Thursday, 29 October 2015

What next? Chevy radio van?

Despite the fact I really fancied getting back to good old plastic kit making - and I do have a couple of suitable kits for my Finnish Continuation War project - a little model I already had has been niggling me. I bought it as a possible basis for my 1939 Chevy truck project - but in the end did a semi-scratch build.

So, i've had this nice little truck laying around - it's a 1/72 Valiant 'Ready to Roll' resin model of a 1939 Chevrolet 30cwt LRDG truck...

As nice as this little truck is I don't really have any use for it now so I was wondering if I could use it in my Finnish project somehow. And as luck would have it I came across this photo on the (WW2 Finnish military history) photo resource...

Finnish Army photo, 1941. Source: SA-Kuva
The red arrow in the above photo points to a 1939 Chevrolet panel van. This is most likely - as was common Finnish Army practise at the time - a civilian vehicle pressed into military service. I did a bit of Googling and found out what this van looked like...

It's a very attractive light van and I don't think would be difficult to convert my LRDG truck into something like it. I will have to build up the 'panel van' back end onto the Chevy truck's rear chassis.

However, I also found an alternative version of the Chevy panel van which would be far easier to make a conversion of...

It's not as pretty as the factory made panel van but might be more appropriate for my intended use as a make-shift radio car for my Finns. (I actually quite like the improvised nature of the third-party conversion, though I won't be replicating the paint job!)

Historically, aside from the fact that Chevrolets - of various makes and sizes - were very popular pre-war imports into Finland, I can't be sure whether they were in fact used as radio cars by the Finns. The ad-hoc nature of Finland's impressing civilian vehicles into it's army means that perhaps no-one really knows for sure what strange and unusual models were press-ganged into use.

I have trawled through the SA-Kuva photo archive and radio cars hardly feature at all - perhaps one or two civilian sedans, but only one specialist vehicle (a German military van purchased by the Finns). So I am going to use some 'artistic licence'.

Next: Rebuilding the Chevy's cab and working out how to make the van back-end.


  1. This looks like an excellent project. The Finns would probably follow common practice of throwing heaps of junk onto a roof rack, and having a load of radio poles strapped to the side.

    Kind regards, Chris.

    1. Cheers Chris. I've been looking at photos of different types of radio cars to get some ideas about roof racks and other things I might add. Looking forward to this one. :)