On a recent episode of LRDG the boys were talking about converting partisan cavalry using Perry Miniatures American Civil War Cavalry and bits. This got me thinking that I could use the same technique to make Soviet cavalry for my Russian army. There are a hand full of manufactures out there that make Soviet Cavalry, but they are either ugly or pricey. The ranges out there also have limited poses, which I don't care for.
What you will need for this conversion project is a box of Perry ACW cavalry and a box of Soviet plastic infantry. Each figure will use parts from the main ACW sprue, the main Soviet sprue, and the Soviet weapons sprue.
For tools all you need is a pair of clippers, a hobby saw, hobby knife, and superglue.
Each cavalry figure will consist of a horse and rider from the Perry ACW box, and a body, head, and weapon from the Soviet infantry box. You will need a mixture of arms from both boxes depending on the pose you want for your rider. Also I would suggest using the short barrel Mosin Nagant carbines from the Russian weapons sprue if possible. This will make your cavalry even more accurate looking.
First thing you will want to do is assemble the horse by gluing the two pieces together. There are four horse poses in the ACW box and a total of twelve horses and riders. This will give you enough riders to have a good variety of poses and weapons in your ten man squad. I really like the horse poses in the ACW box set from Perry.
Next, cut the ACW rider in half at the waist line using the hobby saw. After you cut the rider in half you will want to take some time cleaning up the legs with your hobby knife. It is important that you trim the waist area and make sure it is flat for when you attach the torso. Tip - angle the flat spot on top of the legs so it is higher in the back than the front. This allows for your riders to not look so upright in the saddle. I have a few that are really leaning into the charge, and they look so cool.
Once you're done cutting on the legs, pose it on the horse and make sure it is sitting how you want it to sit. Once you are happy, you can glue it down or wait to finish the torso work.
Next you will want to remove the legs from a Russian torso. You can use the saw, but I found the pliers to be much more useful since the legs are all over the place on the Soviet poses. Avoid using the kneeling figures. Once the legs are removed, trim the bottom of the torso so it is flat. If possible, try to make a depression (or bowl shape cut) into the flat bottom of the torso by removing excess plastic with the hobby knife. I found that when making this depression the torso was received by the legs better.
Once your torso is ready, attach it to the legs and glue on the arms, head, and weapons. If your rider has the sword in his hands make sure you remove the sword handle from the scabbard on the left leg. This is my NCO and he is pointing at the enemy. Most of my riders are not pointing at the enemy, they are using one hand to hold the reins. There are not a lot of good hands in the Soviet box for this, and there are no hands in the ACW set. You may have to experiment with reposing hands before gluing them in place (which is easy, but annoying). The other option is to use the left arm that is for for the Soviet prone figure. I found that this arm sat just right on the riders and gives them impression that the figure is holding the reins of the horse. The only problem is there are a limited number of those arms in the box, so you will have to do some modification.
Once you're done with your first figure, repeat until the box is built. You should end up with twelve riders. There is nearly an endless number of poses and options. While all my cavalry have helmets, you could use the fur caps and with a little modification using your knife, make cossacks. I gave one of my riders a standard and another a trumpet. Some have SMGs, other carbines, other rifles, and one has an LMG (I know I must be crazy).
I also based my cavalry two to a stand. This is not a requirement, but a personal preference. I liked how I could pose them on the bases, making each stand a little diorama. To account for special casualties I mounted the NCO on his own stand. I also mounted a single figure to a stand to use when I have an even number of figures (cbax don't you mean odd? No, because the NCO is on a single base, I need him for when I have even figures in the squad - MIND BLOWN). I will use this figure when figures are killed since the squad can only be a max of ten strong. For this figure I posed him so he was defending behind his fallen horse. If you decide to do this here is a tip: Using your hobby knife or saw, cut the bottom half (the half glued to the base) of the horse off so the horse will lay flat. Other wise it will look funny on the base.
So there you have it, an easy way to make Soviet Cavalry. You could also make German Cavalry using the same technique and the plastic German box from Warlord. Stay tuned to Boltaction.net to see the final product once I'm done painting them. If you have experience converting cavalry or have other hobby tips share with us on our forum.