Small Talk Issue 26

with Mike Renaut

You write, I’ll read…

I’m hoping to wrap up Project ’55 in the next couple of months (stop cheering) so I’m open to your suggestions about what project car you’d like to see next. Some of you seem to prefer emailing our beloved Editor and getting him to forward your messages to me, but for more direct results there’s smalltalk@street-machine.co.uk

Hot Ribena and Custard

As you may have guessed from last month’s thrilling instalment, Project ’55 is going to be purple on the outside too. I’ve used Super Violet by Khameleon/Samurai Paints, formulated for use on motorcycles. It’s a grape purple with silver metalflake highlights and applies very well. I paid a bargain £2.50 for a 400ml can at an autojumble a few years back, and now wish I’d bought more. They do candy colours, too.

A coat of Halfords grey primer, one of Volvo silver then three or four light coats of the Violet had it looking fairly decent. After leaving it to dry for several weeks, I decided it needed flames. I’m in awe of anyone who can mask up and paint flames by hand; I can’t, so I always use a neat cheat in the form of a Lazy Modeller ‘Flamin Mask’ (Pic 1).

Sold on eBay (Lazy Modeller is on Facebook too) and posted free worldwide, there are a number of these one-use adhesive flame masks on offer for popular 1:25 and 1:18 cars. They come with instructions to paint the body the main colour then, once dry, tape the bonnet and any other opening panels in place from underneath. Then peel the lower backing off the flame mask and carefully stick it into position on the body (pic 2). It takes practice, and I’d advise buying at least a couple to play with first, before committing yourself on any special build.

Once perfectly in place – you’ll only get one go – smooth it down across the body and peel off the top layer of backing. Repeat for both side pieces – on most bodies they’ll overlap (pic 3) – then tape over anything you don’t want painted the colour of the flames i.e. the rest of the body top, bottom and inside (pic 4).

The instructions recommend using an airbrush. I used a Halfords rattle can and got fairly decent results. Any problems were entirely of my own making since I hadn’t taken account of the fact that I had a 4mm tall bonnet scoop on the Chevy which, of course, the masking can’t easily fit around or over (pic 5). My solution of masking this further with PVA glue wasn’t as effective as I’d hoped. I’d also positioned the side masks too far rearward so some flames ended on a piece of side trim, and several coats of yellow paint from a rattle can sprayed outside on a cold day really don’t give perfect results (pic 6).

It’s best to peel the masking off while the paint is still tacky to give it chance to dry without then being torn. If I’d airbrushed the paint – as Lazy Modeller recommends – this wouldn’t have been an issue. I highly recommend buying a few of these; once you get the hang of it, you’ll get fantastic results.

One man and his peeing dog

You have to maintain your sense of humour when you’re building models, and this simple 11-piece kit made me smile. One of an increasing number of realistic 1:24 figures from Master Box, I suggest you buy and build one, then leave it next to your mate’s show-winning model when he’s not looking…