Freitag, 4. Dezember 2015

Strike Witches - A small Bolt Action project

Hello everyone!

Hold on tight ... this will be a big one. As I have been away for some time, I am going to post the progress of almost three weeks now starting with ... the beginning of course.

Doktor Cathrine Halsey from Halo once told Master Chief: "Never make a girl a promise if you know you can't keep it." I guess she was referring to New Years resolutions.

I once again managed to dismiss at least one of my resolutions. As I told at the opening of my Valkyria Chronicles project, I never wanted to go into WWII topics again (leaving aside my US Navy Pacific War fleet).
Noone wanted to play 28mm WWII in my area, so I sold my Fallschirmjägerkompanie, the Hetzer and Nebelwerfer, my British Airborne units and all that stuff. Never. Never again!
And after a few experiences with some people I also dismissed my 20mm Fallschirmjäger and decided not to do anything else regarding this topic.

But now ... now (!) there are a lot of people starting their WWII armies in my area, playing the 28mm ruleset Bolt Action. And they are coming to me and asking me to get started, too. Well, excuse me, people - but where have you been when I had my forces ready to battle? *Sign*

It's not like I want to stand aside when around 70% of my fellow players in the area are playing Bolt Action. I want to do something, too, and as my Gallia project and my China project are both rather special and the interest in those topics may not be shared by everyone, I need something to provide me with a wider variety of possible players.
And then there is the problem of me feeling uneasy to use armies of other players. Those are not my miniatures, it's not my army and therefore I am not able to dive into the game. So what do I need? Right: A small army to be able to compete in a WWII skirmish game. It hasn't to be that big. Just a bit to provide me with everything necessary.

Well then! Bring me your huddle masses of bored house wives and I will shape them into my image.

Tanks, Tops, Tokarevs

What sounds like a panty-shot anime series is actually the base of my thoughts regarding this project. I didn't want to go for the Germans again, so I need something else. I don't like the allied fractions as for me their struggle with the Germans is well known and the variety of possibile uses in any part of the war is too much for me to choose. And I wanted to create something that fits into the era as well as on the table but also to my idea of creating something "special".

Having read about involvement of women in WWII, I stumbled upon the story of Roza Shanina, a female sharpshooter of the Soviet Union who fought the Germans during Operation Bagration and who was known for her beauty and her skills as a sharpshooter. Her story is as sad as her end in 1945, but her spirit and her bright nature were both providing a light in the darkness of war. She, by the way, was the inspiration for the White Witch, a fictional Soviet sniper featured in Stephen Hunters novel "Sniper's Honor". For anyone interested I may recommend this small animated story written and directed by Natalie Sklobovskaya which summarizes the story of Roza pretty good:

And then, of course, I read about the Soviet night bomber regiment dubbed "Nachthexen" by the Germans, which later was made into a song by Sabaton (Maybe they think about making a song out of the story of Roza Shanina, too?). It was (and in regard to current conflicts as for example the fight of the YPJ women against ISIL still is) impressive to see how women are able to strike fear in the hearts of their enemies.

I got so impressed by those stories, which perfectly fit to my idea of creating something special that is fun to do and keeps my spirits high to finish the project, that I decided to get a bunch of Warlords Soviet winter infantry and a few women heads and shape an all-female Soviet infantry company out of it.

A fe... a fe... a female infantry bataillon?! Are you mad?

I got some responses like that. I just can say: Yeah. Maybe. I guess this whole idea came to live due to my interest in Anime and "uncommon" topics. As I said: The topic of fighting women is very interesting for me, and that's not just because in Anime the girls often are the fighters, but more because the reasons why women fight can be similar to those of men, but also differ from them pretty much.
Then it is out of question that mostly women are on one hand considered to be the weaker sex and aren't believed to be fitting into a fighters role. But on the other hand, fighting women are also considered to be sexy by a lot of men. For me that's fascinating.

So maybe I am mad taking this topic and making an army project out of it, but I do not care. It's lifting my spirits. And all those Bolt Action players within my area may be ensured: One day, my girls will visit you! And they will come in numbers. Mu ha ha ha ha *cough* *cough*!

Regarding the possibility of creating an all-female infantry unit let me say this: the number of Women fighting in the Soviet forces during WWII was quite high, due to the heavy losses in the early stage of the war. Women were assuming a lot of different roles, ranging from flow regulation over aviation duties, medics, machine gun crews and sniper units up to tank drivers they were present in high numbers.

There never has been a unit composed only of women that was meant for assault or combat. The only almost all-female unit that was in direct combat with German forces was the 1077th anti-aircraft regiment during the battle of Stalingrad. They engaged a German tank column and were able to delay the German advance for quite some time but were finally overrun and destroyed.

But during WWI the Russian army fielded four women bataillons which were in combat and at least one of them was very successful in striking some serious blows to the Germans.

You see? I made up my mind, did some research and now I am ready to create an all-female Soviet infantry unit. So it's time to move straight ahead! Straight until ... I get distracted by something else.

As of now, I have got a 40 figures strong infantry platoon, which will make the core of my upcoming unit. But when it comes to additional forces, I don't really have got great plans. I will see where the topic takes me. If I find them useful, I will add one or two T 34/76 to my force, but nothing special is planned so far.

