Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gruntz Transports from Matchbox Trucks

Well, it's been a bit since I was able to post. Real-life family issues have kept me occupied, but hopefully things have settled down now enough for me to get some more hobby and modelling projects finished.

Last week I was able to finish up a couple more GZG Colonial Legionnaire squads for 15mm science fiction gaming, particularly Gruntz.

Painting up the squads was pretty straightforward, I used the same color scheme I used for the earlier troops. The only difference is these guys had helmets. I must say I prefer the legionnaires with the kepis, and will be getting more of those to flesh out my units.

In my eternal search for cheap gaming models, I came across a Matchbox truck that looked promising. It's their version on an International CXT, which is apparently the largest pick up truck in the world.
It looked to be about the right size, and at 98 cents it was worth taking a chance.  Once I got it home I checked it with some 15mm GZG UNSC Marines.

It looked okay, but I wanted to check the actual dimensions. I measured it and compare it with the real truck. The Matchbox is a little oversized, but well within what I'd consider reasonable tolerances.

International CXT Actual and Scale Dimensions

Actual1/100 ScaleMatchbox Model
Length21.5 feet (6.6 m) 2.58 in2.8125 in
Width101 inches (2.6 m) 1.01 in1.125 in
Height9 feet (2.7 m) 1.08 in1.1875 in.

The next day I picked up a few more, and began the conversion process. I began by disassembling the truck into its component parts. This required drilling away the rivets that hold it together, but was pretty straightforward.

I wanted to enclose the truck bed. The model comes with a covered bed, so rather than cut through the metal, I just added another surface and some side panels from styrene. Yes, technically not realistic, but otherwise it would mean a lot more cutting and filing than I wanted to deal with. It's a compromise, but one I can live with.
I made two open-bed trucks, and a third with supports that can hold a canvas canopy.
One other change I made was to cut the window out of the back of the plastic insert that represents the glass. On the left is an unmodified window insert, and the truck on the right has the rear window section removed.
The reason why I did this, is that without the rear window, I can fit two troops on penny bases in the bed of the truck.
Here you can see one of the converted and primed trucks, beside an unmodified one.
I spray painted a sand basecoat on the trucks, then added some rust, a little brownish wash, and a light drybrush. I also masked off where the wipers would clean the windscreen, and then dirtied up the glass. Also, I added a drop of glue to the wheels to lock them. Otherwise, when placing the trucks on a slope or incline, they'd roll right off!

The end result, sitting beside the regular, unmodified truck:
Here is my current fleet of three. The only thing I may still do is add a canvas cover to the truck with the cover frame.
And finally the transports with their accompanying squads:
I must say, I really enjoyed making these. First, the price was certainly about as good as it could get. $3 for the fleet. And I really do like the look of them, if I do say so myself. They are generic enough that they could almost pass for anything from a vintage truck, to a modern truck, to a near future sci-fi or post apocalyptic setting. I have one unmodified truck left, and I am not sure whether to convert it into a vehicle for a post-apocalyptic warband, or maybe a command truck for my Gruntz force. When I decide, I will certainly post it here.

'Til next time.
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