Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada Red Army

Desperate Measures

Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada

For the past couple years I've made the trek down the island to New Zealand's longest-running Flames Of War tournament Panzerschreck. Since I've been attending it has been a late-war doubles event, 1000 points per player. I really enjoy this format. I'm not much of a tactical player so it suits me having someone to tell me when I'm making stupid mistakes!

Last year I took the first army I ever painted (Hungarians when Stalin's Europe came out) because I ran out of time to start something new. This year I planned ahead, worked out what I wanted to take, collected the minis, and proceeded to procrastinate until there was 6 weeks until the event…
Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada

Hero Tankovy Brigada (Red Army)
(Confident Trained)

Hero Tankovy Brigada HQ
   1 x T-34/85 with tank escort

95 points

Combat Companies
Hero Tankovy Company
   4 x T-34/85 with tank escorts

370 points
Hero Tankovy Company
   4 x T-34/85

330 points
Support Companies
Hero Spetsnaz Platoon
   1 x Spetsnaz Squad

100 points
Hero Assault Gun Company
   3 x SU-76M

120 points
Total 1015 points

The T-34 has always been a good looking tank in my eyes, but painting 21 of them seemed a bit daunting in the past. When Desperate Measures was released I was immediately drawn to the Hero lists. Sure you only get about half the stuff, but that suits my painting patience fine, and on the table the lack of Hen & Chicks means my sub-par gaming mind can command these tanks easier. Here's the list I came up with:



So with a force decided on, I asked my previous years partner (Wayne Turner) if he'd be willing to join forces again but switch to Soviets (and give up 15 points…). He agreed, and team 'Berlin or Bust' was almost complete. Time for painting!
Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada
For the base colour I used three greens through an airbrush to create panel shading. I started with a black green, darker than I would normally go. Second stage was a more traditional Soviet green, and then for the top edges and highlights I used what I would call almost a spearmint green.
Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada
I was a bit nervous that I'd gone too extreme with the contrast in my airbrush stages, but after applying an overall brown filter, it really toned it down to a more realistic look.
Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada
In the later stages of the war the Soviets got a bit more interesting with their markings, so I had some fun with the white stripes. I grouped the T-34's into platoons of 3 (the minimum you can run them in) and gave each platoon a different style of markings using period photos as well as large scale models as inspiration.
Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada
Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada
Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada

I marked out the center of where the stripes would go with a sharp pencil to give me a guide when painting them. I used a steady hand with a couple coats of Deck Tan. I find using pure white for these kinds of markings can look too stark. I went with simple numbers and red stars for the decals. The red stars may not be entirely accurate for the time period, but I like the extra colour they add to the tank and I feel it gives them the iconic Soviet look.

Next was a pin-wash to shade the recesses of the tanks. The details of the plastic models make this step easy to achieve an effective result quickly.

Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada

In past painting projects I've gone a bit over the top with chipping effects, so this time I only applied some green chip marks on the white markings to simulate wear. This left me room to be generous with rust streaks without making the tanks look to busy and distract from the overall look.

The last step was to add dried mud using pigments in the areas dirt and dust would settle and around the tracks. 

Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada
Since the Spetznaz are the only infantry element in my force, and they're such a small platoon, I wanted to really go to town (pun intended) on the bases. Urban basing can be a bit of a chore when it's for a whole infantry company, but a platoon like this offers a chance to try some really detailed and fun bases.
Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada

I purchased some laser-cut and etched MDF bases. The cobble texture is very exact and uniform – so a bit unrealistic – but once covered with a bit of rubble and debris, it isn't as much of an issue.

I used a mix of sand, plasticard, putty, and things from the bitz box to create the war torn city street effect. Once painted I finished them off with a couple propaganda posters, some weathering powders, and some glass for the broken street lamp made from cut up blister pack. The figures themselves were painted following the guide in Colours Of War and then pinned to the bases.

Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada

I had trouble finding any pictures or information about the halftracks the Spetznaz used. In the end I went with what I thought looked cool. Standard German camo with Soviet green to cover where the crosses would be, with red stars. On one of them I swapped the machine gun for a .50cal. I weathered the halftracks the same why I did the tanks to help tie them together.

The event itself was great, and as always the road trip and evening boardgames/drinks were a highlight. I would talk more about the gaming, but with Wayne's notoriously bad dice, and the fact I hadn’t played Flames Of War since last Panzerschreck, there’s not much to report… That being said I did enjoy the army and am looking forward to trying some full 1500- or 1750-point games.

I was lucky enough to get the best-painted award which made the late nights and tired eyes worth it. There were some great paint jobs at the event that were just as deserving of the award. It's always nice to be in a room full of impressive armies fighting over good terrain.

Victor Pesch's Hero Tankovy Brigada
Right: Victor receives his award for best-painted army.

I enjoyed painting this force so much that I'm already planning the next additions to my lean Soviet horde. I've assembled 12 SU Assault guns (a mix of 100's, 85M's and 85's) and once I get my hands on the new plastic IS-2's and ISU's it'll be time to hit the airbrush again. After that it might be time for some artillery which will be fun to continue the basing style from the Spetznaz.

~ Victor.