M985A2 HEMTT w/M989 HEMAT build

I started on another project I have been wanting to do for a while. I am building an M985A2 HEMTT w/M989 HEMAT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Ammo Trailer).

This combo was used by MLRS Bns as ammo carriers. They held eight MLRS rocket pods; four on the truck, four on the trailer. This was the configuration we used in 1-39 FA (MLRS), 3ID during the invasion of Iraq in '03, which is how I will depict it. They have since been replaced by the M1120 LHS as ammo trucks in MLRS Bns.

The main differences in the truck that make it an M985 is that the rear crane has an added block and tackle that increases the capacity from 4500 lbs to 5400 lbs. There are also added foot holders and tie downs in the bed to secure the MLRS pods.
M985A2 3
M985A2 1

I am using most of the parts from the Trumpeter M983A2 tractor (# 01055 with the M870A1 trailer), frame rails from the Trumpeter M1120, and the load bed and crane from the Italeri M977 kit.

So far, I have the frame done. I had to add about 3/16 of an inch to the rear of the M1120 frame (under the crane mount, so unseen) so it would equal the length of the Italeri M977 frame. All other parts of the frame lined up.


I modified some areas to match the real deal as opposed to how the model companies think they are. First, I tilted the transfer case rearward so it lines up w/the engine. I also changed the first and last axle to have a non-geared central part. Only the two inner ones are geared so the prop shaft can continue on and power the outside set of axles. I also had to adjust the lengths of the prop shafts between everything now that the angles were changed.

Here are some more pics that show the mods. I also added all the torsion bars to the axles as well. The kit only includes the two from the frame to the rear axles.

For the non-geared axles, I cut off the kit part and added two non-geared centers from the Meng M911 kit. I had ordered a sprue that contains the load axle to build my M920 a few years ago and Meng sent me two of them by mistake. Each had one non-geared axle for the rear of the truck. I cut the covers off these axles and added them to the M985 axles.


Front. The M983 in the set w/M870A1 has been updated with a new sprue that also contains the front air brake parts that were missing from the earlier M983A2 tractor kit.

The basic M983 kit also contains the steering gear boxes and all the linkages. These allow the steering to be positionable and are very nice.

That’s all for now. More to come later.


What trailer was used? Was it just a version of the standard 20 foot container trailer?

The trailer is an M989 HEMAT (Heavy Expanded Mobility Ammunition Trailer). It was specifically designed to go with the M985A2 HEMTT and to hold MLRS pods w/the same brackets and tie-down point to strap them in securely.

However, it proved to be problematic due to the high center of gravity. If the HEMTT turned too sharply or if it was turning on any type of incline, the trailer would roll. We had quite a few issues with this in Iraq since most roads are elevated above the surrounding areas. When the HEMTTs would turn off the roads, if not careful, the trailer would roll, making the pods unusable as they twisted and would no longer load into the launcher.

To fix this issue, there was the updated M989A1 trailer. It lowered the center of gravity and was a lot more stable. We had a few of these, but not many as they were newer in 2003.


Good stuff, Gino! We’ll all be watching this one! :sunglasses:

:beer: :cowboy_hat_face:

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Thanks for the quick answers!

@HeavyArty outstanding work so far ! Really like the ability the HEMTT offers, they’ve certainly got their moneys worth from its design.
Adding the non geared diff sections from the M911 is pretty slick, and adding those missing torque arms

Hi Gino,
great start. How do you plan to make the tires for the HEMAT? 3D printing? I was toying the idea of a HEMAT for a long time, but didn´t found a solution for the tire problem.
When I build the M985, I try to build this beauty.


Hi Gino,

Good start on it! Nice to see that the M1120 parts are in good hands. :smile:


Thanks gents. It has been a fun build so far.

Yup, they fit perfectly since both trucks are built by Oshkosh and use similar parts. I was fortunate that I accidentally was sent two sprues though.

For a straight M989, I am planning on using the same ones as on the PARTIOT Launcher trailers. They look the same to me and DEF makes a set in resin. I’m not sure what you would use for the M989A1 that would be used w/your A4.

Good luck w/the A4 build as well. It should look awesome. I am assuming you have seen the A4 parts on Shapeways.


Thanks Andreas. :+1:

Hi Gino, great idea with the DEF Models wheels. And yes, I will get Shapeways parts if budget permits.But for now I have another trailer on my bench. CAMEL II Unit Water Pod System.


Very nice. Is that all scratch or is the base of the trailer the Trumpeter FMTV frame?

All parts are from Trumpeter FMTV and LMTVT kits. But instead of of wasting three kits, I ordered sprues from Trumpeter spare parts service. This is my inspiration.

But it´s still a long way to go…


Hi Gino, here some images of the M989A1 from my collection.


Nice start. looking forward to more.


Work on the M985 continues. I basically have the rolling chassis done. I added the fuel tank, BII box next to it, and battery box on the opposite side from the M1120 sprue. They are more detailed than what comes in the M983A2 kit.

On the rear, I added the stabilizing legs for the crane. I extended them by cutting off the outer leg sections and adding the telescoping square tubes out of square stock styrene.

I also added some additional details to the rear crane. The actual crane boom has three sections that telescope out to give it more reach. Italeri molds it with the second section fully in, and the third section extended. To make the full three sections workable, I followed Michael “165thspc” Koenig’s recent article on “Detailing that Italeri HEMTT Crane”.

I added the second section and filled in the underside gap. I added holes on the mount and a square section of tubing as a rest for the upper crane. I also added new, longer actuating levers on the control panel. Next up is adding some hydraulic lines.

I have also completed the cargo bed. I added the foot holds for the rocket pods from 45 degree angle iron styrene, and added the tie-down loops from styrene rod.

I also completed the engine cover with radiator, which will be added after the engine is painted, and the muffler assembly.

Next up is the cab. It is very detailed in and out.


I have added all the hydraulic hoses on the crane. There are quite a few. I used 0.20 styrene rod for the fixed ones, and thin wire for the movable ones.

I also finished the construction on the cab interior.

The truck is pretty much done with construction. I need to start painting it next. The subassemblies need to be painted, then assembled, and interior decals and details added. For now, I will set it aside though.

I have moved on to the trailer. A while ago, someone here on Armorama (sorry, I can’t remember who it was) was selling a started M985 w/M989 HEMAT and M26 launch pods. It went too fast and I missed it at the time. I was able to buy the M989 and launch pods from the guy who bought it at the time, thanks Brett.

I have taken the started trailer and added to it. It was only the load bed, tongue and light details started, along w/the sides of the bed (I removed the sides).

I added the frame underneath from C-channel styrene. I also added a left over spare trailer tire mount from the M983 kit. The trailer spare sits on the work platform on the truck.

I will be using modified springs left over from a HEMTT and rods for the suspension. The tires will be the Def Model tires for the PATRIOT trailer. They look right to me and are the correct size. I will be using pieces cut from the container in the M915 kit for the sides of the bed. They have the correct corrugated look and are the exact length needed.

More to come in a couple weeks. I’ll be on vacation next week; going to meet my new grand daughter (GD#2).


Congratulations on the new granddaughter Gino! I love being a Papa!

Thanks Matt. It’s Nano for me, but just as great!

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fantastic work on the crane, very nice details
congrats on the new granddaughter too

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