Architect Paul Gaertner built this beautiful 1/72 scale replica of the so-called “Atomic Annie” US M65 nuclear-capable 280mm artillery piece, and its two specially-built tractors. In 1953, the first M65 successfully fired a 15 kiloton nuclear artillery shell (shot Grable) at the Nevada Test Site. Ultimately, 20 of the huge cannon were produced and deployed. Of these, 8 are known to survive, one of which is on permanent display at the Armored Fighting Vehicles Museum at Aberdeen Proving Ground. This was Paul’s prototype.
Planning for the model began in 2000, and construction 2007. Starting materials were “Evergreen brand white styrene plastic sheet, rod, bar, tube and structural shapes, as well as aluminum and brass sheet, tubing and wire.” Paul estimates 575 hours in the build, and has made his original drawings, based on photos and measurements from the prototype, available at a reasonable price.