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Drill out that door handle!

door handle tip molded-in door handles

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#1 Gluhead

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 06:42 PM

How many times have you looked over your latest kit and thought "I really wish they had molded the door handles separately"? Yeah, those molded-on handles look pretty cruddy...but they don't have to! They can actually look better than the separate, chrome-plated handles, if you have a steady hand and a bucket or two of patience. A drill bit, new #11 blade, and a little sandpaper help, too. :P

 

The main things to remember during this operation are to keep your tools at an angle that will help you avoid nicking into the door, and use as little pressure on your tools as needed to prevent flicking half the handle across the bench. Little screwups can be fixed easily enough, but cutting the handle off is a bit tougher repair that you definitely want to avoid.

 

Step 1 - Drill. Note the angle of the bit. You want to keep the tip from poking into the door skin on the underside of the handle.

 

ercury_Parklane_DoorHandles_01-vi.jpg

 

Keep a close eye on your progress, so you can stop drilling as soon as you get through the bottom.

 

ercury_Parklane_DoorHandles_02-vi.jpg

 

You want to drill your starter holes close to the body panel, but not right up to it. The starter holes make it easier to open the area with the blade, and you can shave right up to the panel at that time.

 

ercury_Parklane_DoorHandles_03-vi.jpg

 

Step 2 - Score. Take the #11 blade and very carefully pull the tip along the starter holes to hog out the material between them. Please note - the angle of the knife is bad in this image. I couldn't hold it at the right angle and take the pic at the same time.

 

Keep working it, slowly, until you've got the area completely opened up. You're mostly concerned with how the handle looks on the top side, so do your best to get the opening accurately shaped here. The bottom is much less visible, so you can leave a bit more material down there for strength, but you still want it to be cleanly trimmed out however much extra you leave. Keep in mind, though, that one of the things that sells the look of the handle being opened up is the shadow on the door below it, so you don't want to leave too much material on the lower half.

 

ercury_Parklane_DoorHandles_04-vi.jpg

 

Step 3 - Clean it up. Here's where that steady hand and a lot of patience comes into play. Slow and steady.

 

ercury_Parklane_DoorHandles_06-vi.jpg

 

One of my favorite improvised tools is to take one of those one-sided Dremel sanding discs and cut it in half or a strip. The backing on them is hard enough that you get a nice, stiff sanding stick that's still really, really thin. If you don't have any of these laying around, you can also use regular sandpaper. Coat the backside with CA and trim off a piece that suits the need. Floppy sandpaper doesn't work out so well for things like this.

 

ercury_Parklane_DoorHandles_05-vi.jpg

 

ercury_Parklane_DoorHandles_08-vi.jpg

 

ercury_Parklane_DoorHandles_09-vi.jpg

 

ercury_Parklane_DoorHandles_07-vi.jpg

 

Final Step - Foil. I like to use two pieces of foil on these handles. I foil the bottom half first, so that I can overlap the top onto it just a little. That keeps the foil seam out of sight.

 

I'll come back and replace this picture once I've painted the car used to show the process, but here's a Scout II that I did last year with the same treatment. I think it makes a big difference having them opened up, not only for the accuracy when viewed from above but also for the way the shadow plays out below. Give it a try!

 

ScoutII_13-vi.jpg



#2 High octane

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 06:56 PM

That looks great, but I'd use some masking tape above and below the handle on the body during surgery.



#3 Ramfins59

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 06:56 PM

That's a great tip and a dynamite tutorial Christopher.  Now all we've got to do is muster up the courage and patience to try it.



#4 MAGNUM4342

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:07 PM

Very cool! I've wanted to try this many times but never took the plunge. You make it look easy so now I gotta try it! B) 



#5 Gluhead

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:15 PM

Thanks, guys. Yeah, give it a shot and post it up.

 

Nick, I usually do use tape to protect nearby areas. But in this case, the work is being done so close to the cuff and the tips of the tools so tiny, the tape tends to block my view or the tool slips under it. So in this instance, I skip it. 



#6 martinfan5

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:29 PM

Nice tip



#7 Duntov

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:49 PM

Great tip!!



#8 blunc

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 09:26 PM

I have done this also (and sometimes wonder why other advance modelers DON'T do this) and feel it's a simple way to add more realism to a model.

 

Thanks for making this tutorial.



#9 Foxer

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 04:08 AM

Very good job on that and thanks for showing how you did it!



#10 shafer

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:18 AM

wow cool advice



#11 southpier

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:20 AM

great idea; final product seems to justify the work



#12 Ace-Garageguy

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:53 AM

Yes, a great idea and fine, precise craftsmanship.



#13 Casey

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 09:30 AM

Not gouging out the door behind the "open" area of the handle is the hardest part. Thank goodness some of Revell's Mopar kits include separate door handles.  :D



#14 Exotics_Builder

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 10:48 AM

I do that often on the older kits that have that.  I also go after the window cranks and inside handles as well, especially if the interior is very visible.



#15 rmvw guy

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 11:00 AM

Great idea and if you slip, like I probably would you can always shave it off.  :lol:  :lol:  All kidding aside, nice tutorial. 



#16 plowboy

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:08 PM

I've done this to a few builds. But I hadn't thought of using the drill bits to start with. I did the backside of an 11 xacto blade method. I'll definitely use your method the next time! Looks to be a lot easier and quicker! Is that a '66 Parklane you're working on? Also, I love your Scout build!



#17 Gluhead

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:47 PM

Thanks, everyone. I'm glad you guys find it useful. It's certainly not an original thought, but I didn't see any toots up for it, so I figured I'd try to spread the word. I remember years ago when I first tried it, the next month there it was in a cheap tricks article in one of the mags...thought that was kinda funny. But I hardly ever see people do it for whatever reason. I'm with you, Mike...I wonder why that is at times, because it's not nearly as difficult as some of the other things we do.

 

Oh, and yep...I have a couple that have shaved handles now only because I slipped and sent half of it into the netherlands. I actually did that on the Scout, but took the time to fix it. Scouts need handles!

 

Roger - Yes, I'm doing one up quickie style while I wait on good weather and parts for other stuff. In spite of doing a couple extras to it, it's a shelf model so I'm going to take my chances on the paint. Hopefully the cold doesn't screw it up too much but if it does I'll just weather it up a bit or set it good side out. :P Thanks!



#18 Tom Geiger

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 01:49 PM

Nice tip!  I hadn't tried this yet, but I will. I have some models where I just blacked out the area with flat black paint.  I usually cut them off and add resin handles or those Owencraft metal ones.


Edited by Tom Geiger, 05 March 2013 - 01:50 PM.


#19 Gluhead

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 02:03 PM

Thanks, Tom...those Owencraft handles are pretty nice. I'm cheap, though! lol. I can see where a dash of black would be enough on some, as well. Just depends on the model, I s'pose.

 

One thing I do like about this over aftermarket handles, though, is that they don't need to be attached after paint. No fiddly gaps to make go away, no pinning to mess with or anything since they're on there like white on rice already. 



#20 Tom Geiger

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 07:25 PM

Thanks, Tom...those Owencraft handles are pretty nice. I'm cheap, though! lol. I can see where a dash of black would be enough on some, as well. Just depends on the model, I s'pose.

 

One thing I do like about this over aftermarket handles, though, is that they don't need to be attached after paint. No fiddly gaps to make go away, no pinning to mess with or anything since they're on there like white on rice already. 

 

Thanks Chris. The only thing I'd be worried about would be making sure the body color paint got inside the handle. Any wisdom?