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.