Rising Sun (FW304) – Soviet and Finnish Review and Spoilers

Hello All,

So this weekend I got my hands on Rising Sun (FW304) the new EW book. Now this is THE Flames of War book I have been waiting for ever since I got into Flames of War. Not because of the Japanese, (I have only a passing interest in the Far East in the WW2 period) no the Winter War. Fins are my favourite army from a historical point of view in WW2 and the Winter War has to be my favourite battle. The plucky little Fins not only standing up to the mighty Soviet Union but they embarrassed them, the ski troops cutting off the soviet advances and the brave (or desperate) troops assaulting tanks with nothing more than logs or Molotov Cocktails, the battle has it all.

So when I finally picked up the book I wanted it to be not only good, I wanted it to be exceptional… and (spoiler alert) I wasn’t disappointed. The book just looks lovely, I honestly think Battlefront are producing the nicest looking book in the wargaming industry at the moment and when you think they can’t top the last book they do it again, this trend has continued with Rising Sun.
The book follows the normal format of a bit of historical info followed by one nations army lists, then continuing the historical info as they move through the rest of the lists. I found the Japanese section very interesting as I didn’t know much about the battles in Manchuria, I knew there was boarding fighting but not the scale or the length of the conflict. It was quite nice to see what the books are like for players who have less of an interest or knowledge of WW2.

One nice list extra in ws the Soviet Tank painting guide, instead of a generic basic guide which would just basically be just base colour highlight/drybrush done. This guide has a 12 stage guide that goes through weathering, rust, dirt, washes, the lot. I was quite impressed and plan to give the guide a go quite soon.

My only real gripe with the book is it’s not Hardback. I don’t mind none hardback books, but when all the other EW books are hardback I think it looks a little odd in my collection.

So the forces, as you might have guess from the title I’m only doing the Finnish and Soviet forces in this Review, Winner Dave is collecting the Japanese and wanted to do the review of them which should be out in a few days. So onto what you all what to know, the lists:-

