How to do dynamic animation, of an imported 3D model?

Unity is great at playing animations generated by 3D modelling programs. There's plenty of information in the Reference manual about it, and tons of tutorials on how to import 3D models and run their animations.

However, all of those animations are pre-generated. When you use, say, Blender to create a 3D model, with a mesh attached to bones - you build an animation using Blender's IK system to move the bones around, and store it as part of the model. You can then import the model to Unity, and tell Unity to run the attached animation, fairly easily.

What about dynamically moving parts of that model? What if I didn't want to pre-render any animations at all? Instead, taking the imported model and moving around its bones, doing all the things that could be done in Blender - only in Unity scripts?

I'm sure there's a way - I'm just not yet sure what that way is :) So, my question is:

Having created a 3D model with (say) three things: a chain of two Bones; a Mesh (cylinder) skinned to those Bones; and two weighted Vertex Groups such that each Bone affects half of the cylinder Mesh,

How can I use that model in Unity? How can I manipulate the Bones programmatically, and have the Mesh follow along (as it would in Blender), using the Vertex Groups to deform the Mesh as needed? So if I rotated the top Bone by 90 degrees, the cylinder would bend into an L-shape, etc.

[Updated] I had actually tried the process described below, before seeing his answer, but it didn't work for me. Further experimentation revealed why - after importing the model, in the Inspector window, I set Animations to Don't Import. The correct answer was Store in Nodes. I presumed, since I didn't have any defined Animations, that I didn't need that. Apparently, Unity disagreed, and there's where vertex weights get imported. Wups...

You manipulate the bones the same way you manipulate any other transform in Unity, because that's all the bones are. I think I already answered this on the Unity forums. ;)

1) Create model and set up bones and vertex weights in Blender.

2) Import model into Unity.

3) Move/rotate/scale bones in Unity as desired.

Can you do the same thing with 3ds max instead of blender?

hey Is it possible to import a model with its animations and the just add input key actions