1992 Jurassic Park Ford Explorer

Base: Maisto 1/24 Ford Exploer Die Cast
Pros: Great movie car, great pushbar, fog lights, and paint
Cons: Cruddy door design, dome not clear
Verdict: Suitable for display, needs minor finishing touches

To understand this model, you may want to know I saw 'Jurassic Park' in the theater no less than 15 times. It was a sort of obsession, plus it gave me and my dad something to do together when we were a bit distant. To my dismay, the only kit produced was a crap-tastic 2-door Explorer/Mazda Navajo with a sticker package. I barely even looked at the box before putting it down in disgust. I was on my own on this one.

My first attempt was to try to convert a Ford F150 model that was available at the time into an explorer.  It didn't really work (I took pictures though) and eventually was scrapped.  The leftover parts went to several projects so it wasn't a complete waste.

Through my meager teenage connections I managed to secure not one but two 1/24 Maisto Ford Explorer models.  These are die-cast and probably meant as dealer displays or something. Pretty nice stuff, steerable wheels, fold-down backseat, etc. The Die Cast was going to be the end of me though. Cutting the hole in the roof was an enormous undertaking.  My trusty Dremel and drum bit (the metal-cutting discs were outlawed temporarily as I was told) did the job after some finesse. The roof portion was scratch built from styrene, including the lights that even have clear lenses.  The dome was 3 sections of clear styrene glued carefully together.  It WAS clear at one time but apparently the clearcoat ate the hell out of it, turning it into an opaque texture.  Bleh.  It's fairly well built into the roof too, so I can't just cut it off and pop on a new one. Oh well at least the shape is right.

The front interior was gutted and replaced mostly from scratch. I modified the dashboard to have the camera mounted where the instrument pod used to be.  I made seats from scratch. Not just from styrene, but seriously with bits of foam in them and everything.  Something I hardly believe to this day and can only prove by pushing on them. I'm so weird.

The push bar is a great source of pride. Hand-drilled holes, brass tubing bent to strict measurement, and hand-sanded lights with clear lenses all from scratch. Even nicer, the whole front fascia pops off so I could work on it independently.

The paint job was a lot of fun. I couldn't get the hang of an airbrush (plus it took longer to set up than it did to use it) so the blending effect was done with a cardboard mask held slightly away from the car to give it a bit of splatter/fade. The truck started out a maroon color, and was then painted solid green through the middle, then sprayed yellow on the bottom. Red stripes were hand-painted, as well as the logos and printing all over the car.  That remains some of my finest hand-painted work on a model.

It still needs some tail light covers and I need to remove the paint on the front tires, but I'm pretty happy with it overall. I considered making a diorama with it and the second Explorer upside down and crushed.

*UPDATE 1/20/2010. Not 10 years later I finally detailed the tires but it's just in the first photos. It took me 10 minutes. I have also scratch-built a whole new custom interior piece for the car and various other specialty parts that I will eventually (read: probably never) make molds and resin casts for kits. As I get better with the resin casting stuff I have a better chance of these coming out nice.

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