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About swede70

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    MCM Friend

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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. 1968 RKE/JRT SCCA Trans Am Javelin

    Greetings again... Nothing epic this, but for advice from another scale enthusiast I was told that I might strip the very uneven application of clear red on my scarce Jo-Han tail light insert and redo matters for the careful use of Tamiya TS-74 Clear Red aerosol. Worried that I'd fry the original Jo-Han plastic, I hesitated, although it seems Scale Coat didn't harm matters for a quick immersion and clean. I further worried that the application would look more pink than red, although from what is seen below, this fear was misplaced. Also for consulting someone adept at reproducing Jo-Han kit tail lights, it seems he'll be able to do replacement '68/'69 inserts which are painfully rare on eBay and such. Collecting a few will help to flesh out a later '69 RKE/JRT Javelin Trans-Am model effort taking form as a box of parts in the closet. I likewise gathered an AMT AMC tunnel ram which might serve as the basis for a convincing Doug Nash unit seen on the '69 racer. ...this would be Tamiya's TS-74 Clear Red doing it's thing then. Like everything the company does, it's frightfully competent! - Very modest work has been done to simply put the model back on wheels for working up the multi-piece rear axle assembly with a music wire axle that might plug into slightly modified rear wheel backs. These were based upon the old standard kit parts versus the later iterations with the thick plastic axles that came into use. I opted to cut some material from a set of Hurst SS/AMX rear wheel backs and subsequently combined the material removed with some standard metal axle backs that were cleanly rendered for reflecting the use of a then-newish tool. Versus risking off-center or barbarically visible work on the centers to ensure that they could take metal axles, adding material further in atop standard and old-school kit parts ensures proper function without betraying so much was done. Some fettling is required to restore the track measurement to where it should be, while multiple photos of the rear shock installation, the rear sway bar set up as well as the Panhard rod/track bar configuration have been set aside to inform what comes next. Ahead then, albeit only at one-third throttle... Mike K./Swede70
  2. Thanks Harry for the kind notice and additional information in your relation to the scene both in 1:1 and in-scale. Being in essence a second-generation fan for being born in 1969, during the height of the series I was deep into my pureed Peas and Carrots-phase versus having much awareness of the motor racing scene then-current. No personalities were known, while I grew up across the later '70's and of course into the '80's where I might otherwise have been expected to direct my energies into the Turbo Era of F1, or maybe a good period indeed of GTP racing. I was something of a serious and somber youth with few resources to draw upon, while instead I chose to bicycle solo to area automobile dealerships in SE Michigan in search of new-car brochures which at least had the merit of being availed for free if I took care not to be entirely obnoxious for my wants and desires. Soon I'd drift into antique and thift stores along the way for I was traversing the same distance, while craft and hobby materials have long been my constant companions. What altered my course so to speak and kindled an interest in period Trans-Am materials was a chance discovery of about 300 period sports car magazines for sale at an area used book store when I was still in my early teens. Having been raised in what was essentially a gray blue collar environment, it was unexpectedly nice to immerse myself in the world of the post-war sports car scene where in certain measure the three-toned DeSoto was sneered upon as contrasted to something smaller, more sophisticated of design and better-balanced coming out of Europe and gaining traction here as a robust subculture of note. Understand that overconfidence and a habitual incapacity to reflect about much characterized the 1:1 automobile scene in which I grew up, while brawn demonstrably failed to solve every problem as the industry mercilessly restructured again and again. In particular, my father was essentially ground to powder by what transpired within the beleaguered Chrysler Corporation of the period, clutching as he did to a tenuous white-collar position with little actual education and credentialing to insulate himself from changes afoot. What he was able to give wasn't enough, and my keen awareness of this reality doubtlessly colors my perceptions of great deal. Within my period magazines I learned a more textured code of behavior if you will, one that upheld the worth of applied intelligence, to only