Bringing Dead Roco Back to Life


There are few things worse in the hobby than having a bunch of junk vehicle parts that are too bad to be usable, and too good to throw away.  The cover image is the US Army T5 halftrack.  The US Army made 24 of them in the late 1930s as an unarmored halftrack to tow the 75mm mountain howitzer.  In going through my spares box I found four junk Roco Dodge trucks, one ambulance, one weapons carrier and two with the van body.  They were missing windshields, wheels, and other bits.  A couple had been painted in red or yellow, with as many as four layers of paint.  The cabs looked close enough to the T5 that I figured I would give that a try.


First I cut off the front grilles, one was already broken off.  And stripped off most of the paint.  I gathered parts from all over the war room.  I was making four of these to tow my four Lyzards Grin 75mm howitzers.  First thing was to get four pairs of 1/72nd scale Jeep wheels for the howitzers.  Then I gathered steering wheels for the halftracks, one was a Roco and the other three were Heiser Models.

I got one slightly melted frame and track assembly from a damaged Roco M3 halftrack and three sets of Heiser Models halftrack tracks from the spares box.


The halftrack frames are mostly from the original Dodge trucks on front with the Roco M3 Halftrack to the rear.  Mostly.


The seats are from the Cold War era Dodge pick up truck ambulance version.  I had a number of them left over in both green and white in the spares box.  Spare tires are one Roco and three Heiser Models from the Dodge truck.

Here I am laying out the parts to see if I have enough to build the models.

t5 halftrack

Here they are nearly complete.  You can see plastic sheet, bars, and rods were used for various parts. The seat rests are a bit thick but I wanted to have a pattern on the inside so that was the thickness that had the pattern.  The bows for the canvas were originally paper clips that have now gone on to serve a higher purpose in the halftrack model.

t5 front

The windshields are Heiser Models Dodge truck windshields with the center post carefully cut away.  That took forever.  The headlights are just under the side of the window frame, like a spotlight.  I think they are Roco Opel Blitz truck headlights.  The bumper hooks are definitely Opel Blitz.

t5 back

The bed sides are Plastruct plastic girders.  Lots of razor saw, cutting, chopping, filing, and sanding work to make it all fit.

t5 front

You can see unpainted, green paint, red paint.  These trucks had rough lives before this operation.  Interesting note the ambulance has a different interior and a winch, which I did not notice until I was pretty far along, but I like the winch so it's okay.


The box by the drivers door is an Esci 1/72nd scale machine gun ammo box from their Africa Corps set cut down to fit.  The canvas bundles are Roco, but not sure from what model, it's a new kit because the plastic color is not the original black green Roco used for a long time.

More on this project next week, still not finished yet.  This took me about four months off and on gathering bits and working on it.  This is the third version of the back seats, second version of the canvas bows, and still not perfect but good enough version of the rear suspension.

Thanks for reading.

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Mike Bunkermeister Creek


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