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BigRed's Shipyard: Scratch building the Russian Coalition

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Hello All!


First, an introduction. When I first saw Dystopian Wars, I knew it was a game I had to try out. Everything about it is so fresh, the setting, the scale, the mechanics, everything just "popped" to me. I quickly rushed out and purchased the 1.1 rule book and was not disappointed. After introducing a few friends to the game, we had our first battle with paper cutouts. We terribly butchered the rules (I think the only thing we were consistent on was which end of the guns point at the enemy) but ended up having loads of fun which I think is another strong suit of the game, even when you screw up its simple enough to still get drawn in and engaged. We wanted to try the game out more before deciding on factions (this time actually following the rules  ;)) and draw others into the game as well, and paper cutouts just weren't cutting it. Now, I have some experience building terrain and thought, why not take a crack at some boats? That led to a difficult choice: which of the all equally awesome factions would be my first test subject? After much lurking, my decision was made, the Russian Coalition! Their play style appeals to me, their ships look awesome, and their fluff is fantastic, what's not to love? So with the hobby supplies gathered, I present my ongoing project, scratch building a Russian Coalition fleet.


The goals of the project are simple:

use readily available and cheap, common materials as much as possible, completely scratch built, so no pre-made plastic/resin bits, and make the proxies (hopefully) fun to look at and fun to use, with a sub goal of sticking to the correct scale as much as possible (my thanks to InvisibleCalm for providing me with some numbers for a starting point!)


So, without further prattling from me, the mediums!


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Six Suvorov cruisers. I thought to start with the smalls, but the mediums set the feel of the entire fleet and will be the work horses.


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I did two with a red accented prow to add some color to the fleet and designate a kind of "squadron leader"

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Rear and forward shots. I did a bit more detailing on the squadron leader models that the others to make them stand out.


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Side Shots. The sides of the four regulars needed redoing at one point, I built them a while before I had good numbers and they ended up being a bit too wide.
More to come soon, I have some other mediums right now that need more paint work and the smalls are on the work table!


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Hello again!


More progress from the work table. This time something with a bit more firepower:


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and kaptyn_Krys, thanks for the positive feedback, I will try to get more WIP photos, unfortunately everything on the table at the moment is in a pretty advanced state, except that is for these guys:


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Three guesses what these little guys are going to be  :D

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I've had the same idea for fleshing out my FSA fleet! Although I plan to use foamex and plasticard mainly, with brass rod for the cannons.

Only thing I am struggling with are the small turrets & aa guns

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Hey sutters, I bet that would turn out awesome. I use mostly paper based materials, makes gluing a breeze and I can use cheapo acrylic paints. I'd say the four most used materials on my list are foam core, mat board, poster board, and bits of balsa wood.

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Hello all, here is an update on the smalls:


Three full squadrons of Novgorods!


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Construction is complete and ready for painting


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Close up to see all the fiddly, greebly bits


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I chose to model the mortars as artillery pieces
I'll be painting them soon as time allows and I'll have some pics up soon.

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Thanks for the feedback guys, I appreciate it.

As far as what's coming soon, in the immediate future, I'm nearly done painting the smalls and hope to have pics up this weekend at the latest. Further out, well, I've got smalls and mediums but it wouldn't be a proper Russian fleet without some larges!  ;)

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Hello all,

back with an update, the smalls are finished:


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And as a bonus, a squad of heavy frigates as well!

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These were fun to build, there was a lot of asymmetry and industrial business to play with

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Close up of the mortar turrets

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Rear (I think), the pictures online are very ambiguous about with end of this thing is the front, but I suppose that's part of the fun  :)


More coming soon!

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Hello all, another project update:

This one is pretty different, I felt like doing something off the wall, so no Russians today.

Instead, I'm working on a project for a friend, a time dilation orb for his Covenant of Antarctica fleet!


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His color scheme is red and blue with metallic highlights so it gave me the opportunity to experiment with colors besides grays and whites. I base coated the top parts with copper and then silver, making for an interesting color variation. I magnetized the bottom of it so I don't have to glue it to the sea base I'm making, in case I decide to make the lower half too at some point.


Hopefully I don't end up regretting giving this to him by getting an Aronnax teleported in for some good, wholesome, all Antarctican SCIENCE! 

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Hello all, back with more. I haven't been able to post for a while due to work, a recent vacation, and of course the launch of 2.0 but I have not been idle.

Here are my latest creations, there's a lot of them due to a lot of builds coming to completion at around the same time so it's gonna be a big one.


First up, new mediums (I love Russian mediums):


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Tiksi support cruisers!


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With the increased importance of long range fire support for the RC in 2.0, I figured having a squad of these wouldn't hurt.
Next up:

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The Azov battle cruiser! When I saw the stats on these guys I knew I had to have one (or more...). Excellent speed, armor, and punishing firepower? Yes please.

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Of course having one Azov isn't nearly as good as having three! I might even attempt to field them all in a game  :D


And of course to have a legal fleet I need a large, so bring in the Khatanga!


