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Bernard Kron

'29 Ford Dry Lakes Roadster - TROG Theme Build - NNL West 2018 - Update 12-26

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For the last several years every winter I try to make it down to the NNL West in Santa Clara, California from my home in Seattle, Washington. It’s a huge show with around 1,000 cars models on display and with some of the finest models you are ever likely to see. Each year the organizers choose 2 themes and reserve feature tables for each.  This year’s themes are The Race of Gentlemen and Show Cars.

NNL2018Flyer.jpg

I’m hoping to build 2 entries for the TROG theme table. I just started on the first of them. It’s a straightforward pre-WWII dry lakes ’29 Ford inspired by this box art illustration from the recently re-issued AMT Mod Rod:

AMT-R2-1000-6.jpg

It will be built largely out of the box with detail modifications to improve the detail and authenticity somewhat. For example, rather than using the hopelessly skinny and somewhat crude spoked wheels from the kit I’m using the far nicer early Kelsey Hayes wire wheels from the AMT ’34 Ford 5-window coupe kit. The front tires are the ones found in the Mod Rod and countless other AMT ’29 Ford Roadster variants, but the rear tires are from the Revell ’40 Ford Standard kit. The whitewalls on both types of tires have been finished over in flat black. The whole setup is more like what was seen in the early days at El Mirage in the mid 30’s

Over the years some of the 4 banger hop up parts originally in the ’29 Ford/Ala Kart double kit were lost, notably the Riley Type B 2-port heads. Fortunately a very nice set can be found in the Revellogram ’30 Ford Sedan kit and the fit is exact on the AMT block. I once did a project where I installed the entire Revellogram 4-banger in an AMT ’29 Ford Roadster chassis, but the Revell piece its larger in several key dimensions and it required extensive work to squeeze it in the AMT chassis. This time I’m building up the basic AMT short block, improving details where I can. Once such modification is to reshape the molded in starter motor to resemble a Wilco Magneto. Removing the starter motor and driving a Wilco Magneto off the flywheel was a standard hop-up in the 30’s I haven’t finished the work on the magneto but I’m getting close. Hopefully I’ll be able to wire up the motor in the next week or so.

Here’s the status of things so far:

Start_Summary_Web.jpg

Overall this is a very simple build, pretty much straight out of the box. As is my habit, I’m making up a bunch of period decals. The sponsor is Gilmore Oil, a famous Southern California oil company of the period. Sponsorship was fairly rare but Gilmore sponsored a fair number of circle track cars, racing airplanes and speedboats, so the theme is not totally out of the question. All the fonts and text are lifted directly from period Gilmore advertising. Below is a Photoshop mockup of the basic graphics. In addition there will be racing numbers on the doors and perhaps some additional Wilco and Firestone trade decals.

Decal_Summary.jpg

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

 

Edited by Bernard Kron

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Great looking build. I have always enjoyed reading about the TROG races.

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Great stuff Bernard. I personally hope the popularity of these vintage beach racing events will help ignite some intrest among younger builders for this genre of models. They have  endless building possibilities and there are a lot of parts readily available for kit bashing. Thanks for posting your parts sources for those not familiar with what is available.

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Way kool project!!!  Looking forward to seeing it's progress!!!😎👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻🏁

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Thanks for the interest guys. Here's a quick update of a mockup of the side view with the number and Wico and Firestone decals in place:

Decal_Layout_Side_View_web.jpg

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Oh Boy - Oh Boy!!!...can't wait to see them in February.

I'm working on a T.R.O.G.  '31 Ford Roadster with a S.C.O.T Supercharged Flathead V8 in 1/16th scale.

c'ya

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On 12/15/2017 at 6:11 PM, misterNNL said:

I am loving the exhaust headers you are using here what are they made from?

Thanx! They're made from 2 sets of the kit headers which are mechanically incorrect for the Ford B-bock flathead 4 cylinder of the early thirties. The head has 4 exhaust ports and not 2 with the center two paired but not quite siamesed. I tried to capture that by taking the second header and splitting it, then pairing it and layering it over the first, as shown below. The red shaded areas were trimmed to line things up.

Header_Construction_Summary_web.jpg

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Here’s what I’m hoping will be the final update. I’d like to be able to include this one in my 2017 builds. The “long pole in the tent” right now is that I’m waiting on a 4-cylinder distributor cap for the Wico magneto I’m modeling, as explained below. Other than that everything is pretty much wrapped and requiring a pretty simple and quick final assembly.

It turns out that I was totally wrong when it came to mounting a 30’s style magneto (the big brands of the time were Eisemann, Wico, Edison, and Bosch) to a Ford B-block 4-cylinder. It’s true that on a lot of farm equipment, tractors and stationary motors they were driven off the flywheel, but in 4-stroke applications they were either stepped down to half speed (for example on John Deere tractors), or in low-stress applications like stationary pumps  the magneto simply allowed to fire on the exhaust stroke. But in racing 4-banger Ford applications the magnetos were invariably driven off the cam drive so that they ran at half speed. This was usually accomplished using some sort of adapter. In the summary composite picture which follows I’ve included a photo of an Eisemann magneto in a lakes modified with the magneto driven by a short quill shaft off an adapter case. A water pump is mounted to the front of the same casing.

