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Monday, February 6, 2017

Bolt Action - Review: Warlord Games British Airborne Polsten Gun

I've had a Canadian Para army for a few years now, but outside of a running at the infamous Field of Dreams/Face-off tournament, it has sadly gotten very little game time. I can't really pinpoint why the desire to pull them back out always seems to fade in the face of playing Hungarians or Germans instead, but I am attempting to play a 'regular' Canadian force at Cancon next year and when this model came out from Warlord Games, I couldn't resist including one to my Paras. While it has taken me a long time to build it and get it painted (due to a hobby lull), it's finally done and I can't wait to get it on the table soon.

The Polsten is a 20mm anti-aircraft gun inspired by the 20mm Oerlikon gun and came into service in 1944. Designed by Polish engineers who escaped Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland, the Polsten was a cheaper and easier to make AA gun than the Oerlikon, and thousands were produced by Canada during the war. They were also used in groups of multiple Polsten on AA mounts, but this mount is just for a single gun.

With autocannons being all the rage in V2, a light autocannon isn't a terrible option. While it does lack the range of my favourite (the heavy autocannon found in say perhaps, a Hungarian Nimrod?) and a gunshield, it is still a decent buy at 50 points for the regular version. While I do not think the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion used the Polsten, I decided to paint mine up to fit my Canadians, as the 3 crew that come with the Polsten are British Airborne. The crew are great, you get a gunner, a loader and a commander, with the crisp detail that you expect from Warlord's infantry. Even if I prefer plastics over metals, I can appreciate the quality of these brave chaps.

Now this is the truly amazing part of this model and why I think it is ground-breaking for Warlord. This AA gun is essentially a 4 piece model! There is the base plate, the gun with attached gunner, his left leg and then the gunner's head. That's it. Your Polsten AA gun is built. No head scratching over which of the 13 tiny cogs goes where that is so common with many 28mm artillery pieces on the market.

The base plate is massive, and you'll be needing a decent sized base for this gun (bigger then a 60mm). It is textured and includes the trailer's wheels folded down in it's firing position. This is both a benefit and a curse. While it means you don't have to put as much effort into basing the gun, there is always the possibility that you wanted to base it in a different way. But this is a minor thing in my opinion.

The gun itself is very nice. Of course, when I pulled it out of the blister, the barrel was bent, but this is not Warlord's fault but a downside of metals. Once straightened and the flash removed, it was very quick to put this piece together. All the detail of the gun is there, it is just sculpted into the gunner's position as a natural extension. The only downside is the thin connection point of where the gun meets the base, but when you are confined by history, this part of the model would always be a weak point. My suggestion would be you really need to pin this join with some brass rod. I recently took the Polsten to Cancon in my Canadian list and it did break at this weak spot. To be honest, the initial break was cause by some rough handling, but once broken, there is no way to re-glue the model without pinning it.

All up, this is a great kit. It doesn't experience any of the failings similar guns have in past reviews, like lack of instructions (okay there are no assembly instructions but seriously, if you need them for this 4 piece kit, I have no help for you!) or too many tiny fiddly parts that you inevitably lose or glue to yourself. I give this kit a straight 10 out of 10 (on the caveat of you pinning the join for strength). I would also love to see Warlord do some of the multiple-gun mount versions, like the quad Polsten, and I doubt I am alone!

"Anf" is a long-time gamer from Down Under, who currently focuses his hobby time on Bolt Action.
With an equal love of  rockets and Ice Hockey, he constantly explores weird and wonderful army lists
in his never-ending quest to collect them all.

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