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This guy actually started life as a Borodino but after completion it seemed a bit chunky. I had made the decision at start to magnetize the turrets just in case I wanted to do something else later, and I'm glad I did. With a quick switch I can choose to field it in it's original form:

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I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to convert the front to the big drill so I'll just have to settle for what I hope is a suitably menacing looking front prow.
And finally, the air cover, some SAWs!

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Thanks all! My next post will be a group shot of the finished fleet so far.

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Such talent ! As I'm trying to work with little pieces for my own conversions, I realize how much your work requiers patience and precision. You did a really good job with this russian ship.


Bravo ! ;)

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Such talent ! As I'm trying to work with little pieces for my own conversions, I realize how much your work requiers patience and precision. You did a really good job with this russian ship.


Bravo ! ;)


Thanks for the kind words! I appreciate the sentiment, some of the smaller ships can be fiddly to build and while mass producing/assembly lining a lot at once (I made all 12 Novgorods and all 25 SAWs in the same run :wacko:) is more efficient, it gets really mundane really quickly. This is part of the reason why I threw in the CoA orb for some freshness, the curves and sphere like surface was a refreshing challenge.


I'm redoing the Borodino build to be sleeker, and carry on with the aesthetic used for the mediums, and this time around I'm making a conscious effort to take more WIP pictures as I go, promise! When I get engaged in a build, it's hard to remember to interrupt the flow and get some pics, I totally zone out and before I know it, I've made too much progress for proper WIP shots  :P

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Very, very cool. But I hink your Battlecruisers are a little bit too small.


I completely agree! This was another case of "started out as X ended up as Y", these were some of my very first builds and were meant to be Tambov gunships, but on completion they were too big both length and width wise, and I had made a pretty big oversight giving them broadsides. I didn't know what I wanted to do with them until the Azov pictures came out. They were beefy looking enough and had appropriate weaponry, so I dug them out and put them back on the workbench. I made some modifications to the sides and called it good.


I'm thinking of redoing them as since then I've learned a bit and (hopefully  :P) improved my building techniques. Good lord, you should have seen my Novgorod prototypes, pitiful, poor ugly little things...

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Another update, this time some proper WIP pics from the Borodinos I'm building:


The first step I take is to draw out the templates I'll be using in something like MSpaint, I make the basic silhouette and build it with as many layers as I think are appropriate. Then I print them and glue them directly to whatever I'm making the hull with (usually foam core) and then cut them out. I used to just print one or templates and trace them, but I found that gluing the template and then cutting gives me more consistent shapes. If it's a multi layered build, I glue the pieces together and then press them overnight between heavy books to help with warping.


This is the glued hull, two layers of foam core and a layer of mat board:

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I also cut a few pieces of poster board and layered them over where the broadsides will be.
Next I put in the broadside guns (toothpicks):

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After that I build out the sides with a two layers of mat board:

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This completes the basic appearance and structure, then it's a matter of using poster board to do the detailing on the sides:

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So far I'm happy with how things are turning out, the next steps will be working on the upper structure.
More to come soon!

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Quick update:

Paused working on the Borodinos to finish up some supporting items.

I printed out a ton of AP and HP tokens, made some 1.5", 3", and 4" circular templates and now that I have the Khatanga, I need some glaciers:


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More coming soon!

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Hello all, back with another update:


This time it's back to the Borodinos. After completing most of the work on the bottom hulls, I began building out the top bridge and smoke stack sections. I took my time with these and really wanted to put more detail than usual into them, and I personally think it turned out well for me:


Front View:


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And here is one sitting on the cut out upper piece with hull, along with some borrowed magnetic turrets, to get a feel for what the final product will look like:

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More coming soon!


P.S., Also, thanks to everyone for the feedback, this has been a very rewarding project so far, and of course thanks to Spartan for the awesome Russian ship designs I'm basing these builds on. This all started out as just trying to build proxies for testing the game out, but I'm having just as much fun with my builds  :D

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Hello all, back with another update, the Borodinos are finally complete and ready for painting!

Here is the last round of WIP shots:


Added the structural details to the top level:


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Glued on the top level and added the rear details:

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The real model has small access staircases in certain spots, I added a few and I think they add some depth and visual interest
Also cut out the hole for the lower turret magnet

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Added one to the top tier as well


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Final round of detailing and glued on the bridge/smoke stack section:


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Side view:


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Front and rear:

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Armed and Ready!


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Some size comparison shots with the Khatanga:


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All that's left to do on these is the paint and they'll be ready for a game. These are definitely the most detailed of my builds so far and I'm happy with the result.
Not sure where to go now, I have a decent core force and good mortar options. The Kostroma carrier is tempting, it would add a good deal of flexibility. Some destroyers, corvettes, and a couple Pesets subs would be interesting additions as well. I'm also very tempted to start some air forces, the bombers look pretty brutal and the Tunguska would be a blast to build.
Edit: Well, an actual Tunguska that is, I have a weird flyer I made a while back that may be making an appearance in a few games as a proxy.

