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1949 Mercury Convertible, Up dated January 8, 2012

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#1 Peter Lombardo

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 06:51 PM

Once again, for no apparent reason, I am beginning another build, while in the middle of many others that are nearly finished. Why do we all do this to ourselves? Really, why? My two 1934 Fords are nearly finished, just waiting for the photo etched grilles that I am working on (that is another story, all together)….my Timbs Streamliner is also nearly done, also waiting for the grille, bumpers and step plates, which are part of the photo etch situation too. My 1932 Ford Wide Body is done too, once again waiting for the custom photo etched grille.

Perhaps you recall, back in 2010 I did a model of John D’Agostino’s 1961 Thunderbird known as “Firestar”. Well, a few weeks ago the current owner of the car contacted me requesting that I build a model of the car for him. Of course I quickly agreed and began work on that. One good thing is he is now furnishing me with the engine shots and current pictures of the car with the few minor changes he made to it.

Then after the 2 1934 Fords, one a sedan and one a roadster, both full fender cars, I got the desire to do a third, you know a “hat trick”. This is a 3 window resin (man, the resin on this one is thick) coupe. I opened the doors (very difficult with the ridiculously thick resin casting) and molded the grille onto the hood. This is going to be very cartoony, with huge rear tires, no fenders, an independent suspension, way down low up front and a big old honkin’ blown Hemi powerplant. Topped off with a candy blue paint job, white interior and computer designed and vinyl cut flame masks so I can paint some wild yellow, orange and red flames, no wait, maybe white, teal and purple flames, I don’t know yet, we’ll have to see when the time comes.

And if that’s not enough, 3 weeks ago I started work on another one of the 1950’s GM concept cars. I am working on the 1956 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket….another one of those concept cars that is growing out of the Corvette chassis. It seems that most GM concept cars of that era grew out of the Corvette chassis and body panels. I think the other divisions were jealous that Chevrolet had a sharp little sports car to help establish a division identity and they all wanted a piece of that….well that is my opinion on it anyway. The Oldsmobile Golden Rocket is one of those Jet plane era influenced cars that GM designers were turning out on a daily basis, or so it seemed. I will post more on that as work on the body molds progresses. Currently, I am in the design drawing phase working out how I am going to produce the multiple body panels this vehicle will require. This is a very long term project so I expect this to be in the works for months and months, I am in no hurry with this as it is a very involved and complex body design.

So in the middle of this, I got the bug to work on a car that I have been planning to build for a few years now and that is the subject of this thread. Over time I had assembled a few of the parts I would need for this and for whatever reason, the bug hit me last week to start it so I caved in and started it.

I am converting the venerable old AMT 1949 Mercury coupe into a chopped Carson top style convertible. Now I know I can pickup a resin Mercury Convertible from Mr. Flintstone, and it would look great, but where is the fun in that???.....I want to do it myself. So basically, this will be a very low to the ground custom with some resin “bubble” skirts I picked up somewhere. I also picked up a Desoto “tooth” style grille somewhere (not from the Revell ’49 Merc). The body will be shaved of all chrome and the headlights will be frenched. The taillights will be the slightly diagonal, but basically vertical style custom units I am molding on to the rear; this is the biggest modification, not counting the top removal. I am leaning toward some subtle hood scopes built into the side of the hood just above where the hood meets the front fenders….I am not completely sure yet. The doors are to be opened and hinged to open inward. I am making the stretched Carson chopped top from two tops from the 1950 Ford convertible kit. The windshield will be chopped down also. Under the hood I am planning a late model Chrysler Hemi engine (I think I have one laying around somewhere that I can commandeer for this build. I have some big fat white walls in mind and a two tone paint scheme with Prowler Orange Pearl over White Pearl. A primarily white interior with Orange trim and seat faces to match and an off white padded style low Carson roof.

Ok, enough talking…….here is the car, on the messy work bench with the top cut free but sitting on the car. Posted Image

I used a round cutting blade on my Dremel tool to make the cuts.

