The Truck-Cat Lives

Finally getting close to finishing this thing. Mostly need to finish the new chase rack and the light bars. The rack is just set in place, in these pictures. I was more and more unhappy with the first one I built. It doesn’t have mounting feet, yet. It still needs tabs to attach the light bars, and I want to add some small tie downs to it. Those will probably just be little tabs, with holes in them for hooks or scale rope. Still need to get the fuel filler painted, too.



As you can see by the dirt and the grass, I’m still driving it with the old Parma body. The grill and front bumper have finally been painted. I was dragging my feet on those, because I wasn’t sure what colors to use. It’s inconsistent between pictures of the real ones. The plastic part of the bumper appears to be black, but it’s not a pure black. I don’t have a charcoal gray, and I don’t like to mix, because I can never match the color, if touch up is ever necessary. Given that this is a running RC model, I expect touch ups to be very necessary. The darkest gray I have didn’t look right, so I just went with flat black. It looks okay.


The grill was harder. In pictures, the plastic inserts seem to run the gamut from light gray, to charcoal. “Gunship Gray” didn’t look right, so I settled on the “Dark Gull Gray” the body is mostly painted in. I’ve seen pictures that look almost the exact same shade, and it’s not unheard of for people to get those inserts painted body color. I wasn’t happy with it, but it was acceptable. Tamiya’s own promo pictures for the RC kit this body comes from show those areas painted in black. I don’t like the way that looks. I finally stumbled on a picture on E-Bay, of just the grill assembly. It was a good, well-lit, straight on picture, on a light background. It looked a lot, to me, like Tamiya’s “Metallic Grey.” (the fact that there are two different spelling’s for gray that are both considered correct is a never-ending source of amusement, for me) So, I started painting those parts of the grill, with it. I would like to point out that this was not only the third time I’d painted the grill, but it was being done by hand, because the thing’s contours don’t really lend themselves to masking. So, part way through, I thought to double-check the reference picture, just to make sure.


NOPE! The paint was noticeably too light. I also have a bottle of Tamiya’s “Gun Metal.” It might not be a perfect match, but it’s pretty close, I’m happy with it. I should point, that I am not a fan of Tamiya’s paint. I mostly use Testor’s acrylic Model Master paints. They cover well, except for the metallics, that I think I’ve ranted about before, dry quickly, but don’t thicken up on me, while I’m using them. Tamiya, on the other hand, often get thick, while I’m using them, rapidly reach a state of being tacky on the piece, but then take hours to become dry to the touch. They’re also rather soft, after curing, where the Model Master paints are fairly hard, for model paint. I think it’s because they’re using Pactra’s old formula. Once dry enough, I gave the gun metal paint a coat of gloss clear to keep it from going gummy. (had that happen once, on an R2-D2 figure I modified)




In the interest of equal time, I would like to state that Tamiya’s metallic colors are superior to the Model Master. They’re much more opaque, and less likely to develop grain or brush strokes in the metal flake. I’ll also admit that as much as I like working with the Model Master, this truck has been plagued with the stuff not wanting to stick. It doesn’t usually do that, on styrene plastic.


I did a little faux pinstriping in a few spots with Vallejo “Sky Blue.” Another brand of paint, I’m not fond of using. The stuff is beautifully opaque, levels nicely, and will go down dead flat. (A plus, if you want a matte finish) Other flat paints I’ve used tend to go on with a sheen, when brush painted. Why don’t like the Vallejo? It won’t stick to non porous surfaces. That’s right. It’s model paint that won’t adhere to plastic. It’s got to go down over primer. Once dry it’s really soft. Even for model paint, this stuff is soft. It also doesn’t dry waterproof. That made removing the pinstripes I screwed up easy, at least.


Home printed decals and a couple more coats of clear gloss later, I was ready for the trim around the windows, and added a few of the stickers from the Tamiya sheet. Painted the part where the mirrors are supposed to go, too. I still need to order that part. They were out, when I ordered the rest of the body. The windshield wipers are just set in place, for these pictures. I haven’t glued them in, yet.


I have all the lights installed in the body, and wired up. There are two circuits. The first one turns on the fog/parking lights under the headlights, and one bulb in each headlight. The tail lights are also on this circuit.


Low Beams



Those are uncomfortable to look at, straight on. The second circuit, that requires the first one to be on, lights up the second LED in each headlight, along the little pico sized lights in the corner marker lights. The light bars will also be on this second circuit. My “poor mans’ light controller” consists of a couple of clicky buttons, and a micro servo. I’m already seeing some teething problems brought on by modifying the buttons for a light enough spring that the servo could activate them. I may try replacing them with a rotary switch, (brass rod and an old slot car pick-up shoe should work) or finally break down and buy a proper light controller. HeyOK makes one that does exactly what I want, and it’s really not that expensive.


High Beams



Kinda hard to see the difference, in pictures. But it’s there. The high beams are hard to look at. They’re getting close to being painful. And, I still have light bars to install. The LEDs in the tail lights got a coat or two red paint, to tone them down, a bit. They were far too bright. Each set of rear lights has its own connector, so I can unplug them, anytime I need to take the bed apart. Hopefully, I won’t be doing that too often. All the lights are run from two AAA batteries.


truck35 truck36


When I painted the Parma body, I cut one of those ridiculous parental advisory stickers off of some CD’s packaging, and taped it on, where the license plate goes. This time, it’s a decal on sheet styrene. It’ll be glued on, once the rear bumper’s painted.



I managed to put a scratch in the front bumper, right front and center, shortly after I first started working on this thing. I decided to cover it with something.



Sorry about that quality, on that picture. I forgot to reset the white balance, on my camera. It’s actually yellow lettering on dark green background. The joke being, those words are what’s stamped on the front of modern anti-personnel mines.


Hope to be running the truck with this body, soon!



May 2015

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