Scale 1/72
Manufacturer Tamiya
Kit ID N/A
Type Jeep N/A
Unit N/A
Date N/A
Aftermarket parts used None
Other detail added See text!
Model built by Chuck Holte
Date Completed N/A

The purpose of a follow-me vehicle is to guide visiting airman and their aircraft from a post landing position on the runway/taxiway to a parking/servicing spot, often called the Transit Ramp, usually in the vicinity of Base Operations.  Follow-me vehicles are conspicuously marked, often with a checkered flag, and displaying a sign directing visiting airman to “Follow-Me.” I’ve noticed photos of several follow-me vehicles while browsing the internet over the past few years and thought the subject would make an interesting model project. 

On the internet, I came upon photos of a comely lass adorning the rear of a VW bus that just beckoned me to follow.  A friend had the Tamiya P-51 kit which included a 1/72 scale jeep that seemed a likely candidate for the model I had in mind.

The jeep portion of the Tamiya kit consists of around 30 well-detailed and flash free parts, including full undercarriage and interior.   I assembled the kit per instructions and painted the interior and underside olive drab.  When the paint dried, I masked the interior and wheel wells with tape and gave the upper body several coats of Model Master Chrome Yellow gloss enamel.  While the paint dried, I cut individual 1/8 inch squares from Microscale black decal sheet and placed them in the checkerboard pattern per the photo.  I actually used about 50 squares for the entire project and spent several hours getting the alignment and spacing to look convincing.  Once satisfied with the position of all the squares, I liberally applied Solvaset to make everything conform to the jeeps contours.  I painted the bumpers and windshield frame black and the tires dark gray. 

I applied an extra girlie decal to a small square of 10 thou plastic to serve as a template for the final follow me sign.  Once dry, I carefully removed excess plastic with a new #11 Exacto blade.  This would be the actual sign backing for the decal.  I sanded it smooth and painted the forward facing side of the sign black.  When dry, I applied the final girlie decal to the back and added Solvaset.  I touched up the edges of the sign/decal with black paint and attached it to the back of the jeep with a dab of superglue. 

An overall top coat of Poly S Flat killed the shine and blended the decals and paint in a uniform finish.  I added a small piece of acetate window glass to the windshield and a small stretched sprue whip antenna to the rear bumper.  I dry-brushed the floorboards  and seats with flat aluminum to add a little contrast in the interior and fashioned a pair of yellow panted basswood wheel chocks to cover the hole in the floor originally intended for the .50 cal machine gun mount.

The resulting model captures the generic flavor of the follow-me vehicle concept and adds a little color to any airfield diorama.  I think visiting aircrew would follow a jeep like that most anywhere!

Model and photographs by Chuck Holte