Saturday, October 9, 2021

Black Sea Soviets

The next additions for my ongoing Black Sea/Baltic Sea project are some Soviet ships from the Warlord Games Soviet Navy Fleet box set. The box has one Fugas (Project 3, 53, 53-U, and 58) class minesweeper, a pair of Project 1124 Bronekater river gunboats, a pair of MO-4 patrol boats, and eight motor torpedoes boats. I started off with the larger vessels and will finish the MTBs later. 

Soviet Coastal Flotilla

Starting with the big ship in the group - the Fugas class minesweeper. The Fugas class served in the Baltic Sea, Black Sea, and Pacific. There were 15 in the Black Sea, 20 in the Baltic, and 8 in the Pacific. They were used as minesweepers, minelayers, escorts, and to support amphibious operations. So this will be a useful ship for my Black Sea/Baltic Sea games.

Fugas class, starboard side view

The Warlord model comes armed with 100mm gun forward, a 45mm gun aft, and a pair of heavy machine guns on the open bridge wings. This seems to be an early war fit, since more anti-aircraft guns were added later as the threat from enemy aircraft increased. The Warlord kit comes with a resin hull, along with separate metals parts for the bridge are, funnel, life boats, masts, and weapons. The hull was a little bent, but I was able to heat it in warm water and flatten it out. The rest of the pieces went together fairly easily, although it was hard to maintain the shape of the lifeboat davits. For painting I went with a darker gray for the hull and a brick color deck. I wanted the ship to look like it had seen a lot of work with little up-keep. So I did a lot of heavy weathering, but I may have gone a bit 'overboard.'

Fugas class, port side view

Next up the river gunboats, also know as armored gunboats. Warlord refers to these as Pr1125, but I think the gunboats with two turrets are really Project 1124 class. So I'm going with that. The river gunboats mostly provided gunfire support from the larger rivers, but they were also did those tasks in support of amphibious landings in the Black Sea and Baltic Sea.  

Project 1124, port side view

The Project 1124 gunboat was armed with two T-34 turrets (with 76mm guns) and a twin heavy machine gun turret. Warlord also makes a variation of this class with a Katyusha rocket launcher. The models are metal, with the hull and three turrets coming as separate pieces. There is also a mast, but I found it to be pretty flimsy, so I left it off. I don't think it detracts from the overall appearance.

Project 1124, starboard side

Finally, the MO-4 patrol boats. There were around 250 of these boats built during World War II and they served on all fronts. They were designed as submarine chasers, but were used as a jack of all trades. The class lacked armor, making it vulnerable to even small arms fire. In 1943 the class was modified to add armor to protect the engines and bridge, giving it the designation BMO class.

MO-4 patrol boat, starboard side view

The class was armed with two 45mm guns and two heavy machine guns. Later in the war one of the 45mm guns was replaced with a 37mm gun for better anti-aircraft protection. Additionally, there lots of local modifications to the weapons fits, such as adding rocket launchers to support ground attacks. The Warlord model has a resin hull, with the gun mounts and mast as separate pieces. The model goes together well. The only issue I had was fitting the three aft guns into the small space (you can see from the photos that I angled the HMGs instead of having them point out perpendicular from the hull). 

MO-4 from the port side

One thing I've noticed is that the more work on the 1/300 scale ships, the more I find that I like the crew figures. They really do make the ships seem more alive. I only wish the Warlord figures were a little better and had more options. I'm planning to look around at some Heroics and Ros and GHQ 1/300 figures to fill out the ships some in the future.