1975 Chevy Rescue Van (Dual Color Kit)

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Company: AMT - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Round 2 Models - Website: Visit Site
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Round 2 Models continues re-releasing older kits, including this re-release of a 1975 Chevy Rescue Van. The kit is advertised as a “Dual Color Kit.” This means that the kit was released molded either in white or in red; not two colors in the same box. My review model was molded in white. There is no indication on the outside of the box as to which color the model inside is molded in. I was lucky and got the white one. I prefer this over the red molding. I feel it’s more difficult to over-paint a red molded model and get a good even base coat. Red is just too difficult to over-paint, especially if going to a lighter color. This van model has been re-released many times since the initial release in 1975. I know that the kit was used to represent the A-Team’s van, released when that TV show was popular.

This model is a 1975 Chevy G30 van with a 350 C.I.D. stock motor. The kit has parts that will allow you to build 4 different versions. You can build a stock G30, a customized G30, a police vehicle, and finally (as advertised on the box top) a fire department rescue vehicle. You also get a choice of tires. There are four Goodyear stock tires and two Firestone All Terrain T/C Tires for the rear. There is a choice of wheels, including custom mags as well as the stock wheels. Also included is some emergency equipment, such as oxygen tanks, a “Crash” axe, rope, megaphone and a gurney. Unfortunately no doors open on the van, so all this equipment would be stored inside and out of sight.

Construction starts, as usual, with the engine. This is pretty complete, including the distributor and coil. One problem is the alternator that just hangs out in space at the end of the fan belt; no bracket or support to attach it to the engine is included. Of course this is not an issue unless you open up the hood to expose the engine, but that would require cutting hood from body and scratchbuilding hood hinges. I chose to use the four stock tires for my build. I planned from the start to model an emergency van from Elmira, NY for family reasons, and didn’t think that small city vehicle would be equipped with All Terrain tires. Step three starts the chassis construction. The chassis is a one piece molding, and after adding the crossmembers and side braces it is attached to the floor pan. Next comes the smaller components of the suspension. One issue here is the lower suspension arms, parts 78-Right and 79-Left. These are numbered incorrectly. Just remember that the long pin for attaching the front shocks should be facing to the rear of the vehicle. In step four the kingpin, part 44, is shown. Note that it is a square post. Looking at the same area in step five you see a round kingpin with two posts. This is the incorrect kingpin. The front wheel’s backing plate has two sets of tabs to fit over the square kingpin, so it is necessary to use the kingpin indicated in step four. I placed the front firewall on the floor pan in step four, and then tried to insert the engine in step five. It went in, but was really difficult. I suggest adding the engine first, then attaching the firewall.

Once the suspension and other chassis components are attached, you move to the inside. There is no indication where the front seats should be attached to the floor. Put on the engine cover first, then place the front seats centered on either side. The instructions would have you place the instrument panel to the top of the firewall. This is not correct. There are the usual tabs on the instrument panel bottom for the steering column. If the instrument panel was glued where indicated, the tabs would be down near the pedals on the floor, and not near the steering column. However, if you look at the top of the instrument panel, there are curved indentations that match the curve of the windshield. Thus, to correctly locate the instrument panel, I glued the windshield into the body first, and then glued the instrument panel to the bottom of the windshield, matching the instrument panel’s curved indentations to the windshield’s curve. While the glue is setting, I adjusted the instrument panel so that it was level to the beltline (bottom edge of the side window). When the body is added to the floor pan, the steering column falls right into the tabs on the bottom of the instrument panel. I built the gurney and glued it to the floor alongside the sideways-mounted back bench. I then stripped the chrome plating off the first-aid box, painted it white, and then painted the cross red. Once done, I mounted it to the side wall behind the driver’s seat. The first-aid box and the gurney were all I used inside, and they are all you can really see once the body is buttoned up.

Once the interior is complete, you can add it to the one piece body. This is a bit of a tight fit and takes some patience and manipulation. Fortunately, the fit was alright and no problems were encountered. The next step is adding all of the exterior components. Unfortunately, this is where the age of the kit comes into play. All the chrome-plated parts had large mold lines and sprue attachment points that made stripping the chrome plating necessary. Even careful clean-up of the mold lines made the chrome unusable. I used oven cleaner to strip the chrome from the parts. I then painted what little chrome I needed with Tamiya Chrome Silver. The front and rear bumpers, as well as the rearview mirrors, were painted white. In the seventies the auto manufacturer still considered chrome bumpers and mirrors to be optional equipment that you paid for. The stock equipment was painted. Because it is a city fire vehicle, and the city wouldn’t pay for optional equipment, I chose to paint them a stock white. This looks really good against the red of the vehicle.

I painted my rescue vehicle with Testors Acryl Guards Red. After this dried I polished it with Novus polish and the finish was good enough to decal the body without having to gloss coat it first. I used the kit supplied decal sheet, using the Elmira Fire Department door lettering. I used the individual letters to make the signage on the back door. These decals were great, and the sheet has four complete alphabets and series of numbers to make just about any fire department you wish.

This was at times a frustrating build. Literally every part had to be cleaned-up as they all had heavy flash and mold lines. One piece had a knock out pin that was a quarter inch long! I had to dry fit the part before cleaning to make sure it wasn’t a locating pin. The chrome plating was heavy, hid detail, and also had flash and knock out marks that required cleaning, thus damaging the chrome plating. Of course that’s not the fault of Round 2. After all, this kit is 39-years-old, and its age shows. One parts tree had a sprue that was 3/8” thick. Check that against a recent kit and you will see how much molding techniques have changed in 39 years. In fact, Round 2 should be complimented for re-releasing these old kits. They give us a chance to go back in time and build something from our youth. They just require a little more modeling, and with a little effort they can be built into a decent model.

Thanks to Round 2 for the model to build and thanks to IPMS for allowing me to build and review it.


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