Tuesday, November 17, 2015

66 El Camino-FINISHED!

Another month gone, another model done!  This time a Revell 66 El Camino.  I ended up building it box stock except for the wheels (from the AMT 69 Chevelle) and the wheels (from my scrap box, no idea where they came from?). A tiny bit of photo etch was used, for the door locks, for instance.

Beyond that? Nothing new to report here.  This was another pretty easy build, a good kit that went together easily.

I'm trying, as always to keep things clean, and to make the most of the little time I have to build these days.  I could have spent more time on the photo lighting, but, there you go.

Not much to say, except, after 10 years now of being back in the hobby, my skills I feel have improved a bit. This was a fun build and came out pretty clean.

The key it seems is to be patient. That's the center of success in this hobby: Extremely patient.  Silly patient. Simple stuff: Always scrape the paint off, and get down to "bare plastic", before the glue goes on. Try to line things up before the glue dries.  And: Try to let one assembly dry before trying to stick on the next thing.

So what next? Back to the 69 Chevelle I guess, which, if nothing else, will be more challenging.  I guess?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pain in the Glass Parts #13 and 35

You'd think after 10 years of being back in the hobby I could put in a windshield without making a huge mess, but if you do, think again.  The glass for the 66 Chevelle needed to go in and I found myself procrastinating.  Like Bare Metal Foil, scale glass can be a pain and if I don't do it, I won't screw it up.

But the damn model won't be done either. So here's my current technique.  First, I cut the plastic glass of the sprues and immediately bag it up or wrap it up.  I can't tell you how many times I've scratched or damaged the glass before I even attempt to glue it into the model.

Next up using a #11 e-xacto I scrape anywhere I need to add glue. It's been my experience, and you should message me if you think I'm wrong, that NO modelers glue, ANYWHERE will penetrate paint (or chrome, for that matter).  So very delicate scraping, like the A pillar here, is in order, and patience as always is the key.

It's not quite glue time. But let's talk glues. Right now my favorite for glass work is Microscale's Micro Kristal Klear. I have tried (I think) all of them out there--Testor's glass glue, Testor's stinky red, watch crystal glue, epoxy, Elmer's. etc.  Even CA, which of course you can't use because the fumes turn the clear glass white (learned that one the hard way).  In fact when you are working with any plastic glass, anywhere in the room, don't even squeeze a drop of CA out of the tube. The fumes can ruin the glass (as well as you brain!) so stay away!

Thank goodness, it's still almost time to glue, but not quite. Get some 3M clear scotch tape and a dispenser, get some tape, and stick it on and off your pant's leg a few times.  You want it to be tacky, but not too tacky.

Here's the trick.  Tape the glass into place, make sure it looks OK, then with a toothpick, dab some of the MKK in place.  Just a bit.  Let it dry, and then remove a piece of tape, then put down some more glue.  Repeat until the window is secure (in this case, the quarter pane) and all tape has been removed.  Yes, this takes a lot of time, especially when you have a lot of glass to glue in, and yes, you have to be very patient.  And yes, if the tape is too sticky you can pull the entire glass out.  It takes practice.

The windshield going in after the quarter pane is dry. It's a rare windshield that goes in without a lot of tape, and a fair amount of fear and loathing. Best to just set some glue and then walk away for a few hours.

One of the best things about MKK is that until it is completely dry, which means maybe 24 hours, you can clean it and thin it with Tamiya X-20A thinner.  So if you do make a mess, you can fix things. Of course, if you are applying X20A as a cleaning agent over a surface painted with Acrylic, the acrylic paint might come off as well, exposing the plastic beneath.  Bummer.  Doesn't model making suck?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

66 El Camino: Space Normal Speed

I remain indolent about building a big project, turning a poorly tooled AMT 69 Chevelle into something that is respectable.  Instead, I am spending a few minutes here and there, mostly before heading to the bus for work, on a newer tooled kit, a Revell 66 El Camino, and building it pretty much box stock.  

