Thursday, March 2, 2017

DBR1: Almost done

Progress has been made: the car is essentially complete, missing only glass and decals. Here's the scoop.

Some fiddling with photo-etched hinges got one door to work, sort of, but all the bending to get the hinges in place led to snapping off of one of the pins on the other door. It's all pretty sketchy ... I decided that both doors will be glued shut. It's a roadster, this won't affect the visibility of the interior.

The dash and steering wheel are not installed yet, as I have misplaced the decal sheet, which includes gauges. Profil 24, consisting of a husband and wife team, is a very friendly outfit and they are sending me a replacement. Meanwhile the rest of the car is together and looking relatively OK, given the circumstances. In terms of finish, it is up to my usual borderline level of sloppiness, although the wired engine looks good.

Aston Martin made five of these over a period of several years, culminating in a win at Le Mans (with a certain Carroll Shelby sharing the drive with Roy Salvadori) in 1959. The win helped the company win the sports car championship that year. As mentioned before, disc brakes were a big part of the success, with the small-bore six and De Dion rear end not contributing much. The Italians took over from the Brits in 1960; there wasn't another British winner until the advent of the XJR-9 LM.

As this is my first completed Profil 24 kit, there are a few observations I could make. The kit models an obscure but historically relevant car, which is a good thing. But the fit of most bits is nothing like that of a styrene kit, so a lot of fiddling, fabrication and modification is needed. At the end one hopes it all works out OK. In this case, both front wheels are mounted a little too far back on the chassis, due to uncertainty in where to mount the front axle. This type of error can be mitigated by a complete assembly prior to paint and glue, but some of the more fragile pieces may not survive this process.

Another point to consider in buying resin is that the quality of the instruction sheet can be quite variable. Profil 24's sheets are better than some, but not up to styrene standards. (MFH still makes the best instruction sheets, and their bits all fit well, but their kits are very expensive.)

On the positive side: lots of detail in the engine compartment, and the lovely wire wheels with real wire laces made from photo-etched sheet (as opposed to the poor results seen when making wires in an injection molding process). The photo-etched dash is superb, and there is a lot of room for real craftsmanship to shine here.

So when buying one of these kits, assume you will engage in an artisanal fabrication process rather than mere assembly. If you accept this challenge, you'll be happy, because every little part is an adventure and will provide lots of challenges and mental stimulation, not to mention building manual dexterity.

Overall I am happy with the result; this has been an excellent learning experience and the car looks good. Once I get the decals, I'll finish off the dash and deal with the vacuum-formed glass.

I am not sure what to tackle next; I have interesting resin kits from several different builders, each with their own set of quirks, including two already started from Profil 24. On the other hand, maybe it is time to revisit the 908/03 from MFH; yet again maybe I need a quick styrene build to maintain momentum. The Fujimi Ferrari 250 GTO would be a reasonable followup to the DBR1, especially since I have the Historic Racing Miniatures engine for it ... Stay tuned!

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