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New Bushmaster IMV prints

The Bushmaster is now available as A3+ profile prints

Grubby Fingers has just released a series of four profile prints of the Australian built Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle.

The four vehicles covered are:

Bushmaster IMV – Iraq 2005–2006
The Bushmaster IMV (Infantry Mobility Vehicle) is an Australian manufactured mine-protected troop transport.
Bushmasters have seen extensive use on deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. 203-281 is shown here as it appeared in Iraq as part of Al Muthanna Task Group, Australia's main ground force contribution to the Multinational force in Iraq, between March 2005 and April 2006.

Bushmaster IMV – RAAF Avalon 2007
The Bushmaster IMV (Infantry Mobility Vehicle) is a mine-protected troop transport of Australian manufacture.
Bushmasters have seen extensive use on deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and are operated by several countries’ armed forces. The vehicle depicted here is operated by the RAAF on airfield security duties. It is shown here as it was displayed at Avalon Airshow in March, 2007. Armament fitted is two 5.56 mm Minimi LSWs (Light Support Weapons).

Bushmaster IMV – 6RAR Afghanistan 2008
The Bushmaster IMV (Infantry Mobility Vehicle) is a mine-protected troop transport of Australian manufacture.
Bushmasters have seen extensive use on deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and are operated by several countries’ armed forces.
This vehicle is shown as deployed with 6RAR (6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment) when that unit was part of RTF4 (Reconstruction Task Force 4)in Afghanistan, 2008. This Bushmaster is armed with a CROWS remote weapons station fitted with a MAG 7.62 mm GPMG.

Dutch Bushmaster IMV – Afghanistan 2007
The Bushmaster IMV (Infantry Mobility Vehicle) is a mine-protected troop transport of Australian manufacture.
Bushmasters have seen extensive use on deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and are operated by several countries’ armed forces.
The vehicle depicted here is a Dutch example that was operating out of Kamp Holland, Tarin Kowt, in 2007.On October 19 of that year, during a firefight between Taliban insurgents and a Dutch patrol, this Bushmaster was damaged by an improvised explosive device (IED). The occupants were unhurt.

These prints are now available directly through the Grubby Fingers on-line shop.
Price is $29.95AUD plus P&H.

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1:35 Bushmaster Model Coming!

Showcase Models Australia Bushmaster Kit

Showcase Models Australia will soon be releasing a 1:35 scale injection moulded plastic model of the Bushmaster IMV!

Keep your eyes peeled!

You can visit Showcase Models Australia website.

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Aussie Vietnam Truck Build

Truck build well underway

1:25 Australian Army Diamond Reo Semi-trailer

In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Australian Army procured a number of Diamond Reo prime-movers and Fruehauff flatbed trailers, primarily for use in Vietnam. They were to replace the existing WWII-vintage truck tractors that were simply beyond economical repair and had atrocious servicability rates.

There is one of these Diamond Reo / Fruehauff combinations at the Army Museum, Bandiana, here in Victoria. It was a visit to the museum and the coincidental re-release of the AMT trailer that provided the spark of inspiration.

Here's what they looked like in SEA service.

The Kits

The kits

The original moulds for these two date back many more years than this modeller would care to remember. They are typical of AMT of the era, being fairly crude compared to modern standards, but quite outstanding in their day. They are also the only game in town if you want to do early American iron.


Both kits will need some modification to represent the Australian trucks more-or-less accurately.

The truck will need a shortened chassis, new scratchbuilt rear guards and the front axle needs to be setback and the front guards and bonnet altered accordingly. The cab also needs to be converted to right-hand drive. I obtained a resin dash to make this easier.

The trailer has a different arrangement of tie-down rails and rear bumper and lights. I also want to include a set of cages to drop in around the perimeter.

The Build Begins

As often happens with these old kits, there was a fair bit of warpage in the parts, particularly the chassis rails.

The warped chassis rails

Fortunately, with the plastic being so soft, they will straighten out in the build.

