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1950's Ford "Emergency Unit"

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As many of you may know, I am replicating many of my hometown fire department's apparatus of years past.  Our first "Emergency Unit", an early 1950's Ford

stepvan carried ropes, hand tools, air packs, fuel , life jackets and other supplies for our marine units(boats).



 There are a few makers of diecast collectible vans and banks.  I chose this Sentry Hardware bank, as it was cheaper AND I planned to cut it up anyway to lengthen the body/frame.  The bank came with horizontal side moldings that the 1:1 truck never had.  So, the question was - how do I remove the moldings without damaging the sides of the van?  Well, with less precision that a surgeon, My Proxxon rotary tool (think Dremel) made pretty quick work of it.




The body was stripped with aircraft stripper.  It made quick work of the paint and was scrubbed with Dawn dish detergent after a thorough washing.  The body was then shot with Duplicolor self etching primer(olive green color).


Next came time to cut the body.  Good old Dymo label tape was used to guide the hacksaw blade in cutting the roof and sides of the van.  After that was accomplished, The halves were thoroghly dried, 




The gap was bridged with brass sheet and secured with JB Weld.  Seams were filled with Evergreen sheet and Perfect Plastic Putty.


Still lots to do on this project.  More photos to come!




Edited by hooknladderno1
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Great project!  I have a couple of those vans and plan on turning at least one of them into a model when the inspiration happens!  You are pretty brave looking to fabricate the middle length.  I think I would've taken the easy way out and cut up two of the trucks!


Funny story... I kept getting out bid on eBay in my quest to get one of these vans.  So instead of bidding on them one at a time and waiting, I bid low on three at once... and you see what happened!

Edited by Tom Geiger
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  • 1 month later...

Harry, those are just the way I got them.  Note that my middle one is the same Sentry Hardware that David started his project with.  I just looked them up on eBay and they were made by "Crown Premiums" brand, and they courted companies to buy quantities of them as a premium.  I once priced out an Ertl Collectibles one for a company that I worked for. I wanted to offer them in our company store right before Christmas for employees to buy for their families. The minimum quantity was too many for my employer's gambling spirit! 

I've also seen their retail versions of a fire department truck and a police dept paddy wagon.  There is a "Little Debbie" brand one on eBay right now. They customized these decently for their customers, the interior loads varied and my Lenox van has a ladder rack.  They are nicely done and finished.

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  • 5 months later...

Making some progress on this project!  Fabricated the bottom raised panel with vertical fins to close up the bottom of the grille face.  The diecast comes with this area cut out, so I had to first close up the space with Evergreen strip and putty.  The grille comes from Ken Kitchen at Kitchen Table Resins.  Great quality, fast shipping, and Ken is great to deal with.  The grille did require some modification to fit into the opening.  It was cut, narrowed and glued to a strip of brass to give it strength.  Gaps will be filled in and sanded.  

Still challenged by trying to smooth all of the putty and plastic filling the gaps.  The 1:1 truck also had a wide vertical rub rail all around the base.  It is being added with Evergreen strip CA glued in place.  Additional progress not pictured is the floor pan has been cut, and the chassis cut, extended and glued together.  After setting up overnight, I'll take some photos with her up on her wheels.  Lots more to do, but she's getting there.  Thanks for looking!




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