Here is the body, sans the top and the chrome side and nose trim has been sanded off to give a cleaner, smoother look to the gorgeous curves of this body. Posted Image

Man, these 1949 Mercury’s are a real work of art…Posted Imagewhen you strip away the excess unnecessary frills and shinny things and stuff, the underlying metal is just perfect in the raw, so to speak, soft, round and sensual. Anyway, here the main chop is made to the windshield frame showing the lowered height. Posted Image
And here are the two Ford Convertible roofs that are being cut and spliced together to make one longer roof for the Mercury. Posted Image

The roof will get a major revision so it will look to be a padded roof, much lower and snug on the car.

Next up will be the door opened and hinged.

Edited by Peter Lombardo, 08 January 2012 - 11:16 AM.


#2 John Teresi

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 07:55 PM

Peter......now thats what I`m talking about!!!!!........you could never build enough models......I will be following everything you do...... we can always learn something from you.......you are a true craftsman.........thank you for sharing your work with us.

#3 Foxer

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 04:09 AM

No excused are needed for abandoning any build to get on with a '49 Merc!!! :lol:

Edited by Foxer, 07 January 2012 - 04:10 AM.


#4 Mercman

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 08:30 AM

Peter if you really want to get crazy check this out.

http://s8.photobucke...nvertible tops/

Posted Image

It is from Car Model way back when. I'm sure you could adapt it to your build.

Yeah the 49-51 Merc's do have a sexy classic look all to themselve's.

#5 Dr. Cranky

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 09:33 AM

Bring it on, Peter. Looks like you are off to a great start. Keep it going.

Having lots of project on the bench only means you are having fun, staying young, and exercising your imagination, which is as it should be! ;)

#6 Ramfins59

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 09:47 AM

Yeah man. I doubt if there are many of us who DON'T have several projects in the works at the same time, or, started projects just sitting waiting to come back to front & center again. I can think of at least a half dozen that I have, plus who knows how many that I forgot about when they went back in their boxes. Gotta keep those creative juices flowing no matter what the subject matter is.

#7 jaymcminn

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 10:54 AM

Good job so far, Peter. I actually did something like this a few years back with the Revell kit- it's wearing a Modelhaus resin Carson top (with modifications, of course) for the '50 Ford. To get everything to work right, I grafted in the tulip panel and windshield header from the Ford. I like the idea of a modern custom for yours!

Posted Image


Posted Image

Edited by jaymcminn, 07 January 2012 - 10:55 AM.


#8 Peter Lombardo

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 12:45 PM

Jason, that is a beautiful Mercury, I love the colors, really sweet. That is the style top I am building....like I said before, I know I could buy a resin top, or even a chopped Mercury, but I wanted to do one myself....I enjoy the challenge of doing it myself.

Thanks for posting your beautiful build, in fact, any and all '49 to '51 mercury's are welcome here on this thread, if you got'em, show'em. I have an update getting ready for mine, but hey, these cars are so gorgeous, and if you are like me, I can't get enough of them, bring them out. I have 3 of the Revell Mercury's....one will be "old skool", one will be a modern street rod, and most like one will be anothe convertible.....we'll see.

Anyway, lets see your Mercury's!

Oh yeah, Jason where about's in Naples are you? Roughly, I don't need your exact address...I have a condo down there in a golf community, so I am just curious where you are in reference to me..I am off of Davies Blvd.

#9 jaymcminn

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 02:26 PM

Peter, I'm only a couple of miles away- Golden Gate, off of Santa Barbara. With your scratchbuilding skills (that Timbs Streamliner is AMAZING) fabricating a Carson top should be a piece of cake!

Edited by jaymcminn, 07 January 2012 - 02:30 PM.


#10 Peter Lombardo

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 10:55 AM

Ok, I have opened the doors on the ’49 Mercury. I know there have been countless questions on how-to-do-it, and just as many explanations, but I figure one more can’t possibly hurt. There are many ways to accomplish this, and this is just the technique I use most often. So here goes.

Now, before I go any further, I know there many ways to open doors….you can use thread and “melt” your way through the door jam (doesn’t work too well for me) You can buy two models and grind away the door on one body and cut the door out of the other body (not very cost efficient) and you can use knifes and saw blades to do it. I prefer the latter, but you are free to do it anyway you like.

