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Friday, June 3, 2016

Bolt Action - Review: Warlord Games Finnish 37 PSTK/36 Bofors AT Gun

I'll begin by stating that in the 18 months that I've been playing Bolt Action, I've never had much time for anti-tank guns. They're generally a bit of a lame duck unless you can secure one of the tastier options that has improved HE capabilities. My own experiences taking AT guns are as follows: I deploy my anti-tank gun and then watch as my opponent either hides their tank or they deploy it on the opposite side of the board and I'm left with a fairly pricey unit that hasn't got anything substantial to engage. The sad thing is that AT guns were prolific during WW2 and they aren't really represented well with our game. You can be sure that any British player worth his salt will field a 25pdr (and let's be honest here, why wouldn't you?) but that's mainly because of the dual purpose role that piece has. And don't even get me started on iconic pieces like the hallowed Flak 88. Arguably one of the most effective and prolific pieces on the Axis side of the conflict and our game has all but relegated it to an oddity. It's now a piece where if you attend an event and your opponent rolls out a 88, you kind of put your hand on his shoulder and smile in a consolatory sort of way.
However... in the last 3 months, I've changed my tune somewhat. The Bolt Action Season 3 rules have seen people dust off those neglected AT assets somewhat and we're starting to see them creep out onto tables a little more frequently. Which is great by the way. 

Running a Finnish force, I looked at my options in regards to artillery and they look very similar to other nations. Normally I'd look for a medium howitzer and ignore the rest, comfortable in the knowledge that big HE would generally look after me and that I'd be able to cause as much mischief as was inflicted on me. Not anymore. What initially drew me to the Warlord 37mm Bofors was its aesthetic appeal. It's a great little piece and from a purely 6 year-old me point of view, the gun shield looks awesome. I was also keen to try out the Finnish armoured paint scheme which is a funky combo of Vallejo Golden Olive 70.857, Japanese Tank Crew 332 and Beige Brown 70.875. 

When I first got the model on my desk I hastily pulled it out of its blister and set to work. Clean up was nominal with most of the excess flash on the gun shield and thus very easy to remove. Once assembled (if Warlord is listening please start including assembly instructions in your blisters PLEASE!) I hit the model and crew with a coat of white primer and set to work. The crew were easy, being standard Finns they're just a couple of different shades of grey and the webbing. The gun however was a little trickier. The camo scheme is very striking and I imagine that a more talented painter would be able to knock this over very quickly. I followed a similar method as with my winter vehicles where I got the base colours on, washed it with Citadel Shade Nuln Oil and then panel highlighted the piece again to make the whole model pop. All in all, I'm very happy with the result. 

At 50 points for a regular and 60 for veteran, this light AT gun is a great piece to field as part of your Finnish army. It's small enough to tuck away and hide, and to be honest because it's so small people severely underestimate the punch it puts out. Recently it's claimed 2 Stuarts, a Staghound, 2 half-tracks and a Hellcat. You need to remember to be smart about where you deploy this vicious little beast and remember that going after tough medium tanks and shooting front armour won't yield the best results. I tend to try and get this piece on the board sooner rather than later and then hide it so people have to come and deal with it. A trick I learned from Old Man Morin is to deploy it on a road and sit it in ambush as if to say "come on, have a crack if you think you're hard enough!" All in all I love using this little stick of dynamite and I highly recommend taking it in lists 1000 points and below. 

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



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