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About swede70

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    MCM Regular

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  • Scale I Build 1:25 and 1:12

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  • Location Fraser, MI
  • Full Name Michael Thomas Kotwick

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swede70's Activity

  1. swede70 added a post in a topic 1:25th Motor Max '86 Dodge Diplomat A38 Police Package modified diecast   

    Very neat!  Thanks for the kind comments and interest displayed.  Since I last posted combined the resin wheel covers with the resin wheels, although after doing so it seemed that the caps stuck out a bit more than I'd desire.  Absent the hub caps, the resin pressed steel six-slot wheels are really outstanding, but maybe less so with the caps in place.  I ended up removing the resin wheels and substituting in the Monogram '70 Roadrunner wheels and combining these with drilled ventilation hole Police-spec hubcaps that I sent to a vacuum chroming outfit to come up with what seemed the best compromise.  I'll attach a photo or two to this post in a week or so, taking care to also include a shot of my then-prized 1983 A38 Plymouth Gran Fury with was equipped with everything but the accessory oil cooler; i.e. 4BBL 318, light blue silicone hoses, the small oil pressure gauge, the 125 mph instrument cluster, as well as what factory stereo equipment could be retrofitted from the then common Fifth Avenue iteration of the venerable M-body.  Oh - and yes, it did have twin functional spotlights as well as the disc-style interior roof light!  Again, flattered I am to notice this thread resurrected...
    Mike K./Swede70
  2. swede70 added a post in a topic Nube Question: What products/process are you using to polish diecast?   

    Hi Ted,
    If it helps, when scrubbing and/or polishing something I've picked up used or hitherto displayed out in the open, there are a few things I do and can recommend.  I've found that your usual dish soap leaves spots, although if one employs actual car wash soap this tendency is greatly diminished.  Sometimes I fill a large sink with the soapy solution, while even textured floors can come through o.k. as long as one doesn't foolishly try to scrub them.  For light residue visible for the imperfect removal of clear tabs on any opening panels, a bit of Goo Gone helps, while always err on the side of something less hot and toxic before daring to employ something potentially damaging.  As for polishing, I can recommend Mequiar's Quik Detailer (or similar car show touch up wax spray/cleaners in a bottle) which works well on both paint and die cast plastic 'glass'.  Plastic 'glass' can in some instances be polished, whereas I was surprised to notice how well Hwy. 61 Chrysler E-body glass responds to careful efforts to enhance the same thus.  Lastly, I'll scrub tires down with a 50/50 mix of water and Armor All, given 100% Armor All tends towards the greasy and sticky which isn't strictly desired.  Kind regards...
    Mike K./Swede70
  3. swede70 added a post in a topic 1/18 Diecast dead?   

    Working part-time within an area automobilia shop, I've witnessed a fair amount of individuals opting for the sealed resin models even as prices overall have inched towards the moon.  These customers are most sensitive to the stance of the topic in question, and in particular, the quality of the exterior finish.  Other considerations include the usual opening features - but surprisingly not always.  Locally customer traffic is oriented towards technical or styling landmarks as well as vintage racing topics that haven't strictly been done in 1:18th before.  This revealed, there fewer people that will automatically purchase product based upon simple shelf appeal.  I simply turn away at the $150 mark, although for a select few this hasn't strictly halted their collecting habit.  I suppose too that few purchases translates as less pressure exerted upon storage capacity, while others have decided forthwith to embrace 1:43rd, sprinkling their collections with very select 1:18th and even 1:12th additions.  As for myself, I register shock and awe again and again.   Do these fellows have zeppelin hangers to display their stuff? 
    Regarding U.S. topics, some residual demand exists for the Autoworld 1:18 reissues of the old ERTL tools, though it should be said that the color combination should really pop and/or represent a period promotional scheme if one is to expect a particular model to move.  More pointedly, prices overall have risen to the extent that yesterday's pattern of the mass purchase of every color and every release is pretty much history.  In particular, I'm not sure how some of the other producers struggling along now can clear a profit with only 20% of their new releases (or alternatively finished rereleases) finding a buyer. Another factor infrequently mentioned is the quiet flood of old material coming back onto the market at depressed prices for past owners clearing out collections or as a result of a seemingly endless wave of estate sales one atop another; i.e. more people are inclined to hunt for attractively priced used examples.  Putting it all together equates to a definite strain upon the traditional lower and middle end of the market, whereas something will always remain of the bottom and top; i.e. the near-toy vs. the archival piece purchased dearly. 
    As an aside, too much indifferently tooled and clumsily conceived product washed onto the market during the early years of the Age of Diecast.  That the product sold etched away at the base of the unassembled plastic model car hobby is something I deeply regret, although as the floodtide of so-so product recedes, perhaps what will remain won't be judged so harshly in sum?  Many potential purchasers of this or that aren't strictly outfitted with the comprehensive skills set to capture what they desire in-scale via the kit route, while know too that refinishing aspects of a fair to good 1:18th scale diecast model can be an appealing way to reembrace the kit building hobby for being limited in nature and not requiring mastery of all aspects of fabrication and finish work. 
    Perhaps more reason then to modify away given that quality detail cannot be reasonably afforded 'out of the box' then?   The days of 'Cheap China' are definitely done, whereas most of what I plan in scale is based upon what already exists within the marketplace.  I have about forty 1:18th models, a half dozen 1:25th projects, and a few 1:32 slot cars employed as static display pieces.  Any producer imagining that demand I represent will keep them in the black looking forward are destined to be deeply disappointed.  Thanks...
    Mike K. 
  4. swede70 added a post in a topic '68 Javelin--Promo Rescue   

