Saturday, May 4, 2019

Roco flat car, Part 6: more about half-tracks

In this series of posts, I am discussing a variety of military loads for the Roco (sold in the U.S. by AHM) 100-ton flat car with 6-wheel trucks. I replaced that model’s original trucks, cleaned up the deck of the second-hand car I acquired, and applied new decal lettering (a post about all that is here: ). In the previous post about the Army’s M3 half-track, I showed prototype photos, including the loading arrangements used when these vehicles were shipped on flat cars (that post can be found at: ).
     I began work by painting the tires on the front wheels of the half-tracks black. I also painted all the seats in the rear of the vehicle brown, as they were leather. I also want to indicate a little dusty appearance, which I will add with an acrylic wash before a coat of flat finish.
     I also left off all the ordnance provided in the Herpa parts bag, machine guns, mortars, etc., as these would not have been mounted in the vehicles during shipping in peacetime. The vehicles can be assembled with front-bumper winches, which only some of the half-tracks received, and some of the models come with a representation of a tarp or canvas cover over the top. Photos do show that some vehicles in transit were fitted with tarps.
     Next I addressed the blocking used to restrain the half-tracks on flat cars. Here the prototype photos in the previous post (link provided at the end of the first paragraph of the present post) were essential in deciding how to do this. I simply used scale 3 x 4-inch and 4 x 4-inch stripwood and attached short pieces with canopy glue.

There is blocking in front and in back of both the front wheels, and the tracks in back.
     Choosing which and how much lettering for these vehicles is an interesting challenge. Photos from wartime almost always show the white U.S. star on the vehicle sides, though training photos do not always show a star. The SP prototype photos in the previous post show no stars. Earlier era photos generally reveal the serial number on the side of the hood, but in later years these are either too dirty to show up in photos, or have been omitted. I will leave one side of each vehicle entirely without lettering, and the other side with some lettering.
     Putting two of the half-tracks onto the Roco flat car, which is where this topic started, gives the result below. As I  said in the previous post about these loads (Part 5), the standard weight of an M3 half-track was only about 9 tons, so two of them certainly would not require a 100-ton flat car such as the USAX cars modeled by Roco. But those cars belonged to the Army and would have been handy in many cases to move military equipment.

     I am happy with these distinctive vehicles as loads, both for my Roco Army flat car and for even a 50-ton or 70-ton railroad flat car, given the modest weight of the half-tracks. Next I want to turn to some armor loads, because those will provide a real need for a 100-ton car.
Tony Thompson

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