Steam Tank 'Medvyed'

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Afternoon everyone - as hinted in previous posts, here's a post on my latest conversion attempt: an alternate history Russian Steam Tank, codenamed Medvyed (the Bear).  This is a project that's been a long time in planning, inspired by a series of articles on Sippin' On Paint Water about the War in South America, a conflict that's been raging since 1836 between Peru and Bolivia on one side, and Chile and Argentina opposing them.

What really inspired me with this was the opportunity to do something in a historical setting, but without all the constraints of working to 'historical accuracy'.  The setting is slightly steampunk-esque with tanks (or more properly 'Landships') being supplied to the various combatants by the competing European powers.

Being a 28mm player, I decided to scale up the game, with a view to doing more skirmish-style engagements with individual 28mm models, rather than stands of 1:72 for larger clashes.  This model was intended as a core around which I could build a force - mainly based on ACW infantry.  It doesn't (yet) represent a particular faction (except I know it'll be Russian!); I just wanted to build something a bit off the wall for a change!

I've painted it up in nonspecific colours - although the flag is taken from a different project me and Headologist are working on, so there is a bit of interchangeability. 


Now, to the model itself.  The originals are all skilfully scratch built affairs, a bit beyond me, so I decided to go for existing 28mm kits.  One thing I definitely wanted was the towed water butt behind the tank after being inspired by the WWII Churchill Crocodile flame tank.

The trailer for this WWII Crocodile tank
was the inspiration behind the Medvyed
For the main body of the tank, I went for a Matilda Mk 1 from Warlord Games - suitably madcap, I thought, as well as having lots of lovely rivets and the small, tall turret and machine-gun.  Exactly what I was looking for.


Converting the tank was fairly straightforward.  The two main components were the tank itself and the water trailer; it was just a simple matter of attaching it.  To achieve this I used the tow hooks off the Imperial Guard tank accessory sprue after a ferret in my Bitz Box.  With a bit of cutting-down, the two 'arms' of the water trailer dropped snugly into place.

Tow hooks and 'arms' of the water trailer
The next big challenge was connecting tank and trailer with some kind of pipe that would take the water into the boiler.  Ordinary string seemed to work well.

The start and end of the pipe are both clipped from the exhaust pipe of the Imperial Guard tank sprue - these were the perfect size to accommodate the string with a dab of superglue inside.  The last touch was to burn the string lightly with a lighter - this took off all the 'fluff' and made it look more like a pipe.

The only other converting was done to the crewman.  Getting rid of the modern-looking beret, I replaced it with an ACW kepi and carefully sculpted on some Russian-style shoulder boards.  I sat back, but it didn't look quite 'steam-tanky' enough.  Then, a flash of inspiration and two old lascannon barrels became funnels at the back of the vehicle.  Perfect!


Captain Kolchak, commander of the Medvyed
I opted for a standard OD camo scheme.  I was in two minds about weather or not to try something more adventurous, but a few test paints showed it wouldn't work.  I don't think anything this zany could have an experimental colour scheme; it needed to be grounded in reality to a certain extent.

Using GW Chaos Black spray to undercoat, a rough layer of Catachan Green formed the base coat.  More carefully-drybrushed Knarlock Green gave it the proper colour, and then a light Goblin Green made the highlight.  This tank was fairly new, so I didn't want to worry too much about weathering yet.  However there would still be lots of oil and grime on it, so Nuln Oil in the appropriate places seemed a sure bet.  Also, dots of Nuln Oil on the rivets helped to bring them out in more detail.

The crewman has a Chaos Black tunic and Tallarn Flesh skin; the piping is Skull white and the captain's epaulettes bordered in Snot Green (still need to wash/highlight the skin - just noticed!)

And there you have it!  Instant High-Pressure Steam Landship, dispatched by the Tsar to support the interests of the Peruvio-Bolivian Confederation!

A really nice treat to build and paint.  Check out the original idea on Sippin' On Paint Water and see some of the scratch build tanks!  Thanks again for reading.  Sunday will hopefully see the next instalment of the articles on my Imperial Guard officers, but until then: happy gaming!

From our correspondent in the field:  the latest photography brings you the news
from the front line!  Picture skilfully edited by Headologist


  1. Tis a beautiful thing, the "Selnesian Flag of Unity" is amazing - but that would make it Loyalist wouldn't it ;)

    After I've finished my Mawdryn marines, then the Imperial Navy Boarding Party, I shall make a start on a band of Moradelian Grenadiers....

  2. Hooray! The alternate history bug bites again. I love the wooden steam boiler, and I'm looking forward to what you come up with next.

  3. Thanks:

    @Headologist: What that photo doesn't show is how many attempts that bloody eagle took.

    @Chris: Cheers, I am indeed well and truly bitten. Watch this space for some new ones - probably some armoured car affairs. Exciting stuff!

  4. Hopefully, we'll be able to share our setting soon Chris, it's been in the works for six bloody years lol

  5. Replies
    1. Yep should do, I preserved the original look very strongly, I thought the design was madcap enough without too much tinkering!


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