hint at what else might be gleaned for immersion across much. Here I'd be introduced in a scatter shot form to industry figureheads, engineers, team owners, and especially road racing drivers of the period studied who'd suddenly gain prominence and mysteriously vanish from the scene given the partial understanding I was limited to given my collection was far from complete. One doesn't develop in a linear fashion for first finding the Sept. '63 issue of this, the August '67 issue of that, and only the January '61 issue of still another title necessary to draw it all together. So many drivers were killed, such technological leaps were made, while so pronounced was the evolution of the product and marketplace that I frankly didn't take much interest in my own era by way of contrast. Needless to say, I didn't have many friends so-attuned and remain an odd duck to this day. I tended to be drawn to racers and stories that contrasted sharply to the coarser element of what then surrounded me; i.e. I'd thrill to the stories of Mark Donohue versus Everybody, the loquaciousness of Sam Posey, as well as Americans competing afield in the form of Dan Gurney or perhaps Phil Hill. The SCCA Trans-Am Series appealed in particular for it bridged what might otherwise have been a default interest harbored within for the brawn of muscular American-based sedans with the visceral and aesthetic appeal of the sports car scene. Any trace contact with the vintage racing community came only much later and facilitated largely for the existence of the Internet, hence most of what is noted of my presence is strictly a home-brewed affair. Know that contact availed and communication afforded with those who contributed and experienced much ensures that passions will extend into the future and that we the happy few likewise profit from that which we are given. Thank you for all you do and contribute here... - I thought I'd add a few small things before too long here, with one being reference to an existent thread concerning where to source Motor Wheel Spyder rims in 1:25th scale. If so-inclined, do consider seeing: - ...also and as is typical with me, the scale model Zeppelin hanger I maintain consistent with harboring this project and that does contain what will be a '70 season T-G Racing Trans-Am Trans Am in 1:18th. What can be done in the larger scale for '70 largely holds for what might be attempted for a '72, although wheels would be a problem given nothing suitable exists for the latter. Perhaps in time something might be 3D printed, but not now and not strictly yet. Seen below is my Jerry Titus project with the rather bulbous flares on the rear taking wild shape. I'd read somewhere that either a trailer or perhaps a single-piece dune buggy fiberglass shell was cut apart to graft material onto this first example of the second-generation Firebird (a base 350 car in white with silver mesh grilles to match), although I'd have to pour across what materials I've collected to confirm this. Anyhow, it isn't terrible and reflects some concerted effort to solve problems, hence something to ponder in brief... ...front flares will be worked up soon, although it helps to review what is pasted in above to glean what I'm attempting to capture. ...quite raw, but the basis for something. Look closely and one will make out the base grille mesh finish done in silver versus black. The fill panels up front reflect resin poured into the shell, removed and then trimmed to come up with what is seen. The rear flares are cobbled up resin copies from earlier projects artfully reemployed here. All will be blended for use of JB Weld and bodyshop spot putty as required. The tires are four 'rears' if you will, while the Minilite wheels are cast copies of what I've sought to improve as contrasted to the so-so GMP '69 Penske Camaro tool of yore. Specifically, the spokes were hand sculpted and redone, while the outer lip of the rim was cut off and replaced with something evidencing a more accurate contour. The exhaust will exit out the back, while the wheel finish may too be unexpected for either being a mixed set of natural magnesium alloy on the front with aqua-colored rears, or machined lip versions painted aqua all around as what was run at Mid-Ohio '70. ...just in passing, here the side drip rail trim has been sanded out, while the cast-in rubber seals otherwise visible on this old ERTL tool have been carefully filed up and away. Two tiny beads are used as tie-down points visible on the back of a scratch built fuel cell housing. With my sincere thanks... Mike K./Swede70
  3. Thanks for the near-instant feedback Harry. Suitably chastised, I shall endeavor to persevere! Indeed - it can be hard to uphold standards in isolation, hence it helps to clean matters up for insights promptly processed, etc. I read of the extent of the development work handled by your team, although I really didn't understand what Diamond Racing Engines/Pistons was employed or outsourced to do. Kind thanks... Mike K./Swede70
