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1/25 kitbash/scratchbuild

"POSSUM VAN" 

from The Red Green Show

by Andrew Desautels

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  Canada Day 2005 

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"Quando Omni Flunkis Moritati."  To many who have never seen or heard of "The Red Green Show" this Latin phrase is meaningless.  To its millions of fans in Canada, the United States and throughout the world, however, the motto of Possum Lodge meaning "When All Else Fails Play Dead" elicits a smile and many fond memories of bizzarre handyman projects involving household appliances, auto parts, stolen construction materials, obscene amounts of duct tape and the general inept abilities of handyman Red Green.

Red's van, the Possum Van, has become for Canada the icon that "The Dukes of
Hazzard's" famous orange Dodge Charger was for the American deep south, only
with none of the speed or glamour.  As an American fan of the Red Green Show, when I began toying with the idea of making a replica of the Possum Van I had no idea the scale of project it would become, involving more scratch-building than I'd ever had to accomplish, as well as a journey to discovering more of the ways of my northern neighbors.

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In well over a decade of filming, more than one type of Dodge Ram Van has been used, so I settled on the appearance used in the mid series.
Unfortunately, none of the correct variations are properly represented in model kit form, so it all started with splicing two kits together to make the "extended cube" body.  Once this was accomplished a similar treatment was given to the chassis and interior, and the grill/headlight assembly completely rebuilt and detailed.  Front signal lights were made from toothbrush handle, rearview mirror tripods from piano wire, and the trailer hitch from scrap white metal and plastic.  The headlights were from a railroad aftermarket company. 

The real insanity in the project began with the complete detailing of the interior, building the walls and structural details of the walls, ceiling and doors, and then the floor.  The point at which I probably should have been committed came about with the complete scratchbuilding of the tremendous amount of junk littering the van interior.  Some of these are items most vehicles would typically have, and others are specific to Red
Green's habits.  Many of the items (such as the tool box, oil bottles, cheap car batteries, chainsaw and Motomaster oil filter)were made by studying photos in the Canadian Tire online catalogue, a nationwide chain which Red has mentioned shopping at in an episode or two.  The "funny money" in the bag on the passenger seat is in fact coupons which Canadian Tire gives out with purchases, which can only be redeemed at Canadian Tire stores.  The ice chest is a replica of the one used in the episode entitled "Too Much Information" when Red converts Possum Van to a snowball-barrage machine.  

A dozen rolls of duct tape were made from slices of plastic tube.  The chainsaw took more than 12 hours to make.  In fact, the only non-scratchbuilt items in the entire van interior are the spare tire and the extra oil filter.

A special thanks must be given to the Tim Horton coffee company.  As an American I must confess to complete ignorance of the existence of this popular Canadian coffee and donuts shop chain until it was pointed out by Canadian ARC'rs that it would be "Tim's cups" which would most likely litter Red's van interior.  I contacted the company by email requesting permission to purchase one of their disposable cups to reproduce in 1/25 scale using a color photocopier.  To my amazement they sent me the cups at their own expense via FedEx.  I can't speak for their coffee having never sampled it
yet, but if it is anything like their customer service it must be well worth a trip north of the border to drink.

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Special thanks, too, for all the input by all the Canadian members of ARC, who made this a far more authentic Canadian-looking project than it would have been under my sole discretion.  Also thanks to the friendly folks at the message board at www.modelcarkits.com who helped guide me, an aircraft modelmaker, toward a much more authentic van replica (this was my first automotive project since the late 1980's if I remember right).

And so here it is, the Possum Van!  And now let us conclude this article by bowing our heads for The Men's Prayer:  "I'm a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess." 
Andrew  (aka "Andrew D. the Jolly Rogers guy")

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Photos and text by Andrew Desautels

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