Suggestions For New Soviet Kits


  • The Grumpy Gnome started the excellent "Suggestions For New WW2 Kits" here:

    https://wargamesatlantic.com/community/xenforum/topic/44399/suggestions-for-new-ww2-kits

    The intent of this thread is to discuss gaps small and large in the plastic coverage of the Soviet forces in WW2 as well as to discuss equipment and uniforms with more granularity.

    (Note:  Large gaps in coverage is most interesting, but any gap in coverage can be raised.  The Panzer Lehr set shows WGA will consider a kit covering a unit as small as a Division.  We are discussing gaps in the 28mm PLASTIC market.)

     



  • Part 1:

    Major Uniforms of the Worker's and Peasant's Red Army (RKKA) aka Soviet Army:

    (This section on uniforms and equipment is to allow a shared understanding and vocabulary for further discussion of Soviet forces/miniatures).

    M35 Tunic -

    An RKKA Infantryman started WW2 in the M35 tunic.  It was a pull over garment with a stand and fall collar and two breast pockets.

    Colored tabs and rank as well as occasionally branch pins could be found on the collar early war.

    Subdued tabs and rank or even no tabs or rank were probably more common.

    (Subdued)

    (No tabs, no rank)

    Regardless, collar rank or lack there off is something represented by paint, not intrinsic to a 28mm miniature.

    M43 Tunic -

    In 1943 the M43 tunic was introduced.  The pagoni (shoulder boards) of old Russia were reinstated to improve morale/esprit de corps. 

    The M43 had a standing collar.

    The M43 generally had no pockets.  The M43s for Officers and females had breast pockets.  Supposedly in the late war, Enlisted Men could also wear the tunics with pockets.

    (Note female has pockets.  Also note the Antitank patch on left sleeve.  This along with the wound stripe are the only patches I am aware of the RKKA using).

    (What appears to be an Enlisted Man with a pocketed M43).

    M35 tunics continued in use but they were often modified with shoulder boards.

    Pants - 

    The same pants were worn throughout the war.  While it has been suggested that the pants with the diamond shaped knee reinforcement were for Enlisted Men and the pants without reinforcement was for Officers there is photographic evidence of Officers wearing the pants with knee reinforcement.

    Winter Uniforms - 

    In the winter season the RKKA Soldier was issued woolen versions of the M35 or M43 tunics and pants. He would exchange this uniform(s) for the cotton summer version in spring time.

    The great coat was in use from the beginning to the end of the war.  There were detail changes to the coat and the collar insignia but nothing we needs concern ourselves with in 28mm.

    Simultaneously (from 1941 onwards) the teliogrieka was issued.  This is is the iconic padded jacket. 

    Very early teliogriekas had stand and fall collars. 

    Most had a small standing collar.  They could have shoulder boards added, more commonly by NCOs and Officers.

    There were also padded pants. 

    The Bekesha is the far less common sheep skin coat.  Seemingly more commonly issued to Officers, but I've seen pictures of whole tank units wearing it.

    https://www.instagram.com/reel/CX5hygrg6sX/?utm_medium=copy_link

    Some troops were issued valenki (felt boots).  I imagine these were mainly used for sentry and more sedentary duties.  

    (Valenki wearing Soviet who appears less than impressed with a prisoner's foot wear).

    Softcaps - 

    The most common soft cap in the warmer months was the iconic pilotka aka side cap.

    Most commonly found with a star on the front, but not always.  Some Soldier wore them slanted to the left, some to the right.  (Many armies standardize this one way or another).  Supposedly it was common to keep a needle and thread in the folds of the pilotka.

    The saucer cap/visored field cap was far less common but still worn by the RKKA Soldier.  I have seen pictures of all ranks, to include an entire mortar crew wearing these.

    This cap has a much smaller brim and saucer than the monster Soviet saucer caps of the cold war.

    In the colder months the ushanka was worn.

    The Officer versions used real fur.  The Enlisted version was made of an artificial fur so far removed from real fur the troops called it "fish fur."  Who says you can't have a sense of humor on the Eastern Front?

    It's worth noting that Soviet troops had a much greater penchant for wearing soft caps into combat then the Germans or Western powers.  I'm not saying it was the majority or even common - it was just a more common practice than you found in peer nations.

    Helmets -

    The SSh-36 began production in surprise, 1936, and ended production in 1941. 

    It was already being phased out by Barbarossa.  You see some in the early war and I'm sure some survived far longer in isolated theaters.  An early war kit should have some SSh-36 helmet wearing heads.

    The SSh-39/SSh-40 were modern well shaped helmets appropriate for the entire war.  Like the US M1 helmet it would have an incredibly long service life and it or its clones would be widely adopted by other nations.  The difference between the SSH-39 and 40 was the liner and external rivet pattern.  The rivets should not be discernable in 28mm.

     

    Weapons -

    SMGs

    Three main submachine guns (SMGs) to concern ourselves with.

    The early war PPD-40.  An effective weapon but too difficult to mass produce.  

