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Friday, April 1, 2016

Bolt Action - Finnish army showcase and review

By Tristan

Hi guys, this week I'm going to be looking at the Finnish army and some of the wonderful, tough, hopeless and cheesy options that are available. As anyone who listens to the Baconburgers podcast will know, recently I've bought and started to run a new army. I've run the Americans and then the British. After this I found myself wanting to move away from the major powers and explore the minor powers. My first stop was the Finns.

My curiosity regarding the Finns was initially peaked when I noticed that despite them having a great army list, my local scene was devoid of players actively running the Finns. I knew that Old Man Morin had a Finn army but to my knowledge it hadn't yet seen the table. I was also aware that the Finns weren't particularly prevalent in other parts of Australia. Indeed when I looked into pictures of events at faraway places such as the US and the UK. it seemed also that Finns were nowhere to be seen. I knew that some people had been quite badly burned a few years ago by a Kickstarter that has promised a lot but delivered little. I had the chance to check out some of these sculpts up close and could see why people weren't keen on spending their time and effort painting these miniatures. In a word, they were hideous!

I then had a look at what Warlord had on offer and was pleasantly surprised when I found a good range with great sculpts and plenty of options. So I set about arranging my purchases. Initially I got 2 of the discontinued Finnish army box sets and went to work. Whilst at Cancon recently I also dropped by to see the chaps at War and Peace Games and picked up some additional support options, as well as some Rubicon kits to supplement what I already had. In the meantime another Warlord Games purchase had shown up, with my gorgeous BT-42. With all this goodness on my table and my motivation fresh and alive after Cancon, I set about painting in a possessed fervour. I locked myself in my study for days and would only emerge (much to my wife's annoyance) to eat and sometimes to sleep. At the end of a week I had completed enough models to be able to run a very competitive 1250 point list. My aim was to debut this list at the upcoming Melbourne based event: Operation Cleanslate. My list was the following:

2 regular 2nd LTs
8 veteran Kaukopartio squad
8 veteran Sissi recon squad w/ rifles and tough fighters
6 veteran Jaakari light infantry all with SMGs
2 6-man regular continuation war squads with rifles, a LMG and Tough Fighters
2 regular snipers
1 regular medium mortar
1 regular anti-tank rifle team
1 regular Opel Blitz truck
1 regular BT-42 medium howitzer tank
1 regular StuG 3

The list had 14 order dice.

At Cleanslate, the list did as expected. It did quite well. I garnered 2 wins and a draw, and found that the Finnish army list suits my hyper aggressive style of play. I feel that the Finns are at a significant advantage in Demolition. Being able to advance the Kaukopartios on from an enemies board edge, gives the Finns a unique advantage and also applies pressure to your opponent in making them think hard about where to place their objective. Also having Kaukopartios as a tool forces my opponent to set aside more units than they would like to have to deal with them. This tactic then allows me to force my Sissi recon squad and my Jaakari up the board to apply more pressure. Then to my surprise in a mission like Point Defence, the Kaukopartio proved to be a bit of a lame duck. Coming in from the enemies board edge was tasty and it did cause my opponent some sweat, however they came on, took out a medium howitzer and were then promptly destroyed by some very ferocious American tough fighters. And in Kittyhawk Down they were a massive waste of points, only killing a lone arty observer after he had dropped his payload.

My takeaways from this army are thus. The Finns are ripe for abuse, but no more than any other nation (*cough* Norwegians *cough* - Anf). What I was able to accomplish with the Finns I could easily accomplish with either the Americans or the British and without having to sink a massive amount of points into units like the Kaukopartio (which let's face it are too good to leave out). Finnish snipers are massively OP auto hitting when your target moves to within 18" whilst you're on ambush and in future events, based on my opponents list, that might be a rule I simply forget about and roll to hit like a normal person. The big let down with the Finns is the armoured choices. There are only 2 tanks worth looking at in the Finnish armoured list, the BT-42 and the StuG III, both of which I took. The early war tankettes don't pack enough punch at 1250 points, and every other option comes with the Unreliable rule. I played a game recently using a tank with Unreliable and found it to be a wholly frustrating affair. My opponent shot me, hit and then rolled on the superficial damage table and immobilised me. The result of which left me with 3 pins, which meant that my 200+ point tank was then told to take an early shower. I personally don't like the Unreliable rules. I think it's a poor mechanic to represent the stated cause and I'll be avoiding the armour choices that carry this rule in the future. I am still holding out hope that Warlord Games will add an errata to include Panzer IVs and Landsverk L-62s (the original vehicle the Hungarian Nimrod was based on) to the list, both of which were supplied to the Finnish force with plenty of spare parts thus not needing the Unreliable rule. Were either of these two tanks available I'd happily look at those for alternate options to the BT and StuG.

In summation I believe that the Finns are fun, competitive and dynamic, however they lack viable vehicle options and the list is a little restrictive, hemming you largely into veteran heavy forces that may cause your opponent to furrow his brow with despair! To all those who might be on the fence with the Finns, I say jump in. The army list is fun, the rules are incredible and they are a force that'll allow you a scope of play that hasn't been seen in the game yet. I for one hope to see more Finnish armies at future events and look forward to seeing what my local community of skilled opponents can cook up!

Until next time, roll your 6s and have fun.


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