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3D 1953 Studebaker pickup + MPC 1984 GMC 4WD

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Always had a soft spot for these Studebaker pickups, when I saw this new 3D printed 1953 body by Andy Lesiak , I *had to* get it.  Evaluated what to use for a donor kit, decided on the MPC "Deserter" '84 Jimmy, because I'm not a fan of the Square Body era, especially the stacked quad rectangle headlights (I own a '68 Chevy C-10 so I'm extremely biased 😝).  The Studebaker bed is designed for a Pro Street build, that is going to get revamped.

Was thinking of using the floor of the GMC bed, but this nixed that idea.

Right off the bat, encountered bad engineering, the rear perches for the front suspension, no left/right, so slight modification required.

Glued parts that are halves together, for now not cleaning up, goal is to do a mockup.  Found the engine has left/right valve covers, but the instructions don't indicate such.  Puttied some sink marks already.

Rookie builders might get ticked off about how the wheels might not turn when assembled.  The ejection pin marks needed to be scraped down.  The part numbers on the tree are screwed up, there is a front/rear axle retainer with different lengths, the same number was on a front and rear part. 😆

The other thing about the wheels, they are about 1/16" wider than the tire beads.  Can't just sand down the rim, need to evaluate what to do, this can't stand!

Used the hotwire to cut off the door panels, modify the gas tank, and cut up the firewall part.  Temporarily glued the drivetrain together with globs of Titebond glue.  The instructions are useless for showing how the front leaf springs mount to the front perches, there is no positive connection, so the first mockup will determine what to do next.  In fact, there is about 3/16" of play front-back to fix the front axle, I guess in this case with the different body that's a plus!

I know the body will be painted a patina turquoise, with different color rear fenders, and will add some dents.  The interior will have to be scratch-built, have a VW Bus bench seat which should suffice, dash will take more work, and door panels are simple enough.  No emblems, street rods usually have that stuff shaved, but that hood ornament is cool, have to make that!  Taillights are simple.  Was planning to use the GMC mirrors, brush guard, winch.

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On 2/27/2023 at 4:17 AM, KWT said:

I'm definitely going to enjoy this.


My cousin owns one. It was once their pulling truck then restored to street


Sweet! ❤️  It appears to be a different year, the grill and hood emblems are slightly different.

Until I propped it up, thought the wheelbase was close, but looks like the rear axle needs to move back a little.  Will open the front wheel arch a little.  Might lower a bit too.

Didn't take much removal to get the chassis to fit.  The total lack of brakes is annoying, it's triggering my OCD.  The gas tank might go away, anyone remember when NBC showed an exploding gas tank?  The trend is to relocate to where the spare tire is.

If anyone built the GMC, I have a question about the front leaf spring forward mount.

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On 3/1/2023 at 4:06 AM, KWT said:

I wasn't sure how this was going to look, but that mock up is great

IIRC, my cousins is a 49

Thanks, it was my goal the first session.  Been thinking about what to do next, the suspension really needs improvement before cutting the frame.

On 3/1/2023 at 6:16 AM, NOBLNG said:

This is going to look great Kurt!😎 You may as well relocate the gas tank, cause that spare tire is going to be useless anyway.🙂

Of course, since you inspired me with your 4WD builds, I couldn't resist.  Yea no kidding! 🤣  Need to find another tire/wheel for a spare, might post in the Wanted section.  I already know it will be made from a block of Corian®, with photo-etch welds.

10 hours ago, stavanzer said:

Great Work.

Guy in a Car Club here in town put his Stude on an AMC Eagle 4x4 Chassis. Cool Truck.

Well shucks, all I did so far was break parts off the tree. 😏  Those Eagles are rare as heck!

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11 hours ago, 89AKurt said:

Well shucks, all I did so far was break parts off the tree. 😏  Those Eagles are rare as heck!

They were not rare when he made the conversion in the 1990's. His was Red w/ White Trim, and had the Eagle dash, Steering Wheel and seats.