    The PPSh-41 aka the pappasha aka the ICONIC Soviet weapon of WW2.

    https://www.rbth.com/history/329701-why-is-this-wwii-submachine-good/amp

    Robust, reliable, and effective.  Fired the very hot 7.62x25.  Arguably the best SMG of the war.  The RKKA equipped vast numbers of men with these.  Far more SMGs fielded by the Soviets than any other power.  In the second half of the war and at close range a Soviet squad equipped with SMGs had a significant firepower advantage over most German Infantry Squads.  (Even in Korea, the US Army noted PPSh-41 armed North Koreans/Chinese often won close range firefights against Garand and BAR armed Americans).

    The PPSh-41 was prized by German Soldiers as well.  Some were even rechambered by the Germans in 9mm.

    (German Officer, Stalingrad.)

    The PPS-43.  The third significant Soviet SMG.  Fielded from the midpoint of the war on.  Even simpler and faster to build than the PPSh-41.  Lighter with a more controllable rate of fire than the PPSh-41.  Astonishingly simple to break down and maintain.  I consider it the best SMG of WW2.  

    -----

    (Left to right: PPD-40.  Unidentified.  PPD-40.  PPSh-41.)

    RIFLES

    SVT-40.  The SVT-40 was a semiautomatic rifle chambered in 7.62x54.  In essence it was the Soviet Garand.  It was fairly widely fielded in the beginning of the war.  Later production of the complex and time consuming rifle would fall to the wayside as the Soviet Union struggled to arm reconstituted and newly raised Divisions.  

    There was a scoped sniper variant as well.

    Mosin-Nagant 91/30

    The RKKA's primary rifle.  Not the worst bolt action of the war, but a long way from the best.  Early rifles had hex shaped receivers.  The majority had round receivers.

    (Top: hex receiver. Middle: round receiver with optics mount. Bottom: round receiver.)

    https://www.americanrifleman.org/content/a-look-back-at-the-mosin-nagant-91-30/

    There was a sniper variant as well.  The numbers of sniper 91/30s fielded and as well as the simple, rugged, and effective fixed power optic commonly fitted makes the sniper variant of the 91/30 the most significant sniper rifle of the war and arguably the best.  

    (91/30, early optic and mount)

    (91/30, common optic and mount)

    M38.  A carbine (shortened variant) of the 91/30.  Could not accept a bayonet.  Was commonly fielded to rear echelon troops.

    M44.  Later carbine variant of 91/30 that had an integral bayonet.  Would have been seen very late war.  

    There's some debate on whether this went to front line or rear echelon troops or both.  More research needed.

    (More to follow)

    Webbing Equipment - (More to follow)

     


  • Part 2:

    What is available in plastic

    1.  Warlord Games "Soviet Infantry Box Set."  Represents early to mid war RKKA Infantry.  The Soldiers depicted wear M35 tunics or teliogriekas.  There are 8 different bodies on the sprue.  One body is prone.  One is kneeling.  Parts are included to build an antitank gun crew.  Standard small arms for early to mid war are represented.  Honestly it's a pretty nice kit. 

    Con:  The mix of M35 tunics and teliogriekas is annoying.  I squint and pretend it's fall or spring.  

    Con:  The arms and weapons are seperate pieces.  Some find it fiddly and annoying.  (I don't.)

    2.  Warlord Games "Winter Soviet Infantry Box Set."  Modeled wearing great coats and teliogriekas they do a pretty good job of representing the RKKA fighting in the winter for the entirety of the war.  Eight bodies.  Has seperate arms and weapons again.  They claim that there is a PPS-43 on the weapon sprue but I can't find it.

    3.  Wargames Factory "WW2 Red Army Soviet Infantry Platoon Late War."  I'm just mentioning this for the sake of completeness.  This kit is no longer in production.  

    Helmets and pilotkas were a little off and the poses a bit stiff but the models were serviceable.

     


  • Part 3:

    Gaps:

    1.  The most obvious gap is late war RKKA Infantry in M43 uniforms.  From Kursk, to Bagration, to the end of the war this is what you want.  

    Set should include PPS43s which were seen in greater and greater numbers late war.  Also needs M44 carbines.


  • 2.  Early War summer uniform RKKA Infantry is another gap.  The Warlord kit has a mix of summer and winter bodies.  An all M35 tunic kit would be welcome.  Should include some SSh-36 helmet heads, some SVT rifles, and perhaps a PPD-40 submachinegun or two

    From Barbarossa, to Kharkov, to Stalingrad this is what you need.

    M35 tunic bodies with the SSh-36 helmets are also perfect to represent the Soviet troops invading Poland.

     

    Russian movie "On the Road to Berlin," captures the confusion and decimation of Russian armies during Barbarossa.  Particularly interesting to see how non-Slavs integrated into the RKKA.  (A main character is Kazakh).  A well done film.  Movie features early war M35 uniforms.

    https://youtu.be/Pkjl55XvUQo

     


  • 3.  Soviet Infantry in Amoeba suits.  In truth I think this kit could cover RKKA Soldiers in all their camouflage suits, winter suits, and maybe Finns.  Bear in mind whole units of scouts and sappers would wear these suits besides, famously, snipers.

    (Early or pre war use).

    (Sappers)

    (Scouts)

    (Snipers)

    (RKKA snow suit.  Similar or same cut as Amoeba suit).

    (Winter War Finns in snow suits).

