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I recently bought an AMT Rescue Van model, but built it as a (more or less) stock van.  Building it brought back lots of memories of back when vans were "the big thing".  My parents had a couple over the years, both cargo vans purchased from my Dad's employer, and the later one Dad and I worked on together.  I wasn't old enough to have a license yet, but sure enjoyed the time spent with him as we bought a bench seat from the wreckers and installed it at home- measuring, drilling holes in the floor and all.

 

So, I decided to build another van.  This time I started with the AMT Police Van, which is more or less the same kit apart from a few accessories.  I'd never customized a model other than a few minor details, so I figured why not try a custom van 70s style.  Or at least start out in that direction and see where we end up.  I started by cutting the body into pieces (gasp!) and removing a section from the middle to make "shorty" van.

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The kit comes with a sunroof and the body shell has the cut line for it, so I opened it up.  While I was at it I filled the rear license plate indent, shaved the side marker lights (I may still add custom ones later) and added styrene strips to the roof to simulate the "roof ribs" the real ones have.  I just might open the hood and side door and detail the engine compartment (such as it is on a van) and add a custom interior. 

I'm still on the fence on the idea of sealing up the rear doors by filling in the seams and shaving the handle and hinges as I have seen on some full sized customs.  It seems like removing some of the exterior detail takes away something on a model, but... ?

Short Wheelbase Primer.jpeg

Shaved Plate Styrene.jpeg

Shaved Plate Primer.jpeg

Shaved Marker Front.jpeg

Roof Ribs.jpeg

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I like the "shorty" van idea , I did the same thing to one of these as a kid !  I'd leave the rear doors , it gets hot in those vans when parked .

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Like seeing this body shortened. I remember seeing some vans that had a rear roll pan with the license mounted in them or even a rear bumper from a pickup that had a license mounting along the bottom.  TooOld mentioned that interior heat could be a problem, and it was. Many used to add roof vents with scoops that had interior vent openings and even dark tinted side windows that could be cranked open. Just depends on the look you're going after. 

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1 hour ago, TooOld said:

I like the "shorty" van idea , I did the same thing to one of these as a kid !  I'd leave the rear doors , it gets hot in those vans when parked .

True enough.  I remember it getting pretty uncomfortable on those hot summer days without having the doors open.  Plus, I've already removed the sidemarker lights, and it seems like if you take too much of the detail it will look less realistic, imo.

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38 minutes ago, espo said:

Like seeing this body shortened. I remember seeing some vans that had a rear roll pan with the license mounted in them or even a rear bumper from a pickup that had a license mounting along the bottom.  TooOld mentioned that interior heat could be a problem, and it was. Many used to add roof vents with scoops that had interior vent openings and even dark tinted side windows that could be cranked open. Just depends on the look you're going after. 

I wanted to move the rear license plate and I have a few ideas kicking around in my head.  I like the newer 80s vans that had the plate mounted in the rear bumper, but to keep it more "custom" I was also thinking, as you mentioned, roll pan with plate mounting or maybe put a hard shell spare tire cover on the rear with a moulded-in plate mount.

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9 minutes ago, DANGERUS said:

I wanted to move the rear license plate and I have a few ideas kicking around in my head.  I like the newer 80s vans that had the plate mounted in the rear bumper, but to keep it more "custom" I was also thinking, as you mentioned, roll pan with plate mounting or maybe put a hard shell spare tire cover on the rear with a moulded-in plate mount.

The rear tire mount on the rear door was one way to free up interior space and a place to add something unique on the tire cover. Some of the high-end van conversion companies at the time would include a fiberglass tire cover that had their name featured on them. Most were a canvas type cover loke you would see on a Jeep today. There was many after- market covers offered with some being almost obscene in nature if you know what I mean. The only drawback is that the rear doors can start to look cluttered if too much is going on. All depends on the look you're going for. 

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4 hours ago, espo said:

The rear tire mount on the rear door was one way to free up interior space and a place to add something unique on the tire cover. Some of the high-end van conversion companies at the time would include a fiberglass tire cover that had their name featured on them. Most were a canvas type cover loke you would see on a Jeep today. There was many after- market covers offered with some being almost obscene in nature if you know what I mean. The only drawback is that the rear doors can start to look cluttered if too much is going on. All depends on the look you're going for. 

True.  That's kind of why I hadn't settled in whether or not to add the tire cover.  I like the idea of the license plate set into it, but I don't want clutter up the rear area too much.  Maybe it wouldn't be too bad since there are no rear door windows, or anything else back there.  I'll have to check out some more pictures of the real thing.  A roll pan with license plate relief is sounding better and better, though.

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37 minutes ago, DANGERUS said:

True.  That's kind of why I hadn't settled in whether or not to add the tire cover.  I like the idea of the license plate set into it, but I don't want clutter up the rear area too much.  Maybe it wouldn't be too bad since there are no rear door windows, or anything else back there.  I'll have to check out some more pictures of the real thing.  A roll pan with license plate relief is sounding better and better, though.

The roll pan may be the cleanest look. The later vans, I'm thinking around '80 or newer, had the factory option of the same rear bumper with license mount built in as the 1500 and 2500 series pickups. The window combinations from the factory not to mention aftermarket are endless. The factory rear door windows were almost imposable to see out of and you sat high enough that you could lose sight of a full-size Caprice anyway. This is the reason you would see so many with large door mounted rear view mirrors. None of these details are absolute when working in 1/25 scale plastic so just build it the way it looks best to you. 

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9 hours ago, Tabbysdaddy said:

That's cool, but the shorty vans are also shorter behind the rear wheels. Just like the longbed/shortbed pickups. 

Yeah, I figured that out after I got primer on it.  I considered cutting out the bit behind the wheels after, but it gets more complicated as I don't want to mess with the fuel filler door which is right where I would need to cut it out.  I have looked it over from many angles and I'm happy with the overall look, anyway.  Maybe on a future project I will attempt to "make it right".

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3D printed seats, glued to swivel bases I made from styrene, with custom arm rests.  I'm going to paint them black "leather".  I fabricated the requisite bed in the back from styrene sheet and the interior's getting blue "shag carpet" flocking.  Still not sure what to use for the sheet/blanket on the bed.  I have blue felt already so I might try playing around with the look to see if it's realistic.

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