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Project Monte Carlo Challenge - completed !!!

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I'm calling this project the Monte Carlo Challenge for several reasons. To start, this is my first build of a Trumpeter kit. Also, to show that it can be built into very nice model. And last but not least is to challenge my modeling friends to jump in on the project. Feel free to start on your own 78 Monte Carlo kit and build along, share reference photos, building tips or offer constructive criticism. All I ask is that you keep it positive.

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One of the first things I noticed is the box makes a pretty nice work tray so that what I'll use. I usually start by cleaning and prepping all the major parts. My favorite method is Comet cleanser, water and a tooth brush.

I like to have a rolling chassis so the first parts I start to glue up are the basic drivetrain and chassis parts.

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While I'm cleaning I look for parts that will need special attention. The hood and trunk lid had some noticeable sink marks. I set them off to the side for some minor body work.

The trunk floor has some injector pin marks, I'll fill those in too. My filler of choice is Evercoat Glazing Putty. It's a two part filler that doesn't shrink and feathers out smooth.

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The secret to using it is a little preparation. I presand the areas to be filled with a coarse sanding stick, 220 grit sandpaper works fine too. If the surface is too slick the filler may not stick or feather out.

I use 120 grit paper to rough shape the filler then move to the finer grits for final finishing. If necessary I'll use masking tape to protect any adjacent trim or any areas the I want protect.

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Just like building a 1:1 project I constantly test fit all the parts. Looking better already!

OK, I know it's just a start but I'm posting a link below to my Fotki album for this build so as I add photos you can follow along. Is anyone with me or should I start shopping for a nomex suit?

-Steve

http://public.fotki.com/SteveG26/project_78_chevy/

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Posted · Report post

GO MAN GO!

:lol:

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I've made a little progress on the Monte Carlo project so I thought I would share it. It has been metioned to me on another board that the firewall area is a little two tall. Well I can confirm that but don't worry as it's an east fix.

The first thing I wanted to do before correcting the firewall was to make sure that the interior and glass would fit first. I used some masking tape to hold the interior sides and dash together to the interior floor to make a complete tub.

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The glass has to be in place too. The one piece design gave me some concern at first glance but it relatively thin and it fits very well.

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The glass and Interior tub drop right into place with little effort. No additional work need here.

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Here you can see the gap between the inner fender sides and the body. This gives my an idea on how much will need to be trimmed from the firewall.

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Those two notches in the center of the firewall are for two body braces that go in near the final assembly. I decided to test fit those too. No problem here either, I'll store them in clear recloseable craft bag so they won't get lost.

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It looks like most of those notches will be lost so I marked there location with a pencil. It took about ten minutes with a file and a sanding stick to get a perfect fit. I probably spent more time test fitting then filing away at the firewall.

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Here's the firewall after it's trimming. The notch on the left side has been re-cut. On the right you can see were it was almost lost as I suspected it would be. Another few swipes with a file to finish the right side notch and it's ready to test fit. I checked the body braces again too and bagged them again.

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The outer two notches can be adjusted later if necessary. As you can see below the inner fender wells fit much tighter now. Practically a perfect fit.

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Since I have the interior tub still taped together I figured I would glue up the seats. There is a lot of detail in the interior of this kit. Even correct guides for the front seat shoulder belts.

With a little work the front seats backs could be made to hinge forward just like the real deal.

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I'm keeping this as close to an out of the box build as I can so I'll let someone else handle the working features.

OK it's not a lot of progress but it's starting to shape up. If you think it looks good now wait until I get the rest of the dash and steering column added.

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Well that's its for now, I'm on to getting a rolling chassis next. I'm also pretty close to choosing a color scheme but I'm open to suggestions.

-Steve

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Looking good; however correct me if I'm wrong-is the firewall on these cars curved like that? I had a '78 Grand Am coupe (wish I still had it, wish it was what Trumpeter kitted...) and certainly spent enough time under that hood and never remembered the firewall being curved like that. I can't think of any car that has a firewall that is curved to match the windshield contour and the rear edge of the hood. Again, please correct me if I'm wrong!

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It looks to me like the kit has an "outer" firewall that shows when you open the engine compartment (see the gap between the inner fenderwells and the forward interior bulkhead. I haven't seen the kit, but they probably curved this panel to clear/support the dashboard/windshield. If they really did it right, ther should be some vent/wiper valance detail on the top edge of the firewall, under the trailing edge of the hood.

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Looking good; however correct me if I'm wrong-is the firewall on these cars curved like that? I had a '78 Grand Am coupe (wish I still had it, wish it was what Trumpeter kitted...) and certainly spent enough time under that hood and never remembered the firewall being curved like that. I can't think of any car that has a firewall that is curved to match the windshield contour and the rear edge of the hood. Again, please correct me if I'm wrong!

