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alan barton

Back from the dead- a new life for a Valiant!

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The model you see below began as a fibreglass shell purchased at least 30 years ago from an Australian aftermarket manufacturer, one of the first, in fact.  I am loath to criticise a fellow modeller for his work but lets just say that fibreglass models are exceptionally difficult to work with.  For those of you who have worked with a resin body ( other than Modelhaus!) then take all that extra prep and multiply it by, oh, a hundred times or so. 

It's sticky, it's weak, it's brittle and the thickness varies wildly.  If the mould has air bubbles in it  ( which this one did have) you get rows of ping pong balls under the bumpers, headlight eyebrows etc. Every time I build one I swear I will never build another but, alas, I still have about half a dozen or so in the stash.  Until thepartsbox.cpm came on the scene some years ago with quality resin, Aussie modellers just had to deal with these issues if they wanted to produce models of Australian produced cars.

I built the old Val a long time ago as a then contemporary street machine.  It is very challenging to put interiors and windows in f/g bodies so I built it slammer style.  And I hated it!

This was a model that always lived at the very back of the darkest shelf in my cabinet.  The paint was O.K. but the detailing was poor due to the casting issues, the colour did nothing for the car and the wheels were dated about five minutes after I installed them!

One of my modelling themes is Australian speedway cars, or short track to you guys in North America, and while Valiants were not common on our tracks, the few that did compete were quite the weapon and made their mark on the local scene.  With that in mind I decided it was time for a makeover.  Having picked up a very cheap millenium edition of the Dodge Dart kit car made the decision easy.

Here's what she looked like to start with.

 

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The MPC kit car chassis had all the right features for a Chrysler product such as torsion bar front end and leaf spring rear and a well detailed roll-cage.  The wheelbase was a bit long so I shortened the chassis just under the firewall, where I could make a strong re-connection and the work wouldn't be hard to disguise.

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The lower half of the rollcage was ideal and I thought I could massage the top half but after a less than stellar result I cut it off and scratchbuilt a new top section in the style of Aussie speedway cars of the mid to late seventies.

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I ground the front over riders from the bumper, removed the door handles, flattened the moulded in headlights to allow for flat sheet metal covers later on and tried to sharpen up the panel lines where I could.  The wheel arches were hogged out quite generously - I wanted to model a period when Aussie regulations had the guys remove the tubing wheelflares that were common throughout the sixties and just go for sheetmetal body panels instead.

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After priming I got a couple of coats of Tamiya white on it as a base coat.  My plan is to go for typical seventies colour, probably purple, but leave a white outline around all those sculptured features on the Valaint.

This is the first mockup and I am pretty happy at this stage. I don't intend to open the hood, as much as Tom Geiger would like me to show the leaning tower of power! I may still slide a slant six, or facsimile thereof, underneath to give the impression.  I once opened the trunk on  a fibreglass mould and bought myself a whole heap of trouble with cracking ans chipping, and after I fixed it all, the lid over time warped into the shape of a Pringle.  I did however cut a hole in the hood to let air into the triple Webers that would have been under the hood and then grafted on a suitably ugly hood scoop made from the handle of a takeaway soup spoon.  This model is meant to represent a reasonably low budget backyard effort so stylish craftsmanship would look out of place!

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8 hours ago, alan barton said:

This is the first mockup and I am pretty happy at this stage. I don't intend to open the hood, as much as Tom Geiger would like me to show the leaning tower of power! I may still slide a slant six, or facsimile thereof, underneath to give the impression.  I once opened the trunk on  a fibreglass mould and bought myself a whole heap of trouble with cracking ans chipping, 

Cool project!  you had been threatening to do this one!


I have one of those fiberglass bodies, mine was molded orange. A guy in my club gave it to me maybe 25 years ago, he had ordered it and once he saw it, he knew he wasn’t going to do anything with it. I’ve kept it in my collection as a curiosity. You may have seen it when you were here and we sorted Valiants in my basement!
 

I totally understand not opening that hood!  You could shatter that whole body!  And very thick, even the plastic kit body is very thick and hard to work with. But it is cool that you found a use for it.


I  will be watching!

