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alan barton

Mission Impossible - American Graffiti cop car from a wreck

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OK, I will ck later this week to see if I have one or not

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Thanks, Bill, for your offer - if you can find those items I would be happy to trade if there are any pieces I can help you with.

 

Had a good solid session on the bench last night and it is starting to look like a car!  I will need at least another application of bog, especially on the eyebrows on the front fenders but I think the roof and the deck are all done so things are shaping up.

The original builder, in his quest for the ultimate smoothie, not only filed or ground off every detail from the body (except the cowl vents and wipers, thank goodness) he filled the concave recess between the tail lights with some kind of epoxy.  I expected the worst but was lucky to excavate it fairly quickly with the broken point of an X acto.

I have lost a few bits of bog where it has been very thin and where I have been scribing door lines. I have found that as long as I spot it lifting I can run a bit of superglue under the piece and lock it all down and continue sanding.

Three main jobs to complete at this stage.  

1.  Finish the eyebrow on the side of the front fenders.

2. Add rain gutters with Evergreen strip

3. Construct a windshield frame - the Galaxie has slightly unusual contours so I am going to have to sneak up on this one.

I may still have to remove the roof and refit it as it seems to have a  slightly uphill stance at the moment - might have to ask Doctor Google for some help on this one but I will wait until the gutters are in place as they will help define the roof shapes. I have also used some of the tips in the panel line tutorial on this forum to run ink in my new door lines - it gives me a much better idea of how I am going especially being that the car is white plastic! On the other hand, it has revealed that the B pillar door line on the driver's side is a bit drunk so looks like I will have to go backwards to go forwards there.  The bottom door line on both sides needs a LOT of finessing!

 

Cheers

Alan

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Posted (edited)

If you only managed to make something that even resembled a Galaxie from what you started with it would be a feat but what you've  done is staggering! Fantastic work, well done. 

Edited by Rockford

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Looks surprisingly well!  Keep on moving forward! I love when a project takes on a life of its own!

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Thanks guys, I really appreciate the support.  Tom, you are dead right, I can't explain the hold this thing has on me right now but it wants to be built!  I have been working steadily on it over the last few nights and in the main progress has been positive. I put some gutters on but I will probably need to remove them and place them slightly higher up. The windshield frame looks very dorky on the top surface at the moment, not sure what I will do there.  I had to redo the driver's side centre door cut as it was leaning backwards.  

Meanwhile the bodywork around the front edge of the fenders is coming along well. At this stage, worse  case scenario being that I don't find any 61 Galaxie grille and bumpers between now and next July, I will fit the grille in the photos that I very gingerly removed from my survivor convertible that I built in 1973. The convertible needs to be on the diorama as well, being a pre-62 car, so we will park it with the nose facing away from the public.  After the show I will refit the correct grille to the convertible and then fit the custom 63 Galaxie grille to the cop car until such time as a 61 turns up. 

I kept looking at the radiator support panel with Steve Guthmiller's voice in my ear about screw posts showing.  This is a fragile and thin body and I can only see trouble brewing if I were to cut out and replace the panel.  Instead, I filed the front surface of the circular post flat ( not flush) and then filed a downwards taper on the back surface of the post.  Thinking when this is all painted black it will be very difficult to spot.  And, I will still have positive location points with which to mount the chassis.

Still lots of sanding an spot puttying to go but maybe primer by the weekend?


Cheers

Alan

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A few more nights of sanding puttying sanding, puttying, you know the drill.  I decided the fins were a bit too short and abrupt on the front door so last night I gingerly removed the bit in front of the door gap and made a new extension - went smoother than I expected but still needs a little more sanding and puttying.

The leading edge of the hood needed the trim that eventually wraps right around the the corners of the fenders.  I took a piece of half round Evergreen and used liquid cement to join it to the front of the hood, then wrapped the excess around the corners of the fenders fixing that with superglue because of all of the bog in that area. Once everything was dry I cut through the join between the fenders and hood - wiht a little bit of sanding it will work fine.

To take a break from all the sanding and puttying, I spent the last bit of the evening massaging the frame.  I made up some A arm extensions to make up for the shortcomings ( literally) of the AMT kit, bridged the gaps between the exhaust manifolds and tailpipes and finished it all off with a bit of drybrushing. The need for two holes toward the rear of the tailpipes will become obvious later in the build.

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The neighbours cat insisted on inspecting my work before i started priming.  I think she's saying "you missed a bit!"