    The very solid Russian war movie "Zvesda," featuring Soviet scouts doing what they do best:

    https://youtu.be/qfET14Fyhq0

    Include some NR40 fighting knives in the kit.  (Supposedly the Soviets taught to fight with the cutting edge of the knife up.)

    Should also include a MP40.  Supposedly Soviet scouts valued its lightness.  I think GIs have always thought it was cool to use enemy equipment.

    Maybe one body on the sprue could be female?


  • 4.  Soviet Naval Infantry.

    Believe one kit could cover WW1 and WW2 much like the WGA French Infantry Kit.

    The cracker jack uniform and hat changed little or not at all from WW1 to WW2.  The penchant for festooning themselves in cloth ammo belts was present in both wars. 

    One can effectively use the same rifles for WW1 and WW2.  Mosin Model 1891s are appropriate for WW1, Mosin 91/30s are appropriate for WW2.  The changes between the two are minimal particularly in 28mm.  (I would give the rifles hex receivers as that is appropriate for all WW1 rifles and some early war WW2 rifles).

    (Round receiver)

    (Hex receiver)

    The box will need additional WW2 light machineguns and submachineguns (much like the WW1/2 French box).  The box should also have some SVT rifles as the Naval Infantry were liberally supplied with them early war.

    See additional excellent information from Doshu Tokeshi below:


  • Thanks for this


  • 5.  Partizans.

    More numerous and more active than their French equivalents they fought the cruelest of wars.  

    https://youtu.be/HfCFwbuYgyY

    (Above link vaguely NSFW)

    Come and See full movie with subtitles ("The Best Movie you'll only want to see once":

    https://youtu.be/NJYOg4ORc1w

    One can also watch the surprisingly meh 2008 "Defiance" where Daniel Craig and Wolverine's brother portray Eastern Front partisans.

    Based on this true story:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bielski_partisans

    The set could probably also cover irregular forces in the Balkans.

    For instance I've seen the above photo labeled as both Soviet and Yugoslav partisans.  I'm leaning towards Soviet, but the point is that it's hard to tell. (Is that a Soviet Naval belt buckle?  The rifles look like Mausers but are they captured German rifles or ex-Yugoslav Army Mausers?)

     


  • Forgot about the available PSC 28mm kits.

    They do a pretty nice heavy weapons box, a light antitank box, and an Infantry box.

    The heavy weapons and antitank gun boxes are decent as plastic heavy weapons look better/build better than metal ones. 

    The Infantry suffer from being seemingly upscaled 15 or 20mm miniatures.  They are smallish for 28mm, monopose, and the detail is lacking.  They wear M35 tunics and are thus appropriate for the early war.


  • @JTam  

    You beat me to the punch. I was going to mention the PSC Russian infantry in summer uniforms in 28mm. 

    Their molding is all over the place with that set. Some poses are okay, some are chunky, the molded grenade throwing figure has his Ppsh drum magazine buried deep into his upper thigh, and the kneeling pose of the guy firing(?) his Ppsh has his left hand in the way of where the bolt would hit his fingers if he did fire it.

    The set came out in 2010,and yes, it isn't really that good


  • @Mark Hoffman 

    Thanks for the in depth review! 

    My thoughts on the PSC Infantry set was based off pictures.

    I do have the PSC 28mm Soviet antitank gun and heavy weapon sets.

    I improved the PSC weapons crew figures by grafting on Warlord plastic Soviet heads and cutting of their entrenching tool nubs and replacing them with Warlord seperate piece entrenching tools.


  • @JTam

    I think it’s actually a fairly well covered topic, at least for the summer months. Plus anyone who wanted to build a summer army probably bought 3 to 5 boxes of the WGF figures during the DreamForge Clearance sale, I got 2 boxes simply  because they were that cheap, and PSC and Warlord are still decent options despite your complaints.

    A box of Eastern European Partisans should work for soviet Partisans fairly well and while navy and Cossacks were a thing it might be smarter to focus WW1 for them. That said I would rather see either later or earlier era Russians instead of more WW2 Soviets unless its to go along with Winter war Pols and Fins (which frankly should come first in that case).

    .


  • Great overview!

    For my part, I think a Russian/Soviet Partisans set would be my multi-box must-buy set.  The French Partisans have supplied so many great multi-use figures and bits, I'd be glad to see new Partisans.

    The Winter War sounds like a fantastic wargaming subject to me - how could anyone resist savage skirmish gaming on a table covered in bleak, icy, rugged Karelian forest terrain?

    I'm not sure sure of the historical details, and not sure what is already covered by other manufacturers, but it seems to me that the Siege of Stalingrad would have the makings of a popular wargaming subject:  years of bitter fighting, shelled-out city ruins for apocalyptic terrain, and two iconic WWII factions including the evergreen WWII German military and the no less fierce and determined Soviets, pulling no punches against each other.  It seems to me from my limited exposure to the history of that part of the conflict that both sides even devolved into brutal guerilla warfare against each other, filled with ambushes, sabotage, small territory capture-and-defense, sniper duels, civilian combatants, soldiers and spies disguised as non-combatants, and the like....  Seems like irresistable skirmish-gaming subject matter, to me!


