I chose to base my miniature transporter / launcher 4x4 truck around the AP Bayardi M151A1 Conversion kit of Tamiya's venerable M151A2 MUTT. In the end, I suppose it would be more accurate to say that I converted the AP Bayardi Conversion - rather than converted the Tamiya MUTT. Tamiya's M151 MUTT is good, but weak on some finer points and details of the real truck. Much more would be called for to equal the work of modeling a Davy Crockett weapons system to adorn this model miniature.
AP Bayardi's resin conversion backdates Tamiya's M151A2 MUTT to M151A1 configuration in most of the externally obvious areas. For the sticklers, the AP Bayardi conversion does not backdate the M151A1's suspension or any other underside details. It doesn't give the modeler correctly rendered seats to replace the painfully over-simplified Tamiya offerings nor a Steering Wheel appropriate for the M151 or M151A1. And lastly, it doesn't provide you with a set of the four-slotted Magnesium wheels, characteristic of the earlier M151 and M151A1 MUTTs. However this being said - I think it's a great deal - and have purchased several for future projects.
Eduard #35056 Detail Set for the Tamiya M151A2 MUTT came in handy here for some details as well.
I didn't set out to follow any particular order of construction here with this miniature. I divided it up into three subassemblies; the M151A1D MUTT itself, the M28 120mm Recoilless Launcher, and the Support Equipment, Gear, and M388 Davy Crockett Projectile itself. I began building this miniature on November 13th, 1998. Other commissions took precedence over this project, as well as efforts to track down references. I kept detailed notes so that I could come back to it and pick up where I left off.
The underside shown above during construction. I did add scratchbuilt basic bottoms for the Fuel Tank and Battery Box that are missing from the Tamiya M151A2 MUTT - and AP Bayardi Conversion - but nothing else for this area. It isn't readily visible in the completed miniature. Sprucing it up wouldn't have paid large returns in the end. The actual M151 and M151A1 has different suspension components than shown here in reality.
(Note: I used two AP Bayardi conversions here, as the M151A1D has four reflectors on the rear quarters of the truck. The AP Bayardi conversion only provides two.) Cream colored parts are A.P. Bayardi replacement parts for the Tamiya model kit. The tan parts are Tamiya's. Academy's Spare Tire mount is added here for good measure and the mounting nub sanded off the A.P. Bayardi rear panel. Portions of Eduard's Detail Set for the Tamiya M151A2 MUTT are used here as well for smaller details. The recently released Legend Productions or Academy M151A1 MUTT can be substituted here in place of the AP Bayardi Conversion if you prefer, with both having the same number of highpoints and omissions as this example.)
The Steering Wheel from the Tamiya MUTT is not correct for the M151A1. Here, I used one from a Skybow M38A1 Jeep kit - as it appears more like to actual part. I extended the Steering Column with .040" styrene rod so that it reached the floorboard. The Indicator Lever is made from styrene strip and embroidery thread wiring. With more styrene strip I added basic detail to simulate the Heater Switch, Choke Control, and Manual Throttle on the Dash Panel. At either side of the Dash Panel are Grandt Line EyeBolts - for the Door Straps to come later in assembly. I added the Floor Dimmer Switch to the kickpanel and a Starter Switch.
Okay, I said building the Davy Crockett in miniature wasn't difficult - I didn't say anything about cheap! Just as I stopped counting after $100 dollars, so did I cut off the AMS tempting things, like dropping an engine into the MUTT. That's going a bit over the top and the miniature probably would have never gotten finished - and it wouldn't look natural in a typical model display setting. Sometimes there is such a thing as going too far. I did sand away the radiator detail molded into AP Bayardi's Grill part, so that I could use Eduard's brass Radiator Grill piece. I just backed this with a bit of sheet styrene, and painted it appropriately to give the Grill area a hint of depth without going completely overboard.
A nice shot of the M421 Drill Round in the Porta Pack. A training round to simulate the live M388, notice the arming/setting mechanism on the rear of the projectile. Resembling a safe's tumbler, this was a feature I did not model, since I mounted my miniature part on a brass tube Spigot for mounting in the M28 120mm Launcher tube. Seen below are the working models of the Launcher, Spigot, and M388 Davy Crockett Projectile itself with a lucky penny - it ain't big!
For the miniature Davy Crockett, I based the projectile on a True Details' #48503 1:48 scale US GP Bomb. The solid resin bomb casing (without the Fin Assembly - which is separate) measures out to the appropriate length for the M388 Projectile in 1:35 scale - after some light sanding and reshaping of course. I removed the fuse and mounting points, and deepened the taper with sanding sticks. The base of the bomb fit my brass Spigot and 120mm Launcher Barrel perfectly as cast. The four stubby Fins are scrap styrene sheet, trimmed to shape. For a local retail of $2.98 for a packet of two of these resin bombs - it was by far the best investment in completing this miniature all told. The damn thing was so cute afterwards, I delayed painting just to play with it awhile - toy soldiers and all. Ah, youth...
The Spigot and Propellant Containers are made from styrene tubing with punched disk caps. I made the racks from lengths of styrene strip and fashioned the semi-circular cradles that cup the ends of the Containers out of VP Foil. Strip styrene and VP Foil are my favorites when it comes to light scratchbuilding. Perhaps one day I'll learn how to photoetch brass on my own, but this works fine for me at the present. In the rear are the basic containers for the Porta Packs to carry a single M388 Davy Crockett Projectile each. The end cap on the front right fender is part of the storage bracket for the Tripod - to be added later. It is made from VP Foil and a punched disk of .010" styrene. The eye-bolts on either side of the dash panel are Grandt Line items.
Eduard's photoetch set for the M151A2 MUTT lent its windshield wipers, front bumper, hood T-clamps, and accelerator / brake / clutch pedal assemblies to my miniature. The Spigot and Propellant Containers are simple lengths of styrene tubing with .010" punched disk end caps. The brackets are made from Verlinden Foil and styrene strip. On the front left fender is a simple VP Foil bracket and the KMC Battery that when reworked becomes and Equipment Container. The Steering Wheel is a Skybow M38A1 Willys MB Jeep part. The Steering Column Control Cluster is scratched out of plastic bits. Electrical Wiring on the blackout light is simulated with embroidery thread.
Kirin's seats from their M151 Super Jeep conversion kit are wonderful. No MUTT miniature should be without them. Remove the "D" lift rings molded in on the sides of the Tamiya M151A2 MUTT body - as they aren't present on the M151 or M151A1 variants. The extra reflector from A.P. Bayardi can be seen here too. I added a few .010" punched disks to the Tamiya springs at the rear suspension to help lift it a bit to clear the rear tires properly. This called for a little tweaking of the AFV Club hubs, but wasn't a problem in the end.
AFV Club's M101 Howitzer's wheels, tires, and rims will go on my M151A1D for the time being. I made them to be removable while I futz around with fashioning a set of magnesium hubs - with their characteristic four-hole rims - to retrofit to the miniature at a later date. I would use Tamiya' Spare Wheel, with holes drilled out. .010" brass wire makes the air valve stems. Choosing to cannabalize two AFV Club kits for this set of wheels was pretty expensive.
Pictured above is the M29 155mm (Heavy) recoilless launcher - which will adorn my miniature in the next subassembly...