I swear each figure has a different type of satchel or pouch--not just cloth or leather, but different physical styles. How many types of satchels and pouches does one army need?!? Oi! I think I've had to spend more time researching Soviet gear than actually painting it!
Below are links to reenactor dealer websites that have been helping me paint my figures, from basic soldiers to officers to snipers to tankers. I'll keep adding to this list as I find new sites, using it as a visual bookmark page. I'll be doing the same for the German, American, British, and other forces as I research and paint those figures. I hope you find this useful. Obligatory Legal Bit: This is not an endorsement for any of the dealers. Use for reference only. (I'll be adding books and other resources as well, so keep watching!)
SOVIET REENACTOR DEALERS
SOVIET REENACTOR DEALERS
Last Update 2-26-12: Added link to Awards of the USSR.
One of my favorite all-purpose replica uniform stores having plenty of good photos and information for the WWII Soviet gamer is Trident Military. The website has sections devoted to entire uniforms as well as individual pieces of gear and uniform bits, such as insignias. Trident shows the many variations of kit, which helped me identify exactly what pieces were on the Black Tree Design figures I've been painting.
Workers and Peasants Red Army (PPKA) is a site devoted to everything dealing with the Soviet armed forces during the 1930's and WWII. The website is written in Russian, though Google Translate does a decent job translating it into English. (The links here are to the PPKA website using Google Translate.) The site covers uniforms, army TOE's, maps, and other documents. A very handy reference for modeling and gaming Soviets. The reenactor uniform photos replicate actual photos from WWII, which is a bit eerie and fascinating at the same time.
Artizan Designs' WWII Painting & Camo Guide
Artizan Designs has a large online collection of WWII painting and camo guides for allied and axis infantry. In addition to the photo guides I've posted here, they also have Soviet painting guides as PDF files, complete with suggestions for how to paint the figures and what colors to use. I used these guides as a starting point but made many changes to reflect the chaotic nature of Soviet uniform colors that quickly faded. Artizan sells excellent 28mm WWII figures and is not an online dealer for reenactors. Just in case you didn't know that. :-)
Front of Russia
Their website may not be the prettiest, but the photos at Front of Russia have helped me tremendously to identify the equipment my Black Tree Design Soviets are carrying. For example, this was the one website where I found a photo of the version of the entrenching tool that the BTD figures are wearing. The website's photos of fully dressed soldiers has also helped, but I keep thinking their main model looks like John Belushi. Creeps me out a bit.
Many gamers, myself included, like to paint Soviet forces fighting Germans during cold weather, such as winter in Stalingrad. The famous ushanka hat is easily recognized by its fur and turned-up ear flaps. In fact, ushanka in Russian translates literally as "ear-flaps hat," a tidbit I learned at UshankaHat's website. The ushanka came in several different colors. Plus, you can read articles on the hats as well as find photos of similar hats used by many countries around the world, such as China.
Just the name of the website is impressive! Soviet Power has a large selection of uniforms, hats, boots, medals, and other equipment from the WWII era, sold directly from Russia and Ukraine. Who doesn't want to dress up as an authentic Spetsnaz officer for those very special paintball matches? I like that they also have post-war material, such as Afghanistan and more. Very nice all around site for the Soviet fan. By the way, I'm painting one of my figures as an NKVD officer, making sure his brave comrade soldiers face the bullets of the advancing Germans instead of retreating into the bullets of his revolver. You can see the uniform to the left, though the one pictured is late war.
Awards of the USSR
One thing is for sure--the Soviet Union during WWII loved awarding medals to their soldiers. I'm not sure if this gentleman in the Ukraine actually sells medals, but I found this a valuable resource for photos and information on the many medals possible.There are large photos of each medal, the medal's name, and when it was awarded.