Sunday, March 8, 2009

69 Charger 500--More from the Mopar Basement

The wife has been out of town for 5 weeks so that should make a perfect month to build, right? But for some reason I can't drag myself down the basement very often. Maybe I'm missing her too much?

So when I do make it to the basement I have been working prepping the body of an MPC "Vintage" 69 Charger 500....and it turns out the body needs a lot of work. Along with the older tooling comes sink marks, mold lines, and various bugaboos that need repair and TLC. Newer kits have these problems too, in my limited experience, but not as much as I am seeing here. Fixing up minor sink marks isn't hard but is time consuming. To get rid of the sink marks I used Tamiya Basic putty, followed by wet sanding with 600 grit, then a second coat of putty followed by 1200 grit. That seems to leave things flat and pit-free.

Only after dropping on the primer can I start too see more little problems. There are still a couple of sink marks on the hood that I missed the first time around, and of the 3 Ertl Charger kits I got for this project this hood was the best one! I glooped on a bit more putty after I grafted on the hood mounting "hardware" from the Revell Daytona Kit #85-2824. To thin out the putty a bit--making it flow better into the sink marks--I applied Testors Liquid cement right over the freshly applied putty. Right now the hood opens fine without having to alter the already modified interior/firewall/dashboard. I got lucky on this, since I decided I would put the hinges into place and prime them, and only then figure out how to make the hood swing open. This sort of pre-planning is critical usually; I just went for it and it worked.

I still have to put in some support towards the front of the hood so it doesn't sag, but that shouldn't be too difficult.

I wanted to find some "dog dish" wheels for this build, since they look great on the 1:1 reference photos, but I couldn't find any online so I gave up and went back to the kit's wheels.

I don't know if I like these older kits better than the new ones. On older kits there are far fewer parts, which makes assembly easier but painting harder. The exhaust/differential/springs has to be masked and painted with different metallics and flats to give me the look I want....

It will be body-paint-time before too long....after some research, it seems that MCW is the place to go to get good matches for 1:1 manufacturer's paint. Their prices are reasonable--$12 for 2 fl ounces of Hemi Orange seems like a fair price to me and to my eyes the color looks perfect.

The last problem is decals. Turns out the decals supplied with the MPC kit aren't correct--the 1:1 stripe goes over the rear side lights and what MPC supplied doesn't. This left me in a quandry--do I try to make "correct" decals myself? Do I use the MPC decals that look OK but that I know are almost certainly "wrong"? Making the replacement decals myself is beyond what I am skilled enough to do, probably, and if I use "wrong" ones it will bother me every time I see the finished model. So what to do?

Turns out there is a guy named Keith Marks who makes an aftermarket decal set for the Charger 500 that looks perfect. I dropped him an email to see if he can sell me some and haven't heard back yet. I hope he's still out there!!!

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