Sunday, March 28, 2010

66 Olds 442--Body Work, Part I

Still working on a mild custom 66 Olds....the goal of this build is to test fit everything and get everything entirely in shape before doing ANY finishing....

This is one of those AMTish things that drives me crazy. The instructions say if I'm building a non-vinyl top (I am) to remove the side trim pieces, a bit of which you can see here. This trim wraps around the front, sides, and rear. It all has to go. I haven't been doing this that long but I do know that removing a big old chunk of trim is a going to be a lot of work! But I need to do it; getting rid of the trim will make this look less like "your Mom's Olds" which is what I'm after here.

To make things harder there's a piece of body trim that can't be removed--this little crosshatch gizmo thing on each side. So I have to carefully sand and file around it. I ended up putting my finger over it to make sure I didn't accidentally scape it up. I have read of others "foil copying" this sort of thing, then sanding away the original, then gluing the copy back on, but I have never had any luck with that whole always ends up looking like a little blob of bird doodoo.

So that's for a different project.....

OK, after some filing and sanding here's the back so far. A new problem is cropping up--on the 1:1 car, about mid-door there is a nice sharp point where the body sheetmetal is bent at a 20 or so degree angle. The trim strip covered that, and with it gone, I have to try to get it back somehow.

And here's the side. It's getting there, but as with so many other crafts, to do a good job is going to take time. I just have to get used to it. It would have been nice if AMT gave optional trim pieces you could attach or not, depending on what you wanted the finished model to look like, but, nope.

I continue to do a lot of reading about how anyone working with minatures does his thing without losing his or her mind and going blind at the same time. One key is to have good magnification, that's comfortable to wear, so I'm told. To this end I bought a $40 magification headband thingy from Micromark, which seems to work OK, although you have to hold your work x inches for it to be in focus (no way around that I can think of)

But the best part is the instructions that came with. This picture of happy Mr. Science Guy rocks the front of the instructions and I just cracked up. I mean, this guy just had a frontal lobotomy and now he's ready to party! I liked it so much I cut out his picture from the cheesy manual and put it above my bench. These are visual aids for the truly inspired.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

1966 Olds--Parts is Parts....

From last time: still working on rounding up parts for a '66 Oldsmobile mild custom.

Getting scale windshields in without them looking terrible (glue smears, finger smears, poor fit) is always tough for me. The glass that came with the kit (AMT/Ertl #6268) didn't fit, and it looked too thick. So I put some styrene rod into the inside of the roof....

And cut a playing card up to size out how big the "glass" (to be cut out of clear tyvek) will be. Should be pretty straightforward, but we'll see how it works when final assembly day comes.

Dashboards are tricky for me too. They never seem to fit right. The kit has me suspend the dash between the two interior side panels, but on other builds that's never worked for me. Instead I've glued a strip of styrene to the back of the dashboard, which I'll affix to the body, beneath the windshield.

I didn't much like the custom wheels that came with the Ertl kit; instead I found 2 wheels in the parts box that looks like something that might have been dreamed up by Centerline in the 1:1 world. But I only had 2 wheels, and needed 4...which means....time to cast.

I used 1:1 RTV mold maker this time, having run out of the first batch of 1:10. I like the 1:1 a lot better--much easier to prepare and mix.

Trying to learn from previous mistakes, I put polymer clay around the entire mold as a barrier; I learned my lesson a few months ago when RTV mold goo leaked all over the place before it had time to set. It made a heck of a mess!

So here's what I used this time around. I found that tiny bubbles (real ones, not the ones in the song) were getting into tight places in the wheel mold and was making small details, like the scale "bolts" on each wheel look, well, terrible. To fix this I use a toothpick right after the resin pour and actively chase the bubbles out. Now the scale bolts look spot-on.

BTW latex gloves are a big time saver, keeps RTV and resin crud off my hands, and I am not going to do a lot more casting without wearing them.

So here are the Centerlines I ended up with. There were a few issues with the very outer rims having tiny holes in them, but I figure these can be fixed with gap-filling CA glue.

I also found at the bottom of my parts box a crazy, retro looking Mag wheel, perhaps off an old Monogram drag kit. I figured I might as well make some copies of that too, and I did. No idea what I'll end up using them for.

Monday, March 8, 2010

66 Olds 442--Planning the Stance

My dad read the last Blog Entry and was saying hey--the Roadrunner doesn't look all that bad! Well....I'm glad he thinks so--but remember, I took a lot of pictures of the thing, and uploaded only those that showed the build in a favorable light! I don't retouch my photos, but I also don't want to zoom in on all the little flaws....

ANYWAY let's hope the next build isn't as much of a struggle. It's a 66 Olds, one of my favorite 1:1 cars, I figure I will build it as a mild custom. What have I learned? For one, plan ahead, plan ahead, test fit, and then plan some more. I have to go back to the book by the greatest modeler of all time, Gerald Wingrove, to realize that the really good builders (no matter what they are building) figure out things first, then build, then paint/polish/finish. Since I like painting and paints, I have never done as much planning and test fitting as I should, I just slap stuff together and start painting. And then I always have the same issues:

  • The stance doesn't look right, so I end up hacking up an already painted build to correct stance issues. Result: I wreck the paint.

  • The glass never fits. result: usually I get some glue or other dreck somewhere (mostly on the glass) trying to fix it.

  • The front and back bumpers don't fit. Result--the finished build looks like someone hit it with a shopping cart.

  • The headers and exhaust don't fit right. Result--don't even think about photographing the underside of the build.

This is a "modern tooling" kit, which means the detail is much better than a few of the "vintage" builds I have tried lately. The back end can easily be seen to be way better in the detail department than anything on the Roadrunner build.

So this time I'm doing more test fitting and planning in advance of any sort of finishing--for instance, on this kit the rear end looked too high to me, so I am doing all the hacking and cutting and fitting to the rear end first....

And "pinning" things parts so I can see where I am at....

And here's the stance. The back end is pinned in, and the front suspension is assembled. I am going to cheat on the finished build by gluing the bottom of the front "axle" (really, a nub of plastic) to the bottom of the inner front wheels. No one will notice on the finished build....It's got a long way to go, but at least it's pointed in the right direction.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

71 Roadrunner 1:25 scale--FINISHED

It's been a few weeks since the last post, and a big reason I've not been building is I've been hating--HATING--this stupid Roadrunner build. It's been a struggle start to finish, and really not been a lot of fun.

Some of it is my fault; poor planning, poor research, and rushing through the build for whatever reason. Part of it is the kit--even with a fair amount of work to correct some of the kit's obvious flaws, such as casting the front bumper (that was completely wrong and looked like who knows what), the finished build still doesn't capture the spirit of the 1:1 car. I can't put my finger on what is wrong here; obviously the problem goes all the way back to whatever promo MPC used way back when to master this kit. The body just doesn't look right--is it too narrow? Is the rake of the front end vs. the back not right? Does the way the rear valance sit not give the right "mean" look to the build? It's hard to say.

Maybe some of the experience I lack is to know when a project is just too big to take on. To make the body look right might have almost taken a entire scratch build of the body, and at the very least, scratch building the front grille, which has none of the subtle swoops and curves of the 1:1 car.

If I were to do that, I wouldn't do this in 1:25 scale, rather something bigger, so it would be easier to work with.

I don't know. I'm just not happy with this. Again I am faced with questioning how much time I really want to spend on these things. I can clearly see that to get to the next level I am going to have to spend a lot more time test fitting things and working on planning and prep. I have to decide if I really want to do that.

I guess we'll see.

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