I open the doors on just about every vehicle I build so I have become pretty proficient at it. I open resin bodies, regular styrene bodies, chopped tops and sectioned bodies so I have dealt with just about every obstacle there is….this though, was about as simple as it gets. The two main tools for this job are a “used” exact-o knife blade, and by used, I mean one that has lost its point and about 20% of its sharpness and the other is an exact-o saw blade. Both are shown here…… Posted Image Now the trick is to start with a very light “hand”, meaning that you use very little pressure. With the back of the broken point knife you begin by lightly dragging it down the score line of the door. Use just enough pressure to insure that the blade stays in the score line but not so much that you lose control of the blade. If you are not sure, go slowly. When you get to a curved corner, stop. Do the straight lines first. And then go back and slowly work your way around the curved corner…it will take a little time, but your care will be rewarded in the end with a nice smooth rounded corner. Also, alternate from side to side.

I find that you want to have both doors, assuming this is a two door model, done at about the same time. Since you are handling the body quite a bit during the process, you don’t want to put too much pressure on any surface, also, and this applies to this build in particular, be very careful if the car is a convertible because there may only be a small amount of styrene (the lower rocker panel) holding the front of the car to the back of the car, once the door is removed. You can understand why I am saying to finish the doors, or in other words, have the doors ready to pop out at about the same time so that you do not put unnecessary tension on the rocker panels. Got it?

Ok, as I said before, the ’49 Mercury is a great car to start with, especially in this case, because you do not have to deal with the area above the windows which require a different technique to free up.

Alright, here is what I am talking about. Here is an older Fujimi Porsche that I have been working on and off for a while now. Posted ImageI opened the doors, as you can see, but the point of this is I want you to look at the area around the window frame. Notice how delicate and thin the window frame is? That requires a slightly different technique to free up. The styrene in this area tends to be thinner and great care must be taken not to damage the window frame. For this kind of area, I use a very sharp knife, in fact a brand new blade and I work very slowly. I free up the window area before the door because you need to have a solid foundation for this to come free easily. You don’t want the door wiggling around as you are working on the tight space around the window. And once this is free, you can attack the door without worrying that the window area will be an issue later. Using the front of the new blade, I very carefully work through the styrene pushing the knife point through the scribed lines of the door into the styrene and then working the knife around the edge. I will not say it is easy, but obviously it is doable and I think it looks great to see the delicate door opened….I mean, many guys who are just starting out will marvel at this kind of work, so I think you should give it some consideration if you have any competency at all. Don’t be afraid of the tiny delicate window area, just work the new blade around the edge and surprisingly, it will come free without as much bother as you may think.

Back to the Mercury……

And, these doors do not have rounded corners, which make this job a snap. Here you can see the door removed from the car body. Posted Image to get to this point it is really easy, just increase the pressure on the blade as you draw it backwards through the door panel score marks. The saw blade comes in very handy at the ends of the door. Once you have scored the door seam all the way through so you can see daylight, you can insert the saw blade, assuming the door edge is a straight run and not curved (this one is straight) and slowly saw your way to the end of the door panel. The saw works especially well at the corners. Take, for instance, the lower front edge of the door in the picture above. Once you are through the door panel in the middle of the door, insert the blade, saw side down and slowly saw your way to the bottom front corner of the door. Stop at the bottom edge. Now insert the saw in the panel edge that runs along the bottom of the door, and again, assuming there is daylight through the door panel lower line, put the blade in, saw side facing forward and slowly saw your way to the front. Stop when you get to the intersection of the front lower edge and the front forward edge. That corner is now free from the body of the car. Just repeat the process all around and inside of an hour the doors will be free. Now don’t worry too much if your hand slips and you get a cut line in either the door panel or the body panel. Later, once the door is removed, lightly sand the area and apply a bit of putty. Once dry, sand it smooth and no one will be the wiser.

