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    • Dave Ambrose

      Board Status   07/20/2018

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SfanGoch

Three Cars - One Roof

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Among some of the WIPs presently on my assembly line are three GM vehicles:

A Revellogram '59 Impala HT

A Revellogram '60 Impala HT

A Trumpeter '60 Bonneville HT

There has been a lot of discussion here about the problems with the roofs of the '59 Impala and Trumpeter kits; basically, that they are inaccurate. All three of these cars shared the same roof sheet metal so they should be identical in all aspects. I'll concede that the  Bonneville is inaccurate.........to a point. The main issue with the Bonneville roof is that it is 2 mm shorter than it's supposed to be, which is 51 mm measured front-to rear. Also, the A pillars don't have the distinctive, graceful and noticeable curve as they meet the forward edge of the roof. This is error is shared with the RM '59 Impala. What I want to do here is dispel the theory that the roofs of all three kit bodies vary in shape, contour and overall accuracy.

The '59 Impala was the first that I tweaked. Using reference photos, I saw what was required. I shaved off the outermost trim at the edge of the A pillars, leaving the second and third trim sections. The upper part of the pillars was filed and shaped to match the contours of the 1:1 car. It's that simple. No hacking off the roof of a '60 Impala and having to go through the process of grafting it onto the '59.

IMG_4506a.jpg.82e31bb911cb47ef92e612103e76f4a6.jpg

 Now, I'll explain what was done to the Bonneville.

As I stated, The main issue with the Bonneville is that the length of the roof is 2 mm too short. This makes the tulip panel wide enough to park a car on. To correct this glaring error, I sawed the roof 5 mm from the rear window trim, made a cut 12 mm from the front edge of the trunk opening and a cut 2 mm in front of the base of the C pillars. 2 mm of styrene was added to the roof, the cut roof section was  reattached and everything was filled and smoothed in. The piece of trim on the C pillars which is closest to the rear glass was shaved off and worked to match the shape of the pillars on the Revellogram bodies. The A pillars were next. The frontmost piece of trim was removed all the way to the roof joint, leaving the second and third pieces intact. I then used a diamond burr bit to form the curve  as found on the '60 Impala. Finally, .025 styrene rod was glued to the front of the A pillars and the lower portion of the rod was blended into the lower windshield trim/cowl panel.

IMG_4507a.jpg.0a2ea91ca960ea36a653424c7db572fc.jpg

 

IMG_4521.JPG.6f0be5dcb71d3e0910c45a4b354fb3da.JPG

 

This beats the heck out of the hack and graft for three reasons. First, I consider decapitating a perfectly good model car body an unnecessary and extravagant waste. You're destroying one kit to enhance another.  Secondly, the work involved is extremely time consuming and labor intensive.You have to worry about cutting the cowl off the sacrificial donor body and that the area removed from the recipient body matches within  very close tolerance. Unless you can make the cuts absolutely perfect, you'll end up spending a lot of time and effort filling and sanding around the entire perimeter of the upper body to blend everything seamlessly. For the average schmo, that means you're guaranteed to screw up somewhere along the process and the results will look like a U.S.D.A. Grade A turd and you'll only end up with two useless and destroyed bodies. Third reason, and one that should be of major importance to rivet counting builders who want absolute accuracy, is that you won't get that picture perfect, on-the-money-just-like-the-real-car-only-smaller 100% replication by grafting the '60 Impala roof onto the poor, allegedly inaccurate '59. Why, you may ask? Because the cowl on the '60 Impala is completely different.There are three vents and the wiper arms are located on the grilles of the outer ones, whereas, there is only one vent grille running across the '59's cowl and the wiper arms are located on the outside of the vent, on the cowl itself. You couldn't use the '60 roof on the Bonneville for the same reason because the Bonneville and '59 Impala cowls are identical.

