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1980 Jeep CJ-7 - "Old Klooge"

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I guess I’m bored with my ’82 Mustang model kit or something… which is odd, since I’ve been working on it here and there since March 2018... and I’m still not done with it. I think it’s because I’m trying to make sure I get every little detail just right (it was my first car, after all), and as I go along I think of more little things I need to add.

So, I decided to start another project – one I can [hopefully] knock out in a few days to a few weeks, rather than years. Back in August 2020, I went to Austin with my pal Harry to pick up another 1980 Jeep CJ-7 (a Laredo with a 304 V8 & TF-999 automatic transmission) to harvest the drivetrain and swap into my 1980 Jeep CJ-7 (that used to have a 258 I-6 & T-176 4-speed manual transmission). My BFF Dave came to San Angelo in January 2021 to help finish swapping the 258/T-176 into the ‘new’ Jeep (that he’s affectionately named “Klooge”) and took it home to Phoenix. As it sits, I still need to rebuild, warm-up, and install the 304/auto into my Jeep (“Dookie”). But that’s another story.

“Klooge” was a hot mess (more like a dumpster fire) that needed a LOT more work than we’d thought, which Dave is getting through in short order. One of my ‘things’ is that I like to build models of cars I’ve owned, and technically, I owned Klooge for about 4 months before signing him over to Dave, so I’ve decided to build a mini-Klooge (as I found him) as a result… I’ll build another version once Dave gets him back on the road and the way he wants him.

So, to kick things off, I scored another Monogram 2-n-1 CJ-7 kit from ebay (along with 2 more CJ-7 kits, so I can build one of Dookie when I first got him, along with the one after Dave finishes his work – I already have one of Dookie as he sits now… but after I get done with him [again] I guess I’ll need to get yet another one – sheesh. A few days ago, I decided to get busy on “Old Klooge,” and cracked open one of the CJ-7 kits. My logic is that since he was such a mess, all I should have to do is pretty much paint everything flat black and weather the BLAH_BLAH_BLAH_BLAH out of everything. I assembled the frame, suspension, and axles after trimming a ton of flash, then took the Dremel to the frame and ‘tub’ to duplicate some of the rust damage we found. There are a few holes in the frame, along with some rust ‘blow-throughs’ on the sheet metal. I also scored 2 sets of AR-589 wheels (from the 'Revell Trucks! GMC Pick-up' kit) and painted one set silver (to simulate the aluminum wheels) which will just get weathered with plenty of dirt and grime (Dave’s planning on Plasti-Koting them black, so we’ll see how that goes for the other set). I also pulled apart and cleaned up the V8 the previous owner had ‘glue bombed’ during assembly (that’s as far as they got, fortunately – but they did manage to break the hood hinge piece). Then I cut out the transmission/transfer case cover from the floor, since Klooge didn’t have one when I picked him up (thanks to my wife for reminding me of that) - I might just make a scale piece of cardboard for that (that kept the cats out over the winter). There was also a speaker hanging out of a hole in the dash, so I took the Dremel and punched a speaker hole in the dash panel. After all that, I ordered some O-scale diamond plate from HobbyLinc, which should be here next week.

Here’s Klooge on the trailer on the way home from Austin. Doesn’t look so bad, but little did we know. The hard top is for my Jeep, but I got the half doors for Dave, since he really liked having them on his ’92 YJ Wrangler “Islander” (which, I scored a Tamiya kit so I can build that one, too). All said, I think I have 6 more Jeep kits to build, so I guess I need to get crackin’.


And here were after spending a little time getting started with the kit.


Next up: slather on some embossing powder to simulate the bed liner on the floor after I punch a few small rust holes in the front seat footwells and clean up a few more parts to get ready for some flat black paint.

I've never built a 'beater' before - this is kind of fun.  I promise I won't take 3 years just to get 3/4 of the way there. ;) 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, I finally got a chance to get 'something' done.  It's stupid hot outside right now, so I'm enjoying the A/C.

Since I’ll be weathering the heck out of this one, I decided to just brush paint the chassis… yeah, I’ll never do that again since I have a dedicated airbrush booth. I also loaded up the underside with some course embossing and Elmer’s to simulate the caked mud we found under there… we’ll see how that turns out.


I brushed on some Tamiya Flat Black and sprinkled on some more embossing powder to hopefully simulate the crappy job of the rolled-on bed liner the previous owners put down. It’ll become flat black again when I shoot the body in the next few days.


Edited by Mister 4x4
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