Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stal! Stal! Stal!

"Steel! Steel! Steel!" The radio-signal, attributed to Lieutenant General P. A. Rotmistrov, launching Soviet armour into the infamous July 12, 1943 tank battle known as "Prokhorovka".

The author of this post is a victim of 'Kursk Pocket Syndrome',
a contagious wargaming phenomenon. 

Steel! Steel! Steel!

Serving up a storm of Soviet armour is a big part of the appeal of gaming the Ostfront. But you have to be ready. If you want to play Red, you best be willing to build up an appropriately large collection.

Having aready established a basic foundation of infantry, support and logistics units for my summer Soviets, it was time to get serious about armour.

By Steven Zaloga, a must have!
I had done my research. Most importantly, I searched and sifted through the WIP logs at The Guild, over at SoGG and even on the Braille Scale forums. Work in progress posts are goldmines of hobby learning. I read these and chose a painting plan I knew I could already do, not one I needed to master.
I also added Steven Zaloga's T-34 in Action to my collection. Squadron books are my go-to references for wargames unit markings and paint schemes. Squadron 'In Action' books kick ass.
Basing would follow and build on work that had created the other units of this army. Simple...

So, a plan of action for building, painting and basing my first wave of Soviet armour was clear in my mind and ready to put into play.

I need a lot of T-34 model '43, please..

1/72 scale Plastic Soldier Company T-34/76.
The 'Tank Brigade Deal' from The Plastic Soldier Company was exactly what I needed. Well, in truth I split a fourth box with a buddy, leaving me with a total of TEN T-34/76 tanks to work with. Exactly what I needed.
Double bonus: These kits include separate turrets for the T-34/85, so you get twice the potential for play from each box!

Fast Build T-34/76 in 1/72 from PSC.
The PSC T-34 goes together quickly and features the right amount of detail for a good looking and solid wargaming piece.

Importantly, these models can build-up into paintable sub-assemblies; the chassis, tracks and turrets all separate. This allowed me to get the most out of my airbrush while keeping up an efficient assembly-line productivity.

Great! Building and painting this way I could easily achieve the goals of my 'Stash Reduction Programme'.

Ready to roll! T-34/76's for 20mm gaming fun.
There was one tiny bugbear: the early production PSC T-34/76 kit had a gun barrel that was way out of scale. To solve that problem I ordered the excellent 1/72 scale turned gun barrels from RB Model.
Piotr of RB Model provides super service and an excellent product.

A turned aluminium barrel from RB is inexpensive, looks sharp on your model and is a very durable alternative to one of the most fragile bits on a kit.

Please note, that as of November, 2012 the PSC T-34/76 kit was re-tooled to get that 76.2mm F-34 gun looking just right.

Painting was straightforward, making use of Vallejo Surface Primers, Tamiya Acrylics, Future/Klear, Aleran Decals, AK Interactive Washes, Gamblin Oils, and Vallejo Satin Varnish.

This company of T-34/76 tanks benefits from advance planning and research.

A platoon of T-34/76 tanks from PSC.
But my company is in conflict with history! A point that kept coming up as I read about Soviet armour at Kursk is that unit markings and turret numbers were rare... And yet the sort of games that I enjoy require that I track the status of each vehicle.
Rather than trying to build and play with an authentic force, I decided to create a company's worth of tanks featuring clearly readable markings drawn from my chosen reference material. A most acceptable gamer's compromise.

As with every project, I learned a lot and improved my skills. That's always satisfying. Best of all, the stash was reduced!

20mm T-34 Stal! by Peabody
These 20mm gaming pieces have already seen some serious action on the table, some fighting through to victory and others brewing up spectacularly.

Excellent wargaming goodness, as it should be...

Until next time,
Peabody Out!


  1. They look great Peabody! Nice to read about how much enjoyment you are getting out of this project.

  2. You sir, are too kind.

  3. Anonymous19/1/13 21:58

    Отлично, товарищ! Looking great man. Glad to see you gung-ho into a project.

  4. Great looking Stal mate, really well one.

  5. Rod, thanks buddy. I wish had this sort of experience when I began my 'Nam project! I do look forward to bringing it all full-circle and spending some quality time with my RAFM USMC.

    Paul, glad you like'em. I appreciate you stopping by and saying hello!


  6. awesome looking tanks, I've a bucket load of T-34's on the way as well but might have gone a tad ott with 21 of them!

  7. Your modeling is a delight to behold; and your goal is both an admirable and attainable one! Model on, Sir!!

  8. Anton, 21 is a very good number! I was looking at a scenario last night that called for twenty-three T-34's entering the game in three waves...
    I may just have to re-open Peabody Tractor Factory and get busy.

    @Jay, Thanks! I'm enjoying the incredible creativity and gaming goodness going on at your blog. Always a pleasure to see you here.

  9. Terrific stuff, hope I can do half as well when I do my Finnish T34s. Well done.

  10. They look great. Handy to know they come with both turrets, 2 tanks for the price of one.

  11. Yes indeed, I look forward to up-gunning these for late war gaming.
    Probably should have done all the turrets at the same time... Paint matching will be a fun challenge!

    Fortunately I always keep my paint recipes...

    Painting 'The Green' is great fun and you really can't go wrong. It's good to have lots of variety in your armour too.

  12. Excellent set of articles! Very inspiring! I am one of a lucky few that gets to play against these models and they are marvelous! Good tip too on painting both turret variants at the same time, duly noted!

  13. One issue you mentioned that's worth highlighting is the badly scaled gun. It's worth mentioning that the '43 model's gun isn't as bad as the PSC T-34/85's gun. This looks like it's a 120mm! :)
    Like you I replaced the plastic gun with a third-part metal one.

  14. Hey Stephen! Gosh I neglect this blog far too much... But it's only because I'm actually playing games with my minis!
    Time to do a post on the games we play that keep our little club so busy pushing the lead around!