoda M1915 mountain guns. It is worth noting you can field this battery as a mountain battery as well, and also as a horse artillery battery in Mid-war from Hungarian Steel. In fact you can field the whole Huszár Squadron in there too.
I got into the office late one day and Victor ambushed me and said “Chris and I have been talking, and we’re doing an Axis-Allies detour… and by the way, you’re doing the Finns… all you need to paint is 11 Sturmis”, and just like that I had another army to paint.
Everyone has or needs a gaming friend like Victor ‘The Enabler’ Pesch.
As it so happens, I was actually already tempted to do a Finnish army at some point anyway, this just moved it up the schedule. Finns are an often romanticized army, reflecting their David versus Goliath struggle that we all love, which is why they’ve always been a popular and requested army in Flames Of War. I’ve personally been interested in them since watching Talvisota (The Winter War) about 15 years ago, I’ve just never had the time to paint the army.
As Victor said when he pitched the detour, all I need to paint for the army to start with is 11 Sturmi assault-guns. I’ll bulk the rest of the army out with the whitewashed Soviets that I have been painting lately, but will probably paint more T-34s for the army later anyway. Sure, they don’t have Finnish markings, but I’m ok with that. The only other thing I have to paint is an ISU-152, but I’m planning on painting a unit of those at some point for my Soviets anyway. but this list comes out to roughly 100 points. I’m going to paint these in their traditional 3 colour camo.
The Sturmi assault-guns are nice models. They combine Battlefront’s awesome StuG kit with log and concrete armour add-ons, as well as the iconic stowage bin. All that is required is a little bit of clipping to remove the Schurzen mounts.
The other way I could go with the Finns is to go Soviet tank heavy with a mix of T-34s (76mm and 85mm) and KV tanks, supported by some Sturmi assault-guns, with a few points left over for command cards. The great thing about this army is that it’s Soviet gear in competent hands. I’ll be interested to see how they perform.
While the others are racing along to get their armies done by the Axis-Allies launch, I’m going to take a bit longer because I still have some Soviets to finish for our Panzerschreck tournament in 6 weeks, and I’m also trying to finish my winter gaming table in time to have a battle report and take on Victors Hungarians with my Soviets soon, so that’s going to be my immediate goal.
My first book as a Graphic Designer at Battlefront was ‘Stalin’s Europe’ back in 2010. This was the first book to introduce Hungarians to Late War, and they were my first Flames Of War army.
That army has since left my collection, so with the new Bagration: Axis-Allies book, my painting improving, and models now being in plastic, there’s 3 good reasons to recreate a similar army.
The new plastic Zrinyi is a great plastic kit, and the Zrinyi formation is the most flexible of the assault gun formations in the book.
I want a full allotment of 10 Zrinyi’s, and I’ll also paint an extra one with the 75mm barrel option. This will give me a second HQ when I choose to run two formations.
As for what to add next, I’ll repeat history and go with Panthers and StuGs again. Panthers are always good and give me some decent guns, while the StuGs add a good direct fire option when I want to use the Zrinyis as artillery.
With those two black box units added to my Zrinyi formation, I end up at this as my first 100 point list, and if I want a little more anti-tank, I can add the 75mm barrel to the HQ, and swap the 3 StuGs for 4x Hetzers.
If I want to go all in with assault guns, I can drop the Panthers and run two Zrinyi formations. It might not have the punch to deal with some lists, but it looks like a lot of fun!
This means my first batch of painting will be:
11x Zrinyi assault guns
5x Hetzer assault guns
3x StuG assault guns
3x Panther tanks
Later down the road I want to paint 3 PaK40’s, and also a rifle platoon to give me the option to swap them into a Zrinyi formation using the ‘Assault Artillery Rifle Platoon’ command card. I’d also like to do Csaba armoured cars, but maybe not in blue this time…
If you spent any time in the Battlefront Studio over the past 8 or so years it would come as no surprise that a number of us have soft spots for the Finns, Hungarians and Romanians. Whilst they may not be one of the “Big Four” nations many of us have built Axis Allies armies of the years; from Andrew’s winter Finns, to Victor’s, Wayne’s, and my Hungarian armies, to a Mid War Romanian army that I painted before joining the team. Needless to say when Victor suggested a small detour project I thought “Why not!” The only question was what do do?
Thinking about all of our armies it was Phil’s Late War Romanian Panzer IV based force that I faced years ago whilst we were play testing the Red Bear Compilation that stuck in the back of my mind as a force I’d like to replicate. The suggestion of a detour was the final reason to get around to painting this “small” and somewhat contained force.
Full disclosure, whilst it was Phil’s army that pointed me down this path I was really tempted to do a StuG (or TA) force but as I have never painted one of plastic Panzer IV’s this seemed like a good opportunity to do so, and in numbers that could put a little fear in to my opponents.
After a little list noodling I came up with a pretty basic plan that involved maxing out the T-4 (Panzer IV) Medium Tank Company with an HQ, four platoons of T-4’s, one platoon of TA (StuG) assault guns and an Armoured Rifle Platoon of infantry in Sd Kfz 251 halftracks. Boom! 91 points spent, 18 tanks, 10 stands of infantry and 5 halftracks.
This was where I found myself on the horns of a dilemma. I really wanted some TACAM T-60’s as I think they are cute little models but I just didn’t have the points. Likewise the PaK40 and Reșița anti-tanks pack a lot of punch but were also out of my budget.
I turned to a platoon of AB (Sd Kfz 222) armoured cards (for 3 points) as every army likes some Spearhead and a Command Card unit of HS-129 aircraft. These lack the bombs of the Stukas but still give me another cool model to add to the mix and something that can hunt those pesky teams that try to hide at the back of the table.
I now have a pile of models that need assembling and a painting plan/scheme that needs testing… and Victor wants the armies finished by the end of June! If anyone needs me I’ll be out the garage building and painting!
The Big Four of Late-War are getting excited about Bagration: Axis-Allies. We’re preparing new armies, add-ons to old forces, and even some terrain. Join us over the next few weeks to see our progress on Instagram, and stay tuned for some live content on Twitch.
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).
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…
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.
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.
Complete my Cavalry Recon Troop
Complete my Armoured Rifle Platoon
6x M4A3 105mm
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.
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.
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