Now, let me bring up the contentious subject of the roofs on these three kit bodies. I had discussions regarding the shape and accuracy of the '59 Impala and the Trumpeter Bonneville. I always said that, aside from the shape of the '59 Impala's A pillars, its roof, and that of the '60, were 100% identical in every respect. Now, I'll prove my assertion. Thanks to the posts on fiberglass replacement parts by the inimitable resident automotive expert nonpareil, Bill Engwer, I was prompted to prove my point that there is no difference. So, I made a fiberglass mold of the '60 Impala roof

IMG_4510a.jpg.1d303a7343af7479126b380f97f06b68.jpg

IMG_4511a.jpg.8f8c7b088253b1eb5e1067fc0dd74bfa.jpg

 

This is the mold fitted on the '60 Impala

IMG_4512a.jpg.cb630a6440dd3f5d6d4e6d7b130afc9f.jpg

 

Notice the fit along the roofline above and the C pillars in the photo below

IMG_4513a.jpg.707b690d02fe56bd5d3d42e323b75641.jpg

 

Next, I placed the mold on the '59 Impala

IMG_4514a.jpg.53896a9e5c0c83e803af324cfd97d74b.jpg

IMG_4516a.jpg.8f2281f87e91cdadbfbb856193cd3379.jpg

 

Now, please observe that the fit is exactly as seen on the '60 roof, including the the fit on the windshield and backlight and both the A and C pillars. It lays perfectly flat. with no rocking front-to-rear or side-to-side. Zero difference. All contours match. Pictures don't lie; and, neither does the mold. If anyone still believes that there is a difference, what can I tell you? One might perceive something which is or isn't there and that is the case with the roofs of these two kits.

I also checked the accuracy of the corrective surgery performed on Bonny. I slapped the mold on it

IMG_4518a.jpg.7c44a2f507bf8e3bd2dc2dce559ab4dc.jpg

and the fit was 100% identical to the '59 and '60 Impalas. 

IMG_4519a.jpg.8327ded6355a20ddf8503519a6753f59.jpg

 

Dead on match on all three cars. I'll pat myself on the back for getting this right the first time. :D 

I hope I was able to provide convincing evidence which changes any perception of difference or inaccuracy in the '59 Impala roof.

I'll post more updates on these three as work progresses. If you feel like posting comments, criticisms, critiques, care to dispute my findings and/or methods or tell me you want to bust my beak for being a smartass wiseguy, feel free to do so. 

 

Edited by SfanGoch

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Joe, good job on correcting the roof on that!

I had started my conversion on my '59 back in 2012, and I had to consider whether to keep the cowl from the '60 for strength, or losing the cowl and risk breaking the pillars in doing the roof swap. One of them did break during building it anyway, but at the time it was the best option for me. Also, and this is how my eyes (which are poorer now than then) see things..........the back part of the roof particularly at the top always seemed too flat to me. Once again my perception and may not be for someone else.

As we've talked about before, and so that others who may not have been tuned in as the time I was building it, my main reason for the change in roof was not so much of the contours of the roof, but the too flat shape of the windshield header where it meets the A pillars and as I've mentioned, the same applies to the rear. Curves that should be on both sides of the roof in my view were absent. You've reshaped the A pillars very well. but be careful however of the front glass in that since you changed the shape, you'll need to have the same contours for that as well-------something else I had to consider when making my changes.

Just a little problem with the Trumpeter kit for those of you not in the know about it............yes, lengthening the roof makes a HUGE difference. But..............you'll need to get rid of that inward taper of the beltline from trailing edge of the door to where it meets to the C pillars. On the 1:1's there's a very subtle if not a flat out straight line from point to point. Not the taper inwards I'm seeing.

Keep us posted! B)

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"Pay attention, class. There will be a quiz at the end of the week."

Very informative and educational. Thanks.

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9 hours ago, MrObsessive said:

Just a little problem with the Trumpeter kit for those of you not in the know about it............yes, lengthening the roof makes a HUGE difference. But..............you'll need to get rid of that inward taper of the beltline from trailing edge of the door to where it meets to the C pillars. On the 1:1's there's a very subtle if not a flat out straight line from point to point. Not the taper inwards I'm seeing.

Yeah Bill, that taper is annoyingly obvious. Tell me what you think of this solution:

Remove the trim all the way back to the C pillars. File the inner vertical surface enough to straighten it and make it parallel with the door skin. Cement .50 x 1.5 mm stock on the inner lip, flush with the door top and then glue a piece of 1 x .75 or 1 mm strip stock to make a new window trim.

Thanks Marty and Patrick. I hope the information will be of some use to anyone building these kits.

 

Trunk lid from the '59 Impala.