  • @Brian Van De Walker 

    *Shrug* My conclusions were the opposite.

    I think "Winter Soviets" are covered with a good kit that can represent RKKA forces from at least 1941 to 1945. 

    There are however no plastic kits covering Soviet forces in summer uniforms for half the war.  In other words, there are no kits of RKKA Soldiers in M43 tunics which covers 1943 to way after WW2.  

    These miniatures can represent Soviet forces into the '50s.  (Say fighting the Ukrainian Insurgent Army until 1956!)  

    If the set came with an AK47/AKM sprue and three cell AK magazine pouches to replace the Mosin pouches this set could accurately represent Soviet forces into the '60s.  There were no significant changes to uniforms or webbing otherwise. 

    (One 3-cell AK pouch replaces the one Mosin ammo pouch worn from mid to late war.)

    The PSC and Warlord Infantry are in M35 early war uniforms.

    The Wargames Factory kit is out production.  I found ONE box available on EBay currently that is Buy Now for $49.99 shipped.

    Reference Cossacks and Naval Infantry, depending on how they are done I don't think you have to choose between WW1 and WW2.  One box could cover WW1 and WW2 similar to the WGA French box.  


  • @Yronimos Whateley 

    Thank You.

    Are you tracking the forthcoming Escape From Stalingrad Z?  It looks pretty interesting.

    There's also a Bolt Action skirmish rule set called (if I remember correctly) "The Academy of Street Fighting" set in Stalingrad.   


  • 6.  Females

    There was a significant number of females under arms in the RKKA.  Many were in direct combat roles.  

    A box of female RKKA Soldiers would be welcome.  

    Among roles filled by female RKKA Soldiers:

    (Snipers.)

    (Medics.  Interestingly, the RKKA moved away from using females as medic later in the war as it  was found they had difficulty extracting heavier casualties.)

    (Air Defence Artillery.)

    (Traffic Control.)

    https://youtu.be/JiRPr_NHOuo

    (An incredible little video.  Recommend with sound.)

    As well as machinegun crews, mortar crews, and signals.

    There were units entirely (or near entirely) of females.  I remember reading an account from a German unit rolling past an ADA unit they had destroyed heading towards Moscow.  They were shocked to see the broken bodies of all women on the guns.  

    Some heads should have the special female only beret.  They were issued in blue and occasionally subdued.

     

     


  • Movies for flavor/inspiration.

    Wholeheartedly recommend the original Soviet Classic "The Dawn's are Quite Here."  A small female ADA unit engages German paratroopers.

    https://youtu.be/dfftHKf164E

    https://youtu.be/-5mf6tTBNq8

    Or here:

    https://www.amazon.com/Dawns-Here-are-Quiet/dp/B0756LKRDF

    The 2015 remake is definitely worth a watch too.

    https://www.amazon.com/The-Dawns-Here-Are-Quiet/dp/B01MZ9D6L7

    Or

    https://youtu.be/9v8v1GUjwLc

    Finally the "Battle of Sevastopol" is quite good.  A well done, modern war movie with big budget effects.  Has a bit of a love story (or two) in it, but it doesn't detract.  The wife actually liked this movie too, so it has broad appeal.

    https://www.amazon.com/Battle-Sevastopol-Yulia-Peresild/dp/B01M5HAAFN

    Based on the real life Lyudmila Pavlichenko AKA "Lady Death."


  • Heroine of the Soviet Union, Machine Gunner Manshuk Mametova:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manshuk_Mametova

     

     


  • Heroine of the Soviet Union, Sniper Aliya Moldagulova.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliya_Moldagulova

    I actually got to see the above statue depicting Aliya Moldagulova and Manshuk Mametova in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

     


  • I have to imagine most of those women never saw combat - a lot of these ladies were quite photogenic, and surely we're looking at morale-boosting propaganda!  (It would work on me, anyway! :) )   BUT, propaganda aside, Soviet women soldiers seems to be one actual historical case where a set of women soldiers makes sense, and a case that probably doesn't get a lot of attention outside of individual metal figures....

    This would be the first I've heard of Escape from Stalingrad Z or the wargame rules, but they sound interesting!

    I really like the idea of a flexible late-war set with AK options to carry them even further into 20th Century history, or even alt-history.  I'm sold, especially if such a set includes a few SKS and SVT rifles among the options, besides a full complement of Mosins and AKs.   I'm not sure the Soviets themselves ever used the SKS in war, but I could find uses for SKSs for Soviet and non-soviet projects no matter how historically dubious they might be, and the same goes for any female Soviet soldier set that gets made!

     


  • The Escape from Stalingrad Z game has kind of caught my fancy.  I like the concept.  I even like the fact it's a semi board game with miniatures.  (A table that even half way captures Stalingrad is pretty intimidating.)  Not complete sold on the minis.  

    The Bolt Action Firefight/Academy of Street fighting rules even has name generating tables.... which I find inordinately entertaining for some reason.  


  • @Yronimos Whateley 

    As mentioned above, a set of Soldiers (in this case female) in M43 tunics with alternate 3-cell magazine pouches and AK47s/AKMs bits can accurately depict Soviet troops into the 60s.  

