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Revell 1989 Ford Thunderbird SC


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This build just rolled off the bench with a sordid past.  I've been a fan of Rustoleum's clear gloss lacquer so I set up two bodies to paint for an experiment using Rustoleum's gloss black lacquer.  I'd used it on trim pieces and as a basecoat for metal finishes, but hadn't been brave enough to hose it all over a carefully prepped and primed body.  And so it went.  One build received primer and only the gloss black lacquer, and the other build received the same treatment except with an additional step of several typical coats of the clear gloss lacquer as clearcoat.  The result of the experiement yielded one body that was very pleasing to my eye, and one body that had to go to the dunk tank.  This Revell '89 Thunderbird Super Coupe was the one that got straight-up gloss black lacquer wet sanded and polished without a clearcoat, so for the experimental purposes it was the success.  

The build is otherwise mostly box-stock.  After building a few of these back in the day I knew there were some tricky areas that would need some closer attention.  The bumpers were attached during the body prep, rather than as a final assembly step.  This allowed some reinforcement of the attachment points, and all the light lenses could be test-fit to make any adjustments.  Fortunately this kit, despite being the original 30 year old tooling, was in fair condition without much body warpage as I've found to be common with the early issues of this and the Cougar.  Attaching the bumpers before the chassis is mated presents a few minor issues.  The rear corners of the chassis must be trimmed to allow it all to mate without putting too much pressure on the delicate bumper attachments.  I learned this the hard way while recently building the Cougar variant so I took extra care to trim, trim some more, and even more, rather than risking it.  Once the chassis slides into place the trimmed areas are not noticeable so it seems to work out doing it this way. 

 Some flocking was added to the interior carpet and parcel shelf.   Whereas the Cougar version provides a reflector bucket for the tail lights, the Thunderbird versions have no such mounting surface.  After some trial and error with different paint and materials, I settled on fabricating some reflector buckets for the outer tail/stop lamp segments.  Using some HVAC metal tape that isn't as flimsy and cruncy as plain aluminum foil, I cut some small pieces and formed them into reflector buckets that were then attached to the backside of the light unit with some super glue.  This ended up working out fine for the look I was aiming for, but it took a lot of time and patience.  Despite some fidding here and there, it was a fun build that took me back to the 80s and 90s for a while, and I'm glad to see it finally on the display shelf instead of in the box or on the bench.  It has already found a friend in the '91 Cougar XR-7 that recently made the same a similar giant leap.     










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Nice work!!!! Like the Cougar too!

I had a Black 89 base model Thunderbird for about a month when they were new. Loaner until the Aerostar came in....wanted to keep it but 3 kids and a TB do not mix!  Great car! 

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Great looking build, owned a 1:1Thunderbird until the body started to get a bit ratty (the rear of the passenger side rocker panel was usually the first to go on both the Cougar and the 'Bird). Should pull these kits out and get back to work on them.

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Looks really good! Those were pretty cool cars back then and you nailed the look!  I've had real good success with the Rustoleum 2x sprays, Gloss White and Gloss Apple Red. I regularly use the Satin Canyon Black for interiors and chassis too, and used their white, black and gray primers without issue. It's the 2x clears that are the problem for me. They are very chemically hot and seem to like to attack the paint and decals, even after a couple of weeks to cure the paint, and this is over Rustoleum 2x paint.

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Thank you everyone!  All of the comments are appreciated!  I started work on an Oxford White '89 XR7 to make it a trio, but keep getting sidetracked with other projects but hopefully it'll be off the bench soon.

Regarding the back-up lights, the kit's once-piece clear red unit has the appropriate recesses for the slots.  It would have been nice to have a clear unit to start with, but a thinned wash of Vallejo flat white filled the recesses and the slick nature of the clear red plastic made easy work of wiping off the excess.  Besides the aforementioned reflector buckets, the bird logos were picked out with some Molotow liquid chrome and a sharpened toothpick.  After installation the seam lines got a wash of satin black to accentuate the individual lenses.   

For some kits the lenses are often some of the trickiest parts.  Getting white or silver paint on clear red plastic to look 'translucent' is close to impossible.  I'd love to do a few AMT 89-91 Taurus SHOs but those chrome headlights and red molded tail lights are the holdup.  I've been experimenting with the clear UV-cured epoxy to cast duplicates in clear, but haven't come up with the ideal solution yet.  



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