AT Commander's

Pedestal Mount .50

One thing that was always missing from the original 5-Star was the machinegun mount. As a kid, I added a little block of wood between the front seats and put a few screws up through the bottom to secure it. I drilled a hole in the little block of wood to match a brass rod, and manufactured from sheet brass an MG mount. The .50 I built from a fiberglass arrow for the barrel, some stiff wire for the hand grips, and wood for the receiver. It looked ok after it was painted, but it still looked home-made by a kid. I didn't care. I got a lot of Rat Patrol mileage out of it. Years later, after picking up another 5-Star jeep, I wanted to add a MG and thought I'd come up with a more elegant approach. That's what this page is all about.

Here you can see the main part of this addition - the pedestal. This is nothing more than threaded rod from Home Depot. At the top is a female-to-female adapter. This adapter is the right size to hold the base pin of the 21C 'Nam era MG. Using this as the pedestal means I can just plop the easily available 21C MG in the mount and it's ready to go. I covered the threaded rod with heat-shrink tubing so it'd look cooler. I think it does. See the bulge 2/3 of the way up? That's where the heat-shrink tubing overlapped. I didn't have a piece long enough to do it, so I had to use 2 short pieces.

Next came actually mounting it in the Jeep. I knew I'd need to put a bolt through the bed of the jeep, and wasn't sure how. I ended up using the existing hole for the 5-Star tripod. At left you can see the original hole that exists between the front seats. At right you can see what I did underneath the jeep... I cut away obstructions to permit me to drive a bolt up through the hole! Although it may be hard to tell, the pic at left has already been drilled. If I want to put the 5-star tripod back in, it's still approximately the same diameter and still mounts just fine! But with the socket turned into a hole, I could now use it to mount the MG pedestal. At right is the underside, after modification.

Here you can see the parts used for this project besides the pedestal described above. The shiny parts will be under the jeep, the parts I've painted will be visible in the bed of the jeep. I have cut the "fender washers" to fit around obstructions above and below the bed of the jeep. The bolt will be inserted through the small washer, then the large shiny washer, through the bed of the jeep. Then I'll drop the big green washer on the bolt and screw the socket on top of the bolt to hold it all in place.

Here you can see the socket mounted in the bed of the jeep. Due to poor lighting, a bad angle, and the green-on-green, the pic didn't come out well. I did a LOT of lightening and gamma correction to get it to be visible. The pedestal screws into the socket. At right you can see the socket in teh jeep with the MG pedestal attached. I unscrewed it a little so you could see the shiny threads. This seemed like a pretty easy fix!

Now that the mount was in and the pedestal was ready, next came the MG. The 21C 'Nam MG was made for tripod use, not for mounting on a vehicle. I didn't much care for realism (remember how "realistic" the original '60s Joe desert patrol jeep was?), so I decided to glue an ammo box to the side of the MG and call it good. I added sheet plastic to the side of the ammo box (left) to make a smooth surface to glue. I roughed it up a little with sandpaper to give the glue a better grip. Then I added some bits of sheet plastic to build up around the contours on the side of the MG and glued it all together. At right is the assembled setup before painting.

Here's the finished product. I think it looks pretty good. We're spoiled these days by the super-detailed jeeps with moving steering mechanisms, detailed engines, etc, etc, but there's something magical about the 5-Star and this little MG addition makes it look the way it SHOULD have back in the sixties.

If you've got one of the new Hasbro jeeps, adding a .50 is even easier! All that's needed is a dowel from Home Depot. It makes a bulky pedestal, but it works! Here you can see one I painted green mounted in a new Hasbro desert jeep. The dowel is slightly too small to fit in the existing socket, but I found that a single turn of masking tape around the bottom of the dowel made it fit perfectly! I drilled a hole in the top of the dowel to hold the 21C MG mount pin. It seldom gets easier than THIS!

If you are interested in other mounting techniques, look at my main site for the SAS jeep projects. Both of those used some rather innovative techniques to mount MGs, as did my Commando Gunship project (also on my main site). LMK what you think of this or any other projects on my humble site!

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