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Roadrunnertwice

1965 Chevy Impala Convertible

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While I wait for Purple Power to soften the paint on my vintage Land Rover, it's time to build this `65 Impala convertible. The '65 Coupe is one of my favorites, and I built it during a brief model-building renaissance I had back when Revell released it in the 90s. I'd almost rather build another coupe because I love the body shape, and I may do just that if I mess up the convertible body somehow. In the meantime, this convertible offers the chance to show off what I hope will be a nice, detailed interior.

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Revell has upped their decal game in newer kits, but this kit came from R-M's era of clamshell boxes and decals that turn to dust. I set the decals aside months ago meaning to scan them into the computer, and now I can't find them. I think they depicted mostly badges that can be foiled for detail. On the other hand, decals are one of several reasons I'm tempted to pick up the readily available Foose Impala for parts.

My brother-in-law gave me this vise from some boxes of model-railroad supplies he got recently. It's handier than I expected, making it easier than ever to center the bit on small parts.

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I'm truncating this post because I keep getting the 404 posting error, and I thought I might post the rest later.

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The instructions call for orange valve covers, but every '65 409 I can find online has chrome on the covers and the air cleaner. Once this glossy black has cured, I'll give these parts a coat of Alclad.

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While sanding the lower valance, I got the idea to maybe try thinning out the grille from behind. I'm not yet convinced, but I've set it aside to think about the idea. If I mess it up, I have a '65 lowrider kit in my stash that could come to the rescue. Or there's always that Foose Impala...

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Most everything now sits in its basic color ready for detail painting in the next few days. Next comes sanding and polishing the body.

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I'll follow along! What is the color you used on the body?

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Thanks for the feedback! The body color is Evening Orchid, a 1965-only color for Chevrolet and Pontiac (aka Iris Mist). I chose the color not for the box art car, which looked photoshopped, but because this book (below) reminded me of the color whenever I went by that shelf. I have enough ScaleFinishes paint for multiple cars, but I already have other plans for the '65 Chevelle Wagon and '65 Grand Prix in my stash.

Meanwhile, the bulb went out in my magnifier lamp today, and so I'm making due with a different lighting setup. As I started sanding the body, I noticed some mold lines resurfaced once I got the color and clearcoats laid down. I resanded and touched them up, hoping to avoid having to repaint the whole car. In the meantime, I turned my attention to the chassis.

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Edited by Roadrunnertwice

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I thought that color looked familiar. I used it on a custom '66 Chevelle wagon. I didn't know it was a '65 only color, however.

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I've gotten into the habit of paining all my black parts with DupliColor black primer and then using a variety of blacks and gray craft paints to create the impression a car is made of different parts, different materials, sourced from different suppliers, etc.

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Most 60s GM cars I've seen have chassis painted all black, and this is my first try of doing varied blacks on an all-black chassis like I've seen on most 60s GM cars. I painted the chassis primer gray and then picked out details in a black mixed from half flat, half gloss craft paint. Then, I thinned out some flat black until its almost thin enough for a wash like you'd do on a grille. I painted the gray parts with that to create a subtle difference between the floorboard and the frame.

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In person, this chassis looks like subtle variations of flat black, though the photo makes it look more like gray. I'm trying to use photography to improve my builds. The 2019 builds I posted the other day brought out flaws all but invisible with the cars sitting on my shelf.

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I really like the variations in color that you are doing on the chassis.

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Yeah, that floorpan/chassis looks great in multi-tone black. I'm a big fan of Impalas. Not built a 65 yet. Looking forward to seeing yours done. Especially the interior..

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I like the way you're detailing the chassis and under body of your build. Very realistic looking. I remember the color you're using and while it was one of those that you either liked or didn't at the time I still think it was a great color to show off the lines of these cars way back when. Were I to ever own another 1:1 Chevrolet or Pontiac from that era it would be this color even if it meant repainting it.  

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Nice careful work! Great color too!

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On 1/13/2020 at 8:48 AM, espo said:

I like the way you're detailing the chassis and under body of your build. Very realistic looking. I remember the color you're using and while it was one of those that you either liked or didn't at the time I still think it was a great color to show off the lines of these cars way back when. Were I to ever own another 1:1 Chevrolet or Pontiac from that era it would be this color even if it meant repainting it.  

Thanks, espo. Using unusual factory colors sure adds variety to the display shelf! When I was a kid, I used mainly the Testors gloss black, red, blue, yellow, etc. available in the model section of our local Albertson's grocery store.

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I really like the results you have presented so far. The multi-tone chassis looks very realistic.

For the grille I use a very small metal ball burr bit in my dremel. I just keep moving the tool and removing material until the openings become nearly transparent. THEN I take a hobby knife and gently cut each and every opening with that. You will like the result.

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I didn't like the looks of my touch-up attempts. I decided I might as well go over the body carefully and take care of any flaw I could find. Now it's time to strip the body and repaint. I think I'll be happier with the result in the end.

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My tub of Purple Power is full of Land Rover parts, so I went with my backup paint stripper: brake fluid. The Impala was too big for my gallon ice cream bucket, so I found another container to get the paint to stripping.


