I’m old enough to remember when the Humvee was first introduced by the US military (don’t all 8-year old boys keep close tabs on new military hardware?). In the decades since it’s become iconic, so I thought I’d get one to round out my modern skirmish stuff.
Yes, indeed, that’s technically it’s correct name. Replacing the easily pronounceable M151 “Jeep”, the High Mobility Medium Wheeled Vehicle quickly became “Humvee”, which is a pretty inaccurate nickname, but how the heck else do you pronounce HMMWV?
Designed to fit snugly in the back of a C-130 and sized somewhere between the smaller jeep and the bigger WW2 vintage Deuce-and-a-half, manufacturer AM General has built over 280,000 Humvees for US forces and foreign military sales. It serves as a light cargo vehicle and a personnel and weapons carrier. And honestly, as just about every other role the US military could shoehorn it into.
The original version often had canvas doors, but this model shows a the metal-doored (but still softskin) M998 variant. Subsequent versions had more and more armour, air conditioning, a bigger engine and turrets which kept getting bigger and bigger. The problem was this was that it drove like a barge and while resistant to small arms fire it had pretty crap mobility, which when the vehicle’s name starts with “high mobility” shows that mission creep had set in to an epic level. Protection from mines and IEDs remained fairly rubbish. As of 2012 the US military has decided that trying to make Humvees into APCs was a stupid idea and relegated them to rear-echelon use. Which is what they were originally designed for anyway. Front line troops are more like to get an MRAP for insurgency work, which makes a lot more sense, and it only took them 20 years to figure it out.
The Humvee is due to be replaced in US service by the new JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle), continuing the tradition of unpronounceable vehicle names. The JLTV is basically “son of Humvee” and reportedly is a lot less agricultural to drive. You’re bound to still see a lot of Humvees in service for a long time, both with the US and sold on to every man and his dog around the world.
The Militia Miniatures Humvee
I bought this in their recent Kickstarter, hopefully it’l be up on Minibits soon and available generally. It’s not the cheapest Humvee out there in 28mm (£15 on the KS), but it’s a very nice kit.
It was a clean cast, with no holes to fill at all. Much appreciated, that. I hate filling holes. The body is resin and you get a metal gunner, metal wheels, axles, front and rear bumpers. Two weapon choices are included, an M60 LMG and a Mk19 AGL. Those are both quite American weapon choices, but the gunner isn’t dressed in US uniform. He’ll do nicely as a merc though. I’ve glued the Mk19 into his hands and then magnetised him into the hole on the roof, so I can remove him and the weapon when I need to. I did have to cut down the pintle for the Mk19 to make his hands line up nicely with it, which is a bit of a booboo from Militia, but an easily fixed one.
I decided to paint it in the currently fashionable sandy paint scheme, which for me started with a cheap plastic primer from Halfords and then an all over spray of Army Painter desert yellow. After painting the tyres I attached the wheels and went around with black ink picking out all the detail, then washed it all over with thinned AP Dark tone, clearing it off the flat areas with a finger to prevent water marks. A quick drybrush with some Vallejo Iraqi Sand and then I could stick on the roo bars at the front. Simples.
I’ll be using this for the skirmish game Black Ops, and if you’re thinking that a big American V8 and an automatic grenade launcher isn’t the most stealthy option you’d be right. Luckily Black Ops works as a stand-up wargame, and even for stealth games there’s an option for the defender to bring in vehicles as their QRF, as well as the obvious patrol and convoy ambush type scenarios.