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Bernard Kron

Porsche 356A - Speedster Wars style

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I’ve started a second Porsche race car project while I wait to receive some small parts for my Porsche 904 build. This one is based on the venerable Revell Competition Porsche kit, which represents a classic SCCA style Porsche 356A Speedster as raced in the late 50’s and early 60’s. The cover art on the box promises much and captures the flavor of the era, but unfortunately this is an ancient kit with the old Revell multi part body, consisting of the top of the tub-shaped body, and the two side panels in the area between the wheel wells. The kit also has some pretty glaring inaccuracies, the most important of which is that the wheels openings are radiused into a round shape and are somewhat larger than the real car’s characteristic shape. Below is a composite picture showing the cover art, a picture I found on the net of a straight out-of-box build of the Revell kit, and a side view of the real 356A speedster. The oversized, rounded wheel wells should be obvious. The build-up picture also shows the rather horrible stance of the kit build and the fact that the wheels appear to protrude somewhat. I’m not too thrilled about the wheels and tires either. The 4th panel shows the bodywork I’ve done. Most of the Speedsters of the era tended to be street cars which were quite often driven to the races. Many of them kept the stock side trim. But just as many can be seen to have undergone some mild clean up include removing the trim and filling the seams around the front and rear pans. After reinforcing the body structure where the side panels joined the top of the body with styrene strip I looked at the result, and while it was quite clean, the side strip was all wrong (see the build up picture again). The side trim is too short on the Revell kit, and, with the oversized wheel wells, stops short of the wheel openings. It looks awkward so I decided to fill and smooth the body.

Revell-Kit-Build-Summary-1-web.jpg

Correcting the stance and doing something about the wheels and tires will be a challenge, If anyone knows a good source for period Porsche wheels in the right scale (1/24th), I’m open to suggestions. In the meantime I’ll keep plugging away. The paint scheme will be bright red with white stripes and roundels.

Below is a composite picture of two period cars which are examples of the style I’m after. The upper car is an east coast as campaigned by Bruce Jennings, the legendary King Carrera. The lower two pictures are of the Ray Kimble “Kimble Special” which is a west coast car known mainly for all the movie work it got.

Jennings-Kimble-356-summary-web.jpg

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

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Posted (edited)

Great project.  For wheels I would use the 1/25th wheels from the Aurora/Monogram 904.  If you could find an old glue bomb to sacrifice them.  I have 2 such wheels  I could contribute to the project if you are interested send me a PM with your address.

Disregard the above.  The bolt pattern is different  on the 904.

Edited by Gramps46

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Nice project. Can you use the wheels and tires off the Tamiya early VW or maybe the Hasegawa VW vans? I have several of the 1970s issue Revell 911s. They come with those wide two piece tires and I found out that some of the Pegasus lowrider tires fit the Revell wheels and are much closer to the correct stock Porsche tires.

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Thanks everyone!

I’ve gotten the main paint and graphics done. The basic color is Duplicolor Bright Red with a white racing stripe. The stripe was done by spraying a base coat of white lacquer and then masking out the stripe and applying the top coat of red. The white number roundels with the fine red stripe around the outer edge are leftovers from my ’57 Corvette project from last year, as are the red numbers which I had printed as extras at the time. The bodywork is essentially done, waiting only for a clear coat and final polish. Now on to the chassis, motor and rolling stock! I’m going to try to adapt the kit wheels to larger, more period correct tires, in the hopes of filling the enlarged wheel wells in a better proportioned, more pleasing way. We’ll see…

Incidentally, a member on the SA board reports that the first release of this kit had the correct wheel well openings but on the next re-issue they were enlarged to clear slot car tires. There was even and article in Scale Auto Enthusiast at the time which had templates to restore the correct openings. I’m committed to making this version look as good as I can without the additional bodywork changes, but I look forward to a later, more correct project using the Fujimi 356A Speedster as the base.

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

Paint-and-Graphics-Summary-1024-Web.jpg

 

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The Bathtub Porsches are a favorite subject.   I have the Fujimi Speedster kit, would never consider doing a Revell, but I look forward to the final result!

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Good progress.  Looking forward to the next installment.

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I have the Fujimi speedster as well, but your Revell is looking pretty darn good, bud!!!

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Looking good, Bernard! I would agree with the above, regarding the 904 wheels. You should be able to make those work, and they're nice wheels, too. Keep up the great work, sir!

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Your projects are always interesting. I have always enjoyed watching the Speedsters at vintage racing events.

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Posted (edited)

Thank you everyone!

Overall, I’ve been making good progress on this project. This is an odd kit in that it is crude in some respects and yet quite detailed and true to the spirit of its subject in others. As discussed earlier the body is a three piece assembly with separate lower body sides which necessitates extensive body prep to build the kit to modern standards. Also, it appears, the kit body was modified around the wheel wells subsequent to its first release, apparently to allow for slot car wheels and tires. The result is the loss of the Porsche 356 series’ signature slightly enclosed wheels. As the stock build-up picture I showed earlier demonstrates, this gives the model an awkwardly high stance with too much air around the rolling stock. In addition some details, like the engine  and parts of the interior, while they look convincing once assembled into the completed model, lack the accuracy and detail of a modern kit. For these reasons I’ve decided not to overdo things with this build, and mainly stick with what’s in the box and focus on paint detailing as the main way to get a decent contemporary result from this old chestnut.

