“Do you have a Flag?”

One of my favourite stand up routines is Eddie Izzard in his Dressed to Kill show a part of which he talks about European Empires and how they were built by the cunning use of flags.  Go google it – I hope you laugh!

Anyway, I decided to model my Commissar for my Bolt Action Russians with a big Soviet flag.  As I did so, I was constantly reminded of the question “Do you have a Flag??”.  Well now I can say yes I do – and I’m hoping it will bring my forces some much needed motivation on the battlefield!

I have a Flag!  A Commissar armed with Pistol and SMG.

I have a Flag! A Commissar armed with Pistol and SMG.

This is one of the Russian command figures from Warlord games.  It came with my 1000pt starter army and had been lying unpainted since January.  On building my Shtrafbat squad and deciding I needed a Commissar to run with them, I dug this chap out of the box and set about building him a flag.  The model itself is sculpted to be holding something, so a big flag seemed to make sense.  The flag was easily built with a bit of wire, some milliput to thicken the pole, a piece of cut up cloth from the charity/junk pile, a pipe cleaner from the kids craft box and some cut and paste work on the computer.

Flag design is same front and back

Flag design is same front and back

The only problem is the out-stretched hand was too small for any of my drills to go through, so the flag pole is stuck on top and bottom.  I also stuck the flag to the back of the pistol to add some support; however, it still is a bit fragile and I’ll have to see how it stands up to transport and gaming.

The flag itself was surprisingly easy to put together – this is the first big flag I’ve done.  Sandwiched the cloth together around the wire with a stripped pipe cleaner running width ways to allow me to shape it.  Found a good flag image from google and then cut and pasted two images side by side to the right size and printed them off.  Cut them out as one long rectangle and stuck it over the cloth.  Added some weathering with some watered down paint (brown/black) and dry brushed some grey around the frayed edges.  Added milliput over the exposed wire to bulk it out and plopped a small ball of milliput on top of the pole.  Stuck it all on to the model and job done.

The Red Star on the helmet is from the Warlord Russian Decal transfer set.

The Red Star on the helmet is from the Warlord Russian Decal transfer set.

Now with the cunning use of a flag I can go forth and claim my empire.  And shoot some cowardly Shtrafbats along the way!


Bringing Unarmed Men to a Gunfight

My Russian force in Bolt Action is now well developed and I’ve been looking at options for adding additional men into the ranks.  The Russian Army list gives the intriguing option of adding a Shtrafbat Squad.  The costing looks like this:

Cost: Inexperienced Infantry 35pts 

Composition: 1 NCO and 4 men 

Weapons: Rifles 

Options: •  Add up to 7 additional unarmed men at 4pts each 

•  Any unarmed men may be given rifles at +3pts each 

•  Shtrafbat units can be Shirkers for a reduction of 3pts per man

So by adding 7 men and taking the squad as shirkers, I get a 12 man squad on the table for 27 points.  Add 1 extra rifle to make it an even 6-6 split armed/unarmed and the squad costs 30 points.  The obvious problem with the squad is the shirkers property: an order test no matter if you have pins or not, and any pins from enemy fire count double.  However, the Russian Army list comes to your aid again with the addition of a Commissar.  Inexperienced and costing just 15 points, when within 6 inches he will shoot one member of the squad (an unarmed man obviously!) to reroll any failed order test.  In a 6 turn battle, he’ll have the chance to shoot 6 men, so without enemy fire, there’s no chance he will shoot the rifle armed ivans.  Perfect!  Couple this squad with the free 12 man inexperienced squad the Russians get as a special rule and you have a 3 dice formation that has 25 men for the sum total of 45 points. The Commissar gives them a decent chance to be useful after the first pins are taken.  Add a green test into the mix for the free squad and there is some potential to cause a distraction.

Take 6 unarmed men. “Their only value is as casualties” according to the rule book. You wouldn’t shoot an unarmed man would you??!

I like the synergy, and I looked around for some suitable models to act as unarmed men.  I couldn’t find anything I liked so took the basic models from my infantry starter sprues and weeded them down to work out which ones had no weapons on at all.  This is now the makings of my new Shtrafbat squad.  Their purpose is purely to give my opponent a problem to deal with and soak up some fire that could be directed elsewhere.  It also adds a lot of flavour to the list!

Add some riflemen (these 9 models are freshly completed to make this squad possible)

Add some riflemen (these 9 models are freshly completed to make this squad possible)

Same 9 from the back - no equipment added!

Same 9 from the back – no equipment added!

Add an NCO and a couple of spare riflemen already painted. A full squad for 30 points.

Add an NCO and a couple of spare riflemen already painted. A full squad for 30 points.

Add one Commissar and a 12 man inexperienced rifle squad (with anti tank grenades).  45 points of infantry!

Add one Commissar and a 12 man inexperienced rifle squad (with anti tank grenades). 45 points of infantry with 18 rifle shots and a pistol to fire!

The only thing to remember is to keep the Commissar away from the more expensive infantry as there is no ‘optional’ re-roll – if he’s within 6 inches of any squad that fails an order test, he’s shooting someone no matter what they cost!  Therefore these 3 squads will be predominantly acting on their own away from the main force.

