Sunday, February 1, 2015

DBR1: engine & chassis phase 1

Having survived a bad re-release of the classic movie The Return Of The Slime From The Mold-Release Swamp, I thought I'd do something easy, like assemble the wheels. And a lovely set of wheels they are, too, made up of 10 parts each if you include the tires: two photo-etched wire sets for the outer wires; a third photo-etched wire set for the inner; these three are trapped inside a 2-piece rim consisting of an inner spun cast piece and an outer machined aluminum piece, and are separated by a spun-cast hub; a three-piece photo-etched knock-off spinner or nut finishes it off.

What lovely wheels, they rival anything I've seen at this scale anywhere else. As you can see from the photo above, the knock-offs actually mimic left and right hand thread nuts, meaning you can mount the right-hand thread knock-offs (pictured) on the left side, as they should be, and vice versa ... yes, yes, this is picky, picky, picky, but you have to admire, no, that's not right, you have to expect obsession with detail when you spend this sort of money. (The 5th wheel is the spare and can go on either side, with the appropriate spinner).

You can go to the Profil 24 website and order a set of wheels and knock-offs, highly recommended if you've got a classic European roadster sitting on the workbench. (I didn't check the diameter before assembling, but the tires have the notation 6.00 L-15 molded in the sidewall - recall this is 1/24.). Not cheap but by shipping it out of the EU, you save the VAT, and the US dollar is pretty strong against the euro these days, so you should load up. (Not so much with the Canadian dollar, I am afraid).

Moving on to the chassis: online resources show several of the five full-scale DBR1's with varying colours for the interior and chassis tubes. The floor pan, firewall and transmission hump, which were sheet aluminum, are unpainted in one car, body colour (a dark metallic green somewhat lighter than BRG and which will be hard to match) in another. All photos are agreed that the chassis tubes were a very pale green, so that is going to be my approach. Profil 24 recommends Humbrol #65, but with Humbrol hard to find locally, I am going for Tamiya XF71 Cockpit Green, a flat military colour, for the chassis tubing. I'll probably paint the sheet metal a flat aluminum colour as in the picture below. Of course these are all modern pictures, taken at Pebble Beach or elsewhere after someone restored the cars to within an inch of their lives; most of the period pictures online are B&W and don't tell the story.

The chassis is beginning to come together. Unlike styrene kits, there are no locating pins, so everything has to be trial fitted, including to see how it fits under the body. Also there are little lumps of excess resin here and there, some of them in awkward spots if all you have is a #11 blade. The Dremel with a small diameter milling tool has been brought to bear in a couple of cases, as have the panel scribe and various dentist's picks.

Online underhood shots of 1:1 vehicles didn't appear to show much unexpected, until I noticed that one car had the carbs on the right side. The little Weber label being clearly visible on one of the carbs, this is not a case of a picture being accidentally inverted digitally; the cam covers, furthermore, have only four studs holding them down where all other pictures, including the Profil 24 pictures and model, have a large number of studs running around the periphery of the covers. I can only surmise this is a later production engine, as it corresponds with online underhood shots of the DB4.

So on with the show: Back to Tamiya grey primer, including a coat for the body on top of the automotive primer which was very dark, then aluminum in a can (chassis, engine block), black from a bottle (valve covers, steering rack, etc.) and cockpit green from a bottle (chassis tubes).

Body colour, according to Profil 24's website, looks a lot like Tamiya TS-60 Pearl Green, but the online pictures are all a couple of shades darker. Looking for a guinea pig, I dug out an old Dodge Stealth body from the bin and tried a couple of colours. TS-43 Racing Green (front bumper and fenders) is way too bright; Pearl (rear deck) is too light and yellow; TS-78 Field Gray (roof) is flat but pretty close. Field Gray with a Pearl mist (left-side door) looks good; an alternative would be a coat of gloss over the flat Field Gray. As always with this blog, the photograph, taken with a 7-year old Canon point-and-shoot camera, doesn't really do the colours justice.

All in all, progress is being made, with the only screwup so far being the saga of the mold release agent. Next week is likely to be busy from a career perspective, so progress could be slow. Zen, baby, zen.

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