Kicking & Screaming!

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!

2017_0303_13342000Had 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.

2017_0303_13373900Since 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.

2017_0303_13351600Overall, 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 . . .



  1. Thanks Colonel! Fuel drums under tarpaulin are part of the Frontline Wargames resin supply dump in 20mm (code 20M5). The lean-to was part of the Airfix Jungle Outpost kit, which comprised a bamboo hut on stilts, lean-to, vac-formed base and a couple of Japanese infantry with pack horses. Glad you like ’em!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah good old Airfix! I have seen some of the Airfix checkpoint kits on ebay and was tempted just out of nostalgia. I dont think you get the base with them anymore though. DO you know Ann? I think she may be spam.


  2. I actually own the original metal versions of the Ford trucks. Casting quality was pretty problematic, with bits refusing to go together. But by god, the new resin and mdf replacements that are featured on the Sgt’s Mess site look absolutely horrid! And to think that I actually need a few more! Not sure I’ll have the same wherewithal as yours to scratchbuild an entire lorry bed, you see.


    • I didn’t know there was a metal version but, based on what you’ve said, I’m glad I didn’t get that one! I think we’ve all had our share of models that are cast poorly, don’t go together etc. and it’s frustrating! I think I my first impression of the resin Ford really did throw me, but it came out OK in the end. I was concerned that the grainy finish would pick up too much paint when I drybrushed it with a highlight, but it was OK! I’ve now got a few 3-D prints from Shapeways in the grainy white nylon and they finish off OK without any sanding.
      I think on balance I’d buy more of the Fords if I needed them and couldn’t get them elsewhere. I’d probably build new cargo bodies, but only because I found that relatively easy. If I wanted a lot, I’d probably use the wooden ones, since at least they assemble OK.
      Appreciate your comment, particularly because of your own interests! I found this on Shapeways that I thought you might find interesting:

      According to my French Tanks 1914-40 nine of the Citroen P104 half-tracks without turrets were delivered to Indochina in 1939 so they’d be something different for Vichy forces to use!


      • Very timely of you, considering I was on the verge of manning up and ordering the Retrokit one (it’s not so much the price but the known fragility of the brand’s products that I was hesitating over).

        And yes, your source is absolutely correct on that count. Four of the beasts actually served in the Franco-Thai War in the Détachement Motorisé d’Annam — in fact, there’s even a picture of Pierre Boulle, famed author of The Bridge on the River Kwai, posing in front of one.


      • Good timing there then! In my experience the white natural versatile plastic is quite durable and takes paint well (although I prime in enamel and finish in acrylic)! Can you recommend any good accounts of the Franco-Thai War in english – I really would like to find out more about it!


      • Awfully sorry to have missed this! To answer your question, I’m afraid no such thing exists in the English language, at least not for another year or so as I still need to visit the French archives to complement the findings from Bangkok.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No problem, I appreciate the reply! I hope your research goes well! I’ve got a French magazine/book stashed away somewhere on the war, but my French only lets me pick bits and pieces out of it. Sounds like an English language account would fill a gap nicely!


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