Once the doors are removed you will see that the edges are rough….not to worry, just sand both the door edges and the body edges smooth and straight. In most cases the gap will be fine as you will need a slightly bigger gap between the doors and body when it is unpainted. Remember, the primer and paint and clear top coat add to the edge of the door and the body, so you need to allow for that extra build up of paint. Plus, you will need to have a bit of a gap to allow the door and hinge to work properly later on. From experience I have found that you will need about a 16th of an inch all around the door and the body. Now if for some reason, you have really screwed up the panel and the gap is greater, that is very easy to fix. Cut a small piece of styrene using the appropriate thickness of styrene and glue it to the offending panel or door edge….I like Tena-X7r liquid glue for this because it melts the styrene and literally welds it to the panel. Once dry, sand it smooth to the body contours and the door gap will be restored. I have found situations where I had to do this a few times to get the gap right, I mean, glue multiple layers into the door jam and sand smooth and no one will ever know.

Ok, the doors are off the car, the edges are smooth and the gaps are uniform and acceptable. Next comes a little part of the process that is easy, very important, but most often overlooked when doors are opened. Look at the last picture and then at this picture. Posted Image

The styrene is always too thick (and resin is usually worse) to be accurate to scale. Usually, that is not an issue because you don’t see the edges, but when the doors get opened, the door edges are very visible. This is easy to fix……notice the door edge on the left side of this picture that is the edge that is on the outer side and visible when the door is open. Notice that I have used my Dremel tool with a sanding drum to grind away the excess styrene and to thin out the door edge. You must be careful not to over do it and grind through the door so take your time and only grind away small layers at a time. You will find, once you finish this and give it a light sanding to smooth it out, that the thickness of the door panel edge looks far more to scale. You will be surprised at how much that little bit adds to the realism of your model.

The next step is to get the inner door jams set. This is the flange that will stick out in the door opening and stop the door from closing “into” the car. In other words, this keeps the door flush with the body panels when the door is shut. I make these from small strips of .015 styrene. I cut them bigger then necessary and glue them in with Tena-X7r. I run a strip along the bottom and then up the side of the inner body panel where the door closes to the body, or the latch side, if you will. Posted Image In this picture you can see the driver side jams in place…..like I said they will be trimmed to the proper size later.

On the right side of the door you see my universal hinge. I call it a universal hinge because it works equally well on old style cars as it does on newer cars. I will explain.

Now again, just like how to cut out a door, there are many ways to hinge a door. Over the years, I have used many styles, but always return to this style because it is easy to make, flexible to use and works perfectly in just about every instance.

Older cars, say up through the 1960’s had doors that opened “out”. That means that the doors hinged out when opened which means that front edge of the door is outside of the panel just forward of the door. On late model cars, the doors open inward, which means the leading edge of the door, opens into the car. I have seen and heard many complaints over the years here that someone has the wrong style door hinge and the door is not operating the way the real vehicle door operates. This style hinge works both ways so it is easy to get it “right”. Now, you can see that the hinge is made of brass rod and aluminum tubes. I use K & S Engineering pieces for this. The brass rod is stock #1602, .32 rod and the aluminum is stock #1008 1/16 X .014 tubing. The rod costs around $1.49 for 5 pieces and the tube is around $1.69 for 3 tubes, so you see it is not expensive at all. I will show you how to mount this hinge later so you can have either style door opening. Back to the hinge construction……

The first step is to measure the maximum distance you can make the hinge. More often than not that distance is roughly ½ of an inch….in this case that space where the hinge will fit is slightly less than that so I made them accordingly.

Let’s assume here that we have ½ inch to fit into. Step one, cut two (for two doors) length of tube to this size. I always make the cut a little bit less than the size needed to compensate for the outside brass half loop on either side of the aluminum tubing. I simply roll the knife blade over the tube applying gentle pressure cutting the section free. Posted ImageThere is a reason for doing it this way and not just using a cutter. A cutter will crimp and distort the end and we need both ends of the tube to be round and have a completely clear opening. Once one is finished, use it as a size guide to do the second tube, that way both hinges will be a uniform size. Now you may find that the end you cut has some excess material in the opening….not a problem just use the knife point, inserted into the opening, in a twisting motion and the material will be cut free. Now for the fun part, you need to form the hinge from the brass rod. Basically the hinge has two curved humps connected through the aluminum tube with two “wings” or attachment rods that slide into two more aluminum tubes. The first step is to determine how long you need to make the attachment rods. On my Mercury I have limited space because of the front wheel well opening. So you need to measure this space, but again, in the typical installation, ½ inch rod is fine….so for demonstration purpose, I will go with that length here. Posted ImageTake small pliers and grip the rod about ½ inch from the end and with your hand bend it to about an 80 degree bend. Posted ImageThen slide the pliers up away from the bend a few millimeters and begin to make a series of small bends as you see in the picture. Posted Image Work your way around the bend until you have about a 170 degree bend. Posted ImageThis does not have to be perfect, but you want it as smooth and uniform as possible. Once that is done, grip the “hump” as shown here so that the pliers are parallel to the rod wing…..in other words, form a straight line with the edge of the pliers and the rod extension.


