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Off on a new adventure!


I took this photo back in 2007 on St John while vacationing in the US Virgin Islands. Unfortunately I took one quick shot, not a side or rear view, which would aid me immensely  building this as a model.


With Google as my friend, I searched “St John, Jeep” and look what popped up?!  Same exact Jeep.. see the plate number! A few years older with more wear on it. So I can reasonably expect it’s still tooling around the island!

As I’ve been accused of “ruining perfectly models” in the past, you may ask “why?”.  I was immediately drawn to this battered Jeep with its locally welded rear section because it fits my theme of unique old survivors.  I’m not alone since I found another picture.  Secondly, I want to undertake the challenge of scratch building it and seeing just how close a replica I can create!


First thing I noticed is that the Jeep has a longer than standard wheelbase. The CJ6 wheelbase is 20” longer than a standard CJ5, so I extended the flat bottom with Evergreen strips. Note that I strengthened it with pins as I always do. 


I cleaned up the really poor MPC axles and got it up on wheels.


Here’s how bad the axles actually are! Missing parts and near zero mating surfaces to join the two halves!  On my Junker Jeep, the axles were broken off so I had replaced the shafts with round plastic stock. Probably should have done that here too!


My favorite magic trick of sawing the lady in half. We aren’t going to need anything behind the seat so off with it.  And that back half has become a trailer.


Here I start getting familiar with the relationship the parts will have to deal with. Important as I scratch build the box.


And here we are figuring out the dimensions and fit. I’m having to approximate since I’m working with a single front angle photo.  If I had a side view, I’d scale the photo to the wheel base and simply measure it all off. Note that I’m working with cardboard, and old packaging scraps of it. It’s best to do your trial work in a throw away medium before committing precious sheet plastic to the project.


Working on approximating the body requires a lot of sitting back and staring it it! And I like to review it in photos since they accentuate errors. It’s also important for me to walk away and come back the next day because getting too close to the model  blurs my objectivity. Sometimes I come back and immediately see something in one of those “What was I thinking?” moments!

And as far as the vehicle, I have no idea why it has a crudely welded local body.  Maybe it was damaged. Maybe the owner wanted a longer and wider box.. maybe the chassis was stretched too...  we may never know!  It’s just going to be fun for a project!


Edited by Tom Geiger
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I like it! Nice to see something a bit different. I'm surprised that you found a pic of the same Jeep online. Gotta love the inner tube for that. Lol.

I have a box of Jeep parts myself. I may need to do an inner tube search myself when I get ready to dive into it.


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This is a great start to a potential mind-bender of a build, Tom. I love projects like this that challenge us to plan ahead, improvise, and solve issues creatively.

Just imagine what kind of photos you'll find of this thing in another 14 years. Eager to see where you go from here.

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9 hours ago, Stef said:

This is a great start to a potential mind-bender of a build, Tom. I love projects like this that challenge us to plan ahead, improvise, and solve issues creatively.

Just imagine what kind of photos you'll find of this thing in another 14 years. Eager to see where you go from here.

Thanks Stef!  I build some odd things and a lot of people don’t get me!

I found it crazy interesting that I found that second photo!  St John is a tiny little island with a small downtown, if you could even call it that!  I went to Google Street View and walked around a bit looking for it. I didn’t find it on a street!  

Since St John is all hilly and rugged, most vehicles there are Jeeps. Right near the ferry landing there are a bunch of Jeep rental shops.. I was thinking of emailing a few to ask about this Jeep. Maybe I’ll find an interested local! 

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9 hours ago, gotnitro? said:

Good looking panels  ! 

Too bad you weren't able to find it wandering around virtually,  that really gives a whole new level of research lol

That would be great! I may go snoop around Google Maps some more!  It would be an incredible score!

Some more work today.  I have the entire box worked out In cardboard and 1:1 dimensions.  I prefer to work in real world dimensions from my years designing and building office space.  I’ll go through this bit of progress in detail, hoping folks will find it useful. If not I’ll go away!


You already saw my cab side panels so here’s the back panel. The main pieces are all .040” Evergreen sheet, their item 9040. There are two 6” x 12” sheets to a pack. Cost about $3.50 so not all that expensive, but still I work my patterns in cardboard before committing to plastic. 

I measured the new fabricated body width as 68” across. So in the above photo you see the panel was cut to 68 scale inches. I used my nifty centering ruler to mark off the center point. We will be working all of our dimensions off the center.  Note that I had determined the height of this panel needed to be 30” as it is parallel to the windshield’s bottom glass edge.


I measured the Jeep’s width at 58”, giving the rear box 5” wider on each side. Here we have measured that off. 


The cab side panels I cut off were a bit thicker than the .040” plastic so I added a bottom edge to them. Once that dried, I was able to center the back panel right in place per the measurements I drew on it.



The metal bench seat was one of the things I found interesting on the truck! That was easy, since it fit between pieces. I just measured off what I needed and glued it in place. 


Next step will be making the rear bed box. I have the pieces all templated in cardboard, and I was waiting for that angle to be defined at the front of it.

