I made an M5 halftrack a while ago, but I’ve always disliked that it had no passengers in the back. After a bit of a fruitless search I’ve decided I just need to make my own
The truth is that nobody really does a good set of 28mm British-uniform troops for the back of the half track.
There are plenty of figures designed to fit into Universal Carriers (fair enough) and you can get oddball stuff like seated Paras riding in jeeps and LRDG. The driver for this vehicle is a perfectly nice little Warlord sculpt I included when I made the halftrack. I love that he’s got a fag hanging out of his mouth! But about the only place I could find any generic seated British infantry was Victory Force Miniatures, and the postage on those made it a bit of a non-starter.
Now, some intrepid folks have converted normal running-around-type plastics into seated figures using gads of green stuff and patience, but I don’t thinking my sculpting and converting abilities are quite at that level, so I was a bit stumped.
Warlord to the rescue then, when they announced one of their sprue sales recently inspiration struck. Since the Germans always have everything you could ever possibly want I bought a sprue of plastic German passengers and a single sprue of the old-style Warlord British infantry. The plan was to hit them with a hammer until they sort of fit together.
The German passenger sprue gives you ten sets of sitting legs to match up to two single-piece sets of German uniform torsos. Now, a pair of legs in trousers and boots is pretty much a pair of legs in trousers and boots, so the German ones will do fine for battle dress if you ask me. There are a couple of things to watch out for:
- Some of the German legs actually have hands resting on them. But about half are just plain legs and you can easily use those
Yes, in true late war German style the troops have smocks on which extend down onto the tops of their legs. But it’s actually pretty easy to cut and file away the smocky parts and you’re left with something that could conceivably be battle dress trousers.
Maybe I should have bought a second sprue of Brits, as the one I did only had five torsos. Strictly speaking four of the five are actually whole bodies with legs, but my razor saw pretty quickly turned those into legless torsos (don’t let the CSM know the boys are legless on duty…)
So with British torsos stuck to de-Germanised German legs it’s just a matter of fiddling around finding arms that sort of suit and gluing them on. The hardest part is getting it looking like they’re holding their rifles naturally while sitting. Many of the hands are wrong, but you can hide them or simply snip off any fingers that are poking out awkwardly. No one will ever know! I did all the bodies and arms first, making sure they all fit together in the back of the vehicle then once the glue had dried a bit I went back and positioned all the heads. I’m actually quite happy with how this approach came out, they look reasonably natural.
They stick up a little bit high if I’m honest and you’d only fit at the most about six bodies in the back of this Warlord resin M5 (I can hear the 1/48 people scoffing from here…) but it’s representative rather than 100% accurate. It certainly looks a million times better than it did with no passengers.
Once painted I stuck all the feet of the miniatures to a small strip of plasticard so that they all lifted out as a single piece. So when the boys debus I can take the passenger figures out. That’s not an essential detail, you could just glue them in, but it’s fun to have them removable. Also, after posting a WIP pic on the Twitter, I was informed by The Internet that I needed a bloke drinking tea. I thought this was a very good shout, so in he goes!