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Carl Christensen
42 articles

Christmas in Europe

December 24, 2016 · in Armor · · 19 Comments

This is a story of hope, not just for modellers, but for their long struggling wives and partners who sometimes don't quite ‘get us'.

Who has ever been asked “Why do you need a new kit? You have heaps in the shed you haven't built yet” or “Why don't you just finish the one you are building?” – all of us have heard these and other comments thrown at us as we duck into a model shop to see what treasures or inspirations await.

This brings me to the story behind this model, a combination of the Mini Art Bantam with crew, and the CMK resin kit of Santa Claus, his sleigh, and reindeer for a Vietnam era LVTP 5A1 landing craft. Both brought some years ago and then placed in the cupboard to build ‘one day'.

Skip forward to present day and I am building another unrelated kit and I need to scroll through my spares cupboard looking for some accessories and I stumble across the Bantam jeep and the CMK Santa kit. Suddenly I'm hit with a light bulb of inspiration - I could put these together and see what comes out the other side.

Now I don't know if any jeep ever looked like this during the World War 2, however it would not be a stretch for some talented field engineers with scrap metal and imagination to slap up something similar to this in a day or two. So with that in mind I decided to do the same. Sometimes with kits it's nice to let go of the rules and just have fun with it. So that's what I did.

The biggest challenge was cutting out the sides of the sleigh and reindeer as they were moulded into a sheet of resin. The cutting out itself wasn't hard, it was around the antlers on the reindeer that was a bit dicey but I made it first time. The CMK kit came with 4 reindeer so I had spares should things go wrong, but surprisingly they didn't.

I took great pride in explaining to my partner that they were not new kits, but old ones I had finally got around to finishing. As long as it's her spending the money at the shops, and not me, she is happy.

Apart from some plastic rod for the frame, adding a sack and rifle to Santa's hands, and a couple of boxes and a helmet on the back seat, it was all pretty much straight from the box.

Overall I was happy with both kits and especially how I was able to merge them together into something that I think is quite interesting and just a little bit different.

6 additional images. Click to enlarge.

19 responses

  1. I agree about the fun of just letting your imagination run wild,this is a great little dio,I can just picture them turning up at some European orphanage or hostpital and giving out Hershey bars to the kids, i'll bet it happened !

  2. Santa´s technical! Great looking project. Merry Christmas!

  3. Nice little time-killer at the bench...after all - 'tis the season. Hey, why not spread some Christmas cheer. And welcome to the site...good guys abound.

  4. Hello Carl,
    Interesting subject and text.
    I enjoyed it.
    Regards,Dirk, The Netherlands.

  5. Carl, Keora!
    Certainly in keeping with the season, imaginative and plausable. US troops in the field try hard to celebrate Christmas, wherever they are, War permitting. It means a lot. Thanks for celebrating that, great model and execution.
    PS- ask her how many shoes she has?

  6. Bravo Carl! Not only for setting up this bit of Christmas Joy..
    But for weathering it. I am glad I don't do strange subjects. (tee Hee)
    Merry Christmas Carl.
    California Steve

  7. Santa in a war zone is a slightly strange subject haha

  8. Always fun to see creativity at work!

  9. Very creative! Merry Ho Ho.

  10. OUTSTANDING! Carl, my unit in Fulda, (then) West Germany had a Santa's sleigh almost exactly like yours for Christmastime fun. This brought back some great memories. I appeared numerous times as Santa for our unit after the 1st Sergeant found out I had had a job as a professional Shopping Center Santa back while I was a broke, newly-married college student. I never used the SantaSleigh jeep mod, but I do have a picture of Santa (me) rolling up to our barracks on my M1 tank! All in fun!

  11. Jeff, that would make a great diorama! I remember seeing a photo of a Marine whatever large furniture van looking tracked vehicle they had, in Viet Nam all tricked out with little trees and Santa on it. Gave me a twinge, it did.

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