Finished - Four MIdgets by Four Builders
Posted 17 March 2011 - 03:48 PM
This is an article we were working on that ended up with no place to go. Even though the midgets have been well covered by others we thought you might enjoy seeing what we've been up to.
Four Midget Race Teams
By Len Carsner and Bill Coulter
Models by Glenn Day, Skip Samples, Len Carsner and Bill Coulter
Revell’s new 1/25th scale Kurtis Kraft Midget Racer kits have certainly struck a common cord with model car builders of all stripes. Who might have guessed that these jewel-like, very delicate and accurate vintage oval track, open wheel miniature racecars would have launched such a building frenzy?
It would seem that whether your model building comfort zone leans toward replica stock, muscle cars, drag cars, NASCAR, or vintage and classic cars, the new Revell Offenhauser and Ford V-8 60 powered midget racer kits seem to have sparked a degree of enthusiasm like nothing we’ve seen in years.
A few short years before WW II, Frank Kurtis started a company with the vision to design and build “midget” racecars (smaller versions of the venerable sprint car racer). In something less than two decades, Kurtis Kraft had produced over 1,100 midget racers. Five hundred units were turnkey ready to race with the remainder sold to eager customers in unassembled kit form.
The midget craze literally swept this country like a firestorm. On virtually any night (and maybe two or three times on a nice weekend) midget racing was taking place 24/7 on mainly dirt tracks at local fairgrounds and occasionally on larger capacity paved venues. American race fans couldn’t seem to get enough of it.
Midget racing wasn’t limited to the US as the infectious form of wheel-to-wheel racing action spread to far-flung places like New Zealand. Midget racing attracted the entry level competitor as well as racing icons of the day. Most of the top American drivers (especially Indy) had a well appointed midget on a compact trailer attached to the back bumper of a wide variety of tow vehicles.
In-the-day, the primary choices for midget power came from either the venerable Ford flathead commonly known as the little sixty V-8 or the pure race bred Offenhauser four cylinder double over head cam (DOHC). If you could afford the best you went with the pricy Offy. If you were racing on a budget, the little Ford FH V-8 was your weapon of choice.
Presented here is the work of four builders, Glenn Day, Skip Samples, Len Carsner and Bill Coulter. Of these four midget teams, there are three Fords and one Offy. The following comments reflect the views of each builder on this new model car kit phenom.
Glenn Day - #8 Smitty’s Muffler Shop Kurtis Ford/1948 Ford Woody
I like this kit a lot, there is no doubt that this model has to be kit of the year. Once I decided on the color scheme for the car, I painted the nose and top half with Testor's #28131 white lacquer. After that was dry I masked off the top half with Tamiya 10mm masking tape, then shot the lower half with Tamiya TS-54 light metallic blue. Once that had dried I masked off the light blue and the white leaving a thin strip of white exposed. I then shot the exposed portion with Tamiya TS-8 Italian red. After completely drying I pulled the tape and light sanded the painted edges with Micro mesh to take the ridge down left from the masking. Then I applied the decals and shot the whole body with Testor's 1834m wet look clear lacquer. Once it had fully cured I sanded it down with Micro mesh 8,000 grit followed by 12,000 grit. Then I finished it off with Tamiya polishing compound. The frame was done in Tamiya Italian red and the interior was Testor's flat red with a shot of Testor's semi-gloss over it. The wires for the gauges and spark plugs that were all left over pieces from other projects. It took awhile to mask and paint all the colors but was worth it in the end. I just really wanted to get it done so I could see the finished project. I had to be patient, which was hard because it's been awhile since I've been this excited to build a kit like this one. The photo etch pieces, along with the rest of the kit fit and went together great. I had fun building this one and want to build the Offy midget soon. Also I would like to say the whole model was done with rattle can's. So either way rattle can or airbrush I don't think there's a wrong way to build this kit. Just build the kit and have fun after all that's what modeling is supposed to be - FUN and this one is that and more.
Skip Samples - #27 Marck Motors Kurtis Ford/1940 Ford Sedan Delivery
I used Tamiya Clear Red over Tamiya Silver Leaf, both spray paints that were decanted and shot through an airbrush.
I learned a lot from this build that will help me with the next few I plan to do.
Luckily, the instrument panel came loose so I glued it into the proper positions, and I think that helps it look a little better.
Here are a few other things I'll do in future builds:
Drill out the holes in the engine a little to make it easier to locate the headers.
2. Drill out the axle holes both front and rear to make it easier to slide the axles in.
3. Strip all the chrome from everything. Then assemble the little fiddly assemblies like the front and rear nerf bars, front axle, rear axle, etc. and clean those joints, then paint them glossy black and hit them with Alclad Chrome.
4. Drill out the hole on the body for the drag link a little bigger.
5. Follow the instructions! The building sequence for this kit is a pretty good one but I managed to get off track a little and messed myself up, not bad, but a little. If I had followed the instruction sequence properly, I would have had fewer problems, not that I had many anyway.
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Posted 17 March 2011 - 03:53 PM
Posted 17 March 2011 - 04:09 PM
I would imagine that my reaction to these kits was the same as it was to many builders - I never in my wildest dreams thought we’d see these cars in this form in my lifetime. What a treat these kits are!
