Kit Bash
Part Two in a Series

Photo: Yonkers FF James Mingst

By:  Steve McGuire

January 9, 2005

I have done most of the cab structure since the last installment. The side panels have been permanently attached, and most of the roof is done. A strip of 1/64 brass wire on each side serves as the piano hinge for the rear doors. I put one tiny “tack” of super glue to hold them in place. Before I really glued the panels into place, I did two important things:
  1. I made sure they were square and perpendicular to the cab roof. I did this by using my machinist’s ruler as a square;
  2. I checked to make sure the distance between the sides was consistent from front to back, using dial calipers. Everything was square and at right angles.

Once I had them right, I sparingly used a gel-type super glue along the joint.

Checking for square and fit

Glued and blued, tattooed!

The roof section was also built up. Using the drawings from HME, I cut the two top panels for the recessed area where the ladder seats. These were glued on top the side panels with the same care that the side panels were glued to the casting. I slipped a few strips of plastic underneath them, then cemented them to a new roof section that is flush with the metal part. Sure, it looks a bit rough. I use Squadron green putty to fill the gaps, and not of it was fully cured when I took these pictures. I’ve found a minimum of 24 hours is required for this stuff to cure completely. Of course, the thicker it is, the longer it takes!

The Road Champs casting is notched on one side under the grill opening to accommodate a hose tray or toolbox or something on the plastic bumper. I didn’t notice this at first, and I had to adjust the cab. This wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, since one of the first things I wanted to do was get rid of the clunky and very inaccurate grill and headlights.

I laid thin strips of sheet plastic inside the cab, across the grill opening, then filled it in with green Squadron putty. This was all sanded smooth, and a new correctly shaped “grill” was cut and fitted to the front.

What about the grill openings, you ask? I’m going to cheat a little on that one (fun with decals), but I’ll cover it later. What about the headlights? Honestly, I’m not sure yet. I have some ideas, but I have plenty of time to figure out how to do it. If anyone has suggestions, please feel free to email me. Notice the holes in the roof where the cheap, lozenge like lights were. These were also backed with plastic from inside of the cab, and filled with putty.

The front fascia. The roof is nice and level
all the way to the back of the cab. The ladder
will tuck in nicely

Now that I have all of the major panels in place (except the rear), I decided it might be a good idea to do a little “reinforcing”. For this, I used the infamous JB Weld two-part epoxy. I mixed up some of this stuff (which I generally hate and NEVER use for assembly), and applied it out of the way in a moderately thick bead, along the glued joints. My thinking is that this stuff, which cures to the hardness of glass, will take any stress off of the glued joints. This is important since I will soon be going to work with a file and wet sandpaper.

JB Weld

You can see where the plastic roof panel butts up against the diecast part.

The black goo is the JB Weld. It runs along the seam, and runs down the side panel in a continuous bead. There is also a dab on each end of the plastic sections behind the front grill. All in all, not bad for a night’s work! In the next segment, I’ll start the body panels, and show you how to get a recessed look for Roll-up doors. I should also have the finish coat of primer on the cab by then. Until then, stay safe and happy modeling!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3Part 4