Welcome to Part 4 of our custom Jeep Willys build. After months of cutting, trimming, grinding and sanding it’s officially time to add some paint to our Willys body! We will re-attach the chassis and axles to the body, install the LED lights, add some scale details and wrap this build up! Time to dig in!
For paint we wanted a different color than what you would normally see. So, we headed off to the hardware store to see what we could find for colors in a plastic safe paint. We ended up leaving with a “Satin Moss Green” colored paint from Rust-oleum. It is a paint and primer in one can. It covered the body nicely and has the color we were looking for. We sprayed 4 – 5 thin coats on the body, allowing each coat to dry a bit before the next. We sped the drying process up with a hair dryer between coats which saves a lot of time.
Painted grill and hood.
And done! Once you think you are done, take the body outside in the sunlight and check it over from all angles to ensure you have complete paint coverage. Most times you’ll see a spot or two that can use another quick coat.
In order to paint the small accessories we used part of a cardboard box and cut slots to hold the tiny details during paint.
Try and leave yourself a gap between the parts to be painted and the cardboard for best paint coverage.
Ready for paint! The cardboard also allows you to hold the parts in your hand while painting.
Once everything was dry we started final assembly. Dash gauges, check!
Chassis and axles are back into position. We love seeing a new build come together after months of planning and working!
Next we added all the electronics and prepped for the LED install. At this point we needed to figure out our final mounting position for the Axial NVS Light System. We made a small styrene shelf for the NVS system controller to sit on. It was a really tight fit, but it all came together in the end.
Our LED controllers new home.
Before stripping the body down for paint, we marked our LED lights with tape to identify each strand’s intended home.
During mock-up we ran into some problems with a couple light strands being too short to reach from the controller to the intended location. It was time to break out the soldering iron and extend a few LED wires. We also ran into a couple problems with not having enough wire between the two LED lights on each strand. So, we had to solder an extender wire for a couple sets of those as well. It will be worth the extra effort in the end.
To install the LED lights in locations we couldn’t utilize the Axial light buckets, we used a few dabs of Shoe Goo to hold the lights in place instead. LED lights, check!
Time to move on to the cargo area. We wanted to fab a simple cargo trunk and/or tonneau cover for the back of the Willys in order to hide the wires for the LED lights inside the body. We used black 1/4″ thick foam board here. No paint needed, it’s light and it was really easy to work with. First we cut a piece to fit the footprint of the backseat area.
Then, we cut a second piece to fit behind the front seats.
We had a pair of Axial sand ramps we wanted to add to this build and we were struggling with where to mount them. Top of the trunk seemed like a good spot, we just had to figure out how to functionally mount them so we could use them on the trail when needed. We could have used some scale bungee cords to hold them in place, but we wanted a quick release set-up. After laying out exact ramp placement on the trunk we cut up a few of our wive’s black elastic hair ties to mimic the bungee look. The plan was to cut the hair ties, thread them through the foam board and glue them into place. We made a quick punch out of some small aluminum tubing by filing a 45 degree angle on the end. We marked our hole locations with a marker and punched out eight holes in the foam board.
Next we threaded the hair ties through the cargo trunk lid and glued the ends to the foam from underneath. Make sure all four are sitting at an even height as you glue them in.
Easy access when we need them. Sand ramps, check!
Now it was time to decide on what wheels and tires we wanted to run. We wanted a classic black look in an aluminum beadlock wheel. Vanquish Products makes a buffet of awesome 2.2 beadlock wheels. We wrestled with the decision and the VP Method 105 wheels won in the end.
We found a pair of 1/6th scale plastic hand grenades in the pockets of our thrift store GI Joe. We had to used them in the build some how. Originally were were going to replace the t-case shifter knobs with the grenades. Decided to use them on the ends of the passenger grab handle we made out of an Axial plastic parts tree.
We had to use spacers to get the Dingo roll cage to fit the width of our body. Some spacers matched the diameter of the roll cage perfectly, but we had a few that were too small. A short piece of heat shrink tubing solved the problem and helped give the cage a more uniform look.
Not too bad for an RTR roll cage, some aluminum links, rod ends, a few spacers and a little heat shrink tubing.
More scale details. We used mason line to make a bundle of rope and another hair tie to hold it in place. We also painted the green handle on our axe to give it a little color.
The large scale winch was given to us by a friend a few years ago. We have been saving it for a large scale R/C project, and it fits this build perfectly. We plan on replacing the stock clasp with a more scale RC4WD winch hook.
Added a few decals and we are just about done!
A few outdoor shots in the sunlight. And we are going to call this project done! Time to go hit some trails and shoot some video! This build has taken up a lot of our time, but we are extremely happy with the final result. It was a really fun winter project that we have been wanting to do for a few years. Hopefully this build inspires people to go build something in your R/C workshop. We love to see people create cool custom modifications to their scale RC trucks. It is always fun to see all the ingenuity put into these rigs when we attend R/C events like Axialfest and the Recon G6 roadshow. And now, it’s time to sort out what to build next! Hmmm….. Thanks for checking us out and stay tuned for the Jeep Willys video!