1/76 JB M113A1 APC
As a young digger in the 80s, I had a great amount of affection for
the M113A1 Armoured Personnel Carrier (a second class ride is better
than a first class walk) and for the Vietnam Veterans who taught me
my trade. The Long Tan Anniversary last month prompted me to
try a model of the Troop Commander's M113 from the battle.
First of all, a bit of research was required. I was able to
find a single photo in Lex McAuley's book, and Shane Lovell tracked
down a stack of information on the 2 and 3 troop APCs that took part. Photos
on the Australian War Memorial database helped with lots of other details.
Space considerations and boyhood habits lead me to build in 1/72 and
1/72. With a Centurion and M113 FSV already in 1/76, I decided
to stick with this, which led me to the rather simple JB kit rather than
the better detailed Esci/Italeri M113.
Additions and modifications included:
- Replacing the moulded antenna guards with a Roco set
- Replacing the moulded tools with items from spares
- Adding the towing pintle, fuel filler and jerrican holders
- Replacing the headlamps with a set moulded by Haydn Neal
- Modifying the ACAV gun shield with sides
- Adding an M2 .50cal machine gun from the Airfix Sheridan with an Academy
ammuntion can (also provided by Haydn)
- Adding ammunition stowage and the rear hatch vent
- Drilling out the side skirt mounts and exhaust
I couldn't see battery slave cables on the one photo I had, and these
also seemed to be missing from other M113s of the same era.
For the Australian Olive Drab finish, I used Testor's OD liberally lightened
with Humbrol Buff. I ran a thin (maybe not thin enough) wash of
dark earth mixed with red over the suspension, tracks and hull sides. The
ARN was made up from sliced up Matchbox decals.
For those of you allowed to build in 1/35, you'll find the Academy kit
is a good start for a similar model. Firestorm and Mouse House
have good resin sets that will provide all the needed modifications and
My next Vietnam bucket will be a later war version with the T50 turret,
and towing an M2A2 howitzer. As I seem to be managing just one
or two bits of armour a year, that may take a while!