    Very neat - I love early Javelins.  I regret that I didn't stock up on Modelhaus replacement tail light lenses with the proper 'Javelin' script when these were briefly available, so to see another '68 with the correct tail light assembly briefly causes me pain given I didn't act when I ought to have consistent with planning for tomorrow.  Thanks for sharing...
    Mike K.
  5. swede70 added a post in a topic 1970 Jo-Han Javelin SST Mark Donohue rehab.   

    Thanks for the unexpected and kind replies all...
    Actually I maintain a sort of 'Home for Wayward Jo-Han American Motors Javelins', and as such one project feeds into another.  Foil and elaborate grille paint masking will feature on another '70 Mark Donohue Javelin kit build, very likely to be painted Scarab Gold less stripes but with the pressed steel 'Rebel Machine' wheels.  I'm also partial to the race release front and rear bumpers with live without the egregious and cast-in 'JAVELIN' identification!  Both an early-season and late-season '70 Trans Am racer are 'in-development' as it were - see below for my Riverside Donohue entry sans finish.

    As to this 'faux-mo' effort, I have collected some parts consistent with going a step further with the wheels, although if I can't come up with something that mounts true and remains stable the parts will be set aside or rolled into a proper kit project.  Seen below are a set of Missing Link Magnum 500's cast in two separate parts to better facilitate paintwork.  '69-'70 (maybe later?) AMC Magnum 500's were finished a bit differently than industry standard, featuring as they did a semi-gloss black finish across the entire face of the center wheel stamping versus leaving the five raised spines exposed and chrome plated.  Further, they dusted the semi-gloss black surface with what appears to be silver paint.  Given masking won't be the awful trial it might otherwise be with the Missing Link product, hopefully I can go somewhere in this direction.  A silver-painted raised center trim cap as well as some means to mask the raised chrome lug detail is also being pondered...
    Anticipated troubles revolve around firmly mating the new Magnum 500's to available tire options as well the existing Jo-Han promo wheel axle mounts per se.  I resolutely don't want to cut up the promo chassis in any way, whereas if the resulting wheel/tire assemblies aren't as strong or do not roll as well as the usual promo fare, then again I'll not use what I've worked up.  Tire options are as shown; i.e. the new pad-printed AMT usual, but also the old MPC vinyl renditions first seen on promotional models way back in 1971.  I might take some old Jo-Han Rebel Machine wheels and apply a length of Tamiya tape to dimensionally 'take up the gap' between the radius of the wheels versus tires, create a mold and cast the results, etc.  Although progress might be slow, nevertheless - watch this space.

    Although hardly rating as a major effort for the week that was, I did swap in the barely salvageable standard promo glass into the '70 promo shell hoping that the extra mount material cast-in to the base of the 'glass' would result in better and tighter fit all around.  No luck in this regard, although doesn't it look nice parked next to my '68 promotional of the same topic? 

    ...and lastly, a purely optional celebration of period Jo-Han Javelin box art, positioned if you will atop all my other cases.  Thanks for skimming this update.
    Mike K.

