Friday, June 24, 2016

Abarth OT 1300: Almost done

Feeling a little ashamed at the large number of acquisitions since I actually completed anything, I completed the Abarth interior, and began final assembly.

The picture shows it next to the whale-like Hudson, which is actually even bigger in real life as it is 1/25 scale compared to 1/24 for the Abarth.

I also tackled the vacuum-formed windows. Given this is the first time I have ever worked with this sort of window, I started with the clear fastback which is not critical. Of course I managed to trim a little too much off and it is now scrap. The material is very thin and very easy to cut with scissors, which is obviously part of the problem. Armed with this knowledge, I now know I'll need to be more careful with the other vacuum-formed parts (windshield and headlamp covers). The real challenge is understanding where the actual window is supposed to begin.

For side and rear windows, I used 0.010" clear sheet which is a bit thick but provides some stiffness for the photo-etched window surrounds. Even so I had to start over a couple of times to get it right.

I managed the windshield OK, so I moved to gluing the body to the chassis permanently. In so doing, however, I got a finger-full of glue on my thumb and left a smudge mark in the door. The wiper is a flimsy, complex photo-etched part requiring careful folding, which I made a mess of. So I'm feeling stiff and nervous and I am at the point where I'll screw it up worse if I push now, so time to sit back and just look at it.

What's left: Right side door paint touch-up will need to be sanded and refinished. The little headlight covers will both need to be cut out of the vacuum-formed sheet. The hinges for the front compartment lid need to be lined up just right so it fits, and this will surely involve some fiddling. Finally the exhaust pipe is a long stinger-type thing that sticks way out with very little support, so it will be the last thing to go on before it goes into the display case.

When I get it complete and on the shelf, it will be the first one completed since the Nissan R34 Skyline back in February, and will bring the completion ratio from 32.5% to a whopping 33.1%. It will also be the first resin and multi-media kit I've completed. There's a spot for it in the little tiddler shelf, next to the Alpines, Lancias and Lotuses (Loti?).

What's next? Well, summer vacation is what's next, so progress will continue to be slow. On the started but unfinished list: a pair of BRE Datsuns; a pair of Mercedes SLs; resin kits of the 908 and DBR1; a GT40, 787B and 956; a kit-bashed 956 pickup truck; a White Freightliner and Mitsubishi Fuso; and a 1926 Renault 40 Record car in resin. It will be nice to pick something close to completion and finish it off; the BRE 510 and the 787B are pretty close. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

New acqusitions, Chapter XXIV

I guess I got a little carried away with the credit card over the last few weeks, and a couple of boxes turned up as I was going away for some R&R. Two more packages had turned up by the time I got back.

Among the critical stuff: I now have a '65 Malibu wagon to park next to my growing collection of American station wagons. It can be built as a drag car so maybe I won't need to go hunting for a big block, although suspension upgrades may be another story. More importantly, I now have one of the Corvette Gran Sports from Accurate Miniatures. This Cobra-fighter has a lovely small block motor with a full complement of 4 side draft Webers, and the aggressive bodywork will look good next to the other '60s icons such as the Cobra Daytona Coupe and the Cheetah. And the kit, while complex, doesn't look as difficult as their M8B. The Historic Racing Miniatures headers that clear the frame rails better are on order from Strada Sports.

From the sublime to the ridiculous: the Hasegawa kit of the 1969 Honda N360 turned up in a package from the Japanese site Hobby 1999, here:

One issue with Hasegawa is that you can't really tell, until you get home, just how much detail (especially engine detail) the kit might include. One nice aspect of the Hobby 1999 site is that they frequently post images of the assembly sheets (for instance here), so you can tell if it is curbside or not; this can be useful even if you don't order from them. The N360 was a very early attempt, if not the first one, by Honda at making something with 4 wheels, and fits the definition of the Japanese kei class, which includes rigid limits on outside dimensions and engine size in exchange for a significant reduction in road tax. The 360 cc air-cooled twin is pretty basic compared to the DOHC fours in the Honda S600 and S800, and while it is similar in length and wheelbase, the car is narrower than the Monte Carlo Mini. It will fit right in with the other little tiddlers: 2 CV, R4 and the two little Subaru delivery vehicles.

Back to the sublime: the Lancia 037 won the Monte Carlo in 1983 and the Hasegawa kit of the 037 also includes quite a bit of detail around the supercharged four that replaced the Ferrari-sourced V6 in its predecessor, the Stratos. The kit doesn't seem to offer an opening engine compartment, so some cutting may be needed.

The Japanese supplier also provided a copy of Fujimi's lovely Ferrari 250 GTO. I have ordered some upgrades from Strada Sports, namely the HRM resin motor, RHD conversion kit and more accurate tires. The 250 SWB from AMT is poorly done with wheels and track that are not to scale, and it will be nice to build one that is a better looking kit.

The 1954 Hudson Hornet Special is a good looking but obscure bit of '50s Americana. It is my first kit from Moebius and I am impressed by the full-colour instruction sheet printed on glossy paper, and by the level of detail. I also got the F100 with the inline 6 from Moebius and I am looking forward to these builds.

At least as obscure as the Hudson is the Delahaye 135 from Heller. This luxury coupe from France was derived from Grand Prix origins, and some examples received some very sensual bodywork from all the best carrossiers, such as Figoni et Falaschi or Pourtout. The kit provides the factory bodywork which is quite nice, although not as nice as some of the custom work done on French coup├ęs of this era. I include a picture of a Talbot-Lago with Figoni et Falaschi bodywork which figured prominently in many of my fantasies as a boy... the car barely has a straight line on it. This will sit next to the Citroen 15 as an example of the better French designs of the late '30s and '40s. 

Finally I reeled in Revell's enormous AEC London Routemaster bus ... one option will be to build it stock, complete with 72 seats, each with a tartan decal, but another will be to make it into a racing car carrier similar to the Fiat transporter used by Ferrari in the '50s. One thing is for sure: it will require a lot of rattle cans.

So the count is 16 in progress, 54 complete, 95 unstarted and one (the Cheetah from HRM) still on order. Yes, things are completely out of hand, but so what? It's a hobby.