The Red Horde!
The other day I got the first batch of infantry for the Sino-Soviet Union for Dust Warfare/Tactics. The Frontoviki, Fakyeli and Medvedi squads. I have also ordered the MIL Mi-45 transport helicopter (with its accompanying Chinese Volunteers) as well as the Zverograd Campaign Box for Dust Tactics that has Koshka and her Babushka walker as well. Yepp, pretty much went all in after our recent battle. Haha!
In this review I'll give an overview of the models and as well as a short section for each of them including some more detail. The chopper and Zverograd review should be up by the end of the week or so.
The models come in the same boxes as all the other infantry which is overly large for what they contain. Bit of a waste, but understandable to make for a good shelf presence in brick and mortar stores. I don't think the boxes are anything to keep around and I've already discarded mine.
The SSU models are primed in a kind of mustardy beige colour that I guess would work well as a base colour if you decide to paint yours like the official studio models. To be honest I had actually expected them to be stereotypically reddish brown, but this colour is actually a lot better as a basecoat. I recall Mack Martin mentioning in the D6 Genaration interview that the bottle making up the Fakyeli molotov cocktail would actually be a separate piece made from clear plastic, but from what I can see this is not the case. Either that idea fell by the wayside or it's exclusive to the Deluxe version of the squad. Would have been a nice touch though.
There are some mold lines here and there, mainly along the arms and sometimes on the extra equipment hanging on the belt. It's nothing major but will require some cleaning up. I will likely give my minis a once-over but won't be too anal-retentive about it - this is not Infinity minis that I will spend hours painting (I'll save that for the walkers!). In a couple of places (mainly around the helmets) the basecoat has formed rubbery strings that will need removing. There were only a few and they're about the size of a human hair, but they're there.
Then we have the bendy weapon barrels! Of my three squads only one of the Frontoviki machineguns suffered from this but it was easily fixed by hot+cold water treatment. There has been some talk about the semi-soft plastic used for the infantry but I think the issue has been overblown. The only bent things you're going to see are thin rifle barrels and antennas, anything thicker and the plastic is actually quite hard. Not brittle hard, but still hard enough to resist bending, even by force. And the few pieces that are bent can be fixed in 10 minutes in the kitchen.
The detailing on the figures are on par with the Axis and the Allies, although their simpler uniforms (military onesies?) are less detailed by their very nature. Something that is different however is that the SSU infantry are not jointed at the waist, the legs and the body is cast as one piece. It doesn't bother me personally but if you enjoy the added variation torso twisting might provide it might be good to know. This is likely because of the bulky cuirass they're wearing and the addition of grenades and tools haning from the belt.
Now let's have a look at the individual squads. Sorry for the bar pictures by the way... only had my cellphone and a single lamp.
Frontoviki - SSU Battle Squad
The core of the SSU infantry comes with five men armed with three short range submachine guns and two DPM machine guns. This is interesting as it's very different from the infantry squads we've seen before - foregoing anti-armour capability completely to gain more anti-infantry firepower. While we don't know their Warfare stats yet I'm guessing 16" range for the machineguns and 12" for the rest. Made for city fights, eh?
Fakyeli - SSU Close Combat Squad
So far in our Dust Warfare gaming I've had great success using the Allied BBQ Squad so seeing the SSU has pretty much an identical unit made me jump with joy! They carry only short ranged weaponry in the form of shotguns, a sulfur (flame) thrower and molotov cocktails. The molotov seem to be similar to the democharge, only it can affect infantry as well, which is nice. Instead of Fast they get Assault which I think is a bad trade as I don't see it being as useful (although avoiding reactions can be huge in the right circumstances).
Medvedi - SSU Command Squad
The Medvedi is similar to the other "regular" command squads out so far, with a radio operator, a mechanic and a medic, plus the officer and DPM machine gunner. The differences seem to be a shorter range because of the submachine guns and the addition of the power tool to the mechanic. It's basically a large pneumatic cutter and gives the squad some serious anti-armour hardware! It does feel like it would be tricky to use though as vehicles can't be supressed and can simply move out of melee range when approached. Still, a nice addition.
There's a lote more going on with the SSU specialists! Love the bundle of wires.
So am I satisfied with my purchase? Yes, I am. I think the Russians have a lot of character in their miniatures and the different squads look a lot more unique than their Axis and Allied counterparts, which makes it easier to tell them apart. The Medvedi are the star of the group, but the Fakyeli are what I'm most looking forward to painting at the moment (hopefully in time for the next #MiniatureMonday). Yes, the plastic is somewhat soft and the detailing is not as sharp as some other minatures, but this doesn't bother me very much. It's an army scale game and the miniatures look great on the field, especially accompanied by towering walkers! And that's just the thing, use your full painting potential on the walkers and dial it down a bit on the infantry, they still look good.
I'm eager to get started on these, but I'm not quite sure what to do about camo. The Soviet camo during WW2 was very limited so I thought I'd take inspiration from what came later during the cold war. Any input regarding this would be most welcome!
By the way, according to Dakkaite CT Gamer his order of the Zverograd Campaign Book for Dust Warfare was shipped last week so the book might not be as far off as I presumed earlier (even though it's still listed as "in development" at FFG's upcoming page. If this is the case that's certainly happy news.
Next up is the review of the first couple of SSU vehicles and the Chinese Volunteers. Until then!