Monday, April 18, 2016

3D printing,continued

So now Dremel makes a home 3D printer, see here.

Still not cheap but not completely out of line if you are a serious hobbyist. The pros and cons of 3D printing versus casting yourself are sure to be a growing topic.

Now where is that Hewland gearbox I wanted to replicate?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Abarth OT 1300: chassis complete

The suspension front and rear has come together and I was able to mock it all up. It looks good; the rear track may need narrowing by means of grinding out the inner wheel such that the wheel can be pushed over the stub axle and disc a bit more. It is about the size of a Lotus Europa which many of you will know is tiny; the Mini of the same vintage towers over both of them.

A reader posted a comment asking about the source of the kit. It is from the Japanese manufacturer Model Factory Hiro, where it appears it is no longer listed (click here). I may have gotten it from Strada Sports although to be honest I don't see it on their site either (click here).  Interestingly, Island Collectibles list the Abarth as a curbside (click here and scroll to the bottom) which it most definitely is not. It is indeed a very nice kit, and is one of those things that if you see it, you should grab it regardless of price because there likely aren't a lot of them out there.  

It's a so-called multi-media kit because it includes parts of spun cast white metal, resin, vacuum-formed clear plastic, photo-etched sheet, some odd hard metal chrome, etc. As with a lot of these companies, the instruction sheet is vague and lacks detail; you need to do a lot of trial fitting, filing, drilling out of little holes, filing of dowels, etc. In the end it is well worth it because you get something unique and the build is challenging.

I also have a couple of early Porsches (908/03 and 917K) and a Cobra Daytona Coupe from Model Factory Hiro. I have started on the 908/03 (see this blog starting here) but it is a monster and you should practice on simpler multi-media kits first. The 917 looks to be equally complex; the Cobra should be simpler. I got the Cobra from Strada Sports, and the Porsches from Island Collectibles. Unfortunately, MFH seems to be moving to all 1:12 scale; the detail is presumably mind-blowing but at really exorbitant prices, and it will take up a lot of space in your cabinet.

Stay tuned. The interior looks pretty straightforward, then it is on to the body. The weather is still cold here and progress is still possible before us winter-weary Canadians all head en masse to the deck.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Abarth OT 1300: Engine compartment complete

With lousy weather prevailing, progress on the OT 1300 continues at a rapid pace. I am not sure how long this will last, so I am working on getting as much done as quickly as possible.

The engine is installed, along with all the bits except for the muffler which will go on last. I had trouble with the braided hose, which is either too small or too big (3/4" at scale) and for now have not plumbed up the remote oil filter mounted on the left rear fender.

It's all looking pretty good and mocking up the wheels with the central body section is pretty exciting. The little periscope for cockpit ventilation is cute if a bit silly.

It's tiny, with the Lotus Europa, complete with trunk, looming over it. The picture shows a total of 16 cylinders, roughly 6.5 litres, somewhere around 450 hp between the four of them.

In a similar vein, I once had the pleasure of driving a Ginetta G15, with the Hillman Imp drivetrain which was a street version of the lovely Coventry Climax engine. With a short-stroke aluminum block, wet liners, aluminum SOHC head, a pair of little Webers and ~100 hp from 1100 cc, the Coventry Climax motor was a lovely little unit and found its way into all kinds of classic items like the Lotus XI. The Imp version was sleeved down to 875 cc with two Strombergs CDs, probably about 50 hp, all to fit under the tax limit in the UK while also competing with the Mini at 850 cc. The motor was far more advanced than the Mini's long-stroke, iron block with siamesed 8-port head, but the rear-engine design of the Imp doomed it from the start when compared with the massively space-efficient FWD design by Alec Issigonis.

Of course as one of the few people in North America to have even seen a Ginetta, let alone driven one or worked on one, I can honestly claim to be something of an expert. A Ginettacist, what! Ha ha, get it, geneticist/Ginettacist... OK never mind. Twin-cam fours forever! I've got a resin kit of an Offy motor on order.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Abarth OT 1300: engine progress

Progress is being made. The objective is to complete at least one resin kit as a morale booster, before going back to face the monster (and monstrous) 908, or one of the many Profil 24 kits sitting on the shelf.

The engine is essentially complete, lacking only exhaust pipes before I can insert it into the chassis and finish up the engine compartment. (The flat white paint is drying). Note the large oil reservoir, about 7 litres at scale, bolted to the block below the carbs. There is also a proper deep sump, so while not a dry sump, it certainly carried several gallons of oil.

The plug wiring is a bit messy, but I am quite pleased with the alternator belt. Once installed in the engine compartment, there are a range of bits such as remote oil filters and fuel pumps that can all be connected, and I do have some braided hose, so maybe I'll get carried away.

The instruction 'sheet' is pretty amusing. It consists of a single 8 1/2 X 11 sheet, printed on two sides, showing the various components and where they go; and two more sheets printed on two sides with a total of 16 colour photos of a specific 1:1 car, all taken May 16, 1993. This is where you get the information around colours, hoses, etc. It would be interesting to know which specific car is modeled here.

It's getting exciting. Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Abarth OT 1300: first steps

Having an afternoon free, I decided to tackle one of the resin kits on the shelf. I have three such resin kits under way, and an obvious step would have been to pick one of these up and carry on, but all three are bottlenecked at points where I had to walk away before getting frustrated. So I decided to avoid past frustrations and tackle what appears to be an 'easier' resin kit, the Abarth OT 1300 Periscopio by Model Factory Hiro.

Regular readers (if any) will recall I described the kit when I got it almost a year ago, in May 2015. The resin consists of four large, very well made body parts; the surfaces and fit are so good that they could almost be styrene. There is a substantial amount of white metal, mainly engine bits; so I started with the engine.

The little twin-cam conversion looks good; the granularity due to the spun-cast white metal mold convincingly mimics a coarse aluminum block. Paint consists of Tamiya fine primer, Tamiya gloss aluminum, and a coat of Testor's dullcote (I was out of Tamiya). The instructions are not clear, but the block may have been painted iron if, as I suspect, it came from some lowly Fiat or Simca. To be verified.

A nice surprise is a plate with all 8 spark plugs poking up through 8 holes in the cylinder head. (It's a four cylinder, of 1.3 litres displacement, but with the twin-plug head typical of high performance Italian motors of the period).

Unfortunately the distributor posts are big, while the spark plugs are small. I've got the distributor wired up and will next have to deal with the spark plugs as well as the blackened plug wires where the mini torch was needed for longer than I would have liked to collapse the shrink tubing. (The photo shows the hollow transaxle casting which will not be visible once it is in the car).

On to the body parts. Cleaning them in isopropyl alcohol revealed no big brown goobers as with other resin kits. Tamiya fine primer, followed by Tamiya Italian Red looks good. The chassis got a coat of semi-gloss black, unlike the pale blue-green in the photos provided with the kit. (A couple of blobs of mold release agent turned up here, so clearly a good cleaning is still needed with these kits, no matter how good they look.) The two coats of paint will dry for the next week or so before I can find time to get on to the interior and engine compartment details.

 All in all a reassuring start, although I am sure lots more challenges await. The Cobra Daytona Coupe on the shelf, also from MFH, looks to be of similar 'simplicity' especially when compared to MFH's fiendishly complex 908 and 917. I am coming to the conclusion that the real complexity lies in the space frames in the Porsches, and the fact these chassis bits are modeled in flexible and easily damaged white metal rather than the simpler Abarth and Cobra chassis.

Of course I am probably drawing the Wrath of Murphy by pre-supposing this will all end well. Obviously it won't, but progress to date has been relatively quick and painless.