Friday, August 12, 2011

Reinforcements from the Capitalist West!

Pride of place to the T-35.  Looks impressive, and being made of white metal, it is one heavy model!
I can't believe it has been so long since I posted here, as it's not as if WW2 gaming has been ignored my end.  Our group here in Tokyo (The West Tokyo Wargamers) has been involved in many different periods- and recently for me it has been Napoleonics- but WW2 has been a steady favourite, as you can see here.

But as my Soviet collection is more complete than my Napoleonic one, I have been spending more time on building French, Russians and now Prussians rather than churning out T-34's and the like.

However, in July I was back in Vancouver for a spot 'o home leave, where I took the opportunity to pack up and ship my old collection of Soviets that I played with there.  These were all built in the eighties and early nineties.  I came to Japan originally with the intention of staying for three years.  Nineteen years later, and having access to a well-established gaming club, it was time for them to be recommissioned, and to make the voyage westward.

And these are seasoned troops!  I played loads and loads of WW2 games in Vancouver back then using a variety of rules.
I was a little concerned if they would survive the journey across the Pacific, as given the cost of postage from Kanuckistan these days, I opted to have them sent by sea mail.  Fortunately, damage was very minimal, and nothing that cannot be repaired.  

Unfortunately, these do not represent any particular organization.   In those days, the German player was spoiled for choice in a a number of ranges of readily-available kits in plastic, resin, and metal.  Not so the collector of Soviet vehicles, who really had to hunt around.  Getting  any Soviet equipment in any quantity then, apart from T-34/85's and KV's. was a real headache (and expensive!). 

In the picture, you can see some T-26 variants from the now long-defunct Akheton Models.  These were uniformly dreadful, as was my choice of green paint!  But in those pre-UM days, beggars couldn't be choosers.

I also built a ISU-152 and IS-2, from a resin producer in California whose name I long forget.  The current Fujimi IS-2m is a much, much better kit, as is Pegasus Hobbies' offering for both the IS-2m and the ISU-152.  But hey, a bird in the hand...

Now as I mentioned these kits were built a long, long time ago, so I need to cut myself some slack for any inaccuracies.  One thing I do regret having done back then is going overboard with the foliage and decals on all the models.  I may give some of these kits a new paint job, or at least remove the vegetation!  Those T-26's for a start.

The most useful models for my present force are the softskins and transports, not to mention some rather nice artillery pieces, including this pair of 160mm mortars!

One of my favourites was this scratch-built Stalinetz S2 High-Speed Tractor.  It looks very reminiscent of a German Raupenschlepper Ost, although I believe the Soviet vehicle was on the scene first.  
I took an old Roco 1/87th scale Pz-III. Cut the tracks in the middle and removed a section to shorten them, and cobbled together a cab and flatbed from plastic card and Milliput.  The canvas tilt was from, IIRC, a White scout car kit.  

I've always been very proud of this one! It's accuracy is suspect, as I was going by a couple of grainy old photos.  But it looks okay for the tabletop, and at least it's unique.  This will be towing a 76.2mm gun as part of my motorcycle battalion.

I'm also happy with my NKVD staff car, which is a repainted toy car from about 1989 or so (from the Dick Tracy movie, maybe?)
Aside from these painted kits, I also brought back with me some old kits I had lying around- the makings of a pretty good airforce, some more softskins, and even a box of metal figures including a cavalry regiment!

I look forward to these all seeing action in the none-too-distant future!


Prufrock said...

Excellent!  There's nothing quite like the arrival of reinforcements from a distant time and place :)


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10FogHorn said...

Hi Robert, I hope you are well, I stumbled onto your blog, while looking for WWII war gamers still using good old fashioned 3d miniatures in HO scale. Although I am not a critic, your Russian troops look great. I have been modelling and gaming for nearly 40 years, so good, some not so good. I may have some Soviet kit you'd be interested in. e-mail me, Best Regards, Eric