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Dirty Dave

Best fix for Revell's '48 Ford Custom roof?

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I picked up that '48 Ford custom kit, hoping all the while that the window shapes/chop on the box art photos would look better in the plastic, but it just... doesn't.
 

I have a couple of ideas about how to go about fixing it:

  1. Fill in around the edges of the window frames with styrene strip, and reshape the openings to attempt to get them to look more "correct".
  2. Trim out the B pillar, sand off the existing drip rail, and relocate a new drip rail and window frames to replicate a "hardtop" chop.
  3. Flush-mount the windows, and give the rest of the car a more "modern" rod treatment.
  4. Go hot rod style with it to make the seemingly forward-tilted chop more in tune with the style of the car.
  5. Just cut the roof and re-chop it, possibly using other kit(s) as donors.
  6. A combination of some of the above strategies.

Anybody had any success making this thing look like a traditional custom? I did a search, but only turned up one build, and that went the hot-rod route.

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Hmmmm....I bought one to use the fadeaways on another chopped job I had going and didn't think the roof looked as bad in the flesh as it does in most pix.

That said...there is a pronounced hump where the top of the roof transitions into the rear window surround. It's subtle, but it spoils the line for me. There appears to be enough plastic to file the hump into a smoother, more pleasing radius.

Also, leaning the B-pillars forward at the top would be a big improvement.

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That said...there is a pronounced hump where the top of the roof transitions into the rear window surround. It's subtle, but it spoils the line for me. There appears to be enough plastic to file the hump into a smoother, more pleasing radius.

Also, leaning the B-pillars forward at the top would be a big improvement.

Yeah, I could probably give myself some insurance, and laminate in a couple of this patches of styrene sheet on the inside of the roof before i start sanding, just to beef it up a little.

Canted B-pillars are a good idea, too. I just feel like it needs a little more height above the beltline - as if the window openings cut down into the door/quarter too far. Or maybe it's that these window openings lack the depth and radiused edge of the originals. They really look like they were just cut out of a thin plastic surface - the body doesn't roll inward to the glass like the real cars.

Edited by Dirty Dave

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Why not start with the Revell '48 Police Coupe kit's body and make/swap/change things to however you prefer?

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Why not start with the Revell '48 Police Coupe kit's body and make/swap/change things to however you prefer?

Mostly, I already have more kits than I probably should. Buying another just for a body that I'm going to chop anyway doesn't seem prudent. That's a lot of extra stock parts to store in the closet.
Secondly - I scored the custom at a swap for $15. Can't see spending $30 to "fix" a kit I picked up because it was a bargain. If I can't make this body work, I'll use the parts from the custom kit on other projects.

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The top is not that off to my eyes, it is mostly the window opening and subsequently the door line that was pinched.

I would just reshape the window and rescribe the door lines.

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Is there a Revell kit out there that doesn't have some problem with its body? With all the complaining I hear here, one wouldn't think so. The Custom '48 Ford is another kit I didn't know there was a problem. I must be blind.

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Is there a Revell kit out there that doesn't have some problem with its body? With all the complaining I hear here, one wouldn't think so. The Custom '48 Ford is another kit I didn't know there was a problem. I must be blind.

See any difference?    Related image

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One of the folks on TRaK did what you're asking. Basically he added plastic strips to the side windows and then reshaped them, fixed the hump as has been discussed above, and he raised the top of the windshield opening since it's incorrect in the kit. It was a bit more complicated, but that pretty much described it. It made a world of difference. Sorry, I can't find the thread on it, it was shortly after the kit was released. 

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One of the folks on TRaK did what you're asking. Basically he added plastic strips to the side windows and then reshaped them, fixed the hump as has been discussed above, and he raised the top of the windshield opening since it's incorrect in the kit. It was a bit more complicated, but that pretty much described it. It made a world of difference. Sorry, I can't find the thread on it, it was shortly after the kit was released. 

At least it shows that it CAN be done, and that I'm on the right track. Thanks.

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Is there a Revell kit out there that doesn't have some problem with its body? With all the complaining I hear here, one wouldn't think so. The Custom '48 Ford is another kit I didn't know there was a problem. I must be blind.

I feel like the roof shape/modifications in the kit as manufactured lend themselves to more of a 21st century build, and less of the traditional custom look/shape to which the rest of the kit points. I wouldn't call it "wrong" exactly - it's a fictitious custom, so it could be anything - but it just doesn't look "right" to my eye. Lowered over big billet wheels, independent suspension and a modern powertrain, this body might look just dandy. What's in the kit are all '40s-'50s era parts, and so the inconsistency grates on me.

