Saturday, August 23, 2014

956 pickup: more progress

At this point the body is essentially complete, with putty filling some of the gaps. The chassis has been shortened, and narrowed ahead of the heat exchangers and turbos to match the width of the VW Type 2 body. The only remaining step is to trim the front of the 956 chassis to fit under the front bumper, or alternatively to cut away the lower edge of the Type 2 front pan to accommodate the 956 aero lip.

The 956 cockpit currently serves to reinforce the splice where the chassis was shortened, but could be removed to make a storage locker between the two air intakes. To be decided. The Type 2 cockpit will include the 956 seat and dashboard. One possible challenge will be fitting the front wheels under the Type 2 fenders; to be verified.

In the engine compartment, the plenum chambers above the air intakes to the motor just fit under the deck, but the inboard coil springs and shock absorbers do not. So the options are scratch building some other form of springing, or poking the suspension units through the deck. To be decided.

The putty is drying, and activities related to career and family will keep me busy for the next week or two, so progress may be slow from here.

Originally posted 23 August 2014

Saturday, August 16, 2014

956 pickup: Work in progress

The critical difference between the VW Type 2 pickup and the Porsche 956 is the width of the bodywork, the latter being 264 mm wider (11 mm at 1/24 scale). The extra width, apart for providing cover for the wide tires, is taken up by turbochargers and assorted radiators and intercoolers, which live in the space between the air inlets (in the doors) and outlets (over the rear tires).

So the first step was to cut out the air inlets from the 956 doors and socket them into the sides of the Type 2 body. Damage to the 956 body can be seen in the back of the photo, where the roof had to be removed first. I'm committed now ... Note the right side air inlet is now on the left, and vice versa; as well they have been rotated 90 degrees so they take air from the side of the vehicle, not over the top of the front fenders and hood as in the 956.

The left side worked out nicely but maybe too deeply inset to match up with the rear deck, as shown in the next pictures. Here the fenders from the 956 rear deck were inset into the top of the Type 2 cargo bed. Some sheet fabrication will be needed, as well as some putty, to smooth it all over, but it is beginning to take shape: A Type 2 with wide rear fenders and a sloping deck leading to a wing.

Once the right side air inlet has been installed, the next step will be to scratch-build bodywork to join up the air inlets with the deck, and to remove excess Type 2 bodywork from underneath so that there is room for the 956 rear chassis, engine and drivetrain. Finally engine access will be via a square access hatch in the Type 2 cargo bed, which  I can't cut out yet as the amount of material already removed has weakened everything; I'll need to glue the new fenders to the body and add some bracing underneath so it all holds together.

Eagle eyes will note the Porsche 935 body sitting in the background. I decided not to cut this up as it brings in a third body-chassis pair to line up.

Progress is being made; watch this space, especially if the weather continues wet and cool.

Originally posted 16 August 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014


So with the Alpine out of the way, it's time to consider some serious kit-bashing.

The VW Type 2 pickup has always been iconic and utilitarian but bog slow. The Porsche 956, along with its successor the 962, is one of the greatest endurance racers of all time, and is certainly iconic, but could not by any stretch of the imagination be called utilitarian. Google Derek Bell at Nurburgring and you will see what I mean.

So what could be better than a Type 2 with 956 power? There is lots of room under that deck for a twin-turbo flat six.


Sounds simple but I have come up with a couple of mutually exclusive options.

The first approach is to build up the Type 2 chassis, cutting as necessary to fit the 956 drivetrain. The wheelbase of the 956 is longer, and the floorpan is considerably wider, so using the 956 floorpan will require some cutting to fit. The rear fenders will need to be radiused, which will level the stance. Finally all the ducting for turbos, radiators and intercoolers will need to be scratchbuilt. However the look is clean and wicked.

The second approach is to build up the 956 chassis, inserting Type 2 bodywork as needed. In this case, the car will be a 956 with a Type 2 cab stuck in the nose. Imagine, if you will, in the picture below the cab lowered through a suitable cutout in the 956 bodywork, and the truck deck level with the tops of the fenders. The advantage is lots of aero, and the 956 chassis will go together as Tamiya intended, but the result will be a Type 2 cab stuck on a Group C car.

So the debate is on. Neither is a true fusion of 956 and Type 2, which would be a pickup with some aero bits and a big motor. Any ideas? e-mail me at DrTRants.

Either way I think the Gulf Oil colours are appropriate.

Originally posted 15 August 2014

Summertime doldrums

Summer is slow in the northern hemisphere model-making world, as long evenings encourage one to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. It'll be cold and dark soon enough, at which point it will be time to come inside and get back to the hobby. (A recent bout of cool, wet weather encouraged me to sit inside and complete the Alpine, which mainly needed glass, lights and final assembly. Shown here with the Stratos).

That doesn't mean there is no news. I have kept an eye on various web sites and the local wholesaler, and have picked up a couple of oddball kits for those cold winter nights.

The local wholesaler, located in a rabbit's warren of interconnected shops spread over two floors on the edge of an expressway in the west end of town, had a single remaining copy of the reissue of Pete Brock's BRE Datsun 510 racer by Revell. A nice reissue with detailed pushrod 4-cylinder, worth picking up if you can find it. Brock was previously involved in the gorgeous Cobra Daytona Coupe, so it is no surprise the 510 did well in the Trans Am 2.5 litre class, driven by John Morton.

The wholesaler also had a Triumph GT6+ by Lindberg which looks to be a bear to build, with the roof separate from the door frames, and the big bonnet hinged at the front -- the potential for disaster when it comes time to line it all up during final assembly is high. The lovely little 2-litre 6 appears to be well done, however. The key find, though, was a Citroen 15 CV, the 6-cylinder version of the famous 11 CV. A Heller model, this will also be a bit of a bear to build with lots of things having to line up just so towards the end of the build. Worth it, though, for this pioneer of front-wheel drive technology.

Moving to on-line sources, Model Roundup ( provided a Lancia Stratos. Unlike the Tamiya version, this one (a NOS kit from Revell) includes detail of the 2.4-litre Ferrari engine, but minimal decals. Lots of flash and flaws in the body; some work is needed here. The Alitalia colours appear correct but all the details around drivers, specific races, etc. are missing, probably due to copyright issues. The kit appears to have been unopened since the 1980's; the yellowed instructions are copyright 1979, the box has suffered some crush damage, and the kit includes an invitation for the Model Club Of The Month dated 1977. I'll probably build it for the street, skipping the decals and rally lights. I seem to recall the street version was available in a particularly lurid shade of lime green which would be appropriate.

Model Roundup now also offers a series of mid-50's Bedford 5 tonne trucks, including a tow truck, dumper and tanker, from a company I had never heard of before. I got the LWB flatbed which will look good as a car carrier for the Le Mans-winning 1959 Aston Martin DBR1 from Profil 24 which I will admit I have not started.

Speaking of Profil 24, they are based in Le Mans and the owners posted a series of neat photos of the Classic Le Mans, featuring everything from Type 35s to fire-breathing Porsche turbos. Worth a look at, even if you don't feel like ponying up the money for one of their super detailed resin kits. (Prices for shipping outside the EU are reduced by the amount of the VAT, meaning that gorgeous Maserati 450S is only 167 euros plus shipping).

So the stash of unbuilt kits has grown by 5. I've probably got enough here to keep me busy for several years. Not that this will prevent me from acquiring any further oddball stuff I may stumble across ...

Originally posted 15 August 2014