The other benefit of having the Shtrafbat squad is that it opens the second platoon up for minimal cost.  An inexperienced junior Lieutenant, and 2 Shtrafbat squads will cost you 95 points.  This small outlay opens the support options of a second platoon to the ranks of your first platoon.  I haven’t got that many unarmed men modelled yet, but when I get there I’ll be looking forward to getting my second medium mortar on the field.  Along with more unarmed men, I think I’ll also model another Commissar with a big red flag – add a bit of visual impact to the battlefield!  More to follow on how the Shtrafbat squad gets on.

The Horde Takes Shape

I’ve had some time to forge ahead with creating the Zombie horde for Deadzone that came in the Contagion expansion set.

15 Zombies waiting to be released from the sprue

15 Zombies waiting to be released from the sprue

So from my initial post where I competed the first 15, I’ve now got the other 15 assembled and all of them are based and primed.

30 Zombies makes a horde

30 Zombies makes a horde

From this state, I’ve completed all the bases.  Here’s a single zombie:

Repeat 29 more times...

Repeat 29 more times…

And here’s the horde in its current state:

Now in a useable state

Now in a useable format

Just the difficult business of deciding on colours for skin and clothes and how best to achieve a decent finish while not taking the rest of the year to finish them off!  On a positive note, they are now in a state that I can use them on the tabletop to try out the Artificial Stupidity in the solo campaign. If I get bored painting Zombies I can break open the game and shoot them instead!

The Horde assembles.

The Horde assembles.

I’ll post again when I’ve got a Zombie completed… and estimate how long it will take to get 30 done.

Making Tracks.

Finally I completed my first Soviet piece of armour on tracks.  This is the SU-76 from Warlord games, and when I originally got it there was a miscast piece (the back panel with the spare wheel on).  Full marks to Warlord for a hassle free and prompt customer service department that sent me a complete set of spares which has enabled me to complete the model.


Soviet SU-76

It took a couple of attempts to get the base colour to my liking – I started off with a much too darker green that defeated the weathering and shading effect.  However, a slight adjusment and a rummage through the paints box gave me a better mix that has turned out well.  I ended up using Vallejo Model Army Green with a Vallejo olive wash over the top.  Mixed some vallejo wolf grey in to provide the weathering.

A 76.2mm howitzer that can also act as an anti tank gun.

The crew compartment is well detailed

I didn’t want to over do the muddying so left it to the tracks with some splashes front and back on the main chassis.  Added some rust streaks and a bit of a black wash to add shade, and job done.

For 125 points, I get a dual use gun with long range hitting power and it can also fire smoke.  Coupled with a medium mortar and a Zis-3 gun, I’m looking forward to getting it on the battlefield and putting some pins on some Germans!



I broke open Contagion for Deadzone and have made a start on the zombie horde.  Or the “Plague Stage 3Z” Horde to be entirely correct in Deadzone terms.

The models are pretty clean and easy to assemble with minimal fuss and a good degree of poseability – no two models are the same.

This is the first 15 made up ready for priming, with another 15 to go.  These took about 3 hours total work from sprue to ready to prime – that’s about 12 minutes per model.  Some are a bit more involved than others – the easiest has 3 parts, the most complicated (zombie holding a gun) has 8 parts.  

The making of a Zombie Horde

Workshop completed.

A catch up on stuff I did manage to complete in the last few weeks.

A Workshop from http://www.warbases.co.uk is the most recent addition. This is a roughly similar colour scheme to the ‘Dock Office’ to keep the two matched up but I’ve experimented with the texture on the non-brick-etched walls.  A nice straight forward project.

This model has plenty of tactical options - including the first floor space perfect for a sniper or observer.

This model has plenty of tactical options – including the first floor space perfect for a sniper or observer.


Behind the workshop. The free additional roof tiles that came with the model are simple and very effective.


There are no stairs to the first floor space, so troops teleport in and out!


The model is larger in size, so there will have to be some restrictions on moving in and out on consecutive turns to prevent an unfair ‘boost’. Soviet troops added for scale.

The Russian for Workshop is....

The Russian for Workshop is….

More terrain stuff to come, plus an update on the list I’m fighting with (now 625pts) and new additions to the fighting force.


Back to the Deadzone.

Just a short post to kick start a series of catch up posts and get back up to date with my progress so far.  Where did April go?!

After an eternity of waiting, I finally took delivery of my Deadzone re-inforcements and they look like this:

New stuff arrived!

New stuff arrived!

This adds some much needed firepower to the Rebels, plus a bit of Psychic support which will be interesting to experiment with.  The Plague also get a boost following my struggle against Mawbeasts – I’m hoping the Swarm will be able to stand toe to toe or claw to claw and hold its own.

The Contagion expansion adds 30 zombies to my painting in-tray as well.  Just what I needed!  However, I’m intrigued by the AI deck that comes with this.  As my other projects are ticking over I’m hoping to find time to see how the AI deck serves as a worthwhile opponent.  I’ll add some posts once I’ve had a dabble in the single person campaign vs the zombies and had a battle against a deck controlled faction.


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