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Posted (edited)

Alan, I don't usually like circle track cars, for some reason I like the originality of what you're doing with this car. I admire your courage for working on the fiberglass model, hope it all goes as expected. 

Edited by thatz4u

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Hi!

Considering the difficulty level of the body you started with... this is a VERY GOOD execution. Bravo!

CT

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Sweet looking short-tracker.  I like your style of build.

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This is an Awesome Build. I do like Short Track cars.  And a Rare F/G Valiant body. I have never even heard of F/G model car bodies.

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You haven't missed anything, Alan!  The good thing is, we got Aussie bodies when none were available but the fibreglass, although very thin, just fights you every step of the way.  For whatever reason, the resin that Americans take for granted just wasn't available on the Aussie market for many years so you take what you get.

  I did a 1968 HK Holden ute once.  I had all the usual  issues of chipping and cracking  but minimised them by epoxying the chassis to the body and then building the interior like a ship in a bottle.  Got it painted, decalled and only needed to glue the dash board in place and then drop in the glass.  While holding the dash between my finger and thumb as the epoxy kicked, the hood chose to split straight down the middle. It's still split to this day - I was done! 

Sorry for a bit of a lull in proceedings but I have taken the week off to get some major progress made on my 1:1 garage project so haven't had time to get more paint prep done. Glad everyone is enjoying it, they do make a tough looking race car and there were quite a few of them in Australia - not common but definitely not unheard of!

Cheers

Alan

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Thanks. Enjoy your 1 to 1!

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Spent the last few nights masking up a paint design for the Val.  I want it to be very seventies and I wanted to highlight the distinctive body lines that were unique to that car. It was amazingly wet here in Perth for most of today but when I  got home from work the rain had cleared and it was reasonably balmy so I grabbed a can of Tamiya Lavender and went for it! I can't say I enjoy masking up a model but this one has come out reasonably cleanly and will only take a little bit of cleanup. Still uncertain of a suitable colour for the rollcage - black was very common for home built cars of the era but I am keeping my options open.

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Posted (edited)

Another one here who's never heard of a fibreglass being used at this scale, it sounds awful! Great progress so far.

I have no experience of Australian racecars like this, but the colour scheme reminds me of the Ford Anglias used here by George Polley on his oval track National Hot Rods back in the '70s. Probably a similar grassroots scene?

Also interesting to see what the TS-37 paint looks like for real. I have an old can of it, not entirely sure what to use it on yet.....

Edited by Spottedlaurel

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white and light colors is a common color in the racing world for inspection purposes. As for that time frame, Im not sure if itd be era correct. I will say, That paint looks too pretty for an old race car haha

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Making a bit of progress this week and hoping to have her done for a model club contest tomorrow night, but no panic if it doesn't make it in time. Our club has a competition 4 times a year and I like to use these as an  incentive to get long standing projects off the bench and onto the shelf.  We are very lucky in Western Australia to have virtually no community transmission of the Covid 19 so our meetings can go ahead with a little social distancing.

The chassis is close to finished.  I eased an AMT Dodge Deora slant six in there last night.  The engine mounts look awful in this mockup but with a bot of cleaning up and some flat black paint the engine is now sitting believably in the frame, especially when viewed from underneath.  Probably won't bother with an upper end detail as the hood won't be opening.  With some weathering I think the Dodge Dart chassis will make a good representation of a Valiant underside.

I mentioned before how you can learn to hate fibreglass bodies.  Well, was test fitting the body on the weekend, all painted and decalled and"Pop" - a whole chunk of the front fender cracked off the car!  I will now wait until everything else if finished - glue the chunk back on with superglue and hide the damage with some strategically placed mud.  Thank heavens for speedway dirt - can you imagine how frustrating this would be if you were doing showroom stock?

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Posted (edited)

Getting close to finished now.  Getting the driver in place, from a Japanese kit of some sort judging by the grey plastic and it hasnt taken as much surgery as I usually get involved with! Nice for a change.

I also got the fender fixed and starting weathering to hide the flaws.

Cheers

Alan

 

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Edited by alan barton

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Love it! ❤️ 
But your driver has no head..howz he going to see to drive? 😀

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