Tuesday, February 13, 2018

52 Hudson: Top chop Part 2

Having used up a fair bit of putty getting the roof line just right, I think it's all looking good and is just needing the rear quarter window frames tidied up. (The slight dip in the roofline just behind the door posts has been fixed since the picture was taken).

Next is the engine which was apparently painted gold. Ugh. But anyway I went for it, in the interests of accuracy, using a Detail Master distributor kit to liven it up. I'm going to leave the big red air filter canisters off it, and will look for velocity stacks from the stash once I am home.

The kit is very detailed and the molds, being new, are nice and clean. Everything fits, so far, and there have been some pleasant surprises such as the vacuum advance unit on the distributor. I'll probably cut this off and glue it to the side of the Detail Master unit, which also needs paint on the cap.

A mockup shows the potential. The velocity stacks, if I can find a long enough pair, may just poke through the hood; it'll have to be subtle, though.

Finally the stance can be sorted out in the rear by means of a spacer block between the axle and leaf springs; in the front it will depend on whether I want a nose-up stance or something flatter. Definitely it needs to be dragging its butt.

I think I want less white wall showing at the rear, which will require carving a groove in the chassis frame rails that wrap over the axle. The front looks nice here, but once I've dropped the rear to where I want it, I may change my mind.

That big curvaceous rump is just about right. There will also be a pair of sidepipes peeking out the passenger side, and it is easy to picture it on a warm summer evening, burbling down Main Street on the way to the drive-in for a burger and a sundae.

There won't be much more progress until I am moved back in to my newly-renovated home and the workshop is set up, because spray painting is not really possible where I am camping out. Once I do move back in, the priority will be the kitchen and other living areas, so I am afraid the workshop may not get set up right away. The Hudson will therefore join the LN 8000 and the 356 on the back burner for now.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

52 Hudson: Top chop

There is nothing like spending a nice, quiet, snowy Sunday morning hacking the roof off a Hudson.

A decent assortment of implements includes photo-etched blades from Model Car Garage, and a fine two edged blade in a holder which I believe I got at The Hobby Centre in Ottawa.

The cut was about 1" at scale through the windshield posts, tapering to a 3" chop at the C-pillar. The tilt of the roof, and the amount of the chop, meant that the roof really needed to be lengthened. This required bringing out the big 54 tpi blade.

In the end the stretch required was about 6.25" at scale.

The gap got built up with 1/4" strip, in this case using a shallow C-channel because that was what I had on hand. The remaining channel section will get filled with 0.030" strip which I will pick up tomorrow at Hobby Junction in suburban Montreal.

In theory, I should also widen the roof with an opening tapered towards the rear, to allow for the deeper chop at the back. (I think I can bend the windshield and door posts sufficiently to fake it). Plan B will be to build up the lower edge of the C-pillar with styrene stock, and use the opportunity to take off the drip rails.

Progress is being made. As with everything I have built over the last while, painting will be a problem until I move back into my place and set up the workshop again. So the puttying and sanding will continue, possibly with the odd bit of primer on days when I can open the window, but final painting will have to wait.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

52 Hudson: Body mods

Before getting up the nerve to start cutting the roof off, I've spent some time dechroming and smoothing the body.

The chromed rocker panels are gone, as are the door and trunk handles. The little range-finder ornaments on the fender tops have also been cut off. I've decided to leave the long chrome strip ending in the little rocket on, as it breaks up the slab side nicely, and the little rocket is cute.

The rear roll pan has been filled in, and just needs a bit of smoothing. Next will be some halfround stock to extend the fender cap from the gas cap door and downwards. A tidy little taillight will need to be designed to fit in there. The spare parts bin may come in handy. 

I am also looking at simple little bumper overiders front and rear, and a clean grille. First I'll need to dechrome the existing bits, which will require sourcing some Easy-Off.

Yes, I am procrastinating before taking the saw to the roof.

Monday, February 5, 2018

'52 Hudson Hornet: planning

What a perfect car for a chop! It's got that '49 Merc shape to it, but cleaner. The moldings on the rocker panels will have to go; so will the little range finders on the tops of the front fenders. The long trim piece from the rocket above the front fender to the rear bumper may also need to go, although the line does break up the slab side nicely. Front and rear bumpers will need some work. But the shape is there.

I'm of two minds about the top. Option #1 is to move the roof down and forward, lengthening the rear deck (and maybe even shortening the roof to eliminate the rear seat as in the second picture below).

Option #2 is to keep the windscreen roughly where it is, but tilt the roof back into the rear deck.

And yes, I am aware of the Jimmy Flintstone pickup body for this. I think I'll stick to the club coupe format.

No matter what else happens, getting it to drag its tail will be critical.

As an aside, I passed on this 1949 model, offered for only $12,500 by the side of the road in Watkins Glen in 2014. It didn't look street legal to me...

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Porsche 356 C: intro and engine

I managed to get my hands on a copy of Fujimi's excellent 356 C.

