I’m playing with my Red Exodus cover today — I’d like to finish a good first version of it. Two things are tricksy. First, getting a certain amount of smoothness of line has taken practice. Oh well; we learn by doing.
The second thing is that I needed to do a bit of research about Soviet military uniforms, which has been harder than I wanted. Even though my story takes place in an alternate-history in which the Soviet Union is still around in 2013, I wanted some amount of accuracy about Anatoly’s uniform. What does an Army captain’s uniform look like, precisely? What insignia indicates “officer” and “captain”? I’m not one of those people who normally pays attention to military uniforms (unless we’re talking about the gold braids on the Star Trek uniforms!) and I’m sure that there’s lingo that would make this search easier; I just don’t know any of that lingo.
But I found a coupl’a good reference materials. After some amount of hunting, I found this helpful summary of the shoulder board insignia:
These two Wikipedia articles are also helpful.
Similarly, I’ve been trying to understand the differences in styles of army hat. This site makes sense of the different hat styles (and, importantly, the badges/insignia that appear on the hats). I was surprised to see that the most common insignia I see in photo searches — the star surrounded by a wreath — is an enlisted soldier’s badge. The officer’s service badge is a much plainer-looking star-in-an-oval “cockade”.
I still don’t really understand the difference between “parade” uniforms and “service” uniforms. Something to do with formality of an event, I guess. But this gave me enough to go on for a while.