This is the Entex 1/16 scale 1905 Rolls-Royce 15HP, one of the very first Rolls-Royce cars. Henry Royce had built his first car, the Royce 10, in 1904. Charles Rolls was the owner of an early motorcar dealership, C.S. Rolls and Co. When he saw the Royce 10, he was so impressed with the car that he told Henry Royce that his dealership would take as many cars as Royce could deliver, and he would sell them badged as "Rolls-Royce." The next year they formally partnered, and Rolls-Royce was born. That first year of "official" Rolls-Royce cars (1905), there where four models, a 10HP 2-cyliner car, a 15HP 3-cylinder car (this model), a 20HP 4-cylinder car, and the top-of-the-line 30HP 6-cylinder car.
This model is similar to the Mercer I posted recently as far as detail goes… it's well detailed in some ways, and incredibly simplified in others. For example, the engine. The whole top half of the engine is one single piece, with a handful of parts that get added… but the engine looks very crude and poorly detailed. So much so that I decided not to bother trying to detail it. I glued the hood shut on this one.
However, I did add a lot of other detail to the kit. The running board and fender brackets were very thin and flimsy, so I replaced them all with scratchbuilt ones made of brass rod. I also sanded down the interior side of the firewall and added a real wood dashboard, made of birch veneer that I stained and varnished. The windshield frame is also scratchbuilt of real wood to replace the kit piece. The windshield "gasket" is made of Evergreen U-channel, and the windshield was cut from a sheet of thin Lexan using the kit piece as a template (the kit windshield was way too thick and had swirls in the plastic that could not be polished out). The rear-view mirror was also scratchbuilt of styrene, brass rod, and thin sheet aluminum (cut from a pie pan!).
The seats have a typical "diamond tufted" pattern, but the molded-in buttons were so small and faint that they were basically invisible, so I drilled out each one with a pin vise and used sewing pins to replace them.
The molded plastic convertible top was improved in several ways. First, going by my reference photos, i used a pin vise to drill out holes for each brass fastener that holds the top material to the top bows. I sanded the top to scuff up the surface (inside and out), then applied wood stain to the top and wiped it off, leaving enough on the top to give it a more dimensional look. When the stain was dry, I used fine sandpaper to remove some of the stain from the high points to further accent the top. Finally the top was sprayed with flat clear to get rid of any shine from the stain. The fasteners that connect the top to the bows are tiny brass nails left over from a wooden ship kit (they're actually the nails you use to fasten the hull planking!). I also made new top bows by soaking strips of basswood overnight, then bending each bow over a form to get the correct bends. Once dry, each bow was stained, varnished, and glued to the underside of the top. I cut off the lower parts of the kit-supplied top bows, painted them gloss black, and glued them to my scratchbuilt wooden bows. I also drilled out holes along the lower edge of the top at the back and used slightly larger, round head brass nails to represent the fasteners that attach the top to the body. And the straps that run between the front of the top and the frame rails are made of painted strips of masking tape, with "hardware" scratchbuilt of brass wire.
The tool boxes on the running boards are also made of real wood, stained and varnished, to replace the plastic kit pieces. The belts are masking tape and the hardware is brass wire.
As far as the wild color scheme… I was going to paint the model a very "proper" and respectable dark green, but I thought the car needed a little more pizzazz… so I went with a red chassis, wheels and undersides of the fenders. It may not be a "typical" Rolls-Royce color scheme, but I like it! Paint is Rustoleum Hunter Green and Gloss Red.
There were a few problems along the way… some due to the kit itself and poor engineering, and some were self-inflicted, like my decision to make the fender brackets out of brass rod. It took a lot of tedious trial and error to get the brackets bent to the right shape to hold the fenders in the correct position. Also, by replacing the kit's top bows with scratchbuilt wooden ones, getting the pivot points of the top bows to match up with the holes on the sides of the seats was a real pain… but I like the look of the real wood bows.