Saturday, March 29, 2008

29 Model A Kitbash--Pure Fun Project

I am gearing up for the most challenging project of my early experience in this odd hobby. I will get into more details as the project unfolds, but, it involves a replica, close as I can get, to a car that was important to my car-nut dad when he was in his teens. It's an old-skool hot rod--32 chassis, 31 Model A body, 49 Merc Flathead engine, etc. etc., that my dad owned when he was growing up; I am going to attempt to copy it best I can in 1:25 and give it to him, finished, as a gift.

It's turning out to be quite a big project, with a complex history and some tricky and subtle modeling challenges. For one, finding the right parts is proving difficult. I mean, how hard can it be to find a stock 32 ford chassis and frame? Well, turns out, it's really hard. The AMT stock 32 ford kit I bought has an awful one piece molded chassis/frame with metal axles, and it turns out to be useless to recreate the dropped suspension I need, and besides, to me doesn't look too much like a stock 32 frame even if I could fix the molded in-axle issues. And the 32 rod kits I bought (3 of them to date) all have "aftermarket" frames that look nothing like stock.

I have ordered some resin parts for it (I couldn't find a lot of examples of the parts needed in plastic) and am told by the vendor that they are backordered. I have very little experience working with resin so I was trying to avoid this, but, at this point unless I want to scratchbuild a whole lot of this (which I don't) it seems to be the best bet.

I also ordered a bunch of plastic kits, hoping to find parts that would be useful for the retro-rod project, but a lot of them haven't panned out as I just mentioned, so now I'm stuck with them.

Well, what the heck, I have some rod models that probably won't see the light of day for the retro rod project, and the parts for the retro rod are at least a month out, so, let's use all these kits for something else....kitbash time!

I learned early on that I need to mock up what I am doing on a kitbash and then start detailing/finishing/painting. Since rediscovering modeling my first kitbash was a Corvette Gasser and I started painting and detailing right away--bad idea--I ended up with a glue and paint bomb and pitched the whole mess!

So here are the kits I've used so far:

Revell Willys Gasser (Tires/wheels)
Revell 32 Ford Rod (Frame, front Axle, rear axle)
AMT Boyd 57 Chevy (Engine block)
AMT 29 Model A (body/interior shell)
Revell 37 Ford Pickup (leaf spring, radius arms for front)

Laying out the parts, you can see I did a quick "Z" on the chassis to make the body sit lower to the ground--the original chassis was almost flat as a board. I have had to drill out the interior to accommodate the tranny, modify the engine mounts, and glue the whole thing together with white "sticky glue" so I can check the stance and basic fit.

The stance so far. I like where this is going, and so far it's been a lot of fun to mock up. What's here in the picture is held together with white "sticky glue" and scotch tape.

It looks to me like the rod needs a big engine, or else the body will look too big for the chassis and tires, so I am going to use (I think anyway) the 409 Chevy from the Boyd Chevy Kit in its entirety. It's a cool engine, with a very nice supercharger, quad 2 barrel carbs, and a decent (not great) Vertex Magneto, big and retro looking, but, it has one of those stupid axle holes in the block that AMT is so fond of, but, some sprue and Gap filling CA has filled that hole up.

Still need to "engineer" the steering column/pitman arm/linkage, windshield, rear shocks, driveshaft, fix the big hole I created in the interior, and a few other bits, then I am ready to start sanding and prepping for paint. Compared to what's in store for the retro rod project that looms about a month away, this will be a walk in the park.

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