Thursday, May 15, 2008

37 Ford Pickup: Vette Engine

One of the many things I'm not very good at is building engines so for this project I thought I'd try to learn how to be a bit better.

The engine is out of a 1:24 Revell Kit--57 Vette Basic Builder. I originally wanted to build the "Fuelie" version of the engine but found the detail and casting on the air cleaner to be sufficiently bad to make me think again--doing a really knock-up job would have been a lot of work. Just modifying the air cleaner portion to look good would have been a lot of work. So I ditched it and used the dual-carb setup that's an option for the engine.

First thing I did was buy and use black "The Detailer". The idea was to wash some black into things like the valve covers and intake manifold to add realism. I have tried mixing my own washes but this stuff is a lot better. Dropping a bit of that on the nicely cast screen on the top of the stacks came out really well and was easy. I treated the value covers and manifold to some "detailer" as well and they too came out looking pretty good.

The real hassle was the spark plug wires and distributer. This is something I always really struggle with and my spark plug wiring never looks very real or very good. This time I got some "PlastiDip" to do the "boots" on the plugs. This is a sort of plastic sheep-dip type spoo that comes in a big can that looks like it held Pringles chips at some point and now found its real purpose in life--a big old Pringles can full of industrial waste.

Seriously, what I found out is that Plastidip is really thick and gooey and nasty but makes a great sort of thick glue/black slop that seems useful for a lot of things (just don't SPILL the stuff!). Not only did it make OK (not great, but OK) boots, but, it served as the glue that held the wiring to the distributor. I don't think the distributor (scratch built), the wiring harnesses (photoetch) the plug wires (wire wrap wire) or the boots (Plastidip) came out perfectly but they are a heck of a lot better than I usually do, I owe this to just using better materials and being more patient at this stage of the build.

While we're on the subject of patience--I am always on the lookout for better "metalizers" than the Alclad II I usually use. It just takes a lot of time to prime the part, spray on the black enamel, fire up the airbrush, and finally squirt on some Alclad. For this build I am checking out Krylon's Foil paints, which I bought at my local hardware store. They weren't cheap--$5 a can--but they went on OK. The gold looks more "metallic" than the silver; the silver might pass for aluminum if you're not too picky. Overall I liked the gold OK, and it might make a good undercoat, along with some pearl flakes, for a candy finish someday.

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