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I took a few shots before I applied the Duplicolor so that you could see what has taken place so far. Hard to believe it started as that yellow blob at the top of the post.  I was tryiing to get it to as close as perfect as possible before I primed it but to be honest I was finding it more an more difficult to find the flaws that I new would be there. Easily the hardest part has been the windshield frame and it is not right yet.  On the other hand, the rear window opening was surprisingly straight forward. The roof structure, a techinique I learned from Ponch on the old Short Track Models forum, has held up really well throughout all the handling. 

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Once the primer had dried, I just had to do a mockup.  The model started as a 63 Galaxie convertible, it has a 63 Galaxie hardtop frame and I have temprorarily borrowed the grille and front bumper from my survivor 61 convertible. It ahs a nose up stance at the moment but I think I just popped the rear axle in the wrong set of holes!

 

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This week I am going to give the bodywork a rest (there is plenty more to do) and get some more work done on the interior. So far I have cut out the XL500 console and replaced it with a transmission hump out of an unknown 70s or 80s interior. I am also going to convert that rear seat into a front bench seat. I have been  following Steve Guthmiller's builds for years and while I don't pretend for a moment that this will reach his incredibly high standards, I want to push my own standards and skills on this project.  I then cut the two ends of one bucket seat and grafted that to the ends of the rear seat to make it the proper width for a sedan.

I have removed the obligatory rear hood bow housings from the convertible interior tub And will shortly cut the side panels off to detail them with  four door details.  I am not overly concerned about a perfect replica of a 61 Galaxie at this point, as long as it is a believable 60s style four door interior. I will also have to get two appropriately startled police officers ready for the ride of their life!

 

Cheers

Alan

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Edited by alan barton

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You have put an amazing amount of work into this and the results so far are impressive.

I can't wait to see more.

David G.

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Don't know how I missed the beginning of this build, but I am sure glad I found it.  You are doing some very impressive work. I am sending you a PM.

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Amazing work. The body changes are a tutorial for conversions. Looking forward to seeing the finished project.

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Great work! I’m enjoying watching model building as a spectator sport!  🍿 🍺 

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Thank you all for the kind words of support.  I was having a quiet moment to myself in the model room the other night and wondered if I would have even tackled a job like this if it wasn't for the things I have learned and the people I have met on this forum. A lot of people on here have unwittingly contributed to this project!

I also think it is rather cool that all the odd parts I have found, the engine, the rocker covers, the radiator, the firewall, even the spare chassis from my slot car conversion, they would never have been used if it wasn't for this project.  The majority of my builds are hot rods, nostalgia drags and dirt trackers.  None of those parts would have worked on any of my "normal" models and  would have sat in my parts boxes until eternity.  And the body and interior themselves, well, the body at least would probably gone in the garbage!

I didn't get anything done last night other than a big cleanup of my bench but I did think of a question that I need to ask of you guys. Do any of you know if a police car in 1961 would have had carpet or vinyl on the floor?  I can't call on local resources because very few Australian cars of any sort had carpet until the mid seventies.   I'm thinking that maybe police cars would have had vinyl or rubber mats to cope with clean-ups needed after  unpleasant rear seat passengers? 

Also, what sort of gear would have been with them?  I have a simple CB radio from the old Monogram kits which I thought would be a good start but did they have any other sort of consoles or boxes in or under the dash?  The screen shots I have from the movie show nothing on top. Not sure how much would fit anyway seeing as how I need to fit my officers in there but curious to know and see what I can do about it.  

Cheers

Alan

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On 10/6/2020 at 12:39 AM, alan barton said:

The windshield frame looks very dorky on the top surface at the moment, not sure what I will do there. 

I can see what you mean there, the top of the frame is too high, the roof needs to curve down some, that will narrow the windscreen without having to lower the whole roof.

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I found these picture on another site, its a genuine '61 cop car that was recently restored, I couldn't find any of the floor but with a bit more research I'm sure I could find out.

cheers, 

Jackson Bull

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The size of the windscreen is actually correct then? my bad. That windscreen brow is High! Looking at the scratch build compared to the real car I'd say it looks fine.

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AB,  This is looking really good -  I have to think they usually had rubber floor mats in a cop car - easier to hose out the interior and get the car back in service.  Cop cars also had the low end trim which would be rubber floor mats.  Municipal budgets and all that.  Are you going to make the rear axle detachable with a chain attached?

 

 

 

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Hi Steve, yeah, that was my thoughts exactly - low budget and low maintenance.

I have a sneaky plan for the rear end.  Because of the way AMT handled their screw bottom chassis, there is  just a non- descript black recess for the wheel housing and no discernible chassis detail from the side, which suits my plans perfectly.  I will remove the wheels and wire axle and set the car up in full flight with a separate axle, wheels and spring arrangement some distant away, attached to either a taut or recoiling cable hanging out the rear - I've checked the videos and there only seems to be a cable with a hook, no chain.

