Kit-bashing a Utility Truck

Randy Griggs provided the text and photos of this article. All photos are copyright © Randy Griggs; used by permission.

Randy's home needed a visit by the gas company, so while they were there, he took photos of their utility truck. It was a Ford F-650. Note the extended cab, and the drop in the glass of the door window as the newer Fords have.

He chose an Ertl model as the base for his model. He could not find a model that had the extended cab, and the model's doors also don't have the drop in the window. All-in-all, the model is a very good representation of the prototype. The small backhoe was simulated using an HO-scale Norscott Case 850 Super M Loader/Backhoe. Randy scratchbuilt a new cab for the backhoe to make it S-scale.

The photo below shows the flatbed truck that was the start of the project. He replaced the wheels with more realistic ones, and removed one rear axle.

The trailer started off as a SpeedWheels/Maisto trailer for which Randy also replaced the wheels, and extended the hitch to match the prototype. In the photo below, the original is shown on the left, and the modified version on the right.

Next, Randy extended the hitch of the truck, moved the one axle further back, and used the flatbed of the original truck as the base upon which he built the body of the utility truck. He used ABS plastic for the body. The metal folds in the upper part of the body he created using the back of an Exacto blade held at a 45-degree angle, and then used a three-sided file to continue the creases on to the end sheet. He added small rectangular pieces of plastic to simulate panel doors and door handles.

He created the diamond tread on the back lip of the truck body by applying some MEK to the top of the lip, and then clamping binding tape to the surface. Once the MEK was dry (doesn't take long), he removed the tape to reveal the desired pattern.

The detail continues on the back of the truck, where Randy used Microsoft Word to create the doors' windows, the lights, the reflective tape, as well as the company logo on the cab's doors. He then printed them and applied them using Scotch double-sided clear tape. He later added a U.S. flag to the back of the truck, like the prototype had, using the same method.

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