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Tyler62990

56 T Bird Replica - Two steps forward, one step back.

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So I was recently asked if I could replicate my mothers boyfriends 56 Ford Thunderbird. This will be my second time trying to build and exact replica of a 1:1 car. The first was an AMT 57 T Bird, mimicking his last car. That one didn't go so well lol. Between the Valspar spray bomb paint I used to try to match the car, flash, extremely poor fit, and me being fresh to the hobby, the results left a lot to be desired.  I was given a 56 kit he picked up at an auction to try to pull this off. Let me start by saying, this kit is pretty rough, both by condition and design, but more on that later. Anyway, this is my chance to redeem myself for that horrible 57.

This is the car I'm trying to replicate:

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And this is the kit I was given. Upon opening, I was greeted by a half build gluebomb chassis, all cemented together in the same red molded plastic that was placed in the box by Monogram. Yep, red plastic on a car that needs to be light blue with a blue and white interior. Oh joy, oh joy lol. The glass was in pretty rough shape from getting bashed around by all of the loose parts for god knows how many years. The engine lacks a lot of detail (molded in hunk of plastic for a carb?), the red plastic is showing through the chrome in places, and the diecast body was an oxidized, flash covered mess. That's right, metal flash. I'll never complain about one of those AMT repops again haha. After deciding if this was even going to be worth it, I came to the conclusion that I'd rescue this thing... and do it by Christmas to have something to put under the tree.

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Well, after the first of five hours of ginding, sanding and polishing out the flash and prominent mold lines, I was growing pretty tired of this build. But since I considered just getting the body straight to be an accomplishment, I continued. I tried to test fit the top to the body and for the life of me couldn't figure out what was going wrong. When I flipped it over, I discovered the flashed over attachment points for the roof. Uggh, another hour went by as I drilled, filed and shaped the holes that the roof slips into. Not wanting the huge hole at the rear of the top, I left that hole flashed over and ground down the attachment point on the top. Well, 6 hours and 4 dremel tips later, this is where I was at. If it didn't have to be blue, I would've left it as is. Gotta love a bare metal finish.

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A coat of self etching primer, followed by some tamiya fine white primer showed my efforts weren't in vain. The body was actually straight! After a quick celebratory dance, I started plucking the started chassis/engine apart. Expecting the worst, I was rewarded with the best. The glue joints were so weak, most of what was already put together came apart with just my fingers, or a bit of coaxing with my xacto. I lost a few attachment points, but who needs em?

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The valve covers were showing the most red out of all of the chrome, so I treated them to a coat of sealer primer and Duplicolor Chrome. I was a bit apprehensive about spray can chrome, but the results were actually pretty impressive.

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Well that's all I have for now. Tomorrow is paint day in a big way. Everything is getting a coat of sealer, followed by a coat of silver and then the final color. I DON'T want that red coming through. The body will also get it's coat of Peacock Blue paint from Scale Finishes. Look for more soon!

Edited by Tyler62990

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Compared to most metal kits I've seen this one looks like the proportions are very good. At least you shouldn't have any hot paint to plastic issues.   

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What red ? Metal car , white primer ?

The body, roof and continental kit are the only metal parts. Everything else is molded in red plastic aside from the clear parts. I figured everyone has seen an unassembled kit molded in a color other than white, so I didn't snap any pics of the contents of the box to keep my photobucket account from getting loaded up. As for the white primer, I'm not sure what you're asking me.

Compared to most metal kits I've seen this one looks like the proportions are very good. At least you shouldn't have any hot paint to plastic issues.   

It actually is pretty good in regard to proportions. The bump in the dash for the speedo is a bit wonky, but I understand it's an old kit so I'm really not put off by it. Actually, it's not a bad kit at all, it just needs more work than usual to get it looking presentable.

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Not really a question about the primer , more of just a statement , metal car , white primer, no red. and I haven't seen the complete kit , so your question is quite reasonable . I'd prime the red parts , then a coat of silver , then prime again , that usually takes care of the bleed thru.

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So everything has been coated in sealer primer and a silver basecoat. So far, I haven't seen any bleed through from the red, thank god. once that dried, I also spent a solid night airbrushing just about everything in the kit. The car will likely never be turned over, so I'm not going to go nuts on the underside to save some time. However, I just couldn't keep the exhaust and gas tank black. The pipes are molded to the chassis, so painting was a bit tricky, but all in all I think it looks fine, especially for a part of the car never to be seen again.

I also detail painted the engine block a bit. Very, very minimal detail in this one, but that will be addressed. I'll probably start dressing it up tonight with some wires and plumbing.

In the meantime, I got the Peacock Blue laid down on the body and dash. The dash is a bit tricky to get looking right, but I think it's acceptable. I masked off what would be the metal/upholstery separation on the real car and sprayed some Cayman Blue acrylic to add a bit of interest. The dash was then detail painted. I need to work on painting engraved details on speedos and the like. I'm not very satisfied with how the numbers came out, but I guess I'll have to live with it.