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See any difference?    Related image

I see a difference. But, they both look overall okay to me. I believe the one on the left is the true da Vinci. It looks more correct to me. But, the one on the right, not only looks okay to me. But, maybe a bit prettier. Believe it or not. I'm just a little tired of everybody complaining about the newer Revell kits. Are they perfect? Maybe not. But, neither were the annual SMP, AMT, or MPC annuals of past as everybody like to claim. And then we get into a customized car. The roof isn't right? Okay, maybe you don't like it. But, not right? Where does this end?

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...And then we get into a customized car. The roof isn't right? Okay, maybe you don't like it. But, not right? Where does this end?

I agree with you in principle here, particularly as the chopped '48 in the Revell kit would be a competently done piece of work in the real world, and not all custom cars appeal to all viewers equally. But are there some clumsy lines on it? Yes. 

However, if you're going to do a scale-model of a production car, or an actual existing custom, it's simply part of the job to measure and divide by the scale-of-choice accurately.

The old kits that were often based on promos were in many cases very accurate proportionally and dimensionally simply because they were built using factory-supplied dimensions.

But measuring really isn't as hard as many folks would have us believe.

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I see a difference. But, they both look overall okay to me. I believe the one on the left is the true da Vinci. It looks more correct to me. But, the one on the right, not only looks okay to me. But, maybe a bit prettier. Believe it or not. I'm just a little tired of everybody complaining about the newer Revell kits. Are they perfect? Maybe not. But, neither were the annual SMP, AMT, or MPC annuals of past as everybody like to claim. And then we get into a customized car. The roof isn't right? Okay, maybe you don't like it. But, not right? Where does this end?

I didn't see anybody post that the kit sucked on anything that it isn't supposed to, I just started the thread after searching in vain for posts/articles detailing how it could be improved. Looking at that kit, it just appears poorly proportioned to me. It's as if somebody gave an engineer the instruction to, "Take three scale inches out of the top," and he did that, just connecting stuff back together in a 3D wireframe view as best he could after removing the height. A top chop on a car like this is an art, and this one doesn't look like it was performed by an artist.

Now I probably have a more selective eye than most, but the truth of the matter is that to me, this kit isn't worth building unless I can "fix" the chop to flow well with the lines of the rest of the car. I'm sure that it CAN be altered to please my tastes, but I also have a bunch of other projects, and a limited amount of time on this Earth to complete them. What I'm looking for are the best options to modify the less attractive aspects of that roofline with the least amount of time/effort invested. I have a 1:12 scale fuel altered with a scratchbuilt brass frame to finish if I just want to sink more hours into a project.

 

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I agree with you in principle here, particularly as the chopped '48 in the Revell kit would be a competently done piece of work in the real world, and not all custom cars appeal to all viewers equally. But are there some clumsy lines on it? Yes. 

However, if you're going to do a scale-model of a production car, or an actual existing custom, it's simply part of the job to measure and divide by the scale-of-choice accurately.

The old kits that were often based on promos were in many cases very accurate proportionally and dimensionally simply because they were built using factory-supplied dimensions.

But measuring really isn't as hard as many folks would have us believe.

Again, I agree with you in principle. But, I do think the accuracy of the old kits, based on "factory-supplied dimensions" is not as good as everybody likes to think, or claim. Ever seen the first '49 Ford promos AMT did for Ford back in the day? They looked pretty good. Except for the rear door door handles on the Fordor. They were setup as suicide doors, with the handles on the front of the rear doors. Later in the run they were corrected. How about the accuracy of AMT's '66 Buick Wildcat? Both the promos and kits had the wrong '65 Wildcat interiors in them. It seems to me there has been talk in the past that AMT's '65 Bonneville's right body side, especially along the belt line, did not exactly match the left. Recently I finished building AMT's '77 Pacer wagon. At that time MPC was making the factory authorized promos. Basing their kits off of those promos. Comparing AMT's Pacers to MPC's, I'd say that AMT got the details better.

I can come up with many others. And that's the point. We put the many of inaccurate kits of past on a pedestal they don't really deserve. Were they good? Yes. 100%? No. Are the new Revell kits good? Yes. 100%? Again, no. Should they be better? I'd say yes. But, I'm not going to whine over minor things that are not that noticeable until an expert points them out me. Overall, the 1970 'cuda, '67 Camaro, '57 Fords have looked very good to me. Heck I didn't even notice the roof height on the '90 Mustang until it was pointed out. Even though I know it wrong. The car still looks good to me. And now we're going to complain about the roof on a customized Ford? You don't like it? Fine. Pass on the kit. Or buy one and fix it to the way you like it. This complaining is just getting ridiculous to me.