The parts may not be perfect, but I’m having fun!

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Next installment, Saturday’s progress...


First I cut out the sides per the dimensions of my cardboard template. Note that they are taped together. Once I cut out two pieces that mirror each other, I tape them together and sand the edges together to assure they are the same size and shape.


Next I fitted a cardboard template for the bed. It took two tries to get it the right size and wheel openings in correct place.

Two things.. the white plastic  out front is the template to match the sides with the angle of the seat back.  I work on glass because it’s perfectly flat. I set the body on the glass, set a piece of scrap plastic next to it and traced off the angle. Once I cut the plastic I checked it against the body, and sanded the edge until they matched well. Now I can easily trace that angle anywhere I need.

Second thing to note.. look in the front of the cab and you’ll see a couple of pins sticking up. I drilled out the pathetic match pins MPC provided and replaced with metal. This is important as I measure / cut / fit the body parts together, as this keeps the body true and square on the chassis.


And where we are right now.. using my cardboard bed floor template, I committed it to plastic.  I was pleased with it and it’s straight fit against the seat back / front wall of the bed piece. I wanted a bit more of a stronger joint than just the edge of the .040 sheet (which just happens to be one scale inch— .040” x 25= 1, which I figure into my calculations). I used Evergreen angle on that mating edge, hiding it under the bed.. once chassis is finished, it will appear the bed fabricator used some angle iron in this crude assembly!

I just glued the mating edge right before I took the last photo. The tire is sitting on top of the piece to weigh it down until the glue dries. The bed floor is attached to the cab now, but not to the chassis. I will drill and pin this to the frame at the high point of the rear wheel arc. Very important to plan how it will all fit together and glue / mount now so I’m not stressing with I’ll fitting finished parts later!

The next step will be to make the wheel wells prior to gluing the sides into the bed. I know the dimensions and will cut them out of the small pieces of scrap plastic we’ve generated.

Once it all looks good, I will glue the bed sides and wheel wells at the same time.. I’m counting on the wheel wells to help hold the bed sides straight. 

Until next step!



Edited by Tom Geiger
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Well another day’s worth of progress. It’s been 24 hrs without any comments so I’m not sure anyone’s interested in this work..


If you look closely at the above photo you will see the Evergreen plastic angle I’m using to true the corners. The .040” plastic is thick enough to glue securely, but I’ve added the extra strength of the angles, which may be visible in some spots, thinking the little welding shop in the islands may have fabbed  it that way. Here we have angle plastic glued, and we are ready to mount the sides.. the moment of truth where we see if our calculations and cuts were correct!


I first glued only the critical edge at the front angle since that’s the most important match point.. so far so good.


And we seem to be okay! Wheel wells are in correct position. Time to glue the rest of the body sides to the floor.


Next step is to make the inner wheel wells. Here’s a shot of one mocked in place. I’ll let them dry overnight before I sand down the matching edges, and make sure the bottoms are flat and true to the bed floor and side. 

And that’s where we have landed today. Next time I get to the bench I will be cutting out the non critical pieces that make up the visual total of the  body. I have a roll bar to work with, and will be making the side rails.  

Edited by Tom Geiger
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1 hour ago, iamsuperdan said:

I think it's neat. Pretty safe to assume the real thing was someone's home build and not something professionally done?

Thanks! I don’t know the origin but either home built or from one of the back alley fabrication shops all over the islands. I saw a few with new Jitneys like these in progress..


These were the inspiration for my 1950 Ford Jitney.

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Tom, you realise the original builder put this jalopy together just so that you might see it one day and know you HAD to build it?  I mean, this thing has Tom Geiger written all over it! Jeep - check!  Commercial vehicle - Check!  Funky home made body - Check!  Moderate weathering - Check!  Place that probably has really cool stamps at the Post Office - Check! 

What took you so long? 





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9 hours ago, alan barton said:

What took you so long? 

You are so right my friend!

Every time I see that photo it just screamed, “Build me!”   I guess we can credit Covid with giving me the time to do so! I am enjoying this project, I build a bit every day and it keeps my head straight as the world goes crazy outside my cocoon!

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I am enjoying following along with this build. As a matter of fact, after cleaning off my bench last night in preparation for the upcoming 24 hr build I dug out my small box of Jeep parts and began working on putting things together. Unfortunately I need to find a set of instructions for the Monogram 76-77 CJ-7 to see what I may be missing and figure out where a few pieces go. I may make me a trailer like you did with the spare blue body.

Keep up the good work. We are watching.



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It’s been a few days since I last posted progress. I did take a breather from the bench for a day or two, and have been playing with other projects as well. Still, I’d get a little done here every day.

Above is the roll bar. The one on the Jeep is wider than any I found in kits, about 60” wide. I did find one bar that wasn’t wide enough but was too tall. It worked out that I could use the removed height to add to the width. I still may rethink the roll bar as the actual one appears to be much thicker.


And here we are with most of the body work done.  I just have the bed rail to add, note the top side panels are drilled for it. I also have to fashion a thin set of front wheel flares.

Then it’s off to primer.. 


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