Sunday, August 18, 2013

A visit to the largest private tank collection in the world: part 1!

This weekend the heart of Santa Cruz Warhammer went on an excursion to the Militairy Vehicle Technology Foundation (MVTF). It's located on a huge private property south of San Francisco. The museum was founded by billionaire Jacques Littlefield in 1975 and since then has become the largest collection of militairy vehicles in private hands - the foundation aims to restore vehicles and educate the public about them. It is really an amazing site and I will run all the images in 4 posts, since they are really picture heavy. Please give yourself a minute and enjoy.

The museum has more vehicles then buildings,  and driving up you see tanks and other vehicles all over the place, some in good shape, some totally rusted. Realize that many purchased vehicles came in unrestored, and since they haven't had any love, they are just sitting there.

Here's building 4, the smallest one. We started our two hour tour here, with our knowledgeable guide, dressed up in ww2 uniform.

In this first post I will focus on US vehicles in WW2, since that is my main interest now, since I have started some Bolt Action modeling.

Let's start with this M20 light armored vehicle, who's little sister M8 greyhound I just finished as a 1/48 model. This vehicle was completely restored and is in working order.

 I loved that all the vehicles has real working interiors, with many weapons, bags, boxes and other accessories to look at. Really cool. Here's the interior of the M20, as you can see, you are free to peek in all the vehicles to get a good look at how it must have been to drive around in them (cramped mostly).
Hull names galore, here a Sherman, ready to be used on your next Bolt Action or FOW tank.
 Here's Glenn in front of a M4A1 on a WW2 trailer.
Here's a beautifully restored Jeep, with lots of little accesories. I took a bunch of images, detailing stowage, so I can use it in future modeling projects. 

On to building 1
 Here's the oldest tank in the museum, a 6 ton 1917A1, american built. Notice the bulletholes in the panels; all panels were 'tested' to make sure it could withstand bullets, if it could take two shots, it was deemed good. The tank never saw action. It looks like the Imperial Guard's Krieg regiment would like a few of these...
Here's another M4A1 Sherman with cast hull.  
 Allthough the hull art is original, this particular Tank was not the one that used that marking. But the loving restoration does the memory of the original vehicle, from the 37th tank battallion of the 4th Armoured Division in 1944.
This is an original ww2 training cupola. With the two kids in there, you can see tankers would have been short people! 
Here's an incredible M3A1 scout car.  You can see the information in front of the vehicle - each one tells the history of the design and of the acquistion of this particular one.
Here's the same vehicle, except with halftrack. Also notice the weapons on the side. 
 Here's an M10 Achilles Tank Destroyer. Again, notice details that would be easily to model, like the tow cable.
And here's Glenn in front of a M3 Stuart 'Honey'. Glenn is working on a small BA force that has one of these little tanks in it - it's based on a Alaskan WW2 unit that saw action on the Aleutian Islands. 

Here's the website of the museum HERE
You will need to email them for a tour and the cost is 20 dollars per adult. Remember, the museum continually needs funds and all the tour guides are volunteers, so grab all your gaming friends and head out there, it's located near Palo Alto on the freeway 280 side up to San Francisco.

Next post: all the German stuff! Stay tuned!



  1. Thanks for posting the pics Mike, so wish I could have been there!

    1. russian tanks coming up as well Tony, i took some for you that you can download

  2. Thanks for the post. Really am sorry I missed this one.