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John Goschke

Member Since 25 Apr 2007
Offline Last Active Today, 10:27 AM
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Topics I've Started

'58 Ford Fairlane 500 Club Victoria! New Photos of an Ancient Build!

17 August 2014 - 07:57 AM

Re-built in about 1978, I think, from a pink brush-painted original '58 annual. At the time I had a 1/1 parked outside in this color combo, so this is an idealized replica of that slightly rusty and tired old Ford!

 

I rebuilt the model with a better chassis from an AMT '59 Ford. The "cruiser" skirts are modified from custom pieces from the AMT '59 Ford with the chrome moldings added from strip plastic. Referring to the real car I also did a lot of work reshaping the windshield and rear window molding, headlight bezels, and adding the rear license plate recess. The '58 taillight lenses were custom pieces in another kit that I used to replace the mold-on originals.

 

The fender ornaments and wipers were scratched from plastic and aluminum strip. I also attempted, with partial success, to scribe in the cowl vent detail missing from the kit. The door handles were cut from an AMT '57 Ford and the mirrors were AMT custom parts modifed to resemble Ford mirrors and covered with foil (which is looking kind of funky these days!) A strip of plastic was added inside each side window opening to represent the window channels characteristic of the Ford and Edsel hardtops of the period.

 

The chrome was somewhat worn so I repaired it with BMF, which all these years later is showing its age. The rest of the trim is also the foil applied in the '70s. The epoxy used to apply the Mark Gustavson "Putty Thrower" photoetched emblems in about 1980 has turned a bit yellow over time.

 

Every now and then I get the urge to strip this and rebuild it, but always reconsider, deciding to leave it as-is as a memento of that time. This was really the first time I looked at an existing kit and tried to fix the flaws that made it inaccurate using techniques that I still use today.

 

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Revell's New '57 BelAir Convertible: Fixing the Funky Doortops!

14 August 2014 - 05:49 PM

In the initial thread on this kit there has been discussion over the shape of doortop and beltline since the first photos were posted of the test shots. Something seemed to be off, but without the kit in hand it was difficult to conclusively say that it was wrong. Now all these months later we can safely say that indeed it is wrong. Not to worry though...

Fortunately, for once, here is a new kit nit-pick that's pretty easy to fix! Just get out your flat needle file and reshape the door top and the beltline into the dip in the top of the quarter panel so that it complements the curve of the body side molding. In doing so you'll lose the beltline molding, but that can easily be replaced with thin styrene strip. I haven't gone so far as to do the molding here, but mainly wanted to illustrate this fix that will go a long way in helping this kit realize its potential.

 
Here's the driver's side with the doortop and beltline reshaped into the dip. I used my favorite flat needle file, followed by wetsanding with a fine grit sanding stick, then used a razor saw to recut the door line.
 
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Shown below is the unmodified passenger's side showing the unrefined contour of the beltline, where it's appears straight and level from the vent window, then seems to almost have a hump across the door line and into the dip. It took perhaps 15 or 20 minutes to correct the driver's side.
 
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In the view below from the passenger's side looking across to the driver's side you can a clear idea of how little material needs to be removed to fix the issue. Below that is a comparable view looking across at the passenger's side showing that there's plastic to spare for reshaping that contour.
 
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Doing this mockup, I also wanted to see whether the windshield would be an improvement over the similar assembly in the '55 ragtop kit. It does seem to be a significant improvement, with the frame fitting onto a recessed edge in the cowl, rather than on top of the cowl as on the '55 kit, so the lower molding on '57 the doesn't stick up so ridiculously high. The windshield itself is quite thin, with good clarity, and when installed doesn't look as bulbous as that on the '55 kit, however, it does still have a slight top to bottom curve which was not present on the real car. The shape of the vent window frame is very nice. The frame and vent window frames would probably best be stripped of their chrome, then meticulously fitted to the body and reshaped across the header to achieve the proper fit of the up-top, after which they could be foiled. On the real car the leading edge of the roof overlaps much farther onto the windshield header, which seems flatter in curvature than that on the kit. I think with careful work this is much more fixable than it was on the '55. For those who call this nit-picking, you might consider that the shape of the roofline, window openings, their proportions and their relationship to one another are arguably the most important factors in capturing the character of a car in miniature.
 
