Sunday, January 18, 2015

Speed Build--Ford F1 Pickup--Day Two!

Back again!  This might be the first time I've done two posts in two days!  So from last time: it took me over a year to build a Revell Audi R8, so I built a 58 AMT Chevy as fast as I could, but I am still not satisfied!  After a trip to the LHS I'm seeing what else I can build fast!
The "winner" is an old Revell Pickup; from last time, I mostly picked this because the trim looked relatively easy to deal with.  Going to build it 100% (!!) box stock.   

OK so at 3PM of day 2, where am I? I am hardly an expert at any of this, much less "speed builds". So as always, I have to fix the plane while it's in the air. I have read for these "quick as you can" builds CA with accelerator is your best friend.  Sadly, I have never had much luck with CA.  To me it's brittle, runny, ruins plastic glass, and the only thing it sticks to every time is my skin.  So my speed builds are all about scraping away paint and chrome really well, using the dreaded Testors "stinky red" polystyrene glue, the same glue I used when I was like 10 years old, and then clamping the dickens out of it and letting it all dry. Touching up whatever is needed if the scraping was too beaucoup.  For chassis and interior paint, I used the usual combo of Krylon fabric, Duplicolor metals, and Tamiya washes, along with Tamiya Matt Black. And don't forget: lots of Sharpies. No airbrushing; I figured thinning, cleaning, etc. etc. would take too much time. So: I prepped everything, "Ponzi stick'd" each part on an alligator clip and shish-kabob stick and poked the stick into some styrofoam, and painted everything in bunches.  That was last night at about 8PM.

OK, interiors and the undercarriage are easy enough I guess, and besides you, my faithful reader, no one will even see any of it!  OK, about the body, how will I paint this without waiting 2 weeks for everything to dry? A candy coat with Polyurethane clear and primer and undercoat and polish and wax and bare metal foil and...and...and...well again if you follow this blog at all, you know the drill! These steps take weeks especially for me!!!  I have one weekend! To the rescue: Testors One Coat Lacquer.  Una capa laca, baby!

So como esta una capa laca? Damn bueno! the folks at Testors ought to win a nobel prize! It is truly amazing how quick it dries, good it looks, and how sloppy I can be with prep (for this, like, none!) and still have it look pretty darn good. Contest ready?  Well, probably not.  But good for no prep at all?  You bet! Attention Joe Testors or whoever is in charge over there: Find the chemist who thought this up, and give that guy a raise!

 First time I've tried the "wet look clear", and it looks, um....wet!

OK enough of that! On to the motor! Bad news: the engine for this kit is a real lemon. Revell gives us a flathead with an Ardun conversion, but they should have just stuck to whatever flatty they had lying around. The valve covers, so important for the cool Ardun look, look more to me like 2 blimps moored on each side of the block. To make things worse, things didn't fit, and the overall feel is a bit bloated.  I'd kit bash the motor if I had more time, but hey this is a speed build!  So what happened? I figure Revell took a flathead master they had lying around and transformed it into an Ardun without the necessary changes (like, get rid of the exhaust ports on the block!)  Their own speed build!

The exhaust system had to be wrestled into place, but unlike some of the older AMT kits I have built, at least I could get the thing to fit, albeit with some cursing and kludging.  Fast, fast, fast!!!

What next? Going forward, I was hoping I could avoid polish, but like every other lacquer I've used there's a bit of wavy gravy and some orange peel.  Oh well, I can't have everything.  I'll have to polish it out after at least 12 hours dry time, which makes me think finishing it tomorrow may not happen (especially because I am expecting a guest).  So much for a one weekend build?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Revell Ford F1 Pickup--Son of Speed Build!

I have a 3 day weekend and thought it might be relaxing to try to build another kit FAST.  So I went to the LHS (that's "local Hobby Shop" in hobby-mag speak) and picked out the Revell 50 Ford pickup, #7203.

I realize that a lot of my model building is retracing my hobby life when I was 10 or 11 years old. I stopped building when I was 13 I think, and started again maybe 5 years ago?  that all said, I never remember my brothers or me building a model of a pickup.  Which means: I didn't pick this kit out of nostalgia; I picked it because to me it looks like I could build it fast.  Nice round body panels are easy to prep and paint; no need for bare metal foil (not much anyway) and not many logos or other body details to worry about.

The multi-piece body had some nasty mold lines and needed various clean up touches but it's drying now. I hope to be able to paint it tomorrow.

