Dodge Halftrack Roco


The US Army T5 unarmored halftrack was designed to tow the 75mm mountain howitzer.   I could not find any photos of the halftrack that show it with a machine gun, however nearly every other halftrack in US Army service did seem to mount one someplace.  So I took the Roco .30 caliber machine gun from the Machine Gun Accessory Set and mounted it on a bit of plastic that was small enough to fit between the two rear seats.  So I can place it forward or at the rear of the halftrack as a post mounted gun, or leave it off.  It seems a reasonable compromise to me.


Here the machine gun is placed in the forward firing position.  In it's unpainted state you can see how many different kits contributed parts for this model. 

M5 side

The canvas cover for this halftrack was a lot of small parts that seem to have zipped together to form front, sides and rear covers.  When not installed they were rolled up and stored all around the sides of the bed.  See how many parts on this one are different from the halftrack above, Roco tracks vs Paul Heiser Models resin tracks on the one above for example.

T5 left

The front fender has a canister on it, one of the photos of the halftrack had a very similar can there, so I used the Roco truck exhaust suitably trimmed to make the part.  It's hard to tell but the suspension center roller has been slightly modified.

T5 back

Back view, this left side track is a little bent, it had a rough life before it became part of this halftrack.  The white axle is Plastruct plastic coated wire.  Super strong and being plastic coated I can glue it easily or strip the plastic to make it two thicknesses.

T5 top

The supports and the seats themselves are a bit thick.  My first version was much more in-scale but too fragile.  I went with one that would stand up to wargame use.  The canvas bows are stowed along the front of the passenger compartment.  They are made of paper clip wire.  My goal was to use only materials already in my collection, in the spares box, or otherwise on hand.

Apart from my labor these were free models with everything being bits left over from previous projects.  I save every bit of plastic, every spare or alternate part no matter how small or seemingly useless.  They often end up like these did, being used in a project that  makes something useful.

T5 bottom

The Roco Dodge trucks have a rather detailed undercarriage.  So I tried to continue that with this vehicle.  I also added a few bits of sheet plastic to fill in some of the holes in the bottom.

T5 Howitzer

Here is the halftrack towing a 75mm mountain gun.  These guns were common in horse cavalry units in the Interwar Period.  They usually had wooden wagon wheels for horses to tow or could be broken down into parts for mules to carry.  Trucks can't tow wooden wagon wheel trailers or artillery at more than just a few miles per hour on improved roads.  The gun will start to bounce and eventually flip over, maybe even flipping the towing vehicle with it.  In the 1930s the Army started to install "high speed" suspension and pneumatic tire kits on their artillery as the intention was go to fully mechanized.  As tiny as the Army was the funding was so low that even by Pearl Harbor thousands of guns had still not been upgraded.  Many larger guns were towed by Caterpillar tractors and only drove three to five miles per hour and that was slow enough to avoid bouncing the wheels and flipping the rig.

T5 and gun

The gun on the upper photo is from Waterloo 1815 and it is plastic in 1/72nd scale.  It is excellent and highly detailed, but looks too big for this HO scale halftrack.  The one below is a 30+ year old metal kit made by Lizards Grin with the wheels upgraded to a larger plastic wheel.  I have four of these howitzers  that will end up with these halftracks.

Thanks for reading.

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Mike Bunkermeister Creek

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