M54A2 Gun Truck
By Gil Gonsoulin
When AFV Club announced they were going to release a five ton M54A2 gun truck, the first thing that came to mind was to make the gun truck version of it. Since they had also released an M113A1 ACAV, which I had already purchased, I thought this would be a perfect match. The plan was to mate the ACAV to the 5-ton. Little did I know how wrong that was going to be.
Starting with the M54A1 kit, things went downhill quickly. Most of the gun trucks didn’t have the winch on them. The bumper on the kit is made to attach to the winch, not directly to the truck’s frame. To make it fit you’ll have to do some sanding. The kit stated that the front wheels are steerable, however if you follow the instructions they won’t be. A lot of the locator pins are very small, so alignment can cause problems. Also there are some very small fragile parts with large sprue attachment points.
I modified the trucks exhaust stack with plastic tubing. The armored doors and windshield cover were made from plastic card stock. The PSP matting came from some old Belgo ones I bought many years ago. They are the best and interlock just like the real ones.
Now on to the M113A1 kit. This kit has been touted as being the best one out there – – well not the one I got. There were a lot of fit problems and some wrong parts locations. Also some parts that were not in the kit. The first real problem was the body itself. The side was bent in and would not straighten out. After trying many times I went to the parts box and found an old Academy Fitter kit and used that body tub. AFV’s top, front, and rear parts were a perfect fit. The AFV kit shows some parts on the inside of the engine cover, however there is no engine supplied in the kit. They also show the instrument panel in the wrong place. I could find no pictures of it where they have it. The kits 50 cal ammo box cradle is too far forward and blocks the fit of the gun shield.
I also used many of the Fitter interior parts to add details that were missing or molded onto the AFV kit. Many of the extra parts in the interior came from the parts box. The come-alongs were made with parts from Accurate Armour and RB turnbuckles. The ladder on the trucks rear was made from a Plastruct ladder and parts from the spare parts box.
Both the M54 and M113 were painted using Model Master Olive Drab. Weathered using Windsor Newton oil. The truck’s tires painted with Tamiya Rubber Black, Dirt color I model Master Acrylic dark tan. To sum it all up, this was a build from Hell.
Photos by Jeff Junker