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Airfield vehicles - A universal tribute to the groundcraft


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This thread is dedicated to support vehicles that keep our great airplanes ready for action. You're invited to add anything with wheels (or tracks) that complements your plane models. All scales and time periods are welcome. I, for my part, focus on US vehicles which fit my areas of interest.


A few of those may serve as introduction (please click pictures for more details) -


48606904656_70297390b1_m.jpg     49101213167_5eb5bef7e4_m.jpg     49959256878_d853493556_n.jpg


And now, scroll down and find scores of wonderful vehicles and other airfield accessories.


Thanks for joining, Michael


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Thanks for posting that Michael! :clap2: I think vehicles and crew figures add a nice sense of scale to the aircraft as well.  I have sprinkled assorted figures among my models for just that reason, and admit to having only half-heartedly painted a few of those.  Painting the rest would make a nice rainy weekend project.  😀

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I've used vehicles on a few dioramas. This crashed A-26 uses a modified Airfix CCKW 6x6 truck, a Jeep and two Queen Mary trailers, plus the crane. Airfix messed up their research and produced a hybrid trailer mixing the 3 ton and 5 ton designs. I reworked them to make one 3 ton and the other the 5 ton type. The Thornycroft truck with Coles crane was also wrong and that had to be modified too. The GMC truck had a scratch built No.7 Set crane added to the back.








My daughter and I modified the Airfix refuelling tanker for her diorama as the Airfix version was post war.




I've also made a couple of 1/35 scale airfield vehicles, based on my own 1/1 scale versions......


1/35 scale modified Italeri kit



1/1 scale version.



Flying Control Dodge truck. Modified from the 1/35 scale Italeri kit to resemble the Dodge when I first purchased it. The 1/1 version has seen firther work since purchase, fitting it out with radios, closing up the sides and adding windows amongst other smaller changes.




1/1 scale Dodge in November 2010.


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Thanks for bringing this up. I always thought that there are too few support vehicles (not AFV etc) in the quarter scale. I am jealous at all the trucks etc. that the 1/35 community has to play around with...

so, if you don't mind me jumping on this train, here are some of my efforts:


the supporting cast (1/48):


the Blitz in a scratch build conversion to fire truck (one topic seriously missing in 1/48)




as a tanker




and for the most important item: FOOD (scratch build conversion)  (find the butterfly :) )




Steyr 1500 ambulance conversion kit




and a Beute truck




troop transports










some towing capacity




and finally for the AFV lovers: the airport security squad:




pooh, I guess that had to come out !!! Thanks for giving me the opportunity :)


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It would be nice if there were more airfield vehicle kits in the “main” scales but have the few that there are been commercial successes?  The three main combos produced by Airfix (Emergency, Refuelling and Recovery sets) have been in the catalogues for around 40 years but there appear to have been few competitors or complementaries.  I know Fujimi did a Japanese refuelling truck and I’ve an idea that Academy did a USAAF one, but where are the significant post-war vehicles?


The Airfix vehicles lend themselves to a multitude of conversions but for purists their appeal might be compromised by their not-quite-1/72nd-ness, although the more recent RAF Bomber Command Resupply Set and it’s USAAF contemporary do fit the 1/72 scale bill.  However their scope for conversion appears more limited; even the old AEC Matador gun tractor can be converted into an RAF mobile generator-cum-aircraft tug (I’ve recently found an illustration of such a vehicle towing a Vickers Valiant).  Similarly the Scammell tractor unit from the tank transporter kit can be converted into an RAF heavy recovery vehicle if you’ve got the references (I believe a restored example still lives near us at Twinwoods Farm).


I’m fortunate in having recently been given an early production example of a 3D-printed resin kit of the Sentinel Tugmaster to assemble and critique for a specialist producer, but the retail price of such kits puts them out of the reach of what used to be the “pocket money” purchaser and I’m hoping to have it ready for my intended “Last Victor Blue Steel QRA at Wittering” diorama in the next few weeks.


One major factor for the manufacturers is “how many of these can we sell?”  Many modellers would probably rather spend their hard-earned on a kit of the Gloster Meteor NF. 14 in 1/48th than on the Leland Hippo bowser to refuel it or the David Brown tractor that towed it out to the line.  Maybe there’s mileage for the manufacturers in producing chassis cab kits and providing different bodies as literally) add-on packs like the recce and tanker conversion for the Airfix Valiant, or a multi-pack of bowsers, tugs, bomb trollies, starter/power carts or what have you.

Edited by stever219
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There's plenty of airfield vehicles available in 1/76, including post war RAF, 

though the manufacturer BW has left the hobby.  The designs have been taken over, but I don't recall who has taken them over.  There were a lot available from MMS but he too has given up and I don't think anyone bought the moulds. However Matador do a wide range of British and German subjects.  Milicast have a number of options but even more if conversions are included, including ones from Little Friends.  I've seen examples from CMC at recent trade fairs.


If you absolutely insist on 1/72 then there are a number of Russian vehicles from WW2 and more modern, and a number of German ones too.  Matador does 1/72 British and German ones.  If you are prepared to do conversions then IBG and Ace offer suitable chassis/cabs, but then the field really is wide open.

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@Army_Air_Force @2Step @stever219 @Graham Boak


Thank you gentlemen for your comments and the pictures of some excellent flight line models.

There is obviously a number of vehicles available in 1/76 and 1/35 (due to their AFV scale) that can be converted or modified although not exactly meeting the airplane enthusiast's scale. Much less so in 1/72 and none in 1/32.

