Friday 4 July 2014

Humvee UAV Control Vehicle


This is another one of my bargain basement projects that has really not had much planning. The first of the models that I will be using in this dio is an Italeri M1097 A2 Cargo Carrier (Humvee). I had bought this is a model shop whilst on a family holiday. It was one of those purchases that was so cheap I couldn't leave it there. In fact I bought this kit along with the German field kitchen that I built a while back and is featured on my web site here . The only problem that I had with this kit once we had come home from our short break was "what the hell am I going to do with it!". So the kit was placed into the stash until an idea formed in my mind of what to do with it.

It was only when searching the internet for ideas on a placement for a UAV kit that I had bought did I realise that in a lot of the photos on the web, a Humvee control vehicle can be seen in the background. a short web search later revealed that as yet a manufacturer has not produced a control vehicle in kit form for the hummer. Realising that I had a hummer in the stash I have decided to attempt a conversion of this kit into one of the control vehicles, and if that wasn't enough, I also intend on scratch building an electrical generator from spare parts and scrap to accompany the kit. Wish me luck!!

The Humvee basic build.

The Italeri kit, although basic in some respects does build up into a very good representation of the vehicle. The cab is lacking in a lot of detail, but I don't intend on adding a lot to it in terms of scratch building as I am hoping that everyone will be more interested in whats going on in the rear once I've built it. I have elected to build the chassis and body separately and almost complete them before putting them together to ensure a relatively clean finish. The chassis will not have any modifications made to it but the rear of the body will have to have the tail gate removed, rear seat area modified to accept the scratch built rear cab and I may add some modifications to dash board area. the build so far:

  I would also add that I will be two wheels short for this project as I will need them for the trailer that I intend to build. I quick look online didn't give me a resin option wheel with the same tread pattern so I would be faced with buying x6 resin wheels which would have come to more than what I had paid for the model !! I am therefore going to attempt to make x2 wheels out of a mold that I am going to make from one of the existing wheels. The outcome of this can be seen in the trailer build below.

For the Humvee itself I originally intended to make the cab, chassis and basic body a quick out of the box build with very little scratch building as I stated at the opening of this section, however as with most of my projects, this didn't last long! The exterior of the vehicle is being changed drastically from the original model and it seemed a shame to leave the spartan interior as its supplied. I would point out that there is a great range of update kits on the market for Humvee improvements, but as always I want to keep the cost of this project to a minimum and to stretch my abilities in scratch building at the same time. The basic interior was added to by stretching over some very thin plastic card that had been brushed over with some acetone to soften it beforehand to the centre console. to this I then added a thicker piece of card to simulate the mounting plate for the radio shelves that can often be seen in these vehicles. Some stretched sprue for the supporting legs and metal brace were next, followed by a plastic card box for the radio housing. On top of that a small computer screen was placed, again built out of plastic card . To finish off the centre console additions, I then cut out some aluminium foil (cut from a coke can) and shaped it to look like the GPS unit holder. Some more aluminium foil was cut to simulate the heater matrix that's positioned under the passenger dashboard. Finishing touches came in the form of two plastic card sun visors held on with strips of cut aluminium foil. Pictures of the interior to date can be seen below:

The roof that is supplied with the kit represents a fabric type that is not typical for the vehicle that I want to represent. I did ponder using some more plastic card but wanted to try a little more recycling on this project so some more used (and washed) coke cans were fished out of the bin and cut up. the end result is at the moment quite pleasing and I'm hopeful that once the red paint has been sanded off and re-primed it will look the part:

The next part of the interior that I turned my attention to was the seats. Again these can be purchased from many aftermarket suppliers but I decided to try and make some myself from adapting the original seat bases and frames and then re-sculpt them using white miliput. Once completely cured I will then finely sand to get them to a finished shape that I am happy with:

As I have already said, the remainder of the vehicle doesn't really need a lot of work doing to it, however on closer inspection of the images that I have found of the vehicle, I discovered that I will have to extend the rear portion of the chassis to accurately represent the vehicle and accommodate the shelter section that intend on scratch building. This will include removing the rear towing eye that I had previously glued on, the D ring shackles and some of the rear bumper, shown in the following image. I also cut away the molded in rear tail gate from the model to accommodate the shelter.
The modifications that need to be carried out will be covered in the build section of the shelter below:

The Shelter 

The shelter will be built from plastic card using a schematic that I found on the internet provided by one of the major manufacturers of the humvee shelters in the world. The measurements will of course be scaled down using my trusty model makers scale rule that I purchased from expo products many moons ago. One of the major problems in a build like this is getting everything at right angles to one another. I cannot recommend the use of a small engineers square enough when your attempting a project like this. The plan that I came up with for the build was to manufacture the floor, rear wall and both side walls first, then move onto the interior sections followed by the rear wall of the shelter and finally the roof which I intend on leaving as a detachable item. The following pictures show my progress to date:

While I let the shelter that I had built so far harden I decided to turn my attention to the rear bumper (fender). For the Humvee that has a shelter fitted, there is a different bumper attached that includes an extension to the towing arm. After trawling the internet for some photos of this, I think that I have managed to build a good representation of this using plastic card and some of the original kit parts. The photos of my efforts are below:

Turning my attention back to the shelter, I decided to make a little of the interior that would eventually depict the control centre for the UAV that will be parked outside of the truck in the finished dio. The false wall that's included in the real thing was added first followed by the desk portion that will eventually house the keyboards and joysticks. The computer screen panels were added next followed by the boxes to the rear of the screen panels that I intend on adding various wires to as a way of depicting the connections from the back of the screens to the aerial units etc. I also added the front shelf to the outside of the vehicle which usually has a large lock box and an air conditioning unit which I have also started to make. As always photos of my progress are below:

The roof I have decided will be manufactured but made in such a way as its removable so as to lift it and see all my hard work inside. I'm going to keep the manufacture of it quite simple with some strips glued inside to keep in in the right place when its fitted. I have also decided to fit the optional roof lantern that I have seen on a few of the vehicles as well as being shown on the basic plans that I had found. For the colour I was originally torn between the desert colours or the standard US green. After reading on the difficulty of getting the desert colour right and also seeing the shear number of US armour models online and all painted in a desert theme I thought that I would make a bit of a change from the current norm and paint it in green. I will also put some heavy weathering on the truck to break up the plain green finish and add some interest. The next few photos show the vehicle in primer and then a series of shots as the base green colour goes on

This is another of my project which has unfortunately been put on hold. The reason for this is that I have currently lost inspiration for it and therefore do not wish to carry it on for the moment. I find that where I lose my "mojo" for a particular build, I would prefer to store it until inspiration comes knocking at my door once again rather than trying to complete something just to get it finished, Hopefully this project will resume sometime in the near future but until then its on the shelf waiting for divine intervention!

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