Monday, September 22, 2008

Old Skool Texas Hot Rod--Final (?) Assembly Begins

I'm into week something or other (don't remember, but it seems like a lot of weeks) building a 1:25 scale "Texas Old Skool" hot rod, based on a car my dad built in the Fifties. And it has been a lot of work so far--my dad thinks maybe I'm putting more work into the model then he put into the 1:1 car, but I have my doubts.

Let's see...between Z'ing a resin frame, putting together a seat built of 2 seats and sectioned....a scratch built intake manifold....creating a steering wheel from 3 other steering wheels....enough planning, scrounging, scratchbuilding and messing around! It's finally time to start gluing some stuff together!

The body, side panels, seat, and dash are now one. I used Devcon 5 minute epoxy to hold everything together. No real fit problems in any of it, although I did forget to paint the inside of the polymer clay interior panels and had to carefully mask the body to touch them up. Overall using Polymer clay for interior panels came out great and it's something that I will use a lot more going forward. The front chrome trim was bare metal foil--it took 3 tries to get it looking OK. As far the paint, it's several coats of Duplicolor metalflake brown lacquer, followed by a pretty aggressive sanding with 1200 grit sandpaper, and finally a coat of Future Floor Polish, brushed on with a large soft brush. No polishing has been done yet, and may not be. The end result is "shiny but not too shiny" which is how Dad says the 1:1 car looked.

In spite of using the "wrong" engine block and transmission I still had a heck of a time getting the engine glued in and sitting straight. Finally a large dose of Devcon Epoxy and weights did the trick. The front suspension on the 1:1 car was pretty busy looking and I couldn't find a tie rod that fit or looked anything like it, so, I had to scratchbuild it out of styrene rod and Tenax7R. Tenax7R and it's "work alikes" like Micromark Same Stuff are becoming my "go-to" choice for scratchbuilding pretty much anything. One interesting thing I learned about Tenax7R: it makes a great paint remover for enamel paint, whether you want it to do so or not. But that's what touch up paint is for! The whole tranny/drive shaft/differential hook up didn't come out in spite of lots of preplanning, and required to be cut off and reglued, but I doubt anyone will notice.

Speaking of enamels....just when you thought you were out, those Testors guys pull you back in....I have begun using a lot of Floquil "Engine Black" paint for my flat black needs. Marketed to the model train set (who in general have a lot more money then us poor model old car builders so I am told) it is a bit on the pricey side, but it looks great and dries quickly. It's enamel--it uses enamel thinner anyway--but it dries fast and smooth. Highly recommended.

Devcon Epoxy was used to mount the dash in the body as well. As I said in a previous post, the dash is out of a 40 Ford and came from Replicas and Miniatures of Maryland (R&M doesn't have a web site, but you can see a tiny bit of what they do at Strada Sports.)

Now I need to figure out how to get the steering wheel and its column in there. Not sure yet how that's going to work.

The stick shift was out of a Revell 32 Ford Kit. Dad said the 1:1 car had a "lengthy" stick shift with a teardrop-shaped Hudson shift knob.

After prepping the stick shift and painting it with Testors gloss black enamel, I airbrushed Alclad 2 chrome. The shift knob was scratch build out of polymer clay.

The stick shift itself got a bit pitted when I tried to bend it into shape (next time I have to do that before I paint it!). And as far as the shift knob, the one I built looks a bit more like a marshmallow than a tear. Oh well!

Are we seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? Maybe! I have a few days off from work and maybe I can actually finish this build! It's getting to be about time!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Old Skool Texas Hot Rod--Some Paint Required

Hard to believe two weeks have gone by....not too much progress on our Old Skool Texas Rod--but some.....

The wheels came out of an AMT 34 Ford Kit I think--#38405. The chome wheel centers had to be de-chromed in bleach. The whole thing was cleaned up quite a bit as there was tons of flash and other dreck on the parts. I am not sure where the tires came from--they have to be modified to accept the wheels--and they look a tad bigger than the 1:1 car's, but at this late stage, they are going to have to do (I find myself saying that more and more these days as the weeks put into this build drag on). I couldn't find any creme paint anywhere that I liked so I rolled the dice and bought online some Duplicolor Import Autospray Creme (from a Toyota body color I think) #88-01542...which turned out to be perfect--this is a real retro creme color and will find its ways to other builds I think.

The 1:1 car had a "Sun Tach" installed--I think my dad put in this upgrade--so I started with a 40 Ford dash from "Replicas and Miniatures of Maryland" and added some photoetch and decal to represent the add on tach. The instrument panel was framed in Bare Metal Foil and finished with Tamiya Gun Metal, a coat of Boyd's brush on clear (to hold everything together) and finally Some Model Master Semi Gloss Clear #4637. I know I am a Testor's basher sometimes but the Acryl line seems to be making its way into my every day paint stash more and more.....

Ah the seat. This has been the most complex scratch built part of the project so far, and the fight with it continues, but now I may have it licked. Overall I wanted the seat to look "sat in", not too new and shiny, but not too junky either. The 1:1 car was no where near show room clean, but Dad says he did try to keep it from being too ratty (hence the cardboard interior upholstry?)

After a bunch of decals for the plaid looking really wrinkled and terrible I finally learned how to use Badger's decal products by reading the instructions on the side of the bottle! The Setting Solution does just that--it helps you with setting the decal in the right place. The Softening Solution is used to help with getting decals wrapped around tough places (like the edges of this seat). I was overusing the softening solution and the decals where getting really messed up. Helps to read the directions!

The paint is the usual Duplicolor stuff I use for lots of my builds. The exception is the Rustoleum "Farm Equipment" green enamel. I have never used Rustoleum paints for anything, but it seems fitting somehow to use Farm Equipment paint on a Texas Hot Rod. My dad picked out all the colors and paints--he remembers the 1:1 car's colors, which is a good thing because no color photos of the car still exist. The John Deere green turned out to be pretty shockingly bright green but didn't look too bad with some Dullcoat sprayed over it.

The steering wheel is almost an entire build within itself! The 1:1 steering wheel was off a postwar Nash--which is a bit off the beaten path, so I didn't even trying to find a pre-cast 1:25 Nash steering wheel anywhere. I ended up combining 3 different kits' steering wheels and scratch building the center....the so called "necker knob"--the suicide handle at the top of the steering wheel--is pretty racy looking in the 1:1 car--"a baby's arm holding an apple" I think they used to call it. Not hard to knock off with some styrene bits. To match the 1:1 car it's going to get a 3-tone paint job--brown rim, chrome spokes, white center. It still needs some clean up but the basics are done.

The Duplicolor SUV brown has been shot on the still needs some polishing but the body is fairly close to being finished. I really like the way the body color is coming out--a subtle metalflake brown.

Maybe I can see light at the end of the tunnel? This has been by far the most complex build I have done and I feel it has raised my skill level. If I am lucky I should be able to finish this build off in the next week or so--that is if I don't get too busy at work.

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