by: Gino P. Quintiliani
This is a model of an M577A2 from the 5th Infantry Division, 105 Military Intelligence Company around 1985. The M577 is used as a command post carrier at the Company and higher level. It is basically an M113 with a raised roof to allow for large maps and work areas for the commanders to plan and execute operations. A tent extension can also be added to the rear and many M577s can be connected together to make a TOC (Tactical Operations Center). It is also know affectionately known as the “Hotel on Wheels” by the men who crewed them since it was their home for extended periods of time.
The M577 was developed during the Vietnam War and has gone through many upgrades and changes over the years. The M577A2 version is an early 1980s variant that has upgrades that include a diesel engine, as compared to the M557s gasoline engine. It also had a shock absorber added to the second road wheel arm to smooth out the ride a bit. The M577A3 and the M1068A3 are the latest incarnations of the M577 and they are still in use today. These have further engine and transmission upgrades and newer generators and a power distribution system.
The Exterior Hull
The model is the old Tamiya M577 originally produced in the 1970s. It is still a pretty decent kit with good details, but needs a bit of work to bring it up to A2 standards. The two external areas that need improvement are the addition of the shock absorbers to the second road wheel arm on both sides and moving up the rear idler wheel by 3mm. The shock absorbers are added with a piece of styrene rod and a triangle of styrene. Onto the triangle, add a button of rod that has a rounded end. These replicate the shock and its mount. The rear idler mounts are cut off with a razor saw and moved up by 3mm.
Another area needing updating is the engine grills on the front top, right side of the hull. The original M577 had an open exhaust stack and an unarmored radiator cap. The A2 has an exhaust stack with a flapper and a metal guard around it. The items were added from left over parts from an Academy M113A3 kit. The guard around the exhaust stack is made from strips of sheet styrene. Also, many smaller fittings like the lifting loop, the second exhaust for the crew heater, a handle for the trim vane need to be added as well.
On the roof, a fuel can rack for the generator fuel cans needs to be made from sheet styrene. A water can rack was added to the right rear as well.
On the inside, I took the interior from a Tamiya M113 kit and modified it. I added the fuel tanks and tables along the hull sides, fuel transfer pipes, a ramp pulley, radio racks, and other small fittings. I also added two angled braces to the hull and roof. One attaches to the wall that runs along side the driver and extends is back to be even with the extended roof at the top. The other goes behind and to the left of the driver’s seat, making a triangle brace. I added lights and hand holds to the roof as well.
The TCs stand was made from the Tamiya interior piece turned around to face the rear and fit in place with a brace added underneath for support.