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About Nitromethane

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    Robert J. "Bob" Werner

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  1. In 1:18 scale, MotorMax makes two versions of a 1932 Ford Five Window Coupe. Their Coupes have steerable wheels, rear sprung suspensions, opening doors and large wheels in the rear and smaller ones up front. The interiors have a "rod and piston" gear shift lever, a bench seat, silver-rimmed gauges on the dash and a chrome-accented steering wheel. Both Coupe bodies are "cut from the same cloth", apparently from the original mold, and are, in essence, identical except for one major difference. And that difference is huge. One body has no hood and an exposed, well formed engine. The other body has a fixed hood with a non-accessible partial engine block underneath. The version with the exposed engine has beautifully chromed headers, four carburetors and other nicely chromed engine parts. One the other hand, the hooded version Coupe is basically "sealed"; its hood is attached at the factory by a hidden screw under the chassis. I really like the look of a street rod with an exposed engine. However, it wasn't until I actually removed a bought-on-line 1:18 scale MotorMax '32 Ford chopped top 5-Window Coupe from its box that my initial impressions were solidified somewhat. Before this, I had only seen the generic picture of it on the internet. And my impressions were not all that favorable. What struck a nerve mostly was the ride height and stance being too high, and secondly, a forward-leaning radiator grille which caused the car to appear contorted. Both of these aspects made the model look sufficiently "off", so much so, that after having the model in my hands and seeing some of the more toy-like and sort of 'cheesy' aspects of it, I was very close to returning it. However, I felt that with some modifications the car could possibly be redeemed. The first step was to lower the front end as much as possible. Ideally, lowering the entire car would have looked better. Yet the rear end is supported by, surprisingly, actual working springs which, when depressed, lowers it. So I left the rear end as is. Next, the radiator grille was realigned so that it was roughly parallel with the firewall, eliminating that distorted look. This short sentence of what was done belies the fact that it took many trials and errors to get the final finished result. The model was completely disassembled so that the exhaust pipe tips could be silvered and the rear differential hub treated likewise. MotorMax should have chromed all these parts for an authentic street rod touch. Inside, the foot pedals and door handles were silvered and the holes in the steering wheel spokes blackened. Kudos to MotorMax for the gear shift knob in the form of a piston and rod, which looks the part. The chrome rubber gasket on the floorboard was blackened to add realism. The four slots in each chrome wheel were blackened; the radiator grille was blackwashed and the radiator cap silvered. Other engine parts were detailed and colored. Thanks, MotorMax for doing a good job with the chromed firewall, chromed engine parts and the chrome wheels. The chrome metal support rods running from the firewall to the radiator grille is a cool touch, too. MotorMax could have and should have included big rear slicks and lettered tires on this street rod. They did make the rear tires bigger than the fronts to their credit. Two other faults are the vent opening on the engine cowling being merely a painted-on silver rectangle and the inexcusable sealing of the trunk lid eliminating the inclusion of a rumble seat or any trunk detail. In conclusion, I had my doubts about this mpdel, but after doing work on it, I feel much better. It's no GMP by any stretch of the imagination, no matter how hard you try. But it does have some redeeming qualities to it after all the work that was done. I also am fond of the slick look of the '32 Coupe with a hood, too. So this hooded version of the MotorMax model intrigued me when I found one on-line at a good price. How did MotorMax model the engine, if they even did? Would it be the same engine as in the hoodless version? What is under the hood is quite important if a street rod is the actual subject matter of a model. MotorMax left just one-half the engine (from the hoodless version) inside the model and screwed down the hood. The engine was destined from the factory to be non-existent and a non-factor in the model. And not being able to view an engine, the heart of any street rod, that just doesn't sit well with me. Sure, AutoArt and other high-end model brands produce excellently detailed sealed models, and as such, they can usually get away with doing this because they are so finely made, look so good and cost accordingly. But we are talking about a budget brand here (MotorMax) that cannot legitimately justify sealing a model based entirely upon its quality detailing because, quite frankly, there just isn't enough detailing to