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Conversion: Creating a M54 5-ton Cargo Truck in 1:35th Scale

Cargo Bed Subassembly

Cargo Bed Modifications
Before getting into Cargo Bed modifications, it is best to change details on the Cargo Bed Walls and Tailgate cast in the Italeri model kit. You must remove all the molded in details on the inner panels (pigtails & drainage ports) on the Italeri parts (Parts #110B, 111B, 112B, 113B, & 114B). I do this by carefully grinding them off with my Motor Tool and a sharpened chisel that I made specifically for this task (you can use the flat tip of a small file to scrap it). After you have removed all the moldings you will need to make eight (8) panel inserts from sheet plastic measuring 28/32" x 10/32", and two (2) panels measuring 15/32" X 9/32", which will go into the areas you just carved-out. I use paper thin .005" sheet plastic stock so that you will not lose the depth of the indention in the Side Walls of the Cargo Box. Next, grind off the large (oft-called NATO-style integrated turn signal/marker lights) Tail Lights on Italeri Part #111B and fill-in with your favorite putty. You will be using the Tail Lights from the AFV Club kit (AFV Club Kit #3504 - Parts #B17 or Kit #35034 - Parts #M4 & M5 depending on the variant you choose to model). Remove the Side Marker Lights and carefully remove the two Tie-Down Rings from bottom of the Side Walls. Save two of the "C-shaped" Tie-Down Rings because you will need to reattach them later on for your modified Cargo Bed - the M54 only had one per side. Lastly, you'll cut a section of plastic sheet for the Cargo Bed Floor - to cover the innaccurate "wooden" detail engraved on the Italeri part. The M54 trucks as well as the M900 series trucks have steel beds - not wooden ones.

Project Photos
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About the Author

About Dave Willett (animal)

I am a Vietnam vet and retired Govt. employee living in Ormond Beach Fla. I have been building models since I was a small boy(a long time). I got into the afv models about 4years ago. My passion is the vietnam era. I am also very fond of the modern soft skin of Desert Storm and OIF. Scratch building...