Help support TMP

"1980s Soviet Uniforms" Topic

15 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Modern What-If Message Board

Back to the Modern Discussion (1946 to 2006) Message Board

Back to the Modern Painting Guides Message Board

Back to the Cold War (1946-1989) Message Board

1,239 hits since 17 Mar 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

benglish Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2017 8:08 a.m. PST


Trying to figure if the 15mm Soviets I'm using for 80s Fulda Gap scenarios can do double duty in Afghanistan scenarios.

The basic uniform color should be the same, right? As long as the Russians aren't in winter kit, they should fit in for Afghanistan, correct? References I'm checking seem to agree, but interested in your opinions

There are limited options in 15mm for Afghanistan-specific Soviets with boonie hats and ballcap style afghankas (MJ Figures and QRF, I think). I could get a smattering of those to mix in, I suppose. But those lines aren't extensive.

Thoughts appreciated.

UsmanK17 Mar 2017 9:14 a.m. PST

Yes, the color is the same (well, the same – it was slightly different in shades from different factories). Strictly speaking, in the second half of the 1980s. The GSVG switched to an "afghanka" uniform (instead of the uniform of the 1969 model).
Winter uniforms were used in Afghanistan – they say it's cool in winter.

Fallout2077 Inactive Member18 Mar 2017 4:38 a.m. PST

You don't see the afghanka uniform in Europe till at least 1988. That's when it was officially adopted by the military, it appeared in the 1988 regulations as the standard issue uniform for everyone at that point but even then the Obr.73 uniform was still used mostly till about 1990/91.

The afghanka first shows up in Afghanistan in about 1984, and only to VDV, GRU, and other special troops, most normal soldiers(motor riflemen) still had the Obr.73 uniforms. Up until 1988 the afghanka was still considered experimental, it was not issued outside of Afghanistan till it was officially introduced in 1988, there is story of soldiers who where given the uniform when heading to Astan but then having to return then and switch back to the Obr.73 uniforms when leaving.

The GSFG did not see the afghanka used till about 1990, I have a photo from April 1989 that shows soldiers of the GSFG still in the obr.73 uniforms. In fact its rather hard to find photo of the Afghanka used outside of Astan or the Soviet Union till post 91. When the GSFG pulled out in 1994 almost all of them had switched by that point, but in the 80s, no way.

I have links to all 3 Uniform regulations(1969, 1973, and 1988) if you are interested.

As to color, yes for the most part both the summer Obr.73 and summer Obr.88 are the same color, but as UsmanK said, there is difference in shades from different factories and also after continued use and wash they tend to fade, so you end up with troops that look like this:

benglish Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2017 6:39 a.m. PST

Fallout this is great. Can you post that link or shoot me an email?

email me at brianjenglish AT gmail DOT com


UsmanK18 Mar 2017 6:39 a.m. PST

A couple of additions:

The GRU units had their own form – the so-called "mabuta". It is quite easy to confuse with "Afghanka", but it is different. It was adopted in 1973. For obvious reasons, there are no rules of wearing in the public domain. By 1980, almost all special purpose units wore it.

Here, in fact, there is one feature – in the troops (including in the GSVG), this uniform began to arrive earlier than it was officially accepted (in the early 1980s, and the rules of wearing were officially approved only in 1988). Another thing is that it was mainly in warehouses and was not issued to servicemen.
Actually, in the GSVG "Afghanka" as an experiment was introduced in 1986-1987 in some units, and was introduced gradually in the period from 1986 to 1989. The final transfer of the Soviet Army to this uniform was carried out in 1989.

Fallout2077 Inactive Member18 Mar 2017 8:38 a.m. PST

Here are the regulation links(I will post them here so others can see them too):


Its in Russian, but scroll down for pictures.

The Obr.69 regs were not full implemented when the updated Obr.73 regs were released. The 73 regs used mostly the same uniform(very minor changes) the big difference was insignias.

The Obr.73 regs were used even along side the new Obr.88 regs even past the fall of the Soviet Union, with the Obr.88 become more and more common and the Obr.73 less common as time when on.

the 69 regs would not have been seen past the mid 70s at the very latest. The uniform regulations that came before the 69 regs was the Obr.1959 regulations, and there are a few rare cases of the Obr.59 uniforms being used as late as the mid 80s, very rare though.

