In this update I’ll share where I am at on this and a few tips from assembling my Finnish Tank Company models that I’ve brought.
Firstly my Finnish tanks are a bit of a mish-mash. I originally started out with no intention of building a Tank Company but, after a short while, I decided that I needed to minimise the number of platoons that get put in reserve if I decide to use them for tournament play. Looking at the late war list building, I quickly came to the conclusion that the minimal platoons option for Late War was two platoons (ignoring the frankly ridiculous Tiger/Panther Allied German platoon option) picked from a list containing the Sturmi’s (19pts), T-34/85 (21pts) and Panzer IV’s (24pt).
So, being the collector that I am, I am going to build a unit of each for LW. I will use the Sturmi’s plus T-34/85 platoon for the Soviet Summer offensive period and the Panzer IV’s and Sturmi’s for the Lapland war period.
This got me thinking about the fact I would now had two tank platoons which would count as formation platoons toward a potential LW Tank Company… so why not build it out to a Tank Company?
Basically all I needed was a HQ platoon to be legal. In LW this has to be either two T-26 or a T-26 plus another T-34/85. As I had two T-34 kits left over from the box I had already purchased this seemed a sound option; I just needed to acquire the one T-26.
I would now have a basic Company comprising a mixed tank HQ of a T-26 and a T-34/85, and two platoons; one of three T-34/85 and a second of four Panzer IV’s. This is small and very fragile for a company with just three platoons and with no real anti infantry capability. After some consideration, my choice came down to a KV-1 or a T-28 platoon. I decided on a platoon comprising four T-28’s, principally as it isn’t a two-tank platoon. I have plenty of KV-1s already for my Soviets plus a few spare turrets in the bits box so I may well paint those up as well, This would give me the option to field either of the 3rd or 6th Tank Battalions late in the war.
The list below is 62pts, leaving enough points to round out the force with infantry and artillery support and was what I started out working towards. The four T-34/85 provide the anti-tank capability, The Panzer IV are a decent all-rounder and the T-28 are good versus infantry. To be honest, the T-26 will probably be used as little more than an artillery observer.
In MW I simply plan to use the T-28’s as a Force Support option. Thanks to the generally lower levels of AT & FP, plus the lack of infantry integrated AT assets in MW, having only FA4 is less of an issue here.
I ended up with a short shopping list of five models to get. After looking at my budget, as well as model availability.
I brought Zvevda kits for this part of the “To The Finnish” project. The Zeveda T-26 is a snap together gaming standard kit which is very simple to assemble but still has a reasonable level of detail and whilst I only needed the one I managed to pick them up for such a good price I brought 7!
The T-28 is a much more detailed model altogether with lots of parts for something of FOW scale and helpfully comes with both the early (obr 1936) and late (obr 1939) turrets though there is only a single turret MG on the sprue which is a shame. I will use the earlier turret with my Early War Soviets as my research leads me to believe the Finns mainly fielded the later model ones.
The T-28 comes with a single page instruction leaflet with just three steps which is OK if you are a regular model kit builder but, if not, its potentially quite tricky to follow.
After building the first kit I quickly realised that there are a couple of simples trick to making this experience a lot easier for building multiple kits.
Firstly, work in sub-assemblies. These are hinted at in the leaflet in Stage 2 so, if you are thinking about this kit as an option, here’s my guide to splitting down Stage 1 into a few steps to make your modelling experience a bit easier.
Secondly, a couple of helpful tips for cleaning up mould lines and frame joints on the very flexible parts.
I found that, because the tracks and lower deck are so flexible, they are hard to clean up. My tip for you is to leave the internal frame in place whilst you do this, they are much more rigid and less prone to flex and potentially snap this way. Also it is easier to fix the subassembly parts in Stage 2 to deck with this still in place.
My final comment on the kit is that, as a 1:100 scale model kit, the MG barrels are very, very fine, so be careful handling them; they will break and aren’t easy to reattach.
So, as I eluded to, I ended up with a few extra T-26 models and I also ended up not yet building the Panzer IV’s. I discovered the Finns had Panzer IVJ models, which I am hoping may reappear with the German Bulge book, even if I have to get resin/metal/plastic combo kit ones; despite a lot of looking I haven’t found any of the old BF kits for sale anywhere to date. What I have ended up painting are all 7 T-26’s, 3 T-34 hulls with both 76mm and 85mm turrets, 4x T-28 and 2x KV-1. This allows me to field the entirety of either the 3rd or 6th Battalions at the Start of the Soviet Summer Offensive.
Well hopefully there is something in here you have found useful and gives you a few ideas on building out your own Finnish T-26 Tank Company