And for his next trick, Greg will make an XM-57 vanish
You may not realize it at first, but you are currently looking at a model of the XM-57, a super-secret armored vehicle with quality camouflage. Greg Garand of Rock Hill, South Carolina, built the 1/35 scale beauty after 13 years of grueling research. He says that while the construction was challenging due to nonexistent vehicle plans, it turned out to be a showstopper — as you can clearly see from the stunning finish. If you’re unfamiliar with the XM-57, allow Greg to lead you through its bizarre history.
“One of my all-time favorite armor subjects from the Vietnam War is the XM-57. Only two prototypes were sent to Southeast Asia for combat trials. Both vehicles came to unfortunate ends. The revolutionary nature of the vehicle’s construction and its top secret and highly effective camouflage should have changed armored vehicle design forever. For reasons that will quickly become apparent, this did not happen.
“Dr. Wilhelm Achromatopsia is the man who discovered the most effective camouflage known to humanity. Using an intricate system of fractals and micromirrors embedded in a multichromatic recessive epoxy, Achromatopsia was able to obfuscate the differentiation of his new vehicle from its background. The result was that the vehicle was, basically, invisible. This camouflage was so effective that testing had to be halted when one of the vehicles was misplaced for a more than 17 weeks. After that, an orange fluorescent pendant was always flown from the vehicle so engineers could keep track of their newest deadly weapon.
“The XM-57 was referred to as the Rampaging Referee. Its initiation into combat would be the harbinger of the vehicle’s untimely downfall. The first, designated the XM-57A, was lightly armed with two Browning .50-caliber machine guns. In its first action, two GIs, Cpls. Robert Blindas and Washington Abat, walked in front of the advancing Referee and were crushed. Within two hours of this accident, the vehicle was irretrievably lost when its four-man crew evacuated it en masse because they had gotten hold of some bad pork in their K-rations.
“The second Referee was designated the XM-57B and suffered a much more mysterious fate. Designed to be airdropped, it was last seen exiting the tail end of an airborne C-130 just south of the DMZ. In spite of a lengthy investigation into its fate, no satisfactory explanation was ever discovered. One would expect to have at least found the parachute, but such was not the case. There was, however, a flattened water buffalo discovered at a local farmer’s compound.
“Because of its secret nature, line drawings can’t be found. I only began modeling after interviews with the crew members were declassified. As you can see, I took a lot of license in the design but did my best to incorporate details gleaned from those interviews.”
We think you nailed the camouflage, Greg!