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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Review: Strelkovy Company (Winter) (SBX28)

by Jeff Flint

Just got a copy of the Strelkovy Company (Winter) (SBX28) boxset for Flames of War from Dirty Jon to review.  So, after I stopped giggling like a little schoolgirl (not a pretty sight for a 6'4" 270 lb guy to do by the way), I broke the box open and started the process...which, by now, you should know is that I rate a set based on:

- Accuracy:  How accurate are the sculpts...are body parts proportional, etc...
- Quality:  Are there excessive mold lines, flash, miscasts, etc...
- Versatility:  Is there a good mix of figures or can you only make a single base configuration
- Paintability:  How easy is it to paint the figures, is the detail deep enough so the figures accept a good dry brush, etc... and then I share pictures of the painted set and a paint plan for how I painted them.

But...I always start of with a little history of the unit type represented to set the stage...

The Strelkovy here represent the infantry involved in the invasion of Finland in 1939...all decked out in their Winter finest.  The biggest difference between the Strel that we all know and love from Mid-war and Late-war is that the Kommissars are not separate teams, but are actually combined with the Battalion Command and Company Command teams to create .....a Command Kommisar team.
So....In the box you get everything to make a single platoon in a company...with 1 Light Mortar, Company Command Kommissar, Battalion Command Commissar and the Battalion 2iC.  With this being Russians, you will need a lot of Russians and a several sets...but with 2 boxes you have met the minimum requirements for a Strelkovy Battalion.  The only thing missing is the MG Plt option.

OK on to the review.

Accuracy:  Looking at the figures I got real scared for a moment....There is this big honking red star in the front of the cap.  No way that could be accurate.  It had to be an artistic decision to make the star easier to paint right.  Well....

Budionovka from Wikipedia
Color picture from
Evan Allen (the sculptor) nailed the budionovka hats...even the little point on the top!

 They really did have a big honking red star in the front of the hat.  Evan even got the iconic point on the top of the hat.

 The rifles are spot on as well.  Lots of bayonets and the join of the rifle to the bayonet isn't overly thick (more on this later).

Everything else was proportional....the hands on some seemed a little large, but that is because they should be wearing mittens and not be bare handed (like I painted them duh-oh!!!) is Finland in the winter after all!!!

Accuracy Rating:  10/10  The best Accuracy ratings I have given to date and well deserved

Quality:  Here we have an issue.  There was a little whiskering on bayonets and some flash on the bases...but nothing bad at all...very mild.  On the whole they were very clean and needed very little filing.

Now, the bad news...  Where I complemented the accuracy of the rifles, this is, sadly, a huge quality issue.  The rifles break much more easily at either the join where a hand is or where the bayonet is than other models I painted before.  I believe this is because the metal is thinner there to be more accurate.

Figure on the left is one of two out of the box with a broken on right is what it should look like
I had 2 figures that had their barrels snap while in the box...easily fixed though as I found the pieces.  Word of advice...DO NOT dump the little slivers of metal that are in the box until you have done a quality inspection of your figures.  The broken barrel can be easily confused with scrap.

Sadly, the saga of the barrel did not end there.  I snapped off an additional 4 barrels during assembly and painting, losing 1 in the process.

A little paint and you can hide the broken barrel/bayonet
Quality Rating:  6/10.  The barrel issue really brought this score down...and I fear that it will be a continuing issue with use.  If the barrels weren't an issue, Quality would be a 10/10.  Even though I did not need replacement parts, I did make Battlefront Customer Service aware of the issue so they can track this to see if it is something systemic or just a "one off" issue.

Versatility: There is a great  mix of figures in this box set.

8 different rifleman poses, 11 different NCO/Command figures!
You can do a lot of mixing and even get 2 LMG gunners (one with his LMG slung and the other with it in assault mode.  Now, these figures are only suitable for Early-War Winter, so they are not multi-list versatile.  That narrow range could easily be overlooked by a manufacturer...Kudos to Battlefront for not overlooking these unique figures.

Versatility Rating:  10/10  Great mix and number of different poses.  Every stand looks different.

- Paintability:  O-M-G  These figures just about painted themselves.  The detail and depth of detail was OUTSTANDING!  I cant say it enough, Evan really out did himself here.  As you look through the pictures below, pay attention to the detail and how it pops.  The figures took really well to dry brushing and thin layers of paint.  I mean even the the shoulder seams on the heavy jackets were preserved.

Paintability Rating:  10/10   Wish I could give bonus points to offset the lower quality score.

Overall Rating:  9/10  Even with the low quality rating a decent score.  Is the set worth it?  Hell yeah.  These were some of the best figures I have painted in a long time.  Absolutely loved them.  I wasn't planning on building a Finnish War Early war army, but now I am thinking about...just because of these figures. Just base the figures so the rifles don't hang over the edges and have super glue ready if they break...or if they break off just paint the rifle without bayonet.

The Paint Plan I used:

Picture time!!!!!  Pay attention to the detail of the sculpts

1st Bn, Battalion Commander/Kommissar

I didn't have a good Hammer & Sickle Decal for the flags and didn't want to freehand it

You can see the panel lines of the Commander's quilted parka

Battalion 2nd in Command

See the seam across the shoulder on the figure to the left?  Just some of the lovely detail in the sculpts

1st Bn, A Company Commander

I love the pose of the figure on the left

1st Platoon:

1st Squad

 2nd Squad

 3rd Squad

As always, a special thanks The Foundry in Huntsville, Alabama for allowing me to use their tables and terrain to take these pictures.

SonBae (AKA Jeff Flint) is a long time gamer and painter and runs a blog at Journey Back To The Table where he posts photos of his work, reviews, BatReps and the “Painting Miniatures Declassified” modeling and painting tutorials.

Models provided by Battlefront Miniatures

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