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California Steve
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1955 Ford panel truck… A paint experiment

May 7, 2016 · in How-to · · 26 · 2K

Soooo. I purchased a model of a panel truck and I got a bit carried away. I was thinking of some of the ways they used to customize the vans back in the 1970s. Then I remembered I had this paper palm tree kit and the madness began. I painted the truck in metallic greens then over sprayed them again using the tree paper (see photo) as a stencil. Then I went back and over sprayed them again with black. Next I added a few coats of Future floor wax.

The chrome was sprayed using the clear green I use for helo top canopies. The model was hard to photograph because in the shadows it turns black. Way too much fun.

Oh, I also included photos of a air conditioned shelter to show some custom military camo.

I hope you enjoy, it was a fun project.

California Steve

Reader reactions:
2  Awesome

10 additional images. Click to enlarge.

26 responses

  1. Really different Steve.
    I like it a lot mate.

  2. Ya soon as I saw that picture, I said to myself, "...that's gotta be California Steve..." - and I was right (for once). Nice job, my man...I like 'em both.

  3. Thanks Craig, Now I wonder what type of aircraft I can paint up like this?
    Then again I wonder about me! Haa Haa!
    Thanks for the nice words Craig.

  4. Wow, man! Psychedelic! I'm having a flashback! That is cosmic!
    Steve, you done did it again! Great work!
    Any aircraft that lends itself to camouflage, thinking a Japanese bomber, say a Sally, or maybe a Helen...

  5. Thanks Bernard, I was also thinking how cool it would look on a medium sized Japanese bomber. Not at all accurate, but it would sure disappear under some palm trees.
    Thanks again,

  6. Cal, Steve, sounds like an experiment that got away from you and turned out cool any way. the color choices really make it jump out at you. ----Yes I like it !

  7. Thanks Terry. I have to admit it turned out better than I had expected.
    It's one of those... Hmmm? what if I was to...
    I'm glad you liked the madness.

  8. Gotta say it, Far out!, Excellent.

  9. Thanks Man. It was a total trip. I was freaking out when laying it down with the rattle cans.
    OK enough of that.. Thank you very much Robert. Your kind words are appreciated.

  10. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    Very interesting paint job, that there is a very good example of the way to let the IMAGINATION factor flow and express itself. Another good point of this our hobby. Well done STEVE.

  11. Well thank you Mr.D. I was thinking about naming this Swamp Thang.
    Are you following the turmoil going on in the Earnhardt family about licensing the family name? Whew!

  12. Cal Steve the effect looks SO stunning and so easy to replicate. Like it very much. What about an orange, yellow and black creation to blend in with a nice California sunset scene?

  13. Hi Morne, Oooh! that would be a interesting color combination.
    I might have to go out and get a 1970s Chevy van for that one.
    And it is a easy process. Hey if I can do it Haa Haa!
    I am glad you liked the model. Thank you very much.

  14. Steve, meant to ask, where did you get the palm tree kit type thing? I always wanted to do a palm grove of sorts, for a Corsair/Wildcat/SBD dio.
    Thinking paper ones might be easier than them molded plastic ones, which come and go. Maybe cheaper? Were they in "Steves Landing"?
    Oh, meant to say- Groovy. There!

  15. Hey Benard. here is a link. Now I haven't tried to assemble any of these.
    The leaves in the kit look great. They come with six straight sticks in two different diameters. I would imagine you would have to soak them in water and bend and try to tape them to a bent palm tree shape.
    Here is the tip to do the palm bark.
    Get a large brown paper bag from your local market. Then tear 1/4 inch strips as long as you can. Then starting at the bottom of the tree. Wrap them up to the top over lapping as you go. I used regular white glue in a messy way but it worked. After it dries I went back and dry brushed with browns and tans. I hope this is helpful. Here is the link


  16. Very nice great imagination..Jerry Garcia and Cheech and Chong would be proud of this one...

  17. Thanks Tony. It needs Colorado license plates.

  18. That's pretty bad-assed!

  19. Why thank you very much James.

  20. Way cool - love the use if imagination (and stuff and hand) in modeling projects!

  21. Thank you Greg. This was to a straight forward paint it Ford blue weekender. But Noooo! I had to go about the place planning and setting up the paint area. and painting and gluing stuff!
    I enjoyed every minute.. It's really nice you and the guys got a kick out of the madness.
    Thanks again,

  22. I live these kind of models! It's about the joy building and painting. Creativity. It reminds me of something I've often thought of when I look at car models at shows: There seems to be an "idealistic" branch of car modelling, that is they build models of cars that reflect how the modeller wishes cars would look like. Shinier and with hipper paintjobs than you see on real cars.

    Most modellers, including yours truly, are more like "illusionists". We try to create an illusion of something that was.

    How about that for kitchen philosophy? Let me know what you think.

  23. I like your thinking Ulf. And to think that I was going to just paint it red or blue.
    Thanks for the nice words.

  24. Your imagination and creativity have hit it off again, Steve, maybe the technique is easy, but you've got to think of it in the first place, that what makes a real artist!

  25. Well George, I do thank you very much. I don't know what to say.

    OK I'll say this... Maybe not a artist but a real good scrounger of the stuff I have...

    Here is a tip I would like to pass along to all of you who read this.

    For you who are fairly new to the modeling crazyness, keep all of the leftover parts from the kits you build.

    Go through everything you keep and take a mental inventory every now and then. I had completely forgotten I had the tree kits I used to stencil this model. Oh what a fun hobby this is.

    Thanks George. I need to get to China to treat us to a big dinner some day.


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