http://farm8.staticf..._0fb98b15b7.jpg Now with your hand, give the rod a 90 degree bend as shown here. http://farm8.staticf...48d8696.jpgOnce the bend is complete, and looks like this, http://farm8.staticf..._2e11c2bb95.jpg Now take one of the aluminum tubes that we cut before and slide it down the long end of the rod. http://farm8.staticf..._8395f08c75.jpg When it is in place, it should look like this. It should be snug to the bend in the rod. Next grip the rod with the pliers just about one millimeter down from the opposite end of the aluminum tube. http://farm8.staticf...6a3c09204.jpgWe want to make the other bend, to mimic the first 170 degree bend and we want just enough place, or space, between the second bend and the tube so that the hinge will move freely inside of the aluminum tube but not so loose that it can move. So make a 90 degree bend to this side, again, mimicking the angle of the first side.

#11 Peter Lombardo

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 11:06 AM

Posted Image Now with your hand, give the rod a 90 degree bend as shown here. Posted ImageOnce the bend is complete, and looks like this, Posted Image Now take one of the aluminum tubes that we cut before and slide it down the long end of the rod. Posted Image When it is in place, it should look like this. It should be snug to the bend in the rod. Next grip the rod with the pliers just about one millimeter down from the opposite end of the aluminum tube. Posted ImageWe want to make the other bend, to mimic the first 170 degree bend and we want just enough place, or space, between the second bend and the tube so that the hinge will move freely inside of the aluminum tube but not so loose that it can move. So make a 90 degree bend to this side, again, mimicking the angle of the first side.

Posted Image Be careful to get the angle the same, remember the first angle was about 80 degrees, not 90, so this bend must “lean” a little. You can see by the picture that this picture that the lead rod that is what I call the “wing” is at about 80 degrees to this new bend. Now, set the pliers so that they are level with the first side bend and again, with small increments, mimic the first bend to form a send loop of about the same size as the first. Posted ImageIt may take a little practice, but believe me, if I can do it, you can do it. Posted Image Once the bend is done, set the pliers so that they are parallel with the first “wing” and make a bend to run parallel with that wing so that it looks like this. Posted Image Next cut the second wing to be the same length as the first and the hinge is nearly finished. Posted Image

http://farm8.staticf...81e20b811.jpgIf the two wings do not sit flat on the table, http://farm8.staticf...7296258.jpgjust bend and manipulate the wings to sit flush. It is not that difficult to bend this brass which is why it is the perfect material for this application. Take a minute to look over the hinge….it is important to be sure everything is level and most importantly, be sure the two wings are completely parallel and flat on the workbench….that will save you problems later on. http://farm8.staticf..._f662abac6c.jpg
http://farm8.staticf..._2ee870d927.jpg
Lastly, cut yourself two lengths of aluminum tubing just slightly longer than the two brass rod wings and slide them over the wings as I did here. http://farm8.staticf..._de5b9ab82a.jpg This hinge is now ready to be installed on the model. Normally, I tape the door in place from the outside, taking special care to get the gap as uniform as possible all around the door. A little extra care now will pay big dividends later. I lay the hinge on the inside of the model, on the bottom side, as the car model propped up on its side doing one side at a time and waiting for it to be secure before moving to the other. I very carefully, and I mean very carefully, apply a drop of super glue and I mean a drop the size of a sesame seed to the center of the aluminum tube. Be very careful not to move the hinge from the position you placed it and be very careful not to get any super glue into the hinge area where the rod slides into the tube. It is not difficult, but don’t be sloppy here, an ounce of precaution is worth a pound of pain later. Obviously, if super glue gets inside the tubes, you will not be able to open the door, which defeats the purpose of opening it in the first place, or you will not be able to remove the door for additional work on it. So be warned, just a drop to tack it to the car. Once it is secure, remove the tape and test the opening of the door and if you are satisfied that all is working well, you can get out the 5 minute epoxy mix up a small batch and permanently mount the hinge to the door. Go back to the picture of the Mercury’s door above, way above, and you will see that I used clear epoxy and a small piece of styrene shim to attach the aluminum tubs to the car and the door.

