M871 30' Flatbed Trailer Conversion

I started a quick weekend project today.

I have thought about converting the Trumpeter 40’ M872 trailer into the shorter (30’, double axle) M871 trailer that is usually pulled by M932 5-ton tractors.

I was able to get a Trumpeter M872 from Tim “Buckeye” Smith here at Armorama. Thanks Tim.

The M871 is basically the same trailer, just shorter and it only has two rear wheels as opposed to three on the 40’ M872.

I started by cutting 99mm, roughly 10’, from the middle of the flatbed and frame on the M872.


When reassembled, you get a 30’ bed and frame that keeps all the main components in the right place. It also leaves you with one support for the double axles as opposed to two for the M872.

I then cut the axle support parts off where the double axle will go. I added a double axle that I scrounged from an Italeri M923 5-ton parts truck. The end result is the correct double axle setup with air brakes on them. To these, I added copies of 5-ton hubs.


To the hubs, I will be adding the Panzer Art U.S. Royal Commercial Road Wheels for M54 Series Trucks that I originally had bought for and added to my M1062 Bulk Fuel Trailer Build. I swapped them out on it with the correct Dayton wheels/tires from the Trumpeter M872, so now I will use them here since they are correct for an M871.


After that, I added the rest of the trailer parts using select parts from the M872 kit and a couple pieces from scratch at the front as it has a front wall that has wings, as opposed to the M872’s flat front wall.


I also added NATO brake lights on the rear too.


Here it is overall.


It is ready for paint. I haven’t decided what color yet.


Nice conversation… A lot of work for a weekend. Looks very well done :+1:

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As usual Gino, superb scratchbuilding with a splendid outcome. You didn’t even have time for your beer to get warm!

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Thanks John and Matt. It really wasn’t that much work. Once I figured out where to cut and how much to remove, it was pretty straight forward. I hope to get some paint on it today. We’ll see.

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As always Gino. Excellent work.


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Thanks Ralph. It has been fun so far.

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Work continues on the M871. After posting, I was looking at reference pics to get some more details and inspiration. I discovered something I overlooked. On the actual trailer, there is no overhang at the rear behind the wheels. The longer M872 has one and I left it. Wrong.


So I broke out the saw and sand paper and went to work. I had to cut about 1" from the rear and move it forward to keep the proper length, and move the storage box and spare tire holder. I also had to slide the axle assembly forward a bit to clear the rear sling point box.


Here it is so far.


I marked it as a USMC trailer as it will eventually be mated w/ my USMC M932A2 from Desert Storm.


I also added the data plates under the left side on the frame.


I also started weathering it with the wood that makes up the cargo deck.


Almost there. Next I have to decide if I am doing the side boards for the cargo bed. I’m leaning toward yes, but we will see how they go.


I vote yes on the side panels; especially if they’re all worn and mismatched, like on the last picture.

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Mybe this could be something that could be done for this trailer. several palletized loads of MREs.

3D mre pallet - TurboSquid 1345023

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If (when?) I do the side boards; they would be all faded and mixed up like in the pic. I have also been contemplating a load for it. The MRE pallets would be cool, but it will take 16 pallets to fill the trailer. Not sure I want to fold that many MRE boxes.


If it’s me doing that pallet, I cheat: one large, simple box with lines scored on the sides and the MRE boxes cut up and pasted to the outside.


That may be the way to do it. Or a cube with lines, painted box brown and decals for the MRE labels. Hmmm… :thinking:


If you have the decals for the MRE labels.

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Try my method and photocopy the entire uncut sheet of printed boxes. Although, I’ve never tried printing on plain clear decal paper

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I have a file of MRE boxes so I can print my own, so not an issue. I have been looking at images of pallets of older, Desert Storm era MRE boxes (flatter that current boxes) and how they are stacked. This could pose a problem (minor?) since they alternate on the rows to help hold the pallet together. This leaves holes here and there becasue of the box size, see below.

Another potential issue is the height of the pallets. With side panels on the trailer, I am not sure you would be able to see the sides of the pallets.


Also, with the top covers on the pallet, you will see even less. So, just a covered box may be all you can see. Hmm again. :thinking:

Another potential load option.

The cargo could be just about anything as these trailers are used to carry everything.


Possibly make slabs same height as boxes, then stack to get the different layers? Just a thought. Wayne

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Or just throw a tarp over it all and call it good.


Yeah, tarps hide a lot! Wayne


Nope, you won’t do that. It’s much better to scratch build a dozen different pallets with highly detailed equipment to put in the trailer.

Here is another idea: Porta-Potties!



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Or even easier solution. a 20’ container.


Trumpeter makes both a 20’ and 40’ containers, same with Italeri.


Saves you the trouble of having to add the side panels.