I have been putting off painting the infantry of my Sino-Soviet forces for Dust Warfare (or Tactics) because I've been unsure of how to proceed. Thinking about what level of detail I wanted to give them, how advanced a camouflage scheme (if any) and which base colours to use was all up in the air.
A warning before you continue reading. This entire article is pretty much just a big humblebrag, so be prepared. I almost decided against writing it halfway through, but I'm just so commited that I couldn't finish what I had started (see! It's starting already!).
Now, I have always considered Dust Warfare to be my dirty little side project, painting wise, for a couple of reasons; 1) It's an army scale game and considering my painting speed it would take ages to get it to the same standard as, say, my Infinity miniatures. 2) The infantry miniatures are... simpler than the other stuff I'm painting. Don't get me wrong - they look great on the tabletop, but they are perhaps not display level stuff. This is not a negative as simpler minis gives me "mental permission" to lower my painting level. 3) Since I started playing miniature games I've always had an idea to speed paint my armies, but I've never actually managed it. In the end I can't help but spend way too much time on each individual miniature. Too much time for an entire army at least.
Line 'em up and knock 'em down. Halfway done.
So yesterday I sat down and all three things kind of came together and I decided to get to work. Simple base colours followed by a wash. That's it. The plan is to go back later and add some details etc, but at first I want to paint all my infantry to this standard. I'm tired of seeing the mustard brown horde battling it out on the tabletop and even painted to a lower standard looks infinetly better! Oh, and come to think of it I might have been inspired by the "Naked Miniatures" article over at Delta Vector. Good read, check it out.
Anyway, I decided on painting mostly similar to the official FFG/Dust Models minis. Swithced around some of the camo blots, but overall similar. I wanted to make the different units easy to tell apart when playing so khaki with OD blots for the Ohotniki and inverted for the Fakyeli. I also painted Koshka, Nikolai and a Commissar as well. This force amounts to about 200 points and I've managed to finish roughly half of my infantry (basing not done though). Not too shabby for just one evening!
After Action Report
Why did I paint these specific units you ask? Well, we had scheduled a Dust Warfare meet-up for today, using 200 point armies. Simple! It was me with the SSU, Anders with Axis, Kosta with Allies and new acquaintance (for me and Kosta) Viktor with some more Axis. We thought about playing a large battle with two players per side, but in the end decided to split the table into two smaller play areas. Borderline too small, but it worked decently I think. I faced off against Viktor while Kosta would battle Anders.
Since I really like the SSU walkers (and I thought it would be a nasty surprise!) I squeezed in three walkers in my army coupled with some Fakyeli and some Ohotniki:
Dust Warfare - Force BuilderFaction: SSU ( 199 / 200 )
--- Defense Platoon (199)
Upgrade: Political Importance (5)
Command Section: Koshka Rudinova with Grand'ma (53, Hero)
1st Section: "Fakyeli" SSU Close Combat Squad (21)
2nd Section: "Fakyeli" SSU Close Combat Squad (21)
3rd Section: "Ohotniki" SSU Rifle Squad (20)
Commissar: "The Fonvizin" (9)
Support: KV47-B "Natasha" (40)
Support: KV47-A "Nadya" (30)
Unluckily for me Viktor had brought a force pretty much built for anti-tank. A Ludvig, some apes and every lasergun in the Third Reich! Ouch...
Dust Warfare - Force BuilderFaction: Axis ( 196 / 200 )
--- Blutkreuz Platoon (196)
Upgrade: Defenses (5)
Command Section: Sigrid Von Thaler (20, Hero)
1st Section: Heavy Laser Grenadiers (35)
2nd Section: Laser Grenadiers (21)
3rd Section: Axis Gorillas (24)
4th Section: Laser Grenadiers (21)
Support: MPW II-B "Ludwig" (40)
Support: MPW II-A "Luther" (30)
Deployment. Notice the neat new (old) trees that Anders have managed to dig up.
French countryside here we come!
After using the battle builder we ended up with Eliminate the Enemy and Close Engagement. I was fairly happy with this as it meant my short range troops could get stuck in fairly quickly... then again so would the short range Axis troops. I combined my Fakyeli using the Fonvizin Commissar (although I took him because he has Assault... that the Fakyeli alraedy have. Doh!).
"Hmm... trees... Burn them!! For the Motherland!"