The Engine

The engine in the kit is a Cummins unit. As I have no reference showing the Australian motors, I'm assuming they had the same powerplant. The engine goes together fairly easily, but there is always a lot of cleanup on these AMT jobs.

The basic engine assembly

I replaced the starter motor with bits from the spares box and added a bit of plumbing. This is the first truck I have made in 25 years, so I have a fairly steep learning curve as far as plumbing and detailing goes. I added a bit of wiring and piping with fuse and electrical wire. It is largely representative as, again, I'm a bit short of reference despite hours of websearching.

A bit of plumbing

I wanted to have the front wheels steerable, or at least posed at an angle. The kit parts made this quite hard and I nearly destroyed the front beam in my attempt. I went with option two and simply sanded the ends down on my disc sander at 15°. This provides a simple and robust solution with minimal loss of hair.

The original front axle ...

... and with the ends sanded at 15°

I started glueing ancillaries, diffs, tanks, batteries, suspension and frame together. It was at this stage I realised I should have shortened the chassis! The kit has a sleeper while my subject doesn't. Okay. Back to the references to have a think about the best way to handle this. Fortunately I discovered the problem in a dry run before I had got much further than glueing the frame together. Watch this space for the fix.

A dry run of subassemblies shows the too-long chassis.

I discovered a second error while creating the schematic. The kit tanks are 10 mm short. I scabbed a pair out of a "Madame Butterfly" Mack kit. I'll cut these down to size and sand off the lumps, bumps and chrome.

The Mack-donated long tanks that will be sacrificed for this build. The Mack is going to end up as a Scammell Contractor anyway.

Here is the chassis solution. Fortunately the glue had not completely cured so I was able to pry the parts apart with doing too much damage. I then cut 30 mm off the tail end of the chassis and re-chamfered the rails.

The dis-assembled and trimmed chassis.

I cleaned up the parts and then re-assembled them, with a new cross member toward the front as well. With the chassis frame sorted out I could mount the rear suspension and get the wheels on to make sure everything sat nice and level.

The rebuilt chassis with axles and wheels in place.

On to the tanks. The donated tanks were glued up and left to set.

The glued-up Mack tanks.

Once the tanks were cured I removed all the moulded-on strap and bracket detail(?) with a big flat bastard.

Comparison of the bastardised and non-bastardised tanks.

Both tanks after bastardisation and the resulting pile of filings.

Next comes the surgery. I marked off the two cuts on each tank with Tamiya tape as a cutting guide.

The tanks with tape as cutting guide.

Cutting round bits is always such fun! I worked out a new cutting aid this time. I found a discarded piece of aluminium L-section and simply held the tank against it with my hand. This provided ample stability for the cut and the tank didn't squirm around at all. Sort of an improvised mitre box. Anyway - it worked a treat.

A makeshift MacGyver mitre box made the cuts easy.

Here's the reason for the different cut lengths. With a bit of careful planning, (and doing the drawing FIRST this time!) I managed to position the join where it will be covered by the new straps. Up here for thinking!

The cut tanks showing how the join will be hidden by the strap.

I thought the kit tank brackets coud be improved quite easily with a clean up and a thin strip of styrene.

The kit parts untouched, and slightly modified.

With the brackets glued in place on the tanks, I wrapped some more styrene strip arond the tanks to replace the moulded-on straps they originally had.

I also added some detail to the rear suspension. I raided both International Transtar kits in my stash to get enough air brake bits for front and rear spots on the bogie. I don't know what I'll now use on the Transtars, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I also scratched up trailer hitch and associated mounting hardware. Here's another dry run.

The original unit has a frame added at the rear of the cab mount to hold some jerry cans and and the suzies. Here's the frame and jerrycan racks scratched up.

The Auslowe water cans left something to be desired, so I applied drill, file and knife to get a more appropriate shape, and replaced the moulded-on filler cap with the end cap from a 1:48 TOW missile tube, I think!

Next op was some plumbing for the back brakes. Here are the air hoses. Pipes and wiring harness yet to come.

I picked up a couple of Italeri 1:24 Land Rovers. I figure at one of these will make a good load with some general cargo.

