By Mike Crane
Over the years I have noticed that there are more grown men in the toy departments looking at the Matchbox cars than there are children. I keep hoping that people are thinking I am toy shopping for a grandchild. Oh, well. Who cares, really? If they work, the diecast models are very inexpensive. I would like to point out several vehicles that I have recently purchased and repainted with a desert-sand colored hobby acrylic for use in my modern wargames.
The first is the Humvee model produced by Matchbox. It comes in a package
of five vehicles named Battle Mission 5-Pack. In addition to the Humvee, a double-cab pickup truck is included which can be painted white and used by Arab guerrillas, and a Dodge station-wagon may be painted olive green and used as a WWII Allied commander’s car. The price of the package at Walmart is $4.97.
The other military vehicles currently available are the Tonka die-cast iron and plastic models. They may not be exact replicas of a particular vehicle but they are close enough to be used by the enterprising solo-gamer. These models are sold individually under the Strike Force Metal Diecast Bodies designation. At Walmart, these models cost $3.97 each.
The Matchbox Humvee and the Tonka models fit in well with the 1/72 plastic figures currently on the market. The Matchbox Humvee is just a tiny bit larger when compared to a model which is supposed to be exactly 1/72. Actually, the Matchbox Humvee fits the figures better in my opinion. If you are a solo-gamer with a good imagination, exact scale matches are not so important anyway. I bought three packages with the Humvee models in them.
The Tonka models include an armored troop carrier, a cargo truck, and a
water/fuel truck. All of the trucks fit into the 1/72 scheme. Two armored troop carriers and two cargo trucks were purchased. I did not buy the water truck when it first appeared on the rack. It was gone the next week, of course, but in a nearby rack there was a Tonka civilian gasoline truck with a blue cab and a silver tank. It was exactly the same as the military truck, so I bought it and painted it with desert-sand acrylic.
At the moment, I am thinking the trucks and a Humvee will be used to create a scenario in which a supply column is ambushed on the way to a US outpost. A squad of infantry will be in the first and last armored troop carriers. The Humvee will follow the leading vehicle with the commanding officer inside. The water/fuel tanker will be in the middle between two cargo trucks. If the
scenario does not work out, I will just sit and look at the models anyway. They really look good to me.
P.S.—I just got back from our weekly jaunt to Walmart to shop for groceries. I wanted to double-check the prices of the models and saw that the Matchbox Battle Mission 5-Pack has been replaced with a newer version. The new package still contains a Humvee and I am sure a use can be found for the other vehicles—especially the WWII jeep. Get them while you can.