Small Talk Issue 24

with Mike Renaut

Shout out to Lee Cherone of Facebook’s One-25 Scale Automotive Art, who spent two weeks trying to strip the green paint from his Revell MGB, then realised it was moulded in green plastic…

Inside Story

Time to give Project ’55 some tuck’n’roll. This version is very basic, as befits a drag/street car, but add chrome trim, armrests or get creative with patterns and with a few hours’ work you’ll have an eye-catching custom interior, especially if you then paint it to match/contrast the body. I’m assuming a bucket interior, but if yours has separate sides it’s even easier.

First drill a tiny hole marking the position of the existing window winders/door handles.

Sand away all the upholstery detail, then pop the interior back into the body and mark where the door lines should be. You might be surprised how different they are from one side to the other…

Use paper to trace out the interior sides, then use it as a template…

…to cut out a piece of grooved plastic sheet. Make sure it’s bigger than you’ll need. Both Evergreen and Plastruct do various sizes of grooved or corrugated plastic sheet. Mine has pleats 3mm apart. I’ve used the 0.5mm thick sheet.

Grab your sandpaper/sanding sticks again to smooth out the back of the sheet – that’s the side you’ll be gluing to the interior.

The reason you don’t cut the sheet exactly to size is so you can line up the pleats to that door line you marked earlier. Work from the edge of the door opening. I still need to cut along the front edge of the door.

Now for handles and window winders. If you don’t have suitable 1mm plastic tube hold a piece of parts tree over an open flame until it just begins to melt, then stretch it. Drill out the centre, cut into thin slices and superglue to one end of a metal rod bent to an Z-shape. Make several because you’ll drop one or two…

When you’re happy your handles look circular (mine obviously aren’t yet!) paint the interior to match or contrast the outer bodywork. Resin handle/wipers are available but these homemade ones are much cheaper and easier to customise to your model.

Reader’s Models

Anyone who read Small Talk in the ‘good old days’ will recognise Jon Rackham as the guy who usually finished Richard Coney’s project builds! I ran into Jon at Wheels Day where he was showing his latest. This AMT ‘72 Chevy Blazer (the stock version was shown last month) has a 3D-printed LS3 engine and scratchbuilt, tubbed Porterbuilt-style chassis with 20- and 22-inch Daisy mags. Jon also carefully opened the grille, Alclad it and the bumpers, added aftermarket headlights then covered the rest in Volkswagen Candy White. Those feather decals came in the kit – “They really sold them with these optional graphics in the Seventies,” laughs Jon.

The ‘53 Studebaker funny car is a rebuilt gluebomb released in 1967 when AMT combined their Starliner body with the Piranha drag car chassis. Jon’s finished his in pearl lavender and kandy purple, explaining it was built on rainy days when he couldn’t get out on his Harley and telling us all to “keep on building.”