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Thanks guys. Well, disaster struck while painting. I painted the car using Tamiya White Primer and laid down the Peacock Blue from Scale Finishes. I'm not knocking the paint at all, but I just couldn't get a good coat using it. The orange peel (actually, more like grapefruit peel) got sanded out and stuck in a dehydrator for a couple days to make sure it was cured all the way through. After that, I gave it a couple coats of Testors Wet Look Clear and boom, it started wrinkling right away. Yes the SF paint was and enamel, yes the Wet Look is a lacquer and that should've been enough to tell me it was a bad idea, but the cars I've successfully done in this manner and tests I've done with this particular paint suggested everything would be fine. Funny enough, everything WAS fine on the hood and continental kit, just not the body. Luckily, the body is metal and I had some Aircraft Remover laying around. Can you say instant paint removal? The car was completely stripped in about 5 minutes, re-primed and repainted the following day. The orange peel is just as prominent as before, and the coats are thinner than before, so wet sanding this one without burning through is gonna be fuuuuunnnn. I'll post pics of the paint after it leaves the curing box. If I do botch this one, does anybody know of a good match for peacock blue, preferably lacquer based, that I won't have to wait over a month to get? I was thinking Tamiya Coral blue?

Anyway, good news! I got the engine almost completely done, and even though it lacks a lot of detail, the little things distract you and the big air cleaner hides a lot of the not-so-pretty parts. The engine/transmission was treated to a bit of blackwash to accent the lines a bit. The valve covers were also blackwashed to bring out the ribbing. The distributor was drilled and wired, then attached to the engine. A vacuum line was also added, though I'm not sure if it's correct. The reference photos I have suggest it goes either to the back of the carb or the manifold. I decided to go with the manifold hookup and used a piece of solder and a bead to make the piece.

 

 

 

After that was done, my photos also showed what looked to be an arm for the throttle linkage. It's not 100% correct, but it does the job. This was made from three pieces of plastic stock, cut down, glued and painted semi-gloss black.

 

 

I also noticed the very prominent fuel filter in my reference pics. The kit provides no such part, so one was made from a piece of plastic rod, two beads and a drop of UV cured glue for the glass bowl. Once again, not perfect, but who is lol

 

 

An oil filter label was created by searching for Purolator oil filters on google, finding a suitable image, cropping, resizing and printing out. That and a couple dabs of glue add that little touch that's often ignored. I plan to do the same with the battery and washer fluid bag. The power steering was also plumbed at this time.

 

Here's the engine with the vacuum, fuel, and power steering lines; throttle linkage and wires. We're not done yet, though...

 

 

Here's the complete engine, with the addition of generator wiring, heater hoses and all power steering lines. The headers were done with a red primer base coat, a dusting of gunmetal and a few Tamiya powders. The oil filler tube was lost at some point (maybe 1982. I don't think it was ever in the box) so a replacement was made from a piece from an AMT 49 Ford. I guess one of them won't be getting a Flathead lol. After a bit of trimming, I don't think anyone will be able to tell the difference. Here you can see how that giant air cleaner hides that terrible looking carb. All in all, after some detail work, what was originally only a 10 piece engine builds into a pretty nice looking representation of a 312 Y block.

 

 

And last but not least, I got the interior painted. These bucket interiors are always a ton of fun to two tone. No matter what I do, I always get bleed under when I mask. Some of those curves are just impossible to either cut or burnish down completely. After a failed spray attempt, I settled on brush painting with some acrylic paint. The aluminum(?) door accents were done with silver sharpie. The chrome was done with a silver paint pen, which surprisingly enough yields a very nice, super shiny chrome/silver finish in small doses. The piece that looks like it may be a speaker on the door isn't blue, it's silver paint pen. That's how reflective this stuff is! The floor was flocked with blue embossing powder. I see now that it needs a small touch up.

 

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Not a whole lot to report on other than I'm losing my mind over consistent paint issues. To keep me sane and the car in one piece, I decided to mess with some stuff that was going right. I got most of the chassis completely finished and decided to add a bit more detail wiring to the engine. It looks like a rats nest now, but hopefully I can repair yet another botched paint job and get everything routed correctly. Wish me luck guys. I was hoping to have this one done for Christmas

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Your engine detailing and small parts fabrication look great to me !

That Peacock Blue is gorgeous , too bad about the reaction with the clear .  You could try Tamiya Clear TS-13 instead of the Wet Look , the Tamiya is synthetic lacquer and if sprayed in light coats shouldn't react to the enamel .  Tamiya TS-23 Light Blue might be close to the Peacock Blue .

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Well, with all of the problems I encountered, a build off project being on the bench, and my inability to stay focused on one build at a time, I didn't make my Christmas deadline. However, it did make a nice birthday present when I wrapped it up earlier this week. Check her out in the under glass section!

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