    Again this is just gluing on the single 3-cell pouch were the single Mosin ammo pouch would go, and swapping weapons.  

    I'm not aware of any significant combat use of the SKS by Soviet forces.  It was a pretty good weapon, it just wasn't as good as the leap ahead AK.  There are rumors they may have been field tested at the very tail end of WW2.  Who knows though.  The SKS was of course widely used in Vietnam and there should be sprues of them available soon one way or another.  


  • Absolutely.  I for one would gladly buy kits with bits likethat just for the "surplus" Soviet weapons to arm modern insurgents or apocalypse survivors with, if nothing else! 

    I don't doubt that the SKS has seen small-scale use in smaller conflicts around the world over the decades (the Balkans and the Middle East, for example), in the hands of militias and revolutionaries and civil warriors of all sorts, and would have surely appeared in the hands of thousands of American survivalist types in any alt-history or post-apocalyptic scenario from at least the 1980s forward ("Red Dawn", zombie apocalypse, cultists vs. feds, etc.)

    I guarantee these sorts of things probably wouldn't appear in any ordinary historical kit, for sure, but Wargames Atlantic seems to shine when doing tha works as an ordinary kit, but also includes extraordinary bits (like cross-genre options such as sci-fi / fantasy bits in kits that nobody else would include them in!)


  • @JTam "The Bolt Action Firefight/Academy of Street fighting rules even has name generating tables.... which I find inordinately entertaining for some reason...."

    LOL, now that you mention it, that does sound entertaining.  Reminds me of this mod to the Halflife game ("Firearms") that my friends and I spent way too much time playing back in the day... 

     

    It was basically a first-person-shooter skirmish game with randomly-chosen modern battlefields arranged in capture-the-flag, territory-control, base-raiding, and other scenarios of the sort, using a selection of modern firearms and "realistic" combat simulation (one or two shots were deadly, bandages did little more than stop bleeding, running would run your avatar out of breath, there was a limit to how many weapons you could carry, reloading was a chore, etc.)

    We were all pretty terrible at the game, getting lost in the maps and so on, so someone in our group hacked the mod up in a way that artificially "intelligent" bots were added, with names that were randomly-generated and added to a table with their favorite weapon loads, and would draw from random tables of taunts they would chat at us with randomly-generated typos, and randomly assign us to teams.

    For some reason the blue team always had fake French names, and the red team always had fake Arabic names, so that semi-random teams of French and Arab bots, with names that probably wouldn't pass the smell test for anyone who actually spoke the languages, were locked in some eternal Death Fields style near-future battle to the death, which mostly involved accidentally bouncing grenades off of walls into their own hiding spots, or shooting their team mates in the back of the head and giving ridiculous apologies or random taunts before jumping off of sniper nests into rivers to drown.

    Hilarity ensued.

    The bots would seem to develop their own personalities, and maybe half the fun of the game was making up little stories about why Henri Forgeron refused to fire his M-60 and instead liked to run in front of you, block your line-of-sight, pull out a combat knife, and then jump up and down while posing weirdly at Ahmed Ackbar, who would empty his AK47 into us both.  Or, about why Abdul Abbar had this weird habit of running up behind you and bouncing GP-25 grenades off of walls right into your face every single time, or why Jean-luc Pierre seemed to love planting claymore mines on the doorway of his own base, and then running in front ot it.  Meanwhile, the randomly-typoed taunts would be practically incomprehensible, leading to us wondering what was meant by whatever weird non-sequitur Muomar Muomar was screaming this time.  ("Did Muomar just shout 'GFLCPTORZ' and jump off a cliff?  What does THAT mean?"  "I think he meant to say 'ROFLCOPTER', but Achmed pushed him... I would, too, if it were - GET OUT OF THE WAY, Henri!  MEDIC, MEDIC!  Whose side is Henri on anyway???  And why is he the only bot who can't figure out how to operate a machine gun???"  "That would make too much noise... Henri is a strong, silent type... he prefers to get shot quietly, with a knife."  "Heh, Abdul just chatted 'Frag out!' before blowing himself up.  He did that the last time, too.  How did you guys do that?"  "It's random, I swear!"  "Why do you suppose Achmed Aziz just chatted 'Goody cruel word'?")

    Way off topic, sorry, but those names really seemed to give those bots personality they shouldn't have had.  A personality that was like Wile E. Coyote crossed with all three Stooges blended into an avatar of pure incompetence, but still, you had a pretty good idea of what predictable form the incompetence would take the moment all the bots on your all-star French bot team crowds up around the door to your base while Henri dances aimlessly with a knife, and you notice the chat log says:  "Jean-Luc Pierre joined your team.  Henri Forgerone chats: 'Calgon, take me away!"'  Jean-Luc Pierre equips claymore...."

    I can only imagine something like random name tables for wargame minis to be as much fun!


  • @Yronimos Whateley I do not know the actual percentage of combat experienced female Soviet soldiers versus photo op propaganda but considering the various units and award winning individuals with documented combat experience I would not be dismissive of female involvement in combat.

    800,000 served in WW2... which admittedly is only just over 3 percent... however 200,000 of the were awarded. 89 with the highest award. 

