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So, this is going to be a long drawn out thread I’m sure, so if you’re not very patient please feel free to come back in 2023 and see where we’re at 🤪

I’ve always liked the MPC trike series that they started reissuing last year, but because some of them were hard to get previously (read:expensive to get) and I knew if I built one I’d want to build the full collection so I kinda held off on building any of them.  Soon as I heard they were reissuing then all though, a plan started to develop.  Oh, and seeing Eric Ritz’s AMAZING build of the Mail Box chopper really shows how nice these fairly basic kits can look with an expert touch:

Funny thing is, I’m not even much of a trike guy - but these little kits are SO cool to me!  So, what I’m thinking is that I’d like to work through them, lavish them all with a bunch of attention and extra detail and end up with a cool line-up of all six by the time I’m done.

Number 1 in the series - the Mail Box trike:


Now, this thing might have Roth’s name on the box, his signature on the box and Roth-themed decals IN the box...but it isn’t even close to being a replica of the 1:1 Mail Box trike:


Go ahead, see if you can spot any parts on the kit that look like the actual trike...good thing I’m not trying to build a replica here...

Anyhoo, first thing I wanted to address was the kit’s plastic spoked front wheels.  They’re not BAD, as plastic spoked wheels go, but I cunningly copied exactly what Eric did in his build above and ordered a set of photoetched spoked wheels that I can adapt to replace the kit parts:



I’ve ordered some aluminum tube to make some rims and I’ll use the kit front tire and try and make something better than the standard plastic part if I can manage it.  Actually, I ordered tube for the front and rear wheels so I can make aluminum rims for them both - but I messed up my imperial/metric conversion and got the wrong stuff for the fronts.  I managed to get the right stuff for the rear wheels though, so first project to get us rolling (arf arf) was to machine some rims to fancy-up those rear wheels a little:


What I’m thinking is to machine down the plastic wheels to leave just the wheel face, and then replace the rim itself with these new sleeves - just a cool little detail to notice if someone were to look close.

These need some more work and some polishing but here’s a quick test-fit with the tires to see if they’ll work:


Whilst I wait for the material to arrive to make the fronts, I started work on the engine.  Stripped the chrome, and started machining a few little parts to replace some of the plastic:


Those intake trumpets stand out as a part that could definitely be improved, and my favorite Ohioan gave me a lead on some ferrules that will work nicely to make it look a little better:


I shortened the metal ferrules up some, removed the kit plastic pieces, drilled, added plastic pins and it looks a whole world better to my eyes:


I need to get the engine somewhat assembled because the frame builds AROUND it, so that needs to be the first bit I work on here so I can start to see how everything else fits together and what I can do to make it better.

Oh, and I’m going to try and figure out a cool display stand for each of the builds, somewhat reminiscent of the box art.  This is gonna be a fun coupla-three years of building 🤪

More soon!

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  • 2 weeks later...
9 hours ago, RancheroSteve said:

Good start, Jim - I'll be watching.

I haven't tried it myself, but I recall reading that you can get the engine in after the frame is built.  

That’s good to know!  Thanks Steve!  I mocked up the body to make sure I could get the interior in ok, which I can, so at least I can get the bodywork all smoothed out without having to modify anything too much.

Got delayed somewhat waiting for the alu tube to arrive so I could machine the front wheel - and it took me 3 evenings of failures before I got a good one but I got there in the end...

Tom’s Modelwork center (which is REALLY delicate) and a couple of machined rims, plus the kit tire:


The photoetched pieces are too big for the wheel size we’re making here, so what I did is glued one of those to the inside of each rim, going round each spoke individually to glue them in place then I carefully sliced off the excess.

Worked ok I think - kit part on the left, remake on the right:


What would’ve been cooler is if I had a little hub sandwiched in there to angle those spokes out somewhat, but I was happy to have got one of these made without ruining the tiny little spokes for now...I’ll keep working on getting these better and better for the subsequent builds.  Looks ten times better than the kit part anyway, I think...

Now that’s done, I guess the next biggest scratchbuilding projects are a hub for that wheel and the forks...more soon!


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On 2/28/2021 at 9:59 AM, slusher said:

fantastic spokes, Jim!

I can't take the credit - just copying what @Impalow did on his identical build (and I had to ask him where to get the photo etch too - good thing he's a nice guy :D )

I'm pleased with the difference though! 