IMG_4525a.jpg.053a758f5896bd218441071b39b72142.jpg

I traced a template from a scaled down photo of the underside ribbing

5b2ea3a84810e_trunkdetail59impala.jpg.be6de9e5cd50e4ad394273e3f2b04ab3.jpg

 

and used that to make the ribbing from two single pieces of 1 mm sheet styrene and .25 mm sheet to fabricate the inserts. It actually looks better than the photo would indicate. The dark lines in the recesses are residue from the Revell Aqua Color 36137 Ziegelrot I use to detect defects.

IMG_4522a.jpg.397bbac327aa985b6e087442acab48a6.jpg

I credit my time in Catholic school carving .45 automatics from a bar of soap during art class for my somewhat questionable scratchbuilding skills. The screws.....uh....nuns turned a blind eye to this kind of artistic expression since they were armed with the dreaded "Board of Education", three heavy wooden rulers wrapped in rubber bands. They were some tough broads, I'll tell ya.  :D 

 

The way that the trunk lid is modeled on the kit is odd. On the 1:1 lid, there is a vee shaped piece of trimwork which is attached to the trunk edge and is very prominent. When the trunk lid is separated from the body, there is a gaping hole in the shape of that trim. After making the inner lip for the lid opening, I taped the the lid on the body and used Magic-Sculpt to fabricate the trim piece. The Magic-Sculpt was pressed between the trunk lid and the rear panel. When it reached sufficient hardness, it was smoothed down with water and gently scraped flat to perfectly match the the angle and fit between the trunk lid and the body. Once completely hardened, the trim part was removed from the trunk lid and was sanded into its final form. This part is only 1 mm thick and is solid. Magic-Sculpt is a must-have item in any modeler's bag o'tricks. The finished trim piece was then epoxied in place. The trunk emblem will be replaced with the PE part from the MCG '59 Impala set.

IMG_4524a.jpg.cf95a3562497743b967e2401df9cb8b4.jpg

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5 minutes ago, SfanGoch said:

Yeah Bill, that taper is annoyingly obvious. Tell me what you think of this solution:

Remove the trim all the way back to the C pillars. File the inner vertical surface enough to straighten it and make it parallel with the door skin. Cement .50 x 1.5 mm stock on the inner lip, flush with the door top and then glue a piece of 1 x .75 or 1 mm strip stock to make a new window trim.

Yeah Joe, that's what I would do to straighten that out.  In looking very closely at pics I have of 1:1 Impalas, there is a subtle taper in that area, not as severe as they depicted on that '60 Pontiac. Not sure how Trumpeter missed that, but OTOH how did they get the roof so short to begin with?? :huh:

I had two of those kits, but when I saw those glaring faults with the hardtop roof, I sold one of them on the 'Bay. The other kit as I mentioned another time, I'd like to turn into a Vista four door hardtop "flattop". That was one of the things I was able to get from the Modelhaus before they called it quits.

Funny story about the Catholic Nuns! I never went to that type of school, but I've heard crazy stories and some from those that "got even" later on! ;)

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To add a bit more to your build up of the trunk area.............I did something similar, but yours came out a bit better as I had to go by some somewhat obscure pics (at the time) of how that trunk structure appeared.

Pc234937-vi.jpg

And yes, that PE part for the emblem comes in reaaaal handy in replicating that! :D

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Yup. The '60 Impala has an almost imperceptible  inward taper near the C pillars. I need to get my hands on an AMT '60 Bonneville HT or ragtop, a junk body or even a gluebomb. Trumpeter screwed up with the length (too short) and overall look (too wide) of the hood spear. I'd like to make a copy of the entire hood and use it on this kit. 

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You're not kidding about obscure pics, Bill. I scoured the net for months before I came across a resto parts supply site which had pics of the trunk lid stood up vertically, perfect for tracing the ribbing. I ordered a couple sets of Detail Master PE door hinges. The smaller ones can be used as trunk hinges. All that needs to be done is to grind them down along the top and inner portions of the "U" part so they'll fit. One thing that crossed my mind was adding torsion bars. You mentioned that you originally planned on doing that for your '59 Impala. 

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14 minutes ago, SfanGoch said:

One thing that crossed my mind was adding torsion bars. You mentioned that you originally planned on doing that for your '59 Impala. 

Yeah, that along with other working features was originally in the works. A lot of things had happened in life along the way though that had me simply burned out from building anything or being involved with the hobby (death of my Dad, job loss, etc). When I came back to the project sometime in 2015 (I originally started this in 2012), I simply wanted to get the car done so I let all the working stuff go such as working windows, suspension, latching trunk and all of that. The monkey wrench of the bad glass nearly sidelined the project AGAIN, but thankfully I was able to clear that hurdle and get it done.