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If the Duplicolor clear gives me much trouble, I'll make this a hardtop build. As much as I love convertibles, the 65 Impala coupe roofline is an iconic shape that epitomizes everything I like about American car designs of the last half of the 1960s. I remember admiring the Mercedes SECs I saw driving around Tulsa as a kid in the 1980s because their roofline reminded me of the Impala.

Revell's convertible has a a 409 engine while the coupe kit has a 396, each with fender emblems denoting engine type. Building a 409 coupe would be fun, but in the topsy-turvy world of model cars, it sounds easier to build a 396 from kit parts than to try to replicate a 409 badge for the coupe. I could use the convertible kit's decals, if I find where I put them. I'm sure someone makes a photo-etch set with badges for every engine Chevy put in these things, but right now I'll stick with what I have on hand.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll let the brake fluid do its work on the convertible, and I've got plenty of Impala work to do in the meantime.20200116_202340.jpg.fa55eeb33f3ecacf6355b707f586b85c.jpg

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I had a minor setback while chroming the valve covers. I ran out of Alclad, and we had this Krylon Premium chrome lying around the house left over from a picture-frame project for my wife.

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The Krylon doesn't look too bad, and it might have worked if I'd laid down a smoother coat. I'm hardly better with rattle cans than when I was a kid. Sometimes I get good results, other times not, and I can't tell the good days from the bad until the paint hits the plastic.

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I tried polishing the orange-peel chrome parts as if they were painted with conventional paint (Testors gloss black, for instance), and I ruined the finish. I wasn't surprised, but I had nothing to lose. Trying to touch up with a Moltow pen only made it look sloppier, and I could tell I was digging myself a deeper hole.

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Time for these pieced to bathe in a Ziploc full of Easy-Off, along with the Impala's console that needed de-chromed anyway.

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My local hobby shop stocks Alclad, but "local" means 70 miles away, and I doubt I'll make it there for months. I've had good luck creating convincing chrome exhaust tips with Model Master silver and a brush.

When the engine parts are ready to paint again, I'll either give the Krylon stuff another shot or go the Model Master route. In the meantime, the convertible has become a coupe. I'm just a big fan of the body style, and all my enthusiasm was going in the coupe direction. I'll post more soon!

 

Edited by Roadrunnertwice

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Have you tried using Bare-Metal Foil on small engine parts ? I have done Valve Covers and Air Cleaner tops along with other small parts.  I use the Tamiya pointed cotton tips to work the foil around the parts details. I start in the middle of the part and slowly work the foil into the parts smaller details with the pointed cotton tips. The pointed tips work great in getting the foil to conform to the shape of just about anything. 

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On 1/22/2020 at 9:33 AM, espo said:

Have you tried using Bare-Metal Foil on small engine parts ?

Thanks for the suggestion! I was skeptical of the foil's ability to conform to the 3-dimensional curves of these parts, but it worked well. Not only that, but I don't have to worry about excessive handing of the valve covers as I put the engine together like I would with delicate, spray-on chrome finish.

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I got the body painted. The clearcoat crazed the metallic paint slightly, but it's not noticeable in this photo. It's Scale Finishes topped with Duplicolor clear, a combination that worked well on previous builds (in a solid color, not metallic like this one). If a little sanding and polishing has the effect I hope it will, I'll stick with this paint job and not let perfect become the enemy of the good. On the plus side, I love how this color looks!20200123_115124.jpg.750a087bba60099c0325eafffb1ce322.jpg

 

 

 

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To bad about the paint crazing. There is always that outside chance that the paint job can be ruined using automotive or "Hotter" paints. Sometimes just staying with the same brand of after market paints works better. I hope you can get the finish to where you want it. 

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Impressive work. Keep us posted. That's one of my all time favorite Chevy body styles. I almost bought a '66 convertible that was in pretty good shape. That was about thirty years ago.

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The body needed major work to remove the crazed paint and smooth the plastic, and I wound up getting a Foose Impala from Hobby Lobby. This is not my most efficient build! Still, I have an idea to use the new kit's A/C parts on a future 66 Chevelle wagon build.

It turns out the Foose kit has decals for a 409 engine, although the kit contains a 396. I'm not familiar with the 1/1 Foose car - does it have a 409? In any case, The decals are a welcome silver lining to getting the extra kit.

Speaking of 409, I finished the engine, apart from some touching up and de-sloppying yet to do.

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I used to wire my kits all the time. In the last several years, it's about 50/50 because I often forego the wiring to focus on improving my building and painting skills.

If I go to the trouble of plug wires, I might as well add accessory brackets. I created the upper alternator bracket, but I didn't worry about the lower one because it's hard to see when the car is done, and for that same reason 1/1 detail shots are hard to find.

This is my first attempt at scratchbuilding a compressor bracket, and I didn't know what I was doing. Online photos are murky about the bracket, but it seems to be a complex, multi-part system with a squareish frame around the compressor itself. I did the best I could, but I'm sure many can do better. Mainly, I wanted to try it to challenge myself and improve my skills.

I've abandoned builds that have gotten into this level of trouble (trashing a body is usually a one-way ticket back to the box and up to the attic), but I'm soldiering on because the 65 Impala is one of my favorites, and the build has enough going for it despite the setbacks.

 

 

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