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Custom 1957 Chevy Aero


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#1 GrandpaMcGurk

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 09:11 AM

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When I was a young fella living in Boston Mass. I'd go the the yearly Autorama car shows....WOW, those cars melted my mind.
Rods, customs, bikes and the like. Things like the Bat mobile, Munster Coach & Coffin, Boot Hill express, Roth, Barris and the list goes on and on.
Man, those cars really blew my skirt up, drooled for days after the huge indoor events.
Anyhow, being SMC is having an online show/contest I've decided to build a radical custom from that chunk of time.....remember angel hair displays, wishniks, chain link steering wheels, slinging lead instead of bondo, frenched everything, drawer pull knobs for grille inserts, sunken antennas......babble, babble, okay I'll stop there.
I'm going to build a 1/12th scale '57 Chevy (my own design) radical full custom from that period as if I'd the the coin or skills to do it, yeah right!

Here's the kit I'm starting with, it's a really nice kit...couple of engine choices (although I won't be using the kit supplied small block in any form), 2 hoods, seat swaps, modern street tires, stock and slicks. Lot's of goodies including dice to hang from the rear view mirror.
I have a couple of beefs with the kit ( toy like brake backing plates & front suspension) but nothing major and I won't be using those parts anyway.
Here's a couple pics of the kit contents.

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Edited by GrandpaMcGurk, 03 February 2012 - 04:46 AM.


#2 Moparkid13

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 11:03 AM

cant wait to see this one.

#3 crazyjim

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 11:20 AM

Oh boy. Another BIG one! This should be extremely cool.

#4 Tony T

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 12:23 PM

Have at it, Don...We'll follow along!!

#5 GrandpaMcGurk

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 01:33 PM

Oh Nooooooooooooo MR. Bill!
Photos of the body with Mr. Hand to give the gang a good idea of it's size.

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I have a pretty good visual in mind. Haven't done any sketches yet but I'll post them as I go along.
I plan on sectioning it, slightly more in the front than the rear to give it a bit of a nose down attitude. Chopping the top, again with a slight down ward rake. Overall all, the body should take on a wedge shape.
There are a lot of compound curves involved with these types of mods and I'll approach them the same way I would if I was taking a torch to a full size body.
I want to retain some of the features that make it stand out as a '57 Chevy so the sectioning is going to be a little touchy.
I've built a few cars in another life so I won't be doing a hack job, in other words...if it wouldn't work on the real deal or parts not been available in the 60' - 70s....I won't be doing it on the model.
As far as how to....if you guys would like, I'll post step by step how I do it.
Keep in mind....you guys might have a better way or a different approach but I'd be happy to share my way.

#6 Dr. Cranky

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 02:40 PM

For a minute I thought you meant a "machinist," LOL!

This thing is huge, and I think you are going to have a blast.

#7 Custom Mike

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Posted 30 October 2011 - 05:08 PM

As far as how to....if you guys would like, I'll post step by step how I do it.
Keep in mind....you guys might have a better way or a different approach but I'd be happy to share my way.


Don, please show every step, we've all got different methods of doing our custom work, and it never hurts to add a new trick or two to our arsenals! This should be a good one!

#8 GrandpaMcGurk

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 05:16 AM

Glad to Mike, hope you can benefit...and please feel free to jump in this thread anywhere with your thoughts, suggestions etc.......I'm older than dirt but I never stop learning.

These pics will probably start the purists squawking but here's where I'm going to make my initial cuts, as you can see, the material I'm removing tapers from front to back.
I deliberately avoided cutting through the routed out areas where the stock trim goes as I may want to retain some of it for that classic '57 Chevy look.

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As usual...there are a few areas that need work along the way.

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I'm cutting the headlight buckets from the body as they can be moved down to line up with the new fender profile without destroying their original shape.

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Now comes the scary part...taking a saw to a perfectly good body....I'll go ahead, make the cuts and post more pics.

Edited by GrandpaMcGurk, 31 October 2011 - 05:18 AM.


#9 Dr. Cranky

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 05:53 AM

Wow, it looks like you are about to play Dr. Frankenstein!

#10 GrandpaMcGurk

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 08:55 AM

Virgil.......It's alive, it's alive...well sorta.

I cut about an 1/8th of an inch out of the front fender tapering back to zip at the tail light fin......
taped it together to eyeball and the sectioning job just wasn't talking to me. The black line on the body is the next big bite I'm going to take out of it.

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Here's a mock-up with the lower section overlapped before final cutting.

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That's more like it......in total I'm taking 3/8th of an inch out of the front fender and nothing out of the rear fin. I'm going to have to curve that front chrome trim piece down a bit to follow the fender profile....thats what happens when you start modifiying things...one change leads to another.

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#11 Chuck Most

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 09:04 AM

Masochist? Perhaps. But we'll suffer right along with ya for this one. :D

#12 Dr. Cranky

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 09:04 AM

Wow, great mods . . . looking forward to more.

#13 Hattley

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 11:16 AM

Bring it on!!

#14 Tony T

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 01:39 PM

Good start, Don...I'm liking it!!

#15 GrandpaMcGurk

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:05 AM

Thanks guys, glad you like it so far.......here's a little something that you need to keep in mind when you're doing radical mods to an existing kit.
Even though when finished and painted the sectioning job will be overlooked by the casual observer, the interior pieces, inner fender wells etc. will all have to be modified to allow the body to drop down where it belongs. I'm sure a lot of modelers will say "if it isn't noticed why bother"?

Well, at least to me, that's the sign of good custom work. In other words, regardless of how much work it takes.....if overall it pleases the orbs it was worth it.
Here's a pic of what I mean......the kit stuff no longer fits.

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Edited by GrandpaMcGurk, 01 November 2011 - 12:36 PM.


#16 GrandpaMcGurk

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:21 AM

Well, today I'm squinting and making paper dolls. (Mock-ups for eyeballin').

Going to peak the hood and add quad head lights, at this point I'm just taping on paper that I can hold it in my hands, look at from different angles and get a "feel" for what it'll look like.

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Edited by GrandpaMcGurk, 01 November 2011 - 08:21 AM.


#17 GrandpaMcGurk

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:35 AM

I'll be plastic welding all this stuff together, I won't be using any adhesives or filler. Simply gluing everything together and throwing some mud at it just won't hold up.
I'll explain how I do it as we go along. It's just like welding on a real car....BTW, save those scraps and cut offs as that's what I use for welding rods and filler. Being the scraps are the same type of plastic there are no compatibility issues or shrinkage. As another benefit, other than being much stronger than a glued butt joint, it all sands like plastic because it is!
Filler is softer than the surrounding plastic and it tends to sand a quicker rate leaving low spots that can really screw up a nice paint job.

#18 GrandpaMcGurk

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 06:44 AM

SUPRISE, SURPISE....bet you've never seen a '57 Chevy fastback!!!!!!!
More paper mock-ups.

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#19 TheCat

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 07:27 AM

WOW, this is looking very interesting!!! Can't wait to see more.

#20 GrandpaMcGurk

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 08:37 AM

Well Felix, the plot thickens........here's some more paper mock-ups. I haven't cut the sprue from the kit back window yet as it helps to stabilize the whole thing with all this cutting. The rear window will be pretty much vertical inside the fast back side wings. I am still going to chop the top in the front only.
I'll also be putting in a false floor (interior) so that when the door is opened the bucket seat will swivel out....how's that for cool?

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Edited by GrandpaMcGurk, 01 November 2011 - 12:37 PM.