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_Russian_and_Soviet_military

    Now it could be argued many of those awards were PR, anyone who has served in the US military knows some awards are PR but not all. And rarely the highest awards. But if being one of only 3 percent of the military you are already doing something unusual, doing something that proves a point. So being the kind of person to go that next step is not so unthinkable. 

    Consider the performance of the African American and Japanese American units in the segregated US military of WW2.

    The Soviet WW2 experiences of women in combat and their successes are part of the reasoning behind my own personal support of female combatants in the US military. 


    Female Soviet snipers are pretty famous but here is an awarded female Soviet Guards infantry machinegunner.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manshuk_Mametova

    Having a box of female Soviet combatants reflects combat historical reality rather than just propaganda.

    Apologies if I seem a bit passionate about this but I have spent a lot of time dealing with resistance to treating women as equal in both military combat as well as police use of force situations, both from men and women. Historical progress made in advancing equality due to combat achievements have often been “swept under the carpet”. 


  • Oh, don't get me wrong - in spite of what I suspect to  be propaganda featuring what seem to be the Soviet state's idealized equivalent of pin-up models, I definitely believe the Soviet fighting women existed, and that this is one of the few times where a historical women's boxed set might be difficult to dismiss!  (For most of the other hard-to-dismiss examples, I expect you'd have to look later in the 20th and 21st centuries.) 

    I say that with the assumed difficulty in selling female soldiers to wargamers, especially historical gamers:  those historical gamers (if they exist, and I have no reason to think they don't) have a good point, at least most of the time!

    Before the Soviets, I expect you're more likely to find isolated incidents, women civilian defending themselves from attack, or something better suited for fantasy (Amazon warriors being te classic example.

    With the Soviets, things get a little trickier and perhaps niche, but I think it's harder to dismiss thiese women soldiers!  I'd be happy to see them, especially for the sci-fi possibilities, whether the historical demand is there or not.  A Sci-fi Soviet women conversion would, IMHO, make a far more interesting "space Russians/Soviets" opportunity, than the more predictable great-coats-and-ushenka-guys-IN-SPACE option that might normally come to mind!

     

    Anyway, this isn't me saying "you can't do that" - quite the opposite, I'm saying "oh, yes you can - almost certainly historically, and definitely as sci-fi and fantasy!"


  • Chicken and the egg dilemma when it comes to representation in various mediums, including tabletop wargaming.


  • 7.  Soldiers in body armor.

    The Soviets made the widest use of body armor for ground combat of all the major powers.  

    It's use seemed most common with sappers (combat engineers) and Infantry assigned as tank close escort (tank riders).

    The armor was effective protection against shrapnel and pistol rounds (as can be seen above).  (In an era where submachineguns chambered in pistol calibers are the king of close combat this is a relevant capability).  

    The kit could consist of bodies wearing amoeba suits and body armor to represent sappers/dismounted tank riders.  Make sure to throw some flamethrowers and plenty of submachineguns on the sprue.

    (Sappers in action.  Note the flamethrower on left.)

     


  • @JTam the Soviet Navy is unique in wearing both blue and black on their uniforms. Their trousers and Peacoat (Bushlat) was black while their winter woolen jumper was blue. Summer cotton one was white.  The "Bezkozirka" cap was black with black ships tally or fleet association in gold letters the tails had gold anchors these were all printed. The trousers had a bib opening and bell bottoms tucked into traditional "Sapogi" boots, shorter than the German jackboot. (Possibly rubber soled for working on ships but may have been Army issue, definitely were as they became Naval infantry)


  • @JTam I forgot about the striped undershirt the telniashka it was said if they stripped down to this shirt, they were fighting to the death!


  • @Doshu Tokeshi 

    Great information!  Thank You.

    I've educated myself on the RKKA, but the Soviet Navy is outside my wheelhouse.  

    The Russian Army sapogi were rubber soled.  The "goosebump" little circle pattern on the sole is from the war.  The chevron pattern soles are post war.  

    I saw mention that WGA was working on decals.  I wonder if they could make decals for the different fleets for their hats. 

    (Might as well throw different fleet shoulder board markings for representing Naval Infantry/Naval personnel in Army uniforms on the decal sheet).

    Maybe they could have little sections of blue and white stripes you could apply to the V of the minis chests in order to represent their telnyashkas.  (Hey, it worked to put hazard stripes on chainswords).


  • Early war inspiration:

    "Fortress of War" aka "Brest Fortress."

    A solid war film. Features the good old Russian shovel attack as all good Russian war films should.  Spoiler: This is based on actual events, so not actually a feel good film

    Available free with advertisements:

    https://www.amazon.com/Fortress-War-Aleksey-Kopashov/dp/B07RGZT5KN

    Sidenote:  If anyone ever actually watches one of these movies please post what you thought.


  • Special clothing item:

    The plash-palatka. 

    This is a fairly unique garment.  It's a ground sheet and shelter half of course.  But by fastening a couple buttons and pulling on a drawstring it's a nice hooded rain cape.

    This item was widely distributed and was used by ALL Soviet forces.  You can find photographic evidence of Soviet Naval Infantry wearing this with their cracker jacks for instance.

    When worn as a cape it gave RKKA Infantry a really distinct silhouette and look.  Something the Soviets were aware of too based on their war art and monuments.

