Vehicles of the 640th - Part 1

It’s always nice to do projects that have a little meaning. Like the time I did a model of a ship on which a friend’s father served, or a specific aircraft a veteran flew. So, I was tickled when I found out that my very own unit, the 640th Regiment (RTI) was once upon a time an honest to goodness tank destroyer battalion.

A 640th M-10 GMC on Guadalcanal in 1944

The 640th Tank Destroyer Battalion was established December 19, 1941 at Camp San Luis Obispo, CA. The 640th saw action in the Bismarck Archipelago, Eastern Mandates, Luzon and Mindanao. On Luzon the 640th conducted mounted patrols which penetrated behind enemy lines as much as 25 to 30 miles. Elements of the 640th raced ahead of the main body and secured key bridges and road junctions during the approach to Manila enabling US forces to cut off and surround large numbers of Japanese forces in the city.

Another 640th M-10 on Luzon in 1945

This is the first in a series of projects on the Vehicles of the 640th Tank Destroyer Battalion.

The Kit:
The AFV Club M-10 GMC is an excellent kit that has been around for a few years now. It has some very nice features but will benefit from a few aftermarket parts.

I purchased the Aber PE set for this kit and to be honest I only used a fraction of the parts it provided. The kit parts are for the most part just fine and display just as well as PE parts without a fraction of the hassle. The only significant parts I used were the steering handles and brush guards for the lights. The rest ended up in the spares bin. For all the effort I put into making the interior very little is really visible. Still, it’s still nice to know it’s there. The most prominent aftermarket parts I used were the brass 76mm HE rounds stored in the open top turret. These are prominent parts and it was essential that something be put in there since the kit comes with no rounds at all. The kit tracks are T49 straight steel tracks which are not correct for photos I have of 640th TD M-10s so, I substituted a set of very nice DS T51 tracks from a DML Sherman kit. I had to pirate the drive sprocket from the same Sherman kit to make the tracks fit properly.
Another small aftermarket item I used to good advantage was some tie downs from Tiger Models. These little resin beauties are inexpensive and give eye popping detail way out of proportion to their cost an effort. Since these tie downs are so prominent and visible on the M-10 turret I thought it was worth the small effort.
I painted the base color using Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab lightened to scale with XF-60 Dark Yellow. I then post shaded with straight Dark Yellow diluted to almost water consistency with isopropyl alcohol. I followed this with a wash of mineral spirits mixed with ground pastel chalk, also called “pigments” but I hate that term. Once this was fully dry I went over it with another wash of black artist oils cut with mineral spirits. This subdued the pastel wash and gave it a very pleasing three dimensional affect. The final weathering touch was a light dry brush with ground pastel chalk to bring out the fine detail.The stowage on the rear deck is mostly from the spares bin. The tarps are facial tissue wetted with white glue and painted with Tamiya acrylics. One photo I have of a 640th M-10 crew shows one clown wearing a Japanese Army fatigue cap and holding a Japanese rifle. I was a rabid souvenir collector in Iraq so I was excited to see a kindred spirit from my own unit. In honor of my fellow relic hunter I stuck several Japanese rifles, swords and a helmet in amongst the legitimate gear stowed on the rear deck.

A 640th M-10 crew on Luzon. Note the IJA cap and rifle

The markings are a combination of Archer Dry Transfers and chopped up numbers and letters from various decal sheets in the spares bin. I had a devil of a time finding characters that spelled out “640TD”. In the end I had to settle for some letters and numbers whose size didn’t quite match. I’m still on the lookout for a better option but for now this is as good as it gets.

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