The Soviets 

  • You have 6 Lists – Heavy Tanks (T-35 & T-28’s), Fast Tank (BT-5 & 7’s), Light Tanks (T-26’s), Motorised Infantry, Infantry and Cossacks.
  • All the list are Confident Conscripts, I was mostly expecting this but I was surprised the Cossacks weren’t Trained.
  • The points for the Tanks have changed alot since the Poland Invaded PDF. You now a big increase per tank as you get bigger platoons. I think this makes sense as you can have 16 tanks in the platoons and with the lack of integral AT assets in EW there would be a good chance of the bigger platoons would just run over everything in front of them. 
  • Another change from the Poland Invaded PDF is the dropping of the breaking down tanks rule. I for one I’m very happy with this change as it’s was an awkward rule really.
  • T-35’s have a new rule called Land Battleship, basically you need two Firepower tests to kill the tank and one passed and one failed results in a bogged tank (yes bogged not bailed). The other part of the rule means that the 5 turrets can all shot and at different targets, even when bogged. They are only front armour 3 so while tough to me they don’t seem as tough as a Matilda force.
  • BT-5’s have 0 Front and Side Armour but are Top Armour 1, they are also not fast tanks, this was a surprise but has been explained to be in that they accelerated very quickly but their top speed wasn’t that great. BT-7’s are the same but for 5 points more have 1 Front and Side Armour. 
  • The Soviets get a few new national rules. Firstly my favourite characterful rules the Komissars are on the same bases as the Battalion and Company command stands. The other new rule called Close Supervision, basically the Battalion Commander has to be next to the Company Commander to give the commander re-roll.
  • The other big new Soviet rule is wave attack were destroyed Strelkovy Companies can come back on a 4+, the Battalion only counts as destroyed for VP’s once the 4+ dice roll is failed and you can keep rolling for the “new” Companies too!
  • The two different types of Infantry platoons are basically the same bar three differences. Firstly the Motorised Infantry only have 28 stands in each platoon instead of 31 (yeah the companies are big!). Secondly the Motorised Companies are rated as Mechanised instead of Infantry despite. Thirdly the big one, the Strelkovy have Wave Attack the mech Infantry done not. 
  • The artillery platoons are big and affordable (well from a points perspective with not financially!), you can get a full god of war from about 500pts to 800pts depending on what you take, there are also about 6 different guns to choose from.
The Finnish
  • The Finnish get 4 lists, 3 Infantry lists (Infantry Company, Scout Company and Ski Guerillas) and one Fortified list (The Mannerheim Line List).
  • All the Fins are Veteran while the Scout Company and the Ski Guerillas are Fearless the rest are Confident. I was a little surprised the Infantry where Veteran, I was expecting Fearless Trained as the Fins are mostly a militia force. I think because this briefing also covers the 1941 start to the Continuation War, so they decided to make the Fins Veteran as they did keep the army together after the Winter War incase the Soviets came back to finish off the job. 
  • The Finnish national rules have changed a little. They lose the extra Artillery rules, but gain British Bulldog against everyone not just Soviets (finally!) and they also get a new rule called Motti Ambush. 
  • Motti Ambush lets the Ski Guerillas to deploy in ambush in every mission (even when attacking). They can ambush in No Mans Land as well as your deployment area but must deploy within 12 inches of an enemy platoon, with all the normal Ambush rules in place. You can’t assault on the turn you Motti Ambush or count as dug in but you can move and shot. They can also try and redeploy into Motti Ambush by passing a skill test moving similar rules to how you remount motorcycles, then they come back again in Motti Ambush in later turns. While powerful the platoons are expensive with 9 bases being 310pts before upgrades.
  • There is a nice new Sniper Special Character called Simo Hayha, he’s quite nice as snipers go. He’s a 15 points upgrade to normal sniper, he redeploys on a 3+ instead of 4+ and when the enemy tries to drive him off he gets 3 shots from his SMG before he escapes.
  • All Finnish tanks are Confident Trained. You get the Vickers 6-Ton Tank thats basically a lightly armoured T-26. T-26’s and up to two T-28’s. You can also take the Christie Tank Platoon that has a mix of BT-5 and BT-7 and can also have tank riders!  
  • As you would expect the Fins lack Anti Tank Guns, the best they can get is 2 Pak36’s, but they also can have Soviet and French AT Guns.
  • The real strength of the Fins seems to be there light artillery, most lists get 2 slots for artillery. The 76 K/02 guns is the Fins best RoF 2 or better gun with AT 8 while also giving you smoke and bombardment options over the dedicated AT Guns, Heavier guns are included but most lack smoke and all are RoF 1.
  • The Tank-Hunter Platoons are back and can be all Close Defense teams or have a mix of Anti Tank Rifles (both Boys and Lahti) and Close Defense teams.
  • The Mannerheim List doesn’t have much in the way of big fortifications as it wasn’t a very strong position, but that has the added advantage of being cheap. The normal Trenches, Barbed Wire, Mines and Anti-Tank Obstacles are there. Also the platoons can have HMG nests or Light Turrets.
Overall I’m really happy with Rising Sun. The Japs look like an interesting force to add to FoW without being too overpowered (time will tell on the gaming front there), the Fins and Soviets look both very historical while still being quite fun to play. I know a few people were a bit annoyed that the T-35 was included int he book as it wasn’t used in action until Barbarossa, but the big thing for me in FoW is if you want to be historical then don’t use it. Noone is forcing you to play with it and for me from a gaming point of view it looks like an interesting new challenge to be throw against.

I give Rising Sun 9 out of 10 Long Winter Months.

Thanks for reading


P.S. if there is any other info you’d like feel free to post below.

Category: Early WarFinnishFlames of WarReviewsSoviets


  1. Good review I am also excited about the Finish army. Japan looks good I have some questions about their artillery rules but I am willing to wait to see what actual game play brings.

  2. Very good review. We don't do FoW but the source books are good for developing scenarios for Spearhead (which we do in 6mm). We saw this book at Joy of Six and it was excellent as you say. For us, we're more interested in the Japanese vs Russians but you never know, the Finns may get a look in.

  3. The other thing you don't mention that is good for the 81mm mortars is that they can go up to 4 teams in the platoon which is good for a little more survivability and firepower.

  4. I went to grab a copy from my LGS and it was defective 🙁 Two pages were duplicated. So its missing 2 pages basically. It has no page 30 or 31. Instead it has page 15 and 16 twice.

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Article by: Mark Goddard