Warmaster 1/72 M4 Tractor and 155mm Long Tom

It's great to see diecasts in a display cabinet and these days they often come supplied in a plastic display case as well, rather than simply a model to be removed from a cardboard box.  It can be easy though to go an extra step and make your own display base for them as well.  In the picture above you can see the end result of one I did to use as a general display base of WW2 military vehicles.  In this instance it is coupled with one of the Warmaster models, of the M4 artillery tractor, towing a 155mm Long Tom.

The base was bought as a plain wood base from a trader at the On Track Model show a year or so ago.  A thin coat of ready mixed polyfiller was applied to make the roadway, and wheels tracks made into it before it set.  Just paint to suit your preference, and I went for a muddy country road.  The hedging used to create the backdrop is available from a wargames scenery maker, Rob Spendelow at Hedgerow Scenics.  Then the grass strips are available from Mini Natur and these have self adhesive backing.  So a very simple combination of readily available items, and apart from painting the roadway a quick and easy way to create a base that helps set of a combination such as this.

The M4 artillery tractor was based on the chassis of the M3 light tank, but with an unarmoured bodywork to carry the gun crew and some ammunition.  The crane fitted was used to handle the heavy 155mm ammunition on and off the vehicle.  Coupled to it, and in the travelling configuration, is the US 155mm gun usually known as the 'Long Tom'.  There was a shorter barreled 8in gun which used the same carriage, but the longer barrel is the visual giveaway to which is which.  For travel, the long barrel is retracted to the travel lock, making the combination that much shorter and therefore better able to negotiate the smaller roads in Europe and in town, though it was still a long combination.  Warmaster have done a nice job with the models themselves, as well as the paintwork and markings.  Adding it to the base I think sets it off quite nicely, driving through the lanes of Normandy perhaps.