  4. Oh - and just in passing, this was a photo taken at Lime Rock '71 which suggests that maybe the Gray Ghost was run on pressed steel wheels as an alternate to the Minilites commonly seen. Perhaps just the wets were mounted on these? Thanks... Mike K./Swede70
  5. Sorry to be away for a bit given some parts were on order, and hiccups encountered in relation to what finally arrived... Thanks Harry and Dr. Larry both for keeping the information interchange going, for deepening and elaborating upon the understanding of much. Some new things to relate then, although what is seen seems in total modest. A new 1:18th Sun Star GTO was ordered to replace assemblies destroyed or simply played out for avid experimentation, while replacement tires were ordered that didn't quite serve my needs given they sent me four front tires with markings not quite matching what rear tires I had in hand. Nevertheless, fresh hardware and new materials all around certainly bolster enthusiasm in relation to remastering certain things, and hence things begin again... For communication with Bob (whoops - 'John'! M.K.) Hildebrand, he related that for purchase of the Gray Ghost that he actually has two hoods for the car, with the second wearing the original late-season livery. Confused for scattered references that have the engine builders referred alternately as 'Diamond Racing Engines' or 'Diamond Racing Pistons', I'd also imagined that they were then-based in Mount Clemens, MI. What can be readily discerned from the image forwarded by J. Hildebrand reveals they were in nearby Warren, MI. up to '71 at least. The font style can be found with some application, hence a good chance exists that such can be reproduced for right follow through: Moving along, some light work was done for being afforded the aforementioned new parts. Seen below is a new front bumper assembly which indeed has been trimmed from behind to pull the 'stamping' further back into the front sheet metal, to effectively align better with the metal grille divider/'beak' if you will in the style of what was seen in a Mid-Ohio event photo gathered earlier. Sun Star chrome is the 'real deal' as far as diecast models go; i.e. they first plate the plastic with copper, and only then plate it with chrome. Removal of such is difficult without resort to something super toxic, most likely an etching solution typically reserved to clean computer motherboards and something that I have on hand. I further hope to drill through the bumper ends on either side to insert pin heads consistent with recreating mounting hardware as I'd done before even the work wasn't strictly visible at a glance. ...also seen are the old 1:18 GMP '67 Smokey Yunick Trans-Am Camaro 'T.V. tires' referencing the oversized GOODYEAR markings on the sidewalls. A chance exist that smaller-lettered alternative markings may be made up, but these are what are being employed for the moment. A plastic cleaner/treatment called Vinylex was used darken up the tires a bit without rendering them greasy to the touch as might be feared. Some paintwork remains to done the wheels which will be elaborated upon in a further post, while I have very good reference material consistent with working up accurate extended Minilite lugs which will likewise be shared. ...not appearing all that elaborate, notice the the area directly beneath the center of the trunk lid has been filed out in anticipation of scratch building a vent panel for the fuel cell installation. On a plastic kit such could be filed out or removed in a matter of minutes and cleanly too, whereas here for hacking and slashing away at a thick white metal casting, the same work took about four hours - sigh! My 'workshop' isn't exactly state of the art, so a great deal is simply done by hand with rudimentary tools. And yes, my surface plate looks an awfully lot like a sofa cushion... Looking naked for it awaits an insert to finish off matters, the same recess is on view again. Not strictly discerned is the licence plate set in place below which has each top corner discreetly trimmed out consistent with the photo reference seen much further up this thread. Some multi-hued '71 GTO Judge decal sheets exist on the 1:25th kit market, and such will likely be sourced to come up with 'TRANS AM GTO' lettering as needed here. Lastly, the salvage material visible to the side is a 1:18th scale ERTL Authentics '67 Impala SS 427 which may yield up agreeable scissor hinge detail. More material to come. Thanks for reviewing this update. Mike K./Swede70
  6. Those look great - thanks for sharing... Mike K./Swede70
  7. JD McDuffie done

    Beautiful - looks great. Thanks for sharing... Mike K./Swede70
