Building my Czechoslovakian army has been a real labour of love over the past few years and other than a previously confessed love of the Vz. 61 Skorpion machine-pistol I have no idea what pushed me over the edge to start building the army, let alone how it go so big…
Thinking about this as I type I do have to pay credit to a gentleman called Tom Wise who, if you are a very old time Flames Of War player, you will know as the guy that when he built and army, he built the whole army!
Before I type anything more, lets look at the army in all of it’s glory (click the image for a bigger version).
With my current batch of painting finished (which included the 10 T-72B tanks with ERA, the Praga SP AA, and the 6 SU-17 aircraft) I can almost field any combination of models I want, but broadly speaking I have options for:
T-55AM2 Tank Battalion,
T-72M Tank Battalion,
T-72B Tank Battalion,
BMP Motor Rifle Battalion, or a
Wheeled Motor Rifle Battalion
Each of these have plenty of support options to choose from to “buff” the Formation or provide Force Support with some units like the BMP’s capable of doing double duty as infantry carriers, either in their own Formation or as a grey-box inside a tank Formation, or as Scouts if I am using the OT-64s to move the infantry around.
Strangely though, looking at the picture of everything on the table, I can tell you that I am still not done! I regret not painting both T-72 Battalions up to a slightly more resilient 16 tanks each, I’d like to add some Carnations, perhaps more Pragas, maybe some “what-if” Shilkas (I love the look of them), another 7 T-55 tanks as a dedicated “T-55AM2 Missile Tank Company” (I’d just use a different numbering sequence to help me spot them on the battlefield), and last but certainly not least… Hinds. Four of them for a little more air support!
With all that being said and done though, I think I might take a break from green tanks for a bit. Victor is making noises about a short project he wants us to go and with the last part of the year being a return to my Late War British I think I need a break and a different colour of tank in front of my brush…
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.
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!
Like most of the Big Four Of Late War I was super-jazzed with the T-80 arriving in the WWIII: Soviet book, and decided to join in the fun and paint up a new army for the launch (evil glares at Chris for not participating).
Now I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to painting which means I’m normally a slow painter, so I thought I would just this as an opportunity to challenge myself to pump out an army quickly.
Rather than noodling an army list to build my army around I decided to just paint some of the new models that I thought looked cool, points and army composition didn’t really make me decide what to paint.
The core of my force are some T-80s. I figure 10 should be enough to cover me for most situations. Next up are some BMP-3 Scouts, again because they are new plastic and look super cool.
One of my favourite new units in the book is the TOS-1. I have been badgering Wayne, Phil, Chris, Evan, and Pete to make the TOS-1 since the start of our WWIII journey, so now that we have it I thought it would be rude not to paint some. As well as looking cool, game-wise I think it will be a good choice to have available to my Soviets since I tend to run tank heavy armies and struggle to deal with infantry. Their Brutal bombardment will certainly help with that.
Lastly, I’m painting a platoon of 2S6 Tunguska AA tanks, mainly due to rule of cool, I just think they look awesome.
Plugging this into Forces it comes out to an inconvenient 101 points, so I’d probably have to drop a BMP-3 if I were to take it to a tournament.
Amongst the Big Four Of Late War we have been discussing playing big boy games of 150 points using the more modern equipment that has started appearing (T-80s, M1A1 Abrams, Challenger I’s, Leopard 2’s etc). Luckily I can make this a 150 point list just by making them Heroes and adding the Mi-24 Hinds that I have already painted, a few infantry stands, and a pair of Gophers for a bit more AA. The TOS-1s are probably a suboptimal option given that none of the guys are going to go particularly infantry heavy for these games, but sometimes you don’t always get given the tools that you need to do a job and just have to make do with what you have available.
As far as the fast paint challenge has gone, I’m about 3 weeks in and I’ve managed to finish the T-80s apart from the tracks and the rest of the army is not far behind. With another week I think I’ll have the army completely finished. The army is definitely not painted as well as I would usually paint, but I’m pretty happy with it, and I think looking at effort vs reward it’s pretty good. I’m just looking forward to putting it on the table for a few games.
Last year at the New Zealand National Wargaming Convention, I spent most of the weekend hanging out with “the boys from the Hutt Club”. A number of us were playing Team Yankee and over a few drinks I found myself asking what they were planning to do for ValleyCon (their flagship event they organise each year) and Team Yankee.
To my pleasure, the idea of 100 point games on 8’x4’ tables was thrown in to the ring. With a cry of “let me ask my wife, but I am definitely coming” I found myself committed to heading down!
Fast forward 10 months and I was frantically painting 60 points of Czechoslovakians to take my Panzerschreck army and grow it into a full-size force.
Needless to say, I haven’t completed much in the way of Big Four models recently. Thankfully I had the Battlefront collection to leverage as I failed to get my Hinds painted in time, but I did complete the rest, including a flight of the new plastic SU-25 Frogfoot (who knows what the plural for the Frogfoot would be? Frogfoots, Frogfeet?) aircraft.
My next problem was that the army was too big for the Battlefront figure case! Luckily, I had another case option up my sleeve but the painting and transport hurdles were only going to be the first issues with taking such a large army, especially when you are flying to the event!
We were lucky to be at the Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club for the weekend – a great venue with food and drink onsite and just a generally great atmosphere. I won’t go into the individual games as such but I did learn a heck of a lot about my army and how to play it over the weekend.