In any case this created a problem for me because, as you’ll see below, I had already created a Wico Magnetos decal and applied 2 of them to the painted and finished body. The placement helps balance things out graphically, and besides I wasn’t inclined to risk marring the paint by removing them. So I’ve taken the long way around by changing the magneto mounting position. Since I had reshaped the molded-in AMT starter motor into a Wico-shaped lump this meant cutting out said lump and replacing it with a proper starter motor. Fortunately I was able to accomplish this fairly cleanly and it turned out that one of the countless small-block Ford V8 starter motors from one of the equally countless Revell ’32 Ford kit leftovers in my parts box fit perfectly. The result is in the second panel of the summary picture below.

On the other side of the block I fabricated a quill shaft drive from some mysterious piece I found in a Revell ’30 Ford Tudor Rat Rod kit and various styrene bits. I positioned it on the other side of the oil feed tube in order to preserve that  detail. This is further back than in the Eisemann installation and required a longer quill shaft. It’s all painted and installed and simply waiting for the 4-cylinder distributor cap from Morgan Automotive Detail, which I’ll reshape slightly and glue in place. Then I can wire and plum the motor and stick it in the chassis, followed by final assembly.

The last image in the summary picture below is a view of the undercarriage. The AMT ’29 Ford Model A Roadster kits have a really nicely detailed floor panel. It’s typical of the great job they did on the stock Model A part of the original double kit, paired with the Ala Kart. Frankly, in working on this project I once again have been reminded why, in many ways, I prefer the AMT kit for my hot rods over the recent Revell kit, as nice as the Revell roadster is. Because the AMT kit is essentially a stocker kit the hot rod modelling experience is more like building a 1:1 – big fun in my opinion… In any case, I cut out the floor panels from the stock fender assembly and fabricated some small styrene panels to fill the gaps between the panels and the edges of the body. The result is shown below along with the finished chassis, which is straight out of the box with stock front and rear suspension..

Motor_and_Undercarriage_Summary_Web.jpg

As I said, all the decals and bodywork are completed. The windshield was removed, leaving the stock bracketry and dashboard in place. The interior was also finished, again essentially stock out of the kit. The side panel and seat are finished in a distressed leather effect done by applying multiple thin coats of Testors Acryl paint (the shade is, oddly enough, Leather) and then brushing it in a diagonal cross hatch pattern as each coat dries. Then a light coat of black wash is applied and lightly removed with a piece of tissue to highlight the distressing.

The picture below shows the completed decal application and the completed interior:

Final_Decals_and_Interior_Summary_Web.jp

That’s it for now. Fingers crossed that the distributor cap gets here this year, LOL!

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

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Very nicely done and thanks for explaining your process for the distressed leather look.  All in all, a very convincing build, love it!!!😎👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻🤗🏁

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This is quite a nice build.

There are aspects of the Revell 29 Roadster kit that I'm not too fond of. Such as the back of the frame being far from stock and no option to install a period correct rear suspension and axle. I would like to have brake backing plates such as found in the old Monogram 32 Ford roadster and Coupe kits.

You're right about the  exhaust needing 4 pipes. The Riley 2-port heads represented by those parts are an 'F' head, with 2 intake ports on the right side of the head, and still using the in-block exhaust valves and ports. The A/B 4 banger engine having 4 exhaust ports in the right side of the block, just below the head. Someone must have thought that "2-port" meant that it had 2 exhaust ports. That photo in your summary photo collage of the full size Model B ('32-'34 - it has a fuel pump on the lower right side of the block so it's not an A) hot rod engine appears to have a Donovan full OHV head with the exhaust ports in the head, not the block. Different head than what you're using in the model. But that's OK. You got the model right! Good job!

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Thanks everyone!

This is a micro-update, but the distributor cap came today and I was able to finish off the darn Wico magneto. Now to button this baby up and call it a year – my last project of 2017. I’ll probably get ‘er done tomorrow and post a completed model in the next day or two.

In the meantime, thanx to all who followed along and here’s hoping you’re having a happy holiday season and wishing you all the very best for 2018!

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

DSCF6159_web.jpg

 

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Great model Bernard.I admire your determination to historical correctness and willingness to not accept anything less than perfection in your details.I am certain that had you not insisted on changing that ignition system to the correct parts that there are probably not 2 in a thousand builders that would look closely enough and be knowledgable enough to notice the difference much less mention it.Have a healthy and prosperous new year!!

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1 hour ago, misterNNL said:

...I am certain that had you not insisted on changing that ignition system to the correct parts that there are probably not 2 in a thousand builders that would look closely enough and be knowledgeable enough to notice the difference much less mention it....

