A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Friday, November 27, 2015

Persian Gulf Wars: Iranian Pasdaran 1980's


I have recently completed my Iranian Pasdaran forces for the Iran Iraq War.  The Pasdaran are the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, as a different military force from the regular Iranian Army.  The Pasdaran have control over the Basij, which are a voluntary revolutionary militia. 

These Pasdaran are formed and painted to represent "mid-war" forces.  They are depicted with green headbands (or painted green stripes on the helmets), as that is what I associate with the Pasdaran.  I associate the red headbands with the Basij, but, quite honestly, I am not certain of this, nor do I feel there was a set standard in Iran at the time.

This force is comprised of enough infantry to form 4x 10 man squads, each with an RPG and a PK lmg, plus a 4 man command team.  In addition there are 4 Mullah figures, religious inspiration on the battlefield.  Further direct fire support is provided by 2x jeeps with American M40 106mm recoilless rifles.  All of these miniatures are from RH Models, and are 20mm.

In the back are 3x Chieftain MBTs..... these are Airfix models, and were pretty beat up when I bought them in a large mixed lot.  With a little paint, including Iranian rondels, they don't look too bad, but not as nice as the rest of the force.  Still, those 120mm main guns might come in handy when fighting these guys here.

A little about the equipment.... the Shah had been provided with American equipment, including M60 tanks, M113 APCs, Cobra gun ships, and a variety of US artillery.  The regular Iranian army at the start of the war was armed with West German small arms, G3 rifles and MG3 lmgs, but as the war was fought large amounts of Chinese and sometimes Soviet equipment was bought and used to arm the various Revolutionary units.  Also from the time of the Shah, there were a number of Chieftain and Scorpion tanks.

For these infantry, I bought from three lines of miniatures.... primarily, from the multi-purpose range "Headbands with Beards" miniatures, using Soviet type weapons.  These guys definitely look the part for Iranian Pasdaran.  I mixed in some "Bandana" figures, also from the multi-purpose range.  I simply painted the bandana like a headband, and now I had "youthful" Iranians without beards.  Finally, I also used Iraqis in M1 helmets.... the Iranians used M1 helmets, and a whole slew of kit, so painted to match the other Pasdaran, they really fit in.  Because RH Models has such a wide range of things to buy from, this kind of mixing and matching is really easy.

You might notice a number of figures with blue-grey clothing... this was my attempt at the blue grey rain gear frequently seen in color images.  Granted, that represents only a limited portion of the overall war, but it is so distinctive, I thought it a nice touch to include.

Strangely, after starting with the Iranian regular army, they are the only force for the Iran Iraq War I don't have finished!  After painting Iraqi regulars and Republican Guard, and now the Pasdaran, I am tempted to strip the Iranian regulars and re paint them.  We shall see.

I have some thoughts about additional forces for the Pasdaran.... but I think I will hold off for now.

Hope to see some Iran-Iraq War gaming soon... thanks for reading!



  1. Excellent work, will be following in 15mm !

    1. Cool, no doubt yours will be "somewhat" sharper than mine, ha ha, looking forward to seeing which vehicles you plan on including. I would not mind a couple of M47s for the Iranians, but have not made the commitment yet....

    2. Actually, as an add on... one of the things I was also looking at were dirtbike RPG teams. RH Models has an insurgent on motorbike, which, teamed with a headband & RPG model, would make a convincing team.

  2. I am thrilled to see some Iran-Iraq war miniatures.
    I am about to start my own project in this period...granted I am basing it off the 3W game "Light Division".

    I have been trying to get an idea of what types of weapons Iranian units used. In 15mm The g3 rifle looks similar to the fn gal rifle the Israelis used.
    There are plenty of pictures of revolutionaries holding bolt action rifles, etc. I have even seen a picture of a young soldier holding a German KarK rifle (I think is it from the I-I war. I could not confirm it).
    How you run across any evidence of Iranian soldiers using old SkS or Mosin nagants? With all the equipment Iran had available it could have been in the realm of possibility.
    I have also seen lots of pictures of soldiers with pictures of Khomeini on their rifle's buttstocks or on their person.
    Your stuff looks great. Thanks for all the info.

    1. I forgot to mention that during the revolution the belligerents used all sorts of weapons.
      I figure they were probably used during the war as supply shortages occurred.

    2. I don't think I have seen SKS or Mosin Nagants used... but, you can find many images of border troops or local militia using M1 Garands.

      The standard rifle for the Iranians was the G3, with the MG3 LMG (modern MG42 chambered in 7.62 NATO), however, as the war went on, they imported (and captured) large quantities of Soviet bloc weapons... AK-47s, PK LMGs, RPGs, etc. As of today, the Iranians STILL produce domestic G3 rifles, as well as AKs. Ahh, they use a few SMGs too, but during the Iran Iraq War you hardly ever see any.

      They start the way with Chieftains, Scorpions, M60s, M47s, and M113s. I have seen arguments about M48s upgraded to A5 status... there sure seem to be some pictures of them, and they may have been ones the Iranians (pre-revolution) contracted to upgrade, but post-revolution chose to keep. Even some Shermans, though not sure any of those were very mobile. As time went on, they imported large numbers of Chinese vehicles, especially Type 59s... though they also captured many vehicles from the Iraqis, so you see BMPs or Chinese copies of BMPs. They still have Chieftains and M60s.

  3. Thanks for the great info. It has been difficult to find info on arms and kit Iranian soldiers used during the war.

    I ask about the weapons because I want to use Flames of War Israelis and possibly the North Vietnamese and the VC models as Pasdran / revolutionary guard models.
    With a minimum amount of snipping and green stuff they can look like conscripted troops ready for a fight.
    I read a book about Khomeini and his rise to power. There were lots of pictures of leftist guerilla who fought for him with the misguided notion he would support their ideals if he took power (the joke is on them). They had a wide variety of weapons. I wish I had the book to ID them. Since I am doing a what if variant it is fairly easy to just use the models and say the rifles were in a box somewhere. While i am far from a Napoleonic button counter I do like some accuracy in my historical gaming.
    It may be possible to model some ww2 US infantry into Iranian troops. Uniformity was probably second to the cause. I saw a picture of a Iranian boy soldier wearing a pair of Adidas sneakers.
    This is all great advice. I will keep poking around for info on the m48a5s. I think that was one of the first upgrades made to the m48s