Latest vehicle to be finished is a gun truck for my 1942 Dutch East Indies forces. A lot of my wargames stuff has either spent ages sitting in the dark unmade, or almost as long sitting assembled and primed and moving between my desktop and some-or-other box. But not this truck!
Had been thinking about what to move onto after getting a few of my WW2 infantry battalions finished and spent some time browsing for scenery items. Was looking at the Sergeants Mess website and came across a Ford cargo truck and thought that it looked ideal for converting to a Dutch gun truck!
When the model arrived, I wasn’t quite so sure about it though! The rear cargo body was a laser cut wood assembly – I didn’t need it, but it did fit together very well, although I think the wood is a bit thick to look in-scale! Enough wheels and axles were provided to make either a four-wheeled or six-wheeled version, although the cargo body, rear mudguards and mounting stubs on the chassis were designed for the six-wheeled version, but that was easy to sort. Wheels and axles were white metal and the one piece cab and chassis were resin, all clean with a good fit between parts. Now the bit that really threw me! All of these bits had an obviously grainy finish, so I think the masters for them had been 3-D printed. The grainy finish took me quite by surprise and my first reaction was “Uh oh”!
But I thought about it and then just got out some fine sandpaper and sanded all of the larger surfaces I could reach! This tidied it up quite nicely! Since I wanted a four-wheeled chassis I removed the axle locators and then assembled the chassis and wheels. I then added a platform from mounting board covered with steel paper. I made up a couple of bench seats/ammo lockers from card and put a layer of magnetic rubber on the bottom of these so they could sit in place on the platform – they’re a bit rough and ready and won’t pass close inspection, but they look the part! I made up a representative water-cooled 50-cal machine gun from spare bits from the Plastic Soldier Company M5 half-track and mounted that on a plastic disc with a magnetic rubber bottom layer.
Since I also wanted the option to use the truck as a cargo truck, I scratchbuilt a cargo body from mounting board, scribing in the planking and adding stiffeners from thin card. I also wanted some crew, but the best I could come up with were the grenadier and standing officer from the HaT WW2 Romanian infantry set (Romanian troops wore the Dutch steel helmet) but they look OK from a distance! The officer figure is firing the MG while the grenadier is meant to be pointing out the next target (although they look a bit like a fast bowler and umpire from a cricket match when stood on their own)! Trimmed their bases and put some magnetic rubber under them, although I’d rather have removed the bases completely but couldn’t work out how to keep them all in place.
Overall, I’m pleased with the result! Primed it in Unibond to reduce the “graininess” and then gave it a coat of bronze green, lined in the panels etc. in black and then drybrushed it in earth, with a final highlight in an earth/white mix. Was worried that the drybrushing would pick up the grain in those areas I couldn’t easily sand, but it looked OK. Tried painting the windscreen to show up cleanly-wiped areas on an otherwise dusty screen, but it looked lousy, so I just ended up painting the windows dark grey with some lighter highlights! It’s loosely based on pictures I’ve seen of Dutch gun trucks in both the Dutch East and West Indies, and I like it!
So, my first 3-D printer-based model, that I didn’t think I’d like, but now it’s finished I really do! I’ve finally been dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th Century! Think I’ve got that right . . .