  6. swede70 added a topic in On The Workbench   

    1970 Jo-Han Javelin SST Mark Donohue rehab.
    A brief promotional model rehabilitation project this.  Here is seen a recent $8 antique store purchase originally painted in some mystery black enamel finish complete with lurid decals, Jo-Han Maverick promotional model wheels, plus scale rear slicks!  Happily the awful paint finish fell away for delicate efforts made to strip the same, whereas given this Big Bad Orange example remained far from perfect (i.e. both A-pillars are twinged if you will), I thought I'd make a mild effort to create an unofficial Mark Donohue edition of what remained (see the adjoining period advertising image).  A spare Jo-Han 1970 Mark Donohue Trans Am spoiler was added with white glue after painting the part with Tamiya aerosol - a fair match it seems.  Noticed too will be the very acceptable Fred Cady '70 Javelin SST stripe work rarely seen applied.
    The rims are Jo-Han Magnum 500's with promo-style axle mounting points, while more appropriate tires perhaps might otherwise have taken the form of Goodyear Polyglas GT's with the tiny raised white letters.  A defense can be offered up to the extent that Javeiin SST promotional models in '70 typically featured redlines. Given this, I opted to use a set of Stevens International vinyl tires from the early 1990's I had which seemed to employ the original Jo-Han tire molds but substituting softer material and featuring much better quality control on the redline detail itself.  Obsolete kit glass replaces the damaged original fitment (not fitting too well in full truth), whereas the front and rear bumpers have been rechromed.  Thanks for examining this brief post...
    Mike K.

    • 10 replies
  7. swede70 added a post in a topic Where to find 1:18 Detail Upgrade and Accessory kits   

    Yes - it's o.k. to inquire about the measurements, price and availability.  The first foam board reflects my first effort to assemble that which I had created molds for about three years ago, whereas the second smaller board better reflects what I do now.  I maintain a list relating what I've done in the past in 1:18th and specifically what this or that product offers to the enthusiast in terms of utility, albeit the same isn't matched to my current inventory of molds nor are the individual items priced per se.  Perhaps a quarter of the products roughly seen on the second board are stockpiled as copies ready to go. 
    Please appreciate that the urethane molds I create wear with use and become more or less useless after about twenty five pulls, hence what might at first appear ready to make may in fact be obsolete short of my creating a new mold to pump the same out again.  Given that the creation of new molds requires the purchase of replacement two-part urethane (about $30), there will be times I'd be reluctant to create a new mold if I didn't strictly require a resupply of said part or assembly.  Resin to fill the molds is also sold in about $30 increments, hence I'll alternate between pouring often and readily, and then the next week or so not pour at all.  If 1:18th scale modifying constituted a bigger field with orders coming in all the time, I would have justification to increase the pace of my efforts and assume costs for part replication I don't strictly need myself, but at present I'll restrict what I do to copies drawn from existing molds and what desirable stuff might be done for cross pollinating interests with others present here..  
    Given my fairly narrow focus in relation to 1:18th, I try to identify and effectively copy the best of what I've seen on models of particular interest.  Locally, myself and another 1:18th modifier have been privy to more than a few blown to bits models yielding up some excellent subassemblies.  As an example, the best large 1:18th scale oil breather I've seen is on the Lane '68 Shelby GT500, whereas the nicest smaller round oil breather seen by this poster would be situated on the 1:18th ERTL Authentic's '71 Charger with the custom valve covers.  As for Holley center float four barrel carburetors, the 1:18 GMP Trans Am Camaro seems to offer up the best example going, although I found another version which works very well indeed for inline application such as those seen on '67 to '68 Shelby Racing Co. Trans Am Mustangs.  Continuing on, the Hwy. 61 '63 Pontiac Tempest seems to offer up the best coil I've seen, whereas I've found and copied two others.  Once a very fine rendering of something is made available, justifying the use of something decidedly second rate becomes harder. 
    And so it goes...  Currently I maintain two large cork boards with the best and brightest examples of isolated assemblies positioned side-by-side so that I might compare each for applicability relative to my projects.  Cheaper models typically offer up less in the way of well rendered parts, whereas more expensive models almost always offer up more in the way of promise.  It might be best to articulate in brief what project you have in mind to best allow me to guide the inquirer to what might be on offer.  In the coming days I'll buff up my old inventory list and send it to those who'd wish to inquire - thanks. 
    Mike K.
  8. swede70 added a post in a topic Where to find 1:18 Detail Upgrade and Accessory kits   

