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Slow going '58 Plymouth


bisc63
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I started this one way back, then got distracted by other matters. Recently, Smitty's excellent build of this kit inspired me to make an effort to get back on this and finish it! It will be slow progress, but progress nonetheless. Instead of box stock, I'll be doing a sort of home-built hot rod with a 70's vibe kinda thing. We all know this kit has its issues, and there are many ways to approach improvements. It'll never be perfect, but it can be much better than it comes out of the box. First and biggest improvement is to get that drooping rear quarter panel up at the tail. I sliced down the door line, then rearward just under the lower trim. I stuck a small section of square styrene bar in as a spacer, and that gave the lift I was looking for. This solves raising not only the trim, but the top of the quarter panel as well, as it should. On the real car, the quarter begins sloping upward to the back as soon as it leaves the door line.  A few pics to show where I am and how I got there:

58 Plymouth_1.JPG

58 Plymouth_2.JPG

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Another sore spot for me is the front view of the hood. It's much too flat across the front, rolling like a later model hood might. It should have a bit of bullnose. If you have a '59 Imperial kit in your stash, look at the hood on that. That's the look. Bondo to the rescue, and a relatively simple improvement.

58 Plymouth_4.jpg

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Poorly pictured above also is some reshaping on the ends of the front lower valance panel. I added some styrene to the ends, then began filing to a more accurate contour. ( Still roughed in as shown) I had to think on this for a while. That seam between the fender and valance should be visible when using plain-style bumpers (which I will be), but the kit sets the bumper too high. First I added .020" shims to the top ens of the valance to drop everything a scale half inch down from the grill. Next I slotted the bumper mounting holes gently to drop it a tad more, but ran into interference from the filler panel forward extensions. Next step, superglue some .020" to the bottom of those extended areas, giving me enough "meat" to file them down from the top, thinning and sloping down at the same time so they tuck under/behind the bumper as they should.

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There should be a serious roll under of the rocker panels, but AMT made them near vertical. No problem, though, as the kit plastic is thick enough to let you scrape, file, and sand to a much better contour. Use a small round file near the wheel opening lips to roll them under as well. Patience is key keeping those shapes right!

58 Plymouth_5.jpg

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Another area that needs some material removed (IMHO). The outer corners of that lower valance up front looks too squared to my eye, compared to pics of the real thing. I backed up the inside of the piece with some epoxy, and then took a big file to it. I think it's better...

58 Plymouth_6.jpg

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The tail end needs some attention, too. The tail lights don't fit correctly out of the box, but it's not immediately noticeable if you haven't seen the real thing. Most cars have a bright housing surrounding the lens, sitting ON the outer surface of the sheet metal. These Plymouths have the bright housing tucked IN the opening on the back of the quarter panel. You can actually see body-colored narrow ends of the fin surrounding the taillight when viewed from the rear. Slow work with a fine file and sanding sticks lets you gain a very precise fit. Once again, there's plenty of plastic inside that opening, and I actually began with an Exacto knife.

Another sore point is the panel below the trunk lid; it's too short. It looked off to me, so I did a little measuring, and found that a 1/25 plate wouldn't even fit as it should. The kit plate fits because it is too small! For this one, I just started filing and cutting with a Dremel tool to drop the lower lines down, adjusting the bumper down a little as needed (not much at all). I also filed the undercut just below the trunk lid a little deeper and more sharply defined.

58 Plymouth_7.jpg

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I'm following along and taking notes! I LOVE what I'm seeing so far!

I hadn't paid attention to the lower "tuck under" of the rocker panels.............thanks for pointing that out as that looks so much better. I also see you thinned out those way too thick C pillars. That was actually another thing that immediately got my attention right behind the awkward looking rear quarters and trim

Keep up the super terrific work!

Round 2............PLEASE pick up the white courtesy phone! 😘

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Excellent work with all of your mods Rusty  ,  raising the rear quarter is the best solution to this major complaint !  I agree that removing the wings from the bumpers make a much cleaner look , and the taillight mod is a simple no-brainer that makes a HUGE difference !