Meantime, I have drilled two holes in the exhaust pipes about midway along the floorpan.  I am looking for a rusty length of the right diameter wire to replicate exhaust pipes and will attach  mufflers to them.  By sticking the wire up into the holes in the plastic pipes, I will be able to stand the Galaxie on its nose with the exhaust being the prop. The car should appear to be flying through the air.  I have already found two bits of wire in my junk that were perfectly rusty but one is a bit thin and the other is a bit thick - but then, I have plenty of junk!  From any view except directly from the rear, where our spectators won't see anyway, the moulded in rear end will be invisible.

Then, when the display is over I can re-insert the wheels and axles and sit it back on the shelf.

That's the plan anyhow!

And Jackson, thanks for the awesome photos.  I had been Googling like crazy for weeks but hadn't found those images - they are very helpful.  Interesting to see that it has a Y block, not an FE series engine, and that it has a different rear window pillar and glass treatment to the Graffiti car.  I wonder if Ford changed design mid year - hard to imagine why you would have two otherwise identical four door sedans but for the back window? The resin body that Hendricks does has this window style which helped me decide to scratchbuild instead.

And Gareth, don't beat yourself up about your interpretation of the windscreen shape - I have been studying photos for weeks and still don't have my head around it entirely!  I definitely need to flatten the trim some more but it is more curvy than the trim on most cars.  Those photos of Jackson's are some of the clearest shots I have seen and will be very helpful as I start to fine tune the bodywork.

Thanks everyone!

Cheers

Alan

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Just a brief update today.  In contrast to what I SAID I was going to do, I cut the side panels off and have decided to attempt a correct 4 door 61 Galaxie pattern.  It was just too much of a mess to try and correct the existing details so what the heck - I have already gone way further than I ever expected to on this model  so why stop now, eh? I just filed everything clean off and started from scratch.  I also glued four short lengths of Evergreen angle onto the floor to give a good guide for the side panels when I glue them back on. I also got the first coat of primer on the widened rear seat and while there is still some sanding and filling to do, I think using the cut down bucket seat for this task was a good move.

There were some great shots of the door cards on a Google search so I have sketched out the pattern and will use Evergreen strips tonight to add the details.  Thanks for watching so far, comments and critiques welcome!

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It has been a bit of a wait but the mailbox had good news in it today.  Tarheel Rick had sent me a small care package all the way from North Carolina.  Inside was a brand new grille/front bumper, rear bumper, taillight panel and surrounds, taillight lenses, fender ornaments and maybe best of all, a complete glass unit all from his 61 Galaxie full custom project.

I started after dinner tonight and found a few surprises.  Now I have an original survivor 61 convert from my teenage years but had never had the hardtop.  Turns out the chrome parts and the glass are different to the convert and suggest they may have come from a promo based model.

The easiest bit was the front grille assembly.  The mounting plate holes don't quite reach the radiator support panel but the plate itself interferes so that took a little carving to reconcile.  At the rear, I drilled and filed a new slot to insert the mounting tab - this worked perfectly and the holes line up with the original screw posts . Bewdy, mate!

The taillight panel had to be shortened and the concave mess under the boot lid is going to need more excavating to let everything rest where it should.  I removed one taillight, trimmed two mm off the checkered trim panel and it looks like it will fit up fine.  I also relieved some plastic off the back edge of the chrome taillight housings - they didn't want to quite snuggle into the 63 openings.

My biggest challenge will be getting the windshield to fit.  Turns out I have made the roof a touch narrow at the top of the frame.  I have a few ideas about correcting this but will sleep on it first.

So before heading off to bed tonight, I want to publicly acknowledge the tremendous act of generosity  of Tarheel Rick in getting these parts to me. It is no small effort, not to mention the extortionate postage costs that we all seem to be suffering from these days. Rick is a classic example of the type of person that makes it so much fun to participate in this forum.  Last year Muncie volunteered up that amazing Tudor body and now Rick has sent these parts that are just priceless to me. I once sent a front clip of a Monogram S'cool Bus to a guy on here years ago and I guess it just proves the goodness of "pay it forward".  I just hope that some time in the future I will be able to return the favour to these guys, or maybe someone else on here that needs a part that I just happen to have.  Model builders are the BEST guys! These parts make all my efforts so far that much more worthwhile and they will be the crowning touch when I get the last finessing of the bodywork completed.  I can barely wait to see this in black and white!

Rick, I am indebted!

Cheers

Alan

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