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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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  1. Greetings, Modest stuff in the main, but some reference materials have been isolated consistent with fabricating all that might be required to replicate the Watt's linkage setup, the sway bar installation and shocks/pickup points for the same across the rear suspension on my T/G Firebird projects. Provided below is a current (well - as 'current' as this post!) sale listing of the B.F. Goodrich 'Tirebird' which affords most that a few chassis photos even as it's running a Ford 9 inch rear end not featured in 1970, or rather the season that was. Even as the 1:1 vehicle is currently Chevrolet-powered, no one could doubt that the work performed upon this racer, the photographs and presentation of the topic for sale aren't done to a high standard. Something to bookmark then... https://www.americanmusclecarz.com/vehicles/458/1970-pontiac-firebird-trans-am Dumpster diving into my store of ERTL Firebird spares afforded me enough to find half of a scrap body shell as well as half of a scrap chassis so that I might have a scale engineering hack to work up the aforementioned rear suspension. A plug was fabricated to replace the cast-in pressed steel standard fuel tank detail as before, whereas the fuel cell housing just needed to be accurate enough to capture the dimensions of what I'd worked up before where material would face the rear axle looking forward and to be accurate enough for depth. At this point, I just don't want handle my work up on wheels more than I must if some other means to sort things safely can be found. I do have a 1:18th Hwy. '61 1969 Camaro chassis which reveals beautifully rendered rear shock mounts I hope to integrate here, whereas a 1:18th Yat Ming/Road Legends 1969 Firebird Trans Am was pilfered consistent with isolating it's very nicely captured air cleaner lid profile which can be used on my '70 Laguna Seca effort. Lastly and hardly of huge interest, some further application yields a hitherto missing panel for the driveline tunnel overlay structure as seen below. Thanks for your review of this project update... Mike K./Swede70
  2. Greetings, Trying to match whatever work I've done on one iteration before proceeding to another step, here the '70 Laguna Seca sans spoilers entry is similarly up on wheels with all of the interior parts tucked inside. The front lip flares were glued on and subsequently blended in, hence this was a nice uptick in relation to exterior appearance, whereas deliberate sanding and shaping has each more or less matching the bulk of the '70 Mid-Ohio effort even as it would be good to reduce the mass of these still further. Chassis refinements with regards to working up appropriate front and rear sway bars plus links and mounts in addition to the Watt's link installation out back is next up and hopefully something not entailing much risk to what I've performed to date. Thanks for your review of this ongoing project... Certainly the topic looks quite different without all of the Firebird Trans Am-model specific bits... Homologation hiccups witnessed the Trans-Am model specific aerodynamic appendages, fender air extraction vents and shaker hood scoop disallowed at the first race of the '70-season, hence this model reflects hurried team attempts to basically run a standard Firebird at the Laguna Seca, CA event. Hard to grasp from other photos, an attempt has been made to match the opening profile of each standard wheel arch as per period SCCA rules. Mike K./Swede70
  3. ...just the '70 Mid-Ohio effort back on wheels with all of the interior paneling and residual stock interior trim in-place, this mated to matching flared body hitherto isolated off to one corner. Each dashboard was trimmed from below even as the dash pad remains largely untouched much like the actual racers, fitting the driveline hump overlay with the CDI voltage regulator assembly/assemblies also calling the area home. Happily, the radiator support wearing a cast resin clone GMP '70 GTO Judge radiator fits cleanly. Space is tight for the tubular front sway bar mounted atop the subframe, although nothing too serious was discovered for test fitting things as-witnessed below. Note too how the radiator support to the fender braces were cut out, the wheel liner indentations plugged to clean up matters here besides. Moving along, a pair of steering column/steering wheel assemblies were combined to isolate the soft steering wheel rim from one, while the other had its honeycomb center trim cap ground off and flat, the spokes from this same steering wheel drilled through with a pin vise before the now-separate rim was (temporarily) joined to it. Less stress on the steering wheel spokes, a cleaner finish across the hub center was made possible, while greater flexibility is afforded regarding how things may be painted. Yes - more than one ERTL Firebird has given it's life to the cause of making these modified diecast projects a reality. Given the dashboards can come into contact with the interior door trim and so prevent