Sunday, April 22, 2018

2018 NNL East

I went to my first NNL, in Wayne, New Jersey, this last weekend. It was about what I expected: lots of really well-built stuff in the display room, and a vendor's room full of people making deals. I got there shortly after opening time at 9:00 and the lineup was moving nicely. I made a beeline for the vendor's tables, and quickly spent what I cash had brought with me. As few of the vendors take plastic, limiting the cash on hand is one way to ensure you don't spend too much.

Then to the exhibit hall. One of the tables is shown here.

One of the themes was cars built in 1959; another was resin bodies made by Modelhaus, a casting company that is going out of business as the owners are retiring. Modelhaus made a lot of kits of '50s cars, so there was a fair bit of overlap. No news on whether someone is buying up the masters.

The drive-in was a big hit. Lots of work there! And lots of pastel on the 1959 display table.

There were probably a thousand entries; I took 250 pictures and the best are summarised next. The Maserati 450 S, from Profil 24, is in my stash and the quality of the workmanship in this example is superb. A tough act to follow.

The Testa Rossa, from Hasegawa, is not in my stash, but again this one shows absolutely superb craftsmanship. Unfortunately the 22" rims on the GTO next to it were not period correct and really didn't look good. Pirellis on Borranis, please!

The Accurate Miniatures M8B and a trio of Cobras are also in my stash. I like the comment that the M8B kit is a better kit than they give it credit for.

Moving on to the 1959 theme, this Buick Starmaster is an imaginary V16 Coupe based on the Buick Electra. I'll post a few pictures as the work is superb and the idea is well out of the ordinary.

Wonderful scratch-building here, which looks like it involved moving the cockpit backwards to make room for the pair of Chevy small blocks glued together, incidentally making it into a 2-seater.

Lots of details here, including the rear window which slides up into the roof -- sort of a reverse sunroof.

The Electra is one of those more understated big boats in spite of the eyebrows over the lights.

The '53 Vette is a replica of a full-size cutaway that GM used in auto shows at the time of its introduction. Again superb scratchbuilding of the wireframe door and fender outline, as well as wiring up of the dash and the engine.

Moving on to the trucks, there were a large number of very well-built resin cabs with scratch-built accessories and whatnot.

The Mack B62 resin body made by American Industrial Truck Models is a perennial favourite and this one was particularly nice.

This COE and streamliner are both resin bodies and the finish is lovely. I love the period rear fenders on the truck.

This |Autocar was consistent with the heavy haulage theme pursued by many builders. Lots of very well done detail, although I discovered you can buy all kinds of resin cast stuff, for example winches for $2.

Vegetables anyone?

Rat rod mania now includes more and more trucks, and this, er, thing powered by a Detroit Diesel V16 was well put together with pinned and jointed steering. I was inspired to buy a similar resin motor as well as some #00-90 screws and nuts, for future use.

The Falcon is more 'conventional', if I may use that word when talking about builds that are meant to be outlaws. There is also a whole sub-cult that works at weathering models to look old and rusty.

My Starliner cab-forward concept has finally been replicated!

This one is mine from a number of years ago:

This one's in the WTF category. The display included a poster depicting a '50's vision of driving on the moon. Guess which company produced the poster ... there was also a Jetson's runabout.

Finally in the category of massively excessive levels of detail, there was a NASCAR ride which, rightly, won best in show, and a Dodge A100 pickup which didn't, probably due to the judges being blinded by the conflicting colours. Gotta admire the skill in plumbing it all up, though.

PS added April 23: I had the pleasure of meeting Jean-Jacques Lillette, who brought six lovely '50s models all the way from France. The detail on the Cadillac phantom wagon is excellent and is representative of his work; look for him on You Tube.

The recommended hotel was full by the time I booked, and so while I can heartily recommend NNL East, I can't say as much for the Comfort Inn on US Route 46 in Fairfield, New Jersey. All in all a good time and I include a shot of my haul. See you there April 27, 2019! Bring cash!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

956 Pickup complete (#4 for 2018)

A push got this to a point where it is good enough, if not perfect.

The initial idea came from a picture, on the Scale Auto website, of a small Japanese pickup with the 956 rear chassis replacing the pickup bed. I figured if you were going to mate a 956 and a pickup, it should be a Type 2 and not a Japanese truck. Plus there should be plenty of room in the storage locker for a flat six.

Hasegawa's Type 2 and one of Tamiya's many versions of the 956 were sacrificed to this, as was the front clip from AMT's 935.

The 935 is a very cheap kit, so there was no pain in cutting it up. Both the Hasegawa and Tamiya kits are excellent, with the engine detail perhaps being the weak point in the Hasegawa. However, this is no longer a problem.

It's not perfect but it will serve well as a conversation-starter.

A couple of early planning pictures follow. Basic layout:

Air flow management:

It's going to need an air dam:

The 935 bites the dust:

What's next? Not sure. Stay tuned!

Honda S600: drivetrain

What a tiny little car! The two-litre VTEC engine sticks out of the engine bay a good long ways, and the drivetrain from the S2000, a small car by today's standards, is about a foot wider.

The resin bits from Hobby Design are very detailed and go together well. The engine is very well detailed with two PE sheets; the kit also includes everything you need to convert Tamiya's curbside S2000, such as firewall, radiator, etc.

The engine block consists of five resin parts, the transmission another four. The PE sheet includes a four-part clutch assembly which I didn't bother putting in -- perhaps I'll keep it for a future display engine.

The accessory drives consist of nine pieces. A better instruction sheet would be useful here. The serpentine belt is well described but it is up to you to make one (I used Tamiya tape sliced thin and painted).

Other bits include the inlet (2 resin pieces plus PE bits), two motor mounts, starter motor, oil filter, a three-piece exhaust system, and two radiator hoses. All of it is very well done, and there doesn't seem to be any serious problem with mold release agents.

The suspension bits culled from the S2000 are up to the usual Tamiya standards.

It all fits in the S600 tub, albeit with a lot of cutting of inner fenderwells and the firewall.

Many aftermarket wheels are 18 scale inches and up, and are way out of proportion to the S600 body. Most of the spares in my parts bin are likewise much too big. These 16" wheels and Yokohama tires came from Hobby Design and are an excellent fit. Luckily the S2000 discs and calipers fit nicely inside the rims. These sorts of things can also be had from Scale Productions in Germany, where you will find BBS wheels suitable for hotted up GTIs.

The real issue will be covering the wheels and devising a big enough hood bulge.

A tight fit ... a good thing I wasn't trying to shoehorn a blown Chevy small block into this engine bay. The valve cover, inlet and air filter will all poke through the existing hood.

So with the easy part done (the drivetrain), now I have to figure out flared fenders. One option is to slice the fenders off along the seam, and pull the whole body side out. (Another donor kit could also provide new body parts, at a cost). This would create a very cool custom look, at a significant risk of wrecking the body.

Another option will be to see if I can steal fenders from somewhere else ... I have a Heller kit of the Renault R5 Turbo which is very poorly detailed and which I flung to the back of the closet once I opened it up -- I was disappointed at not finding the usual Heller level of detail. So one option is to carve out at least the fat rear fenders from the R5 and trim to fit. The look would be aggressive Euro saloon car racer, somewhat like the Audi S1. Decisions, decisions ...

To be continued ... the build-off ends June 1.