During the War the Soviet Union experimented with various types of body armor to help protect soldiers in combat. The SN-42 body armor was widely produced and supplied to tank riders and assault troops. SN stands for "Stalnoi Nagrudnik" or Steal Breast Plate. SN-42 body armor consisted of two pieces of steel plate which covered the wearer's chest and groin. SN-42 weighed about 8lbs and was 3mm thick, giving the solider wearing it protection from 9mm pistol ammunition fired from German submachine guns.
In Bolt Action Soviet Tank Riders and Assault Engineers can be given body armor for +5 points. Body armor gives your troops an extra layer of protection, making them one harder to kill. While it doesn't make points-sense to upgrade regulars with body armor, body armor is a reasonable option for veteran squads. I like to upgrade small five and six man veteran squads armed with SMGs with body armor. This helps maximize the effectiveness of your SMG-wielding veterans, while having a minimal impact on points.
There are not a lot of options on the market for 28mm Soviets with body armor. I don't particularly care for the ones I have seen, although other people seem to like them. I have been running my troops with body armor without having models that are actually wearing body armor. While my friends don't seem to care that I have been doing this, I feel dirty not having troops with body armor and would never run models without armor in a tournament. This motivated me to try to create my own body armor. Additionally Soviet troops in body armor look cool. (Best. Reason. Ever. - Judson)
I found it is really easy to make body armor. I found a picture of SN-42 body armor on the internet, resized the photo so it fit to the chest of the 28mm Plastic Soviets from Warlord Games, and used the photo as a stencil to trace an outline on card stock. After outlining the body armor on the card stock several times, I cut the armor out and glued it to the chest of my figures.
Before gluing the body armor to the figures, check to make sure it fits right. I had to make small trims to each piece of armor so that it fit the specific figure properly. Once the armor fits, glue the armor to the figure's chest, but do this before you glue the arms to the figure. Otherwise it is a pain to get the armor into place. After you've finished building the figures, prime and paint the squad. The armor should be painted the same color as the soldier's helmet.
Now I will admit that armor made out of card stock is not the prettiest way to make armor. The card looks a little flat and had rough edges, but it works and is easier and cleaner than getting out the modeling putty. The armor is quick to make and in the end is table-worthy. It also gives you some cool looking troops in body armor.
If you have ever tried to make your own body armor for troops or have other ideas, please share with the rest of us on the forum.