Imagine that! Box stock!  But I am doing that more and more these days.  Better zen than a challenge I guess. I used the original engine, there are no wheel flares to add, no silly metal toy axles to get rid of and no sinkmarks to putty over.  This is very smooth sailing and so far has been a completely easy kit to put together.

 I am using all my usual tools and paint.  Go through previous posts and you'll see 'em. The only new thing I am trying so far is something I read in a doll house enthusiasm hobby site (sorry lost the link): faintly dust flat grey primer onto "carpeted" floorboards to add depth.  What the hell, if it works for dollhouse makers, what about for us car model builders?  Spray away! When I first did this I thought it was going to look terrible but I am happy to say in extreme moderation it adds realism and fools the eye into thinking you're looking at carpet.  I was surprised!

The  body was painted with Testors One Coat Lacquer Maroon and One Coat clear, 2 coats each, and polished with the same stuff I always use. Airbrush?  We don't need no stinking airbrush!

 I was dreading the foil part of the project as always.  Applying BMF is frustrating, difficult, and not at all satisfying.  I tried using tin foil (details from last time) but I couldn't get it to stick to the flat surfaces, such as on the deck lid so it was back to BMF.

 I don't know if there is a fortune to be made, but if someone could invent a better BMF, one that didn't stick to everything you didn't want it to stick to, but stuck where you did want it to stick, you'd at least make some model builders happy (I know there aren't that many of us).  As it is the stuff drives me crazy.  Lately I find myself seeking out builds that don't need it!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Aside: Look Ma! No BMF!

After going through some old emails, I realized I have not been building models again "for a few years now".  To my amazement, it's been more like 10 years!  You'd think I'd be a bit better craftsman after 10 years working on a hobby like this off and on.  Oh well.  What you gonna do?

So for the 69 Chevelle project I am looking for an alternative to Bare Metal Foil.  Mostly used for replicating chrome trim, I have found BMF almost ridiculously hard to get really good results with. I don't want to spend a ton of time getting the 1:25 Chevelle as good as I can just to have Bare Metal Foil make it look crappy.

In going through Youtubes I saw one guy who was using the product above as an alternative.  This from Microscale, same guys who make one of my favorites: Micro Krystal Klear.

How it works: you brush some of this glue on the back of household tin foil.  Let it dry and get tacky. From there, cut out strips and basically use it the same way you'd use BMF: apply, burnish, and cut.

So how does it rate?  Well, to me, tin foil looks and feels a bit different than BMF.  Tin foil is thicker and heavier than BMF, which makes it more durable, and I can burnish it with more gusto without tearing.  On the other hand, even with a brand new #10 blade, I found getting straight cuts elusive, as you see above; I imagine this is the downside of it being thicker and more durable: the thickness makes it harder to cut.

However, things like A pillars with 2 trim strips came out a bit better (I guess).  Being able to control how much adhesive is applied to a given piece of trim was a bonus. and the made it easier to get   really thin trim pieces to stay put, which is a problem I've always had with BMF.

So overall, this is an "I don't know."  Tin foil and glue is definitely cheaper than BMF, and you don't have to peel tin foil off paper backing every time you want to use a bit.  Or worry about it going bad (which BMF does after a few months).  But overall, I just don't know.  I think I have to keep looking.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

69 Chevy Chevelle: The Thrill of the Grille

From two blogs ago: Still (!!) trying to sort out what parts I am going to use for an AMT 69 Chevelle Convertible project.

The original tooling, from the mid-70's, left a lot to be desired, so I am trying to round up parts from other kits (commonly called "Kitbashing" in the hobby, but you already know that?) to save a lot of scratch building work.

I was discussing this build with one of my brother's car buddies.  These guys are mostly fanatics and also scratch their head wondering why I build models when 1:1 cars get the chicks (although some of these guys are pretty hard up!)  Anyway: these guys know every bolt ever put on any car, the size, the thread pattern, who made the bolt, where it was cast for the European version of the bolt, yes, really, and have the time to argue about it.

Anyway: One of them heard I was having trouble with the grille of this build (I am, what AMT tooled is really crappy) and suggested trying a 66 El Camino grille instead which "looks about the same".