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Hello again, it's been a bit since my last due to a vacation and an upcoming move, but I managed to find the time to complete some more. As promised last time, the twin borodinos with a finished paint job:


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Side View:


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The business end:

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The rear:


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Additionally, I managed to find time to sneak in these guys:


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The squadron submerged:


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I'm sure these guys will cause some headaches with their long range guns, expert spotting, and underhanded sub tactics.

I believe my next project will be adding some destroyers and/or corvettes to the fleet, I've had my fill of building larges for a bit.


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Hello all,

It has been a while (almost two months) since my last update to this project but it is still going, despite a recent move forcing me to pack up and relocate.

I have a few new things finished and some new projects on the table, but here is the progress for my Russian Coalition:


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Two squads of Rostov destroyers!

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Cruiser and frigate for scale


These will probably be the last naval vessels I build for a while, as long as I can avoid the temptation to build a dreadnought and carrier  :)

I will instead be focusing on building up my air power for the fleet, which I have started with these guys:


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The awesome Myshkins!


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Cruiser for scale
EDIT: In my excitement I completely forgot to explain some of the building process for these: The front spherical part I sculpted with cheap polymer clay (the stuff you bake), while the side parts are dowels wrapped with layers of card stock. Overall, the front came out a bit more lumpy than I would have liked, I considered not using the clay and just trying to saw wooden beads/balls in half but I could not have easily molded on details that way. The body looks slightly chunkier than the actual bomber but hey, I consider it a different model, it has to be beefier to carry that goodness, right?


An awesome bomb attack, enough crew to prize a battleship, and stratospheric flying for survival... ooooh yeah  :D


And, speaking of air power, when I first began this project it was a learning experience in many ways. One of the biggest things I learned is that scratch building sloped hulls is really freakin' hard. I did it on my Khatanga and the ships that eventually became my Azovs, and never really liked the result, which is why I decided to go with flat sides on the rest of the fleet for a cleaner, more consistent look. But, while playing around, I created a hull with two inverted slopes, like a Britannian Eagle but in reverse. Rolling with the concept, I finished out the hull, gave it a weapon load out fit for a Tunguska flyer and voila:


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My weird, characterful flyer that I am currently proxying as a Tunguska.

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An action shot with some elements of the rest of the fleet.
So, with that, my next immediate goals will be to finish out the air forces with a squad each of Saransk flyers and Suyetkas, and I am very tempted to build one of the new Russian heavy bombers despite the rules not being out yet  ^_^



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Hello again all,

Well, I couldn't resist. After seeing all of the awesome new heavy bomber images, I knew I had to have one. The rules are not out yet, as of this post, and probably will not be for some time but the Russian Heavy Bomber is just too cool to pass up, so I went to work:


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Here is a shot of the wings and the two pieces that will form the bulk of the fuselage. The front piece is a sawed-in-half wooden ball.


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Close up of the wings and fuselage pieces.


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Bottoms of the wings. My apologies for not getting more WIP shots of the wings, they were almost completed when I thought to pick up the camera. They are made from matte board with details from card stock. The engine pieces are wooden dowel rod. I cut two wing shapes for each wing, the top surface was detailed and two holes were cut for the little engine pieces to poke through the top. I placed another dowel at the edge of the wing and then glued the bottom wing piece on to form the slope. the little grill things on the underside are toothpick pieces.


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Fuselage pieces glued together with a balsa wood/card stock strut in the middle, and rear fins in place.

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Bottom of the fuselage. The fuselage is again matte board with dowel pieces beveled with a regular pencil sharpener with matte board ribs between each one. The rear fins are also matte board with a toothpick glued into a channel to form the rod-like pieces that I guess are the hinges for the fin control surfaces.

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The fore guns. I decided to model the guns for the bomber as separate pieces instead of having them come out of the nose piece. After the difficult task of sawing the wooden ball in half, I was not a fan of the idea of having to sand out channels on the piece for gun barrels. This way I can be slightly lazier and add a personal touch. Win - win  ;)

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A couple dry fit images to see what the final product will look like. It's shaping up nicely. I'm loving the build so far, with so many zany elements on the actual model there is a lot of opportunity to try new techniques. The sheer size of the model is also nice, it allows for a greater degree of control and detailing. I knew it would be big, but after starting the build, I realized this plane is BIG. Using the renders from the facebook page and having the side by side comparisons with the other heavy bomber and existing bombers, I estimated that the wingspan of the bomber is roughly 100 mm. The Polish Esmerelda bomber also has a 100 mm wingspan, so I figured that would set the precedent and Russian units tend to run big anyway. The Russian heavy bomber is also bulky, its a great deal thicker than the polish heavy bomber and dwarfs my Myshkins. All in all, a brute of a model that hopefully will have stats that reflect it  ^_^
More updates to come soon, I will hopefully be able to work on the fuselage more tomorrow.

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