Chassis and engine block had flash galore but went together easily enough, at least so far. To save time, I will paint each of these subassemblies as a unit.  I am going to work on masking glue points again; that's something I started doing for the 58 Chevy and seemed to speed things up--just put a bit of scotch tape over where the parts go together; no endless paint scraping!  After removing the masks and gluing, touch up the paint. It's fast, and makes for a sturdier and maybe even cleaner build than scrape-scrape-scaping all the painted surfaces to be joined.

Here's a trick for cleaning up seams and mold lines: over-apply Plastruct Weld.  When used with gusto, Plastruct weld melts mold lines away and even fills minor seams.  I found this out accidentally when I used to much for an engine assembly--all the details got wiped out--but now I use this trick all the time; on the 50 F1 for instance I used a boatload of weld to clean up the very noticeable mold lines on the exhaust pipes.

No way I am using metalizers on this build, all that airbrushing and drying takes way too much time! Rattle can hardware store metal finishes will have to do.  Left to right: Kryon Stainless; Tamiya something or other; Duplicolor chrome which looks to me more like aluminum than chrome, and Krylon gold, the latter is the most "metallic" non-metalizer I know.  If you like the red label on the krylon gold, please be aware that it's that way because my dad used it for a paint stand.  Nice!!!!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

58 Chevy Impala--Speed Build, Built for Speed?--Finished!!!

So as I said last time: it took me a year to build a scale Audi R8. So I have to ask: what can I build in a weekend?  I started this AMT 58 Chevy a long time ago, got as far as the body and Bare Metal Foil and put it aside.  I wanted to finish it fast and I did!

So how is the finished build? To me, it looks like it was built: fast.  There are trim issues here and there, little dinks and dings in the paint, and plenty of fit issues, but there are always fit issues on these old AMT kits.  The question is, how much time do I want to spend fixing all the issues, and for this build, it was pretty much NO TIME.  Boogie on! The front grille from the kit didn't fit.  Not even close! Forget it!! find the front grille and wheels/tires from the parts box!  Ditch the old stuff!  hey it's a "mild kustom!"

Another speed saving trick: masks?  We don't need no stinking masks! I didn't mask the interior, the undercarriage, the frame, anything.It all came out just fine.  Isn't the idea to have fun?

The flat finish gives it a sort of mean look. I have never built a "flat black" model before this one.  There is a first time for everything!

We'll ignore the really noticeable AMT issues, like the hood not quite fitting OK?  If you squint it looks well--good. maybe! But hey, it's a speed build! It was almost done by New Year's.  One thing I can say: a few years ago I would have never been able to build something that looks OK (I think this came out OK, not great) in a few evenings.  It was fun to see how fast I could build this!

So what's next?  I am thinking about another speed build.  Can I build something even faster?

Thursday, December 25, 2014


OK it took me over a year to build the difficult and dangerous Audi R8 Kit from Revell. Most of that was waiting for things to dry, pondering a build issue I didn't know how to deal with, or just being busy with other things, but really, a YEAR?  So--do builds really need to take that long?  Let's hope not! What if I use my skills gained from the past 4 or so years of building to build something fast, fast, fast, so it's done over the course of a weekend? And still try to keep things reasonably clean and OCD friendly?  Is it wishful thinking?

So it's Christmas and I am on call for work but otherwise have a lot of time on my hands.  I started a 58 Impala AMT kit while I was waiting (as was often the case) for things to dry on the R8. The Impala body, BMF, and a few things are already done prior to this weekend, so let's finish the damn thing off! So it's matter of clipping, cleaning, and painting the parts, and doing sub assemblies.
For this build, I tried yet another time saving tip: instead of scraping paint, I'll mask the non visible surfaces so I can just peel off the mask and glue.  For the engine, that saves a lot of time!  It really works! I am probably going to do this going forward for all builds. The engine has been assembled and wired, needs a bit of touch up but that will take seconds.

The chassis/frame got a quick coat of Tamiya Matt Black.  The silver parts are Duplicolor Chrome which to me looks more like aluminum. Faster than Alclad?  Um, yep! Instead of masking the frame, I hand brushed some Future floor polish to offset it from the rest of the undercarriage.  Good enough!

For the interior, masking always takes a lot of time, so why not hand brush?  It's not as clean as masking would have been, but again, I'm doing this fast!  No one will notice the brush strokes anyway right? Carpets are formed with a few sprinkles of Zing embossing powder.  Looks OK and takes about 5 minutes to apply. Good enough!

Ah hah!  If you want to "tell a story" as they say in the retail business, have the brush visible along with the parts.  That way you're ready to have the photo in a hobby magazine.  This isn't the brush I used, but it's good enough.

I have found you can't rush bare metal foil-ing but for the Impala I did anyway.  From a distance it looks pretty good.  If you get right up close or use macro shots, not as much.