    Though wishing not to over promise with regards to stocks and availability of such, I've done my own casting in 1:18th scale consistent with supporting an ongoing personal interest in the '66-'72 SCCA Trans Am Series.  To date I've done carburetors, wheels, ignition pieces, remote oil filter mounts, oil breathers and coolers, seats, electrical switchboards, etc.  It helps if our interests overlap for I haven't any strict interest in doing contract work, but all the same is someone is looking in and wonders if I have spares for creating molds of this or that, feel free to gently inquire via PM.  I've attached a pair of images depicting the kind of stuff I've done for myself as a kind of ready reference.  Thanks...
    Mike K./'Swede70'

  9. swede70 added a post in a topic Swede Savage Trans Am AAR 'Cuda Hwy. 61 based project   

    ...a mild update of sorts.  Given that I haven't the equivalent of a stack of low-cost, unassembled 1:18th plastic kits to draw spares from, I must instead search intently for parts from damaged models or those on hand for items that might be copied, modified and copied, or in some instances scratch built to suit my needs and to push my projects ahead.  What is seen in the photograph is a series of open face molds as well as two-part urethane molds I've worked up consistent with creating needed supplies.   Employing such, GMP Trans Am Camaro Hurst shifter assemblies can be reproduced (to later be vacuum plated unlike the standard GMP issue), a Hurst reverse lock out lever is seen (employed on the AAR 'Cuda's then), while further seen is a Shelby Collectibles GT 350R shift boot that will overlay vacuum plated resin plates with small divots ground into the corners to vaguely represent set screws.  Positioned in the middle is a new one-piece mold for a GMP Trans Am Camaro seat mount that I hadn't done up until now. 
    Also noticed will be the happy result of efforts to reproduce the signal light lenses specific to the race AAR 'Cudas and positioned on the roll cage main hoop positioned approximately two-thirds of the way up on either side.  Tail lights from a 1:25th scale AMT 1968 Corvette which feature faint radial ribs across the surface and likewise come to a soft point as such were carefully cut out and isolated, whereupon the four I had were used to create the urethane mold seen on the far right.  The mold was passed to a fellow scale enthusiast known for his quality 1:32nd scale period slot car windshield reproductions, who very kindly employed his methods to yield me extremely serviceable examples in clear resin. 
    In particular, clear resin mixed and poured at room temperature typically clouds for very small bubbles remaining visible in the mix, while drawing the material into any mold often proves problematic.  For much trial and error effort, heating both the resin as well as placing the mold or molds employed in a toaster over across hours can ameliorate the problem, and thankful I am to be able to lean upon those who've done the arduous work necessary to perfect the problem at a cottage industry-level.  Though difficult to make out, the results are fine indeed and happy I am for his evident knowledge and skill - kind thanks to Brad in SE Michigan.  Again, thank you each for looking in and contributing in a personally valued way. 
    Mike K.
  10. swede70 added a post in a topic New from Motown!   

    Greetings and welcome to the board...
    I too would be a Downriver Model Car Club/Dearborn, MI. member, whereas I thought I'd 'shout out' regarding my interest in like topics.  Indeed, the club meetings are certainly worth taking in to partake of the fellowship on offer on the skills in evidence.  As for me, I've attached a solitary image capturing my small decommissioned fleet of a certain type of sedan:

    ...the AUTOart Crown Victoria is rather rare now, whereas the UT Caprice too is not seen everyday.  Thanks...
    Mike K.
  11. swede70 added a post in a topic Swede Savage Trans Am AAR 'Cuda Hwy. 61 based project   

