Saturnismus

[lead poisoning]

Legions East Winter Finns

As Early War approaches rapidly I’ve been looking at a Finnish EW list. The Barbarossa book won’t be here for quite a while and the Finns aren’t guaranteed to be in it, but sooner or later (probably later…) there will be some official list out there I hope.

Winter War, Reindeer patrol in Jäniskoski near Petsamo 20th Feb. 1940

As there probably won’t be any new BF Finns I’ve started to look at alternatives and as far as I know there is two manufacturers with this range, Resistant Roosters and Legions East. I’ve sampled both manufacturers “Summer Finns” but I wasn’t that impressed with any of them.

RRs range is in many cases more like 18mm than 15mm and have even more oversized heads and hands than BFs older, “large” range, and they are decked out in out in huge backpacks and other gear.  And their winter range is basically the same as there summer range but with even bigger winter head gear. The positive about the range though is that they are reasonably priced and that there are a lot of different (but stiff) poses.

LEs range was more promising but suffered from som scale issues, the feet were tiny and their arms often way to long, but there were some nice models along them, my guess is that the bad ones are among the  sculptors first miniatures and the nice one are the ones made later when the sculptor got the hang of limbs and stuff.

So, since the LE winter range is newer than the Summer range, and I actually manage to find a few pictures of them on the web, I ordered one of each pack to sample them.

So here follows a review of the packs available at their homepage.

LE-FNA-02 Finnish Winter War army pack, $25.

This pack consists of 50 infantry and 3(4) heavy weapons, divided into 31 riflemen, 4 men with LMGs, 3 SMGs, 2NCOs, 2 radio operators, 2 officers with binoculars,  1 spotter, 1 mortar crew with (presumaby) 1 mortar (I think that the mortar is missing from the pack but I might have lost it, more about the mortar further down), 2HMGs with 2 crew each and 1 anti-tank rifle with 2 crewmen.

I’ll only review the riflemen, SMGs and LMGs here, the other miniatures are discussed with the heavy weapons and command pack further down since they consist of the same figures.

The 3 first riflemen. I can see an objective brewing, the rifleman in close combat could have his rifle replaced with a branch that he is jamming into the drive sprocket of a T-26 while the molotov cocktail guy aims for the rear deck...

There are a couple of riflemen in the pack that have some action poses (a rifleman in close combat and the obligatory Molotov cocktail thrower) which is quite unusual. The trouble is that they come repetitive a lot quicker than more generic poses but  since they are so nice I don’t mind. The third rifleman is in a more generic pose.

3 riflemen poses.

The last three riflemen are in nicely animated “ready” and assaulting positions.

LMG and SMG poses from the Army pack.

The final two figures shown are the Lahti LMG and the Suomi SMG soldiers (here Iactually also remembered to add a Battlefront miniature for comparison).  The LMG is in a nice pose firing from the hip and the SMG armed fellow looks perfect accompanying an officer on a SMG command base.

Conclusion. The riflemen are very nice with good proportions and perfectly compatible with Battlefronts Finnish range except for a bit less “over-sized” helmets that many of Battlefronts earlier ranges suffer from. The only drawback is that the weapons aren’t that detailed and that they often are a bit “stubby” but that probably because they aren’t as over-sized as most other manufacturers.

LE-FNS-22, Heavy weapons special pack,  $5

Content; ATR with gunner and loader, 2 HMGs each with a gunner and a loader, two mortars with a crewman each and finally 2 spotters.

The Lahti ATR. The winter version is smaller then the one included in LEs summer pack, which while correct in size, is a bit large for FoW bases.

The Lahti Anti-tank rifle model is also very nice and includes an assistant/loader. It’s sized as Battlefronts Finnish ATR which surely will increase the life-expectancy of the barrel.

The HMG with crew.

The HMG while on the small side is unbased which is a nice touch so that it can be used on its self while basing other teams or making objectives. The gunner and loader are also nicely done. I’m a bit unsure if the Finns used the gun shield that much during the winter war but it can represent a newly captured weapon.

The mortar crewman with his miniature mortar.

The mortars included are a bit of a letdown since it is so minute, it might work as a 50mm light mortar though. The crewman while nice, is alone which further indicates that he is firing a light mortar but they were often operated kneeling or laying down.

Conclusion: this pack is also nice but the weapons are a bit on the small side (at least compared to the BF range).

LE-FNS-23, Assault infantry special pack, $5

10 figures (6 SMGs (2 poses) 2 NCOs and 2 grenade throwing men.

The different poses in the assault pack compared to the BF mini.

The assault pack is together with the gun crew pack (and the cavelry pack…) the only ones that contains miniatures not included in the army pack and contains 4 very nice poses includin another NCO model which is very welcomed.

Conclusion; this pack is highly recommended with very nice figures, the only question mark is on how many SMG armed troops you can include in an Winter War army since they were pretty scarce.

LE-FNS-24 Gun crew special pack, $5

7 gun crewmen (3poses) and 2 spotters.

The gun crew figures.

Not much to say about this (also very nice) pack except that a couple of more poses would have been nice.

LE-FNS-26 Ski troops special pack, $5

10 skiers (2 poses).

The two different ski poses, a rifleman from Battlefront for size comparison.

The skiers are perfect! If there only were a few more poses…

LE-FNS-27 Cavalry special pack, $14

10 cavalry (2 horse poses), 8 riflemen (2poses) and 2 NCOs with binoculars.

The excellent horses.

The horses are very good, the only drawback is that they are probably from LEs other cavalry ranges and not quite representative for the Finnish more robust and rugged horse breeds.

The cavalrymen.

The riders are in realistic but somewhat unexciting poses.