So I bought a Revell 66 El Camino at the LHS ("local hobby shop", another model building term you already know?) and to the guy's credit, there is some overlap.  The 66 has the right "grille ears" that are sadly lacking on the AMT tooling, however the headlight bezel shape isn't right.  But I can see what he's talking about.

The top grille is the 66, so you can see the from the differences vs. the 69 AMT grille.  Also note how much better the casting is on the 66 (which is a newer tooling!)  And no "chrome headlights"!!

Not being done dropping money on this project, I got another 69 grille from "The Modelhaus".  They sell castings of old promo kit parts and do nice work; the parts are beautiful.  I read online that the Modelhaus parts are somewhat better than the AMT provided parts, and indeed, this grille does have cutouts for the turn signal section, and the chrome quality is much better, which may be helpful.

What's missing from both 69 grilles (AMT and Modelhaus) are the characteristic "grille ears" you see here--this from the 66 El Camino.  It will really bug me if my build doesn't have this flair from the 1:1 69.  I guess I could strip and chop up this grille, strip and chop up the AMT, fuse them, and try to re-chrome-plate the whole thing, but is it worth it???

That's what I've been asking myself lately: for this whole 69 project: is it worth it?  It's not the money I am dumping into this project, although I've already dumped a bit; it's the time.  How much work do I really want to put into this and why? And when I am done, and proud of myself (if I ever finish) what happens when Revell announces their own retooled 69 Chevelle that kicks my build's butt?

Not sure.  Such is the demented life of a model car builder.  I think i am going to sit on this project--it may go on hold for a bit, like the Corvette Gasser or the bubbletop Chevy.  Strangely i don't have a huge problem with this.

Friday, May 22, 2015

69 Olds 442--Speed Kills!

OK time to call it quits.  From last time: I am trying to build this AMT 69 olds as fast as I can and it shows.

 The 69 olds is done and it's time to end it.  What was supposed to be a one evening build became a series of evenings trying to undo what I screwed up because I rushed.  I am learning, with model building, and I imagine any craft, you can work at a good pace, but at times you can overdo it.

This speed build proves what the Supremes, and not Phil Collins, said.  I won't quote it here.
Thing is!  This is actually a pretty nifty little kit.  The foil work is challenging, but if done well you could have a pretty good looking build. I rushed through the foil, the paint, the interior....

Who knows, I might build it again sometime....

Next time, more patience!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

60 Olds Speed Build--NOT!

Because I am too lazy to put in the hard work on the 69 Chevelle convertible, I've been biding my time on a quick and easy build.  Sort of.  Turns out, it's not been quick, and it's not been easy. In fact, it's become a real pain!

So here it is: the AMT/Ertl 69 Olds 4-4-2, built as a curbside.  I am stealing suspension and engine compartment parts for the Chevelle, but I have the body and trim left over.  Let's build that up fast! I applied a super quick paint job, and also a super quick interior mask.  So I just need to glue it all together.  Well, that's what I thought anyway!

The problems began when I tried to glue in the windshield.  I didn't test fit it, this is "modern" tooling I figure, and the AMT guys got it right, right?  Not!! The windshield is about 3-4 scale inches short in the vertical, so I couldn't get it to sit right.

That's not the end of world; I crafted a new windshield using clear plastic and glued it in using 5 minute clear epoxy.  But here's where things started to go very, very wrong.

In the process of wrestling out the old glass and putting in the new I broke the A pillar on the drivers side, which wiped out the bare metal foil, leaving what you see here: it looks like an evil mouse took a rodent-sized baseball bat to the A-pillar and beat the hell out of it.  I have no idea what to do here; since this is a speed build (or was) I don't want to rip everything out and start over.  I hate to say it but I might have to let this one go.  Good to face down the obsessive compulsive disorder every now and then right?

While I was recovering from the disaster of the broken A-pillar I thought I'd have some fun with the decal stripes, and for the rear, it went on pretty fine.