    I've seen 28mm Soviet Infantry modified with the "flying" capes from Fireforge plastic knights and it looks less strictly awesome and more strictly super awesome.

    The plash-palatka was worn by Soviet troops until the Soviet Union's dissolution.  It is still in limited military use by Russia and other CIS countries today.

    Top tip if buying your own Soviet surplus plash-palatka:  All WW2 ones had leather grommets.  Post war ones have either metal or leather grommets.

     

     


  • 8.  Tank Riders

    All Armies in WW2 transported Infantry with tanks from time to time.  Occasionally the Germans used tank riders for close escort (probably most famously with Ferdinands at Kursk [aware that is a SPG, not tank]).  But only the Soviets made it a way of life.  Tank riders rode heavy, medium and light tanks.

    (T34/85 Medium Tank)

    (T-60 light tank)

    There are no 28mm plastic tank riders.  A plastic kit would consist of crouching/sitting tank riders.  

    Possibly the kit could have the torso and legs be seperate parts.  There could be sitting and standing legs so one could build mounted and dismounted versions of the same model.  

    This would also be a great kit for the miniatures to be wearing plash-palatkas.  Either molded on the body or as a seperate cape piece.  Infantry jumping off tanks with cloaks flying behind them is a pretty cool image.  

    (Imagine the above - but with CAPES!)

     

    Note:  Not to beat a dead horse, but this is why I favor 1/48th with 28mm miniatures.  How many Infantry should you be able to fit on a medium tank?  MANY.

    (Probably reenactors... but that's not the point). 


  • Perhaps another way to handle tank riders is this:

    Have the Late War M43 Infantry Kit box.  The bodies in this kit have seperate torsos and legs.  (Maybe one body or torso female).

    Then sell a seperate tank rider legs sprue in the same fashion as the Death Fields Accessory Sprue.  This would allow you to build tank riders in conjunction with the Late War M43 Infantry Kit.


  • Yevdokiya Zavaliy was a Ukrainian girl of 16 when she started her military career as a medic.  She would finish the war as a Naval Infantry Platoon Leader.

    Supposedly nicknamed "Frau Black Death" by the Germans.

    I'm always a bit leery about the possibly exaggerated accounts that came out of the Soviet State apparatus. 

    https://englishrussia.com/2011/08/21/yevdokiya-zavaliy-the-woman-hero-of-wwii/

    http://thefemalesoldier.com/blog/yevdokiya-zavaliy#:~:text=Yevdokiya%20Zavaliy%20was%20a%20Soviet,she%20worked%20on%20a%20farm.

    But there can be no doubt she saw some sh*t and put some Germans in the ground.

    (Best SMG of the war - PPS-43s)


  • 9. RKKA Cavalry.

    The Soviet Union fielded divisions of cavalry.  In the vastness of the Eastern Front with it's poor road network and marshes Cavalry would be a significant factor.

    The majority of Soviet cavalry was non cossack.  They primarily wore the standard M38 or M43 uniform based on what period of the war it was.  

    (RKKA Cavalry in M38 "early war" uniforms.)

    (Probably 1943, the mounted cavalryman appears to have mounted the newly authorized shoulder boards to his M38 tunic).

    (In M43 uniform).

    Sabers were of course issued.

    (Note sword scabbards issued to Enlisted Men had fittings for the rifle bayonet).

    "Standard" RKKA cavalry units often adopted some small items of Cossack dress.  Commonly some would wear the kubanka (short fur hat as seen below).

    In the winter they would be issued standard RKKA cold weather gear:

    (Note the slung SVT rifle on the closest cavalryman).

    Snow suits were also used.

     

     

     


  • 10.  Cossack Cavalry.

    This a complex subject.  Every host had their own traditions.  

    But in GENERAL Cossacks could be broken into two main groups.  The Steppe Cossacks and the Transcaucasian Cossacks.  The Steppe Cossacks generally wore standard RKKA uniforms and would best be represented by a generic RKKA Cavalry set.  The Transcaucasian Cossacks (Kuban, Terek, etc.) are the colorful ones.  

    I would suggest that a Cossack kit should represent Transcaucasian Cossacks for the following reasons:

    1.  They are the iconic image of the Cossack.

    2.  A kit representing Transcaucasian Cossacks can pull double duty for WW1 and WW2 Cossacks.

    3.  They lend color to an otherwise drab modern army.

    4.  They look baller as hell.  

    What did Transcaucasian Cossacks wear:

    The traditional uniform is the Chereska:

    The Bashlyk is the hood/scarf.  Commonly seen hanging down like a cape:

    In cold weather the wooly burka was worn:

    The Kubanka is the most common headgear:

    Complete ensemble:

    They were issued Sabres but often had the Nagaika dagger as well:

    -----

    Can one kit cover WW1 and WW2 Transcaucasian Cossacks.  I would say yes.

    WW1 Cossacks.

    Kuban Cossack on left.

    WW2 Kuban Cossacks.

    Depiction of WW2 Cossacks.

    The kit would need some extra WW2 weapons (SMGs, maybe an SVT or DP28) much like the French WW1/WW2 kit.  Would also need extra heads in Papashkas hats (hairier and taller than Kubanka) for WW1.  (Also, can add variety to WW2 models.  Papashkas pretty much universal for WW1.  Kubankas prevalent in WW2, but Papashkas occasionally seen.)  

