Friday, March 4, 2011

66 Nova--Setting the Stance

For the past week or so I've been working on a 1:25 scale AMT Nova #636. The goal is to keep things in the realm of "Not a Project"--nothing custom, nothing fancy, rather, a simple and relaxing build.

Unfortunately, AMT never makes things too easy, and this kit is no exception. A lot of the problematic areas I've seen with their kits pop up here. For one: the "steerable" front is fragile; intuitively I don't see it holding up the weight of the model. In this case, each front wheel is supported by a small spindle that is in extreme danger of falling off and/or breaking.

To (try to) fix this, I glued the dickens out of the top A-frame (using sytrene glue, CA, and plastic weld). Then I did the same to the lower supporting axle assembly in an effort to "sandwich" each spindle in place. Finally I glued the seam between the frame and the inner wheel well, again with CA, normal glue, and plastic weld. When this was done and dry, I shot the entire axle assembly with primer/sealer. The result isn't very "clean", due to the amount of glue I had to use, but inside the wheel well, painted flat black, no one will notice.

Another issue: in my experience, AMT engines never sit quite right on their motor mounts. I am seeing that here; the motor is not sitting flat, nor straight, when nestled into the engine compartment. I will have to tweak the block and motor mounts to fix this. This is why I test fit--I would be unable to sort this out once the engine is painted.

(By the way, no photos yet, but I have a strong suspicion the exhaust system won't fit and will have to be reworked, and the front and rear bumpers and grilles will have to be modified to fit without large seams being visible....just a guess, but on most other AMT kits I have built to date this has been the case.)

The stance--the way the model rides on its front and rear axles, wheels and tires, is key to the model looking good versus looking like a load. I have learned that AMT kits sometimes have poor attention paid to "stance" while the kit is being mastered. Fixing the ride height before paint is critical to the final model looking good.

This Nova kit is no exception--but, as this is "not a project", I wanted to keep things easy. To start, I taped the rear axle in place and added the cool, huge rear slicks. The back end looks great--so far so good.

On the front end, the "stock" ride height looked so bad that I didn't bother photographing it. Basically the front rode higher than the rear, and that's not a look I wanted.

To fix this, one option is to really cheat--just epoxy the fronts into the wheel wells.

This is the lowest ride possible in the front. Looks good I guess, but steering is pretty much impossible.

Here, I turned the front spindles over 180 degrees so the ride height is lowered by about 1/8" (real inches, not scale). This is probably what I will end up using; this is a good look, and I could see the 1:1 car having a ride height like this.

OK, this slightly lowered front is probably what I will end up using. But looking over the photos, the super-low front end appeals to the ten-year-old in me. It's not a slam dunk! I am going to go out of town for a bit so when I come back I can review this, and maybe the decision will be easy. Right now, at this very moment, the ten year old in me is winning out! Who cares if the 1:1 car can't steer! This isn't a 1:1 car!

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