Home Guard Mark IV Male

Home Guard Mark IV Male Tank

I got this Warlord Games Bolt Action Mark IV (male) British WWI tank model for Christmas.

Bolt Action Mark IV Male Tanks

It consists of mainly resin parts with some metal components.

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.

Another view of the Mark IV at speed.

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.

So onto building the model.

The first step will be to give the resin parts a wash in soapy water and clean up the metal components. The parts were quite easy to clean and they fit together quite nicely and easily. Here are the resin pieces.

They comprise the hull, the two track units and two sponsons.

Here are the metal castings.

As well as the fascine rails, you also have metal main weapons and secondary weapons, exhausts and other hull fittings.

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…

Back in the day I bought a can of Team Yankee Chieftain Green which I used to spray my 15mm Team Yankee Scimitars. I also used it to spray one of my Forge World Warhammer 40K Grot Tanks as well. I decided I would base coat my Mark IV with it.

However going to the cupboard I saw that it had leaked some yellow sticky stuff, which I am thinking might be the propellant. However despite that I decided I would paint the tank with the spray. However after going for it, I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to finish the tank, as the propellant ran out.

They now looked like this.

I did look at possible alternatives, attempting to find a new paint which matched the colour of Team Yankee Chieftain Green. There are various conversion charts available online and it was clear from a couple that Vallejo Model Color 894 Russian Uniform was a match.

My local FLGS however doesn’t sell Vallejo paints, it stocks Citadel and The Army Painter range. Finding a match with those was more challenging. In the end I decided I really didn’t need to worry. The Home Guard Mark IV (male) World War One Tank could probably be any shade of (army) green. So I bought a can of Army Green Spray from he Army Painter range. Back home I gave the Mark IV a base coat and I am quite pleased with the final shade.

Looking at the original photograph it was apparent that the Mark IV had a camouflage pattern that looked like the kind that was applied to early war British tanks.

I masked the Mark IV with blu-tak and duct tape.

I then used a Humbrol Tank Grey 67 spray for the dark colour.

I did the model in stages, mainly as I didn’t have enough blu-tak to do the model in one go.

I tried to copy the camouflage pattern as shown in the 1940 photograph.

This is the same view but with more spraying done.

The rear view. I am pleased with the way this turned out.

This is another view. the blu-tak did remove some of the base coat paint, so I will need to do some retouching up.

For the tracks I used Citadel Gorthor Brown.

The blu-tak I used for the masking took a bit of the paint off.


I then gave the model a wash using Citadel Seraphim Sepia Shade.

I did one side at a time to try and stop the shade pooling too much.

I am aiming to use some more shades across various parts of the model.

Here is the Mark IV in my desert terrain.

Home Guard Mark IV Male Tank

It isn’t quite finished I want to do some more weathering, as well as apply some markings. However, I am quite pleased with how it looks now.

Home Guard Mark IV Male Tank