Friday, February 28, 2014

From SamuliS: 28mm Winter War Finnish Ski Troops (25 points)


From Samuli:
Back to Winter War project again with 5 Finnish ski troops representing a Kaukopartio or Long Range Patrol squad. I originally wanted to paint these for the hero themed fortnight challenge, but only got the minis two days before the deadline thanks to Royal Mail/Fail taking their time with my package :)

The long range patrol teams that Finland employed are quite a personal subject for me as my grandfather served as a sergeant in one of the teams and later on I ended up serving my own military service as a platoon leader in reconnaissance too. The Kaukopartio troops have quite a legendary reputation in Finland as they are some of the highest decorated units to serve in the Finnish army and they carried out some awe inspiring missions during the war. Details of their operations are still a bit sketchy as most of the material was destroyed after a peace had been negotiated with Soviet Union.
Their missions ranged from small intelligence gathering patrols behind to lines to strikes at Soviet supply depots and rear echelon troops with nearly battalion sized forces, with the longest missions lasting over three months hundreds of kilometers behind enemy lines. Such was the effect of their missions that one of the most famous commanders, Lauri Törni, even had a 3 million mark (roughly 600,000 dollars at the time) bounty put on his head by the Soviets. The same Törni actually fought under three nations serving in the Finnish army, the Nordic battalion of the Waffen-SS and finally being killed in Vietnam while serving in the US Army as a Major in Green Berets.

The minis are from Warlord this time. The quality difference between the Baker Co stuff and Warlord is just massive. These guys have far more realistic proportions and better facial features than anything from Baker Company. There are still some issues like the massive amounts of flash. And I only had one rifle in the whole blister that was completely intact with the rest of them missing the front sight and the end of the barrel.
You've done just a wonderful job on these miniatures Samuli. I particularly like how you've dirtied up the knees, elbows and edging of their trousers and parkas. I have to agree with you in that these castings seem significantly nicer to the Baker Company sculpts we've seen to date. 

Also, this Lauri Torni fellow seems to be a very impressive, if not controversial, character. An ex-Waffen SS member in the Green Berets? That is an interesting (if not shocking) tidbit indeed. I definitely need to do some reading on this fellow.

These five Kaukopartio will give Samuli 25 points.

10 comments:

  1. Lovely figures Samuli, and I am enjoying learning more about the Finnish army from following your project.

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  2. I do like these snow scenes. Very well done.

    Also it is nice to know of you and your families service with these troops.

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  3. Thanks guys!

    The Waffen-SS service is partly explained by the fact that all non-Germans who fought for them were serving there. Finland sent around a battalions worth of men to fight alongside the Germans after the Winter War. Some (like Törni) came back quite fast after the Continuation War started and the last ones came back to Finland around 1943 when the Finnish Government decided to terminate the agreement. Törni did leave Finland after the war ended here in 1944 to still fight against Soviets and to receive sabotage training in Germany. That was a short trip too as he only went through training before the war ended.

    There were actually quite a few Finns in the US army after WW2. Most of them were men who had participated in hiding military equipment from the Soviets after the war or were otherwise deemed by the Soviets to be hostile towards them. This sort of lead to the left leaning governments of Finland in the late 40's to remove their rights as citizens etc.

    A lot of them ended up in the US special operations community thanks to their knowledge of unconventional operations and arctic environments. The famous John Wayne Green Beret movie and the "Sven Kornie" character in the beginning of the book is also partly based on Törni.

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  4. Nice work again on these Samuli.

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  5. Great painting! These guys definitely look the part.

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  6. Nice to see something different Samuli. Lovely work.

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  7. These do look a lot better than the Baker Company, the faces are much better

    Ian

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  8. Ski troops. You don't see many of them about. Got to say I do like them. And interesting facts as well.

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