Welcome to Dragon Rising, Bear Resurgent , a blog I am using to record my Post Cold War wargaming projects. These are focused on expeditionary operations by Chinese, Russian, American and NATO forces in the post Cold War era, all modelled and gamed in 20mm. The blog includes links to various resources useful to the 21st Centuary Cold War Gamer.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Modelling - Stowing USMC vehicles in 6mm

Vehicles in most armies carry a degree of external stowage and there always seems to be more of it when they are on operations rather than exercises, I suspect because ammunition load outs always take up more space when you are expecting to have to fight. The USMC seem to embrace external stowage to the full and pictures of their vehicles from recent deployments nearly always carry an amount of external load.

Having built one USMC force in 20mm I was used to loading their wagons with all sorts of stowage to match the images seen on the web, in the press and my somewhat vivid imagination.  In the land of 6mm, I was not exactly surprised to find that there were limited product ranges out there for representing external stowage and a lot of the techniques I had used for Cam nets and other items looked like they might be of less use in this scale.

One of the great things about 6mm, of which I am rapidly discovering there are many, is that 1mm represents a foot, so it's relatively easy to work out how big the stuff needs to be to fit on the model even for the mathematically challenged like myself.  The other great thing about 6mm is that very small things can be represented by very simple shapes and still look good, although I am generally of the opinion that you need to keep the objects of a fairly consistent size and shape if they are to be credible. Other than that its largely a question of colouring them in.

What Stowage and How to Make it
The ideas I have had to date are based on what one might consider to be common stowage items and the size they need to be, and how I have currently approached be representing them.

  • Crew - Chopped Figures, prone figures with Binos, turned out to be very good, green stuff hatches added to their backs round them out.

  • Radio Antenna, 2-3m long so 6 - 12mm, I went for tooth brush bristles, which are pretty thin virtually indestructible and don't put holes in your fingers.
  • Boxes - Various shapes and sizes from 10-12 inches for ammo cans through to 3-4 feet for ration cartons and large calibre ammunition crates, I went for plastic strip in a variety of thickness and widths, cut to an appropriate length enabling me to easily create multiple consistent boxes.
  • Rucksacks, I started with green stuff but in order to get a consistent size and shape switched to plasticard 3mm wide x .25mm thick (ish) which I cut in to 2mm strips then bulked out with Vallejo plastic putty, which is great for all sorts of bits in this scale, if you want something pipe it.

  • Roll Matts, .5mm plastic rod or brass rod cut to 2mm-3mm length, plastic rods better as you get square ends.

  • Grease Cans 1mm - 1.5mm plastic rod cut to 2 - 2.5mm lengths
  • Rubbish Sacks, piped with vallejo plastic putty
  • Sleeping Bags, green stuff or Vallejo plastic putty
  • Tarpaulins, green stuff
  • Cam Nets, green stuff, rolled to the approximate thickness required, then applied to vehicle, trimmed to size, pulled and pushed to make it look like its hanging from ties, then textured using a sharp point and a knife blade, ideally dipped in water to stop the green stuff adhering to the instrument of choice.
  • Air ID Marker Panels, I believe the US ones are modular and can also be folded so anything from a small square to a strip 2mm x 6mm. I use tin foil.

  • Flags - Tin Foil cut to size
  • Crew served and individual weapons - trimmed from figures, yet to really give this a go
  • Wheels - I think Heroics and Ross do some but I have yet to get my hands on any
  • Jerry Cans - I gave up :), any one knows of any let me know.

Where To Stick It

The important thing to bear in mind when stowing any vehicle is that it is a working machine:
  • Bits of it are hot, 
  • Bits of it move, 
  • Hatches, panels and turrets need to be accessible and able to function to allow entry exit and access for maintenance.
  • Air needs to circulate through engine grills to cool engines.  
Most of these places are best avoided and therefore the space on the vehicle to stow things is actually fairly limited.  Having said all that sometimes you have to pack in a hurry so there will always be the odd exception but as a general rule most crews will stow there wagons in a way that does not impair there ability to fight and maintain the vehicle.


  1. Great post Andy, very useful. Check out both Heroics & Ros and Perfect Six both do some bits of stowage that you may find useful.
    Cheers, Richard P

    1. Thanks Richard, I will do the H&R stuff looks promising around the wheels and road wheels