Escalating Tensions Part 16 – Fly swatting

Having spent the last two months building stuff to give my opponent’s AA to shoot at, I decided it was time to cover off the enemy’s own air power with some AA of my own.

The plan for the T-80 force has always been to have the one-two punch of the expensive but capable Tunguska paired up with the cheap but limited SA-9 Gaskin, plus a MANPAD in the infantry component.    Additionally, I also had four SA-8 Gecko because I like them visually and, with Mike’s big barn offering a large table, I thought their 72” range may be handy for very big games!  I also added a box of BM-27 Hurricanes, BMP3 and TOS-1 as stretch goals for the month.

I decided that, rather than try and paint all twelve AFV at the same time, I’d paint them in units.  I’ve found the airbrush will inevitably clog during a big batch of spraying so working in smaller batches saves that whilst also just making things *look* like they are going quicker.


The BRDM being plastic took the longest of the three to assemble, but the kit is a simple build so even this was relatively quick.  What was an issue was the fit of upper and lower portions of the missile assembly for the SA-9 part of the kit – it has an obvious join in what should be a flat sided box.  I filled this with Vallejo Plastic Putty and sanded it down, though it was still a little recessed on some of the SA-9. 

The SA-8 and Hurricane were thankfully fairly cleanly cast so there wasn’t much clean up required to the vast array of wheels the two kits bring to the party.  

All this building was going very well so of course, the quality assurance fairy decided to throw me a curve ball with the TOS-1.  The resin launcher is made of three bits: a low profile turret, the main launcher box and the back end of said box with the elevation apparatus.  The two bits of the box should go together to make a flush surface, judging by reality, Battlefront and other people’s finished photos.

Sadly mine was somewhat mismatched in size with either one bit shrunk or the other bit not as shrunk as they expected.

There wasn’t enough meat on the rear part to sand it down to match the launcher so trying to get a flush finish would be near impossible so I’ll reluctantly have to try and claim a help desk ticket.



All the vehicles were going to be painted in standard Soviet Green, or at least my interpretation of it, using the same pre-shade method as used on the units painted last year.

One complication was that my pot of Camo Green was nearly out and Vallejo had helpfully changed the colour slightly.  Same Vallejo and RAL number but now called “Light Green” and very subtly a different shade.  I reserved what was left of the Camo Green bottle for the BMP3 so they would blend in with the first batch.

As previously I used my airbrush to prime Vallejo Surface Primer “Black”, pre-shade with slightly thinned Vallejo Model Air (VMA) “White” and then layered on very thin coats of the VMA “Light Green”.  I’ve found that really thinning the paint down is required, slowly building the layers up till the colour looks right but the contrast of black and white still shows through, just.


The details of the AFV were painted much like in the last article, with tracks picked out first, then light chipping added using sponged Vallejo Model Colour (VMC) “Black Grey”, then the missile tubes of the Tunguska were picked out in VMC “Russian Uniform” followed by “Yellow Green”.  Vision blocks and windows were picked out in VMC “Luftwaffe Uniform”.

A quick bit of research revealed that the face of the large engagement radar and smaller missile tracking radars of the SA-8 Gecko could be khaki-khaki grey or black-grey, with the face of the backing plate a bright green colour.  I opted for khaki.

I had purposely left the radar face unsprayed other than pre-shade so sprayed on thin coats of Vallejo Game Air “Khaki”.  I then painted VMC “German Camo Bright Green” on the backplate.

I couldn’t find many photos of SA-8 or SA-9 with numbering on so went with the majority and left them off but I did apply transfers to the Tunguska and BMP3.

I then applied a gloss coat, pin washed with Citadel “Nuln Oil (gloss)”, gave a general wash of Citadel “Nuln Oil (non-gloss)” over the tracks and lower hull, followed by a dirt wash of thinned VMC “Tan Earth” all over the hull and in areas where dirt could collect on the turrets.

Finally, I applied matt varnish and a final dusting of “Iraqi Sand” for dust.

It was at this point that I compared one of the “batch 2” BMP3 to the first run and noticed that, despite using the same paint, my grasp of pre-shading had improved such that there was still a noticeable difference.  I’ll just have to buy some more BMP3 at some point in the future.

Left is the newer batch

At this point I had a few days left in March; not enough to squeeze in the T-64 company or the Revell Hinds, but enough to squeeze in a small platoon of something else.  I made a good start on a new, non-TY, project before my youngest bought a cold home from the nursery that, sadly, killed my progress.  we’ll look at April’s update instead.

Painted Miniatures

SA-8 Gecko

SA-9 Gaskin

SA-19 Grison (Tunguska)

BM-27 Uragen



So, that was a productive month!  It would have been nice to get the TOS done too but I haven’t done too badly for mis-sculpts or missing pieces recently so I shouldn’t grumble too much.

The month’s production puts the World War III Soviets at:

That still leaves the TOS (once replaced), T-64 company and Revell Hinds to do and we’ll pick up on those at some point this year.

In terms of the 2021 count we can add:
Twenty AFV
37 points (counting the BMP3 as 2+3 BMP3 Scouts for pointing)

Bringing the running total to:
160 figures (20 AFV, 120 infantry, 14 helicopters, 6 fixed-wing)
128 pts – still need to stop painting cheap things!

We also, having finally painted something that wasn’t already preassembled years ago,  clear seven boxes from the shelf stockpile of shame!


That was a pretty solid three months of Team Yankee painting to start the year off.  As alluded to above, next month will see a bit of a change of pace, or era, at least.

See you then!

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