Identified by their striking blue berets, Soviet airborne units fought with courage and determination during Operation Barbarossa and at Stalingrad! We’re looking at how you can build your own!
The iconic blue berets of the VDV add a splash of colour to an army characterised by reds and browns (While these berets weren’t adopted until the late 1960s, we think this is a really cool conversion that can add something different to a Soviet army.) This simple kitbash can produce incredible results, adding flavour and variety to an army that is often represented by a horde of faceless infantrymen.
What you’ll need for your brand new Soviet paratroopers is one of each of the kits pictured on the left – the Soviet Infantry kit, and the British Commandos kit.
The bulk of each soldier is going to come from the Soviet infantry – body, arms, weapons, and accessories. The head (complete with beret) comes from the commando kit.
If you need extra sub-machine guns, the Thompsons on the commando kit work fine for elite Russian soldiers. (During the war, the Soviet Union imported something like 137,729 Thompsons, 8% of the total produced.)
When painting your paratroopers, you can use whichever paint scheme suits you best, painting the beret in a striking blue – perhaps Viking Blue highlighted with Crystal Blue.
These amazing desantniki have been painted by Ashley Thompson, who used heads from the British Airborne plastic kit to provide the blue berets with their iconic headgear.
Soviet Airborne in Bolt Action
You can find rules for Soviet paratrooper squads on page 30 of Armies of the Soviet Union! These veteran heavy-hitters can be taken in squads of 12, all of whom can be armed with submachine guns and given Tough Fighters. The power of this unit on the battlefield cannot be underestimated, pumping out a blizzard of close-range submachine gun shots before closing in to finish the job with a decisive close assault!
Paratroopers are perfect for early and mid-war armies, as they fought numerous battles during Operation Barbarossa before being converted into Guards Rifle divisions during the vicious fighting in Stalingrad and the Caucuses. The blue berets would become infamous for their tenacious defence of Stalingrad’s tractor factories!