warrant it. Which brought me to the point wherein I was compelled and duty-bound to free up the hood by unscrewing it from the chassis and cutting off the huge diecast mounting post cast into it. This overly-engineered post was poking through the lower engine half and had to be removed to allow work to be done to complete the upper half of the engine since the lower half couldn't be removed from the chassis. This also allowed the hood to now be positioned easily and repeatedly so that trial and error measurements of the upper engine parts could be made. Since my 1:18 scale parts bin is no larger than a thimble, the upper half of the engine was all scratch built as well as the upper half of the firewall.The upper firewall is covered in metallic adhesive tape. Aluminum tubing was used for the velocity stacks. Distributor is from a random product packaging cap of some sort. Rubber sprue sections (from a diecast model kit with rubber parts) formed the headers as space was very tight in the engine bay. Cardboard served as the base for the intake manifold as well as the radiator fan. Plastic sprue was used to make the pulleys, the breather cap, the alternator, the radiator hose, and the parts on the firewall. A small metal bracket for the alternator came from a ball point pen clip. And the valve covers are from a split-in-two plastic ball point pen casing and age-old 1:24 scale AMT decals. The fan and alternator belts are black paper strip. The grille was blackwashed. Outback, chrome-plated brass tubing used for the two exhaust pipe extension tips. The suspension was lowered some. And the rear differential was silvered. And oh, a blue dot added to each taillight! Thanks for looking and I hope you enjoyed it.......
  2. This 1:24 Maisto 1970 Chevrolet Nova SS 396 was purchased at WalMart as a result of a strange situation: the model was on the shelf in a new 1:24 scale MotorMax American Classics 1970 Chevy El Camino SS 396 display box!!! I took the item to customer service where I was informed that the item would be sold for half price if I wanted it. Since the doors appeared to be sealed (they were, in fact, painted shut) and I wasn't exactly sure what diecast brand it was, I offered one half of their one half. So for two fifty, the project car was mine. The paint was so thickly applied that with my finger nail and a little time, it eventually was removed. The rigid plastic window glass was beyond repair as it couldn't be made clear no matter what was done to it. I added a new gear shift lever, new window glass from clear plastic packaging material, and put a few details on the pan engine. Thanks for looking... BEFORE-------- AFTER----------
  3. As per the original 1960 Monogram 1/24 kit less the display box, the instruction sheet, and a few other missing parts, this stripped-of-paint and completely re-built 1923 Ford Model T Roadster features the original solid rubber tires and the body separates from the chassis. Kit included tuned exhaust, blower drive, sling seat, dual quad carbs and some pin striping decals. Since almost all the parts were original and in good shape, this lessened the work of getting the rather delicate chassis assembled. The oversized tires had greyed and hardened with age, yet an application of a 1:1 tire dressing brought them back to life. A mold was made of the rear end piece from a different '23 Ford rear end and made using water putty and paint. The sling seat was upholstered in corduory fabric in the 60s. It is widely believed that the Monogram kit was based on the 1:1 green 1959 hot rod "The Grasshopper", which, ironically, went through a full restoration and was finished sometime in 2015. See www.hollywoodhotrods.com about it. http://hollywoodhotrods.com/wp-content/gallery/green-hornet/1.JPG The Monogram GREEN HORNET FORD “T” SHOW AND GO ROADSTER display box text reads: "Here’s a supercharged show-go machine which would be the envy of any hot-rodder. Steel tubing seat and roll bar and alloy frame rails with lightening holes help keep the cars weight at a minimum. Although most of the non-essentials have been eliminated, this rod has a wealth of interesting detail. Powered by a V-8 engine having 461 cubic inch displacement, topped with a 4-71 blower driven by five V belts and using dual four-throat carburetion, this is a real hot rod. The car has a removable ‘23 Ford “T bucket” body. Ford unlightened front axle, pre-war ford rear axle, Weiand heads, tubular shocks and a quick change rear end. Note the interesting arrangement of the seat and fuel tank. Also, instead of a radiator the car has a concealed transfer tube reservoir in the radiator shell for cooling. Cycle fenders and a canvas top complete this beautiful car. The “Green Hornet” has a removable body, just as on many of the full size cars. The top and fenders are also removable. Assemble your car complete as a show-go roadster or remove the top and fenders and you have a competition car. With body, top and fenders removed the “Hornet” becomes a flashy “rail” job in gleaming chrome plate." Thanks for looking... RE-BUILT:
