Constructing and Undercoating the Bolt Action Home Guard Mark IV Tank

I have a 15mm Home Guard Mark IV Male, but as I am in the process of building a Bolt Action 28mm Home Guard force, I did want to add some armour to them with a Mark IV Male World War One tank put into service, even if it was merely as a mobile pillbox.

I mentioned this idea in an article I wrote on a French themed Operation Sealion, Otaire de Vigneur.

To add a bit of diversity to my games, I also have one of Minifigs’ World War One British tanks, for use by a Home Guard unit (stolen from a local museum no doubt).

Now when I wrote that article and bought the miniature it was only an assumption and what I thought would be a nice idea, and probably had no basis in truth….

Well just shows a little historical research never hurt anyone, as the Bovington Tank Museum has on display a Mark IV Male tank that was used just in this way. It was used in World War One and then presented to the Navy. When war broke out in September 1939, the Tank Mark IV (Male) number 2324 was refurbished for Home Guard duties; according to the Bovington Tank Museum website.

Our exhibit, a male tank, was presented to the Royal Navy’s Gunnery School, HMS Excellent after the war to commemorate their help training Tank Corps gunners and it was temporarily refurbished for Home Guard duties in 1940. (Believed to have been achieved by removed parts from another tank possibly on Southsea Common.)

This photograph is from HMS Excellent in 1940.

Mark IV at HMS Excellent
Mark IV at HMS Excellent

One thing clear from this photograph is the disruptive camouflage they have used on the tank.

So though I thought my idea was probably if Operation Sealion had happened, I didn’t think and didn’t realise that it had in fact happened despite the fact that the Germans hadn’t invaded.

So as I also have the Royal Navy Section this gives me an excuse to use this model.

Having started looking at the model again after washing the resin and cleaning the castings, I started construction.

The tracks fitted really easily to the hull of the tank.

The sponson were simple to fit with the metal castings of the main weapons.

I added the exhaust, but decided against adding the “unditching beam” rails that are included with the kit.

Mark IVs were also the first tanks fitted with “unditching beams” by field workshops. A large wooden beam, reinforced with sheet metal, was stored across the top of the tank on a set of parallel rails. If the tank became stuck, the beam was attached to the tracks (often under fire) and then the tracks would drag it beneath the vehicle, providing grip.

The period photographs of the Home Guard Mark IV show the tank without these rails.

The next stage was to give the model a white undercoat.

Then it is on to the basecoat, where I did have some problems…

One thought on “Constructing and Undercoating the Bolt Action Home Guard Mark IV Tank”

Leave a Reply