Armored M151A1, Vietnam 1968

Kit #: PS720151 Review by F. Giovagnorio

Historic background

The Ford MUTT M151s used in Vietnam for convoy escort and reconnaissance were ideal targets, quite apart from their fragility against mines. Thus, crews started very early to add protection in the form of extra steel plates, which eventually lead to the distribution of two "official" kits from the US Army, consisting of steel plates covering the whole compartment, with one door per side; rectangular holes in each door had metal frames designed to hold bulletproof glass or simply steel plates with slits. There was a movable plate with rectangular holes covering the windshield and an additional plate covering the underside as a sort of protection against mines. Armored MUTTs in Vietnam were mostly M151A1. They were armed with single or twin M60s. There were a few that had the old .30 Cal MG on them.

Building and converting the M151A1

The S-Model MUTT M151A1 contains 38 parts only, so it is not difficult to build. Doing the heavy scratchbuilding required to mend the structural errors of the kit (wrong undercarriage, anterior steering system, rear suspensions, steering wheel, thread pattern on tyres) was far beyond the amount of time I could dedicate to this project. However, I decided to scratchbuilt the transmission shift lever, the 4-wheel drive lever and the parking brake lever, without using the flat PE ones. The headlights were also drilled and the holes filled with PV glue, to give some impression of lenses.

Plates were drawn on paper, then cut from an unused x-ray film (I have plenty of them...).

Other details, like door handles, hinges and metal frames on windows for bulletproof glass, were made from stretched sprue. Finally, the frontal plate covering the windshield was built and added to the model.

Most vehicles had sandbags on the rear floor as an extra protection against mines, and those were added too. The main radio with the external antenna was glued on the back seat. Glass was not added in most windows because apparently it was rather hard to find, hence it was left out.

Convoy escort vehicles were usually painted in a blackish olive drab, with "pop" writings painted on the lateral sides (there are photos of "Wolfman", "Duce's baby son", "California dreamer"). LifeColor Vietnam Earth was helpful to give the typical reddish look of dust usually found on vehicles fighting in Vietnam.

The driver is converted from Hat WW2 American Tank Riders, while the machine gunner comes from Pegasus U.S.M.C. in Vietnam.

Preview sample purchased by the author.

This model can be purchased from Tracks & Troops

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Article Last Updated: 30 January 2017

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