A Christmas Story Fire Truck

This fire truck project is modeled after the one that shows up to help remove Ralphie’s friend Flick’s tongue from a flagpole in “A Christmas Story.” It’s a 1938 Ford! 

The 1938 Ford truck had a distinctive oval grille that was only shared with the 1939 truck. This was also the first truck to have a conventional, front-opening hood.

Finished dimensions are approximately 15” L x 5.5” W x 4.75” T

Designing The Project

This project was entirely designed using Designer 4, Pattern Modeling Suite, and Sculptor. We based the models off of pictures found online and did lots of test carves to get the sizing and fit just right.

Once the design was completed is was compiled (uploaded) to the memory card and taken to the machine for carving. Both boards were carved out within a day.

When finished carving, remove it from the machine and vacuum or blow off any excess sawdust.

Working with the Parts 

The pieces are held in with tabs, so the were separated one at a time with a sharp chisel. On projects like this with so many parts, it’s best to write a name on them to keep track of what is what.

Glue up and Sanding 

This project has many sub-assemblies such a lights, siren and fenders that needed to be glued and sanded first.

It was important to be careful sanding the mating edges so everything fit together as intended.

TIP: If you will be painting, use a sanding sealer, such as a spray shellac, before sanding.


The base chasis, cab back, and roof were glued together first.  The dash will be installed later.

Then the hood and front sections were worked to make a nice fit and glued together.

NOTE: It can be difficult to get parts like these aligned! Just take your time and use drops of super glue to tack the parts in place.

Once the front end was built, the pre-assembled fenders could be applied.

Next, the interior was worked on. The bench was painted and glued in

Then, steering wheel was pegged into the dashboard using a dowel and the entire interior was painted before gluing it in.

Using a bur, a slot was cut into the dash to be used to locate the hood when opening and closing.

Next, the pump housing blocks were glued in as the final pieces of the main structure.

With it all glued together, all the surfaces and seams were sanded and blended together.


Small mounting dowels were added to the lamps and siren. The dowels also made holding onto these pieces much easier for sanding and finishing.

Then, mount holes were measured and then drilled into the front fenders for the headlamps and siren.


All the wheels were drilled to fit their dowel axles, and the rear dually wheels were glued together.

Ladder and Hose

Ten pieces of 1/8″ dowel were cut to 1.25″ long and beveled on the ends for the ladder rungs. With a small drop of glue on the ends of each dowel, a mallet was used to tap them into the sides of the ladder.

As the last sub-assembly, some 3/8″ dowels were painted black with silver hose caps glued on the ends.

With all the sub-assemblies complete and sanding finished, we could finally finish all the parts before final assembly. We used a Krylon Banner Red for our truck finish, a matte black for the running boards, engine, and tires, and added details with red and silver paint pens.

Putting It All Together

All that is left was to glue all the pieces together.

A couple of dowels were cut and mounted for the wheel axles. 

A simple hinge for the hood was fashioned out of a rubber band hooked around the tab in the dash and two screws added to the hood.

A couple of pieces of 3/8” dowel made for great tail lights when painted and glue in place.


Assembly Guide

Exploded View

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