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'40 Ford Sedan Top Chop


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This is what we're starting with. The venerable AMT '40 Ford Sedan that's been around since '62. Not sure when this particular kit was issued. But, it's molded in a lovely brown. One thing I love about these old AMT kits is they can be mocked up in a matter of minutes. 

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 After studying the body for a bit, I decided where I wanted to make the cuts. Subject to change at any time as you'll see later. I first cut strips of Tamiya tape 3mms wide and placed them on the body where I wanted the cuts. Then marked the areas with a Sharpie marker.

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This is a cut that got changed (after I cut). My first thought was to just cut the top of the trunk lid off. But, it would have caused some issues. One was the backlight would be lower. Two was it would have caused me to have to lengthen the roof even more. Three, it just wouldn't look right with a stock height. While I made it work out, it's an unnecessary step. 

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Time to cut it up! I first cut the roof away from the body following the underside of the drip rail and the top of the trunk. As you can see, I changed the cut on the A pillar. 

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With the roof removed, I marked the new cuts at the backlight. I always try to make my cuts in an area that will make the least change to the window openings and the roof itself. 

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I cut away the remaining door and window frames. Only cut at the lower marks on the frames! Leave the extra 3mms for now. I always cut inside the lines and sand away the marks after the cut. The ink from a Sharpie marker will bleed through primer and perhaps paint. 

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One thing I've learned about top chops is however much the roof is lowered, that's usually how much it will need to be lengthened. I added 3mms to the length of the roof. While the roof was free, I sanded the inside smooth. It's a lot easier than doing it after it's glued back to the body. I also reworked the backlight opening. Instead of attempting to file and sand the lip back into it, I got it the shape it needed to be and added a piece of .020 to the inside to create the lip. An added bonus is the divider has more strength. I also added a strip where the roof and trunk will join.

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Test fit of the roof skin. As you can see, it fits quite well just resting on the body. It's ready to be glued permanent. 

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Time to get the door and window frames back in! I cut away half of the door frame portion as they will need to be lengthened as well. I placed the window and partial door frame inside the body and marked them. This is the reason for leaving the extra 3mms on the frames mentioned earlier. As you can see, the mark on the C pillar has changed quite a bit from the original marks.

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The frames are now glued in and the filler pieces added to the door frames. I removed the drip rails during sanding as it's easier to me to remove and replace them than try to fill and sand around them. 

 

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 In this photo you can see the new lips on the backlight. There's also a substantial gap between the roof and the trunk. A strip of .010 will fix that easily. 

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Since I was replacing the drip rail anyway, I decided to also replace the chrome trim on the body. It's barely there on the hood and would almost disappear after primer, paint and clear. The drip rails are replaced with a strip of .020 and the chrome trim was replaced with .020 rod. 

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All sanded and ready for some Tamiya primer.

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In primer. Ready for your favorite color!

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Done!

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Any questions, just ask. 

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Nicely done! Thanks for posting this very informative and insightful how-to. Tutorials like this make it easier for folks to try something that may have been intimidating before. Step by step procedures, clearly illustrated, make for a good read and incentive to cut some plastic! Very well done.

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4 hours ago, bisc63 said:

Nicely done! Thanks for posting this very informative and insightful how-to. Tutorials like this make it easier for folks to try something that may have been intimidating before. Step by step procedures, clearly illustrated, make for a good read and incentive to cut some plastic! Very well done.

X2!!

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Hey there Roger. The half round on the drip rails and side trim came out perfectly. I want to put side trim on the '40 Willys Pick-up. For whatever reason there is no side trim on the kit. I see you used .020  for the side trim. In looking the Evergreen stuff there are 2 different .020 half-round sizes. If you still have the package can you let me know what one it is you used?

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1 hour ago, TransAmMike said:

Hey there Roger. The half round on the drip rails and side trim came out perfectly. I want to put side trim on the '40 Willys Pick-up. For whatever reason there is no side trim on the kit. I see you used .020  for the side trim. In looking the Evergreen stuff there are 2 different .020 half-round sizes. If you still have the package can you let me know what one it is you used?

If you reread the article you'll notice that what he used to replace the trim on the side of the body was .020 rod, and not half round, BUT he did use .020 half round for the drip rail replacement, I have used both square stock and .020 angle stock for drip rail, but it depends on if I want to represent drip rail channel, or just a blending of the drip rail into the roof like he did on his beautiful job. I hope that helps you get clarity on what your question was.

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2 minutes ago, horsepower said:

If you reread the article you'll notice that what he used to replace the trim on the side of the body was .020 rod, and not half round, BUT he did use .020 half round for the drip rail replacement, I have used both square stock and .020 angle stock for drip rail, but it depends on if I want to represent drip rail channel, or just a blending of the drip rail into the roof like he did on his beautiful job. I hope that helps you get clarity on what your question was.

