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The A. Kahn Design Defender Chelsea Wide Track is an automotive work of art.
In the feverish whirlwind of automotive fashion, there is seldom an opportunity to create a lasting and permanent statement.
Chris De Graaf, however, is an automotive enthusiast who defies the fickle fads of fashion.
Intent on creating an enduring statement, Chris took it upon himself to recreate the Kahn Defender in model format.
The Norweigan spoke to Kahn News about his six month long project and explains the reasoning behind the entire project.
What inspired you to build the Kahn Defender model?
I was looking to build an "extreme super scale vehicle", and wanted to create something that would stop me in my tracks if it were to be a full scale car. A Land Rover Defender is a great base, but in itself it's not red carpet material. Kahn Design turned the car into an unmistakable show stopper, which still incorporates all the adventurous features that you'd expect from the original. They created a car you want to take out on a lengthy tour around the globe to discover what's out there, while traveling in style. Catching that in a tenth scale RC model is a great challenge.
How long how you been working on the model and when do you think until you finish the project?
In total the project lasted about six months, but the actual building time lays around six or seven weeks. Sourcing parts is not easy, and over half of the car consists of handmade items. Items like rims and bumpers are possible to find right off the shelf, however actually finding them in stock and getting them over to Norway is a true patience tester. This model contains parts from Norway, The Netherlands, England, Italy, the USA and Canada.
What would you say has been the hardest part during the aforementioned process?
The hardest part is to do the full scale model justice, and still tweaking it in the fashion that my audience is expecting from me. I have a YouTube channel called HemiStormRC in which I explain and showcase hobbyists how they can customize but also maintain their RC vehicles. Painting tutorials are my specialty, and with the Kahn Defender I wanted to create a vehicle that's toned down, looks like an extremely tough truck and yet has that show stopping factor in which craftsmanship and styling go hand in hand. This means getting into extreme detail.
What do your friends and family think of the model so far?
I'm thankful to have a very understanding family. My wife is used to me strolling around the living room, looking at RC vehicles, assuming the oddest positions while doing so. They're no longer surprised to find me hunched down around my work table while I'm holding a cup of coffee which turned cold. This is my most detailed vehicle to date. Our six year old twin girls think it looks "supercool" and my wife wants an actual Kahn to travel around Europe.
The attention to detail is evident in all Kahn vehicles. However, how difficult has it been to actually implement the attention to detail to the model, both on the inside and outside?
It's extremely difficult and requires a very steady hand and lots of picture studying. If the wide body fenders are slightly off in the model, it throws the entire project right out of proportion. It's a matter of patience, dedication and not shying away from occasionally needing to start over on certain parts. Grasping the sense of quality from a full scale Kahn vehicle is the hardest part, but I'm pleased with the outcome.
What do you intend to do with the final model?
This is the 20th RC to be added to my collection. I'm going to run it and take it out on small adventures in the forest around the house, with the camera nearby. With the correct setting, light and angle it is possible to make the vehicle look real. To me it's the ultimate way to clear my head.
Would you affix a Kahn registration to the vehicle, if so, which one?
The dedicated plates listed on the site and seen on pictures of the past are of course the icing on the cake when it comes to personalizing a vehicle. If I needed to pick from the current list EAR 77H would be my choice. I think it summarizes the feeling I want people to get when they see this RC in the best way: Earth. It's huge, travel, explore. And do so in the finest way you can, sitting on the finest materials the earth has to offer.
What’s your next project going to be?
My next project will be another 5th scale "doorslammer". I'm going to build a 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby, tweaked to modern perfection with a nice stance and performance to match the looks.