Halftrack Armored Car

Just after World War Two US Army Military Police in the Washington, D.C. area had four M3 halftracks converted into armored cars.  They removed the tracks on the back and replaced them with the wheels from a 2 1/2 ton truck.  This unit was responsible for some limited security functions in Washington and a wheeled vehicle may have been more practical.  The vehicle mounted a skate rail on the front of the vehicle with a .50 caliber machine gun.  I have not been able to find any photographs of this vehicle.

I got this information from ARMORED CAR The Wheeled Fighting Vehicle Journal, #19 September 1993 by Lt Col. James W. Loop, USA (Ret).  They did line drawings in the article, based on witness accounts.  This is my interpretation of that using a Roco M3 halftrack model number 280, some bits and two pairs of Roco truck wheels.

I cut out the mortar base plate in the center of the personnel section.  I cut out the mounts for the machine gun pulpit also.

The end of the motor exhaust pipe had to go to make room for the wheels.  I obviously also removed the tracks, and cut off the track pins.  The little roller wheels were also removed.

I took two short pieces of square tubing in put the Roco truck axle wires inside the tubes.  Attached the wheels with super glue.  The wheels roll freely.  The tubing is from Evergreen Plastics # 252.

I glued the square tubing directly to the frame of the halftrack.  The tubing is styrene model plastic and glues easily to the Roco halftrack with regular model glue.  I moved the axles back and forth, closer and farther together until they rolled freely.  The line drawings showed them closer together.

By putting the wheels this far apart they roll very well without having to do much cutting on the halftrack chassis.  They look better if they are closer together, but without a photo there is no way to be sure where they really belong.

I used a little bit of wire for the skate ring.  The original halftrack machine gun was mounted back onto the skate ring.  The drawings showed a front bumper winch rather than the roller, but since I did not have any extra winches, I went with the roller.

Local police and Military Police raid an Off Limits establishment using an armored car to transport the Police and a truck to transport any prisoners.

The truck is a Heiser Models US 2 1/2 ton truck, resin model.  The figures are Airfix USAAF figures, Red Box Policemen and Citizens, and some cheap model railroad figures.  The building is a Funko Pop Town model of Dante's Inferno from the movie Beetlejuice, roadway is from Walthers.  Police cars are from model train shops.

I think it is an interesting looking vehicle.  I have seen photos of various conversions of the M3 halftracks, including putting truck bodies on the back with a single axle and dual wheels.  I may do more of these.

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