1/72 Scale Armored Fighting Vehicles Models
(from 1940s to 2000s)

Scratch-built M-249 Front Truck for the 280mm Atomic Cannon

When I was about nine or ten years old, one summer day I was encouraged by my mother to catch a city bus from our suburban home in Champaign, Illinois, and ride it to a hobby shop that my father frequented, in downtown Champaign. There, I purchased two each of the West German ROCO brand HO (1/87) scale U.S. Army M4 Sherman tanks and (suitably opposing) German Wehrmacht Sturmgeschutz IIIs. This was quite an adventure for me, to go alone such a distance, and return safely. What a different world it was in 1964...

Those four little tanks, pre-assembled but unpainted, were my first AFV models, I think. Later, I received a Renwal 1/32 scale Atomic Cannon kit, an ambitious undertaking for an eleven-year-old. I know I finished it, because I displayed it at school, in the fifth grade. What became of that model afterwards, I do not know.

I have built tank kits off and on for the last 45 or so years, initially in 1/35 scale (Tamiya), 1/25 scale (Bandai), and 1/48 scale (Aurora). Back then, I was primarily attracted to the motorized aspect of the Japanese-made kits. At this time, I was not terribly concerned with finishing them authentically, usually using whatever Floquil paint my father had for his HO scale model train layout. Any brown or grey or green was good enough for these hapless models.

Hasegawa M-4 Tractor and Al.By resin 155mm Long Tom

In the 1970s, not long after I got married, I discovered the very brand-new line of English Matchbox brand plastic model kits. At the grocery store was a free-standing display of Matchbox 1/76 scale AFVs. These were great kits, with terrific box art on the front, a color painting guide on the back (an idea borrowed from FROG aircraft kit boxes, I think), and a little cellophane window (another borrowed idea, from Lindberg kits, perhaps), also on the back of the box, so you could see the two colors of plastic in which Matchbox had so shrewdly molded the kit. Plus, every kit included at least one or two figures AND a tiny diorama base, too. An irresistible combination of marketing! Over the next few years, I built nearly all of the available Airfix, Matchbox, Hasegawa and Fujimi 1/76 and 1/72 AFV kits that I could find, easily 60 or 70 of them.

ESCI U.S. Army M-60-A2 Starship
I was by now very interested in researching the AFV subjects and painting them as authentically as possible, using an airbrush on these little machines. This was also the era of English Humbrol paints becoming available in the US, in cartons of six tins, focusing on some particular military subject, like "RAF Overseas," or "Military Vehicles." Humbrol turned out to be great paint, for me, and I have my own 162-color display rack of Humbrol in my hobby room, still in use, every other month or three.
ESCI Israeli Defence Force Merkava MBT

From the 1990s to the present, I have bought vast quantities of 1/72 AFV kits, from Academy, Ace, Airfix, Dragon, Emhar, ESCI, HasegawaIBG, Italeri, Revell of GermanyRPM, Trumpeter and UM. (For some reason, while I cheerfully collect lots of AFV kits, I seem to actually complete only a few of them.) After building and moderately superdetailing a half dozen or so ESCI AFV models, I began to convert or scratch-build AFVs and softskins that were not yet available as assembly kits.

This tab is the home page for models of ARMOR 

To see 1/72 scale models of Armored Fighting Vehicles, please CLICK HERE

To see slide shows of constructing the Atomic Cannon, please CLICK HERE

To buy PDFs of AutoCAD drawings of the Atomic Cannon, in many scales, please CLICK HERE

Scratch-built 1/72 scale M65 Atomic Cannon

Scale 1/72

Email: AtomicCannon(at)embarqmail(dot)com