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Wrecker's front bumper question


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Need to scratch build the black replacement bumper on this vehicle.  Was thinking of using .015" styrene sheet, but I'd feel better knowing about how thick the real one might be.  What if it should be more like .020 or something else? Big differences there in 1/25.  Any thoughts? 

And would it be rubber, or metal?  But definitely how thick?

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The real bumper probably wouldn’t be any thicker than 1/4” plate which would be .010” in 1/25 scale. ( 0.250” divided by 25 = 0.010”) then it would probably be covered with a sheet of at least 1/4” thick rubber, or more likely conveyor belting? This is so that when push-starting a vehicle the tow truck will not scratch or otherwise damage the bumper of the vehicle being pushed. I would personally upscale the actual bumper to at least .020” styrene or even .030”....it will not look out of scale in my opinion.

Edited by NOBLNG
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Not sure from the picture exactly how the front push  bumper was constructed, but I do remember helping a friend construct a low budget push bumper from that era. None of use had any money to speak of but we were resourceful. This one guy we all hung out with worked for Cal Trans at the time. They were changing the way that Stop Lights were tripped at the time and the removed mechanisms were just laying around their yard. He was able to get one, somehow, and that is what we made the push bumper from. These were about a quarter inch thick metal with a 1/2 inch or so black rubber vulcanized to one side. This gave use some metal to weld brackets to and a very hard rubber surface that didn't leave a  mark on a chrome bumper. This gives you an idea of one way to construct a bumper 1:1 so maybe you could use that to make something out of plastic sheet material.   

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2 hours ago, Tom Geiger said:

What Greg said..

But note that your middle photo seems to show the bumper edge isn’t flat, it curls around the edge

Well spotted, yes! I've identified two slightly different GMC/Holmes trucks (almost identical but not quite) used in the series at that time.  First giveaway was different details on the rearview mirrors, so on those I just chose the ones I liked best to scratchbuild.  Same with some details on the wrecker winch.  So, I figure for this I'll make a push bumper that does slightly curl.

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Probably the easiest way to make a push bumper is to layer the plastic to replicate the steel backing bumper and the rubber portion of it. Some push bumpers on these older wreckers were more sturdy that others but they  were built from the same concept. You could use different shades of black to show the difference between the steel and rubber. 

Also, the Revell GMC Wrecker that was recently out has a nice push bumper, you could see if someone has an extra they'd be willing to trade to use/modify for your model.

 

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The push bumper on our old wrecker was 1/4 steel with around 1/4 thick rubber on the front. The top, bottom and sides were rolled 90 degrees with about a 2” lip on the sides and about a 3-4” lip top and bottom. It was not completely flat. It angled backwards on the outside.  It also had plates on the inside for mounting, making the bumper about 3-4” thick. It was pretty  heavy and one of the main reasons we installed it was for a counter balance when towing, as our wrecker had a short wheelbase. We were even going to mount weights in the hollow back side of the bumper, but I don’t think that we ever did. My point is that as said before, I don’t think that using thicker stock would be out of scale. Ours was factory made, but there were also many homemade versions as well. Use your reference pictures, but these varied quite a bit so don’t stress too much about unknown factors. There may have even been variations in the show. If I remember right, seemed like they had a different wrecker every week.😀

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4 hours ago, DRIPTROIT 71 said:

 There may have even been variations in the show. If I remember right, seemed like they had a different wrecker every week.😀

Well, since you mention it, I did extensive research and broke it down.

First season had a brown Chevy simple tow truck/pickup.

Season 2 had a Ford pickup (older than Jesse's) as the basis with a Holmes wrecker on the rear, with the red/white/blue paint (similar to my project).

Seasons  3 & 4 mostly had the biggest, a huge yellow Ford.  

Late Season 4 and on into the next three seasons had my favorite, the GMC with Holmes rear, in red/white/blue.

There was also a similarly-painted Chevy with a very wide-girthed wrecker that showed up in four episodes of Season 4.

Edited by Andrew D the Jolly Roger
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