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Straightliner59

Monogram Midget-to-Big Car Conversion (Sort of)

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I am unabashedly beginning another WIP thread! This model was begun at least twenty years ago (are we noticing a theme, here? ūüėÜ), and has been revived by the BOYD thread. Many of my projects tend to sit from time to time, while I fiddle around with some new idea for another project, or, an epiphany on an old project strikes me, which brings it back to the front of the bench. In this case, we have the latter.

This model was loosely inspired by the Belanger Special, which (obviously) is a full-sized Indy car. So, why start with the ancient Monogram Midget? First, it's an old Monogram kit! I have some kind of affinity for these things, despite their shortcomings. Second, it's a Kurtis Kraft, so it has the proper, general look. Finally, it's box scale, and larger enough than 1/24 scale, that the size difference works in our favor. I don't recall what I used to lengthen the belly pan. I added a few details to the engine, and covered the inside of the belly pan with tooling aluminum. I will use a pink eraser to dull its shine, some before final assembly. I rebuilt the steering, so that it's poseable. I added some  plastic rod and half-round to represent chassis tubing. The seat base is bent from tooling aluminum, as well.

When I took the latest photos, this morning, I noticed that the front tires and wheels had begun a parasitic relationship, so I sent them on their way. I wasn't happy with the tires, anyway. Fortunately, I had recently made a mold of the front wheels. They are from the Heller BMW 328, and I like them, in this place. Unfortunately, that means that the rear tire/wheel assemblies had to come apart, so that the paint can be stripped from the wheels, because whatever can of paint I used on this set of wheels, is loooooonnnnngg gone! In the process of removing the wheels from the (plastic) tires, one of the tires was broken. In a drawer  full of old tires that I'd set aside, specifically because they were unique, and thought they would likely be useful, one day, I found a complete set of black plastic, two-piece Indy car tires! I had to chuck them in the lathe, and open them up, a bit, so that the wheels will fit. The fact that they will need to be repainted opens up color options.

Since I opened the project back up, last night, I made the seat back from .005" Evergreen sheet, for backing, and .125" half-round, for the padding. The padding will get some reshaping, to make it look more natural. I also made the grille from expanded metal mesh from a grease splatted screen, formed using a doming block and die. As I get further along, I plan to use actual gold leaf, for some of the graphics. Most likely, that will be the numbers. Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome! Thanks for looking!

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Very interesting conversion. I find these old front engined racers fascinating.

I have the kit in my stash but that will be OOB when I get round to it.

steve

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Thank you, Steve. These roadsters were pretty dang cool!

I just need to clean up, and paint the radius rods, then, they can be installed.

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Looking good.

I bought several of those old Monogram midgets over the years to do exactly what you're doing..."big car" conversions, and reams and discs full of reference material.

You have my attention.

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On 8/27/2020 at 10:05 PM, Ace-Garageguy said:

Looking good.

I bought several of those old Monogram midgets over the years to do exactly what you're doing..."big car" conversions, and reams and discs full of reference material.

You have my attention.

Thank you, Bill. Man, it is so much easier to get reference material, nowadays! I remember getting excited to find a little 2"X3" photo that I hadn't seen before in a book or magazine. Thanks for looking!

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Posted (edited)

The radius rods are mounted. I painted them with Testors' Stainless Steel Buffing Metalizer. Before I mounted the rear pair, I was looking at the tires, compared with the car. I'm sure it's been done, but lowering this thing could make for a mean looking little hot rod!

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Edited by Straightliner59

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Earl Marischal said:

This is coming on nicely. 

steve

It's coming together, relatively stress-free! Thanks, Steve. I got the wheels painted, and used them to support the car, to get a look at how it rides. I may try to tone the wheels down, a little. At any rate, they will get a wash, and probably a bit of Rub N Buff, as well as valve stems, front and rear. I don't seem to have a set of knock-offs, so, I may attempt to make a set, using the mill--I have already turned a length of aluminum rod to diameter and bored it. Trying, now, to decide how to go about milling and parting them off, given that I don't have a slitting saw, yet.

 

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Edited by Straightliner59

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Yeah baby...that's looking GOOD. 

