Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Alternate vehicles for the Micro-Trains DODX flat cars

In the previous post I mentioned that I had purchased two sets of the Micro-Trains DODX heavy duty flat cars.  This is the second of what will be a series of posts related to my project to build up a military equipment train and vehicles to use as loads appropriate for my mid 1970's to late 1980's eras.   The US Army has a large maintenance depot near Susanville, California that has been there since 1942 and is rail served.  This depot is west of my modeled area on the WP/UP line.  It is reasonable to think that movements to and from the east would pass through my modeled area.

Again referring videos I have watched of these types of trains, it is noticed that there are other types of vehicles besides the ones offered in the Micro-Trains kits.   I discovered a great source for some of them at the on line hobby shop PnP Trains.  They offer a line of 3D printed N Scale military vehicle kits of great quality and reasonable prices when compared to other 3D printed vehicle kits I have purchased.

One of my favorites is this model of the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle or IFV.   Thousands of these were built and have been in service since 1981 so could fit into any of my three layout eras.

The HEMTT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck) family of vehicles has been around since the early 1980's so it also fits well into 2 of my 3 modeled eras.  This version, the M977 is the only version offered by PnP Trains. Hopefully they will do some other versions in the near future.  I would really like to get a couple of the M978 tanker version.

The M106 Mortar Carrier is based on the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier which has been in service from since the early 1960's so could also fit into any of my 3 eras. 

PnP trains also has a 3D printed HUMVEE that I did not get as I already have the Micro-Trains version but I did get this HUMVEE ambulance.  I still need to put the red crosses on it.

PnP Trains has several other military vehicles besides these.  Some are too modern for my era but others do fit in and I'll be ordering those to add to the fleet.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Kit bash of a Micro-Trains HUMVEE

Recently I purchased two of the Micro-Trains heavy duty DODX flat car sets.  Each set had 3 flat cars and a number of military vehicles.  Between the two sets I got a pair of M1 Abrams tanks, a pair of M270 rocket launchers, and 9 HUMVEEs.

The Micro-Trains HUMVEE is a nice model of the 4 door sloped back version but there are several versions of this vehicle as shown in the photo below which is a screen shot from a YouTube video.  I wanted a variety of HUMVEEs for my military equipment train so set out to modify a few of them.

Because the model is injection molded it is durable and will tolerate quite a bit of modification.  The basic parts are the body, the chassis, and a clear window insert.  This is how I made a 2 door pickup version similar to the one in the far right of the above photo.  On the body he upper part of everything behind the front doors was removed to create an open truck bed.  A solid panel was installed on the back of the shortened cab and the turret hatch on the roof was sanded smooth.  Benches and side boards were added along both sides of the bed.   On the chassis a raised platform was installed to fit inside the bed.  The clear plastic insert was cut to fit inside the smaller cab.

This is what the almost finished vehicle looks like after painting and weathering.  I did not add all of the details as I felt they were going to be too delicate for handling.  I did add the front screen, the snorkel, and the spare tire.  And I still do plan to add some mud flaps.

And here is another photo showing one that I assembled, painted, and weathered without any modification.  I am planning several more versions of the HUMVEE as I build up my military equipment train and some of those will be subjects of future posts.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Finishing the annual Trainboard layout party

Since the middle of December I have been involved with the annual trainboard.com layout party.  Last Sunday was the end of this years event.   This is a thread on the board that last for about 10 weeks during the winter where participants declare a particular project on their layouts and then post regular updates on the progress.  I have been participating in the event for the past several years and each time have expanded the layout.   This year I had just started the Palisade Ranch expansion when the party started with the intended goal to have the expansion mostly completed and the main line open for operation.  I was able to accomplish what I set out to do and perhaps a bit more.   This is what the Palisade Ranch area looked like when I started.

And this is what it looks like now. Still quite a bit of scenery to work on but the basic construction is done and trains are running. The lower photo shows where the tracks exit the tunnels on the other side of the hill and cross the doorway lift bridge.