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15 hours ago, dino246gt said:

I like this project, something different and it's very cool!  Nicely done!  So far!

Thank you!  Yea it's different than a Dino, have one in the stash. 🙂

I've been studying the suspension, and it sure needs improvement.  A neighbor has a similar vintage 4WD Blazer, I need to ask to look under it.
Started on wrecking the body.  Used a Tamiya scriber, finished with a #11 blade.  There is a bump along the panel lines that needed to be removed, Dremel was the tool of choice.  First was the hood.

The tailgate was next.  Started on the bottom edge, used a steel ruler for a guide to start.  Then the vertical cuts, and final was the bed floor.

The bed floor was the biggest victim.  I tried the hot-wire, but found it didn't melt, with no knowledge how 3D printing works, I assume it's built up with heat, so I learned something without a disaster happening, that's unusual for me. 😅  The Dremel was used to route around the edge of the floor.

Cleaned up the cut with the same bit.  The inside of the bed is flat, that's going to be easy to fabricate.  You can see the bit used earlier for inside the hood cut.  I am looking at 3 seats to use.

Back on the chassis.  The firewall is going to be moved back.  Looks like the bed floor will match the frame well.  I will carefully remove the door handles.

What is ahead of me for the bed:
Flat sides easy.
Floor could be done with strips, but am thinking of diamond plate.
Front panel with ribs, and rolled top edge.  The problem with the bed in unit with the cab, won't be accurate.
Trailing edge of the sides is not on the model.
Stake pockets, seems like all pickup models don't have those.
3D bumper will need the back hollowed out, and brackets made.
Don't think I will recess the STUDEBAKER script.

Engine bay:
Firewall is totally different than the GMC.  Debating about using the GMC heater and detail, or scratch all that.
Footwell could stay the same.
Hood hinges, this is where having watchmaker skills would be nice.
I'm going to wing it here.

This is the first 3D body I have worked on.  It's hard to cut.  Sands really nice.  Reminds me of Corian® in the mess it makes.

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On 3/10/2023 at 2:41 AM, Belugawrx said:

Nice start on the Stude Kurt 👍


On 3/10/2023 at 8:04 AM, Kit Karson said:

Had a pair of old Stude PUs years ago... way kool before their time, IMHO!  Fun watching over your shoulder... -KK

Cool!  I had a '48 Chevy 5 window last century, but 4 versions of the '50, this is a nice change.

On 3/11/2023 at 10:50 AM, dino246gt said:

Nice work opening that up! I'm watching, I like what I'm seeing!


9 minutes ago, zaina said:

Lookin good.  Glad to see the hood being cut out. I would be too lazy to do it. 

😅 Appreciate your comment.  Took two sessions, about 90 minutes.  It had to be done so the chassis could fit better.

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I used the flathead six from the '41 Plymouth for my scratchbuilt Willys Wagon, and it does look somewhat similar to that picture above. I wouldn't use so many different colors though, as I did on this one, would look better with more black wires, I might paint mine.


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On 3/13/2023 at 10:14 AM, dino246gt said:

I used the flathead six from the '41 Plymouth for my scratchbuilt Willys Wagon, and it does look somewhat similar to that picture above. I wouldn't use so many different colors though, as I did on this one, would look better with more black wires, I might paint mine.


Great detail on that engine!  Another option would be to get a Cummins diesel engine from various sources.

I'm finding many issues to resolve, requiring some research.  I can't make anything simple. 😅  Trying to decide which small project to do first is more of a challenge than actually doing them.  Took the hot-wire to cut out the spare tire and gas tank.  Have decided to use the VW Bus seat.

Used the Dremel to remove some of the radiator support to lower the body a little.  The seat fits without door panels, planning to narrow some.  I need to get the body set, then can add mounts with screws.  There is a jack with lug wrench molded onto the fender, I'm getting a Fireball Modelworks farm jack, so that will be disappeared.

