Friday, April 9, 2010

Finnish 120mm Mortar Platoon

The Finnish army was using approximately 200 Russian 120mm mortars by the end of the Continuation War. The majority of these were captured pieces. Some were captured as early as the Winter War. There were also a number purchased from Germany, who presumably also captured them. When building this unit, I decided to model it using captured Russian mortars. I did this for two reasons: first I thought the Russian mortars with their unique looking base plates would look great with Finnish crew and second, I had purchased two Battlefront 81mm mortar blisters by mistake, one of which I didn't need. By modelling the heavy mortars with captured Russian pieces I could use the crew figures from the extra 81mm blister combined with some leftover Russian 120mm mortars from my bits box. Since the heavy mortar platoon requires an additional crew figure per base, I supplemented the 81mm mortar's three crew figures by adding some ammunition crates to the base, and a sub-machine gun-armed infantry figure to guard them. The ammunition crates and guard also have the added benefit of filling up additional space on the large artillery bases, which otherwise would have looked sparsely populated with only the small mortar model and four crew.

This unit is an eclectic mix of figures: the crew, command and forward observer figures are Battlefront, the mortars are Quality Castings purchased 10-12 years ago, the 'ammo' crates are Musket Miniatures and the ammunition guards are Legions East. All in all I'm happy with the result considering the entire unit was constructed from items from my bits box and the extra Battlefront 81mm mortar blister that was sitting in my 'dead lead' pile destined to gather dust. Considering the price of figures these days, making something out of nothing is always a good thing.

While I had the mortar crew figures on the painting table, I also added enough infantry figures to paint up an additional infantry squad for my first Jalkaväki infantry platoon. When painting figures often it's wise to take advantage of economy of scale. Painting these 8 figures alone would have taken a lot more time than adding them to another batch of small figures. This extra squad brings my first platoon up to the full strength four squads. Counting this squad and the heavy mortar platoon my Finnish Flames of War force now totals 1090 points. This total counts both the 81mm mortar platoon and the 120mm mortar platoon which I may not choose to use at the same time.  I'm still learning Flames of War, so my impression of what an optimal 'tournament army' will look like hasn't really been fully formed yet. My opinion on using both mortar batteries may change.

Next up on the painting table will be a second Jalkaväki infantry platoon which will be needed to make my company legal for the 1000-point games we'll be playing in our escalation league in another week. Although the 600-point challenge is over, the escalation league is keeping the pressure on for me to continue working on the Finns.

1 comment:

Galpy said...

They are looking great ready to kick some butt on the fields of glory, really like they way you've based them.
Cheers Kent