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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Last year there was a truck build-off, and although I was too overwhelmed at work to come up with anything, I had set a HWs US Postal Grumman Van aside to think about. Jeeze. That has got to be one of the most characterless starting points! So I started with an image to overlay ideas and see if chopping and sloping was any good...



Sloping and chopping just made it look like a cleaned-up armored delivery-- still not much personality. The bottom image is ahead of me, as I thought the Fast Gassin from earlier this year was an artful casting and a great source for side pipes.



As it turns out, the Grumman box and tanker base are exactly (+/-) the same size. What better thing to give a personality-challenged piece, than an update from something oozing personality... so the Fast Gassin got chopped...


Here's the basic chassis:


Turns out the tank and box mount are more than near exact width wise. The rear bumpers are exactly the same width, and they also attach almost the same exact way. Just a little filing...


... and so things are documented when you can't sleep:wave:
 

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Very methodical TJ,

I don't think I've seen either of these castings.

Looking good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

--CadillacPat the UnCustomizer--
Keeping the ZING in CustomiZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

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Discussion Starter #4
I use a Sharpie to color the skin where I plan to cut, then use a scribe to lay out the lines. For this it was simple, I laid the Fast Gasser tank on the side of the box, and followed the opening. Interestingly both openings were the same height.


A little Dremel cut-off wheel and filing barrel later, I began to think maybe just putting the double rear wheel and flares would be cool... NAWWWW... not now...


So far this is an easy custom-- not much high tech and things sized up without effort:


The intial fitting shows I should have cut up from the front corner of the door rather than the well opening. In fact, maybe it would be simplier to just make a simple box rather than one with cab-over storage. Thing is this is customizing and since when was easy as enjoyable as "CUSTOM"?


The forward skin of the box is epoxied in place and drying now; more later...
 

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Cool. I like what you've got going there. It's a great concept. I had to laugh when you said that this is one of the most characterless starting points for a build because a few years ago, this was my ending point. I wanted a short Grumman step van and didn't know where to find one, so I took a quarter inch out of a Johnny Lightning S.W.A.T. van to get this. There was a joke that went along with this piece in the form of decals, but I was never able to make them so I quit working on it. Actually, all this one needs is paint. Anyhow, I really like what you've got going there. Keep posting progress pics so wee can see how you work.

 

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Great Work & Ideas :thumbsup:

This is a great Casting for making them into Flatbed Haulers too.

I have a few on my work bench that are on the chopping block.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I thank all the responses! Being a simple build, I'm honored!

Liv-N, I could see LOTS of possibilities with the basic chassis; only the demunitive scale holds back bigger possibilities.

Zeb, the detail and WHEELS are incredible on that van!

The next step for me was to enclose the front of the box. I used A touch of JB Quick to attach a piece of styrene to the front of the box. It was either too fresh or not the best adhesive for styrene, because the panel popped off when I went to file adjustments into the shape. Super glue between the two fixed that. I used more styrene pieces to build out the shape of the box, building pieces in like stacking a house of cards. Leaving the styrene below final grade level, allows the epoxy I'll use to have some thickness without bulk. I used one last piece of styrene after this pic to close the front of the box.


The epoxy I've been using comes in a twin tube, and takes a bit over an hour to set. My experience is longer to set epoxies dry harder, and I like them because it sands better. Because it gets so hard, I use a razor blade to rough clean up the shape when the epoxy has solidly firmed up. In pictures the box looks pretty tweaked. I didn't notice before taking the picture, but the epoxy from the second round is still soft.


The only metal to Fast Gassin' is the cab, and there's no clean way to do this custom without modifying it, and repainting. The thought of clear or tinted windows are out for a simple custom, because the windows are part of the same black plastic of the fenders. It's do-able but...

I've been holding off getting too anal with details I could do, so I'm just going to try a simple companion piece to the original HW design. Here's a snapshot of the decals I'll use on the doors and box.


Thanks for the kind comments, this may yet be a weekend build!
 

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Being a truck driver by trade I have to say this looks great!!! may I suggest doing an old style coke truck you already have the black and red theme going? can't wait to this one finished keepthe pics coming!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, it may be 3-day weekend build...

The original rear bumper on the Grumman was part chassis, part body. To top things off I need to have a rear deck extend out rather than the dip-down for the body tab. Figured I'd kill both with a single, big bumper. I set the body on a piece of the stiff #1 plastic always left over after you buy something, and gooped epoxy up where the bumper would be. The plastic made the bottom surface smooth-- less work later. I wasn't worried about the look of the upper surface yet. I was going to use a piece of wax where the body tab insert went, but a piece of Wrigley's was easier to work with. In this pic I've squared off the initial bumper pour and put the gum in place.


I cut a second piece of clear plastic to extend into the box, and wrap around either side. After gloopping more epoxy over the earlier, lower half I placed the plastic into place. pushing down I made sure the plastic was level with the box opening.


After the epoxy sets, I pop the plastic off, and all I have to do is form the vertical profile. The upper and lower surfaces only need some minor scuffing to make sure they're plumb and level.


On the inside the tab insert isn't pretty, but I have some residue to clean out yet


And so the rear bumper installment wraps up with a trial fit...


I extended the body line of the lower door edge all the way back. From the original body line up, all the door lines are filled with epoxy. I cut a second vertical line to define a side-storage box. The storage door pull is a small piece of staple glued into place. A dab of glue in the general area, and a magnetized pick/screw driver picks up the handle and puts it into position easier than tweezers.

This part didn't make for a 3-day build, but the front chrome piece that exits under the doors. It needs to be cut back to extend the corner of the body to the box, but it required the top edge of the chassis there for position support...

Oh well... another day, and another spot of epoxy will fix that too...

Thanks all:freak:
 

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WoW! These type of builds are my favorite type, using two or three cars to make a true one of a kind! This one with your step by step detailed tutorial is truly impressive! :thumbsup: Thanks for sharing!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I hate long hours of my job... Here's what I'm going to try to do for the box side art. I've never made decals on my own, and I'm going to try to use BARE METAL to give the side a mirror-reflective surface to mirror the Fast Gassin'...


Maybe this was a build not to share step by step, but we be learnin' together!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
A couple of posts to step through preliminary steps to modify the cab--

The front grille casting extends back over the Chassis to include the fuel tanks and exhaust pipes.


You could make a horizontal cut to leave the tanks in-place without problems with the cab. However, my box extends too far forward, so I lopped off the tanks/pipes even with the edges of the chassis.


That keeps the grille positioned properly, but if you look forward from the rear, you see why I can't leave it that way.


To extend the cab down and back to meet the box, I have to cut the grille extension roughly to the width of the fender spine. If you look back at the pic of the lower chassis, the base is hollowed out which would leave the grille flopping about if cut back that far. I put a little epoxy in the hollow, toughly level with the top edge of the chassis. I put a little more epoxy into the bottom of the grille's extension, which also was a hollowed out area, and while the epoxy was wet, put the grille into position as it would rest in the assembled state. After the epoxy hardened, I popped the grille free by rocking it gently back and forth. The epoxy adhers minimumly to the chrome surface. Now I can cut the excess off the grille extension to start forming the cab changes.

Next: Fitting a post to the box
 
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