M201 Milan Jeep
After WWII France had the herculean task of rebuilding its Army, Navy and Air Force. With little funds to purchase equipment the Army scoured the battlefields and recovered much needed armour and light vehicles. The American Government donated 20,000 Jeeps to France to help with the rebuild. A lot of these Jeeps were in poor condition and many were broken down for use as spares. E.R.G.M. (Etablissement de Réserve Générale du Matériel Automobile) was given the task of preparing these Jeeps for service. Hotchkiss also produced a vehicle which was basically a copy of the Jeep. This was called the Hotchiss M201. With so many spare parts Jeeps were being built with a mix of components from Willys, MB and Hotchiss.
These M201s served France well and the last of them wasn’t retired from service until the 1990s. As the years went on they were fitted with all types of weapons such as anti-tank guns and rockets. One such variant was the Milan Jeep. This had a Milan anti-tank missile launcher in the back with a rack for three and later four spare rounds mounted on the rear of the Jeep. A search for ‘M201 Milan jeep’ will bring up a load of photos on the ‘net.
I thought this would make for a good conversion and had a look for a suitable Jeep. My option was the Italeri 1/35 Ambulance Jeep. The Milan came from the Italeri Modern Light Weapons Set.
Construction of the Jeep was straight forward and built as per instructions, with the exception that the frame work for the stretchers was left off. The rear ammunition carrier was made from plasticard and photos of the real thing were studied to get it as accurate as possible. The Milan pedestal was made from various bits and pieces of plastic tube and plasticard. The spare wheel and Jerry can were mounted on the passenger side of the Jeep. Because of the height of the Milan assembly a larger frame for the canvas tilt was made from .3mm brass rod. The straps for the spare ammo were made from 1mm masking tape and the buckles are from an ABER brass etch buckle set.
The camouflage was the standard tricolour Nato Green, Nato Brown and Nato Black. Markings came from the decal bank. The French flag was cut from a RAF fin flash. The registration 205 0330 indicates the following. The ‘2’ is the Armée de Terre or Gendarmerie. The ‘0’ is the decade registered, in this case 1960 and the ‘5’ indicates a rebuilt Jeep. 0330 is the 330th Jeep built in that series.
A nice and relatively straight forward conversion and something a little different for the Jeep collection.