My car replicates one I have seen in images posted on the internet. Testors Wimbeldon White was shot over Duplicolor gray primer. Other than the nerf bars and front and rear axles all other chrome parts were stripped and painted Tamiya Gloss Aluminum. Tamiya Gloss Black was used for the frame and Testors Flat Red finished the upholstery. All paints were sprayed from the can except for the flat red which was decanted and airbrushed.
One obvious point to mention is that this kit is a lot like working with smaller scale subjects - a lot of delicate, fragile pieces. I had more than my share of repairs to make due to my ham-handedness, in fact, the brake lever was irreparably broken and I had to recreate one from wire and a jewelry bead. This kit definitely earned its Level 3 rating!
I picked an appropriate tow vehicle from back in the day. I was already working on a mild custom 55 Pontiac for a future article on historic Pontiacs. This one is by Promolite (Tom Coolidge) resin and I'm told that it is one of only six such body's that were cast. Inspired by a 1/1 55 Pontiac I found on the net, my tow car was painted GM Cardinal Red and Tamiya TS6 Matt Black.
This kit has been both a challenge and a pleasure to build. I’m well pleased with the result and can’t wait for the flood of aftermarket parts that will be hitting the markets soon.
Bill Coulter - #1 Bardahl Special Kurtis Ford/1957 Pontiac Safari Wagon
Many years ago, I first became aware of this kit (both Offy and Ford versions) being designed by icon hobby kit designer, John Mueller. The original concept had these minute race car kits being teamed up with Revell’s 1948 Ford woody station wagon and their trusty 1950 Ford F-1 pick up. And then for whatever reason, the story ground to a halt. Eventually, there was no indication that these midget kits would ever see the light of day, combos or stand-alone.
You can imagine my total and complete surprise when some month ago the word came forth that indeed the green light (okay, maybe we should say they got the green flag) had been given to the midget project by Revell management.
Speaking for myself, I was delighted to hear the good news but more so when I actually got one of these kits in my hands. I don’t think I’ve been as excited about a new kit in decades.
Let’s face it, when you get folks like Tim Boyd, the acknowledged Godfather of all things model car street rod and custom, to stop everything and build a midget racer, you know there is indeed something very, very special about these new Revell kits.
I can’t add too much to what these other three fine gentlemen have so adeptly related about the Revell midget kits. My basic advice would include terms like patience, stick to the instructions, great care and delicate handling, working slowly and cautiously and did I mention patience?
The intricate parts lay out is also very, very delicate. You can’t just hack and whack when building these kits and not pay the price with broken and damaged stuff. When it comes to things like the windshield, please test fit the thing. Look at the instructions…and the box art for crying out loud. At least two of us (I’m not saying who) put that puppy on upside down. Oh, and attach it with white glue. You’ll appreciate that tip later especially if you have to remove it and reinstall it.
As for my tow vehicle: Like Len, I've been building some vintage Pontiac's for a future article. This 1957 Pontiac station wagon is based on an exceptionally fine kit by Shawn Carpenter based on one of his dad's favorite cars. My model is painted Testors Chrysler Yellow and GM white. My midget carries that primary paint color and replicates a 1/1 midget, pictures of which I too found on the net.
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Posted 17 March 2011 - 04:11 PM
Norm Veber's Replica and Miniatures of Maryland is producing this optional set of wheels and tires that will fit either of the Revell midget kits.
Greg Holland (GregsDecalGraphics) is offering a list of water-slide decals (click on: Revell Midget Kits) for both of the Revell Offy and Ford powered midget kits.
For Len and me a very special thank you goes out to Skip Samples. Skip created two sets of custom-made midget markings that we think really put the old cherry on the whip cream for our two midget race car models.
And finally, as you can see in the photos here, just about anything vintage or more current, plastic or resin (thanks Tom Coolidge and Shawn Carpenter) can be employed as a very proper and appropriate tow vehicle.
Posted 17 March 2011 - 04:59 PM
Posted 18 March 2011 - 03:28 AM
Posted 18 March 2011 - 03:58 AM
Posted 18 March 2011 - 07:15 AM
Well done, gents...4 beautiful builds, and not just the Midgets, but the tow cars, too!!
Very cool, and just flat out awesome!
Posted 18 March 2011 - 07:26 AM
Posted 18 March 2011 - 09:43 AM
Some pretty nice tow vehicles to haul these beautiful builds!
Posted 18 March 2011 - 01:16 PM
Posted 19 March 2011 - 05:55 AM
Does anybody know, are the R&M wheels and tires different than stock in some way?
Edited by Art Laski, 20 March 2011 - 09:22 AM.
Posted 21 March 2011 - 02:42 PM
Great job, guys! Those are beautiful cars. I have one under my belt so far, and more to come. Thanks for sharing your paint techniques.
Does anybody know, are the R&M wheels and tires different than stock in some way?
It's hard to see in the picture but these wheels have a different pattern and holes/slots around them. Just a variation for those building alternative versions.
Thanks for your interest,