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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Dust Warfare Review: SSU Infantry

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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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.

Overview

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?

The miniatures look nice although they're definitely the least exciting of the three squads. They come with the regular onesie and helmets but with extra tools and equipment on their belts. I was surprised to see that one of the two DPMs was sporting a watercooled barrel as we haven't seen that on any pictures released so far. I think it looks cool tough and variation is always nice, even though it's only cosmetic. The submachineguns do have something resembling underslung grenade launchers, but so far there is nothing in the rules to support this. Too bad as they're quite nifty! Even so a solid backbone to your army and I may pick up one more later on as I think they could become very nasty with the addition of a Commissar!

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).

These guys have a lot more character than the Frontoviki, with their gasmasks and nice real looking shotguns. The Allied shotguns look ludicrously oversized in comparison. The guy throwing the molotov really shows what the squad is all about! I also like the big bulky looking "sulfur thrower" with its many caples running back to the tank. Finally, the sergeant sporting a classic fur hat seals the deal. I love the look of this squad and will most likely get one more later on! None of the Fakyeli comes with the belt tools attached, however they are provided in the box in a small ziploc back so you can attach them as you see fit. Nice touch, although I would have preferred squad specific equipment with extra molotovs etc . The gasmasks has a great design but the detail is very soft so I think you will need to be careful when painting them.

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. 

Now, here's what a command squad should look like, lots of extra detail and character! The command squads for both the Axis and the Allies are functional enough, however the different specialist miniatures only feature minimal cosmetic detailing setting them apart from regular grunts. Most of the time the only difference is an added backpack or a transfer on the helmet or shoulder. Not in the Medvedi though! All three specialists have a lot of character, from the radio operator with his large tangle of wires and retro-looking mic to the mechanic with his neat leather cap and goggles. My favourite is probably the medic as I really like his facemask and doctors bag, although the very Russian looking officer is really cool as well - the binoculars are a great addition! Just like the Fakyeli the detail on the masked miniatures is quite soft, so keep that in mind when painting. Apart from that there's only the occasional mold line to complain about, but it's very minor.


Conclusion

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!

7 kommentarer :

  1. Thanks for this Martin. Been interesting reading your views on this. I have to disagree with you over the rubbery plastic used for the infantry mini's... it's horrid! I've had mini's bent badly at the ankles and knees, and all my barrels bend back to their original bent position when I straighten them. It is frustrating.

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  2. While I'd prefer metal, resin or another type of plastic it doesn't really bother me all that much. This is my very personal opinion but I kind of get my lovely-drool-worthy models fix through Infinity so when the Dust models look a bit more modest I'm ok with that.

    It'll be interesting to see if my barrel bend back or stay straight. I haven't had trouble with board game minis, but this is a different material. I'll check with Anders and see what his experience is as well.

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  3. I actually don't think the Dust miniatures look that bad Martin. I quite like them. I don't expect every wargame to have mini's like Infinity or Freebooter's Fate. The only thing I'm a bit miffed by is the rubbery plastic used. I also don't think the polyutherane primer will help with them being bendy. It's not a deal breaker for me, but it might be for others.

    Any way one of my regular opponents 'the cursed' has decided he wants to get himself an SSU force. So I pointed him in your direction. I already have pretty large Axis and Allies forces now, so I'll be able to get more games in and pimp the game to more people... that's what I'm good at!!! ;)

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  4. I wonder how much the choice of bendy plastic has to do with the minis being pre-assembled. It was the same thing with AT-43 (worse actually) and pretty much any other 'ready to play' miniature games. Is there something in the manufacturing/assembly process that prohibits more traditional hard plastics perhaps?

    Indeed, having the core set (or two!) certainly lets you pimp the game like a champ! I'm playing with Anders' allies while I'm waiting for the SSU and we're planning to expose the rest of our gaming circle to the game as well. Hehe!

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  5. I am waiting for my Warfare copy in the mail. I'm in the process of convincing my buddy to use his Kriegs army as 'counts as' Axis.

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  6. @Gonewild - Glad to hear it! Deathcorps of Krieg would make excellent Axis troops. I'm sure your friend will find Dust Warfare a breath of fresh air compared to 40k!

    On a side note, it took me a minute to realise what Krieg you meant. My first thought went to DP9's Gear Krieg (another weird war II) but that is 10mm so I got confused. Until I remembered the 40k IG army. 10 years ago when I was still playing GW games I would have gotten it instantly. Haha!

    Thanks for reading the blog. Looking forward to seeing what you think of the game.

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