I'm at a point in the hobby now and especially with my eyesight the way it is............I'll do some working things, but the all-out-everything-working on the model days are over. ;)

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Lots of useful info in this post! Thanks to all who contribute.

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Nice job on the conversion on the Bonneville.

 

But, I got to ask, why not just pick up an original AMT builder. There not to difficult to find . And can be had in the $60 range give or take a few bucks

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It's not a matter of availability, Bill. It comes down to two things. Most of the AMT '60 Bonnevilles I've checked out on ebay (I have it on saved search) are,  for the most part, pretty ratty. To call any of them builders would be a stretch. I can't justify the cost, nor the amount of work involved to rebuild, to make one presentable. Then, there's the problem of missing chrome, tail lights, etc. which, at chop shop prices, ends up jacking the total to over a hundred bucks to restore a junk model. I would rather invest the time in correcting the faults in what is already a pretty decent kit. If I can find a junk AMT body at what I consider a reasonable price, I'll grab it so I can make fiberglass copies of the hood. That weird looking hood spear on the Trumpeter kit annoys the living hell out of me. That hood spear is a deal breaker if it it's missing from any AMT Bonny I see.

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Fair enough. Ive not held the trumpeter kit in my hands but I have heard enough bad press on them Ive not looked for one either

I got lucky about 2 years ago. Bought both a 59 and 60 Bonneville from same guy , gave $150 for both delivered. Although I look for convertibles.

the 60 is pretty nice and is sitting in my case, not likely it will ever get rebuilt in my lifetime

 

I had a pretty nice hardtop I sold last spring . it sat on my swap space table most of the morning at $100 before it sold for 75

 

I just got rid of a spare 60 convertible a few months ago or I would loan the hood to you

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I was looking at the MCW '60 Catalina/Ventura HT and, aside from the roof and hood spear, the Trumpeter body compares favorably. The MCG '60 Bonneville PE set will correct any other shortcomings in the Trumpeter kit.

MCW '60 Catalina

60pontcatht.jpg   

 

Trumpeter '60 Bonneville. Notice the difference between hood spears on these two models. What a coincidence that I happened to post pics of two different versions of the same car with identical paint jobs. :D 

Image result for Trumpeter '60 Bonneville HT

It makes more sense for me to pay fifty bucks for a complete resin car kit and copy the hood than $60+ for a builder/junkyard special. I'll also add MCW's '59 Catalina HT,  the '63 and '64 Catalina and Grand Prix HT's and SMH's Johan recasts of early '60s Mopars to my "gotta get'em" list. All of those bodies/models combined will cost less than a single, unbuilt AMT '63 Bonneville. I need the extra dough I'd save to get parts for a modulated light beam powered optical telephone I want to build. 

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9 hours ago, gtx6970 said:

Bought both a 59 and 60 Bonneville ... Although I look for convertibles.

Is your '59 a hardtop? I have a '59 vert I've been wanting to make into a hardtop (header is split but fixable). Body swap? :)

If not, has anyone tried to swap the Revellogram '60 Impala roof and glass onto one of these?

P1110426.JPG.d05d296e1946a7be3421cb447d96ed42.JPG

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53 minutes ago, ChrisBcritter said:

Is your '59 a hardtop? I have a '59 vert I've been wanting to make into a hardtop (header is split but fixable). Body swap? :)

If not, has anyone tried to swap the Revellogram '60 Impala roof and glass onto one of these?

P1110426.JPG.d05d296e1946a7be3421cb447d96ed42.JPG

Mine is a convertible

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4 hours ago, ChrisBcritter said:

If not, has anyone tried to swap the Revellogram '60 Impala roof and glass onto one of these?

(ETA: SfanGoch and I just PMed each other some measurements, checking lengths from center of base of windshield to c.o.b. of rear window; base of vent window to base of C-pillar; and widths at base of A and C pillars. Happily, the only difference is that the width at the A pillar base on the Pontiac is just 1 mm narrower. Nice work, AMT and Revell/Monogram... and thanks Joe!!)

Edited by ChrisBcritter

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No prob, Chris. I'm happy that it will work with minimum agita. :) 

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