Vietnam Armored Convoy Escort
"Sopwith Camel"

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"Sopwith Camel" is a mid-generation gun truck, a steel fighting compartment placed into the cargo bed of a 2 1/2-ton cargo truck. It is interesting because it is a maintenance contact type of gun truck - carrying spare tires for aiding disabled vehicles in a convoy; because it is a Deuce (my favorite type of truck); and because Peanuts cartoon character "Snoopy" flying on his doghouse appeared on the sides of the Fighting Compartment. It just doesn't get much better than that!

I made this miniature up from a lot of scrap parts left in my bin from modeling gun truck miniatures over the years. I think I have enough parts to model at least three AFV Club Deuce's lying around in my spare parts bins - so I decided to try and put one whole kit together. This is why you see so many different colors of plastic in the in-progress photos below. I also made a game attempt at resin casting my own engine compartment and some minor detail additions. Once you get comfortable with this practice, you have to do it every so often to keep sharp at the craft. In retrospect, the engine compartment detail effort probably wasn't worth the extra effort - only if to make myself happy...


Setting out, I wanted to model a M35A1 multi-fuel powered truck as the base vehicle for "Sopwith Camel". Since I was at it, I decided to fashion my own parts using Real Model's M35 Engine Compartment set as a maquette - which is a nice rendition of the multi-fuel engine powering M35A1 and A2 trucks. In examining the Real Model set it appears that by sanding down the sides of the 'drop-in' engine module you'll be able to fit this to your AFV Club Cab without too much fuss. I'll try working with this detail kit in a later project...

(Note: the Real Model conversion set cannot be used for modeling the M35 gasoline-powered truck. The engine equipping later multi-fuel variants is noticeably different.)

If you're not insane enough to have all these spare parts lying around - just buy AFV Club #35034 M35A1 Quad .50cal Gun Truck model. This kit has all the parts necessary to model the major features of the M35A1 cargo truck. Additionally, if you choose not to model the fighting compartment out of sheet styrene like I did, you could pay a handsome penny and purchase Hobby Fan #HF028 M35A1 Gun Truck (III) FSV Conversion. You'll get a bunch of finely cast resin parts for detailing, and the pattern of armor plating I show here, and even decals for this gun truck!

(Note: The Hobby Fan conversion set is modeled and displayed on a basic buildup of sister company's M35A2 Deuce. "Sopwith Camel" was built on an A1 truck, and did not come equipped with a winch like shown on the Hobby Fan box.)

For reference, I used two photos of "Sopwith Camel" appearing in James Lyles' reference book The Hard Ride - Vietnam Gun Trucks, Volume I. Naturally, the photos show slight differences between trucks, one with different style mirrors on the right side and logo. Snoopy's doghouse is not visible in this picture.



The second photo has different rear view mirrors, bumper marker poles visible, a white 'cheater' stripe on the Cab Fender, and Snoopy's doghouse is plainly visible on the side of the fighting compartment. Plenty of opportunity to individualize your own model of "Sopwith Camel".


















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