    ‐--------

    Can this one kit also cover Cossacks in German service?

    Short answer yes.

    This is also a complicated subject however.  

    Cossacks in German service wore elements of German, RKKA, and traditional dress in a bewildering array of combinations.

    The most "typical" Cossack in German service is German tunic, bashlyk, and kubanka.

    However full blown traditional wear was sometimes seen.  

    All the kit needs is kubankas with German devices on the front.

    ‐----

    Was the chereska, etc. really worn in combat?

    Yes.  Particularly early war.  I tend to believe it came to be used more as a dress uniform late war.  But it may have still seen combat use.

    I don't think that should deter us as 1. It's very suitable for early war.  2.  It's plausible for late war.  3.  Rule of cool.  Don't Napoleonic gamers usually have minis in parade dress?

    1945.

    Victory Day Parade.

     


  • A head sprue with heads in M38 Panamka hats would be neat.

    Combine with M38 tunic bodies for adventures in the Stans or Operation Contenance - the joint English/Russian invasion of Iran in 1941.  

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Soviet_invasion_of_Iran

     


  • Special Item:

    The spoon.

    Soviet Soldiers were to report for military service with a spoon.  (Although some were subsequently issued one.)  Some were metal and some wood.  They were often individualized with names, dates, small art.  To this day the remains of WW2 Soviet Soldiers are sometimes identified by their spoons.  (The RKKA didn't issue dog tags. Soldiers were supposed to fill out a little info sheet and keep it in a waterproof capsule, but many didn't as it was considered bad luck.)

    It was common practice to keep the spoon tucked into a boot.  It would be a nice touch to model a spoon sticking out of a boot on a body or two.

    (The spoon in the boot thing doesn't pass the common sense test for me.  But much like the equally bizarre stick grenade in boot, or knife in boot, I've seen period photographic evidence.)


  • I was gutted when the MRE spoon I have been carrying around in one of the numerous pockets in my daily wear “photographer’s vest” for years finally broke. 

    An essential bit of kit.

    And spoons were part of the Ottoman Janissary hat decoration. 

    https://militaryhistorynow.com/2017/03/24/the-fighting-messmates-the-curious-role-of-food-in-turkeys-legendary-janissary-corps/

    But I did not know Soviet troops were told to report with a spoon. Fascinating! I love little bits of military trivia like that.


  • Yup, the old MRE combat spoon.

    That Janisary article was a fascinating read.  Appreciate the link.  I had no idea about the hat spoons.  Than again I just learned about the ship hats.


  • @Yronimos Whateley 

    They've made good progress on the "Escape From Stalingrad Z" game.

    Nicely done video for the upcoming Kickstarter:

    https://youtu.be/CSriNHRQOjk

    I think the next two games I pick up will be this and 02 Hundred Hours.  It's possible British SAS may encounter German Zombies on a night infiltration mission.


  • In the last 48 hours of the Stalingrad Z Kickstarter.  I think it fully funded in hours....

    For better or worse the miniatures are pretty big.  No worries, already planning how to make the characters and zombies in 28mm were they can fit in with my existing WW2 armies.


  • @JTam  

    I think the KS shows yet again that there is a market for the genre. I like that it has zombies from both armies and the living team up against the dead. 

    The sculpts are not really doing it for me at that price point. I have surprisingly got it in the neck when I shared the KS information on Dakkadakka. 

    https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/804838.page


  • @Grumpy Gnome 

    I couldn't read all that.  I was getting stupider by the post and I don't have enough brain cells left for that.

    Is this for real?:

    Someone is either a master troll or has become a living breathing Onion article.


  • @Grumpy Gnome 

    I went back and forth on the sculpts.  I certainly like the subjects a lot... not so much the execution.  But when I read they were 35mm or some such it made it easy for me to skip the minis.  That's way to big to fit in with my 28mm armies.  Kitbashing replacements in 28mm will be fun anyway.  The characters won't be hard.  The German Zombies relatively easy.  The Russian Zombies will be a touch more difficult.  I may do Zombie Naval Infantry for sh*ts and giggles.  I pledged for the 2nd upgrade, the box with book, dice, and little card guys, but no minis.... if I remember correctly.


  • 35mm is increasingly the size of boardgame minis it seems.  The concepts were good but the size and execution were not for me.

    Naval Infantry... cool!

    As for the Dakkadakka thread, there were some good replies later on. But I have to admit some of the comments on the thread really irked me. 


  • @Grumpy Gnome 

    Took a look at a available 28mm Soviet Naval Infantry last night.  They are all metal and 95% are holding a weapon with both hands.  Would be a lot of work to zombify them.  If I decided to soldier on with the idea I might use Blacktree.  My biggest complaint about Blacktree as some of the heads are a bit rough.... but they are mostly all getting chopped off anyway.  

    I would say WGA plastic Soviet Naval Infantry would be awesome for this conversion. 

    When I convert a model for Katyusha I will finally give the poor woman some ammo.

    A WGA Eastern Front Partizan set would be really useful for this ;) 


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