AT Commander's

21st Century HumVee
(This pic is the REAL one.)


The High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or "HumVee") was intended to provide a common light tactical vehicle with diverse capabilities. It was intended to replace several vehicles, such as the 1/4 ton Jeep, the M718A1 Ambulance, the 1/2 ton Mule, the 1.25 ton Gamma Goat and the M792 Ambulance.





This vehicle was supposed to do it all. It's a light, 4-wheel drive diesel-powered vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission. The basic foundation of this versatile vehicle is the M998 chassis (the troop carrier), that can be configured in many ways to become an ambulance (M997), Armament Carrier (M1044), Tow Carrier (M1045, M1046 with winch), M1037 shelter carrier, and the heavy duty M1097 (with a 4,400 lb payload capacity!), just to name a few. There are 11 variants overall.




The HumVee is a very durable, capable vehicle, especially in open areas such as the desert. Armaments are varied from cutting-edge missile launching capabilities, to TOW launchers, and a variety of small arms. Pics are common that show the HumVee with M-60 and M2 machine guns in the turret as perhaps the most common.


It was 15 feet long, 7.08 feet wide, 6 feet tall (redicuble to 4.5 feet), weighed 5,200 lbs, pwoered by a 6.2 liter fuel injected liquid cooled diesel that generated 150hp at 3,600 rpms. 3-speed transmission, 2-speed locking chain-driven transfer case, 24V electrical, could ford 2.5 feet of water (5 ft deep with fording kit), 4-wheel disc brakes, 25 gallon fuel capacity, 65mph max speed on the highway, and a range of up to 350 miles.






Facts came from an official Army site:
Pics came from AM General:


21st Century HumVee

Here is my version of the 21st Century's HumVee. Formerly a stock off-the-shelf forest camo version, I mae a lot of modifications. It was a Christmas 2005 leftover that apparently never made it to the floor in time for Christmas... it showed up on the shelf on clearance in early 2006. For the paltry sum of $50 it seemed like a pretty good deal. The only problem was that it wouldn't hold any 1/6 figures! This was a great scale version of the HumVee, but it obviously needed some work...


This Web Page is an effort to explain what I've done and how I did it. Here is a list of the modifications I made to the vehicle:
- Windows and Doors cut out
- Windshield Glass Added
- Door Hinges Added
- Door Latches Added
- Interior Added (4 seats)
- Seatbelts (in front 2 seats)
- Dashboard Added (on driver's side)
- Steering Wheel Fabricated and Added
- Antenna Modifications

chassisjeepThe chassis for this HumVee is pretty robust. Whoever designed it made sure it'd handle some rough use! As you can see from the pic, it's based upon a 4-element frame that bolts to the engines front and rear. On the middle of the frame you can see the radio box (the white rectangular box).On top of the radio box is a tray where the Gel-Cel resides (it uses the same battery and charger as the 21C tanks, by the way). The black elastic strap goes over the battery and attaches to the other side, holding the battery firmly in the tray. In this pic, the battery has been removed, but you can see the battery plug in the spot where the battery goes. This pic also demonstrates the scale size difference between the HumVee and the SOTW jeep. Compared to a 1/6 Willys, the HumVee is absolutely HUGE!!!






motorviewHere's a pic of the motor drive to a wheel pair. There are two essentially identical motor drives, one for the steerable front wheels and one for the fixed rear wheels. Yup, it's a no-kiddin' 4-wheel drive design! We (the kids and I) tried this on a variety of obstacles and terrain, and we were pretty impressed with the performance of this platform! I'm kicking myself for not picking up another one while they were on clearance, so I'd be able to use one for spare parts and perhaps 'bash a custom 6x6 armored car (M-8 Greyhound, perhaps?). I've had many "kick myself later" episodes, though, so I'm getting used to it. Rugged design is evident here - I'm impressed!





chassisideUltimate-Elite-Whatever-Brand this guy is shows the comparative size of this chassis with a figure as reference. You can see that it's got pretty reasonable ground clearance. "Real" Joes can't sit worth beans, and I didn't have any spare SA Joes around, so this generic guy and a Max Steel out of the junkbox comprise the 2-man crew.





radioboxThis is a close-up shot of the radio box. I unscrewed it from the chassis to see how it was mounted. You can see from the pic here that the top of the radio box (the battery tray) is bolted chassismountpretty sturdily to the chassis. The bottom of the radio box is bolted up, onto the battery tray. This looked like it could be moved for other designs, perhaps (like an M-8 with an open fighting compartment), but since I wanted to go with a HumVee, I figured I'd leave it where it is... now I know how it's constructed and can better plan for other projects and can move it later if I feel like it.





