Andy Singleton investigates how to go about converting the crew of the Hanomag into more dynamic poses!
As a reenactor for many years, one of my favourite memories is riding in the back of an Sdkfz 251, and since the distant time of getting into Bolt Action, at the back of my mind I’ve wanted to put some passengers in a 251 for a while now. Whilst the kit does come with 4 seated passengers, I wanted mine to be standing and a little more alert, as if they are out on patrol or moving to contact.
Whilst the idea had been brewing for a while, it wasn’t until my mate Warlorder Rich C posed the challenge of using a grenadier sprue to populate one that I really started to think about how to do this. First things first, I needed a ride, so I built the 251 Ausf D, and used some extra bits from the German stowage pack, as well as a little foliage. For those interested, I explain how I do my foliage in the captured M8 Greyhound article.
With the vehicle done, it was time to think about passengers. I knew that I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, so ruled out any extensive chopping and changing to figures, however, as the figures are mostly in running and fighting positions, and the arms are generally one piece too, it took some time dry fitting and balancing models around to see what worked and what didn’t, and from this I learned a few things about each body.
This body and legs set up worked really well at the rear right of the fighting compartment, as he can be posed leaning back, with his left leg on the hull, right foot on the bench, and the grenade carrying arm resting on the side of the hull (I did cut the grenade off though) For his left arm, I thought the map holding hand would give a nice narrative to the overall appearance of the crewman.
This was the hardest figure to place initially, as both the Zeltbahn and pose both made positioning require a little creative thinking, however, I noticed that the bend on his leg allowed me to place his straightened foot on the hull floor, whilst his left knee was perched on the bench. Initially I was going to have him aiming his rifle, however I wanted more of a ready than full on fighting pose so had him leaning against the side covering the left of the halftrack instead.
Figure C is almost a mirror of Figure A, and the does everything Figure A does, but for the left rear of the halftrack, so I gave him a pose with an MP 40 slung around his neck and a pair of binoculars, and angled the head so that he appears to be conversing with figure A. These two are probably my favourite pair of the passengers.
To allow a little more space in the vehicle, I angled the machine gun upwards, with this having he added benefit of allowing me to use the kneeling figure as a loading gunner. His left arm had part of an ammunition belt added, whilst the right I posed that when he was in position he would be just about to flip open the guns breech cover and fit a new belt.
As another figure wearing a Zeltbahn, at first figure E seemed a little tricky to place. However, it turns out he fitted well standing on one of the benches, and with a rifle at a low port he slotted neatly into place.
This body worked very well and very easily in a few configurations, he perches nicely on either side of the hull, sitting on the top of the vehicles side wall, or he can stand on the bench too. I ended up simply giving him an MP44 and posing him sitting up front and covering the vehicles front whilst the gunner loads the main weapon.
I did toy with adding field gear to the figures, but left it off for now as I thought it might make fitting the figures tricky, however I may come back and add these later. For only the lightest and simplest of conversion work, fitting these figures has really added a ton of character to the halftrack, and something I can see myself doing a lot more of in the future…
The enemy are at our gates!