Always make sure you send enough assaulting teams to count as a large company – don’t be lazy about pushing those extra few models in, even if you don’t think their defensive fire will stop you.
Autoloaders are the best! I was planning on painting some artillery for my French but my experience with the Dana has reiterated it for me.
Su-25 Frogfoot + Kh-25 missile = much fun for me. If I could have two flights I would…
Aggression and fast play is the key to winning (or losing).
What I found really difficult over the weekend was getting a result (a win or loss, rather than timing out). I am a huge fan of the “if no-one wins we both loose” approach to missions. I want to have a fun game where we both manoeuvre and play to win so a “sitskrieg” style of game is not for me. However, pushing 90 (yes, ninety) models around the table takes a lot of time and effort, combined with my lack of familiarity with the new models I had just built and painted, and a lack of practice games, meant that the army was just too much for me to handle at the start of the weekend. By the end things were starting to come together but let’s be honest, I picked an army that was enormously fun to build, paint and play, but was not a good choice given the “rules” of the event.
Click on the image to the right to see my list…
Knowing my personal limitations, I should have chosen more wisely.
So, where does this leave me and my Czechoslovakians now? I love the army, I love the paint job, and I love how it plays, so I’ve figured out a painting list of what I need to do to complete the army which includes more tanks (yes, more T-72 and T-55 tanks), my unfinished Hinds, some BMP-2s as well as a few other bits and pieces. This will give me the option of fielding a more ‘elite’ version of the army (with T-72 tanks, supported by BMP-2 infantry and about 60 models), as well as a even bigger horde for social games.
However, I will be giving the army a rest from Tournaments for a little while and perhaps building a tight list from the WW3: British book. The test shot (pre-production) of the Challenger sitting on my desk keeps calling me. I also have a company of Churchill and Cromwell tanks sitting on the shelf that need some hobby time as part of the Big Four.
Other than some bad luck with fog at the Wellington Airport (yep, my return flight was cancelled) and an unplanned extra night stay it was an excellent trip, with great games and opponents. Massive thank you to all the Hutt boys, and especially Chris O (and family) for being host, taxi and all-round good bloke during my visit.
ValleyCon 2020 Results
1st – Simon McB
2nd – Richard
3rd – Tom
4th – Chris P
5th – Adam
6th – Bob
6th – Brian
6th – Sofia
6th – Russell
10th – Simon S
11th – Chris T
12th – Regan
13th – Connor
14th – Steve
15th – Lauchie
16th – Chris O
Best Sport – Simon S
Excellent Sports – Chris O & Regan
Best Army – Russell
Excellent Painting – Bob & Adam
Every year members of the New Zealand Studio travel down to sunny(ish) Palmerston North for the worlds longest running Flames Of War / Team Yankee tournament. This year the Big Four embarked on a road trip whilst other members of the team took the expedient option and flew.
The road trip down featured the customary stops at various model and gaming shops along the way, where some mistakes were made! At least there were no road closures resulting in 2-hour detours (unlike the last two years!).
Panzerschreck is normally a doubles event and under Team Yankee it was decided a force should contain a minimum of two Formations, using one Force diagram as the basis for the army. Wayne and Victor paired up, using West Germans and Israelis, whilst Casey and Chris teamed up with their Soviet and Czechoslovakian armies. The combined forces could be up to 140 points with no prescribed way as to how they are split.
Over the weekend we were fortunate enough to play some really great opponents, as well has facing off against some tough armies. Of course, Panzerschreck is known for being a hard but friendly event so this was no surprise.
In addition to the gaming activities during the day, in the evening we would retreat back to Evan’s (our NZ based sculptor) house for some post game debriefs and some boardgames.
Before we knew it the weekend was over and it was time to return to Auckland… of course we made time for a few more stops, including a quick visit to the New Zealand Army Museum at Waiouru.
To check out some of the armies and games, click on the thumbnails below
The Big Four have been working on a secret (or not so secret in some cases) project to get armies ready for this weeks Panzerschreck tournament. Panzerschreck is the longest running Flames Of War tournament in the world and this year it has been hijacked to run a Team Yankee doubles event.
The Big Four paired up along traditional lines, with Wayne and Victor (Bratwurst and Bagels) and Casey and Chris (Chalk and Cheese) each joining forces.
Wayne had most of his army already painted having taken his West Germans to a number of events over the past couple of years. His Panzergrenadier Company has a mix of Panzergrenadiers (no surprises there), Leopard 2 tanks and some support vehicles.
Victor painted (most) of his rather homogeneous force as part of the Oil War launch, having just completed the extra stowage and tank commander this week to complete the Company. He is bringing 11 Merkava 2 tanks to the battlefield and expects to be leading from the front, thanks to their heavy armour.
Casey, finally, finished his first Soviet army for Team Yankee after a couple of years – he did paint a pretty massive Soviet army for someone else during the time as well. His force consists of 15 T-64 tanks, as well as anti-aircraft launchers, anti-tank launchers and some recon.
Last, but certainly not least, Chris has been gagging to do a Czechoslovakian force for some time now and has used this as a chance to get the first part of it finished and ready for battle. Of course, his pile of T-55 tanks, support vehicles and infantry only come out to 35 points, so he has quite a bit more work ahead of him (once he has finished his Big Four project) to complete it as a stand-alone army!
Stay tuned to the Big Four Instagram feed over the next few days to keep up with all of their progress and road trip activities!
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