Saturday, December 24, 2011

75 Corvette--Aside--Foil Copy is Conquered!

Sometimes when I'm building I discover things--sometimes by accident. Those accidental discoveries are good things!

I was working on a 1:25 1975 Corvette build, using a couple of vintage Corvette from MPC,when I discovered the rocker covers are nothing like the 1:1 cars'.

Here's what MPC gives you.....

Here's the 1:1 engine (apologies to whoever posted this originally)

Besides not being chrome, the MPC mastered valve covers are nothing like the originals. I figured I'd modify them by casting them using Omurayu
to customize and "move things around"

Here's what I came up with....the casting is OK, and I could now sand it down and start moving around the filler cap and other items by cutting apart multiple castings. But right before I started I wondered--does CA stick to Omurayu? If not, I might be able to do something like the "foil copy" I have read about in hobby mags.

As I understand Foil Copy: you take a piece of tin foil and press it against a detail you want to keep, then fill the indentation in the foil with superglue. Let the CA glue dry, then remove the CA, trim, paint or whatever, and use on your kit.

I could never get this to work--the CA always came out like a little blob. I posted "how do you really do this?" on a couple of hobby forums and no one on the forums seemed to know either. Is foil copy some sort of myth?

Well, no. CA glue DOES NOT stick to Omurayu molds, and I made a PERFECT "foil copy" of the filler cap from it.

So here's how I did it: I cast the small item using Omurayu, poured in a dab of CA, let it dry a LONG time (for me, it took 24-48 hours), removed the dried CA from the mold using tweezers, trimmed, and painted. It works!

Here's the finished part and to give you an idea of the tiny size of the casting, the part vs. a guitar pick. This is like learning to use 2 part clear--for me, it will change a lot of things. And BTW, I will not use this tiny filler cap for the valve covers....the MPC 1980 Monte Carlo MPC-702, besides having a nifty little Honda Motorcycle included in the kit, has correct valve covers for a 75 Vette, and I will just steal them from that.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

75 Vette-Vintage Kit-Body Work....

I had a chance to buy a couple of vintage MPC kits off Ebay--MPC 1-7506, '75 Vette Roadster. This is before the ERTL days or whatever, and I remember back as a kid, MPC was "way cool"--they always made stuff that had the right look. Now that I bought these vintage MPC kits it means they will be reissued soon right?

Getting right down to work: body time. I love the lines on the 1:1 Vettes with this later body style. The front bumper assembly on the kit didn't fit quite right, but I am hammering it into place.

Besides getting rid of mold lines and all the usual steps, I disliked how MPC mastered the front grill for the model--just a blob of chrome with none of the European-looking refinement. Let's fix that....

Using the back end of a #11 blade I cut out the offensive inner facades of the one-piece front bumper assembly.

Tricky work, because the entire front bumper piece doesn't fit on the body that well to begin with and is pretty fragile.....after both inner panels were removed, I replaced them with blanks made from .010 styrene. Looking better already.

The actual mesh for the grillwork is presenting a challenge. Nothing is available in the aftermarket I can find for this, so I am trying to modify some leftover photoetch from an old GTO build. The guitar pick is in there to give you an idea of how tiny this work is, at 1:25 scale.

The other thing I didn't like was the vent in the top of the dash, so I found a more suitable vent on an Avanti kit from the parts bin....

I cast the vent in resin, and then cut it into the dash. I didn't quite center it right, but after some sanding it's probably going to be OK. I am still somewhat of a beginner, so this is as much about learning technique as anything else.

And of course! You have to get rid of the "1975" license plates....many kits that were derived from promos seem to have the year stamped on the plate, which obviously isn't realistic. Poof--sanded off--gone. Are we ready for paint yet?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

51 Channeled Chevy--Finished--The Good, the Bad, and the Fugly!

Free at last!--the 51 Channeled Chevy is done....some of it came out OK, some pretty bad, and some just downright fugly.....

What came out not so good--the hand painted flames on the side. I'm not going to try to do that again...from certain angles it looks OK but for the most part it looks sloppy and unprofessional. I give the handpainted flames a C-! If I had used masks (like on the hood) it would have looked much better.

