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Chevrolet C8A HUW

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For a long time I’ve wanted to have a go a building the HUW. I’ve seen some great kits of this rather odd looking little vehicle and finally decided to take the plunge and see how I got on.

There are few British/Commonwealth truck around, especially in plastic so this was a conversion build using the old Italeri 15cwt truck (kit No 6233) and the Plus Models conversion set (kit No 005).

The Plus Models conversion is disappointing to say the least, and not cheap either, but I decided to try make the best of it and to open up the vehicle as I had never seen one other than completed as a basis box conversion.

At this point I had no real idea if my intentions were well founded or slightly mad!!!!

Note: I tend to build a cross all parts of the model, sometimes at roughly the same time so I have grouped the build in sections that I hope will clarify the steps needed to build this kit.

The beginnings – Preparing the Conversion Set
The plus model set arrived after I had parted with my hard earned money and consisted of 15 resin parts, a sheet of photo etched parts and some dubious decals. The design of the conversion set was not one that lent itself well to the idea I had in opening up the rear radio cabin. The detail was generally soft and the resin replacements parts very thick indeed!!!

Having read up a little on the truck and worried for a few days about the mess I might make of this I set about altering the conversion parts with my razor saw hoping that I wouldn’t do too much damage. Firstly I cut out the left hand side door. This was the main access door on the vehicle, the right hand side door being rarely if ever used. Next I cut out the rear door and having managed that with out any major mishap then thought about the roof.

The HUW had a sliding roof and cutting this part out successfully was not going to be easy, especially given the thickness of the resin. Still I set to it with the saw hoping for the best. This took a lot of time, repeated checking to try and ensure a reasonable cut but eventually I managed to remove the raised section in a useable state. It might have been easier to cut out the part and simply rebuild it in plastic but I wanted to use as much of the costly resin as possible.

Having cut the 3 main openings in the resin parts I wanted, I then decided to try and add some depth to what was remaining. I carefully sawed around the right hand side door, giving it a more 3 dimensional and individual part look than the kit provided. Then I looked at the inside of the replacement panels. These also were extremely thick. However, I had read that some of the trucks were lined with Canadian Maple plywood. I have no idea what this might look like, but it gave me the idea of making the thick insides look like wood. I measured out a series of ‘planks’ and drew these along the inside panels, then sawed into the resin in what I have to say for me was reasonably straight lines. When the planks were outlined I then scribed a wood grain effect on them with the point of a small file. Much of this work would eventually be covered over by the internal side stowage panels but at least what showed might look somewhat more believable than large slabs of resin.

All of the above seemed to work reasonable well, so confidence boosted I look next to the doors. The cut-outs were way too thick to display open as I hoped to do, so out came the saw once again and I sawed off a large chunk and filed both the rear and side door down to a much more acceptable thickness. This was another messy job but the results I think were worth it. Then I added some beading around the doors made from plastic ˝ rounds to give them a bit more realistic finish. At the same time I drilled through all the door handle marks to add some handles later.

At this point I was undecided what I should do next with the roof and hatch. My first thoughts were simply to attach the PE parts that came with the kit and glue the hatch onto the roof in an open position. This didn’t really seem like that good an idea as it too had a large amount of resin that needed to be removed. I though about it for a while and decided I would try and turn the hatch into a moveable hatch allowing me more choice for display later if I wanted. Clearly the PE runners would be to prone to bend through what was likely to be a push, pull and footer about operation, so I decided to make some plastic runners from L bean and incorporate this with the kit PE parts to make the runners for the hatch. I used the PE parts to get the correct length for the runners, looked at the various reference pictures and conversion plans and came up with some fittings that are not to far off what the real thing looks like (I hope).

Next I thought about the roof hatch. I scribed a line around the 4 undersides to give me a cut line and sawed of a large part of the excess resin. Then I scored two indented groves down the outside of each hatch side so that it would slide down the L beans. Apart from still being too thick, this seems to have good possibilities so I then set about hollowing out the inside of the hatch to leave just a square border around the 4 sides. Eventually after much scraping and cutting I had what was a reasonably thin hatch with pretty much the shape I wanted. The detail on the top remained undamaged and I now had a workable hatch for the roof. All that remained to do was to attach the altered hatch runners, a combination of my inverted L beans and the flat PE strips that came with the kit. I marked out the line of each runner, test fitted as best as possible and then glued down one runner and let it set. When set I slid the roof hatch into place and the glued down the second runner ensuring that the L beam fitted into the grooves on each side of the hatch I had made.