After turning the body upside-down, I saw that the windshield was held on my just a few screws. Unscrewing
WindPegs2these allowed me to drop the windshield out (it's WindPegsslotted into place on the sides, and the screws hold it at the bottom, where the dash would be). After removing the windshield, you can see the terrible pillars that hang from the roof behind the windshield. Obviously, these have got to go! The Dremel tool (with a buzz-saw attachment) made short work of 'em!

Door Hinges:
You can see the hinges I fabricated in this photo. I originally used the inner lead tube from a disposable mechanical pencil, but
Hinge3figured I'd Hinge4ought to use styrene tubing from the hobby store instead (my wife got mad when I started breaking pencils "but honey, this little plastic tube is PERFECT!!!"). After cutting out the doors, I added the "tubing hinges" to the body and to the doors. Then I found some brass tubing that was exactly the same size as the inner diameter of the tubing. You can see from the little pic that I dinged one end of the tubing to force it out-of-round... that way it would friction-fit into the tubing (in other words, I bashed it with a ball peen hammer to slightly flatten one end of the brass tube, then crammed it into the soft styrene tubing so it'd stay put). Just in case, I added a drop or two of Epoxy to the top of each to be sure it'd stay put and to make the top of the hinge rounded.






Here's a pic of one of the hinges - it's pulled up a little for the pic to show you the brass tubing inside the styrene. Yes, the doors are removable, just like on a real HumVee. On hinge2a small sailboat's rudder, it's called a "pintle and gudgeon" arrangement. I also included a (rather ugly) pic of the hinges at one phase of development, but I hinge1included this pic to show the door liner rather than the hinges themselves. You can see that I put a strip of sheet styrene around the door opening on the inside. This gives the door something to support it (or "close against") when the door is shut. Without something there, the door would swing into the opening and keep right on swinging... since the door is a cutout, there is a blade-width space all the way around the door and it'd "over-close" without something to slam against and hold it in place. Here you can see a sloppy first coat of paint. It'll get another coat of paint that'll deepen the green and even it up. I'll do a little work with putty, too, to clean up some of the irregular gouges from the door-cutting process. Still, it gives you an idea of what you're up against with this kind of project. Cutting doors out is only one step... the quickest, easiest, most fun step. Adding the door jamb, building up the hinges with sheet plastic so that they perfectly meet, and aligning stuff is a lot harder than the fun of weilding a Dremel buzz saw for 10 minutes. Then comes the putty and paint (the part I like the least!). These are pre-putty and paint pics.






DriverDoorHere's a pic of HumVee Driver trying out the new doors. At this phase I'd just put in the interior and steering wheel and was working on the hinges. Because of the coutours of the HumVee body, some hinges needed a thin strip of sheet styrene mounted beneath them to align them with the hinge half that I'd already mounted on the door. This pic was taken the evening I was testing the hinges. I had to cut off hinges a few times and remanufacture them because I wasn't happy with the alignment. I made a boatload of hinges until I got them all aligned and matched up so that I was happy with 'em. I wanted the doors to swing easily, with very little resistance; at the same time, I wanted the doors to be easily removable. I had in mind that my 8-year old would be doing this without supervision, and I'd rather build it right the first time than repeatedly repair it! (Note that in this pic I hadn't yet added the thin strip of sheet plastic interior of the door opening to give it a door jamb (something to close against, that I described earlier).






Door Handles/Latches:
Handle1Next came the door latches. You can see here, I used a thin diameter brass rod (wire, really), and bent it into the shape of a cursive small letter "h". Then I dug up a piece of brass tubing that would Handle2pressure-fit over the tall part of the "h" and act as the handle itself. Each of the doors was done differently from this point on. I used a teeny drill to make the hole. I heated up a needle and melted it thorugh to make the hole. I heated up the brass rod itself and poked it through the door. One of these methods (I don't recall which) was more effective than the others, so it's the method I used on the last door. You can also see the little clasp (more like a ramp with a V notch in it) to keep the handle horizontal and to keep it from unlatching itself on bumpy terrain. The natural spring in the brass rod keeps it tight.