full closure of doors, some mild reshaping of the pad ends was likewise performed. More invisible work, but nice then to see this example up on wheels. The model is simply wearing a coat of Tamiya White Primer as seen earlier. The '70 Laguna Seca effort will be further sorted to match what's on view here, although each model requires further chassis work hitherto avoided before paint will be applied. Thanks... The door handle mounting holes as well as exterior side mirror mounts/holes were plugged long ago, with separate and distinct chromed Welly '72 Firebird exterior door latches slated to be added. Pity that the Welly rendition is so expensive to source these days... The dog leg hood hinges aren't so impressive, although much has been altered or improved in other ways. Thanks for your review of this project update... Mike K./Swede70
  4. Greetings, For failure to perform due diligence with regards to fitting the bodies over each roll cage assembly plus chassis, a number of things were found to be either in need of adjustment or simply had to be redone across my T/G Firebird projects. Better now, hence the bodies, the roll cage with all extensions, the plastic 'glass' insert with the dashboard in-place and door assemblies with interior trim likewise in-place live in reasoned harmony across three assemblies. Envision what's seen here three-times over consistent with my coming closer to a final result. Witnessed is the spare shell less-flares again, hence the tight fit and goofy offset perceived in relation to the rear track in particular. First released as a '73 SD-455 Firebird Trans Am, the ERTL tool of old displays fender-to-radiator support braces that are best cut off on an earlier car. Thanks... ...while I have to prove that the doors actually close with the rather thick interior trim in-place. Mike K./Swede70
  5. Ugh - for more careful review of what '70 Laguna Seca images I've isolated, it seems the strengthening ribs seen on the rear bulkhead are equal length and somewhat abbreviated for width. Trimming the ends and rounding the same wasn't huge fun, although things look cleaner. Thanks... Mike K./Swede70
  6. Thanks again for the kind notice... Trying if you will to sort some additional detail seen across the rear bulkhead, with a trio of strengthening ribs, a pair of fire bottles as well as a vent straight through the panel situated to the right witnessed. The vent has three walls forming a small tunnel of sorts fixed to the backside (the fourth is formed by the wheel well sheet metal), whereas a small brass screen serving presumably as a flame arrestor will be cut and added from behind to finish matters more or less cleanly. Still pondering how to configure the fire bottles relative to the roll cage members coming down and terminating near the installation, whereas the upturned sheet metal wedge seen may shift sides given different sources have it sited differently. The wedge would have had a rear differential oil cooler fit beneath it, although I'm not really sure I want to go through the trouble of adding said detail from below. When at peace with what's suggested here, I'll reproduce the work three times over. Given the restored car or cars really don't feature such, this is a snippet of a photo capturing the profile of the rear bulkhead. Happily the half-round stock I've employed seems about right for size, although again one can see that the driveline overlay fabricated from sheet aluminum is fairly narrow as contrasted to what I came up with for having to deal with a rather thick and high transmission tunnel plus hump. Not really a good view of the vent, but generally looking happy. Given the thick interior door trim, room remaining for the roll cage and especially the seat situated within the space reserved for such is revealed to be minimal. Just white craft glue is holding the new additions in place, although I'll probably go with what's made out here. Thanks for your review of this project update. Mike K./Swede70
  7. Greetings from Fraser, MI. somewhat to the east of you... Mike K./Swede70
  8. The sills on the ERTL tool have a pair of locating tabs with threaded bosses intruding into the interior floor, whereas it never really seemed much of an option to cut or file them out given each was weakened for twisting and straightening attempted and achieved far earlier. I had to remove evidence of the wheel arch aerodynamic 'spats' on each body, hence the structural strength of each rocker panel has already been compromised in this regard. Continuing, clearance afforded for the roll cage sides will be tight, although the hope is that I'll be able to securing glue the cage assemblies to each floor and simply rock the bodies with doors open to drop everything into position. Seen below are the U-shaped cutouts found on either sides roughly relating the dimensions of such relative to the roll cage sides. The trunk area won't be visible given opening each panel on this thick diecast shell is not something I'll try, hence a bit underwhelming beneath such. Thanks... Mike K./Swede70
