The Winter War was fought between 30th November 1939 and March 1940. When the Soviets signed the non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany in 1939 this treaty assigned other countries to one or other of the parties, and Finland was assigned to the USSR. The Soviets then demanded large territories from Finland and when that proud country refused they launched an invasion. This naked aggression was expected to be a simple matter but the Finns resisted with determination and skill and the Red Army suffered a terrible humiliation. In the end the Red Army prevailed through overwhelming numbers and equipment, but the Finns earned much respect and international goodwill.
Given the time period and the latitude this war was well named, and one of the few advantages the Finns had was their experience in such cold temperatures and their appropriate clothing and equipment. As a result most of these figures are correctly dressed in snow camouflage garments of one sort or another. These garments did not provide warmth themselves but merely covered the winter clothing underneath, so there is actually little uniform on display here. What there is is reasonable though, although it is hard to be more precise.
The reason for the difficulty in obtaining precision is these are very weak sculpts. While snow suits are largely featureless that does not compensate for the poor detail and unfortunate sculpting in this set. It is often hard to make out what is being depicted, which makes comment very hard. While there is no flash on our samples there are several hollows where air bubbles have been trapped in the mould, but we are assured that these will not appear on production figures.
There are some interesting choices of pose here. The man dragging a comrade is particularly noteworthy, and the last figure in the top row is handling a wooden mine (wooden so as to avoid detection). The last figure in the third row is holding a canteen, which makes a pleasant change from the more conventional officer to his right.
The mortar is apparently one that was taken from the Russians during the civil war, and sits on a wooden platform to keep it from the snow on the ground. This is a very simple representation of a mortar, although apparently the original too was quite simple.
This set also contains two resin pieces pictured on our bottom row. Each is of a soldier firing from some small piece of cover - parts of a destroyed motorbike in both cases. While they take up a lot of room they are at least appropriate and interesting additions.
The skis are included as any of these figures could have been on skis prior to combat, and indeed some could even have their base removed and skis added if desired.
The poor sculpting of this set means it is far from appealing, but the unusual selection of poses make it something very different from the more traditional World War II set and the informal camouflage clothing potentially allows for a wider range of uses beyond the army of Finland.