Just an FYI...these things also ran 4-link front suspension WAY before it hit the street-rod scene.

First photo reference I found dates back to '47 or '49.

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10 hours ago, Ace-Garageguy said:

Yeah baby...that's looking GOOD. 

Just an FYI...these things also ran 4-link front suspension WAY before it hit the street-rod scene.

First photo reference I found dates back to '47 or '49.

Thanks, Bill. I had forgotten that. I have an old HP Books publication titled "Indy Car" that covers the history, up to that point (probably mid-'80s) that covers most of the major technical and mechanical changes. That was my best reference when I built this Kurtis Kraft kit. It has a four-link. Like I said, I had forgotten that, specifically, but I remember being surprised, several times, at how early some stuff was incorporated/developed  in Indy cars, that didn't really come around, commonly, until much later. I don't know what it is, with me, and these old Monogram kits. I just love 'em!

10 hours ago, Dave Van said:

Great idea and work!

Thanks, Dave! Thanks for  commenting, gentlemen!

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Well, I had to take a little detour, of sorts. I couldn't/can't find the old Krazy Glue tube that has my knockoffs in it, and all I could find were two. I looked at kits I had, and came up empty. That left me with having to mold and cast one of those I had. I sanded the stalk from the back, and mixed up a ball of mold making putty. I placed the wad of putty on the piece of granite that I build flat stuff on, and pressed the prepped knockoff into it, so it was just flush with the surface. I let it cure then cut a hole in it, to help index the mold  halves (I should have done that while it was soft, and cut two of them!). I then coated it with mold release. I mixed another ball of putty, and pressed it down onto the other half of the mold. Once that was cured, I washed the mold halves, and cast new spinners using acrylic nail compound. I got the stuff in the photos from Sally Beauty supply, but, I also found a small kit at the local Walmart.

I've been using this acrylic as a casting medium since the middle '80s, when Don Fahrni acquired some from a dentist he knew. At that time, it was used to make  bridges, thus was dyed pink. Its odor is distinctive, so, the first time I smelled the acrylic nail medium, I knew what it was, and knew I had a ready source for a casting material. One of the things I like about it, is that I can flow the liquid component into a mold, then add the powder before closing the mold. Mixing is not necessary, and the liquid tends to flow well, to the nooks and crannies.

That said, had I begun this project when I could have worked straight through, I could have made a set of knockoffs, beginning only with the kit part, in about two to three hours. As you can see, they still need to be cleaned up. There's really no excuse, nowadays, not to at least cast some of your own parts, given the ready availability of the materials needed. The mold putty is available  at Hobby Lobby. I use the same stuff when I make "pre-drilled" distributor/mag caps.

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Edited by Straightliner59

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I sanded the seams from the tires. I also cut down the centers of the rear wheels and added centers cut from castings of the front wheels, so they somewhat match. I had to do a little repair to the steering. I covered the seat bottom with tracing paper over a coat of tacky glue, and shot it with some Krylon chalky texture charcoal grey. I will use it to cover all the leather/naugahyde surfaces, and to make the cockpit coaming. Once the wheels  and tires are finished and mounted, I will begin work on the cockpit details like the master cylinder, clutch, throttle, etc. As always,  questions, critiques and comments are welcome! Thanks for looking!

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Coming along nicely.

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9 hours ago, afx said:

Coming along nicely.

Thank you, JC. I repainted the wheels, last night(again!). Next, I will probably paint the tires and finish detailing the wheels, so I can get them all assembled and mounted. Thanks for your comment, sir!

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10 hours ago, Art Laski said:

I really like this project, Dan! Good work!

Well, thank you, Art! I appreciate that! I've noticed that some of  the bodywork, where I lengthened the car has shrunk, pretty badly. I must have still been using Acryl Blue, when I did it. I'm going to live with it, because I don't want to undo everything! Thanks for looking, and for your comments!

