The brilliance of Gaslands, the post-apocalyptic vehicular combat rules published by Osprey Games, is that the game can be played with regular Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars, making it a very inexpensive pastime compared to most miniatures-based tabletop wargames. This is especially true when Gaslands fanatics pilfer cars from their own children, rather than buying the toys for bupkis at garage sales or discount stores.
The flipside of that coin, however, is that Gaslands offers wargamers the perfect justification to express their latent Mad Max, Death Race or zombie apocalypse fantasies by kitting out diecast cars with all sorts of wasteland weaponry, armor and hardware. This often results in some fantastic 1:64 scale vehicle mods, but can also lead to gamers buying more diecast cars than they might care to admit.
We’ll confess that we’ve purchased a few mod-worthy Hot Wheels and Matchbox vehicles ourselves, in hopes of turning them into high-octane, end-of-the-world death machines. But before we start grinding away on our choicest acquisitions, we thought we should practice on something cheap and expendable: a Matchbox Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk that we bought at Walmart for just 94 cents.
After watching a few YouTube videos on the process, we drilled out the rivets on our Jeep and separated the body from the undercarriage. Then we used a Dremel grinding drum to remove most of the Jeep’s white paint and to chew the body up a little. Next we added our wasteland trim package: armor, grating and a big forking gun.
We used a lot of cheap Walmart and Dollar Tree components on our first Gaslands build. The Jeep’s windows were replaced with scraps of plastic canvas crafting material. Then we hand-cut some rough armor plating out of a Dollar Tree aluminum cooking sheet (two for a buck). The metal was so thin we just crimped it into place to make the Jeep’s rear plating.
For our armored hubcaps we used little adhesive dots from Dollar Tree’s office supply aisle. You get about 100 for a buck. The top-mounted gun was cannibalized from a Hot Wheels Starships X-Wing. We bought it a while ago at Walmart for $3.97 and have been slowly parting it out for various projects, like our Imperial Street Sweeper.
With accessories in place, we repainted the Jeep’s bare metal with some red-brown surface primer, applied what seemed like an appropriate amount of rust and weathering, and then reassembled our now apocalypse-ready SUV with Gorilla Glue. Our one regret is that even with copious amounts of trimming and grinding, we were never able to recreate the tight factory seams between body and undercarriage. We’ll have to work on that.
Oh well, no matter. Our armed and armored Trailhawk wasn’t built for looks. It was designed to blast its way to victory! Now, onto the next Gaslands build.