Saturday, 7 May 2016



Not all vehicle kits, come with vehicle commanders, and often you need to fork out more 
money to purchase dedicated sculptures of tank crew.
If your like me you may have a collection of spare body parts, left overs from the Infantry assembly line,not knowing what to do with them.

Recycling British Infantry heads and arms.
With the help of some Green Stuff and a bit of patients ,you can Recycle them and sculpture a beret,headset, goggles and even a partial torso to transform you humble infantryman into skilled tank commander. 

Add-ons to plastic head complete.
Torso modeled with the addition of plastic hand holding mic.
 Back view of figure and fitted into the commanders hatch.
Another tank commander in the making.

How to make a Tank Commander.
  • mount the head on a metal shaft ( I have used both pins and old thin drill bits, the drill bits are better)
  • mix small amount of Green Stuff
  • roll out a variaty of thinly sausage shaped pieces of  Green Stuff
  • use a sculpturing instrument to cut and mould
  • Break down the tasks into section:
    •  Beret (wrap a piece of Green Stuff around the head and then with the use of a instrument push and flatten into shape)
    •  Headset band going over the Beret (start from one side near the ear and place the G S over the Beret, cut excess off and using the flat side of the instrument blade lightly push down to square off the GS)
    • larger Headset circular shape(cut off a small section of GS roll into a ball and place over the ear and using the flat side of the instrument blade lightly push down to square off )
    • smaller Headset circular shape on the large one.(cut off a much small section of GS roll into a ball and place over the the larger ear piece and using the flat side of the instrument blade lightly push down to square off )
    • wires leading from the Headset .(cut off a small section and roll it out into very thin sausage shape and attach to  headset )
    • throat:(wrap a piece of GS around the throat area and then wrap a large piece of GS for the upper body and use of a instrument push into shape)

  1. Hint:  to stop the Green Stuff sticking onto the carving instrument, dampen it in water.
  2. Be patient.  


I recently stumbled onto this Stringing for Beads and Pearls at my local Arts and Craft store, its great in mimicking steel cables. 
I find the beading string much easier to  manipulated than the metal ones sold in hobby stores.Secure the  beading string with super glue in desired position before priming.
It is also possible to tie circular knots at the ends for more realism.
Cheap fake/toy jewelry chain are good for replicating chains on vehicles.


I use black Nylon thread purchased at a Haberdashery store to simulate aerials  on vehicles (use a hobby hand drill to create a thin hole,place superglue into hole and fit Nylon thread, cut to size. 
The Nylon thread that can be purchased at:

I use 2 methods for applying Grit and Dirt:
Method 1:
 Place PVA and course PUMICE on a mixing slab
Mix the two together with a metal instrument
Apply to selected surfaces on the model prior to undercoating with a old brush.

Method 2:
Apply some PVA onto a slab
Using a old brush apply the PVA glue onto the surface of the vehicle.
Using your fingers sprinkle pumice onto the vehicle covering the areas were the glue was applied.
Shake off the excess and allow to dry.
Imagine showing a completed vehicle using this method.


  1. Incredible work John. Your sculpting is particularly impressive.

    For antennas I've used a bristle "borrowed" from a cheap plastic brush (don't tell the missus). Tbh I don't bother most of the time because it makes the vehicles harder to store and transport.

    1. Thank you Andy, yes I too,am constantly looking into my wife's stuff to see if there is anything I can use for my wargaming.

  2. Great ideas and skill John.
    Do you let the GS dry between each stage and how long did it take to do a tank commander.
    Will give it a try.
    Thanks for sharing,

    1. Thank you Pat,
      I first sculpt the head portion and let it set before tackling the neck and torso (the mic on the hand, I will usually add when the torso it set).
      It takes me ruffly about 10 - 15 mins to complete a portion whether its the head or torso by the time you mix the GS, roll it out and start modelling .
      hope this helps

  3. Superb sculpting and some brilliant tips and ideas!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment E-4 Airman.

  5. I'll certainly be attempting some of these methods on my own tank. Thanks loads for showing us how you get these effects.

  6. Good to hear and ues its good to share info with each other.