  9. Greetings, For some application all three chassis now have their side roll cage members as well as the rearmost outriggers. Mostly sorted now, while smaller interior additions and rear bulkhead work in particular stand to come next. Such will include paired fire bottles, horizontal strengthening ribs (three), and at least one vent to the fuel cell/trunk compartment as per period photos. Anti-vibration Lords mounts (four then) plus a small platform should be introduced under the CDI voltage regulators seen forward of the shifters where present, although space for the same inside the interior of the old ERTL second generation Firebird tool is very tight. Moving along though. Thanks... Mike K./Swede70
  10. Greetings, Usually I'm working across projects, like-themed for being old SCCA Trans-Am road racers, while when I shift direction or apply effort to one project or another, different factors come into play. A discovery of a new photograph or new photo set consistent with informing how something should be configured or look can be exciting and will stir interest, while working up a new technique to similarly reproduce something accurately may serve as a prod to further apply myself. At other times and for seeking out research online, a new contact will be made who possesses insight and enthusiasm in excess of mine in the moment, and in a manner of speaking, I'll wish to reciprocate the same consistent with maintaining the mood. By the judgment of most I'm 'slow', but appreciate that my scale model efforts relate to exploration of the history of the racing series and period I favor, hence as long as I'm learning, establishing and developing contacts, and on occasion refining out what I'm working on as a project, in essence I'm getting what I want from the hobby. Thanks... Mike K./Swede70
  11. Greetings, Not shatteringly exciting this, but for test-fitting the roll cages worked up, one proved too wide up front and succumbed to breakage when I tried to disassemble the same. The brass core remained intact, although the wall of the plastic tubing used ripped off at the joins rendering one effort so much junk. Further, two interior floor panels had been cut too short at a previous stage, hence for a week or two I was down one chassis. Noticed is a new roll cage intended to match the dimensions of the best two previous efforts, complete with slightly longer floor pan inserts front to back. In sum, at least I should be able to fill in the sides of the two remaining cages for having things squared up in this regard. Also made out would be an inexpensive engine option employing GMP '70 GTO Judge cylinder heads, the same being filled with clay prior to being copied in resin. The roll cage tubes tying in the front subframe/suspension pickup points proved unworkable given the odd dimensions of the ERTL front subframe, hence these will be redone even if the positioning of the same will require a bit of smoke and mirror work to suggest alignment not quite possible with this tool. Lastly, the radiator expansion tanks and TRACO remote oil filter mount in addition to the heater core fill plate were redone and repositioned on all three chassis to match. Thanks and hoping to be back on track soon... Mike K./Swede70
  12. ...and just some additional bars to tie-in the front suspension pick up points/subframe, with small nubs added nearest the dashboard installation that will doubtlessly be sanded away almost entire. Fitting the shell atop what's seen will involve a certain amount of stress, but if things work out well enough, then the additions made out can be duplicated and added to the other builds. Thanks... Mike K./Swede70
  13. Greetings... Here some side bars have been added to the roll cage structure to flesh it out, while two bars consistent with tying in the rear subframe/Watt's linkage support structure (underneath then, and slated to be added) extend back from the main hoop towards the rear bulkhead. A partial effort to come up with bars to tie-in the front suspension pick up points is slated to follow, while barely discerned would be the addition of a floor shifter less shifter ball. A vent for the rear bulkhead, some strengthening ribs along the face of the same, plus a dual fire extinguisher installation is likely next. Interior wiring, hoses, etc., come later given I'm focused mainly on having all the parts I need reasonably sorted before applying finishes. Doubtlessly I have much to learn in relation to finishes and finish choices, hence a range of further lessons stand to be absorbed and processed each in turn. Closing out, I wish the 'vee' formed by the side roll cage members were more relaxed and closer to symmetrical looking forward, although clearance needs for the dog leg door hinges forces the compromise witnessed here. Thanks for your review of this post. Mike K./Swede70
  14. Really nice work, while it's refreshing to chance across another 1:18th diecast/resin fabricator/modifier not adverse to tearing preassembled and prepainted models apart consistent with correcting what we may. Happy to discover your thread, anticipating further progress as such is added. Thanks... Mike K./Swede70
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