The first turn was harsh for me as I lost my Natasha walker to fire from the Ludwig and Luther. My plan was to use it for suppression but that kind of went out the window with that. My Nadya advanced on the right flank, scaring off the apes as well as Sigrid and her Grenadiers who hid there. Some fire from my Ohotniki proved ineffectual and we moved on to the next turn.
Sigrid and her Laser Grenadiers. And some very camelion-like apes!
The Ludwig fired at Gran'ma but she escaped damage. Realizing that everything in my army except the Ohotniki ignored cover Viktor advanced with his regular and heavy Laser Grenadiers and fired at my infantry to no effect. I decided to throw Gran'ma in front of the bus and she charged straight into the jaws of the Axis guns (betting I would win initiative the next turn). My riflemen fired on the Laser Grenadiers causing a casualty while my Fakyeli geared up for their attack.
I was lucky enough to win the initiative and used my order phase to open up with Gran'ma. She killed a heavy Laser Grenadier and two of the regular ones. She received fire in return but survived. In the unip phase the Nadya from the flank came lumbering around a corner and opened up on the Ludwig with her sulfur throwers inflicting three hits and setting the walker on fire. Woo! The ohotniki advanced and managed to wipe out the heavy Laser Grenadiers. Woo! In a moment of weakness I decided to take the safe route with my Fakyeli and ran out on the flank the Nadya just came from. Good to protect them, sure, but they're an incredibly offensive unit so charging out, guns blazing, might have done more damage!
Gran'ma managed to get a few more shots off, damaging the Luther but in the end the walker was doomed as the Luther destroyed her with its Kampfzange. Fortunately Koshka managed to get out in time and took cover in the nearby ruins (denying Viktor the superiority point as long as she stayed alive!).
Peeking around the corner...
Things were drawing to a close and we were tied for points, 1-1. The Nadya was fired again on the Ludwig and destroyed it (2-1), but it was in a bad position, with two Laser Grenadiers and an ape nearby. The ape charged and even though I hit it twice with the flamers it survived and inflicted damage, as did one of the Laser Grenadiers. My Fakyeli kept advancing but I realized that they would probably not be able to attack anything as Viktor just kept moving away from them. My Ohotniki kept plinking away at the decimated Laser Grenadier squad but didn't manage to wipe it out. The Luther opened up on Koshka but she espaced unharmed!
Just about to wipe out that Ludwig!
In the final turn the final ape managed to survive another double sulfur thrower attack in my Command Phase and in the Unit Phase the decimated Grenadier squad finished off the Nadya (2-2). The ape (which was worth one point) took refuge in the ruins at my right flank... not too far from my Fakyeli. The Laser Grenadiers poured fire into Koshka and managed to inflict six hits thanks to Sigrid's Berserk ability. I was lucky though and saved twice meaning Koshka survived with two hits left. The Luther started tracking her but she managed to run out of its field of fire. The Ohotniki fired ineffectively but finally... in the last turn my Fakyeli got to fire their first shot. Only three of them and the Commissar were in range, but that provided enough dice to bring down the last ape, bringing the score to 3-2 to me.
Yay! SSU victory!
It was a fun battle that started badly for me, suddenly turned in the middle and then stayed tense until the very last turn! Just the way I like it. Gameplay wise I think I made mostly the right choices. With hindsight I should probably have been more aggressive with my Fakyeli in the mid-game - that was a 50 point unit that only got to attack once. Sure they denied points for Viktor, but they could easily have wrecked the Luther if I had gone that way. Next time!
All that anti-tank firepower was scary and my walkers fell one by one. Against a different force they would probably have been more effective, but against these Germans they mostly acted like bullet (laser) sponges. The Ohotniki who look great on paper have yet to really wow me during a game, but perhaps I'm not using them correctly. Might try some Frontoviki next time.
At the other end of the table the Allied force consisting of mostly heavy infantry were badly beaten by a zombie heavy Axis force. Grr... those darn zombies!
Look at that poor lonely Yankee, swarmed by nasty zombies.
I'm looking forward to getting the attack helicopter, as well as the aero walkers (more than the walker transport as it were). Might be fun to try some artillery themed lists. Also really looking forward to the upcoming SSU infantry - the Red Guard - as they have stuff like missile launchers and UGL's that most of the SSU units are missing. Oh... and tanks.