  8. Pleased to read that the images were of help then... Regarding the rear suspension of the Gray Ghost and mulling what was spoken of before, I thought it best to revisit this aspect of the project for including another photo. This would be from the A.B. Shuman penned and photographed September 1971 Motor Trend article titled Ask Herb's Wife If We Can Take Her Car Racing. Apparently earlier in the season an off the shelf G.M. rear sway bar, quite literally a bolt-on piece absent links or means of adjustment, was employed on the vehicle. Notice too that the geometry-altering structure affixed to the top of the differential housing hasn't yet been worked up and fitted. Finally, know that the odd rectangular structure seen to the upper right masks one of the the pair of Holley fuel pumps situated at the forward corners of the fuel cell, these positioned below the level of the floor as spoken of before. This is the only period image I know of the car from this angle, while efforts to turn up further photos; i.e. those unused and unpublished from the A.B. Shuman session conducted that day via the P.P./SEMA archive have not met with success. Perhaps such may be added onto the archive in time, but as this was written none are to be found regardless of how dexterous one is for mixing up search terms. Thanks... Mike K./Swede70
  9. 1/18 1968 Trans Am Barracuda

    Looking good - thanks for the visuals! Mike K./Swede70
  10. Here's a flood of images that may pull things together. Understand that the flow of oil is carried to a pair of Harrison oil coolers situated to the left and right of the radiator further forward. If it would help, I could post images helping to track how things were routed. The dry sump system oil tank is clearly well-buried in the firewall, while what line pours oil in and which draws the same out will be readily inferred. Thanks... ...I have other images, although some simply eliminate possibilities for revealing little. Thanks... Mike K./Swede70
  11. Hi Doctor Larry and all good questions... Certainly it's possible, while right across projects continuing across the '70''s and beyond Herb Adams and friends stepped right up to the oiling issues on the Pontiac V8 for advocating the use of dry sump systems. Fire Am's, etc. commonly are seen with such fitted. Further and following up, the drive system on the Gray Ghost and possibly later projects was rather unusual to the extent that no external pump with the expected Gilmer belt drive is to be seen. What was fabricated and employed inside was described as a 'direct drive' system employing an automatic transmission-derived pump at the rear of the engine that was wholly out of sight. Some operational hiccups were encountered for employing the unique setup, but probably no more than what might be expected for pathfinding in this direction. By '73 one might imagine that if concept was sound and worked well across previous applications, then why not fit such? Certainly it did away with the vulnerability of an exposed rubber belt... Harry and others would know more, although I believe the High Performance Pontiac issue concerning the history of the Pontiac V8 with special reference to its development in high performance applications would provide more specific and detailed guidance. This would be the September 2012 issue, although know it was a series across issues that likely would be good to grab in total. Hope this helps... Mike K./Swede70
  12. Just a short addition this... Some accessory decal art has proven difficult to find, although one of the toughies if you will has been isolated for what is seen further below. Further, a new 1:18th scale Sun Star '64 GTO was found and ordered to allow some flexibility concerning aspects of that build. In addition a set of ACME 1:18th 'Heinz Camaro' wheels and tires were ordered so that I'll have a total of four same-sized tires, admittedly these bearing the late-season 'T.V. tire' lettering. I have another set of like-lettered tires, albeit these were of differing size front-to-rear - hence the need for a pair of the rears of identical spec. to come up with what is needed. The rims and extended Minilite lugs are being cleaned up and fabricated and final finished, hence when the wheels/tires are added, the total appearance of such will certainly be different. I'll try to finish the wheels from behind a 'house blend' of magnesium alloy, then paint the face of each wheel in a semi-sloppy sense from the front with the aim of allowing a certain amount of black to pass between each spoke to haphazardly coat some of what is lurking behind. On the 1:25th scale front, some Bill Hirsh early Pontiac '59 -''65 light blue paint will be ordered, almost my default given what other shades I've found seem too bright or intense by way of contrast. Three variations on the shade thus far tried and shot, and three failures I do believe. I might well pick up a Revell '66 GTO for I don't know what the tool has on offer, while a roll cage assembly still stands to be worked up. Also, it seems that while early sixties renderings of racing exhaust headers exist aplenty, reasoned later iterations of such are few on the ground. Researching this, I hope to come up with something decent soon. Seen then are a pair of images useful for guidance concerning the reproduction of the hood-mounted Diamond Racing Engines/Mount Clemens decal employed late season as a pair. One is used to establish the color, the other, the art itself. Tedious, but also rewarding if I can act upon such. ...the subject in the paddock at '71 St. Jovite then. ...this the Team Associates Grand Am Winston Cup/NASCAR effort from '73. I hope the art hadn't changed much! Thanks for reviewing this update - cluster of words though it may be... Mike K./Swede70