The rear decals got some Microscale Micro Set.  As you know if you've followed this blog: This stuff make any decal look a lot more realistic since it sort of "melts" the decal into the paint.

But for the front I used some Micro Sol as well, which is really for wrestling decals into tough spots, like around rounded corners.  I didn't need to use this but I did, and it ruined the front decals, turning them into a wrinkled, soggy mess, so I removed them.  No picture taken.  I was too upset with myself.

So what should have taken a few minutes has now turned into several evenings of fear and loathing. In the meantime the Chevelle project is languishing.  I am really not sure what to do next.  This Olds model will probably get finished soon but then end up in the garbage.  Lesson learned: I need to test fit, even with a speed build.  Don't foil until I'm sure everything is going to fit. Also, don't use Micro Sol unless you have to!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Aside Again: 69 Olds--60 minute Interior including Mask!

Still taking a break from the 69 Chevelle--I don't know, it might just be too much work.  For that project I Ebayed a 69 Olds to steal engine and chassis components for the Chevelle.  What to do with the left over parts?  From last time--SPEED BUILD!

If you've followed this blog at all, you've seen it too many times: I tend to take a really long time for my "serious" builds, sometimes a year or more.  I don't know what is more noteworthy, that the damn things take so long, or, for the time they take, they don't come out better than they do!  OK, to keep my sanity, I am interspersing side projects where I build things as fast as I can, and building up the "Olds Leftovers" is becoming one of them.

Last time I painted the body in 15 minutes, not including a tiny bit of drying time, but including time to polish.  Not bad eh?  This time it's on the the interior.  How fast is too fast?

Just to make it challenging, I didn't glue it all together and paint it matte black.  That would be too easy!  I tried to mask it too!

For the mask I used bare metal foil, which turned out to be a pain, not because it was that hard to get it on or trim it, but that it was hard to remove it!  I used liquid mask for the right angles (paint always flows in there otherwise) and shot it with a quick coat of Testors One Coat Clear to try to seal the masks. I seriously doubt any of it was dry when I shot it with Tamiya Matte Black, but it all stuck; I got lucky!  So: The whole interior build, including dash detailing and whatnot, took about 60 minutes.  I used quick dry lacquers, so as not to have to wait around for things to dry, and worked on one thing (quickly!) while another thing was drying. I am also finding myself using sharpies more and more, as those pens (I use ink Sharpies, not paint pen Sharpies), cover bare plastic OK and there is almost no dry time, and obviously no brushes to clean up.

Here's how it all came out: well, OK I guess.  In my photos, as always, you see no retouches or attempts to pretty things up, and with speed builds, what you see is what you get. The red paint isn't red paint at all, it's red sharpie, applied to save time.

I dunno, it's looking damn ratty to me, but I will dust it off and maybe clean it up a bit.  Since it's going into a fastback, on the shelf of my kitchen, where it's dark, it will probably be just fine.

A new tool for this speed build thing: for cutting Bare Metal Foil, a really good modeler named "Dr Cranky" suggests on his youtube: using surgical blades vs. Xacto #11's.  I tried that for the cutting the interior mask (as well as the body BMF--next time?) and liked it very much.  Go Dr Cranky!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Aside: 69 AMT Olds 4-4-2: the 20 Minute Paint Job--including Polish!

From last time--it looks like the 69 Chevelle Convertible is going to take a long time to build!  So I was thinking, how can I make a part of this go faster?  How about the paint?  How fast can I do that?

I purchased this AMT Olds 4-4-2 to steal chassis and engine compartment bits for the Chevelle (more about that next time?).  That means I have a leftover body. I got to thinking: can I paint this leftover in 15-20 minutes time (including prep, paint, and polish), and not have it look completely horror show? Why???  Why not?

Let's get started! I took about 5 minutes prepping the body, which mostly involved sanding off some mold lines with 600 grit wet and dry, then going over it very quickly with 2000 grit.  

Next, time to prime: OmniPak MasterBlend is the primer to use.  It dries in about a minute and I have never seen it barf with any color coats I choose. There are lots of primers for plastic model building out there, but I think this one is the best.

