Big Hand crafted Four by Fours – 1965 Hotchkiss-Willys Jeep

By Robert P. Gunn

Readers of MAR magazine will have been familiar with Robert’s contributions as an expert on pickup trucks. Since retirement he has been making a selection of 4×4 vehicles by hand which he will share with us over a series of articles. All photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Models

The models are hand made to 1:10 scale. Each is a unique creation and when finished is displayed on a modelled plinth in a clear cabinet.

How the models are made

All have a softwood chassis of pine or deal. Most body sides are tempered hardboard, as are the floors, but bonnet lids are metal – either aluminium or or nickel-silver sheet. Rounded corners are of timber beading, usually hardwood. Small details are made of anything which suits from my huge boxes of bits – parts of old pens, pieces of metal or plastic, nuts and bolts, tubes and so on. Sticks of solder are good to file into manifolds, carburetors and similar. Windscreen frames are either brass sheets and strips, or latterly in sheet polystyrene plastic.

Parts which I can’t make are brought-in, such as wheels, tyres, mirrors, lights, and badges.

Glues used vary from white PVA (Woodworking Glue) through super glue, Scotch glue and others. “JB Kwik” two pack epoxy is also very useful stuff – a combined glue and filler.

Why the models are made

This is simple. I like Four by Fours and these time consuming projects are my retirement hobby. The initial research is part of the fun. This can include buying books, acquiring copies of sales brochures on eBay. In the case of the Land Rover (To be shown in a later article) I measured and photographed the real thing.

The great thing about scratch-building is that it allows you to model any prototype in any colour and to whatever scale you choose.

1965 Hotchkiss-Willys French Army Jeep.

The scratch-built model shown below is to 1:10 scale and took over four hundred hours to complete.

Jeep part built. Softwood bulkhead, front panel with grille tempered hardboard.


Steering Wheel – Copper tube rolled into a circle, pen cap as centre, alloy tube spokes pinned to the rim.


Hotchkiss-Jeep engine before painting.


Hotchkiss-Jeep engine after painting and ready to install.


The engine installed in the Jeep.


H-W Jeep’s dashboard. Seats are real cloth on frames of coat hanger wire.


H-W Jeep toolkit and box. All handmade from tin sheet, aluminium, and wood.
Completed Jeep on a “French picnic” diorama. Biot is a village where the Jeep’s owner lives, MAR reader Jean-Louis Pothin. The model is based on his real Jeep.
Salesman showing the jeep


Lifting the Driver’s seat to show the fuel cap.


At the picnic. The figure is to the correct scale converted from a toy WWF wrestler.
Checking the engine.

Future articles from Robert will cover the following vehicles: Toyota Land Cruiser FJ25 1958; Datsun Patrol L-60 1965; and the Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition 2016.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page,  or email us at maronlineeditor @