I am a big fan of being able to make my miniatures as flexible as possible so that I can use them in multiple lists or different purposes. So whenever I get a miniature that contains a truck I always try to mount whatever the vehicle is carrying separate from the vehicle itself. That way I can change the contents of the vehicle for use indifferent lists or use it as just a plain old vanilla truck. In this case, I was painting up a Battlefront DshK AA Truck (SU162) for my Soviet Flames of War Army. This is the second of these I’ve built, so I will now be able to add an AA section to my Katyusha Rocket Company. However, since I won’t always be adding that Anti-Aircraft section, I wanted to be able to use it as just a plain old Soviet ZIS-5 3-ton truck.
I start by cutting out two rectangles of thin cardboard the size of the truck bed to form the new bed liner. I usually use card board from old gift boxes, but any thin cardboard or card stock will work.
Then I glue these on top of each other for added stability when moving the cargo in and out of the vehicle. I prefer to use a glue stick as it is less messy and doesn’t soak the cardboard like white glue can. Once they are glued together, trim the edges of the bed liner to make the rectangle fit in the truck bed. Generally, about a 16th of an inch less width and height.
Next, using a hobby knife and a straight edge, I carve lines down the length of the bed liner approximately a quarter of an inch apart to make add some texture by representing the boards which make up the bed.
Finally, I paint and wash the bed liner to match the vehicle and glue the miniatures to the bed liner with super glue. In this case, I removed the base of the gunner and glued his boots directly to the bed liner for a cleaner look.
With the same ZIS-3 trucks I also made up a different bed which I can swap in to create an engineering truck. Alternatively, for guns which can be dismounted you can base them to match your other units saving a place on the base for the truck’s cargo.
This same technique can be used for trucks of any nation. The Battlefront’s Hungarian Botond model and the Opel Blitz and ZIS-5 models from Zvezda have a removable cover over the bed so make great candidates for using bed liners like these.