Conclusion; the big problem with this pack is that the Finnish cavalry units were equipped with skis during the Winter War… But they will probably come in handy in objectives and as horse-drawn artillery crews.

LE-FNS-28 Command special pack, $5

8 miniatures, 2 NCOs, 2 spotters, 2 radio operators and 2 officers with binoculars, these are the same models included in the Army pack so if you plan to buy more than 1 of those packs don’t bother with this pack.

The command figures including the spotter which is also included in FNA-02, FNS-22 and FNS-24.

All of the miniatures are perfect for command and spotter teams, the only drawback is that all of them are included in the Army pack.

Final conclusion.

Overall a pleasent surpise, there are a few problems as noted above but they are without doubt the best Finnish Winter range available. Casting-wise they are not quite as crisp as Battlefronts but there is very little flash and mould separation. I only received one miscast, a riflemen missing his hands and weapon other then that there were no problems (although there is the issue with the “stubby” guns).

As I understand it, Legions East is operated at almost hobby basis but the communication and delivery times are more than acceptable, the only thing I miss is an notice on when they ship the packages, now it’s more of an (pleasant) surprise when it arrives. Also, some (more and bigger) pictures on their webpage would also make things easier…

Overall I’ll give this range a weak 4 on a five-grade scale.

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11 responses to “Legions East Winter Finns

  1. Itchy (aka Jared) June 18, 2010 at 00:07

    Great review of a model line other than BF!

    From your pictures, it certainly appears as if the Legions East models are on par with their BF counterparts in terms of both size and quality.

    I’m not hung up on sticking with BF miniatures as I begin building my grenadier company so info like this is worth its weight in gold.

  2. Leadgend June 18, 2010 at 07:06

    What are you using for an army list? I have done some accurate FOW Winter war and Continuation war lists, email me if you’re interested.

  3. Nick July 13, 2010 at 18:34

    I use LE figures and also find them a bit hit and miss but if you’re prepared to discard the more “iffy” ones you can make up quite a nice force. All they need now is a field kitchen as an objective!

    I also use the LE Russians who look good in mass (how else are you going to use them?).

    I’m waiting now for the “Armaments in miniature” Fokker DXXI to give my Finns some air support.

    • saturnismus July 13, 2010 at 23:09

      I’m interested in the LE Russians too, are they more like the Summer Finns (limbs with strange proportions) or like the winter ones (quite nice)? Any pictures?
      The AIM aircrafts are really nice, I’ll get som of their Fokkers when time and money aloves…

      • Nick July 21, 2010 at 18:34

        Hi Saturnismus

        The basic winter war figures are better than the summer figures and the (probably more recent) Winter War assault infantry, skiers and gun crews are the best of the lot. All the Winter War figures have properly proportioned limbs, it was just some of the poses that didn’t really appeal to me.

        I’ve got some photos of the gun crews, skiers and the basic Winter War infantry (but oddly none of the assault infaantry – don’t know why!) and if you send me your email address, I’ll send them over.

        The sledges, pony and reindeer are from Mike Yarrow’s prehistoric range with loads from Flames of War and the tanks and guns from QRF. Aircraft are from True North (now sold in the UK by Old Glory), didn’t notice that the decal had slipped on the I-16 till I photographed it – oops.

        Cheers

        Nick

  4. Nick July 21, 2010 at 18:41

    Hi Saturnismus

    Re my recent post, missed the point slightly – been a long day! You noticed that I was commenting mainly on the Finns, the Winter War Russians are up to the standard of the basic Winter War Finns but not the newer ones. My comments on the photos still stand and there are some photo’s of the Russians among them.

    Please feel free to edit the post!

    Cheers

    Nick

  5. Aleksi August 9, 2010 at 23:58

    First of all, thanks for the great blog, I’ve been reading it for a while now. I certainly appreciate all the winter war-related stuff, also the pine tree tutorial proved handy 🙂

    I’d like to ask where did you buy the LE figures, and what kind of shipping/payment options were available? There’s never enough miniatures with skis..

    By the way, in case you ever get tired of FoW, I suggest you check out a game called Crossfire. It’s a light and intuitive ruleset that uses no rulers or turns + no need for re-basing.

    • saturnismus August 10, 2010 at 08:57

      Hi Alexi, I ordered directly from Legions East/Two Tin Soldiers, I havn’t found them enywhere else.
      Payment was through Visa but Paypal is also an option, shipping was something like $10 and handled by USPS if I recall correctly.
      But drop them an e-mail at twosoldier​x(at)aol.com and they’ll surely help you out.
      Crossfire sure seems interesting, we’ll see if there is any interest in it locally though, but I’m a bit keen on doing some cold war wargaming someday, maybe Crossfire would be a nice system for that.

      • Richard February 6, 2014 at 19:07

        Satunismus, I’ve been looking for alternate BF winter finns (especially since they are dragging their feet with the special order releases). I ordered the RR Finnish Deluxe box and totally agree. Way bigger than I expected, especially the HMG’s. I am having a really hard time finding the Legions East figures, especially the winter gun crews. Do you know where I can find a reseller for those? Noble Knight has the summer figures. I’m afraid some of the winter models may be out of production, but since the Legions East site has no contact information I can’t ask them directly. Do you know how to make contact with them?

      • saturnismus February 7, 2014 at 20:06

        Hi, I don’t have any recent contact information but I think Falcon Miniatures have accuired the molds. Check with them at http://www.falconminiatures.com

  6. saturnismus February 10, 2014 at 10:57

    Ops, it should be Falcon Figures US, sorry about that…
    http://thequartermaster.weebly.com/wwii-armies-legions-east.html
    (The website seems to be a work in progress but there is at least contact information.)

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