I've got a whole bunch of 1:285 scale late-WWII Soviet armour that I got ultra-cheap as a job-lot a while ago, and it all needs painting. It's not actually an army I have all that much interest in fielding, but what the hell. There are a couple of manufacturers present; one is definitely C-in-C, but the other I'm unsure about — possibly Scotia.

I've been flailing about trying to find the ideal paint shade and processes to make my life as easy as possible. Fortunately the Soviets didn't go as much for markings as other combatants, so that at least will help.

These are some of a bunch of early T-34s I bought quite a few years ago when C-in-C were doing a cut-price deal — 10 tanks from each of Russia, Japan, Germany and America. They're painted in a dark Tamiya green of some sort — NATO Green, I think — and dry-brushed with Tamiya Buff. The colour would be roughly equivalent to Vallejo Russian Green I suppose, and it's pretty much the dark colour I used to think all Russian armour was painted. These days I prefer something more in the olive green line.

This (and the SU-85 or -100 below) was painted in a base of Vallejo's Parched Grass surface primer, and washed with Citadel Athonian Camoshade, which is a sort of olive khaki. Dry-brushed with Vallejo Buff. It's not too bad, but it's just a little bit too bright for what I want.

SU-85 (or SU-100)
One good thing about Soviet armour of this era is that the guns are simple tubes, without much in the way of sleeves or muzzle-brakes. That makes them a breeze to replace with stiff steel pins, which are much less susceptible to damage than the cast-on soft white-metal barrels. It's a little bit of a drag drilling and pinning hundreds of models, but doing them just a few at a time as I paint, it doesn't take long at all.

I'm not sure whether these are SU-85s or SU-100s — I'm not au fait enough with Soviet armour to be able to tell the difference at a glance. the SU-100 would have a much longer barrel of course, but otherwise they're near enough in basic shape that I'll happily use the models for either, as I require.

These KV-85s have been painted in Vallejo Russian Uniform and washed with Citadel Agrax Earthshade, dry-brushed with Vallejo Buff. They're a shade or two down from the ISU-152 and SU-85, (though the camera doesn't really show that very well) and I think that this will be my basic colour for all the rest.

I replaced the barrels with lengths of 0.7mm steel wire.

These are the T-34 Model 1942/43 from the Mystery Manufacturer. Having looked at them a bit more closely, I begin to doubt my theory that they came from Scotia — the other models I've had from them have been considerably less detailed, more like stuff from Heroics & Ros (of whom I'm quite fond, incidentally). The standard of detail is almost like some older GHQ stuff, but the quality of casting isn't as good as I've had from them. It remains a mystery.

I've replaced the barrel on the one on the left with a .55mm brass rod. It's slightly over-scale, but it looks right on the table. I'd have preferred to do it with steel, being stiffer, but even brass is a substantial improvement on white metal.

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