Saturday, August 30, 2008

Texas Old Skool Rod--Getting the Family Involved....

It's a sad couple of weeks when all I did was work--no writing, no playing, no nothing, but that's what happens when 2 of the 4 guys in your department are gone.

So no post last week, and not much done this week.

However now with work having quieted down a bit I can turn my attention back to the important things in, hobbies, and getting some sleep!

My folks showed up for the weekend and one of the first topics of conversation with dad was--you guessed it--the old skool Texas hot rod. Seems he's been following each post with bated breath....

We ran right to my bench and dad started looking at each part in progress....first up: the almost scratch built seat. Good News! He says it's looking right on the money. Good news indeed, because it's been a heck of a lot of work to get it as far as I have. The old man says the 1:1 seat was out of an Anglia, but I couldn't find anything close, anywhere--you can get 1:25 Anglia Gassers on Ebay or whatever but they don't have stock seats, and that's what I needed....

I ended up building the bench seat by sectioning two 49 Merc seats (???--maybe not a Merc, but something from AMT) and putting them back to me the sort of bench seat on which I figure I was conceived. It looks a lot like the photo of the 1:1 seat anyway. I also added trim out of some styrene rod...carefully gluing it in place with Tenax7R glue but it still didn't come out quite straight. Good enough however.

The 1:1 seat had plaid covering the front--where you sit. Exactly how to pull this off has vexed me from the start of the project. I looked far and wide for scale plaid, and had surprisely little success finding it on the web. So in keeping with the family theme of this week's post, I drove to my mother in law's, who is a serious quilter, to see if she had any scale plaid she could part with.

Sure enough, she had some scale plaid, and also showed me some nifty white glue she uses to bond quilting fabric to anything and everything. It's called "Aleene's OK to Wash It". Now this sounds more like something your priest would permit, rather than something used for our hobby, but as my MIL promised, Aleene's is indeed most excellent for bonding fabric to plastic. I tested some of the scale plaid she provided by gluing to a junk-box seat and it came out looking smooth (no bubbles, no crud).

Unfortunately the fabric my mother in law provided was too "red"; the old man assures me the 1:1 car was mostly green and gold--no red. So I decided to look for plaid patterns on the web and see if I could create a decal to stick on the front of the seat.

I got some inkjet decal sheets from Micromark and prepared a 6" x 6" plaid Photoshop picture by stitching together a screensaver backround I found. The good news is that my dad signed off on this--he says the colors are close to how he remembered the plaid to be on the Texas hot rod (no color pictures survive....). I printed out the decal and sprayed it with Krylon Krystal-Klear acrylic paint. Experiments with seats I didn't care about made it look like it's going to come off OK but it's not done yet....

also I am still banging away at finishing the frame. Now, on previous builds, my exhaust headers and pipes never quite met up with the engine. To get around this I decided to build the pipes and headers into the frame and paint them as a unit.

The pipes/mufflers came out of Revell's 32 Ford 3 window coupe #85-2024; the headers from some unknown flathead ford kit, and all the rest was scratchbuilt. I built it up a bit of a time using styrene rod, super glue, and superglue accelerator. I am slowly getting better at using CA glue for meaningful things but I still have a long way to go! However I had the least incidents this time of gluing the part to my finger instead of the model--only one, and it was minor!

The old man and I discussed how to deal with the front hydraulic brakes....something I still have to figure out, and I don't yet have a clue how I'm going to pull that one off.....

The body....Dad says the hallock windshield I put in there wasn't right--that it leaned back to far--and checking the 1:1 photos he was right. At first I said I couldn't fix it--the prospect of messing around with the windshield, fragile as it is, really scared me, but after awhile it started to bug me that I didn't get this right, so I cut off the center of the windshield frame and sweated in some styrene square stock. Here I am finishing it off with a tiny bit of Tamiya light curing putty. I give it about a 50-50 chance of staying together before this build is done.

If I can pull off the mods to the windshield some of the success will be due to this new tool I picked up--riffler files. These are files that can get into tight places, and have already proved invaluable for this project. If you don't have any of these, run don't walk to your crafts or hobby store and pick some up!

OK hopefully work won't be as daunting this week--I would really like to get this project off the bench, it's taking a long time. Patience! I keep telling myself!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Old Skool Texas Hot Rod--the Flathead

I'm continuing the build of a 1:25 replica of the "Old Skool" Hotrod my dad drove in the Fifties in Texas. This week it was on to the Flathead (the motor, not Dad's hairdo).