I give the engine compartment a solid B (?) or not-so-solid B/B-? Maybe this was beyond my abilites, because cramming such a large engine into a small compartment was akin to building a tricky jigsaw puzzle! It's hard to believe that because I was too lazy to figure out how things would fit during the early stages of this, I basically built the engine up inside the finished engine compartment. Doh!

The fugly would be the stance. In Pat Ganahl's seminal book "The American Custom Car", he talks about the history of custom car stance--specifically hot rods are raked; customs, low front and rear, or even low rear and high front. So my build is a custom with a hot rod rake. To me, this doesn't really work. The build would have looked better if I had given the whole thing a more traditional "lead sled" low look, or, made it more of a hot rod as far as paint and trim (sponsor decals, dechromed, hood scoop, rear slicks, whatever).

The good is the interior. This is my best interior work to date, and the color scheme--ivory and flat green, with red trim, works well.

Overall--hey, it's done, on to other things. Thank goodness!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

51 Channeled Chevy--Engine is finally in....

I haven't blogged much but I have been building! I thought assembling the rest of the Channeled 51 Chevy would be easy but it's not been...I have fought almost every part to get it glued into place!

The engine compartment was smaller than "stock" due to the channeling and I didn't know if anything other than the block would fit! To make things even more challenging, I am using a parts-box V8 instead of the kit supplied straight 6. I did a pretty good job customizing the frame and engine compartment to accept the larger block, but didn't plan for anything else under the hood. Thus I decided to build most of the engine with the block already mounted inside the engine compartment which of course isn't the way a sane person would do this.

Fuel lines and some plumbing are already in place, but I have along way to go!

Lo and behold--the fanbelt/pulley assembly didn't fit quite right, so I had to do some minor surgery and then use this contraption to hold it all in place while the glue set.

Same thing with the radiator--I didn't do the best job "engineering" that fit before paint and assembly, and the channeling meant I had to be pretty accurate or nothing else would fit. So I had to do some trimming and repainting, and then hold the radiator in place with a weight while the glue dried.

Speaking of paint....I have rethought how I apply brush paint....I used to dip brushes directly into bottles but no more. Now, I always stir the paint with a craft stick and then use the stick to transfer the paint to a small cup (like, the little paper ones you get at a burger place for ketchup). Less paint clumps and brush streaks that way.

The engine compartment is finished! I feel like I can knock the rest out in a day or two but that's what I said before; it took 3 weeks (off an on, more off than on) to assemble the interior and who knows.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

51 Channeled Chevy--the Build Dabbles On....

Back at the bench!!! I am still working on a 1:25 scale 1951 Channeled Chevy, based on AMT's AMT-608 kit. The good news: the body and paint are pretty much done. There wasn't any "customizing" for this build as far as the body; but, there were lots of sink marks, casting imperfections, mold seams, and other gremlins had to be removed/filled/fixed before paint....after these fixes, the body was shot with Duplicolor white primer and sanded lightly (!) with 2000 grit wet n' dry.

For color I used decanted Duplicolor metalflake silver, with extra Jacquard PearlEX silver flakes thrown in (anyone who has read this blog to date knows I LOVE Jacquard paints!) I sprayed the mixture with a Iwata SAR single action airbrush which replaced my single action external Paasche--it was time to move up! This was my first attempt at decanting lacquer; I will cover it in more detail in later posts. To make a long story short(er), decanting lacquer, then airbrushing, yields a much smoother finish (for me anyway), versus just spraying out of the rattle can.

What about the flames? The hood was masked with a hand-cut frisket. With limited time to devote to this hobby, frisket cutting by hand doesn't work for me--I simply don't have the hours to cut the tiny patterns--so I am considering using some sort of computerized frisket cutting for future projects. The sides were entirely hand flamed using different acrylics--lame excuse, but I ran out of time to cut a mask for this! I like the hood flames much better than the sides; the side flames look sloppy but also bright and happy. The oranges and yellows were applied either by hand or with an Iwata Micron-C. Finally, after a quick sanding with 2000 grit paper, all was coated with HOK Kustom two-part Polyester clear, as far as the clear, I was extremely happy with the results; this was followed by the requisite Bare Metal Foil.

