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Monday, June 16, 2014

Bolt Action - Review: Old Man Morin Takes a Closer Look At Brigade Game's Finns

Well, it appears as though Hell has frozen over.  I, Old Man Morin, have finished my Germans and have moved onto my next epic project: Winter themed Finns.  Just prior to WW2 breaking out, Finland was invaded by the much larger and technologically advanced Soviet masses.  In what was later called the "Winter War," determined Finnish forces (aided by horrific winter conditions) fought a guerrilla style war and eventually succeeded in stopping the Russians in their tracks.  Listeners of the LRDG cast will know that I fell in love with the fighting spirit of these bad-asses and set about creating an army that would be fun to play and would look great on the table.

I have not figured out the Snow on the bases yet so they are just painted white (for now)



The same models from behind







With quite a few people (read as every historical player and their children) buying into the awesome Baker  Kickstarter last year it became apparent that if I wanted to do a Finn project that looked unique, I had to do something different.  Enter Brigade Games.  As a regular customer of Brigade games, I am a big fan of their "Ends of the Earth" range of models which broadly covers everything from UBoat crews to DAK to Rickshaws… to… well, Finns!  While they only have three blisters of Finnish models (a command pack, a MMG pack and a rifleman pack) there are thirteen unique poses of models to play around with.  I bought a selection of all three (The MMG comes with a sweet kneeling SMG trooper that you can see below) and was immediately impressed with the quality of the sculpts.


   The sculpting is nicely done and the detail on the models is crisp and clean. Facial features are easy to distinguish and have personality (which is sometimes not the case with some historical models). I really like that little details were added in as well.  For example, most of guys are wearing mittens (as you would in that cold), a few are not (one guy is reaching into an ammo pouch for example) and their mittens hang by cords to their snow suits.  A completely unnecessary detail that really gives the models personality and purpose.  I got a very well casted group of models that has required little to no cleaning (which is an absolute Godsend) and with a quick spray of white… I was ready to go!
   They also mix well with other companies' winter onsie uniformed troops.  Below you can see two Finnish troops on either side of a Berlin or Bust Soviet Scout.  They are a perfect match for the Finnish Ski troops that Warlord games have for sale and I have bought a few blisters of those guys to add ski troops to my army (it helps when differentiating troop types when everyone is wearing the same white baggy "uniforms.")


And this got me thinking… Of page 29 of The Armies of the Soviet Union. Specifically this picture:

Nope, those are not Finns.  Those are Soviet ski troops.  Doing a bit more research taught me that the Russians learned the value of winter troops from their losses in the Winter War and quickly started using similar gear and tactics themselves. This means that with very little work I can use most of my Brigade Finns (as they are not wearing helmets) interchangeably as Soviet winter camo equipped troops.  Their SMG's look similar from a distance too (drum magazines and wooden stocks).  Sure, they are not a perfect match and sure, it is kinda' sacrilegious to use Finns as Soviets and vice versa BUT I am a ridiculously slow painter. If this project eventually means that I can have a Soviet force at the end (I will have to paint different support teams but that is not an issue)… I am all for it!

In short I LOVE the Brigade Finnish models.  I highly recommend them and the other models in their "Ends of the Earth" range.  Look for more of their models in the Afrika Korps army that Patchimus it painting up at the moment.  Excellent stuff…

Til next time!



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