Welcome to part three of our 1/6th scale Jeep Willys build! For this part of our custom scale build we will go over how we installed the LED lights, fabricated our roll cage and added rock sliders to help protect the body. We will also give you a look at some of the body work we did to give our Willys a more realistic look. As we have stated before we are doing this entire build with basic hand tools and mostly off the shelf parts. We have fabricated a few parts along the way, but they are all very basic items. Let’s dive in a take a look at what we did during part three of our Jeep Willys build!
For the roll cage we utilized an Axial Dingo roll cage, and modified it to fit our needs. It had the right basic shaped and overall size to fit our Willys nicely, but it would need to be wider to look correct and true to scale. To make it wider we added plastic spacers between the center section of the cage and the sides. Since the Willys body is narrower at the front of the cab we used different length spacers in order to pinch the cage down to the width needed. To add length to the legs of the cage we used assorted Axial aluminum suspension links to fine tune the height.
Once we had the cage height established to fit our driver figure. We went ahead and added a cross member to give the front of the cage a proper look. We used Axial aluminum links and rod ends to fabricate the cross member to the width needed. We also reamed out the rod ends so we could add a plastic sleeve which stops the mating cage parts from crushing the rod ends when we tighten everything down.
A close-up shot of the modified rod ends.
In order to cover the suspension links and give the cage a more unified look we sleeved all links with black heat shrink tubing.
A shot of the front cross member. We also added two more cross members outback to the sides of the cage for even more support.
An overall shot of the cage and how everything is shaping up. We also threw a set of wheels and tires from our Axial Bomber on the Willys, just to see how they looked. We like it a lot!
Next we dove into the LED lights! We are going to use Axial’s Night Vision System to light up the trails at night. We started with the stock headlights and gently removed the paint over spray with rubbing alcohol and a kitchen sink scrub pad. Not all of the paint came off, but we were able to remove enough for us to use lights. We also noticed that Axial’s light bucket grills fit perfectly over the stock headlights after trimming the factory ears off them. We used a little CA glue to attach the grills to the lights. Not too shabby!
Time to sort out tail lights! We used a body reamer to drill holes for Axial’s recessed light buckets. The tail lights in a real Willys are the ones below where we drilled. We opted to use the stock reflector location for our LED tail lights because the recessed light bucket fits perfectly inside the ring for the reflectors. This will add a little extra protection from the rocks while out on the trail. Sneak up on your hole size, and periodically check the fit and finish of the light bucket. Don’t want to go too big by accident here!
A shot of the LED tail light and recessed light bucket before install.
Light bucket pressed into place.
And lastly we added the clear lenses that are included with the Axial light bucket set.
The NVS light system comes with a battery splicer to let the end user conveniently plug and play once they get home. We opted to soldier the power wire directly to our Tekin FXR ESC battery leads. This really is the best way to go, and we are quickly running out of room under our hood, so it was a no brainer to do away with the battery splicer.
Don’t have a “third-hand” to help while soldiering? Use 90* needle-nose pliers and a rubber band as an assistant. The more wraps with the rubber band, the firmer the hold. Works great for tinning wires too!
Next it was time to sort out “rock light” placement. We wanted to have at least 4 LED lights pointing down under the chassis for better visibility during those technical night wheeling sessions. We already had plans to ditch the rear seat and go with a flat cover out back to mimic a tool box/cargo hold. The holes for the rear seat were perfectly placed for the LEDS to fire down behind the rear axle. A couple turns with a body reamer and we were to size. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. Left hole just outside the chassis rail has the light bucket pressed into place. Out front we drilled new holes in the floor boards of the cab behind the front wheels, so we have a light facing down behind the front wheels too.
For front marker lights we decided to drill out the stock grill and add the LED marker lights that came with the NVS system. This was a little tedious as there isn’t a whole lot of meat there to play with, but it worked out great. We glued the clear lenses into place when we were done.
In order to hold the smaller diameter LED marker lights we used two 6mm spacers we had laying around and pressed them into the backside of the grill.
Holds the marker light in place nicely. We will use Shoe Goo to attach all the LED lights into place. It is plenty strong enough and can be removed if need be.
Headlights and marker lights in place and looking good!
Now it was time for some body work. This Willys body had a lot of accessories attached to the body via various holes. After stripping all the unwanted stuff off, we were left with 22 holes total that would have to be patched. We used styrene to fill as much of the holes as we could. Apply some masking tape to the backside of the holes that need to be filled, and press your styrene plugs into place as you cut them.
In order to smooth all the holes over after the styrene plugs were installed we used standard spot putty from the local hardware store. Try whatever putty you buy on a scrap piece of the body first, to make sure it doesn’t react with the plastic.
We cut ourselves a small homemade putty knife out of some scrap styrene and used that to apply the putty. We apply a little more than needed and quickly scrap the excess away with an old credit card. This putty sets up fairly quick, so you have to be fast with this step to avoid tons of sanding down the road. Here you can see a fresh coat of putty has been applied and the excess has been scrapped off. Let each coat dry overnight to ensure everything cures properly. It took us about 5-6 really thin coats of putty to fill the holes flush with the surface of the body. Keep in mind that the putty will shrink up a little once dry.
Once we were happy with our putty job we sanded our patched spots with another kitchen scrub pad.
Since we didn’t have the stock folding windshield we were left with holes where the hood meets the fenders. We ended up filling these with styrene as well. Rather than try to putty and match the contour of the hood line, we just filled the spot with a styrene plug and will paint it to blend into the body. First we used Shoe Goo to attach a backing piece of styrene.
Then we cut and shaped a second styrene plug to match the hole in the hood. We also used Shoe Goo to attached the second plug.
The back tailgate area of our body was pretty thin. So we cut some more styrene sheet and glued it to the body for a little extra beef.
Lastly we wanted to run some sort of rock sliders to protect the body, and our paint, while out on the rocks. After rummaging around a little we noticed the stock SCX10 rock sliders fit like it was meant to be! One of the stock molded mounting points for the original chassis even lined up for us to mount the rock sliders on the driver side. We drilled a second hole to match in the floor board of the cab.
On the passenger side we had no stock molded mounting point to utilize. So we drilled our hole in the floor board as needed for the first hole, matching the driver’s side. Then used an Axial spacer as our second mounting point and attached that to the body where the front passenger seat mounts. We basically mirrored the existing mounting hole from the driver’s side. For a little extra piece of mine we added styrene sheet and glued them into place for reinforcement at the tops of the rear rock slider mounting points.
That takes care of Part 3 of our 1/6th scale Jeep Willys build! After we finished this installment of the build we stripped everything off the body and began sanding all surfaces to be painted with our kitchen scrub pad. It it abrasive enough to scuff the body up for good paint adhesion, without being too aggressive. Next up it is time for some paint. Then, we can begin the final assembly process! Stay tuned for more and thanks for checking out the CKRC Hobbies blog!