Sunday, October 28, 2012

Toyota 2000GT FINISHED!!!

Finally!  Done with the MPC Toyota 2000 GT Vintage build!  It's been a heck of a long haul on this one...

I have been back into this hobby for 3-4 years now, off and on, and I have to say this one took all my skills such as they are, and patience such as it is, to pull off the end of this build.  What an ornery kit!  The trim (pretty much off of it!) didn't fit, and I mean, anywhere, not even close, and that's after a lot of careful prep and test fitting; the instructions stunk, the single-atom layer of chrome fell off in the my fingers while handling the parts....

Much cursing and fear and loathing ensued, but, it's done at last.  I have mixed feelings about the result, from some perspectives it looks pretty good, from others, not so good, I especially struggled with the front grille, which absolutely would not sit correctly no matter what I did. I took the back end with its giant ugly body seam seriously, and it came out OK, but not the front--it needed as much or more TLC to pull this off. The front grill had 2 big pins in the back that mounted to nothing--to me this kit must be a re-do of a promo or diecast or something, because some of the parts didn't seem to belong.

What I am coming around to: for box-stock builds like this, you have to have 2 kits, the first of which is "practice" where you check your parts fit and whatnot--probably build up without any paint; the second  is the "real" kit for paint and display.  Now, this 2000 GT kit goes for maybe $100-150 USD if you can find it at all, but if I look at all the time I spent trying to muscle some of the trim into place, a second kit would have been a bargain--is my time worth $1 an hour?  Something like that?

So what did I have to do to get this sucker off the ground?  The knock offs had to be shaved down like 6 scale inches (!!!)  Out of the box, they stuck so far off the sides of the car that it looked like something "Speed Racer" deployed after hitting "B" on his steering wheel.

The wipers basically didn't exist (at all) and had to be scratch built--MPC did include some useless protrusions on the oversized windshield that in some universe might be wiper blades, but not here on planet earth!  There were no front headlights included, unless you wanted to use "lights up" which I didn't; there's another trip to the parts box.

Overall I'm really glad it's done, and now it's on the something that hopefully is a bit more fun--because this one was a giant pain!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Toyota 2000GT--Staying in the Lines.....

Nearing completion of the rare, vintage, and way frustrating MPC Toyota 2000GT....going back to the body work, this is going to be my first white paint job on a model car--ever--since I was like 6 years old. It turns out white color coats are trickier to apply then I thought.

I sprayed the 2000GT body, hood etc. with some Duplicolor white primer in anticipation of applying a decanted Duplicolor white lacquer.  Good news is I never got to the lacquer!  The primer looks good as-is. The off-white tone--a sort of calming eggshell--looks about right. What the heck, just clear coat the primer and I'm done.  Right? (Right??) But not so fast...colored all white the dinky Toyota looks pale and the door lines, headlight covers and so on need to stand out....

The hobby mag forums say: take some wash and flow it all the gaps and you're done, but I figured it wouldn't be that easy, and I was right.  I got a white GTO body from my junk box, sprayed some white primer, dug into the lines you see here with the back of a #11 X-acto blade, and tried to run some India ink wash in there and it looked, well, really, really crappy.  The lines came out uneven, it was hard to keep the wash "in the gap", and so on.  The magazines made this look easy!

After some trial and error--again, I am glad I am using the same GTO body from the junk box and not the rare 2000GT to figure this out--acrylic semigloss black, with a lot of expensive Tamiya thinner, seemed to work best. Here, I didn't deepen the lines enough before applying the acrylic wash and thus it looks uneven.  But the combination of acrylic paint and high end acrylic thinner, applied as a wash, seems to do the trick.

India ink was a bust (just looked awful!), as was Testors black enamel (couldn't get the wash to flow evenly). Acrylic with Windex (ran everywhere, bubbled up!) was a big miss. Making the door lines even in depth, cutting them really deep, and cleaning them out thoroughly seems to be key to success here. And obviously I have to use enamel or lacquer as base coat, or the acrylic thinner used in the wash will destroy the color coat.

So here's what I have so far.  It's still not perfect--but what is. You can see some sanding issues at the rear that still need to be cleaned up, and a bit of door wasn't cleared out properly, but that can be fixed...maybe....depending on how much more time I can spend on this. Even with these flaws, the body looks 1000% better than before any wash was applied.

I think with some more #2000 sandpaper work and then some automotive clear this is going to look pretty good. The wash adds a subtle but critical depth to the white color coat. Then the question becomes, how to I paint the molded-in top and dash semi-flat black, while the rest is gloss white. I have done a few two-tones but never part gloss and part flat. I have to think about this!!!

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