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I repainted the front wheels. They are painted with Modern Metals Metallic Taupe. I think it's still available  at Michael's. There are several colors in that line that can be useful to modelers. I still need to install valve stems, and apply a wash, along with a little bit of Rub N Buff. I tried something a bit different with the tires. First, I shot them with Tamiya Tire Black. I then taped off the treads, and shot the sidewalls with Krylon Ultra Flat Black. I like the subtle difference in color, between the two surfaces. Next, I mixed some titanium white artist oils with a dab of Permasol  black, and a tiny amount of yellow ochre, and applied it to the lettering with a small piece of rubber eraser. I have to be careful with it, for a couple of days, since the  oils take some time to dry. I still need to add wheel inners, as well. As always, questions, comments and critiques are welcome!  Thanks for looking!

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Now, with the aforementioned treatments applied to the wheels, and the knockoffs installed. At this point, the wheels are simply sitting in the tires, as it's a tight squeeze, and I want the oil paint to set up, before  I attempt to insert them into the wheels...

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Dan, I am really enjoying this because I too started one decades ago and never got to finish the bodywork. I especially like your representation of the tubular frame. - when I unearth mine I will be copying that trick for sure.

You asked for critiques so I hope you will understand that my suggestion is meant in the right spirit.  When I look at your last mockup photo, I am still seeing a midget, not a big car.  Could I suggest that, if it doesn't involve wrecking your model, that you lower it a few mm? The thing is, proportionally, a big car hugs the ground closer than a midget and I think dropping it just a smidge would complete the illusion you are seeking. The mockup in your August 30 post was much closer to the mark, in my humble opinion.

Either way, it is going end up a great looking racecar.

Cheers

Alan

 

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Daniel,

Those wheels are looking good. Neat idea about the two shades of black on the tyres.

steve

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14 hours ago, alan barton said:

Dan, I am really enjoying this because I too started one decades ago and never got to finish the bodywork. I especially like your representation of the tubular frame. - when I unearth mine I will be copying that trick for sure.

You asked for critiques so I hope you will understand that my suggestion is meant in the right spirit.  When I look at your last mockup photo, I am still seeing a midget, not a big car.  Could I suggest that, if it doesn't involve wrecking your model, that you lower it a few mm? The thing is, proportionally, a big car hugs the ground closer than a midget and I think dropping it just a smidge would complete the illusion you are seeking. The mockup in your August 30 post was much closer to the mark, in my humble opinion.

Either way, it is going end up a great looking racecar.

Cheers

Alan

 

Thank you for your comments, and your kind words, Alan! I appreciate them. Ah! Well, we're in luck, as the photos from August 30 were taken while it was actually sitting on the wheels. The latest was just a "perspective" shot, in which the wheels were just placed at the ends of the axles, while the car was sitting on the deck! ūüėÉ However, it's not as long and¬† lean, as it should be, and the cowl's too short, thus the "(Sort Of)", in the heading.

There was a time I couldn't have imagined saying this, but, these old, classic Monogram kits provide me with a different perspective on my building. To me, they have a sense of "folk art" about them, and I have come to accept their shortcomings, dress 'em up a little bit with items of visual interest, and throw 'em out on the dance floor! I don't expect to build replicas from them, although, I think my Cook and Bedwell dragster (Slingshot) comes fairly close. Thanks for looking!

 

14 hours ago, Earl Marischal said:

Daniel,

Those wheels are looking good. Neat idea about the two shades of black on the tyres.

steve

Thank you, Steve. I used a paint I found at Michael's for the base color (it's called Modern Metals Metallic Taupe--I know you're in the UK, so I wouldn't have a clue as to a substitute!), then shot them with matte clear (Testors' Dullcote). I followed that with a wash of India ink and water, and, finally, gave them a very light "coat" of Rub N Buff silver. The effect on the tires is very subtle, but it does create a visual difference! Thanks for your comments!

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22 hours ago, alan barton said:

The mockup in your August 30 post was much closer to the mark, in my humble opinion.

Alan, here it is, back on the wheels. I got them done, and wanted to see how they look. Better? ūüôā

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Edited by Straightliner59

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It's working for me Dan!  Can't wait to see it with the painted hood on those knockout wheels - I reckon it will look nicely stretched out then.

I agree about those folk art cars - my hot rod collection has quite a few, including the Old Monogram 32 Hiboy with the two piece body, the 32 Sport coupe and the dragster you mentioned.  Still have to build my Long John dragster.

Cheers

Alan

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