I cracked open the trailer kit and pulled out the one-piece tray and the Land Rover body and popped it on the back to see how it will all look together. It's been so long since I've done a big rig that I am really surprised how big the model is going to be.

Quite a bit more detail was added to the tanks, including metal mesh steps and plumbing. They were fitted and the fifth wheel dropped in place temporarily. I am starting to get a feel of how chunky this truck is. A short wheelbase and dual drive will do that.

Here it is with the cab off so you can see a bit more detail.

With the Aussie truck being RHD, the steering box and linkages needed to be transferred to the other side of the chassis. This involved cutting the uni-joint off one end of the box and glueing it on the other end. The box was then glued updside-down on the other chassis rail. There was also a gaping hole in the back of the box that I blanked off with some card. All the attachment lugs on the LH chassis rail were pared off as they weren't needed any more. They were also set up for a forward set axle, so they were in the wrong spot for this truck.

The linkages themselves needed some re-arranging and shortening to look feasible on the RHD set up.

Three air tanks were added and then these, the front brakes and the power steering had some plumbing added.

The museum example I got most of my pics from had plastic rear guards fitted but shots of the trucks in Vietnam show a square fabricated treadplate rear mudguard arrangement. I drew up a template in Illustrator and ran out a print as a test.

When trimmed and folded they fitted quite well. Now I just have to do the same thing with some styrene treadplate!

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Here is a by-no-means comprehensive calendar of aviation and modelling related events that will be happening in the near future (or immediate past, depending on how often I get to update it!) around Australia. If there is something you'd like to add to this list, drop me a line here and let me know.

Dates for upcoming events of interest:


RAAF Museum Pont Cook Interactive Flying Displays
On three days of every week, weather and aircraft availability permitting, the RAAF Museum, Point Cook, takes one of its airworthy aircraft up for a display. This means that three times a week you can have your own little air show! The display flights usually last 10-15 minutes and are preceded with an introduction on the ground presenting the aircraft and the pilot and ground crew. After each flight there is a Q&A session where you can get up quite close to the aircraft and ask any questions you might have. These are a terrific and casual way to see some famous aircraft up close and personal. The museum's airworthy fleet includes: CT-4 Airtrainer, Sopwith Pup replica, P-51 Mustang, Winjeel trainer, Tiger Moth and Harvard trainer. Often visiting aircraft are displayed as well. These might include DC3, Cessna O-1 Bird Dog, other Winjeels or even an RAAF PC-9 trainer. And it is completely free! How good is that!


August 2010

August 14-15
Temora Aviation Museum Flying Day
Temora, NSW. Always a great display of warbirds and classic aircraft!
There has been a major revamp of the flying dates, so make sure you check the Temora website before you make any travel plans! Visit for confirmation of flying dates.

September 2010

September 24
Eagles Day
Model competition and display. Essex Heights Primary School, Essex Rd, Mt Waverley, Victoria.
Run jointly by Axis Eagles modelling club and IPMS Australia.

November 2010

November 13–14
Wings Modelling Competition
Moorabbin Air Museum Model Competition. Always a good show with plenty of aviation-themed modelling on display. Come and take a look at the classic aircraft on display too!

November 20-21
Temora Aviation Museum Flying Day
Temora, NSW. Always a great display of warbirds and classic aircraft!
There has been a major revamp of the flying dates, so make sure you check the Temora website before you make any travel plans! Visit for confirmation of flying dates.


March 2011

March 1-6
Avalon 2011
Avalon Airport, Avalon, Victoria.
Australia's premier air show.
Celebrating the RAAF's 90th anniversary as well as the the 10th Avalon airshow. Trade only Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (1-3) and Friday 4th until 2pm. General Public access from 2pm on Friday and all through the weekend. Flying displays will include a night show on Friday.

Sources (among others):
AeroAustralia Magazine
ModelArt Magazine
Waverley Scale Modelling Club
Australian Society of Aviation Artists
Aviation Historical Society of Australia
AARG, Moorabbin Air Museum

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