So here we are, using my interest in Anime to name this project after an overhyped but in my opinion rather poor Anime series:

Strike Witches!

„Ой ты, песня, песенка девичья,
Ты лети за ясным солнцем вслед.
И бойцу на дальнем пограничье
От Катюши передай привет.“

And here we go:

The first days consisted of waiting for the Soviet army book as well as for the winter infantry set and the heads to arrive.

When they finally were there, there was nothing to stop me from starting to cut those figures out of their sprues and start to clear them of all flash before gluing them together.

Unfortunately the heads still weren't there, so I decided to continue gluing those bodies to their bases and preparding some poses.

To be honest: I really like the bases. They look quite nice and very fitting, similar to those washers I normally use. By now I still don't have a clue how to make the bases look later on. I am still in search for a fitting topic, but I am sure I will find some inspiration somewhere.

The bodies are divided into winter coats and wool-padded jackets. The winter coats themselves may easily be converted into female bodies. That shouldn't be much of a bother.

The jackets whereas ... I am not sure how to convert those. Maybe I think about this later.

Anyway: My little project has started. Would there be a better start than just diving headlong right into the action? So I prepared some putty and started converting.

After that I decided to prepare all figures and put them onto their bases. For me that makes much more sense than doing it in smaller numbers from time to time. I want to get this project done and ready as soon as possible to return to my Chinese and Valkyria Chronicles miniatures.

Some figures still need to be cleared of flash and may be sanded before they receive their arms, weapons and equipment. I am still waiting for the heads, though.

Having cleared this stage, I still am waiting for the heads. It now has been nearly two weeks, and I get unpatient right now. That means: Do something, man! Get it done! Let's put on some primer. Just cover the part where the neck is to be later on and cover the rest in thin, black paint. Looks good so far, I think. Still waiting for the heads, though ... *sigh*

Troop no. 2 is also nearing its combat readiness, though I have to do some work on them before they are ready to be primed.

The rest ... well, I guess before I go on with those, I need to wait for the heads ...

Finally. The heads are there. Yeah! The only thing is: At least half of them are too small. Hm. They could be taken for my Gallia Project or be used with my Elysians, but not with those bulky bodies. Hm. I guess I have to get some more heads of those fitting the project. No problem so far. But at least I have got a unit of 10 plus 5 figures for the command section.

Let's have a look:

The command section

Vitalia and Vladimira, two sisters from Siberia. They are the commissars of the units. I now could make some bad jokes about "commissary positions" and so on, but I leave that to everyones imagination.
Anyway: While Vitalia, a chainsmoker and reader of novels - especially Tolstoi - is daydreaming through her life, living in a world of "War and Peace", Vladimira once was a well known singer of opera, who now is using her impressive voice to strike fear in the hearts of her enemies and encouraging her girls to assault wherever they may be needed. And she is great doing so - better than any NKWD squad would be. Maybe because her favourite piece of music is the "Trololol"-Song ...

Then we have got Olga, the banner maid. At the current stage, there is no flag to lift, so she lifts Vodka instead. But that will change ... soon.

And last but not least: Anastasia Zhukova, the company commander and her bodyguard Irina, a former NKWD-Agent, who has been joining the unit after having been converted by Vladimira. Wololo ....

Zhukova is a former cossack who traded in her horse for a front command, and though she doesn't have a steed anymore, she still charges into enemy trenches as if she had been bitten by a flea.

The first infantry unit:

Those three ladies are ready to be painted.

Those four still require some work to be done before they are finished. They are not ready yet.

And then we have got the light machine gun team and Sergeant Jekaterina Romanova, who can be seen doing what she can do best: barking. It is said that she once won a shouting contest against Sergeant Scream, but I guess that's just a rumor.

As you can see: This unit already consists of some quite unique characters! Time to add some more colour to them.

Is that snow? I mean ... snow? It has become cold, hasn't it? Yeah. Seems so ... while we are still waiting for snow, a white Christmas and a happy New Year, the German Ostfront is already experiencing a sudden onset of winter.

Time for Jekaterina Romanova to make an appearance. As of now, she is just supported by a LMG section, but that will change soon. And if not ... she alone is impressive enough to keep a whole German company busy.

That's a lot of stuff, I know, but I didn't want to make like ten posts out of it, as it isn't all too much progress as of now. Next update will follow during the next days. Then I will have to report some more stuff from my Ancient China project as well as more of the Strike Witches.

See you then!

So long!


  1. Very nice - fantastic conversions.

    1. Thank you very much, Stuart! I am totally surprised myself that it worked out that nicely.

  2. Quite a project. When I saw that you were sculpting the bust, I was concerned that these would turn out to be more "pin up" than , but they turned out quite well.

    Did you use any of the veteran heads that Andrew makes? I think that the officer heads and some of the others might fit in nicely. (assuming that you used the heroic heads, and not the "fine scale" heads)

    1. Haha - yeah. I guess the bust was most a challenge. It could have turned out to be much more. Like with my Balalaika figure, which was quite well endowed. But in this case ... that wouldn't have worked with the guns and arms :-D So I tried to stays focussed this time. And I am surprised myself how nice they look.

      I haven't used any veteran heads. I have to state: Most of them wouldn't fit my project, so there would be just a small range be usable. For me that's not worth it. So I'd rather sculpt the missing hats and helmets myself.

      All the best