This kit, which was apparently designed for the European market, has a very high level of detail compared to some of the curbside kits of Japanese sedans promulgated by Fujimi, Aoshima, Hasegawa and others.

I got started on the motor, which was one of the 4-cam, roller-bearing devices cooked up by Ernst Fuhrmann. The kit even includes a molding of the crank, rods and pistons, which I will paint and display rather than bury inside the crankcase. Interestingly it shows that the cylinders are offset by half the bore, and each rod has its own crank journal; like the 911 motor, rods are not paired on a journal. Unlike the 911, which has a full complement of 7 main bearings (plus an 8th in front of the timing chains), this one appears to have only three.

It will look good next to the other Porsche twin-plug heads in the collection (908 and 917). The 356 motor used two 4-cylinder distributors; I've got a pair of 4-cylinder distributors from Morgan Automotive Detail which should work well.

What a complex little motor! At 1:1 it was said to require 120 hours to assemble, with at least 8 hours just to set the timing of the 4 cams and two distributors. At 1/24, Fujimi has provided lots of very fine detail, and a few pictures will illustrate this.

The basic engine block, barrels and heads, with carbs, fan and belt drive, is about 30 parts.

By the way the fan shroud has to go on before the carbs ... just because I did it backwards doesn't mean that is the right way.

Adding to the complexity, it appears that the distributor drive housing goes on over the belt drive, so changing a belt means removing the distributors ... is this offset between the crank and generator/fan a last throwback to the lowly Beetle? There is not much else in common between the two besides the flat-four layout.

Decals meant to mimic the wire mesh on the air filters were dry and cracked. Alternate plans may be needed. Perhaps the built-up crank will push me to make a small diorama with a garage bench and some tools.

I hate closeups like this, because they show every little flaw. But the screwups, like the broken fan belt or the visible seam running down the side of the cylinder heads and barrels, are essentially invisible to the naked eye. The picture does show, however, the shaft drive from the exhaust cam to the inlet cam; separately there is a shaft angling horizontally out from the bottom of the crankcase to the exhaust cam. All of this was joined by bevel gears, and setting the timing involved some complex approach to rotating the bevel gears relative to their drive shafts in minute amounts. All this, of course, after assembling the Hirth roller bearing crank.

I am now letting the glue for the distributor caps, from Morgan Automotive Detail, set on the distributor bodies from the Fujimi kit. The wiring looks complex but there are lots of pictures online illustrating the routing.

Four cams, two distributors and eight spark plugs, all to extract 130 hp from a two litre motor with four cylinders.

 Realising that some builders may want to display the motor, the kit comes with a motor stand. In order to make this realistic, the transmission (which stays in the car) has a clutch throw-out bearing and fork, and the engine comes with a flywheel and ring gear. No clutch, however ...

The kit will make the 356 B or C; I'll go for the C, which had 4-wheel disc brakes, and save the VW-style rims and drum brakes for the spare parts bin.

BRE 240 Z: Compete, finally

The home renovations are ongoing and I am stuck in a small rental unit where it's not really nice to be spray painting, especially in the dead of winter, because there is no ventilation and because there is a bunch of neighbours. So the LN 8000 is on hold as I wait to get back into my home with the paint booth and exhaust fan. Meanwhile I have been scrounging for things to do.

Last described in May 2017, the BRE 240 Z and its partner, the 510, have been ongoing since December 2015. The 510 is complete but the 240 Z was missing final assembly and a repair for a snapped rear hub. So no spray painting was required to complete this, the second kit for 2018.

A few challenges for others to be aware of: the stance is too high, the copyright molded into the trunk floor is visible through the rear window, and the hood hinges are fussy.

Still missing: the front bumper which is either buried in my spare parts boxes in storage, or was not included in the kit.

Like the 510, the 240 Z is a very detailed kit but with some fussy bits. Beginners will find them a challenge but they will reward a patient, experienced builder. The oil filter plumbing is a nice touch and it makes sense to wire the motors, but some of the body panels feature odd fits, and the Z's hood hinge setup reminds me of the extraordinarily complex linkage for the rear deck in the Revell 904.

Nonetheless these are excellent kits that replicate an important part of US racing history. I suspect the LN 8000 will wind up with red and white livery, and maybe with a number 46 on the doors. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 29, 2018

LN 8000 Crew Cab: More second car deck progress

Moving right along with support structures for the upper deck.

In front, I decided to glue sections of H-beam to the firewall and assume the structure continues through the cab above the transmission, with supporting structure down to the truck frame. The alternative was going to be a structure ahead of the front bumper, but this was going to have to be wide enough to allow the hood to tilt open, and would be wider than any other portion of the vehicle.

So the structure is just ahead of the front door hinges, which required notching the fenders in the body as well as in the hood. A triangular brace is still missing.

In back, a pair of braces are in place. An additional brace may be needed. This is all built up from 0.250" H-beam, 6" at scale.

On the upper deck, I am also missing a railing and structure around the tire rack, and will also look for some form of diamond plate deck.

I am pleased with the scratch building so far. It all lines up and the mitred cuts are all pretty decent. Stay tuned!