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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bolt Action - Soviet Tank Rider Markers

For several months I have been telling myself, one day I am going to make proper tank riders for my Soviets, so that I don't have to balance models on bases on the backs of my tanks.   These tank riders will be purpose built, and give the impression that they are actually riding and trying to stay on the tank.  They will look like passengers.

After building my Soviet cavalry I took the oppurtunity to believe in myself and make my dreams come true. (Yes! - Judson on behalf of Lachlan) I turned Pandora to the Bruce Springsteen radio station, got out my hobby knife and glue, and started cutting on and assembling plastic.

It was surprisingly easy to achieve the look I was going for.  There is enough diversity in the body poses of the plastic Soviet box set from Warlord to give you plenty of pose options.  It was also very easy to manipulate arms and hands, using my knife and glue, to get more believable poses, like soldiers holding on to the tank, each other, or resting their hand on a knee.  I was able to quickly knock out three tank rider markers.

Each set of tank riders is glued together. This gives the tank rider markers more stability, since there is no base.  I thought about trying to mount them on clear plastics, but that ended up looking weird.  Two guys had trouble balancing, depending on their pose, and four guys seemed to be too many.  Three appears to be the sweet spot.  If you make your own, you will need to alter hand positions by detaching them from the arms and repositioning them.  You may even have to use hands from other arms to get the look you are going for.  You will also need to use you knife to reposition arms by altering the arm where it meets the body.  Always pose the figure before gluing the parts in place.

Tank Riders set #1
This was the first set I completed.  It was simple to build and I only had to repose the back rider's hand, so it more naturally looked like it was holding the guy in front of him.

Tank Riders set #2
Set two was the most fun to build.  I wanted the guy on the back to look like he was holding onto the guys in front of him.  I had to do a fair amount of work reposing arms and hands to get the look.  In the end, I am very happy with the look.

Tank Riders set #3
Set three was also a lot of fun to build.  I had to repose the rear rider's arms and hand so he looked like he was holding the soldier in front of him.  For the front soldier, I had to repose his left arm and hand so it looked like he was holding onto the hull of the T-34.  This marker doesn't work so well with the KV-1, because of the turret size, but works really well for trucks and the T-34.

One thing that is nice about these makers is you can stack them if you want.  Here is two of the sets on a tank.  If I was only taking one squad of riders, I might want to load up multiple sets on one the tank for a more dramatic effect during game play.

You can also load all three sets on a tank, depending on how you pose the dudes.  Here we see how all three sets look when placed together.  While not intentionally built to go together, I am happy with the unintended results of my build.

Here they are on a tank.

So cool.

(Agree! - J)

Lastly, don't feel like you are limited to only making tank riders.  Here are all three sets (a squad of nine) riding in the bed of one of my trucks (1:48 scale).  I just love how it looks like there is a nearly full squad riding in this truck.  When I set out to build these, I was not intending to build markers for my trucks as well.  This was another happy outcome.

I was so happy with how these turned out. I have already been planning on making more sets once I get more plastic models.  I am also currently working on making riders for a White Scout Car.  Some of the progress I have made on the scout car has been posted to the facebook page.  I have a few surprises for the scout car, as I really got into the potential modeling options.

There is so much you can do with plastic, what are some of the cool projects you have done?  Share with us on the forum.

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