After misting on a coat, waited a minute and misted on another.  

Next, on to color coat: Duplicolor Perfect Match is easy to use, can be found in any old car parts store, and for rattle can paint, goes on nice and smooth, I think.  So right after the primer was dry to the touch (maybe 2 minutes?) I put on 3 light color coats, waiting a minute between each coat.  Normally I'd let the color coat dry and sand, but this is speed-painting, and we are already about 10 minutes in!  So forget the sanding. I went crazy with Una Capa Laca clear.  2 very heavy coats, dumping it on until the paint looked like it was going to run.  I waited about one minute between coats.  Yes the color coat was still wet when I capa laca'd.  Sorry!

I let it dry for about 4 hours. I won't count that time I guess, I ran some errands and took a nap, so that doesn't count right?  After the body was pretty dry, I quickly (!!) sanded with 2000 grit wet and dry (wet), then followed with Megular's 7, Tamiya Polish "Finish", and Novus 2 and 1.  These are all polishes I have used before, just never this fast.  I mean I barely applied each, got the paint and cloth to go squeak-squeak and moved on.

So how did it come out?  Really, OK I think!  You can see here, there is a bit of wavy gravy in the trunk but overall, for 20 minutes total work it is not horror show.

I think with 15 more minutes polishing (no reason I have to say I am done, but I could just say I am) and some foil, decals, and other finishing steps, this isn't going to look too bad.

The "shine" isn't all that bad either.  It's a bit cloudy and not as deep as I'd like. I figure I should have at least waited for the color coat to dry!  But again, this is 20 minutes total work.  Yes, 2 part Polyurethane is going to look better, but I can't even get that paint mixed and ready to shoot in 20 minutes.  Rattle cans rule!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

69 Chevelle Convertible--Body Work, Part II

Still working on an AMT 1:25 69 Chevelle convertible.  From last time: this is something I built when I was a kid (well that's how I remember it anyway).  The amount of work to fix the obvious "mistakes' in the tooling is more involved than I thought!

You can see the box-stock body on the left.  My work, so far, is on the right.  Ah! The rocker panels! AMT ker-blew it on this one. To get a "meaner" 69 look,  I cut the rocker panels off the body and re-glued them at a more abrupt angle, so they are about 10 degrees from perpendicular; the stock AMT tooling is a rounded 30 degrees and looks, to my eyes, too "feminine". Using square styrene strip and dabbing on a lot of glue has gone into trying to fix this (so far!).

The fender flares are done, well almost, they stick out much further than the box-stock flares, a subtle change that (I think) adds a bit more realism.  

The putty went on the doors this morning and putty presents pain!  Painful but necessary: the bottom of the doors should fade gracefully into an abrupt "jump" to the rocker panels; it's one of the things about the 1:1 '69 I really like.  

Putty presents problems as well as pain: sanding this smooth without damaging the fender flares, how will I do that? 

Never stop thinking about trim! HaHa! I haven't test fitted the rear taillight/bumper assembly.  To my eyes the stock bumper assembly looks so totally hella butt wrong compared to the 1:1 car that I have no idea what I will do; I may have to cut the rear bumper apart and scratch build the taillight housings.  

OK to make things interesting I am trying a different putty for this project.  I have never seen "Tamiya white putty" before, only "Basic" and "light sensitive".  So here's what I used on the doors. Compared to "Basic" the putty is a bit more viscous and is indeed white.  I like trying new things....

I test fit the front grille/bumper, and to my amazement, it fits pretty well, for an old AMT kit.  But again, it's just plain wrong.  The headlights are too small,  to my eyes, the grille isn't tall or wide enough, and the assembly lacks the characteristic "grille ears" of the 69 Chevelle; again one of my favorite things about the 1:1 '69 Chevelle that AMT just plain left off.  I am thinking I may have to de-chrome the bumper/grille, cut it up, and scratch build what's missing or needs resizing.  This is an extremely visible part of the build. Can't wait!

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