Hi Bob,

Your not wrong and it's probably not as flat as the old MPC tool either. However this kit has enough separate parts for firewall that once everything is mounted and painted the whole engine bay should look very acceptable.

Check out Peter Lepold's build again and tell me that engine bay doesn't look good!

BTW, I would love to see a Grand Am, Grand Prix, Regal and Cutlass all based off this tooling. I think Trumpeter is are best hope for more 78-88 G-body models.

-Steve

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Thanks for the reply Steve! Yours and Peter's excellent buildups and improvements should help anyone interested in building these models. I'll save it for reference if/when Trumpeter does a G-body that I'm interested in :wink:

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Doing a great job with that Monte. I will be following it along.

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....well it's time to get this Monte Carlo up on wheels so I gathered all the wheel and tire parts for a dry fit.

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First up is the rear suspension, I figured it would take the most work and I was right. I attached the lower trailing arms to the sway bar, mounted the spring spacers and the upper trailing arms to the rear axle.

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I used some "fun tack" to hold the rear axle and tires and wheels in place. I left the lower trailing arms and the sway bar off for now.

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Note how the upper trailing arms line up with the frame braces.

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OK, time to flip her on the rear wheels, that looks kind of high to me.

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I mocked up the front wheels for giggles. Time to lower her down.

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I decided to take 4 mm out of the rear spacers, so I cut a strip of blue painters tape 4 mm wide and used to mark the cut lines. I also used two different color pens to mark a center line so I don't mix sides and the pins will still line up.

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This probably would be easier if the spacers weren't glued to the axle housing. Below you can see where I cut out a section and glued the halves back together using my alignment mark.

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And here is both sides trim down to size. The total spacer size is now 5mm. I also noted the sway bar is rubbing the trailing arm brackets. I highlighted the areas to file down with pencil.

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also shortened the length of the trailing arms to better center the wheels. I did this with a file taking just a little of each end. I found I also had to trim the shocks about 3mm each. I used the same method as I did with the spacers. The shock on the right is trimmed. I also used a small pair of side cutters to trim about 2 1/2 coils off the spring.

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Now that's much better and it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.

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Now on the front suspension, I started by gluing the upper control arm mounts and the control arms to the frame. I also glued the pitman and steering arms to the center link. the rest I'll leave loose for now.

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The front has to be lower too. All I really needed to do was re-drill the wheel backs so the "spindle would sit lower. I added a small piece of styrene strip as filler as the wheel back is slightly concave shaped in the center to keep the wheels vertical. Below, the left side has been modified, the right side is "stock".

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And here you can see the difference with the spindles attached. Again, the left side is modified and the right is "stock".

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Here it is all together. I think it looks pretty darn good. The wheel track maybe a little wide but I didn't think it's worth fussing over. Of course your own personal choice of tires and wheels may call for different adjustments or maybe none at all. I'm curious what other wheel & tire combinations would look like on the "Monte" Hopefully someone will give it a shot.

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Well here it is back on it's wheels, this looks a whole lot better then the first try.

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Of course this is the ride height I picked and there are probably a number of other ways to get the same results. Feel free to share them if you have any ideas.

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I should have at least a rolling driveline with the next update. I may even break out some paint for the chassis. Stay tuned for more updates....

- Steve

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Steve, that does look a lot better with it lowered! As Peter Lepold's build has shown also, it does sit WAY too high out of the box.

Some may say that the wheels appear too small...........but that's how American cars outta the '70's looked! My Dad had a '79, and it appeared just the way yours does.

Love the update on this one so far! :D

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The ride height looks perfect.

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I just got this kit and one of the first things I noticed was how the majority of the frame is hollow. Have you gotten far enough along to see if any of the hollow sections are visible in the engine compartment?

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I just got this kit and one of the first things I noticed was how the majority of the frame is hollow. Have you gotten far enough along to see if any of the hollow sections are visible in the engine compartment?

Yes, I noticed that too and small portion of it is visible in the engine compartment. Mostly the side rail sections between the front rail ends and the upper control arms. It doesn't look like it would take much work to fix it but I decided to leave it alone. You'll soon see for yourself how it well it looks with the next update.

-Steve

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..... well here I am back to the Project Monte Carlo Challenge. Thanks for following along!

The rest of the chassis parts consists of a fuel tank, two piece muffler, the main exhaust pipe and a front "Y" pipe extension not shown.

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Since I already have the rear suspension in place and I don't want the muffler seam to show, installing the exhaust calls for a slight modification. All I had to do is split the exhaust pipe under where the muffler goes. Now I can slip the front pipe under the rear axle. I also glued the tail pipe to the muffler.

I also separated the drive shaft from the transmission and drilled out the end of transmission tailshaft. The tailshaft end also needed to be filled down slightly otherwise the driveshaft will be a very tight fit.