Another huge time save--use Sharpies. Not the paint pens, I have never been able to get consistently good results with those.  Just regular Sharpie's. 1001 uses! I am finding in addition to making things go fast, no setup time, no stirring, no mixing, no brushes to clean, in some cases Sharpies actually work better, since they don't add any thickness to the part.  Edges of body panels, for instance, or steering wheel rims, look better with some Sharpie.  You don't want to add a quarter scale inch to those.

All parts were prepped, ponzi stick'd, and painted the usual way.  All silvers at once, all flat blacks at once.  I didn't get a photo but you have seen this before if you follow this bog, er, blog. I used rattle cans everywhere (faster than setting up an airbrush) and for the block I used Testors One Coat lacquer, the only thing bad I can say about that paint is that they need to make it in about 40 more colors!  It's great stuff!

Final time saving tip: Run to your Piggly Wiggly, Safeway, Riskys or whatever, and get some "Glad Press 'n Seal."  First, I like anything that has "'' n " in its name. That alone makes me want to buy it. Second, for masking or protecting a painted surface after it's dry, this stuff is the best.  I saw Chris Chapman, a really low key guy on Youtube, using this to mask a 1:25 body (a 58 impala, oddly enough!), it's sort of like thick Saran Wrap and it really works, it's much faster than putting tape everywhere, and seems to block all the paint I've thrown at it so far.  Boy Howdy!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Audi R8--Finished at last!

Finished at last! The year long build of a Revell Audi R8. Most of it was time was time lettings thing dry and figuring out how to glue the glass or keeping the wheels from falling off!

To me this build featured (??) a "new" adhesive, fairly new to me anyway, called Micro Krystal Klear.  I had used it a bit of MKK on previous builds, but this time, I use it with much beaucoup.  All the photoetch was attached with it, as were the license plates and most of the glass. In the end the windshield proved to be too tough and I ended up using Testors "Stinky Red" styrene glue along with clamps, weights, and plenty of cursing.  The driver's side A pillar still doesn't look right, but the windshield glass never really fit, it was maybe 1/32" too narrow. Not sure what else I could have done, short of trying to fabricate my own windshield.  

Overall this was a difficult build, at least for me, at my skill level. I also figure this will be the last model I build where the wheels steer, or turn, or whatever.  The wheels don't sit at 90 degrees to the grounds and that drives me crazy!. After a few years of doing this, I have found"steerable wheels" (all 4 wheels on this steer!) never do. Next time, I take extreme measures, like re-engineering the axles with brass rods. Otherwise it's worth it to just glue 'em down. I am thinking about removing the R8 wheels and reattaching with epoxy--but I was hoping I was done?

Overall: I guess after a year working perhaps it should look better.... I like the way the pearl finish came out, it glows a bit in low light (hard to see here), but it could have paid more attention to the way the rear facia attaches to the body.

Not a bad looking build from certain angles.

So am I going to build more models of supercars?  Well since I would never, for financial as well as personal reasons, buy or even drive one, probably not.  But maybe I will.  

As a tribute to the dude who built the box art kit, I was going to leave the rear pipes completely off--the box stock ones didn't line up, but I ended up scratch building some out of styrene tube. So I guess what you see is only 99% box stock!

OK, say goodnight to the R8. Next up, I am going to try to build a few things fast.  I don't mean "build a model of a fast car".  I mean "build a model and not take a year to finish it". What a thought!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Audi R8--T Minus 10 and Holding! Or: another glass-aster!

It's been like a year and I'm still working on a 1:25 scale Audi R8 from Revell.  If you add up all the time I've worked on it it's probably not much.  It's just spread out.  Besides being busy with a million other things, I feel like I'm in a slump of sorts, and, this is a difficult kit (for me anyway) and requires a lot of patience and drying time. 

So here it is so far. Body and chassis are a pair. Getting the body and interior all lined up was a pain, I had to dremel away about 1/4" off the bottom of the interior and another 1/4" off the driver's side.  Don't follow the instructions here; glue to interior to the body and not the chassis, I couldn't get it to look even halfway decent otherwise. 

I ended up having to cut away all the alignment pins for body/interior alignment. Otherwise everything was about 4 scale inches too high and too far to the right.  And!  Don't even bother putting on the rear clip/valance until the rest of the body is on. I couldn't make the body fit otherwise and never did get the rear exhaust openings to line up with the exhaust system (interesting--on the box art, that guy couldn't get it aligned either!)

So where the heck is the windshield?  I didn't like the paint on the first windshield I prepped, the black surround didn't look "scale", so I bought a spare kit and got that one installed with Micro Krystal Klear.

