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Monday, February 17, 2014

Bolt Action - Cbax's USSR Army Collection


It's been a little over a year since I got into Bolt Action.  In that time, I have played several dozen games and started collecting American, German, Russian, Finnish, and Japanese armies.  My Russian army is by far the largest, with my German army in close second.  Recently I was reorganizing how I store my armies, and got the urge to put all my Russians on the table at once.  Nothing is more rewarding than putting all your miniatures on the table to look at them.




My army has gone from nothing, to a horde, in a fairly short period of time.  It includes a large number of tanks, a sizable anti-tank section, support weapons, and a large cadre of infantry.


My armored collections contains nine tanks and an armored car.  I also have two tank destroyers.  I have plans to buy more early war Soviet tanks (T-26s and BT-7) in the immediate future.



Recently my Soviet armor underwent a face lift and I repainted half of them.  Originally I painted my T-34/76s and KV-1 a lighter green, which I really like.  However I ran out of that paint and was unable to find it again.  I tried to replace it with a green I got from Warlord, but my tanks came out looking Dark Angel Green.  I was not thrilled with that color.



While at the grocery store the other day I saw a can of Krylon Italian Olive.  The cap color looked like the color green I have been looking for, but I was hesitant because it was satin.  After mulling over it, I went for it and am pleased to announce the color is perfect.  It is also only $4 a can, which is a fraction of what good looking spray paint from model companies cost.



If you're going to play Soviet armor, you have to own the work house of the Soviet army, the T-34.  I own six; three T-34/76s and three T-34/85s.



I love taking tank riders.  Tank riders can get into combat quick on the back of your armored units.  It also looks cool to stack a few figures on the back of the tanks.  One of these days I am going to make tank rider markers using Warlord Soviet plastics.



My collection also includes a KV-1 and a KV-2 heavy tank.  The KV-2 is one of my favorite tanks to run in Bolt Action.  It cost 300 points (regular), is a heavy tank, and mounts a massive heavy howitzer.



A light T-26 and BA-10 armored car make up the rest of my armor.  I really like how the T-26 looks and want to get two more and a few BT-7 for early war games and for Soviet/Japanese games.


My infantry force is also fairly large.  I have well over one hundred pairs of boots and can make or fake just about any unit found in the Armies of the Soviet Union book.



All those green helmets and khaki uniforms have a tendency to overwhelm an opponent.



All good armies need good leaders.  These two officers are from Black Tree Design.  I also took flags from a set of Napoleonic British and gave them to my Soviets.



To make sure all my men tow the political and ideological line I have an NKVD commissar section as well.


My army includes a small platoon of Black Death Naval troops.  This small platoon includes two squads, an officer, an anti tank rifle, and a maxim machine gun.


I own a ton of infantry.  One of my favorite infantry options are Siberians.  Siberians are regular troops that can be upgraded to tough fighters, which makes them very effective assault troops.  I usually try to identify these squads during the game by making sure they all have fur caps.


Here are two units of People's Militia.  Half the figures don't have guns and are only good for casualties, but it makes for a cheap activation die.  Unarmed Soviets can easily be made using the Warlord plastics.


One of the never-leave-home-without-it units are Soviet Assault Engineers.  With access to 20-point flame throwers, your assault engineers will be bullet magnets.  Try mounting them in trucks to get them into action fast.


When all else fails, taking stock standard infantry is always a good option for your Soviets.  I know that LMGs are not the greatest option in the world, but they are to iconic to ignore.  I have about eight LMGs in my collection.


There is nothing more ferocious than loading up an entire squad with SMGs.  Whether they are on foot or riding on the back of a tank.  Soviet infantry decked out with SMGs can make quick work of the enemy.


Soviets have some of the best support options in the game.  They can field a tool for just about every problem your army might encounter.  I normally have one support weapon for every squad in my force.



My brand new Ampumolet launchers.  You can take up to three of these guys in a platoon.  Capable of firing a 24" direct fire D6 HE, these things even give you the opportunity to light your opponents tanks on fire.


Anti tank rifles are an efficient use of points and are good at throwing pins out on armored cars and tanks.


Anti tank dogs are another cheap AT option.  This less than ethical use of dogs as seeking anti tank mines will leave your opponent howling.


The Soviets made good use of captured German equipment throughout the war.   One of the more popular weapons was the panzerfaust.  These teams also get to deploy deeper onto the board.



Soviet snipers are the thing of legend in miniature war gaming.  I have three teams.  Guess which on is my favorite?


I love my guns and tank killers.  Zis-2, Zis-3, 45mm, SU-85 and an SU-100.  Even though they are not the most useful use of points, I use them in a lot of my scenario games.  In competive play I like the Zis-3 because it doubles as a light howitzer. 


At Historicon 2013 I learned the hard way that an army needs transports.  I have three trucks right now, one can mount quad MMGs, and a White Scout Car.  I need to get a few more trucks and a field car.


I have one medium and one heavy mortar.  I never, ever, ever, ever, ever leave home without one of these guys.


So there it is.  Its been a long year, but I have a massed quite the Soviet force.  In addition to the unit I mentioned in this article, my wish list also includes scouts, Soviets with body armor, more naval troops, and howitzers.

Up next I will highlight my German army collection, so stay tuned.

How many figures did you collect in the last year?  Show us on the forum.

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