The interior isn't really an interior… the phrase gives it more credit than is due. I cut a 2x4 on my tablesaw a seat1couple of times until I got it the height I wanted, then I buzzed it with my bench-mount belt sander to round the edges. This took all of about 2 minutes. You can see from the pic that I didn't so a very careful job of rounding the edges or anything fancy. I cut the back of the "seat cushion" at an angle, and mounted the seatback with a couple of screws. The seatback is a scrap of wallboard or Masonite that I had kicking around. I got a strip of Velcro from my seamstress wife and split it so it'd be belt-width for a Joe and put a screw through it on each side of the seat - it made a quick and easy seat belt! In this pic you can see the jamb put around the inside of the door frame, and you can see the edge of the screw and washer that's holding the seatbelt in. The seat was ultimately screwed down onto the floorboards of the HumVee (I put a couple of screws up from underneath). There were some little irregularities in the floorboards (where body screws matched the floorboards), so I had to drill or carve out little spots here and there to make them fit. I seem to recall a lump where the front and rear floorboards snapped together, too, but I just used a narrow chisel to make room for it under the seat. Basically, make the seat then hand-fit it by fiddling around.




SteeringHere's the dash and steering wheel I added. The dash is just a scrap of sheet plastic that I bolted to the backside of the windshield frame. I only used 2 screws, as there were only 2 spots on the frame thick enough to hold 'em. I could've used plastic cement on the whole thing, but I got lazy and this was quicker. I put a 5-Star steering wheel upside down on some thick sheet plastic and traced it. Then I used an X-acto and my pocket knife to cut it out. I drilled a hole in the middle and put a long, skinny bolt through it, with a nut behind. This made a dandy steering wheel and steering column. I put several nuts on the bottom of the screw to protect the threads, then clamped it in a bench vise and bent it with my thumbs until I thought it looked like it had the right angle on it, then removed it from the vise, removed the nuts, and mounted it through the sheet plastic dashboard. I wrapped it with electrician's tape to help disguise its bolt-ness. In retrospect, I should've put shrink-wrap tubing on the screw before putting the bend in it, then I could've just heated it and it'd have left a much cooler looking steering column. Oh well… live and learn.


Antenna Modifications:
The antenna presented a special kind of problem. The antenna screwed into a little plate mounted on the body, from underneath. I antholeremounted the antenna connector to a more useful spot.  I drilled out the antenna mount on the body so it went all the way through. The "wedge" rear end of this body comes off, by the way, and there's a flat "pickup" like rear end on this HumVee. I mounted the banana socket on the flat pickup-like rear end. The slanted rear hatch of the HumVee just fits on this flat area and is held with screws. My antenna would go through the fake slanted rear end to match up with the banana socket on the flat pickup-like rear end of the body.



antflatantfinalThe antenna itself is still a tight fit in the hole. Now my problem was the banana socket itself… it was too far "inside" the body. When I plugged the antenna in, it was swallowed up! I had to extend the antenna on the banana plug somehow. Brass tubing came to the rescue again! I put a piece of brass tubing over the banana plug and crammed the threaded bottom of the antenna into the top end of the brass tubing, then I soldered them together. This gave me the extension I needed to keep the spring in the right place when the slanted rear hatch section was in place.





flatbackHere you can see the flat pickup-like rear end that's underneath the slanted rear end on this HumVee. There are 4 mounting points that are clearly visible, and if you look closely at the top right, you can see the nut that holds the banana socket in place. This wide-open platform looks like a great place for a gazillion possibilities. On those four mounting screws you could put a rocket launcher, searchlight platform, video camera, etc, etc, etc… there are so many cool things you could do with this it's incredible! (I'd explore a few of 'em if I didn't already have my NEXT project in mind! ;-)





The HumVee looks a lot better with the windows and windshield cut out. Of course, cutting out the windows and windshield means you'd need to put some figures in there… that means an interior (seats, at least). If you're going to do that, you might as well cut out the doors and all that jazz. This is one of those projects that just doesn't end with a single modification. It keeps going, and going, and going.

"If you give a mouse a cookie…"





I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have about this project (or anything else on my site), but don't waste time emailing me… SpamBots are sure to fill my email inbox to capacity every day, so it's practically useless. A better way to find me is in the Sandbox ( because I lurk there almost daily and if I'm not around enough folks there know how to find me that it's your best bet. I much prefer posting to email anyway!


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