Small Talk Issue 28

with Mike Renaut

Apparently it costs up to $500,000 to tool a new model car kit, not including the royalties demanded by the full-size car company. An initial pre-order of 10,000 units is required before they’ll even consider reissuing an existing kit. That’s why we get Corvettes and Camaros rather than Bedford CFs and DeSotos…

Fifty Five and Out

Full-size cars have been built in the time it’s taken to finish Project ‘55 but, finally, here’s the finished Chevy. The chassis was primered, the worst of the scratches filled with Tamiya Basic Type grey putty – about the only filler I use now – then it, and the engine bay, were coated in Halfords satin black. I’d hoped to scratchbuild headers out of solder or thin aluminium tubing but ran out of time (and talent) so they’re from my spares box with simple straight exhausts/silencers made from two sizes of ally tube. The anti-tramp bars on the rear are also from my spares box (if anyone does recognise those parts I can’t identify please let me know) with front ones from the ’56 Ford Victoria. Various bits got a quick touch up with silver and black Sharpies – much faster than opening a tin of paint.

I gave the windows a coat of Tamiya TS71 Smoke translucent black; painting both sides seems to give the best result. Usually I’d fix the glass in with aircraft Canopy Glue; it’s like PVA but stronger. You can use any glue that dries clear but I wanted to experiment with Glue ‘n’ Glaze since it apparently dries ‘crystal clear.’ Well, not when gluing to Tamiya TS71 it doesn’t… I’m not sure what the issue was but I’ll put decals on the windows to cover up the worst of the smudges.

The engine bay looked bare so in went an electric fan and brake master cylinder. Both came from the spares box and were wired with fuse wire. Sixties style clear fuel lines were made from clear parts trees stretched over a flame – which took several goes since they become very brittle. I drilled holes in the stock ’55 radiator and inserted thin plastic tubing to attach Tamiya’s very realistic 2.6mm braided radiator hoses. If you find they unravel under a knife blade try cutting them with nail clippers. If, in the future, I find some photoetch carburettor linkages I’ll add them too.

The grille’s a Corvette style piece from an ancient (circa 1963) Aurora parts pack, the AMT ’57 Chevy has a nice example as – of course – do several Corvette kits. Headlights and tailights (I drilled holes and added paint to represent blue dots) came in the ’55 kit, as did the rear bumper – wish I’d removed the mould lines first… The rear number plate is from an Auto World sheet of 1961 plates. Tamiya Panel Line Accent Color was used around the doors and bootlid, then a dusting of Mig Pigments Industrial City Dirt applied underneath with an old paintbrush to add some wear and depth.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this build and maybe learned something worthwhile. It’s far from perfect but I’m pleased with it, all things considered. Next month we’ll introduce an all-new project car…

Travelling Man

Great news! There’s now an accurate 1:24 Morris Minor Traveller available. Sadly, this 1958 wagon isn’t a detailed plastic kit like I’ve been begging Revell and Tamiya to make; rather it’s one of the new breed of pre-assembled resins. I’m not even sure who makes it; I suspect it’s one of those that came attached to a European car magazine. It has a separate plastic rear body – suggesting other versions like a van or pick-up might be forthcoming. For the £10 I paid on eBay it’s well worth buying a couple to have a play with and would be an excellent starting point for a conversion into one of the many rodded Minors. Pro Street or gasser style comes immediately to mind…