  13. Team Associates 73 Grand Am Nascar race Car

    Very nice progress made across assemblies - thanks for sharing... Mike K./Swede70
  14. Team Associates 73 Grand Am Nascar race Car

    That's a good idea on the book front. I just checked mine, but being a later edition from 1993, all the photos are contemporary to that time. Sometimes I've identified a title and chased earlier copies, even quite grubby ones placed on eBay and such for little, just in pursuit of earlier photos and diagrams if they might be unearthed. The Carroll Smith and Paul Van Valkenburgh chassis titles are updated along the same lines; i.e. basic principles and text remain about the same, while finer details and photos are revised and may preclude ready reference if one is hoping to find content that may only have featured in an earlier edition. Near worthless at a glance, sometimes obsolete product catalogs can have their utility, with race efforts of the past tossing up images in publications two or three years later in the most unexpected fashion. Most people throw them out, but isolated examples crawl out of area landfills and turn up at swap meets and such. Just as an aside, the softcover Steve Smith publications in relation to preparing a race engine, brakes, chassis, etc. are all sound purchases and worth having for the period stock car or road racing modeler. One I have is titled Race Car Braking Systems by Steve Smith and Paul Lamar from 1975. It doesn't look like much at first glance, but the contents relate to coming up with the most effective combination of parts utilizing off the shelf components that includes measurements of most of same. As time passed the parts and assemblies employed across series became more and more specialized and decidedly nonstock, hence it was neat to review a copy of something filled with period know how concerning the best use of the seemingly mundane. Sometimes sellers will bundle a few of his titles together, and this can be a good way to go. I found the Matt Adams/VSE angle a tough one for searching even as I felt the information was generally good. Only as I was about to sign off did I bother to skim my Facebook presence, while for visiting an Historic SCCA Trans Am page did I happen to notice the presence of Matt Adams there. Maybe a contact of last resort then. Thanks for the update... Mike K./Swede70
  15. Team Associates 73 Grand Am Nascar race Car

    Some of my photos were taken so close-in as to obscure other details that otherwise stood to be made out. At the time they were taken, I wasn't so much concerned with the quantity that I might take, but rather that I'd waste the opportunity to capture specific information that could be gleaned for crawling around with abandon. For review of those images I took and have uploaded thus far, the shocks are either visible or just marginally out of the frame. One shot afforded further up the thread shows the end of one of the control arms and what appears to be a stud that would accept the bottom end of a shock, although in point of fact the shock is there, it's just mounted outboard and even a bit behind of what is visible. I did visit the car twice, while the visits largely coincided with a Plymouth MI. concours event (Concours d'Elegance of America at St. Johns then) where the car would make up part of a Trans Am-themed display in the company of other vehicles of note. If you have or might have seen the Dave Tom title The Cars of Trans Am Racing 1966 - 1972, most of the images reproduced within concerning the Gray Ghost were taken during this event. Some light service was done in the form of an oil change as well as a light tune to ensure that the vehicle wouldn't afford trouble for being moved on and off a trailer, or negotiating the show field to be displayed, etc., although I suspect that was about all it got. Thanks... Oh, and just in passing, for quick review of Facebook, Matt Adams shows up in a fairly straight forward way. Look for imagery that speaks of the old 'Trans Am Territory' gatherings of yore, as well as a bold Silverbird picture with the car seen in a front three-quarter profile. He seems based in Detroit which makes sense to the extent that I believe I'd met him at an area book signing. He took a few phone camera images of my larger model to share with friends and family, which of course was fun. Mike K./Swede70