Monday, September 21, 2009

69 Superbee with Vinyl Top FINISHED!

I just finished a box-stock (almost) 1969 Superbee based on Revell's "Revell Muscle" series--kit #85-2363.

This kit was a departure for me--it's 1:24 and I haven't built anything in 1:24 for years; I did almost no customizing or scratch building, and I tried, for the first time, doing a scale vinyl top.

The engine compartment was detailed out with scratch built heater plumbing. I also cast the wiper motor and a few goodies on the inside of the firewall, as the Revell kit didn't have much detail....

The tires and "Mopar Dog Dish" wheels came from "Scale Equipment Ltd" might be a bit hard to tell from the photos but the decals on the tires didn't come out very well--the edges of the decals are visible if held into the light just right (or "just wrong"). I don't think I will be using tire decals again any time soon; rub on lettering looks a lot better.

OK, so here's the top...after a lot of reading I decided to give Model Masters "Black Vinyl Top Base Coat" and "Black Vinyl Top Texture Coat" a try. It came out OK....but to me the "bumps" aren't to scale (I may have held the texture coat can too far from the subject, but, I did follow the directions from Testors and held the can 18"-24" away). I also made the seams a bit too big....I need to use smaller gauge plastic rod next time.

Part numbers from Model Masters is 28153 and 28152....

Does it look better than just using mist coats of enamel? Don't know....The finished build got a bit rushed towards the end; I had a heck of a time with the stance, since Revell's stock build looked WAY too tall to me. I ended up hacking up the suspensions and just epoxying the wheels to the axles after putting in some styrene rod to allow the stance to be lowered.

The stance could come down a tad more--not sure--1:1 photos shows these things riding up a bit high.....

The vanity plates reflect the build: 1st vinyl.

Don't know what I'm going to build next--I have parts now for the Roadrunner, as well as a Duster, but I guess I am not crazy about building yet another Mopar. In fact, I am going to go out of town for a few weeks and take a break from work and hobbies. Maybe after that I will have some new ideas.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Macro Mania--taking pictures of those tiny parts!

I'm still waiting for various parts to show up for different builds so I had a bit of time to revisit my basic photography setup....

I currently use a Nikon D40 with add on 600 and 800 flash units. A pretty simple setup, and I've always used the AF lens that came "stock" with the D40....

However with this setup I've never really been happy taking Macro shots with this rig. Even with autofocus turned off the D40's "stock" macro settings still leave a bit to be desired, and for taking pictures of itty-bitty model parts it didn't always get it done.

Ebay to the rescue! I read that the D40 takes older Nikkor lenses, as long as you're willing to set all the settings (Fstop, focus, lighting) manually. Well, from what I've read about macro photography you probably need to do that anyway, so there's no point in getting some uber-expensive auto lens for this as I see it....and you can get these old Nikkor lenses used for cheap, cheap, CHEAP!!!

The lens I ended up getting was a Nikkor AI F3.5 55mm. From my reading, this is/was a top notch lens, one that in its day (and even now) other lenses are compared to. I won't say what I paid, but believe me, compared to what the uber computerized-auto-everything macro lenses can set you back, this lens was PEANUTS.

It was a bit baffling getting this lens to work at all--but I found that once I set the camera to "M" (it's what Nikon calls a "pre CPU lens" so you have to set everything to manual--doh!) it would take basic this 1:25 scale battery. Out of focus a bit....but this is about 20 seconds of setup, no tripod, and me shaking a bit having just consumed a Snickers bar....

There was an old AA battery on my work bench, I just snapped a close up and this is what I got--again, no tripod or any lighting other than what's on my bench. Not too bad.....

....or the logo to a toothpick box...again, no tripod....the focus is a tiny bit out.

OK, after a bit of setup (not much)--mostly screwing with lighting, and using a tripod, I found I could get SUPER close up shots--like this tranny. This was after say 3 minutes of setup....

Another 3 minutes for the lugs nuts on this cool old wheel.

It's a school night so I didn't mess around with this lens as much as I could of--and will. But for a few minutes of setup I am really pleased with this purchase! Hours of fun!!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Casting Part III-Quick Casting with Oyumaru

Last time around I was trying to give myself a crash course in casting. For the 71 Roadrunner build, I needed to make copies of rare/expensive parts before I modify them. Casting seemed to be the best way to do it.

