A train loaded with military vehicles and landing craft is pushed into the USMC military base in Old Town San Diego on my home layout. Missing information about how the prototype entrance looked like, I used the guard shack and gate from a Walthers Cornerstone kit. The flag pole comes from IHC. The MP is from the 1/72 Airfix USAF personnel set. I will cut the bases off, so they will be closer to 1/87 scale. I just suspect that the guards were taller and stronger guys anyway :). Some of the military vehicles at the gate are place holders for the moment. I will replace them with more specific ones for the USMC.
To model military loads in a train, you'll need plenty of flatcars. Unfortunately almost all kit and ready-to-run models come like the one on the picture. The deck is painted the same color as the car. To correct this, I painted the decks with Vallejo Pale Grey, but you might also use whatever brand you're comfortable with.
After the deck had dried, I gave it a Vallejo black wash. Here also, you may mix your own wash and apply it to your liking.
At the bottom of the above picture is an Athean flatcar with the weathered deck.The slots in the deck are for fixing the boat cradle. (On normal Athearn flatcars these slots are closed)
Now for the boats, these come painted in red, blue, yellow and green. In the Book "Rails to Victory" I saw a picture with similar boats loaded on flatcars and they were supposed to be small motor tug boats. The photo as a guide, I fashioned the lettering using different numbers and printed them on clear decal sheet. So I have plenty to letter my boats. I airbrushed the boats with Navy Gray paint - whatever this gray may be - between pale and medium gray should work.
Some years ago I found a Technical Manual on eBay from the US Army Transportation Corps, showing the riggings and fixings for every piece of military vehicle and boats on railroad cars you could imagine. Although the manual was from the 1970's, it contained many drawings of WWII equipment. Meanwhile this manual is also available as downloadable pdf-file thanks to John Barry
I added the ropes as per the drawings and also a rear support to keep the boat from shifting during transit.
Above is my first car rigged for transport, but I need to tighten some of the ropes.
Another interesting load I found on a picture is an LCM-3 landing craft loaded on its side in a drop end gondola. There are quite a number of LCM models on the market, but the only one that fits the gondola almost perfect is the Airfix 1/76 model that also includes a Sherman M-4 Medium tank. I only had to leave one railing away. The steering house and ramp was loaded in the hull anyway. I added some bracing using strip wood. The gondola is a Walthers/Life Like Drop Ends gondola. I only need to tie it down with some ropes.
Another unusual load is the 155 mm "Long Tom" Howitzer. Because I had no ROCO model of this gun in 1/87, I used the Hasegawa 1/72 model. If you avoid to put a scale HO truck next to it, the difference in scale is not visible. Again I used the Technical Manual for the blocking and bracing of the gun.
Tanks, Trucks, Jeeps and Trailers are a common sight in military trains, so they cannot be missed on my layout. The loading diagrams on hand, these blockings are easily made from strip wood using a model truck as a guide and glued to the flatcar deck.
The finished truck load.
The DUKW load is a model from EKO. I had to trim flash away on some spots and gave it a new paint job. The canvas top doesn't fit out of the bag, so a little trimming and filing is necessary.