Sunday, 28 August 2022

Sniper Team

 

I had found the perfect wintery sniper team for my Soviet Army at 'Bad Squiddo Games' and with the rank and file of my Soviet force now complete it was time to paint up this specialist team. In essence there was very little painting to be done as I had already followed the same method employed for the snowsuited section, namely dark grey spray primer, airbrushed Vallejo Grey surface primer, a lighter shade, then a final blast with an airbrush white to help bring out the highlights.

A few details were picked out and then there they sat, on the empty base, and waited, and waited, and waited. I knew that I wanted to do something a little special with this base, but just couldn't decide on what and then Amazon's almighty algorithm delivered the inspiration - 'Osprey Publishing' Heroines of the Soviet Union 1941 - 45!*

*Seriously though, does anyone else find the way that they seem to know exactly what you are looking for unnerving?

The heroine on the cover is considered the greatest female sniper of all time, Lyudmila Pavlichenko. With 309 confirmed kills, Pvt. Pavlichenko was attached to the 25th Infantry Division "V.I. Chapayev" as a sniper and soon found herself in combat near Odessa in August 1941. When the Germans gained control of Odessa, the Independent Maritime Army was pulled out and sent to Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula of the Black Sea. In the fierce fighting, Pavlichenko was wounded by mortar shells in June 1942. Her sniping skills were considered invaluable and so was ordered to board a submarine and evacuate Sevastopol. Such was her fame that Lyudmila was sent on motivational and fund raising tours, she was even received by President and Eleanor Roosevelt at the White House!


Using the cover artwork as inspiration, I set about making my own homage to this heroine of the Soviet Union.  Keeping the same size base as the prone figures in the rest of the army was probably an unnecessary aesthetic choice as it seriously restricted the area that I had to work with, but I imagined that the team would be hunkered down and close together, so persevered anyway. 

A foray into the loft unearthed some plastic brick building pieces from a Mars Attacks Kickstarter I had backed and after some 'offering up' I fell on a likely piece that had a broken window section in it. I hacked, pulled and snipped it to form a corner of a bombed out building and then set about texturing the base with little bricks, torn cork matting and a variety of textured pastes to create a nest for my sniper team. Getting them to fit took some tinkering and so decided to leave a space and paint the base first and then add the miniatures knowing that I could disguise any gaps with the snow.

In retrospect, I probably went a little too far with the drybrusing, but was trying to match the warm greys of the cover art whilst still making the miniatures the star attraction and yes, I realise making the sniper team stand out goes against all aspects of their fieldcraft, but I felt it looked good! With the team then glued into place the whole thing was give a coat of gloss varnish, before a spray with a matt varnish.**

**Note to self, remember to thin the gloss coat next time.

Those that have been patiently following the progress of this project will know that I had yet to decide on a snow solution for my wintery army.  I had a couple of options in mind, but in the end have gone for 'AK Interactive Terrain'.  There is a mind boggling array of products in their range, mostly aimed at the serious hobby painter and they are certainly not the cheapest, but I have to say that I am delighted with the results.  The initial effect is created with 'Snow Acrylic (AK8011)', a white acrylic medium that will hold small peaks and obviously coloured white.  While this is still wet, I sprinkled on 'Snow Microballons (AK8010)' which give it that freshly fallen powdered snow look.  Now I have no doubt that there would be cheaper alternatives involving cornstarch and PVA glue, but this worked for me as I could do a small base without any waste then put the lids back on and store ready for the next group.

  

  

  

What should have been a very quick 'win' has taken a little more time than I was expecting, but ultimately a rewarding project that has led to a greater understanding of some of the history of the conflict and a viable solution for the snow basing of the whole army.


38 comments:

  1. Superb vignette and well done managing to get all tht detil onto such a restrictive base - very impressive.
    Only three figures left to do then, before this amazing production line can shut down.

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    1. Thank you Joe, was very fiddly but worth it the end. Just finishing off the last pieces over the weekend.

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  2. Excellent job Michael, has a very battlefield look in the midst of combat, and ready to take out the next target.

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    1. Thank you Dave, certainly what I was hoping for.

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  3. Cracking piece - well done

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    1. Thank you Dave, it will look a little silly in the middle of a field, but it was fun to do.

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  4. Superb stuff, Michael. Absolutely superb. What a great piece to add to your awesome-looking army.

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    1. Thank you so much Simon, it has been a great way to finish off the summer project.

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  5. Nice quick job. Those quick jobs always take up more time than one thinks. Or plans for.

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    1. Thank you and it certainly did. Really enjoyed the problem solving of it though.

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  6. Excellent sniper piece Michael!

    Christopher

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  7. Pure Masterpiece sir!
    Great looking sniper team.

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  8. Delightfully done, sir. Pavlichenko and Eleanor Roosevelt met again in the 1950s when the former First Lady was on a tour of the Soviet Union.

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    1. Thank you A.J. and I hadn't known that, obviously the legend lived on long after the war.

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  9. Another superb offering Michael, You must have a cabinet somewhere that you display all your vignettes on. Well done & that snow does look great!

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    1. Thank you Terry, wish I did have a cabinet, some are rotated along a bookshelf but we have such little room at 'Awdry Towers' that most get packed away.

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  10. A fantastic little vignette using the delightful Bad Squiddo figures, Michael. That snow product may have been pricey but it certainly gives the desired effect. Having this kind of "mini diorama" in a gaming collection always leaves the quandary of the ruined building traversing the battlefield with the sniper team, but it is great fun, so we just have to suspend disbelief and go with it!

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    1. Thank you Keith, I had to chuckle about the idea of the moving ruin across a ploughed field, but sometimes these things just have to happen.

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  11. Fabulous work Michael - a wonderfully thematic homage!

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    1. Thank you Paul, I think seeing the book artwork was the deciding factor.

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  12. O that is a lovely finished piece! Very nicely done Micheal.
    Your snow solution is also good - might have to look that AK stuff up to see how it handles over my current snow mix.

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    1. Thank you so much Dai. The snow is definitely of the freshly fallen powdery variety, which I like, but I haven't tried to 'mess it up' yet.

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  13. These are outstanding, Michael! Love the environmental storytelling of the base!

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    1. Thank you so much Bill, I have to confess that I love doing this sort of thing and really pleased with how it turned out.

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  14. Stunning little diorama, mate, as usual you've gone above and beyond! Great little tribute to a great lady.

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. Thank you so much Roger, that's incredibly kind of you.

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  15. A little vignette with so much backstory ... that's what a good painting project should be. Superb work Michael :)

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    1. Thank you so much, it was great fun to do too.

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  16. Lovely vignette and great looking snow, I ended up using acrylic display snow, the main selling point ix that I didn't have to pay for it!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thank you Iain and free is always the best solution.

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