You are correct Delton. I was thinking the half round so it will lay flat without the curve on the underside of the trim.

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5 hours ago, TransAmMike said:

Hey there Roger. The half round on the drip rails and side trim came out perfectly. I want to put side trim on the '40 Willys Pick-up. For whatever reason there is no side trim on the kit. I see you used .020  for the side trim. In looking the Evergreen stuff there are 2 different .020 half-round sizes. If you still have the package can you let me know what one it is you used?

I didn't use any half round Mike. The drip rails were made from strips of .020 sheet. I cut them around 1.5 mms wide for easier handling, glue them on and then cut them down after they're dry. The trim on the body is .020 rod. After I glue it to the body, I wick crazy glue along both edges to fill in the backside. 

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10 hours ago, Plowboy said:

I didn't use any half round Mike. The drip rails were made from strips of .020 sheet. I cut them around 1.5 mms wide for easier handling, glue them on and then cut them down after they're dry. The trim on the body is .020 rod. After I glue it to the body, I wick crazy glue along both edges to fill in the backside. 

Yeah I miss-read what you said in the post.  I was wondering how you filled the curve on the underside. You think with the half round you wouldn't need to fill the underside??

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6 minutes ago, TransAmMike said:

Yeah I miss-read what you said in the post.  I was wondering how you filled the curve on the underside. You think with the half round you wouldn't need to fill the underside??

I don't think you would need to. The reason I use rod is that it's more pronounced than the half round and easier for me to foil. I'm sure the half round would work fine. It may be a little tricky to foil though.

The trim on this '39 is like a wider half round. It was a bit tricky for me to foil. 

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I wish that I had removed and replaced it with. 020 rod. It's a bit too wide for my taste. I think it would have looked a lot better with smaller or even no trim.  

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26 minutes ago, Plowboy said:

I don't think you would need to. The reason I use rod is that it's more pronounced than the half round and easier for me to foil. I'm sure the half round would work fine. It may be a little tricky to foil though.

The trim on this '39 is like a wider half round. It was a bit tricky for me to foil. 

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I wish that I had removed and replaced it with. 020 rod. It's a bit too wide for my taste. I think it would have looked a lot better with smaller or even no trim.  

Yeah Roger maybe a bit too wide but still looks good...really nice job on that '40👌     Not sure what to do now for the trim. What did you glue it on with??

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46 minutes ago, TransAmMike said:

Yeah Roger maybe a bit too wide but still looks good...really nice job on that '40👌     Not sure what to do now for the trim. What did you glue it on with??

I used Tamiya Extra Thin Cement. 

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1 hour ago, TransAmMike said:

Yeah Roger maybe a bit too wide but still looks good...really nice job on that '40👌     Not sure what to do now for the trim. What did you glue it on with??

Roger makes everything look so easy.🤪 You could do a side by side test of each profile on a scrap body or a flat piece of styrene. Try foiling them both too to see which works and looks better.

Edited by NOBLNG
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I love checking out custom work done by others but rarely do customs myself. Having said that, I have two projects on deck that will involve a lot of custom work, one a roof swap and the other a chop on a difficult body. I really appreciate these tutorials on custom work as I'm largely clueless on how to proceed. Posts such as yours are very helpful indeed. Your approach is not at all intuitive, I would never have worked out a method such as this, but the result is pure magic. I really appreciate your taking the time to put together a well explained and illustrated tutorial. The chop is beautiful. Well done, and thanks.

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I've tried half-round before as side trim, and I think the problem with it lies in the taper of the edges. When it's glued down, the edges want to blend and soften because they are thinner there. Pretty much every time I've had to go back and re-scribe and/or dress the edges with a file to redefine them, just like working on trim of an old-tool kit where everything is a bit too soft. Rectangular or round gives you better definition of edges to start with. If I use round, I like to scribe a line centered where I want the trim to go. This gives the rod something to grip as I'm gluing it down; makes positioning easier.

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1 hour ago, bisc63 said:

I've tried half-round before as side trim, and I think the problem with it lies in the taper of the edges. When it's glued down, the edges want to blend and soften because they are thinner there. Pretty much every time I've had to go back and re-scribe and/or dress the edges with a file to redefine them, just like working on trim of an old-tool kit where everything is a bit too soft. Rectangular or round gives you better definition of edges to start with. If I use round, I like to scribe a line centered where I want the trim to go. This gives the rod something to grip as I'm gluing it down; makes positioning easier.

Thanks for the info.   Turns out, it appears Evergreen must not make the .020 half round anyway. Guess I'll have to give the round a shot.

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