Now another word of caution here before we go any further. It is very important that you take particular care to mount the hinge so it is perpendicular to the side of the car. What I mean here is, many cars have curved and even complex curved sides. If you mount the hinge and it is not at a 90 degree angle to the ground, the door will not open parallel to the ground and that is not a good thing. Nothing likes sillier than a door that is leaning down, or up, once opened. It must be parallel to the ground, so you may have to place shims under one or more of the three mounting locations in order to make every thing square and level. With the Mercury, I have no issues with that as the car sides are rather flat, but you must keep that in mind when installing the hinges…take care now and you will be happy later.

Once that is dry, you can remove the door from the car by sliding the wings out of the tubes and continue on with the construction. That is one of the reasons I like this method of hinging doors, once it is done, the doors can be removed. When the build is nearing completion you have the choice of permanently gluing the doors to the hinge or not, it is up to you. Actually, more often than not I do not glue the doors to the hinge but allow a bit of movement…..but like I said, it is up to you.


#12 Peter Lombardo

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 11:12 AM

Posted ImageIf the two wings do not sit flat on the table, Posted Imagejust bend and manipulate the wings to sit flush. It is not that difficult to bend this brass which is why it is the perfect material for this application. Take a minute to look over the hinge….it is important to be sure everything is level and most importantly, be sure the two wings are completely parallel and flat on the workbench….that will save you problems later on. Posted Image
Posted Image
Lastly, cut yourself two lengths of aluminum tubing just slightly longer than the two brass rod wings and slide them over the wings as I did here. Posted Image This hinge is now ready to be installed on the model. Normally, I tape the door in place from the outside, taking special care to get the gap as uniform as possible all around the door. A little extra care now will pay big dividends later. I lay the hinge on the inside of the model, on the bottom side, as the car model propped up on its side doing one side at a time and waiting for it to be secure before moving to the other. I very carefully, and I mean very carefully, apply a drop of super glue and I mean a drop the size of a sesame seed to the center of the aluminum tube. Be very careful not to move the hinge from the position you placed it and be very careful not to get any super glue into the hinge area where the rod slides into the tube. It is not difficult, but don’t be sloppy here, an ounce of precaution is worth a pound of pain later. Obviously, if super glue gets inside the tubes, you will not be able to open the door, which defeats the purpose of opening it in the first place, or you will not be able to remove the door for additional work on it. So be warned, just a drop to tack it to the car. Once it is secure, remove the tape and test the opening of the door and if you are satisfied that all is working well, you can get out the 5 minute epoxy mix up a small batch and permanently mount the hinge to the door. Go back to the picture of the Mercury’s door above, way above, and you will see that I used clear epoxy and a small piece of styrene shim to attach the aluminum tubs to the car and the door.

Now another word of caution here before we go any further. It is very important that you take particular care to mount the hinge so it is perpendicular to the side of the car. What I mean here is, many cars have curved and even complex curved sides. If you mount the hinge and it is not at a 90 degree angle to the ground, the door will not open parallel to the ground and that is not a good thing. Nothing likes sillier than a door that is leaning down, or up, once opened. It must be parallel to the ground, so you may have to place shims under one or more of the three mounting locations in order to make every thing square and level. With the Mercury, I have no issues with that as the car sides are rather flat, but you must keep that in mind when installing the hinges…take care now and you will be happy later.

Once that is dry, you can remove the door from the car by sliding the wings out of the tubes and continue on with the construction. That is one of the reasons I like this method of hinging doors, once it is done, the doors can be removed. When the build is nearing completion you have the choice of permanently gluing the doors to the hinge or not, it is up to you. Actually, more often than not I do not glue the doors to the hinge but allow a bit of movement…..but like I said, it is up to you.


