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Improving the Greenlight Bluesmobile

30 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Last year, Greenlight released a die cast 1/24 Bluesmobile, the prospect of which made me extremely happy. Not only is the Bluesmobile (a 1974 Dodge Monaco Sedan) a movie car icon, but also, this bodystyle practically owned the police car market for a few years in the United States. I was really glad to see that this was being released. 

As released, it makes a decent replica. The body is more or less right in the details. There are a few drawbacks that these miniatures have however... 

 

 

...the manufacturer took a few shortcuts. For one, the bumpers are painted silver, rather than chrome plated. American cars of this era simply do not look right without plated bumpers. I'm eventually going to pull some of these off and send some out for chroming. 

 

 

For another, the wheels are kind of shrimpy. I'll admit it- I'm a Wheel Snob. They just have to look right to me. Wheels make the car for me, both in scale and in 1:1. While the poverty caps might work for the Chicago P.D. car, the Bluesmobile was definitely missing it's caps, so uncapped steel wheels would be much better here. 

 

 

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Edited by CapSat 6
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Posted

I looked at options for different wheels and tires. The wheels were a simple choice- Fireball Modelworks offers really nice Mopar steel wheels in 1/24 scale. I ordered a set, and they really looked the part. 

Tires on the other hand were more challenging. The tires that come with the car just look too small. I took them off and compared them to other 1/24 tires from Revell Monograms's muscle car kits. They're actually almost as big as both their Goodyear Polysteel Radials (found in their '70 Superbirds, Road Runners, and '69 Super Bees), and their Goodyear GT Radials (found in their '70 Chevelle SS, '71 Hemi Cuda, '70 Challenger T/A, etc.). 

I wasn't finding anything that really looked good, until I went outside the box, so to speak. The tires in the Revell Dodge Ram VTS show pickup seem to work well. The newer ones have bare sidewalks, and they seem to have that '70's battlecrusier tall 'n wide look that I needed. They're a lot bigger than the standard issue tires. 

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Posted

There's more to come. I'm working through getting the new rubber and wheels to work with the axles and wheel mounts that came with the car. 

 

 

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Posted

You're off to a good start!

David G.

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Posted

GREAT improvement already!!  

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Posted

David and Danno- thank you so much! I think I'm on the right track. I'm liking it more already! 

 

To continue: 

I tried eyeballing a place where I could cut away the wheel face and keep the post for the axle in each wheel back. It seems that if I cut about 2/3 of the way towards the front on the middle retainer ring (I really have no idea what to call these features!), that would do it. I cut back too far on the first one, but got it right on the other three. I used a hand held razor saw, I seem to have the best control that way. You can see the first one laying flat on the bench, and the 2nd attempt as the one with the axle still in it. 

 

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Posted

When sawing to the middle of one with the axle still in, the saw hits the axle. What I did here was: I completed my cuts, and twisted the front off of the axle like I would one of the wheels off of the axle, until it was free. 

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Posted

The next order of business was to remove the tire retainer ring from around the outside of the rear section of the wheel. I used a Drexel cutoff to do that. 

After that, I was left with a spindly, weak axle mount. Since this is a fairly heavy diecast, I went to work reinforcing it. First, I added a disc of sheet plastic to the back and glued it in. This also serves to close the gap between the new hub and the new outer wheel. As you can see, I wasn't very neat about it...

 

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Posted

After mocking it up a few times, and thinking it over, I still felt that the new assembly would be too weak, especially the first one that I blew out and had to reconstruct (by gluing the remains of the axle retainer to the new disc I added to the outer hub- but you didn't see me do that!). 

I started digging around in my old wheels-and-retainers parts box to see it here was anything I could fit to the inside of the hub, where the brakes would go. I found that with a little trimming, a set of wheelbacks from AMT's '70 Challenger R/T (last seen as the Vanishing Point Challenger) would do well. 

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Posted

I was still scared that there was some slack due to the gap between the axle retainer and the Challenger hubs. I decided to shim them up with some sheet plastic.

Once I did that, the axle hubs didn't move around at all. It's all sort of off-the-cuff-quick-and-dirty, but I think putting my mind to the problems yielded something that will work out in the end. 

 

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Posted (edited)

I painted everything up with some plastikote flat black. It's looking good...

One thing that has really helped me with my modeling over the years is: that I developed a sense of knowing when to put something down for awhile and walk away from it before I ruin it. Time to quit, let some stuff dry- mock ups can wait for later...

 

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Edited by CapSat 6
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Posted

Fortunately, I did all that work a few nights ago. Mockup time!!!

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Posted

I don't think the pics quite do it justice. Maybe it's my awful photography. Here are a few comparison shots. 

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Posted

I still want to science the fit of the tires onto the hubs a bit. Also, I want to dry brush and detail the wheels and scuff the tires. Admittedly, it doesn't roll nearly as well as it used to, but then again, I don't really roll models around on my kitchen floor, like I used to when I was little. 😀 Still, I like this model a LOT more now. 

Eventually, I want to repaint the interior, make new side windows, and try to weather the body better. This is going to be an ongoing project, but the wheels bothered me the most, so it can rest for now. 

The other one is eventually going to become a replica of our family car from the '70's. It was a '74 Custom  4 Door sedan, dark blue with a white vinyl top, factory mags, and a blue interior. We had that car about 8 years, so it was a big part of my childhood. We saw Star Wars in the drive-in at Lake Waullenpaupack, PA in it...

 

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Posted

Huge improvement with that wheel/tire combo!

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Posted

Huge improvement with that wheel/tire combo!

Thanks, Christopher!

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Posted

Definitely the best movie car of all time.Until the end....☹️😩

image.jpeg

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Posted

A very effective mod. there - surely a great improvement.  Thank you for sharing your techniques and sources too.  

Mike K.

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Posted

A no-nonsense upgrade that really adds to the model, Bill......congratulations!  I too am a wheel snob and I've had to resort to constructing "composites" scrounged from different sources, especially when trying to improve some of the Johnny Lightning models.  It's a bear for sure but well worth the time and effort.  I've got a whole box of nice FM/DM wheels and tires just waiting for me to get inspired and install them on the cars that so desperately need them.

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Posted

Definitely the best movie car of all time.Until the end....☹️😩

image.jpeg

I agree, Ron! I love that stricken look that Elwood gives after that happens!

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Posted

A very effective mod. there - surely a great improvement.  Thank you for sharing your techniques and sources too.  

Mike K.

Thank you, Mike! Glad to share. In the hands of a more patient modeler than myself, I think it will work very well. ;)

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Posted

A no-nonsense upgrade that really adds to the model, Bill......congratulations!  I too am a wheel snob and I've had to resort to constructing "composites" scrounged from different sources, especially when trying to improve some of the Johnny Lightning models.  It's a bear for sure but well worth the time and effort.  I've got a whole box of nice FM/DM wheels and tires just waiting for me to get inspired and install them on the cars that so desperately need them.

Thanks, Roger! Wheel Snobs Unite, right?

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Posted

Absolutely!

Here's a Johnny Lightning '66 Chevy II in Butternut Yellow that I "tuned up" with a set of Danbury Mint Corvette wheels and tires. 

 

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Posted

Yea,I remember that sad,shocked,and disappointed look on his face.Hell,he loved that car.Lol

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Posted

Absolutely!

Here's a Johnny Lightning '66 Chevy II in Butternut Yellow that I "tuned up" with a set of Danbury Mint Corvette wheels and tires. 

 

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That looks really nice! 

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