Tuesday, February 17, 2015

You Think You Hate It Now, But Wait...

Fan-Built Replica of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster in
"Showroom New Condition"
The model of the Family Truckster came about while I was looking for a new, Non-Star Trek, model project after finishing the Chaffee.  As I was only starting to learn the mathematics involved with creating models from scratch, I needed a simple shape, and began looking at the boxy cars of the 70's and '80's. When I realized that no model of the Family Truckster, from the 1983 movie, "National Lampoon's Vacation", had ever been done before, in paper, plastic, or resin, I decided that it was going to be my first all-original paper model. 

From this...
Designed as a complete joke, the Truckster was a rolling condemnation of the auto industry of the time.  The Big Three's hot sellers in the early-'80's were the Chrysler K-Car, the Chevrolet Citation, and Ford's mid-sized LTD, worst of all, 1983 saw the birth of the minivan.  Today, these cars are all pretty much regarded as big steamy piles of bad design and poor build quality, so the Truckster fit right in.  It was loaded with bad design ideas. from its hideous fake wood paneling and "Metallic Pea" paint, to ridiculously having eight headlights, the car was so ugly it was funny. 
To this...
Five cars, all based on '78 to '81 Ford LTD Country Squire station wagons, were built for the movie. All of these were used in the opening scenes at "Lou Glatz Motors" where Eugene Levy uttered that famous line, "You think you hate it now, but wait 'til you drive it.", but none of the original cars have survived as they were either destroyed during filming or crushed after the film was completed.  For "Hotel Hell Vacation" a 2010 short film based on the original movie, a fan-built Truckster replica was used. 

To this...
The Truckster was first shown in the film as a brand new car, absolutely showroom fresh, but which, over the next ninety-odd minutes, is slowly transformed into a rolling junkyard.  

To THIS...
Depicting the feeling of that ongoing destruction was something I really wanted to capture with my model, so I decided early on to design the model so that it could be build in most of the different levels of damage shown in the movie. 

Optional parts include wheels with the factory hub caps  a second set of grey steel wheels without caps in two levels of detail, and a second passenger-side panel with the "Honky Lips" graffiti added.  The front-end damage can be done by omitting the front bumper.

The other "must have" for the model was Aunt Edna.  In the movie, Imogene Coca's character dies in the middle of the family's road trip, and when the kids refuse to ride with a dead body in the back seat, the scene cuts to a shot of her sitting up on the roof of the car with the luggage, and covered, rather irreverently, with an old tarpaulin.   I wanted to include a representation of the crotchety old lady , without being too gruesome, so the finished assembly for "Aunt Edna" is a bit abstract, but still recognizable to folks who have seen the movie.  

The model, as originally released, had suffered from a couple of issues which adversely affected the fit of the body on the chassis, and I've taken the opportunity while converting it to a .pdf format to fix these.  I've also condensed the parts on the pages a bit dropping it to five pages instead of seven, and went a step further by doing a smaller 1/50 scale version, as well.  

Test build of the small scale Family Truckster with "Aunt Edna"
You can download the model by following the links, below.  

1/25 Family Truckster

1/50 Family Truckster

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