Thanks Tom. Actually I had decided to do this modification years ago when I first took up car modeling again. At the time I was knee-deep in reading about pre-war proto-hot-rodding. I was fascinated that this great American motorsport was born in the depths of the Depression and I always wondered how it had come about. In any case the equipment these early hop-up enthusiasts used was an important part of understanding what went on. During the 1920's, before the financial collapse, there had been a burgeoning little world of speed equipment that was starting to take off. Then the Depression struck and the market for these parts collapsed. But quite a few speed addicts owned some of these early parts (such as Rajo and Winfield high compression heads, Winfield and Miller carburetors, etc.). In Southern California the earliest "speed shops" mainly sold and traded used equipment, essentially functioning as a kind of pawn shop or consignment sales hub. It was all centered in SoCal because of the availability of broad, flat and smooth dry lakes for speed runs.

Real racing cars, the board-track Millers and Duesenbergs of the 1920s, were incredibly expensive, easily costing the price of a large upper-middle class home such as one that a rich doctor or lawyer would have (in the 1920's this would have been around $15K before thinking about buying the spare parts and a hiring a competent mechanic). Most of the parts on those cars were hand made, often to order, and rarely were seen on anything other than the ultra-fast and pricey speedway cars. This world came to an end with the Depression and the production-based "Junkyard Formula" which formed the basis for the expansion of hop-up parts for passenger car engines.

What does this have to do with Wico Magnetos? Well Wico Magnetos were industrial and farm equipment magnetos and familiar to people who were around pump engines and tractors. So it was not unusual to see them adapted to hop-up use on 4-cylinder Fords, Chevies, and Olds motors. But the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of hopped-up 4-bangers didn't use magnetos but, rather, plain old generator and coil spark ignitions. So what I did was not the usual practice on these cars, although seen often enough. But it was something I had promised myself I would do someday, build a mag-fired 4-banger in the old style. It turned out to be relatively easy and I'll probably do it again. But you're right, it's pretty invisible and probably hardly worth the effort. But it's fun!

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Bernard, I really appreciate the forethought put into this build. I look forward to seeing it in Santa Clara. Nice job!

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I am enjoying the history associated with this build. I happen to own three mag powered Ford in 1:1 scale and can attest to the notion that they do run a LOT better on mag than when they run on battery and generator. I find the mag produces a much hotter and more consistent spark than the battery and generator. I only wish the budget at my house would allow a trip west this year. This is an interesting build, particularly the interior components. I may very well steal your technique for my '34 Ford WIP. Thanks for posting.

Eric

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Good little article Bernard!

My dad was a hot rodder back in the 40s and 50s here in SoCal, and I grew up around lots of old school hot rodders and racers. For instance, Ed Winfield mentioned in your article was a friend of a friend...or more accurately a friend of several friends, even though I never knew him myself.

I have a Wico mag on a little '30s runner sitting out in my back yard. It's a '37 Gibson Model D tractor with a Wisconsin Robin engine. The carb is the same as used on a Ford Model A and B 4-banger. Gearbox is '37 Chevy.

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On 12/28/2017 at 6:22 AM, Eric Macleod said:

I am enjoying the history associated with this build. I happen to own three mag powered Ford in 1:1 scale and can attest to the notion that they do run a LOT better on mag than when they run on battery and generator. I find the mag produces a much hotter and more consistent spark than the battery and generator. I only wish the budget at my house would allow a trip west this year. This is an interesting build, particularly the interior components. I may very well steal your technique for my '34 Ford WIP. Thanks for posting.

Eric

Thank you Eric. I really dig your "26-'27 factory stock Ford lineup you posted! And it's good to hear about the "hot spoark". In researching pre-war hop-up techniques magnetos were ubiquitous as the prferred solution to performance ignition. The prevalence of coil ignition setups I'm certain  is entirely due to convenience and expense.Magnetos remained the "weapon of choice" until the transistorized ignition revolution beginning in the late 50's and their emergence in the performance world starting with Lucas units on F1 cars in '62, along with aftermarket setups from American manufacturers like Autolite.

 

8 hours ago, DustyMojave said:

Good little article Bernard!

My dad was a hot rodder back in the 40s and 50s here in SoCal, and I grew up around lots of old school hot rodders and racers. For instance, Ed Winfield mentioned in your article was a friend of a friend...or more accurately a friend of several friends, even though I never knew him myself.

I have a Wico mag on a little '30s runner sitting out in my back yard. It's a '37 Gibson Model D tractor with a Wisconsin Robin engine. The carb is the same as used on a Ford Model A and B 4-banger. Gearbox is '37 Chevy.

Thanks. Always good to hear from a dry lakes native, and a Wico user at that! As I mentioned, I've always wanted to include the magneto detail in my 4-banger builds. It's so evocative of the pre-war hop-up vibe!

Edited by Bernard Kron

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On 12/27/2017 at 11:14 AM, Art Laski said:

Bernard, I really appreciate the forethought put into this build. I look forward to seeing it in Santa Clara. Nice job!

Thanks Art! As I think it is for most of us car modelers, making the project "about" something, whether it's a story, a piece of history, capturing the spirit of an era or style, or representing a piece of technology, is an important part of the pleasure I get from this hobby.

Edited by Bernard Kron

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  I'm really enjoying this B!!!  I would love to build

that '33 Choppers Ford from the poster.

   David S.

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