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The frame assy mounts to the chassis with only 6 small pins on the floor but only two locators at the center of the frame. The front and rear rail ends are hollow. To allow for a better gluing surface I made 6 mounting blocks of short strips of .060 square evergreen. The four end blocks are glued just in from pins. The two center blocks are monted about 2mm forward from the center pins to allow clearance for locators.

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After priming I painted the frame and floor semi-gloss black. the floor pan then got a light coat of aircraft interior black so there would be a slight contrast. The photo doesn't show it but there is a difference. All the paints I used in part #4 unless otherwise noted will be either Model Master Acryl or Metalizer shot through an Aztek airbrush.

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By 1978 all Chevy engines were painted corporate blue. I custom mixed it here but "Petty Blue" is close. You could also get a lifetime supply by buying a can of real engine enamel at your favorite autoparts store. The transmission and gas tank are painted Aluminum and the driveshaft not shown is painted steel.

I glued the transmission to the engine block with 5 minute epoxy. Make sure the trans pan is square with the oil pan as the alignment pin allows for some play. I also added the exhaust manifolds which are painted cast iron. The rest of the separate engine parts consist of the pulley and belts, fan blade, cruise actuator and the air cleaner which I'll paint later on. The molded in "carb" is painted in a mixture of brass and steel. The alternator and A/C compressor are molded in too and I detailed those as shown.

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If you wish to add any more engine details like a distributor, starter, fuel pump or oil filter your going to have to add them yourself. They are not included with this kit. The water pump detail is missing as well. The lack of engine detail is the one real disapointment I have with this kit.

If you don't have a parts box or spare kits to raid you can probably carve most of the missing parts out kit sprue. As I'm trying to keep this kit as "out of the box" as possible I decided to leave those pesky "little details" off and see who will notice.

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To complete my driveline I glued in the engine, trans and driveshaft. Filling down the trans tailshaft and separating the driveshaft earlier really improved the fit here. I also installed the "Y" pipe exhaust extension to the main exhaust pipe and checked the fit along with the muffler and tail pipe and checked everything to the floor. No problems here. I will glue the frame, floor and exhaust in together later near the final assembly.

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While the engine is lacking detail, the engine bay is not! Here I'm test fitting all the separate parts including the nice two piece brake cylinder and booster, cruise module, A/C evaporator housing and more. As I suspected, I did have file deeper notches on the firewall for the components that mount there. I even checked the hood fit for clearance. No problem there either.

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The battery is painted up to resemble the Delco Freedom "blue tops" that were original equipment then. The coolant reservoir bottle was paint flat white with a "dusting" of Tamiya Clear green on the sides finally overcoated with flat clear. The windshield washer bottle was finished in a similar fashion using Tamiya clear blue.

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The air cleaner is gloss black, the remaining components are painted aircraft interior black. The evaporator tubing is finished with aluminum and the cruise module and closed hood hinges are painted steel. The aircleaner is left loose for now, I will also glue it in near the final assembly. Now that's an engine compartment!

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Well this where I'm stopping for now. Next time it will be on to the interior and prepping the body for paint. Stay tuned ....

-Steve

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Thanks for the update Steve. I'm watching and waiting.

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Very interesting build up, I'm keeping an eye on this one. Sounds like an engine swap may be necessary for me.

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..... It's been a long time since my last update, thanks for your patience if you have been following along. With the rolling chassis all but completed it's time to start prepping the body for paint.

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Besides the hood and deck lid, I also found small sink marks on the header panel sides and above the rear side lamps. Those were also filled in with Evercoat Glazing Putty using the same steps shown in part one of the series.

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noticed that the panel lines for the quarter extensions and the rear cover are missing unlike the front end which has those details. Using masking tape and pencil lines for guides they were simply carved in using a hobby knife and the back edge of a #11 blade.

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Adding correct panel lines is an easy detail that can improve the look of almost any model and it's commonly overlooked. I used the same method to add the lines that separate the rear body panel from the rear cover.

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With the body almost ready to prime, I decided to strip the upper body side moldings of their chrome plating so I can paint them body color. I used some generic oven cleaner sprayed into a disposable kitchen container to complete the stripping process.

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also decided it was a good time to detail paint the wheel covers. Again, Model Master Acryl paints were used.

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My primer of choice is Light Grey Duplicolor Scratch Fill which I decant and shoot through my airbrush. I only apply enough primer to cover the bare plastic. Areas that need more blocking and priming are done by spot priming which is much easier to do with an airbrush. Now is a good time to checking any chrome trim parts like the bumper strips for fit. It's a lot easier to make adjustments now then after the paint is applied.

The paint stand is scrap wood drilled to accept 4 sections of coat hanger wire shaped like a upside down "L". They're aligned to contact the body with just enough tension to hold it upside down If need be.

