The Gun Truck

   Jerry served in Vietnam in 69-70, part of his tour was with the 444 Trans Company. There he ran convoys from the port city of Qui Nhon to the central highlands town of Pleiku.
   The army had developed the 'Hardened Convoy' concept to provide security for the convoys. They took some of their trucks to make into 'gun trucks'. These were equipped with armor plate and machine guns.  At first they were deuce and a half trucks, but the weight was too much for them and most were then done on the M-54 5 ton trucks.
Jerry wanted to make  models of them, in 1/35th scale,  but discovered that no one made a model of the M-54 five ton. He and James Lyles(later author of the gun truck book 'The Hard Ride') and a Vietnam gun trucker himself, came up with master parts for a M-54 cab and made molds to cast their parts.


A shot of Red Baron through a windshield that got holed in an ambush

Here you can see the molds for the cab. Some are one piece molds, some are two piece. Jerry calls the two piece molds 'squish molds'. He pours the plastic into the hollow mold, then presses in the 'plug', some plastic squishes out then.  Gun truck crews had great esprit de corps and kept their trucks
in tip top shape and as clean as they could.
  Most gun trucks were named after songs/groups/tv shows of the time.
Hence 'Red Baron' and 'Snoopy' from the song by the Royal Guardsmen 'Snoopy and the Red Baron'.  Other Vietnam gun trucks were named 'Paladin', 'Maverick',  'Sgt Pepper's', etc....
   Jerry does through research before beginning a model, interviewing crew members and getting photos from them,
or pictures from other gun truckers, since most took
pictures of the other gun trucks.
Jerry draws up a box plan and solicits comments from crew members.  Jim and Jerry discovered they could use the Italeri M-925 
five ton kit  as a basis for the truck, using a shortened frame and the bed/tires for the rest of the model. As each gun truck was unique, the armor boxes had to be built for each model. 
Eventually, Jerry came up with the goal to model all the gun trucks of the 444. One is available as a commercial deuce kit-somewhat inaccurate, it is the quad fifty 'Nancy'. It was gone when he got to the company, as was the 5 ton quad 'The Bounty Hunter'. 
He has made models of both.  Red Baron was originally 'the Saint' but Wayne Dobos repainted it as Red Baron in 1970, to go
with one of the other gun trucks of the 444 'Snoopy'.
 See the other pages at the bottom of the home page 
for pictures of building it.
The cast parts are in white, the dark parts are from the kit. 
Note the wire grill installed in the side of the hood. 
These were taken from 10 ton trucks to help cool the engine.
Jerry's model of Nancy. Note the shield he added behind the gunner-the
kit does not have this, nor the picture that is on the back. He used plastic
angle and sheet to construct it. The gun also sits on the trailer that the
kit should have had.
Here are the armor boxes in their first stages for Jerry's 444 GT
project. He did two Red Barons, one for Wayne, and one for himself. The other two he is still working on are Frustration and Little Respect.
 Here are the models after painting. 8th group vehicles had yellow noses.
Red Baron had a hole in the hood, that it got when it was 'the Saint'. It was painted red to show it off. Jerry designed the graphics for Red Baron, after careful perusal of all the pictures he could find.  Archer Transfers has since put them out for modelers to buy.
Here is a detail of the cab for Red Baron, note the wire mesh
around the exhaust stack and the red details on the turbo.
The finished model, note the red differentials, few gun trucks had a color there.  Fuel tank had red stripes also-just another detail crew members added to show their pride.
Note the mud flaps that Wayne painted with the Iron Cross. Top view of the armor box, showing the details. Jerry made the Playboy and Stars and Stripes newspaper by reducing them down from mock-ups he made. The machine guns came from other kits. All the ammo boxes on the floor were cast by him from his molds. The Miller Beer and Pepsi X cases were made using model C ration case diagrams with the new graphics on them. Jerry made the open beer case with plastic pieces and cast it, then covered it with the printed paper. 
The red spot is the mini-gun from a helicopter that Red Baron had. 
They made the red shieldover it-that was a pain to model!
Jerry was a convoy commander and rode in an armor plated gun jeep with his radio. He has made models of gun jeeps also. Jerry made this model like his gun jeep, except he did not have the cobra graphic on his. He has since shared his pattern of the armor with other modelers so they can do an accurate gun jeep.

 An article in the Stars and Stripes Newspaper in Vietnam about the Gun Trucks

Some of Jerry's Favorite Web Sites
Jerry's Garden G Scale Railway
Jerry's Jukebox
Jerry's Paintings that he did of things he saw while serving his tour of duty in Vietnam
Pictures that Jerry took during his tour of duty in Vietnam
Jerry's Model Ships
My Large Scale dot Com
This site is probably the best G scale site there is
Steam in the Garden Magazine
Lots of good steam info and people who know steam
Aristo Craft Trains
This is a a good web site with forums and is split into steam, electric and a few other categories
Live Steam 1/29
A site that Don McKay started up devoted solely to the Aristo Craft Live Steam Mikado
Large Scale Tech Tips
This site was started by George Schreyer  years ago. Lots of good info there
Colorado Model Structures
Very reasonable priced buildings a building parts for your railroad.
Union Pacific Railroads
This web site has information on their two live steamers they still run and where they are going to on excursions. You can follow them on line.
Vietnam Transportation Association
Vietnam Transportation Association
Good web site if you are interested in transportation in the Vietnam war
A web site devoted solely to the Gun Trucks used in Vietnam and now in Iraq. Many good pictures.
Modeling Vietnam Gun Trucks
This site will show you how Jerry has done his Gun Truck Models.
Heartland Military Museum
Museum at Lexington, NE on I-80. Devoted to vehicles
used by the military.
Always Jukin' Magazine
Site devoted to jukeboxes, 
many ads and stories
Fast Hits Music
If you are looking for that certain 45 for your jukebox, this is the place to go to
Kitabee Books
Lexington, NE
At Kitabee Books, we sell new and used books, book accessories & magnetic poetry kits.
 If you have any questions or comments please use this
link to e mail me

We have had a number of requests for the T Shirt the Jerry had sold in the past but he has a new design seen above, prices are the same as the older design.
It can be order by e mail at the following 
*Guntruck T Shirts designed by Jerry Barnes*
*Black ink on gray shirts as shown.*
*Sizes M-XL   $15*
*XXL              $18*
*$6 shipping for one in the U.S., $1  extra for each over one. Overseas to be determined on an individual basis.*
*PAYPAL payment to:
*or check/MO to:    Jerry Barnes*
*                               75495 Road 436*
*                               Lexington, NE 68850*

John's Old Car and Truck Pictures
A picture tour of the 64 remaining Covered Bridges of New Brunswick
The Covered Bridges 
of New Brunswick Canada
Visit Nova Scotia's Covered Bridges of the past
The Covered Bridges
of Nova Scotia Canada
The Old Railway Stations of Canada
Visit Lonnie Hedgepeth's Covered Bridge that is being built for his live steam train.
Visit Lonnie Hedgepeth's 
of Rocky Mount, North Carolina site.
He has used the plans provided on my web page and is building a Covered Bridge for his Live Steam train.
The building trades class at Darlington HS in Darlington, Wisconsin built this covered bridge for a local 
business man
Julie's model covered bridge
Julie and her father Gary built a model bridge using the plans on my Covered Bridge site for a school project
A tribute to the Steam Locomotives of the CNR
A tribute to the Steam Locomotives 
of the CNR
A tribute to the Steam Locomotives 
of the CPR
Ed's Etching are well worth the vist
Ed's Marble Etchings

Webmaster John MacDonald 

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