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  1. After my highly-detailed and involved 1/12 Tamiya Porsche 934 build I was looking for something a little more low-key to build before jumping into another big project. When I was a kid I started off building the Monogram classic car line in their 1979 series boxing, and wondered what could come from doing a nearly box-stock build of one of these models using the skills, tools and techniques I've amassed over the last 40 or so years. Ironically I decided on the model I never actually got to build back then... the elusive Mercedes 540K Coupe. The 540K Coupe represents a completely half-arsed attempt to turn the roadster kit into something different by adding a roof and rear fender skirts but ignoring the other differences between the coupe and roadster. The few 540K Special Coupes that were built had differences in the fenders, hood vents and spare tire cover vs the Special Roadster that Monogram initially kitted up. My modeler's OCD kept bugging me to fix those inaccuracies but in the end I decided to keep the build pretty close to box-stock. The only variances are some PE bolt heads for the rear fender skirt fasteners and some Tamiya mesh for the air cleaner as well as some styrene reinforcements where the bonnet sides meet the top part. The vast majority of this build was spent fitting and tweaking the bodywork. Mold lines, including a particularly nasty one that ran across the rear fender, deepening panel lines and block sanding the body made a big difference. The bonnet fit was key... my main goal was to get the beltline chrome trim to run in a perfect unbroken line down the entire length of the body. The frame required some grinding above the rear suspension to keep it from interfering with the interior tub which made it sit too high in the rear. The running boards took some work to keep them from fouling the frame rails as well as getting them to sit flush with the line of the fenders. I was able to attach the separate roof piece using Tamiya thin cement and I reinforced the inside of the joint with CA glue. The only filler required was a couple of thick coats of primer. Paint is Tamiya Deep Metallic Blue over Metallic Blue with Light Sand for the interior. Chrome is a mix of kit chrome (bumpers, wheel center) and airbrushed Molotow (grille, headlamps, side pipes). I stripped the chrome from the kit wheels, thinned the spokes and painted them the body accent color. Despite all the work I put into the rest of the build the thing I'm most proud of is that all four wheels actually touch the ground. I never managed that on these classic kits when I was a kid! N I enjoyed this walk down memory lane a lot, enough that I'm looking at the Duesenberg Murphy Convertible Coupe as my next victim... that one might wind up with a bit more detail, though!
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