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Since I was able to keep the primer use to a minimum on most of the body I will use the foil under paint method to detail the body scripts. So before painting, I covered all the scripts with Bare Metal Foil trimming them as close as possible. Using C-A glue I added the body side moldings which were also primed for paint.

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I shot the top color first using Light Camel Tan which was custom mixed in PPG lacquer to match a factory trim code. Since it's a low gloss finish it will give the effect of a Landau top even without the texture associated with a "kit" vinyl top. Using a toothpick dipped in thinner I rubbed off the paint from the top scripts.

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I then masked off the top and shot the body color which is '78 GM code 63 Camel Tan Metallic. It was also custom mixed but it should be available through MCW as a special order. I also painted the side mirrors body color too (not shown). The same toothpick and thinner method was used on the body scripts to remove the paint from the foil. Go slow is the best advise I can give. I'm going to set the body aside to cure for a few days, then I'll add the rest of the foil trim and clear coat the whole thing.

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While the painted body is curing, I sprayed the interior parts using Medium and Dark Camel Tan paint. The Medium Camel Tan was a mix I made using a combination of the top color and the Dark Camel Tan I ordered along with top and body colors from my local PPG store.

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The interior parts were also set aside to dry. Don't forget to mask off the glass and paint the headliner and the separate sun visors along with the interior.

Next, I'll add the final details and put it all together but you'll have to wait for final update to be posted soon.

Stay tuned....

Steve

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.....this is it, the final assembly of Project Monte Carlo Challenge. I left off in the last post with the body and interior painted and drying.

With the paint now dry enough, I applied Bare Metal Foil to the remaining bright trim. Then I masked off the vinyl top area with Glad Press and Seal which I had pre-cut into small strips, overlapping any seams. Next, I shot the Clear Coat to seal the foil and give it that "New Car" shine.

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My clear coat of choice Omni brand two part urethane which is PPG's budget line. It's mixed two to one, and I usually apply two to three coats. I then set the body aside overnight for final polishing the next day. While the body's curing I finished up the interior detailing using only paint and foil.

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Here's the completed interior. In my opinion, this is one this kit's best features. All the hidden areas of the interior are "blacked out" with Aircraft Interior Black just in case they show through some small opening.

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With the clear coat cured and polished, the glass and headliner is installed. You'll note I also "blacked out" more hidden areas and the edges around the glass trim. This is a great tip I picked up from "Juha the Master" as it makes the glass appear thinner.

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The interior goes in next, then I "blacked out" the trunk interior sides. I also "blacked out" the rocker portion of the body as well. The finished chassis floor pan is ready to go in next.

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Followed by the finished frame and driveline. With all the preparation, this kit is finally falling together without any trouble spots.

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With the frame and driveline in place it looks like you could almost "fire it up". Just a few more parts to add ... like the separate wiper blades ....

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... the exhaust parts and the transmission mount too.

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Ready for the air cleaner, upper radiator hose with the thermostat housing and the fender braces. I used 5 minute epoxy for all the final assembly.

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Now it's ready to fire up, where's my 1/25 scale gas can at?

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The three piece body side trim goes on next. The wheel openings and the wide lower door moldings were done with foil before the clear coat.

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Next up is the grille, lamps and bumper trim. Even will all my pre-fitting, some last minute filing was needed to get the bumper trim to fit perfect.

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Yes, I do make mistakes!!! Here I've corrected the park/turn lamps to clear, only the side lamps are amber.

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The tail lamps are rear bumper strips are next. All the kit lenses were clear. I painted them with Tamiya Clear Red or Clear Orange as needed. The backup portion of the rear lamps are painted aluminum just on the backside of the lens.

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Here they are, the last parts. The mirrors were mounted on wire for painting. I'll trim it way back before gluing in place. The hood ornament is tiny, I left it on the tree until the very last step.

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Well here it is, finally completed. I think it came out great. Is the Trumpeter Monte Carlo kit a perfect kit, I say no way, far from it. Can you build a nice looking model using just the parts that it came with? I'll let my photos answer that question.

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Thanks for following along...... Your comments are welcome !

-Steve

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Very nice demonstration and clean build. Thumbs up!

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Man Steve, Great job! You should be writing in Magazines! Hint,Hint

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Steve, very nice build. Like the color.

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Love the car, color and commentary of the build, great job. :wink:

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Fantastic!!!!

And yes, we would love to have you write for us!

hint, hint, double hint!!!

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Fantastic!!!!

And yes, we would love to have you write for us!

hint, hint, double hint!!!

Gregg, I can take a hint. I would love to contibute something worthy. Your very welcome to use any and all of this build if it's still of any interest. I do have most of the photos saved unreduced.

If your looking for something new I have other projects planned. Contact me OTB.

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