The AMT 51 Chevy kit comes with a cool straight-6, but for me it wasn't right for this build. So: I scrounged around in my parts box for a small block V8. Since this is a channeled build, like a 1:1 chaneled car, there isn't much room under the hood. During mock up, this engine just barely fit! I have no idea what kit this came out of--it's AMT something I think, at scale, probably too small to even be a 280 c.i. ish engine--maybe out of a 55ish AMT Chevy?

To finish the other engine parts I used Alclad II, and tried something new: spraying one color of Alclad and then, to get some variety, gradually mixed other Alclad colors into the airbrush's hopper. It worked great--Alclad can indeed be mixed, and the results are really nice. I started with chrome; mixed in some stainless steel for the belt assembly, and finally some pale gold for the fan. Variety under the hood is always nice!
The block was painted with Testors One-Coat metalflake blue and then hit with 2 part clear. I was curious if 2 part clear can be detailed after application with acrylics, and it seemed that it can--the advantage being that any detailing "painting mistakes" can be easily cleaned up with Windex without anyone being the wiser.....the Windex takes off the acryic but leaves the 2 part clear and color coat beneath untouched! Another victory over sloppy paint!

Friday, September 30, 2011

51 Channeled Chevy--Interior Hack

Again not much time to build this month....just a little bit, this is going to be a quick one....

From last time: I had some 51 Chevy Kits lying around--one convertible, two coupes. I thought it'd be fun to make a 1:25 scale channeled hot rod....

The body/frame/stance mock up was done end of last it's time to chop some stuff up!

Inner door panels needed to be taken down about 5 scale inches. I also had to screw around with the back part of each panel, so it fit a wider back seat (I really didn't like the kit seats--too bulky!)...I am not happy with how this came out, and do not have time to redo them....Fortunately not much of the rear part of either panel will be seen, as it's hidden by the seats.

Next time I mock up a convertible I put in the seats! As I said, the kit seats were way too bulky. Compare the bottom seats with the top--which one would you want in a sleek hot rod? To find the smaller seats, I hunted around in the my parts box and came up with two that not only fit, they matched each other, uphostery wise! I have no idea what kit these originally came out of.

I have tried different interior shades over the past couple of years but keep coming back to the Model Master "interior" colors--their semi-flat appearance looks realistic to me. That combined with cream lacquer from Duplicolor gives the upholstry a retro sort of look.

I am also experimenting with using craft wire to accent the paint--I have seen this done in hobby mags many times; I am not sure how to get all traces of the glue out of the final look, but I can get it pretty close.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

51 Chevy--Changing the Channel

Having finished my experiments with 2 part clear it's back to some building. I got some AMT 51 Chevy kits on sale from and it's time to build something.

I have found that mock-ups are key and, at least from the perspective of making a hot rod out of this, it needs to ride lower. I didn't end up getting a picture of "Before" I mocked up a lower ride...but it looked like "the Eisenhower family's Chevy" and I don't want that.

So here's "after" lowering. I quickly glued up the chassis frame and front and rear ends, found some tires in the scrap box, and came up with this:

The body is channeled about 8 scale inches--which means: a lot! The 51 kit came with spindles for the front for a "lowered ride" look. I used that, and the stock ride height for the rear.

Nothing is cleaned up yet--there are still ejector pins and mold lines all over the place and other than some primer, no paint has been applied yet. I have found in modelling you always, always have to walk before you run!!!

I am thinking about frenching the headlights, and doing some sort of flame thing for paint.

Channeling means that many other parts of the car will need to be customized--interior, seats, radiator, motor mounts, and so on, because they will now ride too high. But since I am working in plastic, and nothing has to "work" as it would on a 1:1 car, this is no big deal. I already started to hack up the interior and will take more photos soon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

66 Nova--Finished!

Not much time to build again this month but I did manage to finish the 66 Nova....

The Nova started mostly as an excuse to practice painting more with 2 part Polyurethane Clearcoat.

Again I have found that 2 part clear takes some extra attention to making sure the color coat is smooth--problems with the color coat seem amplified by tqo part polyurethane clear, rather than muted.

Overall a fun build...I had a good time applying the photoetch parts....

I used license plate decals, but just cut the decals out and did not soak them; I glued them to the bumpers with plain old styrene glue. I feel this looks better than other methods I have tried.

And, using brass for the fuel plumbing came out OK....

I have 3 '51 Chevy kits sitting around, that will be next....

Almost fall again!

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