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15 hours ago, CabDriver said:

I can't take the credit - just copying what @Impalow did on his identical build (and I had to ask him where to get the photo etch too - good thing he's a nice guy :D )

I'm pleased with the difference though! 

hahaa...This looks great!  You are making me want to build another one of these....  What about a modern one?   Like if dodge commissioned one for SEMA or something.. Hellcat Powered? Modern seats? Big Wheels?  Dang it.....#bringbackthetrikes

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On 3/2/2021 at 7:16 AM, Impalow said:

hahaa...This looks great!  You are making me want to build another one of these....  What about a modern one?   Like if dodge commissioned one for SEMA or something.. Hellcat Powered? Modern seats? Big Wheels?  Dang it.....#bringbackthetrikes

YES!!!! 😍😍😍  I also like this one that I saw:



Meanwhile, some slow progress - I wanted to remake the forks, and stretch them a little.  Here’s the kit parts:


And here’s my in-progress stretched remakes:


Still need to make springs and bars, and figure out a headlight - quick mock-up for my own amusement:


Im thinking of going with a nice candy red for this one, but with some graphics hidden in the red...not totally sure what yet, but I like the idea of it looking like a nice simple paintjob but then if you look a little closer a load of extra detail pops out of the paint.  Need to finish remaking every little thing for no particular reason first though 🤪

More soon!




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  • 2 weeks later...

A little tiny bit more progress on this one - next job was remaking the handlebars.  I tried a few times to make a set with aluminum tube but kept kinking it, so finally got smart and just ordered some solid 1/16th aluminum bar instead.

Bent up a single length of it, made that flat square brace, used some rubber tube for the grips and ground down the back of a skull bead and polished it a little for a fun little detail piece:


Need to make the clutch and brake levers and figure out the best way to mount them to the forks I made previously.  Even unfinished they look better than the kit part tho I think!

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

More slow progress on this one...got the frame, body and gas tank together, smoothed out and in primer ready for base color!  

The frame was worrying me somewhat - it’s hard to assemble it for painting without it being too fragile to handle without the engine in there to help hold it together...need to be gentle with it until I’m ready to drop the motor in.  Had to do a little sanding to get the two-piece body smooth and hide the seam too, but it worked out ok I think...

Because I’m putting some graphics under the candy paint on this one went with the lightest silver in my collection, Wicked Colors aluminum, so that I can lay some darker silvers over the top of it and have some decent contrast without needing to use black.  Fingers crossed that works anyway...


Shot all the pieces with some clear so I can lay out some more interesting stuff and do some airbrushing tomorrow, all being well!


Not a super exciting update I know...but I didn’t make much progress this month 🤪. More soon!

Edited by CabDriver
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Your work is looking good. I like the extra details you're putting in to it.. I'll be watching.. I stalled out on my custom Milk Trike for now when I messed up the paint on it. I'll be getting back.to.it soon.


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Man Jim, those wheels and fork are an excellent personal touch.  I like the skull that’s very cool.  Now looking forward to see what paint job you have in store. I have only one of the tricks but would like to get another..

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Posted (edited)

Thanks fellas!  These kits are fun!

Finished up the bulk of the work on the painting today - I’d been saving up a few day’s worth of photos to make for a decent update...

Once the silver was laid down, along with a barrier coat, I designed some masks:


Cut and applied them...


And then shot a gunmetal silver:


Followed by some solid black for some subtle little low-lights:


Then, peeled off the masks and had something roughly like this:



Now, my intention for this paint-job isn’t really for all this stuff to stand out as much as it does now - more to be hidden layers under one primary color.  So, to bury it all, I shot Createx candy red...:


Including the frame, which is just straight up candy red without any graphics:


And then, after a day or two to dry I then layered all of THAT with a coat of clear with Pearl-Ex red flake, then a clear with Pearl-Ex gold followed by a coat of Testors rainbow flake to add a little visual interest in the sunlight.

With all that done (wow, we’re up to 10 layers all in at this point), time for four nice healthy coats of clear to help level everything out and bury all those different flakes:




Kinda hard to see all those cool color changing flakes in photos, but you can see some of the gold flip on the gas tank here in the sun, and how the Testor’s rainbow flake is flipping to a purple color in the shot above 


I think I’ve pretty much hit what I was trying to achieve - something that looks plain old candy red from a little further away but with some little details to spot as you get closer, and a bunch of little sparkles and flakes and stuff to jump out if you look even closer.

Parts are in the dehydrator now waiting for the next step...needed plenty of clear to bury the lumpy flakey surface so I’ll give it some extra time to dry before polishing it, but I’m excited to start hanging some bits off the frame to see how it looks all together!  More soon!

Edited by CabDriver
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Man this is looking GREAT!!! Very nicely done on that paint. Doncha just love this modern age of technology that allows us to put cool stuff like that front wheel you've got on there. Nice!!! 

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Posted (edited)

Superb work! It must be great to have the tools and knowledge to build like this. I've at last found a 'Milk Trike' kit here in the UK, but I'm still uncertain which set of decals to use as there are so many options, Milk, Pop, Ice Cream etc! OR even Monster Energy!!

Keep up the great inspirational work!

Edited by PatW
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