By John Quilter
Photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author except for one clearly marked publicity Photograph from Greenlight.
In the last few years Ford has completely revamped its commercial vehicle range moving away from the long running Econoline in the USA and adopting the international design vans and mini buses, a more European type range of commercial vehicles. These compete with the Mercedes Benz Metris, and Dodge Ram Promaster City, Chevrolet City Express offerings as well as some from Nissan such as the NV200. There are two basic Ford models but lots of variations. The smaller of the two current offerings is a Transit Connect and the larger, just known as a Transit. In the USA the Connect is actually the second generation of this vehicle, the first being smaller still and imported from Ford’s Turkey operation. The second generation was launched in 2012 and sold in the US from 2014. It is produced in both Turkey and Valencia Spain. It comes in two lengths, 174 inches or 190 inches. The passenger version is known as the Titanium edition with side windows and additions rows of seats, two behind the driving compartment on the shorter version.
Greenlight Collectibles, who do a number of 1:43 scale replicas of modern vehicles, produce a white Transit Connect van with a black interior. These are quite accurate diecast models probably used by Ford as promos since they replicate current production Ford products. The Connect measure 4.37 inches which is virtually dead on accurate 1:43 scale for the longer version. Greenlights are good value for money so for an inveterate modifier such as myself, they make great donor models to create something a bit different and not currently in an model range. Therefore I set about making one of the cargo versions into a passenger van known as the Titanium edition which features more features and fancier interiors.
To do this required disassembly, quite easy with two Philips screws holding the plastic base plate in place. Grinding off the spun pegs releases the fascia unit and this gives access to the front side windows which also need to be removed and set aside for protection. Then comes the harder work. After covering most of the model with masking tape for protection, drill a number of small holes in the inset areas of the side panels. A Google search for photos of the real vehicle, often internet advertising websites, will give good views of the shape of the windows and in many cases the design of the rear rows of seats plus representative colours. Many of the Titanium editions will be in various colours but in order to preserve the logos and badging and black mouldings I chose to keep my model in the very typical commercial vehicle white. To open up the windows it will be necessary to drill multiple holes in the body sides. Be advised this Mazak material is hard stuff, use sharp bits. Then much filing with various square, triangular, and round files will open up the window areas to the proper shapes. Once the windows are to the correct shape I cut out of clear 1/16th inch thick clear plastic windows to fit the apertures. The modern vehicle practice these days is to have a wide black boarder around windows so some flat back paint surround is painted in as well.
For additional rows of seats I scratch made reasonable facsimiles from pieces of styrene plastic shaped and glued together then painted grey and black and fitted to the base plate. The on line images I found showed seats in duotone grey and black so these additional details were added to the stock Greenlight front ”captain’s chair” seats.
We welcome your comments and questions. Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at gmail.com.