By Luciano J. Pavloski
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.
In a recent article I described making a Hot Wheels F100 van into a stock vehicle, this may be read here. In this article I describe how I added detail to the obsolete, but relatively common, Ertl 1950 Chevrolet Panel Van.
Forgive me my frankness, but most of the ERTL 1:43 scale models have always seemed more like toys to me than accurate miniatures. For that reason I did not think about having any in my collection. However, the ERTL Chevrolet 1950 van is one of those models that can not be found from another manufacturer. As it is a very cheap miniature I decided to buy one and see what I could do to improve it.
The photographs above show the original Ertl. The model was as I expected, extremely simple.
The first step was to remove the livery, which did not interest me. This was done carefully with acetone. Then I went to what most bothered me about the miniature: the blanked rear windows only depicted in relief on the metal. Okay it is a budget priced model, but not even windows in the back? The way I tackled this was to open the windows by drilling several holes until the metal gave way and then cleaned up the edges with a small file. After that I glazed the windows with transparent plastic from a CD box lid.
Whilst working at the rear I added the light missing off the original model (yes, there was only one in those vans) which was made with two pieces of plastic. I also added the licence plate and a exhaust pipe. There was no representation of the hinges of the rear doors on the model and they are prominent exterior fittings on the real vehicle. I created them with 4 small pieces of plastic and glued them onto the correct positions.
Turning to the front another thing that bothered me was the headlights, which are just all chrome parts. I replaced them with others of the same diameter fitted with transparent lenses from my box of scraps. Still at the front, painting the recesses of the front grille greatly improved the look. The space between the grille and the bumper was painted in blue to match the body and a licence plate added.
I painted the rims of the wheels in light blue and added wipers on the windshield and a mirror made up using scraps I had available. On the right hand side I made a hole and fitted a fuel tank nozzle, also donated from a scrap model.
Even the door latches are not modelled in this humble ERTL van. So I made them with pieces of rigid telephone wire shaped with pliers.
To finish the outside I painted the window surrounds in silver and glued strips of chrome tape over the painted lines of the model to make the chrome more realistic.
The interior, like the rest of the model, is very simple and the dashboard does not faithfully reproduce the original one. The moulding was all in blue, so I painted the seat brown, the floor in black and added the silver dashboard detail. The steering wheel was terrible, like a monstrous steering column. It was traded for a better one from the parts box.
One problem with this model that cannot be solved is its width. The length is correct but the width is considerably narrower than it should be. This is shown by placing it side-by-side with 1:43 scale pick-ups from the same family. The photos below show the Ertl van between a Chevrolet 3100 1950 pickup by Ixo (Brazilian Chevrolet Collection) and a Cararama (green) pickup truck. But that’s the best panel van I can have until some manufacturer decides to make a more accurate 1950 Chevrolet van.
And finally some photographs showing the Ertl Chevrolet before, and after, my detailing.
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