The one exception is the rolling stock. The kit tires are undersized in diameter and yet hugely  wide for the period the model is supposed to represent. In addition the kit wheels, left unmodified, make the wide tires protrude slightly beyond the wheel well openings. This really needed to be changed. I was lucky enough to find some period correct racing tires in my stash. I suspect they came from a set of early Halibrand mags by Historic Racing Miniatures that I got for a recent hot rod project. They are slightly larger in diameter than the kit tires, properly narrow for a late 50’s SCCA racer, and with the right modifications, the kit wheels, which look quite acceptable, can be made to fit inside the bodywork in proper manner for the type of car I’m representing. I got4 rid of the kit wheel backs which caused the protruding wheel problem and substituted some inner rims from an old AMT ’36 Ford kit. The composite photo below shows the kit tire compared to the narrower HRM tire and also compares how the old kit wheel looks in the front wheel well vs. the modified version.

Wheel-and-Tire-Comparo-web-1024.jpg

I has originally planned to detail the motor somewhat. But the way the motor is constructed in this kit, it’s an integral part of the engine compartment sheet metal and it’s hard to add additional parts to it. The kit motor lacks any ignition system at all, not even a distributor, for example. And I can’t even remember how long ago it’s been since I didn’t wire and plumb a motor. But as it turns out, the motor builds up with an acceptable overall appearance, especially once it’s buried deep in the recesses of the engine compartment. So, other than the usual paint detailing, it’s straight out of the box.

The interior is another example of this semi-detailed approach. The kit comes with only one seat and with only a driver’s side door panel. The idea is that you can’t see under the tonneau cover, so why include these unseen details. Once again I decided to roll with it rather than worry about these “missing” parts.

The composite photo below shows the boot and engine compartment as I have completed them, as well as the dashboard and driver’s seat. As you can see the detail included is really quite adequate, although hardly up to contemporary kit standards.

Details-Summary-web-1024.jpg

A lastly, here is the body with the front grills and headlights installed. The headlights are covered in masking tape painted Tamiya Bright Orange. The rear view shows the engine cover grill. The taillights have yet to be installed.

Bodywork-Summary-web-1024.jpg

As you can see, I’m not far from final assembly. The stance is the remaining major issue. Hopefully getting the wheels inside the wheel wells and adding the slightly larger tires will help in this regard.

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

 

Edited by Bernard Kron

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This project was only going to work if I could solve the twin, and related, problems of the original kit’s crummy stance and funky rolling stock. Adapting the kit wheels to proper period road racing tires, as shown in my last post, was part of the solution. The other part, the stance, couldn’t really be known until I had finished the chassis and interior panels and installed the suspension and wheels and tires. As it turned out most things fit quite well but when it came down to dialing in a well-balanced race car stance the kit sat a little tall at the rear and, overall, the car required a very subtle bit of channeling all around, on the order of maybe 1/32” of an inch in the front and 3/64” at the rear. Small stuff, but critical to getting a decent looking model. To do this I landed up shaving a small amount of material from the tops of the front fender well panels and the rear bulkhead. The model would never have the signature stock 356 wheel well shapes, but with the taller tires on the kit rims and the slight channel now the car sits solidly on all its corners and looks like it’s ready for the Speedster Wars. Below is a composite photo of the model mocked up with the body in position and the final stance.

 

Now it’s time to glue everything together and attend to the final details. I hope to get this done in the next couple of days so I can get back to my Porsche 904 project.

 

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

 

Stance-Check-web-1024.jpg

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It is looking soooo cool!!!

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Well done.  Wheels make such a big difference.

 

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Another way cool project, Bernard! Nice work, sir!

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Thank you all!

Having gone to the trouble of correcting the Revell kit’s wheel/tire/wheel-openings problems I decided to add a little more detail to the kit to more closely resemble 1:1 cars of the period, in particular the Bruce Jennings #77 car pictured above. The most elaborate details were the leather tie down straps securing the front compartment cover. I searched the web and found some miniature buckles made for horse modeling hobbyists who make miniature horse tackle and harnesses. These are the smallest ones they make and are .0625”x.125” which scales out to 1.5”x3”. The leather straps were made from .010 thickness strip styrene. I sculpted a facsimile of a Porsche Spyder fender mirror like the one on the Jennings car. And lastly, again like the Jennings car, I added an aluminum quick release fuel filler cap protruding through the front bonnet panel. The filler cap is a resin piece from Replicas & Miniatures of Md. I had in my stash. Below is a summary picture of these final details.

I’ll post the final “beauty shots” of the completed model Under Glass tomorrow.

Thanx to all for following along,
B.

Final-Details-Summary-Web-1024.jpg

 

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