  4. Very nice work on the lights. Love the 2CV.
  5. This is a modified 1:18 scale Maisto 2009 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon that was "saved" from a local thrift shop. It was in dire need of a front wheel and tire. In addition, it was missing the rear bench seat, the whole top and back side coverings, both side mirrors, and one hood latch. I had no appropriate wheel and tire to fit it, so the only alternative was to use the spare mounted on the rear tailgate. The wheel's configuration was such that with a spare knuckle (without a bearing) from my parts bin, a little drilling would allow the wheel to rotate and be properly aligned too. Another big problem was the steering linkage connectors had broken off at the knuckles, so one had to be superglued repeatedly to finally adhere correctly. Then the final hurdle was to repair a broken stub that the knuckles swivel on. Superglue eventually corrected this only after the factory springs for the active suspension were scrapped, and one spring was cut in half so each side received just a half spring. This relieved much tension and allowed the glue to hold. So all wheels now turn freely and the steering system works nicely. The holes where the back bench seat was mounted were unsightly, so this entire back area was covered in adhesive-backed aluminum. The side rails are from plastic sprue, and a hood latch formed from a small Q-tip stick and straight pin. I don't know how "authentic" my Jeep would be in real life, but I imagine it to be a sort of all-weather, general utility 4X4 work "truck" with side racks for tie-downs and no spare. LOL This was a fun challenge about a model that cost just a mere ninety-nine cents! Thanks for looking... STOCK: MODIFIED:
  6. When there was an opportunity to pick up a couple of these diecast 1997 Ford F-150 trucks for less than five bills each from Big Lots a few years ago, I thought that they would be great for modifications (a flatbed, perhaps) and aftermarket parts at least. The 1:24 scale model is a 2004 Funline Muscle Machines 'Monster Garage' "Tree Shaker" release. The 1:1 tree shaker featured an 800 Lb. shaker head, a 10 foot diameter canopy for catching fruit and/or nuts, and a motorized conveyor belt. The 1:24 scale model has steerable front wheels, opening doors, retractable canopy, and the shaker head pinches together. I especially like the flame jobs on the vehicle's front and on the driver's seat, the movable canopy, and the chrome wheels. Thanks for looking...
  7. As a kid, I was always excited each September or so to see the new model year cars being offered. I anxiously looked forward to the yearly automotive introductions to disect how the new cars differed stylistically from the previous years. Those were the times when there was real, honest-to-goodness creative styling. 1957 was a special year in that there was a new Ford model that was both a hardtop coupe and a convertible in one! The 1957 Ford Fairlane Skyliner was one of the first cars, if not the first one, to feature a retractable hardtop! SunStar did a remarkable job in rendering their 1:18 scale replica. They were able to mechanically perfect a way for the top to be retracted and housed in the body as per the original car. The Skyliner displays very well on its own and looks quite fine along with Yat Ming's 1955 Ford Crown Victoria. Thanks for looking...
  8. Another pre-owned model of an orphan 1955 Chrysler Imperial by Signature in 1:18 scale that was found at a thrift shop intact except for a missing hood ornament and both iconic gun-sight tail lights. Signature issued the Canyon Red and white model in 2003. Tried to locate a pair of stock tail lights, but didn't, and ended up making facsimiles from the 1:24/25 plastic parts bin. Hood ornament replaced with the head of a straight pin. The stock model features carpeting, a full spare in the trunk and nice engine bay detailing. Notice the air conditioning vents behind the rear window. This was a real steal for five bills. Thanks for looking...
