Small Talk Issue 22

with Mike Renaut

Does anyone else add a signature to their builds? I usually put a Frenched aerial into the offside front wing of customs just ahead of the door. What do you do?

I Can Drive ‘55

Last month you got a look at Project ‘55 mounted on its wheels. As I’ve mentioned, it’s Pro-Street meets Sixties gasser, and a bit of Hot Wheels thrown in. Wheels and tyres define a car and I’ve always loved chromed five-spoke American Racing wheels. These are from the AMT 1969 Olds; there’s a similar set in the AMT ‘63 Corvette kits.

The rear ones obviously needed widening to fit the Mickey Thompsons, and a trip through the spares box netted two pairs of matching wheel backs that I cut down to size, then sandwiched the five-spoke wheel in between for a deep-dish look (photo 1). A few passes with a Molotow pen chromed the exterior section of the wheel. The front tyres are the small Goodyear Polyglas ones that have been in numerous AMT kits since the Sixties.

Here’s an essential tip to make wheels and tyres more realistic – carefully thin down the outer rim of wheels with a file and trim down the inner edge of tyres with a sharp knife (photo 2). This gets the wheels sitting properly inside the tyres rather than mounting them hanging half out. Then grind down the insides of the wheelarches using a knife or a Dremel (photo 3). Most kit bodies would be two or three inches thick if scaled up to full size, so even if you just thin down the edges it looks far more realistic and helps fill the arches with tyre (photos 4 and 5). If you accidentally make the body too thin, smear some superglue across the inside edge to add strength. Do this to every car you build and I guarantee they’ll look better.

Reader’s Models

Adam Parkinson from Kingsbridge writes, “I would love to have some of my models featured in Small Talk – it’s always been a dream since I was a kid in the Eighties. The AMT 1962 Buick was built just like the box art except for the grille, which I didn’t like, so I made one using an original and rare Aurora grille parts pack. The rest is box stock; the colour is Volkswagen Sand metallic.

“This AMT 1936 Ford has a smoothed body, the headlight mountings were removed and a full tuck’n’roll interior added with seats from the AMT T-Bucket kit mounted on scratchbuilt bases. The moulded-in floorboards and exhaust were cut from the chassis and the front clip is the AMT ‘57 Chevy. Rear wheels are parts box, and the front wheels from the MPC Winged Express. Engine is an AMT 1964 Impala V8 mated to the ‘36 Ford gearbox. It was painted using a Seville Orange emulsion paint tester pot, thinned with Windex and sprayed through an Aztek airbrush.

“The AMT 1961 Ranchero is pretty much box stock, just lowered with the wheels from the AMT custom 1962 Pontiac Catalina kit and Bellflower exhausts scratchbuilt from aluminium tubing. I printed out a Mexican blanket for the interior, added a pin gearshift lever and scratchbuilt a 1:25 magazine and box. Wheels were paint-detailed using Tamiya clear orange and the body is coloured Sun Orange pearlescent Daler artist’s ink.” Note also the personalised numberplate…