West Hill Fence Co. Truck, Version 1 (1:24 scale model), Part 1
Working strictly from memory (mine and my cousin, Bob's) since there are no known photos of my uncle's fencing trucks, the most suitable model kit I found was this 1/24 scale GMC pickup from Revell, which comes with a snow plow and a few other details I wouldn't need for this build. Those horizontally-mounted lights attached to the front of the hood became the vertically-mounted tail lights on the trailer of the Small Pond Puppet Wagon.
I used just about all the parts shown in the picture above, the missing parts belonging to the engine which was built first to eventually find its way into a diorama or something somewhere in the future. The snow plow (also built and painted months ago) will meet the same fate as the engine.
I started by assembling this, then priming it, then spray painting it black. The weathering and other painted bits (exhaust pipes) came/will come later. I also used my pin vise to drill out the tips of the exhaust pipes for more realism.
It's possible the dashboards on both trucks aren't painted accurately to their real-life counterparts, but I did use photo reference of real GMC dashboards to be accurate to actual production vehicles, at least. Working on such small details (especially the gauges) was incredibly challenging, but satisfying once finished.
Looks good to me!
I did a tiny bit of weathering on the seat to avoid that "showroom" look ( I prefer aging/weathering for that "daily driver" look for vehicles where it's appropriate). I applied Tamiya Buff acrylic with a brush then gave it a gloss clear coat to protect that, then used a brown oil paint wash to get into the crevices and dull down the Buff a bit.
The shovels and wheelbarrow will be shared between both trucks, but I'm making some things for each, like post drivers, coolers, cement bags, boxes of fittings (closed, of course), but I'm not sure how many fence rolls (like in the shot above, which still needs to be painted green) I can make with the materials I've currently got (the fencing will probably be shared, too).
By "shared" I mean "when it comes time for various photo shoots."
Bob's memory of these trucks is way better than mine, him being older and having worked on all the trucks more often and for more years than I did, so I trust him and his advice...and when he says the model's bed is too short, I have to take his word, but that's how long the model kit is and I don't have the skills to extend it. And for that reason, the fence cage (based on his sketch) looks admittedly weird; it should be as long in the back half as the front, not one-quarter as long (which still falls short of the very back of the bed).
Still, the cage looks pretty good and is fairly square, so, in the end, I think I can accept its literal shortcomings.
I followed Bob's sketch of the cage as closely as possible, trying to scale it to the truck appropriately. This cage made with rod styrene was initially a mock-up demo for one made with aluminum rods (the same kind I used for fence posts), but plastic is easier to work with (i.e. glue), so I'm using the cage above for the final model.
My uncle's trucks weren't as beat-up as I'm making these two models, but it's more fun this way, so I added some "duct tape" (green painter's tape painted silver and cut into small bits) on the seat.
Ready for priming, that is. I scratched up bits of the body here and there, indicating where damage might occur from fence posts, tools, my general teenage clumsiness, etc. and added a few rust holes. This truck will have less rust than Version 2, but it will still get lots of weathering and dust.
When Bob told me one of the trucks was brown I was a little disappointed, realizing I'd have to paint the model such a boring colour. To spice things up a bit, I decided to make it look like one of the parts (a door? a quater-panel?) was replaced, as though from another truck, by painting it a different colour. I didn't want to contrast the colours too much so I ultimately decided to "replace" the hood and paint it red to not be too overtly overt about it.
Ready for body colour, that is. The truck cab looks like it's unprimed, but that's just the exposure of this shot, washing out the light grey primer.
I started weathering the cage by painting it black and then misting it with some red/brown primer for a rust effect. Then I applied Tamiya's Gunmetal acrylic using a cut-up heavy-duty cleaning scrubbie for scratches. I shot it with some black again to tone down the silver, and would have gone back with some more red primer (focusing on the underside this time) but the can's nozzle seized up.
Between the truck and the hood are my scratch-built mini coolers (one for each truck) using bits from my Russian tank donor kit for the containers and some sheet styrene for the handles. Lunch is important. Lunch time doubly so.
I added some salt to the rusty areas before spraying with Rustoleum Chestnut Brown. This paint is very thick, especially compared to Tamiya's rattle cans, and I may have overdone it, but I like the colour a lot (not as boring as I'd feared!) and I think it'll weather down well. The red hood stands out a bit too much right now, but that'll also get dulled down with some chalks later. The cage is only loosely sitting inside the bed for a look-see for now.
The back of the cab and the interior are only taped up here, and both truck body parts are just resting on top of the chassis, to see what this looks like all together. At this point it's actually bringing back memories of the real truck the way Version 2 did the closer it got to completion.
I scraped off the salt and the "rust" that now shows is very minimal, like I planned. I used the Gunmetal for the "scratched and dinged" areas and started painting some of the hardware (the door handles, wipers, window frames, tail latch, and prepped the side reflectors (which I'll paint over the silver with Tamiya clear orange as that worked amazingly well on Version 2)).
In the bottom of this shot you can see the shiny chrome parts for the bumpers and grill which all need to be dulled down with a matte clear coat, a black wash for definition of details, and maybe a bit of misting with red/brown primer (once I get a new can) for extra weathering.
Both scratch-built coolers still need a touch-up with white, but they look pretty good.
Looks like there's just enough room in these minis for a couple of sammitches and Cokes.