Scale 1/72
Manufacturer ExtraTech
Kit ID
Type M-706 Commando
Date 1969
Aftermarket parts used Hasegawa ground crew figures
Other detail added Interior hollowed out and detailed
Model built by Alex Hunger
Date Completed April 2010

For a long time, one of the must haves for a USAF Vietnam war diorama has been the Cadillac Cage V-100 armoured car, also know as the M-706. The only problem is that most kit makers had the war gamer in mind, who preferred the heavier armed turreted version rather than the wimpier open toped machine gun and USAF version.

When the Czech Extratech company introduced the turretless USAF version a couple of years back, I jumped before looking. On opening the box, I was disappointed that the extremely finely moulded kit was marred with covers on the center opening. The kit did feature an excellent etched brass set and interesting decals for actual Vietnam operated vehicles as well as superlative instructions. It was just that my diorama idea wasn’t going to pan out with the insides of the vehicle plugged up with resin.

So the kit went into the shelf of unbuilt kits for a number of years until it came to the forefront again. It was then that inspiration hit me. I could chop up the kit in such a way that the center section could be opened up and the remaining bits could be glued back together.

There was hardly any cleaning up to do of the resin parts.
I just needed to take the body section and draw pen lines on the front and back of the passenger compartment, as limited by the small upright glacis plates. I stuck a thin rotary saw blade into my trusty old Minicraft drill and cut around the entire model, effectively slicing it into 3 parts at first. The inside front and back were cleaned up a little to smooth out the cut marks. I then took the center section and again drew pen lines just inside of the side of the angular hull. The sawed section required a bit more cleaning up due to the inconvenient angles, but there were no major problems. From the cover art, I could tell there was a hatch to the engine compartment and I assumed it would be possible to discern the panel lines for the 2 doors on the inside. These were loosely carved into the resin without much of a fuss. I assumed there would be some sort of hatch on the front, but can not prove this as there is no information on the web on the interior this version. I then superglued the sides back to the front of the hull. Between the center section and the rear section, I attached a couple of small strips of plasticard in order to make up the material lost during the dissection.

I also built up again the wheel arches and the hull bottom with plasticard. Dents and scratches were filled and sanded before the attachment of the axles so that the entire hull could be primed in Hallfords grey. The interior was primed in Hallfords white before receiving a couple of coats of Hallfords Nissan White. No further attempts were made to detail the interior. Most of the etched brass details were attached to the Hull with superglue while the wheels were worked up separately

The exterior was coated first in Tamiya Olive Drab spray paint before receiving the tan and black areas in acrylic. When this was satisfactory, the entire kit was coated in gloss and later received its wheels. The small decals now be attached and the entire model could be coated in matt varnish.

At this stage, I assembled the very nice resin and etched brass M2H2 50 cal and the M60 machine gun, which were superglued on the appropriate location.

The construction and modification were less onerous than originally anticipated and model can now be parked next to a reveted Vietnam based aircraft model, but to be honest it needed crew figures to make it come alive. I modified a couple of the Air Police Hasegawa figures from the Ground Crew Set. I modified the arms to look like they are holding the machine guns. The Air Police woman was also altered to look like a man, as probably very few women served in operational units in Vietnam. I painted their uniforms to represent Vietnam Tiger Stripes as camos were considered to be more fashionable, although the photos I saw usually showed the Airman in camo trousers and only OD T shirts on account of the heat.

The V-100 Kit is still available in small quantities from mail order shops.

Model, article and photographs by Alex Hunger