Friday, July 28, 2017

Team Yankee - East German Kampfgruppe

As the Frostgrave and Sharps Practice campaigns are heading into their last couple of games, I thought it would be a good time to look at starting up another campaign at the store. With the release of Red Thunder for Team Yankee last month I decided that perhaps a modern campaign would be a good choice and change of pace. The decision was made easier as Battlefront has released a Red Thunder campaign kit!

It has been a long time since I painted up a 15mm army, so thought I should do up a store army to kick off the Campaign. As I had not many sales for the East Germans I thought I would do up a list for them so that all the factions were present (turns out there will be three EG armies!).

Here is the 100pt list I came up with for the store:

9th Panzer Division Kampfgruppe 100
Panzer Battalion 47
Bn Hq 1x T-55 1
Tnk Co 6x T-55 8
Tnk Co 6x T-55 8
Tnk Co 6x T-72 19
Recon Plt 2x BRDM-2 1
SAM Plt 2x SA-13 2
AA Sec 2x ZSU-23 2
ART 3x Carnation 6
BTR Mot-Schutzen Battalion 39
Bn Hq 1x BTR-60, 1x Cmd Team 1
BTR-60 Co 9x BTR-60, 1x PKLMG, 6x RPG7, 7x MG, 1x AT-4 12
BTR-60 Co 5x BTR-60, 3x RPG7, 4x MG, 1xAG-17 6
Tnk Co 7x T-55 10
AT Plt 3x Spandrel Zug 2
Recon Plt 2x BRDM-2 1
ART 3x Carnation 6
AA 2x SA-9 1
Division Support 14
AT Plt 3x Spandrel 2
Rocket 3x BM-21 Hail 5
Air 2x SU-25 7

The first thing I noticed about this list is that it has a ton of vehicles, 66 in total! I am actually not sure this will even be playable on a 6'x4' table. With generous help from Battlefront, I began getting the models and assembling them ... and by "I", I really mean Steve, who did most of the assembling. This left me able to turn my attention to painting them all up.

The easy solution was to just use Battlefront's Soviet Green and spray the whole lot, a little dark grey on the tires, tracks and HMG's, rust up the tracks, wash the whole vehicle and call it good! I'd easily have all sixty six done in a single day. But that would just be plain boring!

As this is a fictitious war, I went with the idea that the NVA authorized camouflaged for their vehicles a few years earlier than 1988. The Volks Armee book from Battlefront has steps on how to do this camo scheme. But when looking at the colors needed, plus my decades of painting experience, I started having reservations about how the scheme would look on the 15mm vehicles, especially the "white".

So I started searching online for color suggestions and came across a website in german that had images from the army manual for painting the camo scheme. But more importantly I read that the white/black camo scheme was an amendment issued in April of '88 . The original order was for beige and brown (see translation below).

The Ministry of National Defense of the GDR introduced a new camouflage for the NVA in the late 1980s with the instruction "Distortions on combat technology, armament and equipment" . The prescription differentiated a three-color summer and a two-color winter coat, which should be applied to all combat and combat support vehicles. Olive green was the basic color for summer as well as for winter. The summer camouflage initially saw an additional blotch from the two supplementary colors brown and beige.

I thought this scheme would look better than the black and white, and while it is possible no actual vehicles were ever painted in these colors ... mine were going to be! I had intended to just do the tanks in the camo, but it seems that all vehicles were camo'd so I resigned myself to painting camo on sixty six vehicles ...

The camo is more of hard edge, but as I was not going to mask out all those vehicles, nor hand paint the edges so I ended up with feathered edges when using my Airbrush. Interestingly I also found out that each Warsaw Pact nation had its own "green", so all the research on what would work for soviet green was moot as the East Germans green was much brighter.

The Tank Battalion sans SP Artillery
After a a little experimenting I settled on the following steps:

 1) Green rattle can primer (Battlefront TYP292 NATO Green).
 2) Overspray of brighter green with the airbrush (Model Air 71094 Green Zinc Chrome)
 3) Airbrushed on brown patches (Model Air 71043 Olive Drab)
 4) Airbrushed beige patches (Model Air 71023 Hemp)
 5) Painted the tires and mg's in dark grey (Model Color 70994 Dark Grey)
 6) Painted the "get unstuck log" random color of brown (Model Color ???)
 7) Washed the whole vehicle (Army Painter WP1134 Soft Tone)
 8) At the same time muddy up the tracks (Secret Weapon Pigment WP1003 Clay Brown)
 9) Apply Decals and Clear Coat

Not 100% sure I'll decal all the vehicles, but will do a lot of the East German shields ... Now onto the 32 vehicles for the Motor Battalion!

Read part two


  1. Numbering all the vehicles may be a pain in the ass, but it will sure speed up the set up time for gaming. I plan on numbering all my T-72s and BMPs just to make it easier to organize my army because that's is A LOT of vehicles. I think they turned out awesome John!

  2. Those look great! An ambitious project with a practical solution.

    1. Thanks Bill ... Yes I still sometimes sit there staring at all those vehicles - "what was I thinking!" :)

  3. Nice airbrush work - I've never been able to get the hang of it. Amazing to see it on 15mm too.

    1. Thanks Dean ... can't call myself an expert, but with some many vehicles a few were bound to turn out pretty well! My limited airbrush skills do make it difficult to get the "correct" look on 15's but they almost always look game ready and that is what counts most for me.