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‘55 Bel Air Mild Custom


carnut
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Although I have a pickup project going in the pickups forum, I decided to start another project. A 1955 Bel Air mild custom inspired by this illustration by Keith Wessner. I started with the Revell Goodguys version of their 1955 Bel Air hardtop. I filled in the grooves with styrene (or did I use the kit’s trim and grind it down - I don’t remember). Anyway it was all sanded down and smoothed, then filled with 3M Glazing Putty.

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Edited by carnut
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Update:

Here are a few more pictures of the 55 Bel Air mild Custom. First photo are the two main kits that I will be using in this build, the Revell 55 hard top Goodguy’s issue is a 2 n 1 , street Machine or stock. The AMT 55 Nomad, this issue of the famous kit has almost all of the original custom parts in it. I will be stealing some parts from here including the smoothed bumpers. In this kit the bumper guards are separate.

The second photo is a set of Modelhaus tires I’m thinking of using.

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I usually like to set my suspension stance on my projects before I get too far into the project. For the front suspension I used the lowered suspension that is found in the Revell kit, however I cut off the molded on big disks. For the rear suspension, I just made a set of lowering blocks and fit them to the separate leaf springs and rear differential. The blocks are a bit more the 1/8” I think. Hopefully I won’t have to cut and rebuild the transmission tunnel, I’ve done that a few times.

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After much sanding, primer, glazing putty and more sanding-here it is. The new trim is Evergreen half round glued on with super glue and carefully sanded to remove excess glue. The pattern is just a copy of the fender line. I carefully measured and drew it out on one side. Then I measured several more times and drew it on the other side of the model re-checking my dimensions over and over again. Then it was just a matter of gluing the evergreen half round on the patterns and measuring again to make sure everything on both sides is correct. What do y’all think. Keep happy thoughts.

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The body side trim looks good. The body line from the head light running back into the door area may draw your eye away from the chrome moldings on a lighter colored body. The drawing shows this body line almost removed.  

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11 hours ago, espo said:

The body side trim looks good. The body line from the head light running back into the door area may draw your eye away from the chrome moldings on a lighter colored body. The drawing shows this body line almost removed.  

That is a good catch, much appreciated.

I did some further checking regarding your concern. The fender characteristic is there in Kieth’s illustration, it’s just not that pronounced.

On the Revell body that is chrome trim there but it doesn’t look very well defined, to me at least. Which is probably why I didn’t see it at first. It will be addressed here this evening at the work bench.

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While doing some looking at custom 1955 Bel Airs I ran into these two photos of Henry Hosking 55 Chevrolet. Built in the late 50’s. Like a lot of cars in the late 50s and early 60s this car went through a few different versions. I think this is where Keith Wiesner got his idea for his illustration, but that’s just my personal guess. But take note of the front fenders the line character is there But the chrome trim that was over the top of it has been removed.

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Edited by carnut
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Doing a mild custom actually involves a bit of concerted effort. To remove chrome trim while preserving the body lines.

When shaping and removing trim I will use Emery boards from the cosmetic section of my local department or grocery store and I’ll use some 220 wet n dry sandpaper (using it dry).

The following steps is what I did to eventually and carefully remove the chrome trim but trying to keep the basic shape of the fender character.

When I am happy with the basic shape, then I will gradually just move from 220 grit to 320 grit, then to 400 grit and finally 600 grit all wet dry sandpaper. I prefer to use that sandpaper dry.

Finally an old trick that I picked up from a couple of the older modelers in my club I’ll take some superglue and apply a little bit of it to the body where the trim was or script and smear the superglue in and then I will let the body set for 24 hours and then I will lightly sand again and then maybe a little glazing putty and finish it off sanding it smooth and some primer and paint. What do you guys think?

 

 

 

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Edited by carnut
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Looking good Mike.  A little more work slimming down the molding on the fender and I think you have it.  That shape is really subtle on the full size cars. The '55 Bel Airs had the chrome over the peak on the front fender and on the door, the 150 and 210 Chevys did not.  Revell chose to mold it in but did not detail it on the box art.

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Well after some looking at photos on line and such, I took an emery board and 220 sandpaper in hand and gave it a go to rework the front fender. As what the guy on Full Custom Garage would say “You never know - it just might work “. We will have to see how this turns out.

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I see what you're talking about in the pictures of the custom '55's. They didn't seem to do anything to remove any of that body line except maybe the chrome that would have been on a Bel Air model. Nice job reproducing the new side trim and it looks just like the cars in the pictures. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, here it is. I’ve sanded off the chrome trim on the front fender eye brow (for lack of a better term). I’m not digging it so I’m going to take some Evergreen small round stock (very small) and rebuild the stock characteristic in the front fender. Hopefully it will look good. The second photo is of the same red chopped Bel Air that I shared earlier in this thread, but it’s an earlier version of the red chopped car.

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