The robber, rather than being a passive block on resource production, instead becomes a sneaky mercenary, diverting the resources to its dastardly master (the person who rolled the 7 or played the Soldier).
Whenever the hex's number comes up, the current master of the robber can take the resources into their own hand instead, but must first pay the robber with cards from their hand at a one-for-one ratio.
I'd suggest that the cards should have to be different resources to those being snatched, mainly because that means that the Robber Master can't just keep the robber in place in perpetuity by swapping like for like.
If the master of the robber cannot (or chooses not to) pay the robber in full, it quits in a huff and goes back to the desert.
The only additional equipment required for this variant would be a "Robber Master" token, just so that people don't forget who's benefiting from the little bastard. To which end, I have made this new card to fit in with the "Longest Road" and "Largest Army" cards. (PDF available here).
There was another which is not so much a robber-variant as a robber-replacement:
When you roll a 7 or play a Soldier, you can swap two hex numbers. I'd modify it slightly so that if there are any unexposed numbers, they have to go first — then, when all the number tokens are exposed, you can swap them freely.
In this instance, although people with more than 7 cards would still have to discard down to half, nobody gets to steal anybody else's cards. Just screw with their resource production.
I bought this kit a couple of years ago, but never got around to building it. After doing the 1:72 Bolton-Paul Defiant, I got all enthused and dug it out.
Alas, the experience was not nearly as pleasant as with the smaller-scale kit. The 1:48 Hurricane is not a bad kit by any means, but the Defiant's tooling is so good that it made me forget what normal plastic kits are like. This one has some strange peculiarities, not least in the undercarriage, which a more anal-retentive modeller than I would almost certainly rebuild from scratch. The decals are also nowhere near as good as those on the Defiant; they cracked and silvered all over the place.
Anyway, it's done now, and all I have to do is find somewhere for it to sit where it won't get busted.
Oh, and I see that I've forgotten to paint the red gun-muzzle patches. Maybe later.
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