    Thanks for the creative input.  Indeed, there is a Gurney retrospective being held at the Petersen Museum as I write this, while there has been a modern trickle of period SCCA Trans Am-related merchandise produced by HW in recent years that has also intrigued.  In time I'd like to gather up a reproduction of the HW Sizzlers Trans Am AAR 'Cuda to display near to my 1:18th efforts, the former being the rechargeable electric motor powered iterations of the usual 1:64th scale fare HW is known for.  In addition, I have a copy of the period Don Getz Goodyear Swede Savage 'Cuda poster as well as the old HW 'Racing 48's' Dan Gurney promotional poster and am happy to have each.
    ...and now a brief update.  Below will be seen my efforts to create reasoned 4-point cages for both the 'Cuda and the Challenger.  When refined each structure will 'grow' further bars, etc., whereas at this point it was simply an effort to come up with something symmetrical and square twice over.  In particular I could extend the bars securing the cage to the floor pan only so far forward given that attachment hardware and structure interferes with such. 
    Some added reinforcement of the X-brace center is noticed on the Challenger chassis, while some modest updating of the fuel cell inlets might also be discerned for perusing what I've posted here.  Finally, the 'X' marked on each rear bulkhead illustrates where a single roll cage bar will sprout forth to attach to the main hoop corner of each scale replica. Thanks for following along...

  12. swede70 added a post in a topic Swede Savage Trans Am AAR 'Cuda Hwy. 61 based project   

    Thanks Ed for the kind notice in relation to the Bob Tarrozi material as well as the Lime Rock vintage racing event program cover reference.  I try hard to collect all the source material that I may, while having extra eyes searching for additional materials is always helpful and deeply flattering. 
    Another update then...

    ...seen above will be the two interiors taking shape.  Details to notice include the beginnings of a pair of scratch built roll cages, the differing design of two raised driveshaft humps looking back, differing headrest support and pad detail, and seats effectively copied from a GMP Trans Am Camaro part.  The rear bulkheads are cut away at the corners to accommodate the plastic 'glass' installation on each of the scale E-bodies.  The Challenger chassis is in the foreground, whereas the AAR 'Cuda chassis is in the background.  Given that all the apparently missing bits and pieces seen on the Challenger chassis are affixed and in place on the up-on-wheels 'Cuda not seen here, the two models are effectively matched up for progress made thus far. 
    Other things seen are the thickened core radiator with scratch built end tanks, the main roll hoop signal light mounts seen on the 'Cuda, as well revised Autodynamics Challenger air cleaner housing based formed from an aluminum wine bottle top.  An O-ring was sourced for the fresh air seal, while I may cast this and squash it down a bit to better approximate what is needed here. 
    ...more of the same, with the head rest support structure and pads seen to better effect.  Soon I'll attempt to fabricate forward members of the roll cage as well as the support structure affixed to the X-brace in pairs and welded to the floor.   As a side note, select period photographs depict the Challenger as having rather thick foam pads painted black replacing the interior door trim, and hence the cut out panels reflect an attempt to duplicate this detail. 

    ...and these constitute a pair of extra bodies plus stripped floors and chassis to allow greater latitude for rough handling and quick trial and error fit concerning the roll cage structure being worked up.  Yes - many a Hwy. 61 E-body gave its life to the creation of these scale efforts! 
    As a further update for those intrigued by the topics chosen by this builder, apparently ACME is intending to do both the Autodynamics Challenger as well as the AAR 'Cuda as tribute cars based on the Hwy 61 tool.   Slated for second and third quarter release in 2017, I can only hope that what I do here will not strictly be in vain.  They'll list for $129.95, hence some question exists about just how much in the way of new parts they'll tool for whatever is eventually availed to us.  Thanks for reviewing this update...
    Mike K.
  13. swede70 added a post in a topic Swede Savage Trans Am AAR 'Cuda Hwy. 61 based project   

    ...this would be my Swede Savage Hwy. 61-based project a bit further along then.  Considerable work have been performed to bring it up to the level of what has been done to my Autodynamics Challenger, and hence the post.  Two full race chassis are being built up independently with all the attendant tubing and panel work, although I've yet to photograph such.  This understood, know that more work has been done than is suggested by photos thus far provided. M.K.

    Mike K.
  14. swede70 added a post in a topic Anyone know of a good Pub around here?   

    Hi Jim,
    No great surprise for my post, but here too I am given the Diecast Pub II is no more.  Also willing to share information, insights and parts related to period road racing topics in 1:18th scale conversions.  Though typically low-key, I'm always working upon something.  Kind thanks for all that you've repeatedly and consistently brought to the scene however manifest. 
    Mike K.
  15. swede70 added a post in a topic The First L-88   

    Looks terrific and a great project idea this.  Thanks for sharing...
    Mike K.