This took two attempts as the first time the glue set too quickly and wouldn’t give me the movement I needed to get the alignment right, so I quickly had to cut off the second runner with a sharp blade and then try again. The next attempt work just fine and a bonus in cutting and thinning down the roof was that I could now slide it completely off the roof over the 2 back fittings on the kit. Also by luck or good judgement I had actually gotten the groves just right and the hatch moved up and down the runners without any problem although it was a tight fit.

The Plus Models set when it arrived wasn’t that well protected and two small parts had been broken off. The RHS front end of the side panel and one of the fuel filler pipes, both of which would need fixing. The front end was in the kit but the fuel filler pipe wasn’t, despite the bag being sealed!!! More fixes for later.

When I had the floor, side, and rear, panels pretty much as I wanted them I joined them together with super glue and let the parts set. I also added the ‘beading around the inside of the cab separation panel where the sliding windows would be. Then I turned to the floor. The inside of the real truck had a metal tread plate floor, the kit a large area of flat resin. I didn’t have any PE for this so I improvised and used some plastic mesh left over from an old Tamiya kit. First I cut out the basic shape I wanted, then I coated the floor with Mr Surface 500 and laid the plastic mesh into that. When it was dry I gave it a further 2 coats of Mr Surface and let it set. Once dry I had a reasonable representation of the correct type of flooring at very little expense. With the floor done I made some fitting from plastic strip, for where the batteries would have been connected on the front separation panel under the window

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About the Author

About Alan McNeilly (AlanL)

Greying slightly, but young at heart. I've been teaching adults off and on for most of my life. Left the services in 85 and first started modelling in about 87 for a few years. Then I had a long spell when I didn't build anything (too busy) and really just got started again during the summer of ...


Another fantastic build from Alan, and it's a CMP! This is another that I tried to scratchbuild some years ago, and like the C15TA it never got finished. That conversion set looks a bit of a dog, so well done for making it work so well!
JAN 08, 2009 - 05:12 AM
Really great job Alan! Looks really nice and a first rate job as usual. I always like to see your work and really appreciate you sharing it with us. Love to see those CMP trucks!! Bob
JAN 08, 2009 - 05:47 AM
Hi Dave and Bob, Thanks for the comments guys, appreciated. I have to admit that when I decided to open it up I had no idea if it was do-able. Cheers Al
JAN 08, 2009 - 06:33 AM
Really nice Build, Alan, and an interesting project. Great work. Paul
JAN 08, 2009 - 08:44 AM
Alan, I keep seeing a lot of your work coming up and the details just keep getting better with each build. Very impressive build and congratulations on a great feature. I didn’t notice but is the top still detachable? Hope so, it's such a shame not to be able to see all the great details you added. Bob
JAN 08, 2009 - 09:39 AM
Hi Guys, Paul, thanks for the comments and glad you found the project an interesting one. It was quite a challenge Bob, many thanks for the kind words. Unfortunately the only way to get the roof to sit correctly was glue it down, but a a fair amount of the details is still visible through the open doors.so it does look nice and busy inside. Cheers folks. Al
JAN 08, 2009 - 06:17 PM
Hey there Alan, Great build....I just picked up one of these conversion sets and want to do a CDN version of the truck. I picked up the conversion in a trade with another modeler, as opposed to purchasing it out right, otherwise I might have been as disappointed in it as you were in the conversion kit. I will however be bookmarking your build and use it as a reference for my own build at some point! Again, fantastic result!!!!
JAN 10, 2009 - 08:37 AM
Hi Scott, Many thanks for the comments and glad you enjoyed the article. The original build blog is still in place. I don't know if you followed the build but there are a lot of useful references in the blog: Here's the link http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=SquawkBox&file=index&req=viewtopic&topic_id=124414#1026710 so fill you boots as they say Plus Models make a lot of neat items but they are very expensive, over priced IMHO. Still this was the only kid on the block and a lot of fun to do. Hopefully you got a good trade and can go from there. Cheers Al
JAN 10, 2009 - 09:25 AM
Perhaps I missed the reason why the left front seat has a fold down back since there is a wall behind it. Your mud and dirt give it that lived in look. If you want a dustier appearance, you might try a slurry of wood ashes in water. Paint it on with a wide brush, let dry, rinse and brush off. It will mildly etch and flatten the paint also and leaves a light tan/grey look, as if it had spent a lot of time on unpaved Normandy roads.
JAN 11, 2009 - 02:30 PM
Hi Trenor, Yes, you did, the Pin Up behind it Thanks for the thoughts on the wood ash, interesting technicque. No facilities for an open fire here but perhaps cigarette ash or paper ash might work too. I'll try a few experiments. Many thanks Al
JAN 11, 2009 - 05:43 PM