Found drawings that will help plan the marriage.  Was thrilled to find what looks like a Studebaker sales brochure.  Had the copy shop print the files as downloaded, figured out how much to reduce/enlarge to 1/2" = 1' - 0" (I work in the construction industry, the shop has scales to use, close enough to 1/25 or 1/24).  What I discovered, the bed and wheelbase do not match a model number: the wheelbase is the R15-21 (1 ton), the bed is the R5 (1/2 ton).  I have the bed depth, and a profile of the rear fender so I can correct that (which is part of the charm of the design).

Found a chassis spec drawing of the chassis for the "Squarebody".  It's the commercial chassis, had to figure out what section is not on the kit.  Figured out the forward front spring perch is definitely wrong, that will require looking at the real thing.  I see cross braces to do at the rear, will have to remove what I have now.  Noticed the rear shocks are inside the frame, not outside like the kit.  I need to stretch the frame 9 scale inches.

Made a frame jig.  Need to figure out how to make one side removable, of all the screws I have in the stash, none work.  Now I see why there are different size axle to wheel parts.  Another thing that bugs me, one of the front springs is not parallel with the frame, it's molded onto the axle, so that will be fun to fix.

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On 3/14/2023 at 9:13 PM, zaina said:

Ha. that’s the exact sales brochure I used to scale it. Love seeing how far you are taking this. 

Thanks for checking in.

On 3/15/2023 at 3:57 AM, Zippi said:

The ole Stude is looking pretty good.  Nice work so far.  

Thank you.

Figured out how to make one side of the jig removable, cut plates from aluminum angle.

Cut the frame.  The middle extension was cut from the door panels, 0.02" styrene on both sides, one side is a lap joint.  Superglue with baking soda sprinkled on to fill the sloppy gaps.

Here is how it looks.

Made a cross member that goes between the rear spring perches.  Cut some of the frame ends off, will make brackets for the Studebaker bumper.

I took several pictures of my neighbor's '87 Blazer, which has many modifications such as an LS engine.  I see the MPC kit is hardly accurate, and missing things such as brakes, steering stabilizer, steering thingie on the axle, etc.  I need to not go overboard correcting and adding stuff.  But I am looking at the standoff block being on the axle, and not the 4 on the frame.

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GREAT fab work going on there Kurt! Yes, lift blocks are usually at the axle, not the frame. In the 1:1 world they are a real bad idea for a front axle. They tend to fail under hard braking. Arched springs are better.🤔 Art Anderson (not the thread starter) did a great tutorial on building leaf springs. There is a link to it in my Willys build thread.

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7 hours ago, NOBLNG said:

GREAT fab work going on there Kurt! Yes, lift blocks are usually at the axle, not the frame. In the 1:1 world they are a real bad idea for a front axle. They tend to fail under hard braking. Arched springs are better.🤔 Art Anderson (not the thread starter) did a great tutorial on building leaf springs. There is a link to it in my Willys build thread.

Thought I saw you do that.  Yea, the front spring mounts really need improvement, and the flat springs are bugging me.

Thinking about body color.  Was thinking Tuscan Tan, with rear fenders being different.  Rusty patina no matter what.

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I'm determined to make noticeable progress this weekend.  What to do next?  Bumpers, hollowed the back, starting with the Dremel, then Xacto, scrapers, and sanding sticks.  Forgot to get the #0000 steel wool in the picture.

Started on the rear fenders.  Cut up a door panel, goober superglued with baking soda pieces on.  Roughed to shape with the Dremel.


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Despite getting a couple of distractions by life this morning, made progress in the mating of chassis to body.  First was to add the missing floor on the chassis, which led to adding to the front of the bed, and a support plate in the cab.  After refining the revised fender, which included grinding the inside somewhat to shape, added the bed inside panel.  Then I fabricated the firewall, which is a blend of the GMC floor, and what the Studebaker looks like, which luckily is flat panels.  Then made the glovebox using newspaper printing plate over the top.  I have two screws to hold the chassis to the body, for now that seems to be enough, but I'm sure two more at the end of the frame to bed will be needed.


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