Another side note here. Here is how you use this one style hinge to make either the door open in or out of the body. It is simply a matter of which direction you mount the hinge. Look at the two diagrams here, the first one, which is the style I am using on the Mercury, is to have the door open inward, as it does on a late model more modern car (yes, I know the Mercury is not a new car, but that is the beauty of this hinge, I make the choice of how it works and I think that a nice little modern touch for this Mercury is a door that opens inward) Posted Image and the second diagram is how it works for an older style build, where the door opens outside of the body panel. Posted Image

Now that the doors are opened, the door jams are in place, too big still, but in place and the doors are hinged and mounted to the car we can proceed. Next up is the interior door panels. Again, this Mercury has very easy door panels to open up. This kit was engineered back in the 1960’s and true to the style back then, it has what is referred to as a “tub” style interior. That is where the side panels are molded to the bottom, front and back of the interior. This has the front seat as a separate piece, but many of the early kits, you can see on some of the AMT reissues of kits from the 1960’s, have the seats molded into the tub. Anyway, the door panel seams are indicated clearly on the sides and using my round cutter blade in my Dremel tool, I made quick work of cutting to door panels free. You can use a saw blade or whatever you have handy to cut this apart. Again, once free, I block sanded the edges smooth and prepared to mount them to the car doors.

The first step is to get a feel for the distance you need to have between the inside of the outer door and the inside of the inter door panel. On the Mercury, that distance is rather large. It is 12 millimeters, which like I said is a big gap…most will be about half of that or less. I normally place the interior onto the door and, in this case, using Tena-X7r glue I glue the top edge of the interior panel to the door taking care to make sure that the panel will line up correctly when the interior tub is in place and the door is closed. Obviously, special care must be taken now to make sure it is all lined up correctly. So the interior panel is glued on and I then measured the gap between the door and the door panel. I made spacers out of an angle piece of stock and glued it in the inside of the door and interior panel. I made two spacers for each door, one a little smaller then the other because on the Mercury the distance at the front of the door is different from the distance t the rear of the door. That unit was set aside to dry and once dry and ready I mixed up a batch of Bondo putty. I filled the gap between the door panel and the door with the Bondo. Now, just as the Bondo sets up, it is still a bit soft so you can carefully cut it with a knife and get the bulk of the excess removed. Let the Bondo set completely and then sand it smooth. Posted Image I fill in any imperfections and low spots with Tamiya putty and later sand that smooth. In this shot you can see the Tamiya putty (gray) used to fix the low spots. Posted Image Here the door edge is sanded down and the door is very close to finished. Posted Image Here are the two doors and hinges side by side. You can see how they are a mirror image of each other.

Edited by Peter Lombardo, 08 January 2012 - 11:13 AM.


#13 Peter Lombardo

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 11:14 AM

Posted Image
Now is the time to fit the doors and trim the excess off of the door jams that we installed after the door was opened. The jams need to be trimmed just so the door, with the interior panel in place can close past them. Posted ImageHere are the doors in place and you can see how the passenger door has a nice sung fit and the interior panel on the driver side fits into the interior tub. I may as a few small shims to the interior opening to tighten it up, but for the most part the doors are done. Posted Image Here the doors are open and you can see what I was talking about how the leading edge of the door closes inward Posted Image

Ok, that’s it for the doors. I hope I didn’t confuse you too much with this, I think it explains and shows the process pretty well. The next installment is how I am doing the hood scoops and that will be followed by how I am creating new extended taillights for this puppy.


#14 Peter Lombardo

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 11:27 AM

Just for the record, the photo posting and editor is not making me happy, it really stinks. I will continue to try and work within the parameters, but it is so finicky and rarely works properly when you do multiple postings. Sorry, I just think in this day and age with technology as it is, this forum deserves better.

#15 gpugh1976

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 04:38 PM

Nice tutorial!!! Thank you!

#16 Rob McKee

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 04:44 PM

Thanks for the tutorial. I'll be looking to give this a try on my next project.