So I am going for final assembly and then I noticed a small spot of paint on the replacement windshield that would have driven me crazy!  No I don't know where the paint fleck came from, and no I didn't get a "before" picture!!!!  So I carefully cut out windshield number two.

As long as the windshield was out, the dash cowling had some blemishes on it so I pried that off as well and repainted. A couple of years ago I would have let this go!  Not now!!!!  What happened to the good old, sloppy days past?

To "fix" the blemished second windshield I figured I'd use the trusty Dried paint remover, right?  1001 uses?

Not!!!  OK lesson and warning: don't EVER use dry acryl paint solvent on scale plastic glass!  NEVER EVER EVER! It destroys the plastic glass, turning the clear completely and miserably opaque as you see here.  Live and learn!  Fortunately Revell has a mail in for spare parts, so I mailed in for my 3rd windshield, otherwise I am looking at getting a THIRD kit for this one box stock build.  And I ask: will this finally do it?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Audi R8: Pain in the Glass Part II

I am (still!) building my 1:25 Revell Audi R8 and have spent the last 3 weeks or so pondering a serious issue: how to glue in the glass without making a total mess?

Last time I tried to mask off the glass and use paint all around, but it didn't look "scale" so I got the glass out of my "backup kit" and drew the outline with Sharpee.  That looks much more "scale", but, Whatever.  Glad I had a backup kit.

So here's the problem.  Take a look at the drawing here.  The bevel where the glass goes is covered with semi gloss black paint. The glass itself has Sharpee simulating the black lining that surrounds modern automobile glass.   So I need to join paint to paint. Was this great planning?  No.  But it's done. 

I found out early on with this silly hobby: no glue, anywhere, can penetrate hobby paint.  Not Testors' stinky red; not Testors' liquid glue, not epoxy, not watch crystal glass.  And of course you can't use CA, that will ruin the plastic glass and turn it a smoky white (which makes me wonder what it does to my brain cells!!).  

For this glass glue-up, there is no way for me to remove the paint anywhere without things looking bad, and there seemed to be no way to glue it down without making a huge glue bomb mess.  I tried using clear enamel paint, but it didn't form a tight enough bond and the glass would pop out.  I tried the same thing with acrylic clear, same results.  I needed something stronger!

I ended up using this glue, from Microscale Industries; Micro Kristal Klear.

(From here I am going to call it MKK since I am lazy.....)

I have used this glue before, but never so much, or for such a critical and fully visible part of the build.  It's a white glue but dries like plastic.  Neat stuff.  I still have no idea if it can help painted surfaces stick together, but so far so good.  My test cases worked, using junker parts from my parts box, so what the heck, it's another 3 weeks gone, and I have to move forward.

I carefully (!!) applied a bit of MKK then used tape and weights to try to seal the deal. After leaving one side on one piece of glass dry for about 24 hours, I MKK'd another, with a bit more glue on a sharpened craft stick, slowly working my way around each window.  That's 24 hours between each gluing, so it's taking a really long time.  But so far it's worked.  We will see if the glass stays in there, or pops out!  And BTW,  an accidental discovery: Tamiya Acrylic thinner thins MKK but the MKK will still stick after being thinned.  Good to know.  So my glass is in, it's not perfect, but it's not as bad as it could be.  Hazzah!

The next issue that I pondered is the rear view mirror.  There seems to be no way to do this without making a huge and fully visible glue blob since the mirror glues directly to the windshield.  Revell is kidding me about this right?  Are those guys NUTS?  But, MKK to the rescue.  I stripped the paint off the surface to be joined to the windshield, used some MKK on the windshield side, and let things get tack.  Then I put the mirror on and let it dry for about 24 hours.  The result is a well glued mirror that looks like it's been oddly scraped before being glued.

So I put a bit more paint over the white part on the outside of the windshield.  It didn't come out perfectly, but it's OK, and I might be able to clean it up with thinner still.

And here's the final challenge for this time.  The taillights needed to be foiled and painted.  As you can see, some of the paint flowed over the surrounds, which is me being sloppy.  But to save the day:

Testors MM Acryl Dry Paint solvent to the rescue.  I put some of this on a bunch of q-tips and erased the paint that had splotched over.  But a lesson learned the hard way: once a bit of red paint is on the q-tip I have to throw it away or I end up with paint all over the place.   So you need a whole bunch of qtips to make this work.

Here's the result (this is an extreme macro shot--the lens is maybe 1mm across, and unlike some of the hobby mags, I never, ever retouch my photos!)

Hmm.  Ready for the Smithsionian?  Nope.  But for me, that's good enough! Time to move on. Once everything is dry it might be time for final assembly.  Could it be true?

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