  9. This is an out-of-production Jada 1/24 scale 1953 Chevrolet tow truck that I picked up at a thrift shop a few weeks ago. It looked quite good except it was missing its steering wheel and column, windshield wipers, side mirror, both turn signal lights, both door handles, both rear service lights, one taillight, the front bumper and all the tow rigging, hardware and one complete arm of the tow lift. The tow lift arm and all the accompanying hardware was scratch built and I apologize for any and all lack of authenticity and functionality. It was a fun but challenging project and definitely worth the dollar cost of the truck. Materials used: turn signals: hearing aid batteries windshield wipers: straight pens steering wheel and column: "O" ring and nail side mirror: wood toothpick and flat metal door handles: bent florist wire tow arm: wood popsicle stick tow cable: elastic thread tow arm end: top of cigarette lighter tail light: #10 automobile fuse front bumper: two edge-glued popsicle sticks warning signs: stickers from 1/32 plastic model kit front bumper bracket extensions: candy sucker stick Thanks for looking...
  10. BEFORE :::::::::::: Found this 1:18 Maisto Ferrari 348TS at a Goodwill store for four bucks. The windshield was badly scuffed in one place, one front strut broken off and missing as well as both front wheels. There was no front axle, no steering linkage nor a gear shift lever. Also missing was a windshield wiper, passenger-side mirror and the spare tire/wheel. AFTER:::::::::::::: Windshield scuff removed with a number of rubbings with toothpaste. A bamboo skewer worked nicely for the missing front strut. Strong wire provided a good steering linkage connection. Both non-stock replacement front wheels and stock rear wheels were painted flat white. Model was lowered as much as possible. All wheels roll and the steering linkage moves the steering wheel. Window trim painted black. Engine was painted and detailed some. A fun project. Thanks for looking....
  11. It took over 50 years, but.... In the early 1960s my late and older brother Ted and I built some custom car and truck models. Ted was the creative genius behind the design and execution of these models. He gleaned many ideas and concepts from the emerging hot rod and custom car magazines that were being published at this time. I have always wanted to complete a radical Ford pickup truck that he had started building back then to pay tribute to his skills, creativity and imagination as this truck emphatically epitomizes his work. Originally, the top was vented and chopped, the bed was changed and shortened, the hood was altered, and completely new front and rear ends were molded (with plastic aluminum) onto the body. The rear portion of the truck had fins molded to the sculpted sides. The dashboard was carved from wood and covered with corduroy fabric to mimic tuck and roll upholstery. The seats were also done this way as well as a tonneau cover. To complete the model from its original inception required a chassis to be built, an engine to be added, a new steering wheel and new wheels as these parts had never been determined or selected back then. Ted's radical truck creation is now complete and it is a testament to his remarkable vision of what a custom show truck in the 60s would look like. Here's to you, Ted! Thanks for looking...
  12. I had no part to play in the original "custom" job.
  13. This 1:24 scale 2002 Cadillac CTS sedan by Jada came my way at a yard sale for a mere two bucks. Yes, there were some issues with the paint having some scratches and nicks and there were a few missing parts. However, the model really appealed to me and still does after its "upgrading". Actually looks better in hand than in photos, too. The interior seats were painted, carpeting was added to the floor, and front turn signal and running light units installed. A custom rear wing was fabricated out of glossy black laminated card stock. Out back, a custom high performance exhaust extension hooks up to the exhaust muffler by way of an angled aluminum tube. Vintage chrome-plated side mirrors from the parts bin complete the low-slung sedan. Thanks for looking......
  14. Welly's budget 1:18 scale 2001 Chevrolet Suburban, measuring eleven and five-eights inches long, has many desirable features. The one in particular that looks attractive is the hollowed out chrome tail pipe. Another is the spring suspension system on all four corners. In total, the model is fairly basic in most repects; however, those basics are fairly well done. I took the liberty to blacken the wheel wells and blacken the inside of the exhaust pipe to add more realism to the model. Thanks for looking ......
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