Tuesday 30 August 2022

Bail Out! 20mm AB crews abandoning tanks

AB Figures do a lovely set of a German tank crew abandoning their vehicle. 

This was not a set I would ever have considered for using in games until I began writing AARs. It goes without saying that miniature gaming is very visual and there were often events in our games that needed representing in miniature. Losing a tank or taking casualties in an important infantry team are often key moments and yet I struggled to find a suitable way to represent these for the photographs. The solution, if you could call it that, was to take a picture of the void where the figures once were. I'm sure you'll agree that's less than ideal. The simple solution was to replace them with suitable figures. 

The following two pictures illustrate my point. Here a squad leader is directing a Volksgrenadier MG34 team in an exposed position as they mount an attack during one of our campaign games set in the Ardennes. 

Losing the team was an influential moment in the game and being able to illustrate that with appropriate figures was always going to be much better than photographing the squad leader next to the empty space where the team had once been.

I thought I could do something in a similar vein when a tank was put out of action but the crew survived and bailed out. The AB German crew were the perfect solution.

I wanted to do the same with AB's British crew. As that set includes a number of figures escaping out of hatches I decided that using small magnets would give me the flexibility to swap out figures as needed. A small magnet is set inside the hatch and each figure has a magnet drilled into the bottom. These hold the figures securely but makes it very straightforward to interchange them as you need.

I particularly like these two figures below. I think they tell a great story as they climb from the hatch of this Churchill from the Plastic Soldier Company.

With the magnets in place it's possible to use the figures in most British tanks, like this Sherman M4A4, also from the Plastic Soldier Company.

Alternatively you can choose something more dramatic like this figure about to jump from the turret.

The AB set contains quite a few options, all of which are beautifully animated and tell their own story.

Like the German set there are also figures representing the crew after they've bailed out. These can work well with those exiting the hatches for something more cinematic.

All in all a great set of figures that should do a splendid job of illustrating our games.


  1. Wonderful stuff Mark, this kind of thing really lifts a game to a new level.

    1. Thanks Phil, they certainly help to tell a story.

  2. Nicely done, and beautiful paintwork!

  3. Fab as ever - I have a long way to go before I get into fleeing tank crews. What's the next campaign in the offing?

    1. Thanks Rob. Not sure, Dave has a bunch of other stuff he wants to play/try before we embark on a new campaign, so I need to humour him first before I can get him focussed on what's next!