Now I'm bitten by the casting bug.

Although satisfying when everything goes right, casting can be time consuming and frustrating. You have to make the mold box, create the mold, let the mold cure, pour the resin, let that cure, demold the resin, and see how you did. And unlike most aspects of this strange hobby, the materials for casting can be surprisingly expensive--I paid $36 for a pretty tiny bit of RTV silicone and now it's almost all gone.

So I'm on the lookout for a casting system that saves time and money. I may have found it: I discovered a Japanese product called Oyumaru that can be used to make molds inexpensively and quickly. Sounds like something to try!

Just looking at the packaging: things are happy in the land of Oyumaru! I have no idea what the graphics on the package say, but right from the get go Oyumaru looks fun, fun, fun!!! The price was definitely right: $6US for 6 sticks of Oyumaru, each of which can be reused almost indefinitely. So here's how you use it....

First, grab a pot to boil up some Oyumaru. No, no, not those pots, those are the zillion dollar uber alloy space age ones the wife uses for cooking--never, ever, EVER use them for anything else! Don't even look at them!

Much better! This is a $3 pot I bought at the local general store. Boil up some water, dump some Oyumaru in there, and let it boil for about 3 minutes....

There's some kind of release agent or paint or something on this cheapo pot that stinks! But the Oyumaru itself doesn't have any scent. You can't eat it, but at least it doesn't gas you out of the house.

Take out the Oyumaru with tongs (I bought a $2 ladel at the same general store--still alive!) and wipe it off with paper towel. Then squish it out into chunks onto some wax paper. While it's still soft--you have about 3-5 minutes--squish your masters down into the Oyumaru. For my first effort I jammed some random parts I had lying around--a couple of V8 heads, a cool Cobra air cleaner, and a master cylinder--into the Oyumaru, and let it cool (once the masters are set, you have to let Oyumaru cool before you do anything else with it....) Then I slapped a second piece of Oyumaru on top creating a cheap and dirty squish mold. No release agent is used--so the first piece has to be really cool or the two mold pieces will stick together, trapping the master inside.

After everything's cool, I pulled the mold halves apart, removed the masters, and was ready for a resin pour.....

After pouring 1:1 resin and letting the cast parts sit for about 1/2 hour, I demolded. Bad news: The results were barely usable. Perhaps it was a mistake to try to jam 4 pieces into such a small chunk of Oyumaru....I should have been more generous with amount of mold I used for each piece. And I probably should have waited longer before demolding.

Back to the drawing board....I have heard (not tried it yet) that you can't use that perfect Oyumaru mold you created last Sunday over and over; with each subsequent pour the cast becomes a bit more flabby and inaccurate. But the upside--that I have seen already: if your Oyumaru mold is NG, or you're done with it, throw it in boiling water and start again....yes, you can indeed use Oyumaru over and over.

For the second attempt with Oyumaru I created 4 molds, composed of 6 Oyumaru chunks: two one piece molds for two Cobra air cleaners; a two piece squish mold for a small block Chevy oil pan, and a two piece "true" mold for the master cylinder/vacuum boost out of the Revell 1:24 69 Superbee I'm working on right now.

The only thing I did differently than the first run, other than using more Oyumaru for each cast, was to put the true 2 part mold into a vice and pour the resin into the top (as you would with an RTV type mold). Some things can't be squish molded no matter what! I found that with Oyumaru you can't crank the vice down too tight or it will deform the mold....which will ruin the casting....

Here are the finished pieces. Not perfect, but, not too bad. The only thing I had real trouble with--I am still not getting the hang of this in general--is the "true" 2 piece mold. The master Cylinder/vacuum boost looked like it had a huge (1/8") air bubble trapped so it was unusable. During clean up I cut off the motor mounts from the oil pan, but that's not Oyumaru's fault, it's mine, and that's OK.

This is just for practice, right? In general Oyumaru works for cheap and quick casting. Next time I need to make a one-off copy of a simple piece quickly this will be the way I go.

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