Wednesday, 26 March 2014

1939 Chevrolet conversion - Part 6

The cargo cage
A characteristic feature of many commercial cargo trucks from the 1930s and 40s is the wooden cargo cage that gave this type of truck it's name - the 'stake truck'. I believe this is an American term and it confused me for a while, until I realised that the 'stake' in question was a wooden one!

The 1940 Chevrolet stake truck with advertising panel. Source: Flickr - Alden Jewel
The definition of a 'stake truck' is a truck or trailer with a stake body, as for hauling farm animals or feed bags. This type of truck has a planked wooden cargo cage and is generally - but not entirely - a type of truck that is commercial rather than military in nature. Such was the case with the 1939 model Chevrolet 1½ ton truck which was in civilian use in Finland prior to the start of World War 2 but was taken into military use by the Finns who were desperately short of motor transport.

The 1943 Ford '6' kit that I using as a base with which to make my faux-Chevy is not a civilian stake truck so I am having to modify it's cargo bed with some scratch built stakes...

My solution isn't strictly authentic as I decided to use the existing kit's cargo bed walls as a basis for the stake frame. I used some strips of thin brass sheet to make the plank walls for rigidity and then covered them with thin plastic sheet so I could try making a wooden texture.

With all the plastic planking done I also laid some plastic strips on the floor of the cargo bed and then it was just a case of gluing all the parts together..

Not too bad! Not brilliant, but I suppose you could say that it's seen a lot of use and so might be quite battered? I'm making the wood texture on the 'planks' by painting on some liquid cement which will melt the plastic just a little, then I will draw on some wood grain patterns with a scalpel.

Lastly I fit the cargo bed onto the chassis. Hopefully it will all look a bit more realistic with a coat of paint!

UPDATE - NOTES ON PST KIT INACCURACIES: When I fitted the cargo bed onto the chassis something seemed wrong and I couldn't figure out what. The cargo bed seemed to be too high off the chassis and there was a noticeable gap between it and the wheels (when they were fitted). I checked reference photos of the 1943 'Ford 6' truck and there was minimal space between the bottom of the cargo bed and the top of the rear tyres. Hmmmm, lots of head scratching ensued (had I put the kit together wrong?)!

As it happens no, I hadn't. But PST had!

I just happened to remember a comment on a review of the PST Ford kit over on the Henk of Holland review site - "...this is a re-working of the [PST] Studebaker US-6/GMC truck kits"!

It turns out that the cargo bed is from the Studebaker kit and sits on the chassis in a completely different way to an actual Ford cargo bed and you have to do some judicious lowering of the bed to make it the right height for the Ford (and my Chevy)! Bloody penny pinching Russian kit manufacturers!

What next?
You may wonder where the wheels and bonnet have gone? They have been sent up to my brother for duplication in resin as I hope to make two of these Chevys for my Finnish collection. So while they are being made I will carry on with converting the truck cab into a Chevy cab.

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