And by the way, it is okay if you guys disagree with me on this one. Its just my point of view. And sometimes I'm in the minority. Or god forbid, I'm wrong.

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Again - not a complaint. Just trolling the shallows for ideas to make it better for me.

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 Except for the rear door door handles on the Fordor. They were setup as suicide doors, with the handles on the front of the rear doors. Later in the run they were corrected. How about the accuracy of AMT's '66 Buick Wildcat? Both the promos and kits had the wrong '65 Wildcat interiors in them. It seems to me there has been talk in the past that AMT's '65 Bonneville's right body side, especially along the belt line, did not exactly match the left. Recently I finished building AMT's '77 Pacer wagon. At that time MPC was making the factory authorized promos. Basing their kits off of those promos. Comparing AMT's Pacers to MPC's, I'd say that AMT got the details better...

 

Interesting thing about this hobby is that things one modeler notices and cares about, another one misses entirely.

Case in point...I couldn't care less about what interior was in what car, because I'd probably never build one stock anyway. As long as the scaling and proportions are spot-on, it doesn't matter to me if the door handles are right or not either. But it does matter to me if the frames and engines are correctly scaled and represented accurately.

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Okay, it is time to make a confession. And you all may want to stone me to death after I do. But truth told, I have little to no interest in 1948 Fords. Stock or customized. And doubt that I will ever buy one of Revell's '48 Fords. The custom one talked about here. Or one of the stock versions. It makes me wonder why in someways I got in to conversation in the first place. 

Back to my new Lindberg 1932 Ford Hot Rod (1/25 scale).

Edited by unclescott58

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It's as if somebody gave an engineer the instruction to, "Take three scale inches out of the top," and he did that, just connecting stuff back together in a 3D wireframe view as best he could after removing the height. A top chop on a car like this is an art, and this one doesn't look like it was performed by an artist.

That right there is the problem. In real life it would be be maybe 3 1/4 to 3 1/2 inches out of the B pillar and 4 out of the C. They would be fiddled with until it looked right. I imagine many engineers could get this right. Whomever did this one, didn't.  I saw a pic of a newly built '48 that was supposed to be retro, or traditional, or something, with the same chop Revell did on the kit. Take a look at this ( its a Mercury, but close enough ) and you can see how much better the lines are. It looks like the B pillar was chopped a smidge more than the A. Laying back the rear of the roof and window goes a long way towards the overall look. 

95a73910.jpg

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Rounded door corners and taking some crown out of the rear of the roof surely didn't hurt any. That photo illustrates exactly how good a chop can look on a '46-'48 coupe, even the more radical ones.

Edited by Dirty Dave

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Then again, maybe the best solution is to just build the kit as it comes in the box....I could argue (but I won't) that the chop on the kit is every bit as artful as the one on the full size car pictured above.  As one of you said (words to the effect). top chopping is indeed an art, and no single execution of art will seem superior to another in the eyes of every onlooker....

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I'm with Tim Boyd on this. I don't see a problem with the model he posted above. I like the looks of it the way it is. I like it better than the real chopped Ford shown in Glenn's post above. I don't know what to say? I like what Revell did with their kit. The roof looks good to me.

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As note in another post here, I really had no interest in this kit. Until now. Mr. Boyd's build above has convinced me that I need a copy of the kit. I really like the looks of the car above. I'm not a big fan of the grille or the color. But, the rest I like. So guess what? This morning I ordered one on eBay.

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Purely in terms of proportions and flow, I don't hate the chop. IMHO it works best when the car is level or given a slight forward rake, rather than the taildragging late 40's stance that the custom grille, fadeaways, and wheel caps would suggest.

I've seen photos of the work required to tweak the windows, windshield surround, chop, etc etc, and it just looks like a ton of work that only aficionados would notice. I'd be inclined to just "roll with it" as Tim Boyd has done to excellent effect.


With just about any custom car kit ever, in order to get it "right", a picky builder has to put in the work to make it his own...and that just makes me more appreciative of models that have had the extra time and care sunk into achieving a specific period-correct appearance. Steve Boutte's models come to mind....massive effort applied to both the broader flow of the model and the specific details, all to achieve a result that resonates beyond anything the box-stock kit could deliver.

But if I had to re-work it, I'd pick my battles: I think I'd wedge the A pillars and raise the front of the roof a little, section the car to take of the "fat" out of it, and leave the window openings alone because.

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