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A couple last thoughts... in looking at the convertible kit with roof and windshield mocked up, I couldn't resist getting out the dividers and comparing the height of the windshield opening at the center with that on Revell's '57 150 two-door sedan. The kit sedan's opening is slightly smaller than that on the convertible, which was not the case in the 1/1 world, where the sedans used a noticeably taller windshield. What's up with that? And a little further fiddling with the dividers reveals that the old Trophy Series AMT '57 BelAir roof would fit as nicely on this kit as it did on the '55 convertible!

Vintage Kit Review: AMT's Other 1/25th '57 Thunderbird

14 July 2014 - 12:50 PM

While I fondly remember building AMT's Trophy Series '57 T-bird "Advanced Customizing Kit" with all those cool parts and the all-chrome engine when I was a kid, since I've grown up (using the term loosely) it's a kit that has bugged me with its clunky and oddly raked chrome windshield frame. Later issues, with increasing amounts of flash and a decidedly strange-looking optional hardtop haven't helped. I've looked into adapting the better windshield from AMT's later '56 T-bird but it seems a bit too large (as does the kit overall, except for the engine, which seems too small.)

 

So, with an increasing desire to build a '57 T-bird, I started considering ways to improve the windshield frame and the top in the former Trophy Series kit. Searching for a good example of the kit on ebay occasionally turned up another '57 'Bird by AMT in the Craftsman series or the "Custom Jr." series. Looking at these kits closer it appeared that their molded-on windshield frame was more accurate in appearance in these simpler kits than that in the other kit. Not only that, but the top looked different as well. After seeing a listing with better than average photos I decided to buy one and see if it might be a better way to go for the build I'd been thinking about. After receiving it and taking a look, I thought the differences were at least interesting enough to share with you guys.

 

I bought the earlier Customizing Jr. kit, which has an unusually clean box design which appeals to those of us in the graphic arts! This model was also released as a Craftsman kit, molded in pale blue.

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The Custom Jr. kit is molded in bright red. Included in the "highly detailed basic parts" is the stuffed hound dog seen in a couple other early '60s AMT kits!

  One feature I like, having foiled a few horn rings, is the cleanly molded, chrome plated steering wheel! Note that the screws common in most AMT kits of the period have been replaced by pins molded onto the chassis.

  Axles are the thicker splined variety seen in other Junior and Craftsman series kits. In this case they're too long, needing about 1/8" cut off to achieve a sensible track width.

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One important detail difference for stock '57 T-bird and '57 Ford fans is that the center of the wheel covers (left) have "FORD" lettering, unlike those in the original Trophy Series kit (right).

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When I Was Young & Dumb: Building the Unbuildable '56 Chevy!

22 June 2014 - 06:11 AM

Here are some vintage shots of a circa-1977 build of Revell's notoriously "unbuildable" '56 Chevy two door sedan kit. Built in trade to the owner of the real car for a group of about 25 old, rebuildable models, including a '58 Ford hardtop. Got it finished after destroying one body trying to fix a warp. Guys who remember this kit from the '60s no doubt remember the cool artwork of a green custom with the door open that tempted them to buy, then discovered the nightmare of trying to build it!

I made the job more difficult by consenting to build it as the owner's six cylinder, Powerglide car rather than the V-8 stick the kit came with. Also made the hood, trunk, and the (out of scale) BelAir emblems from scratch. Please excuse that crazy antenna!

 

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'58 Bonneville Hardtop Conversion: Aug. 15 Update!

23 May 2014 - 04:35 AM

Now She's a Hardtop!

 

A while back I was fortunate to be able to pick up this really clean built-up '58 Bonneville ragtop. Stripped what little paint there was and gave her an attitude adjustment and new rolling stock...

 

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Problem was the car I really wanted to build was a hardtop, plus, without a roof it's real obvious that the interior in this old kit is kinda shallow and not very detailed. Wish it was a hardtop but, unfortunately, AMT's Trophy Series '58 Impala won't fit without more work than I care to do...

Then a pretty horrendous hardtop body turns up on ebay that looks like it has a salvageable roof... Sold!

After several hours under the scalpel (and other sharp implements) the main surgery's complete...

 

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