Wednesday, December 23, 2015

BRE Datsuns: One step forward, two back (and I haven't even started yet!)

OK, so first time back at the bench since late spring, and looking around for a suitable project to get going again, I settled on the BRE Datsun 510 and 240 Z from Revell. These were successfully campaigned by Pete Brock, with John Morton at the wheel, in the Trans Am sub-2.5 litre class way back when. The colour schemes being identical, I thought I'd get the bodies prepped and painted before tackling the bits I like best, namely the engine and chassis. That way the paint can harden before I need to handle it for final assembly.

The 240 Z kit involved some poor fits, such as the rear panel and nose to the body; there will be some putty here. The 510 fits are better but both kits involve a fair amount of scarf, flash and mold lines to be dealt with, possibly reflecting the age of the molds. Additionally the 510 body mold is very thin and flexible, and I can imagine it being easy to fracture it. All went well, however, including the Tamiya primer, until I got to the basecoat of Tamiya white which immediately pooled and ran in little puddles everywhere. I suspect the contents of the can, which is old, had separated and I didn't shake it enough, so the spray was mainly solvent.

So for the record: there is lots out there on stripping Tamiya paints, most of it contradictory. Tamiya thinner lists n-propanol and butyl alcohol as the contents; alternatively you can get rubbing alcohol, a.k.a. iso-propanol (not quite the same as n-propanol, granted) at 99% concentration at your local pharmacy. Soak the parts in a tray. Cover the tray to minimize evaporative losses; I used a large freezer bag for this. If the paint is fresh as it was in my case, an hour should do; you'll need to put on rubber gloves and scrub with a toothbrush to get it all off. Wash it all in soap and warm water, and either save the remaining iso-propanol for future use, or pour it down the drain with lots of warm water and soap.

As the next couple of days involve the usual family dinners, and as I will be away for another 10 days, that puts an end to any modeling until well into January. Oh well.

Moral of the story: always buy new paint cans! Or use an airbrush, which is an added level of complexity I am not prepared to get into at this stage.

All the best of the season to any readers out there.

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