If there is one thing the leafblower needs, it’s airborne anti-tank. The AT-4 doesn’t add much anti-tank punch to the infantry and the RPG-7VR is too short-ranged to rely on so its up to the air component to deal with the heavy armour or at least soften it up.
The SU-25 Frogfoot brings a hard-hitting anti-tank missile attack with it that can crack any tank in the game, even from the front (though more of them are getting a save!). Of course, you do need to roll a 4 for them to turn up!
I bought a bunch of, now out of production as far as I can tell, Academy 1:144 SU-25 back when the battlefront kit was made of resin so I’m ahead of the game as the kit got rebadged by Battlefront to become their plastic kit. Whilst I may have saved myself a few pennies. What I did miss out on was flight stands and the resin Kerry missiles as the Academy kit only has 57mm rockets, drop tanks and general-purpose bombs. Still, the following will hold true for the battlefront kit, for the most part.
Scheme wise, the Academy instructions were Afghan-style two-tone which didn’t fit in with my European Plains look! A quick google revealed a whole gaggle of different patterns for the four tone camo (blue lower, beige, green and brown upper) and I found a decent four-way view to copy.
I had completed the majority of assembly back when I bought the kits. I had left the canopy off for some reason (was I trying to source a pilot figure? Who knows.) as well as the pitot tubes (as they look like they will snap the first time it goes in a transit case) and pylons. I decided to put the canopy and pylons on the model whereupon I quickly found I was missing two aircraft’s worth of said pylons. A bit of a bummer, but the majority of the time they’ll like to be in a four-ship flight, so two “clean” wasn’t an issue.
I fitted a disc magnet to the base of the aircraft to pick up on the flight stand and the job’s a good ‘un.
Four Tone Camo
After the Hinds and the failure to dial pre-shading in with three-tone camo, I decided that the pre-shading wasn’t working for me and I would switch to modulation and shading as that would require less mask.
I gave the aircraft a coat of Vallejo Surface Primer “Black” to prime, then applied Vallejo Model Air (VMA) “Underside Blue, faded” to the lower surfaces and partway up the side of the fuselage as the scheme is very much a wrap around one.
One dry, I used AK Masking Putty to cover off the hardpoints and the blue sides, putting a wavy edge to the wrap around.
I then applied the VMA “Sand Beige” all over the upper and side surfaces. There’s comparatively little of the beige showing in the final scheme, but its easier to apply the lighter colour first. I switched to Vallejo Game Air (VGA) “Bone White” and added some modulation to the centre of panels, the leading edges and the “hump” of the fuselage.
After that, I added additional masking putty to mask off the beige areas and then sprayed on VMA “Gunship Green”, followed by modulation of VMA “Camo. Light Green”.
More masking putty went on, followed by VMA “Olive Drab” (which is exceptionally brown, oddly. Ideal for my needs) followed by modulation of VMA “Khaki Drab”.
I peeled off all the putty, touched up a few areas to better match the intended pattern, but the camo was largely good to go.
There wasn’t a huge amount of detailing to do on the SU-25; largely just the cockpit and some bright green areas on the tail tip, wingtips and the hump.
I blocked the canopy out in Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) “Black”, then applied VMC Luftwaffe Blue for the glazed areas. The bright green areas (presumably dielectric panels?) were picked out in VMC Luftwaffe Bright Green.
The model then received a coat of Vallejo Mecha Gloss Varnish ready for the next stage, panel lining and transfers. Both benefit from the glass being on.
For the panel lining, I did use a pin wash of Nuln Oil Gloss. The gloss version has a good flow over the gloss varnish, almost mimicking an oil-based wash. It also doesn’t get that chalky look that the normal Nuln Oil sometimes does (generally when you let it pool – so more fool you, anyway).
The transfers were relatively straight forward. The only real issue I had was that the Academy sheet only had a single “bort” number; the large two-digit number normally on the nose. That number should be unique to the aircraft so all six having the same number wasn’t going to work. The number should be one of three colours (red, yellow or blue, depending on squadron) but I decided that maybe the crews had painted over the colour to make it a bot more low-viz and just used a spare white number transfer.
I applied a coat of Vallejo Mecha Matt varnish ready for the next stage, applying the Mig Shaders, As noted in the Hind article, the Shaders are a very subtle shading effect, applied by airbrush over a matt finish. I again used “Dirt” and applied it at low pressure to the recesses and trailing edges to add some depth. I also added some soot marks on the nose for the cannon. A final coat of Matt sealed the model and I was all done on the 1st March! One day over target!
So, scraped a little into March, but I think it still counts given how short February is!
The Frogfoot Company adds twenty-one points to my running total bringing the February 2021 total to:
126 figures (120 Afghansty figures and 6 SU-25)
45pts (24pts of Afgansty and 21pts of Frogfoot)
And a running total of:
140 figures (120 infantry, 14 helicopters, 6 fixed-wing)
91 pts – I need to stop painting cheap things!
Going forward, I decided to stick with Russians and start cracking out the ground forces. I had a box of TOS-1, BRDM, BMP3, Hurricanes, and two boxes each of Geckos and Tungska all waiting for completion. What would I start with? Well, you will have to wait till the next article to find out…