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Plastheniker

1933 Bugatti 50 T - Heller's classic 1/24 kit after fixing (hopefully all) its conspicuous shortcomings

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Hi,

 

most of Heller's 1/24 car kits were released during the seventies. They can make really beautiful models but not in the fast and easy way of modern kits.

 

All Heller kits I know have one common issue that makes assembly needlessly difficult and sometimes really enigmatic: Drawings of Heller's assembly instructions often give only a vague idea of the correct parts location, and Heller parts don't have the usual pins and holes. Therefore it is wise always to simulate the following assembly steps before gluing anything.

 

Some Heller kits do not have separate glass parts for the side windows. Instead each side has one single clear part comprising door panels,windows and window frames. At first glance this seems to be a good idea because it is no longer necessary to use any glue near the windows. Actually, however, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages as soon as window frames are foiled. Then every first cut has to be perfect because every failed cutting attempt would leave conspicuous grooves on the windows. Moreover removing foiling residue from clear parts requires utmost caution, even more if household foil adhesive was used. And finally, making a half-open window for better visibility of the interior becomes very difficult.

 

This particular Heller kit of the iconic Bugatti 50 T has two salient and rather incomprehensible shortcomings. If they are not tackled the finished model won't look very realistic:

  • The stance of most finished models is obviously wrong. Their front is so high and their rear is so low as if the trunk had been filled with concrete. For a realistic stance the upper edges of the chassis rails have to be exactly horizontal.

  • The characteristic alloy rims of the original 50 T look like this:

    2v2uWSYCoxAqZLN.jpg
    2v2uWSYiyxAqZLN.jpg

     

    Heller's rims, however, have only faint resemblance. Note that they haven't even a rim flange:

    2v2uWSYc8xAqZLN.jpg

     

    Nevertheless I never saw a finished model with better rims. Making six more realistic rims is rather painstaking and time-consuming, but IMO the effort pays off even if the result is not absolutely perfect.

Besides I remember some comperatively minor issues:

  • The original 50 T had cable-operated adjustable friction shock absorbers. The kit has simple one-piece parts without any details. Since the open front fenders of the finished model reveal them they should be detailed or replaced.

  • The same is true for the cable-operated front brakes. All details, i. e. levers, deflection rollers and cables, are omitted and should be added.

  • OOB some body details are either omitted (trunk hinges and trunk catches) or moulded (bonnet catches, door handles and door hinges)

  • The two lateral ventilation flaps, poorly simulated by raised panel lines, should be scribed

  • OOB the interior is rather simple. The kit dashboard has large recesses at both ends. Even if probably correct on Heller's 1:1 reference car such a dashboard would be atypical for a 50 T.

 

 

With these reservations Heller's 50 T can make a convincing replica that can sustain comparison with most modern models. It requires, however, more time, resilience and skills than modern kits.

 

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2v2up2Y18xAqZLN.jpg
2v2up2YczxAqZLN.jpg
2v2up2YwoxAqZLN.jpg
2v2u4ZMBzxAqZLN.jpg

 

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Wow Jurgen

That is absolutely stunning..excellent detail interior, and the wheels look perfect!

Cheers to you Sir

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I have one of those in the rebuild pile. I may come to you J­urgen for advice. Yours is stunning.

IMG_0837.jpg

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Another outstanding replica from your bench.  You sir, are an artist.

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I like the matter-of-fact way in which you explain your work, leading up to your model's reveal. Then POW! we are all floored by the craftsmanship and sheer artistry of your work as we scroll downward.

 

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You make all of these look so easy! Magnificent.

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Excellent build! I also have one and recently started polishing the body to prepare it for paint. After reading about your build, I will do it differently than O planned. Did you make the wheels yourself or is there some company that makes them? Thanks for sharing your great car!

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Another outstanding replica from your bench.  You sir, are an artist.

Stunning work of art, it's a masterpiece!

Says it all!

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Beautiful build! The effort really paid off in the awesome results.

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The model is absolutely gorgeous! The finish and attention to detail are among the best I have seen.

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Stunning, stunning, stunning!

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Not only do you build fantastic models but your photography is outstanding. How do you make the background disappear?

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Really nice model Jurgen. It just shows what can be done with an elderly kit. This particular 'bug' is a lovely looking car. As far as I know only Pocher has kitted the same subject but in the huge eighth scale. The work you have done on this little Heller model is superb. Incidentally, the very same kit was marketed also under the Airfix name when Heller and Airfix were joint owned by a holding company.

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Great looking model and story on heller kits.I have a Heller  Renault Vivastella to start up one day.

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Stunning model and outstanding photography. Congratulations!

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Jürgen, I don't know what to say without repeating myself over and over everytime I see one of you fascinating models: outstanding build and photography - you're a true master modeler !

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Outstanding work. Was just looking at my kit a week or so ago and decided it was too much to get into right now. When I get around to it will definitely have a high mark to shoot for.

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That is just amazing. 

It looks absolutely like the real car. With better tires in place of the Heller tires, it would be impossible to tell it's a model.

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