I was presented with an historical challenge if you will--historical accuracy vs. how well the engine block would fit in the frame without a lot of work. Being the time-constrained guy I am, I chose the latter. To wit: I bought a resin stock 32 frame and Z'd it, and the block/tranny I wanted to use was one of the 30's era "stubby tranny" types.

My original 1:25 scale postwar 1940's era flathead (probably from some unknown Revell kit?) matched the 1:1 engine block fairly well; the 1:1 engine was out of a right-after-the-war merc--maybe a 48?. However, for my build I couldn't get the tranny to play nicely with the frame so I abandoned the "accurate" block for a later block/tranny combo, namely out of a 53 Lindberg Victoria #17172. This fit the frame perfectly, and I figured only the most tsk-tsk type car buff fanatic would notice the discrepency (come to think of it, most all of my dad and brother's professional car buddies would look at this and say--gee, I don't think he got the block right...)

Here's the block with the distributor wiring already attached. I drilled out the heads and looped very small gauge electrical wire through each pair of holes. This because I have always in the past made a mess getting the spark plug wire in place. The heads don't sit quite flat, but that's something I will deal with on the next flathead build.

I usually have better luck building as much as I can, then painting everything at once. I know others disagree with doing it this way. I am getting ready to paint by putting small drinking straws over the distributor wiring. I thought this was pretty clever but some paint did get on the wires. And I thought paint wouldn't stick to the wires (Teflon?) but I was wrong--some got in there and stuck.

I did a lot of kitbashing to get the parts for this. The distributor came out of some old Revell kit, but I am not sure which, as did the pulley/belts, Stombergs, and aftermarket oil filter. The intake manifold (supposed to be a Thickstun) was scratchbuilt as I couldn't find it as an aftermarket part.

So here's the engine in its current form. I used a lot of different metallics to try to get a "realistic look". The Generator was painted red; I am sure that's not the color of the 1:1 but this engine needed a bit of color. Dad tells me the engine was 1/4" thick with layer after layer of silver paint....and yes you can see the little stripe on the top of the tranny where the halves are joined, but no one will ever see it. Overall, I think this flathead ended up looking like something out of a model plane, and maybe that's not the worst thing.

The sparkplug boots (not on the 1:1 car--another addition for color) are yellow shrink tubing. One of the them in this photo is a bit bent but that's not hard to fix. This flathead won't look too bad once I put the little chrome aircleaners on, but I will wait on that for the final part of the build.

I am going to remove the generator and clean that up a bit, but I don't want this engine to look very "clean". The 1:1 wasn't as it was built by a car crazy Ike-era teenager.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Texas Old Skool Hot Rod--The Build Dabbles On.....

To review: I am attempting to make a 1:25 replica of an "old skool" type hot rod that my dad drove in 1950's Texas. Not as hard as the 1:1 car, but not entirely easy either.

Not too much accomplished this week, in fact not much time at the bench at all, but, I guess the project slowly marches on....the bench seat is proving hard to replicate at scale. I ended up finding an old AMT bench seat (I can tell it's AMT by the "vomit grey" color of the plastic) out of the junk box and sectioning it. I still have to figure out how to make the back look right, and how to get the "cardbox check" pattern on the back. I have no idea where the 1:1 bench came from and neither does the old man. The front of the seat is plaid and I'll try making my own decal for this in the coming few weeks.

The resin body is well cast, there are no bubbles or whatever, but there are some holes drilled in it here and there for no reason i can figure out. I am trying to fill them but as you can see I've over-puttied one of the holes in the corner. It's going to be tricky to sand this out without losing some of the trim lines, but I figure I can do it.

The heads are from the aftermarket--in this case Model Car Garage. These are really beautifully cast and look like a decent match for the 1:1 heads, although not perfect. The manifold is proving tricky--the few I've bought have not really looked right. It might have to be scratch built, which is going to be a very big job.

The engine block is out of a 53 Vicky from Lindberg. The 1:1 car had a right-after-the-war merc I have been told, but I am having fit issues with the "right" block and the frame, so this is probably close enough. I am also messing with learning a bit about Macro Photography. For my purposes it's pretty easy: I have a Nikon D40 with the standard 18-55mm lens, take it off autofocus, get it as close as possible, and put it in focus manually. Like most things in life: Good enough.

Blog Archive