As I mentioned in my "summer vacation" post, our annual summer trip across the peninsula to the "fossil beach" is often accompanied by a stop in at that side's FLGS. The latter traditionally produces some kind of sudden, yet not-unexpected new project, usually centred on a heavily discounted big box. Last year it ended up being chaos marines (which, along with those from the Shadowspear box, now comprise my pretty much painted World Eaters force).
|About to become a hero of the Soviet Union|
This year, the new project has turned out to be Bolt Action. I've played this before, as it was pretty popular for a while in TO, and it was something the Cub showed interest in a while back. Those games, however, were 1st edition, and I used 15mm figures; collecting Soviets for Flames of War on and off for years, I pretty much always have some kicking around, and it was easy enough to base them individually. I quite liked BA at the time. It plays well, gives a decent amount of flavour, and like most of the Warlord-backed games, is relatively easy entry - in the sense that you don't need to do a lot of pre-work to jump in, and can pick up the history etc. as you go.
|Assembled riflemen. The infantry sprue gives a range of weapons options, but I started with the most basic.|
|Lots of customization options in terms of heads, gear, etc.|
I'm finding lately, however, that 15mm is getting harder for me. My eyes and my hands aren't what they used to be, and it's getting harder and harder to paint 15mm to a standard I like. 28mm, on the other hand, I can still manage, along with 6mm, oddly enough (my style there is almost impressionist anyways), and I find I've been gravitating towards more projects of that scale / size.
|Bolt action Soviets get a free squad of basic infantry. This one, in fact.|
|Plus, every force requires a fearless-ish leader.|
Then I discovered that some of the local (mostly) GW crew are dipping in a toe, along with a regular gaming buddy who's doing Finns, and even before I dropped in at the FLGS, I'd been pondering jumping up to 28mm. Stumbling across a Soviet starter box at 30% off simply sealed the deal.
|They also need to take the usual minimum compliment of 2 infantry squads. It's an infantry game, really.|
The Soviet box is crammed full of goodies - enough for 60-something infantry in a range of configurations, along with command, a medium mortar, and a T-34/85. According to the inter-tubes, these are relatively old sculpts in the range, and get a bad rap compared to some of the newer BA kits, but I was fairly impressed. There's plenty of options, the kits are flexible, and a modicum of patience and low-grade kit-bashing allows for a fair bit of character in posing, etc.
|Although SMGs seem to have been toned down a little, even a small squad of veterans armed with them are murderous at close range.|
I put together a 500 point list, and powered through block-painting and washing them in time for a first game against the afore-mentioned buddy. He took the win, primarily through sound forethought in where he brought in his reserves (although I maintain having my veteran SMG squad FUBAR two turns in a row played a factor!), but it was a ripper of a game, and I've been going back through the Soviets to pick out highlights etc. While the figures are reasonably details - belt buckles and pockets all accounted for, they are relatively simple, and it's been a pleasure to knock them out.
|From the test game|
I'm hoping the game gets some traction beyond the initial buy-in. While f2f gaming for me is probably coming to a close for a bit, there's some hope in the prospect of the local delta wave burning out as our vax rates climb. In the meantime, I can start to think about expanding the force. The T-34 is an obvious option, but the /85 is limited to the latter stages of the war, and tanks in BA are pretty expensive - it's going to make up about a quarter of a thousand point force. There's also some specialized units, like artillery observers, that I'm keen to add, and Christmas might provide the opportunity for a matching German force - at which point, dragooning the Cub into a game should be pretty easy.
|AT Rifle. Not great at killing tanks, but can pin most, and is great for half-tracks, guns, etc.|
In other news, I continue to pick away at my ECW pile, expanding some of the existing units to Pike and Shotte sizes. 6mm seems to be on a break for me, right now. I've had a unit of cuirassier primed and ready for months, but haven't felt the urge, and I've finally learned not to "push" hobby stuff. I might turn to some of the Vikings after that, or maybe some of the Bloody Miniatures ECW figs I pick up a little while back. They're not a great fit for the Scots, but I can maybe either convert them, or find a role for them in the Royalist force.