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AstroRod - A 1961 Comet from Outer Space


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I wanted to share my latest model. This is one I’ve had in mind for a long time. Inspired by the cars of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, this is my “AstroRod”.

Starting with an AMT 1961 Comet. I sectioned it lengthwise and widthwise then turned it around backward. It was then mounted to a 1925 Ford Model T chassis from an AMT Double kit. The same kit would supply the Lincoln engine. At this point, a few themes started to develop. I felt it would be kool to have it all “MEL” so an Edsel grille was sourced from an AMT parts pack and inserted into a scratch built grille shell. Five tail lights from original issue Ala-Karts (yep 2 kits) were added to cover the Edsel letters. Headlights were sourced from a custom grille from a AMT 1953 Ford pickup with scratchbuilt buckets.

The next theme that developed was all the parts so far came from pre-1964 kits. I decided to keep that theme going and try to use only found objects (the bubble came from my collection of packaging) and parts produced before 1964.

I scored all the custom parts from an original AMT 1963 Thunderbird on that auction site. Many of these found their way into the build inside and out. The custom roof panels were the same shape as the Comet quarter panel coves, so they were grafted in and three spears were added to the insert panels. The custom hood scoop was grafted into the trunk. The side upper “spears” came from a bunch of unidentified early ’60 custom parts I had collected. Tail lights were machined on a dremel from red sprue.

The interior features the TV set and reel-to-reel player from the Thunderbird. It also uses the custom gauge panel and steering wheel. The rear speaker came from the Comet. The rest of the interior is scratch built from evergreen half round to simulate tuck and roll. This was trimmed with blue wire to simulate piping.

The Lincoln engine got a supercharger from an AMT 1957 Chevy. The scoop came from the unidentified early ’60 parts stash. I considered wiring it with waxed thread, but decided against it and used modern detail wire. The exhaust uses a double set of headers from the Model T double kit with the second set flipped side to side to make the zoomie pipes.

The wheels are vintage Aurora custom parts with center caps made from the velocity stacks included in the Model T double kit with bullets cut from AMT 1949 Mercury custom Cadillac taillights. Modern AMT parts pack tires were used because vintage tires can be problematic.

The paint is Testor’s Diamond Dust, followed by several coats of Tamiya Clear Blue, then topped with a light coat of Testor’s Blue Galaxy then cleared with Tamiya clear. The interior is Testor’s Stainless Steel Metalizer, toned with AK washes. The chrome is Alclad.

This is easily one of my favorite models I’ve built and it was a ton of fun creating it. Please enjoy the photos and I hope you can see it in person at a show in the future.








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Wow, thanks for all the nice comments. It really was one of the most fun builds I have done and the best part was searching for parts that felt "just right" for this model. I'm not very good with WIP's because I can get sidetracked easily. Looking back I started this model on September 9th 2020. I worked a few things in between but that is sort of how they go. Thought I'd share some images of how it came to be.


Here is the body after the first couple of cuts. I started by removing the roof then separated the rear at the door lines. I tried to keep in mind how I might cut a 1:1 version during the process.



The rear part then had a about a half inch taken out of the middle. This kept the trunk line in tact.



The front piece had the fenders separated from the hood and then the hood had about 1/4” taken off each side to match up with what was taken from the trunk.



One of the first mockups of the body on the AMT Model T chassis. A 1/24th scale driver figure is in place to ensure an real human could fit inside.



The first round of major surgery is complete. The location of the bubble is marked out and that material would be removed with a dremel.



The bubble had now been fitted and this is the start of playing with scoops and fins. An unmolested Comet is behind it.



The grille shell is in progress here. It was basically a bunch of laminated plastic pieces until the shape was right. The custom coves from the 1963 Thunderbird have been added also.



Solidly in the filler, primer, repeat stage the model is starting to look like the final car. A leftover piece from the hood would be grafted into the trunk to give the driver a bit more legroom and the custom scoop could give some airflow. I also like how the peak matched the peak behind the bubble. The grille shell would also be peaked to match the peak in the engine scoop.



The interior had to be mostly custom made. The floor from the Model T was used as a base. The center was cut out so the driver could sit lower between the frame rails. The roll and pleated seat, floor mat, package tray and side panels are all separate pieces of cut half round plastic stock. The seat frame was made from solder.


Here it is getting close to the start of the paint and finish process. Most of the parts are pinned together allowing it to be assembled and disassembled over and over to ensure the parts fit once painted.


Due to reflections in the bubble top, it is difficult to photograph the interior. Here it is prior to final touch up. The floor has custom mixed flocking, a “control panel” cut from the Comet’s custom grille and the custom TV from the Thunderbird. The screen was ground out and a separate piece was created to aid with painting. Several coats of various Alclad pearls were used to replicate the ’60’s style glass screen.


A view of the other side showing the shifter (believe to be a Revell parts pack piece) and the reel to reel tape player. 1/64th” Chartpack tape was used for the “tape” in the player. The headrest is carved plastic but the cushion has not been added yet.

Hope this model inspires you to raid those parts boxes!

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