Focusing on US and Japanese warplanes in 1/48 I'm lucky to have at least a few choices in my field. Besides the Jeep I have a Dodge 1 1/2 ton truck, a GMC fuel truck (Tamiya) and a fuel trailer in the stash. Also available is the GMC 2 1/2 ton 6x6 as truck. Some more Jeep conversions would be possible, too. And, yes, there is the Cletrac from the Monogram B-24 kit (a better one was once offered by Lone Star Models). As mentioned I'm going to present them as they get ready.


I would be happy to hear of other 1/48 WWII US vehicles that would be suitable.


Cheers, Michael

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there is the US staff car ... and there is a bunch of Russian models ...


But not too many German ones which I need for my Luftwaffe kits - that's mainly why I have so many "Beute" Fahrzeuge (the Coleman crane is the exception, as I have it in 1/72 which made it easier to scratch build it in 1/48 than any German crane I could come up with)

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I used a refinished Matchbox Commer van as a generic BOAC support vehicle for my FROG  1.96 Comet build. Not exactly an accurate copy of any real BOAC vehicle, but close enough for Government work. It's there to lend a hand with the overall feel of the posed model rather than a model in its own right.




Here's what I started with...




Time available stopped any thoughts of cutting out windows etc. on the Matchbox model.


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Not really into the large scale but I did scratched these for the forth coming 32nd Lancaster . . .




as well as this 


Converted from an Austin to a Hillman



Some 48th scratch and convert  builds


AM Albions


Albion dropside with tilt


Bedford MW Mobile workshop


Bedford OX-D



72nd scale converts

Austin Ambulances used by the USAAF


AEC Tractor units


Bedford Oxygen refueller



to show a few

but there are also repaint jobs of Oxford diecast

Bedford OX-D's


Bedford MW's



Some White metal kits--  MMS



and a resin job



I scratched these in 48th as well as 32nd


plus several small Nissen huts according to scale have been built.


Hope you like



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Absolutely loving all of these vehicle pics.

My preferred aircraft scale is 1/72 and I have often invested in various soft-skin vehicle kits of the scale to enhance my builds.

When time permits, I will try to take some decent photos of a few such builds.



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Tamiya makes some nice 1/48 GMC trucks, and a there are also dump truck and refueler versions that have the hard cab.  I'm working on an Airfix USAAF resupply set right now in 1/72 that is very nice.


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Many thanks for your exhibits. This is becoming a wonderful collection.

Here are my favourites.

Cheers, Michael


On 21/11/2019 at 20:47, TonyW said:





On 21/11/2019 at 22:04, Mancunian airman said:




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Being chiefly a 1/72nd builder, I have always been keen to add suitable props to photo sessions. 



My particular interest bubble is 1940, and I try to ensure the vehicles I make fit the period properly. This is my RAF emergency and crash team. The Crossley tender on the left is a mish-mash of scratched and spare items, plus the front end from a resin kit years old. The next one is the MMS whitemetal kit. The light ambulance is kitbashed from the Airfix Standard Tilly and based on the Gerald Scarborough drawings. The Austin tender on the right isn’t strictly speaking an airfield vehicle, but I’ve allowed it as something to deal with the domestic side of airfield life.




More general vehicles in the form of Austin GS, workshop, and the Bedford and Tilly from Airfix. The saloon car is the Ace kit, civvied up.




Refuelling and so on features Fordson tractors from Flightpath, as is the bowser trailer at the back. The Airfix Brockway bowsers, obviously, a Matador Models Albion 3-way, and the Airfix water tanker because why not? 

I am trying to find suitable vehicles to populate photos of non-UK aircraft. It seems my impression that the Opel Blitz was favoured for refuellers in 1940 is wrong. I believe I should be looking for a Mercedes chassis. Always learning!

Edited by Heather Kay
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Nice vehicles. Some great conversions and it's obvious that a lot of time and effort has been spent on them.

I seem to find that I now want a Frog Comet. Not sure where that came from....

The Nissen hut was mentioned above/ Just in case anyone was wondering, Google says...

A Nissen hut is a prefabricated steel structure for military use, especially as barracks, made from a half-cylindrical skin of corrugated steel. Designed during the First World War by the American-born engineer and inventor Major Peter Norman Nissen, it was used extensively during the Second World War.

Nothing whatsoever to do with Japanese cars, as some people tend to think.

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I'm working on a 1/48 Pacific airstrip used by RNZAF so I need to build a mix of US and Commonwealth sourced airfield vehicles.


A Ford crash tender using parts from Tamiya Opel Blitz chassis, GMC truck cab and Ford staff car mudguards.


48605593476_27406eab3e_b.jpgIMG_3407 by tankienz, on Flickr


Largely scratch build Chev CMP 15 based on Airfix Bedford chassis.




An International refueller based on Tamiya GMC parts




MT flight lined up ready for service.  The roller and dozer in the background were left behind by the Japanese.



Edited by dcrfan
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3 hours ago, Toryu said:

I finished my M1 Bomb Lift and added it to the topic. If you got anything new in the airfield vehicles arena please share it with us.

I made a start on the Airfix US support set during the B17 Group Build last year. I ran out of time before the end of the build though, and the build stalled. Catching up with this thread is a good excuse to come back to the set. 


Here's how things looked at the time. The smaller base looked a bit cramped. Trying out a larger one got things moving in the right direction though.





Edited by TonyW
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I finished the Airfix 1/72 bomber support set a while back, here it is with the Airfix C-47 (modeled as a C-53 glider tug), a Hasegawa GMC dump truck, and an Academy 6X6.



Edited by jeaton01
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