Friday, April 24, 2015

Bolt Action Slovak Rapid Division Painting Update

What's goin' on in there guys?
I've put up a few posts about the progress I've made on my Slovak Rapid Division project for Bolt Action. I've completed probably 75% of the work for this force. I am working on a few more infantry guys, some transports, and some team weapons. I also have a kradschutzen squad (the Slovaks had a ton of motorcycle infantry) and an 88 on the docket.

I can't say enough how happy I am with how this force has turned out. I actually won an award at AdpetiCon for it! I've put in a ton of work on the research side, finding all the models I need to replicate the force, as well as just the hobby side painting and modeling.

I finally got my daylight bulbs put in my lamps that I use for photography. I picked up a background from the model railroad shop to use. I've seen a ton of photos in books, magazines, and online where people photograph their models like they're in a diorama as opposed to on a tabletop. I wanted to try to do something like that as the Slovak division moving into Rostov in 1942.

I painted my Secret Weapon Tablescape Display Board for AdeptiCon because that works really well for a WW2 city board. I grabbed some refuse piles and telegraph poles which help to add some detail and setup a photo shoot.

I have finished five full squads of ten men with an LMG, a cavalry squadron of 12 men, two officer groups, sniper team, AT rifle team, a 3,7cm KPÚV vz. 34 anti tank gun, a 10 cm M. 14 Feldhaubitze artillery piece, medium mortar, RSO tow tractor, and a Tatra 97 field car.

I also finished four Panzer 38ts, one Panzer II, one Panzer IIIN, and one Marder III. The Slovaks employed the II, IIIN, and Marder later on in the war when the Germans sold them to Slovakia. They also used these during the Slovak National Uprising.

I found out later that the Marder III was much more likely a dunkelgelb yellow, which was disappointing, but I like a dab of Panzer gray once in a while.  

The national icons are 1/35 scale from Bison decals. They're still a great size for 1/56 scale tanks... and I'd rather them be a little larger than smaller. The red triangles are squad markings.

I'll put a post up next week about how I sourced the miniatures and painted them. I wrote up a Mick Fanrsworth-style guide for how to paint them and what paints to use. 

I tired to do up some 'realistic' photos of them in black and white to look like something from the war. Each dude has two little water slide decals like this:

Better painters than me could probably freehand the double cross (Cross of Lorraine) but I'm terrible at it, so I produced a sheet of transfers. Each guy has one on either side of his helmet and a blue rim. The rim helps to make the model 'pop' - their overall uniforms are extremely drab, so the blue really stands out.

The cavalry are all Crusader models. They're absolutely beautiful models that work really well. I based them on somewhat large bases but I think they help give the models some presence. 

You'll notice that each guy has yellow collar tabs. The infantry had a maroon red collar tab, cavalry yellow, They were different from the Germans who had shoulder tabs.

The cavalry have the yellow tabs, officers maroon, and infantry red. I believe the artillery have red as well. It helps give an extra level of detail and pop to otherwise drab uniforms.

You can see some of the debris I found in my parts box to place on the bases. I thought they turned out pretty sweet. I actually purchased Coat D'arms Paint for the horses because they produce colors that match real horse colors. There were some pretty great horse guides from Games Workshop's White Dwarf.

I did have to remove a ton of gas mask containers. The Rapid Division didn't have those as far as I could tell. Sometimes I put on a breadbag or blanket roll to replace them.

I probably painted too many infantry, heh, but I can always play around and use different configurations. Each squad has a ZB machine gun from Czech factories. Each sergeant has a dog on his base. The Slovaks had almost no SMGs so I wanted a way to differentiate each sergeant. I don't know why I chose dogs, but that is what I chose.

You can see my officer in the first shot - he's running with a pistol and his adjutant has an SMG. Many times BA players will give their officers or their buddies really sweet weapons but I think more realistically an officer would have a pistol. They can command and not have to worry about carrying a heavy gun.

I used sprue bits and rocks to make the rubble for their bases. Some guys received stumps from Secret Weapon and some received foliage or grass. The grass is from this new place called Gamers Grass. They produce some really nice stuff at really great prices - even overseas.

I sprinkled in some plastic blitzkrieg Germans from Warlord for some variety as well as for cavalry dismounts. Sergeants having rifles instead of SMGs is pretty cool because they're cheaper, heh.

I didn't have to do much work to find a model for this artillery. The Italians used it as well so I purchased that model from WLG. Its a medium howitzer which looks cool and was used in plenty of numbers by the Rapid Division.

The RSO is not exactly like what the Slovaks used but it is similar. Theirs had wheels for the most part. They probably had some Tatra 97 staff cars; I doubt they'd drive them into the muddy environs of the Russian steppes but I wanted a sweet Czech car and couldn't find any good models of the Tatra 57 or any of the more common ones. This model is 1/48 but I'll deal with it.

The 37mm anti-tank gun is a Japanese model that I modified. I used the Japanese one because it has spoked wheels which is what most Slovak guns had. I modified the gun shield to match the Slovak one. The anti-tank rifle is just a standard German one, which seemed believable.

I painted up my sniper team in colors because I wanted something different. They're partisans from Black Tree Design, I believe. The spotter actually has a camera which I thought was pretty cool. Its possible they're dressed as civilians to blend in, or maybe they're in the National Uprising.

The officer team shows the maroon cuffs that many officers had at the beginning of the war. It seems like perhaps that standard went away but I like the distinction.

Thanks for checking this out... come back for the next post where I discuss sourcing models and guides. Have a great weekend!


  1. Very cool... you are definitely taking this farther than I plan to! I'll be interested to see your source list. I am tempted to try Crusader for the cavalry as well. One thing I haven't been able to find anything that looks reasonably close yet is a Praga RV truck. Have you seen anything?

    1. Thanks man! I haven't found any Praga RV at all =( Any kind of civilian cars are really hard to find even in 1/48 - the Tatra I found was technically available at that time period but I haven't seen any Slovak pictures of them having one. More often you saw the Tatra 57 or the Skoda Popular.

      They did have Opel Blitz trucks, but not as many as the Praga RV. I haven't been able to find any =/