UsmanK, yes you are correct most of the time GRU used the Mabuta, the DshB also used it alot of times. But there are some cases when they wore the Afghanka, but for the most part they wore mabuta. I was just using that as a point that the afghanka was mostly only used by special troops.

I have photos from 1981 of the very rare experimental afghanka, but for the most part the common type seen was introduced in 82/83 and only seen in numbers from 1984 on wards in Astan. Officially adopted in 1988 by the Soviet Military.

Do you have more info on the units that received the afghanka in the GSFG in 1986/87? It is not that I think you are wrong its just that I had always heard the GSFG didn't get them till late 88/early 89 and it is not commonly seen there till about 1990, so to hear that it was there in 86 is really surprising to me, I had been under the impression it was reserved for Astan. It was one of those items that was issued only in Astan and was considered experimental elsewhere, well until it was made official in 1988.

I do think as you said, that they had them in war stock at warehouses to be issued in wartime, along with other items, such as body armor.

UsmanK18 Mar 2017 11:17 a.m. PST

Hello, Fallout2077!

With "afganka" uniform, just do a separate song. It itself began to develop in the late 1970s, developed in 1982, officially introduced in 1984 (Order No. 145), and in 1988 – wear instruction has been introduced. At the same time the form itself began to arrive in the troops in 1982-1983.
In addition, during the period from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s, there were several more variants of the experimental uniform (for example, "Warsawka", which was an camouflaged "Afghanka" with minor differencies).

Specifically, about the units I have no information – usually this does not accentuate attention. At the same time, photos of soldiers in the "Afghanka" do not exist in the OKSVA. For example, in the photo below – Privolzhsky military district, before 1983 (exact dating, since this is a photo from the book of 1983):


Strangely enough, in Afghanistan this form was considered to be experimental. Actually, in Afghanistan, "Afghanka" was called "Experimentalka."

Yes, mainly they were in warehouses. Moreover, rather, their storage is not up to the war, but until the previous form (1968-1973) will not fail.

Fallout2077 Inactive Member18 Mar 2017 12:43 p.m. PST

Wonderful photo! Thank you very much for posting that! I have never seen a photo of the early type winter afghanka(type with only 1 arm pocket), only the summer type.

Here are a few photos I have saved of the early experimental pattern of afghanka from 1981, with only 1 arm pocket instead of 2 as seen on the 1982 and up pattern:

I have several more saved too.

mckrok18 Mar 2017 1:34 p.m. PST

Great pics and excellent example of why not to get too excited about having the perfect color for uniforms.

benglish Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2017 6:32 p.m. PST

This is amazing stuff. Thanks to everyone for responding in such detail. This is what makes TMP such a fantastic resource.

Thank you so much, guys.


ScottS26 Sep 2017 12:16 p.m. PST

Mind if I bump an old thread?

The standard reference painting (repeated in the Team Yankee book) has red insignia on the collar and shoulders:

Is this correct, or the artist's imagination?

Barin127 Sep 2017 4:39 a.m. PST

red or black insignia (as well as orange AK magazine) were used in garrisons. In the field we'll have green insignia, green buttons and distinction marks – and black or olive magazines.

Lion in the Stars27 Sep 2017 2:43 p.m. PST

Red insignia looks better on the gaming table, IMO. Even if it isn't correct for a long-brewing fight.

I kinda prefer the idea of WW3 kicking off suddenly, so troops basically grabbing their gear on the way out of the garrison.

Joe Legan Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2017 7:01 p.m. PST

Agree with Lion,
Soviets have Red; particularly in 15mm. have to identify them as Soviets. Red always does the trick.


Barin117 Oct 2017 2:49 a.m. PST

WIth 15 mm you can probably paint the helmets red to distinguish Soviets from NATO ;)
Russians learned from WWII, that coloured chevrons making better shooting marks, create problems if you're captured, etc. In real life you move away from the garrison (say, in 8-12 hours everything has to be moved to another location, where evil capitalists will not be able to see you ) and then you'll change into all-green field uniform, so even all the stars and buttons will be green.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.