Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kurskifying the Kollection...

The West Tokyo Wargamers played another great BKCII game in May.  And even if the Russkis got their butts handed to them by the Germans (who were commanded by an Italian, just to rub it in!),  it was a lot of fun and we are all busy working on increasing our armies and working on terrain and buildings.

And there are lot of reinforcements coming my way!  The first batch arrived from Hannants in the UK yesterday.

Latest acquisitions. Six OT-34 flamethrower tanks, some AA in the form of an M-16 Half-track, and some aerial artillery- the IL-2m Sturmovik

The UM OT-34 kit also contains the parts for assembling a standard T-34/76, so unless I decide to go for a full battalion of OT-34's- which, while tempting, I'd never be able to field under the rules- some will probably end up just as gun tanks. 

I like the shape of the Chelyabinsk UZTM (ChTZ) turret that this version is modelled with. 

My Russian army has been designed for late war battles, but after some thought, I have decided that I want to work on building up forces for mid-war as well.  Under BKCII, the T-34/85's are great tanks but expensive in terms of points, and- along with other later war tanks- can tend to dominate the battlefield.  

I've a fondness for the mid-war T-34 tanks, especially the T-34/76 later versions with the hexagonal turrets.  In fact, when I first started collecting 20mm WW2 Russians over 25 years ago, I wanted to use the models from Esci.  

But these were impossible to find in any quantity, so I settled on the Fujimi T-34/85, which could be found everywhere and anywhere.  But I've always liked the version that Esci did back then, which with its hexagonal turret and 76mm gun was to me really iconic of the sweeping tank battles over the steppes in 1942-43. 

Since then there have been a number of newer kits on the market of the T-34/76.  But the biggest issue for me has been scale.  Most of my late war vehicles are 1/76, while the mid-war T-34's tend to be 1/72.  I don't mind mixing scales too much, especially for trucks, half-tracks and the like.  

But the larger the vehicle the more pronounced the difference.  This ruled out the Hat Armourfast T-34, as by all accounts the Hat model of the T-34's are not all that great, and are considerably over scale to begin with.   

But as I found a great deal on the UM OT-34 flamethrower tank, I decided what the hell, and to take the plunge and just start a mid-war tank force as well.  

What tipped me over the edge was that Zvezda are releasing this fast-build kit, which means that the project has become viable.  Add to that some great and  very useful releases from Pegasus Hobbies, and I'm off to the races, or at least to Ponyri Station.

Edit:  After doing a bit of comparison shopping on the Internet, I  found some more bargains, so I just put in an order for some more vehicles, this time some heavy stuff.

A battalion (four models) of KV-1s tanks to form a Guards  Heavy Tank Breakthrough Regiment.  At two vehicles to a box, Pegasus kits represent good value, and the detail is pretty good as well.  In particular the characteristic track sag between the running wheels.

And what Soviet force for Kursk would be without it's Zvierboys, or "animal hunters"?  Not many models of SU-152's out there, and this is a nice one.  Two boxes flying my way.


Finally, I took the opportunity of ordering some Russian farm buildings as well, as we are all working on some terrain features for our games, and these look like being quite the thing.

Next on the shopping list are either some T-70's by Britannia Models in resin, or some Lend-Lease Valentine kits by Italeri. 

But that decision will have to wait for next month, when I get paid my annual summer bonus!

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