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Thanks for the encouraging words, fellas. As I said, this one will unfold somewhat slowly but surely. Working on interior mods right now. Doing some mild custom work inside, just don't want the Fury panels, so reworking those and adding pleated inserts to seats. Replacing front bench with junkyard buckets from 69 Olds. Also working on engine, which will be a 440/4-speed combo, with maybe an aluminum intake,  single 4-barrel, and headers if I find some to fit without much fuss. Are there any good 1/25 intakes for a 440 that mimic an aftermarket unit? Will post photos when there's something more interesting to see! Just need to move a little further along. Am I the only one that thinks these look like entirely different automobiles once you remove the side trim?!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Rusty, your work on this Plymouth is really 'next level!' You really have a keen eye for the subtleties of this car's shape, and are pointing out things that I never would have seen (but wish I had!).  I think these cars make great subjects for customs and I'd like to do one myself.  Excellent work so far. I'm looking forward to following along.

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On 2/10/2022 at 2:26 AM, bisc63 said:

...and then I decided to lose the trim altogether, after seeing another build that did that!

58 Plymouth_3.jpg

May I suggest this trim scheme? If you don't , then I guess I'll have to ☺️  l think it's a Savoy.  I really like it 😍. The single spear8.jpg.a09a64e5fabfb500781baee392d42b9c.jpg seems to add length. Simple and effective. 

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1 hour ago, customline said:

May I suggest this trim scheme? If you don't , then I guess I'll have to

Have at it! I'm keeping this one clean, but I do like that. I considered that one, and also the Plaza spear, which runs from the back bumper to the front of the door. Both are more attractive to me and look less dated than the extravagant Fury trim. BTW, that is looking NICE in black! Wheels are in line with my plans, not exact, but close. More to come!

Hmm, that black is screaming for some traditional yellow/candy red flames!

 

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5 hours ago, bisc63 said:

Have at it! I'm keeping this one clean, but I do like that. I considered that one, and also the Plaza spear, which runs from the back bumper to the front of the door. Both are more attractive to me and look less dated than the extravagant Fury trim. BTW, that is looking NICE in black! Wheels are in line with my plans, not exact, but close. More to come!

Hmm, that black is screaming for some traditional yellow/candy red flames!

 

I've been thinking about what to do with my '58 kit for years. Now, armed with the knowledge that you have provided, it's time to move on it. GREAT STUFF HERE, RUSTY! After seeing all the inaccuracies of this kit, I will now be more aware and looking for them on future builds.

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I've been looking closely at my kit's body and I see the "droop" but I can't understand how you resolved it based on what I see above. I get the cuts on the door line and under the lower trim but there must be more than I see here. Are you raising the whole rear section (trunk)? It's making my head hurt. 😣 where else are you cutting? 

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Yep, the entire rear end raises up.  One thing I need to mention: I did cut the base of the C-pillars horizontally, to free them from the body. I did this so as not to introduce any binding stresses on the top when the rear is lifted. I just used my razor saw, and glued them back when I had the rear where I wanted it and the glue had dried. Only had to do some minor file work to get them back into shape. I didn't want the top trying to spring back and fight my body work. (Do all this before you glue the rear valance in place.)

Edited by bisc63
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7 hours ago, bisc63 said:

Yep, the entire rear end raises up.  One thing I need to mention: I did cut the base of the C-pillars horizontally, to free them from the body. I did this so as not to introduce any binding stresses on the top when the rear is lifted. I just used my razor saw, and glued them back when I had the rear where I wanted it and the glue had dried. Only had to do some minor file work to get them back into shape. I didn't want the top trying to spring back and fight my body work. (Do all this before you glue the rear valance in place.)

Ah hah! That's what I suspected. Wow, Rusty, that's some radical 💩 ! This is gonna  be great fun!  

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