Skip's 1/12 Bentley

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COME WITH US NOW TO THOSE THRILLING DAYS OF YESTERYEAR (1972). NEW SHOTS TODAY.

When was the last time you saw a 40-year-old build on this forum? Not often, I bet. But this is my favorite kit I've ever built. It makes a great display model for the average builder (me), can introduce them to the opportunities for extra detailing, and presents an unmatched canvas for experienced builders like Harry (when you gonna finish it, Harry?) and John Teresi to superdetail. The 1/12 scale makes all that so much easier.

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When I saw "General Mills" on the box label when I bought it in 1972, I expected to find corn flakes in the box. But nonetheless, despite its somewhat high parts count (around 280) it's a simple kit that goes together beautifully for anyone. In any case, here it is. Built with next to no reference except for 5 pages in a wonderful coffee-table book ("The Great Cars," by Ralph Stein). This is way before the Internet. It's a great kit, molded with aluminum part finishes and even has outstanding plastic plug wires molded in a realistic way.

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My build is with mostly old-school Testors stuff - spray paint, tube glue and a bit of liquid glue, with no sanding (except for a bit of X-acto work on the superb open louvers), no primer or clear coat. I wanted it to be a tiny bit rough due to its heritage and even worked on adding orange peel to the frame rails (not accurate, as I later discovered). I used artist's acrylics for the seats, for the right finish (the kit awesomely molded the seat bottoms to make them look like they've been sat in). Just some extra washes and that's it. I would point out, however, that yesterday's brush-applied Testors liquid glue does not hold up very well.

I was a bit confused about the gauge instrument decals being totally black, but I discovered the decals were printed backward to be applied to the clear lens part, which is attached from behind the dash. Some builders make their own dash lenses because of the sink marks in the clear piece. My reference showed a wrapped steering wheel, which I thought was leather, so I used tan plastic wrapping tape slivers. It turns out it's cord, so use thread or twine. I also didn't know to wrap the leaf springs in cord.

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Today, it's a bit worse for wear, (especially thanks to the cleaning lady who snapped off two fenders and the exhaust pipe while dusting the shelf). A headlight stone guard is long gone, and some of the wire strands on the grille mesh have disappeared. I cleaned off some of the dust, but left a bit for a certain je ne sais quois.

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So here it is, 90% box stock with the exception of adding flyscreen mesh to the radiator, the headlight and windshield stone guards, plus a full tonneau made out of a Glad leaf bag, and wheel weights made from sprue attachments (the windscreen mesh needs to be very fine - use a plastic drip coffee replacement filter). I had no reference for the necessary gas tank meshes or the carburetor screen. I made a feeble attempt at adding a tachometer wire, but didn't have a clue about any other wiring - as you'll see, the space between the back of the dash and the firewall cries out for it. It needs handbrake linkage, but I couldn't tell anything from the pictures I had. I would recommend that the ENTIRE body including the fabric main body shell should be painted the same dark green; then the body shell should be dulled down quite a bit. I wouldn't bother with clear or polishing on the gloss parts; it looks period correct without that.

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I know everything that's wrong with the authenticity and detail of this build, and I have gathered tons of new reference to make it just right. There's simply a ton of stuff I would change or add. But I decided I ain't gonna spend $140 on the new reissue, or even an older kit, to do it again.

Edited by sjordan2

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Posted · Report post

very nice, i think i'll go to the shed a see if i can find one. thanks

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Posted · Report post

That looks great! And the years of dust and crud actually add to the model, gives it a very realistic sort of "used" look. And the tonneau cover looks very realistic. I think you did a great job with it.

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Posted · Report post

nice looking build skip.

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Posted · Report post

I think it has improved with age .

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Everything I've built since then I've given to neighborhood kids during my many moves, because there was no place to put them or a reasonable way to pack them. This is my sole survivor.

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This is my sole survivor.

I think it deserves some sort of enclosed plex display case. Check online, they're available in a lot of sizes.

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I think it deserves some sort of enclosed plex display case. Check online, they're available in a lot of sizes.

Yeah, but most of them are beyond my budget - and so is hiring a cleaning lady these days :D . But it now resides behind a glass door in a stereo cabinet.

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Posted · Report post

Skip.....that is beautiful.......man, you are a talented one...... GREAT pictures too.........AWESOME!!

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Skip.....that is beautiful.......man, you are a talented one...... GREAT pictures too.........AWESOME!!

Well, that's high praise coming from someone who more than nailed this kit (and everything else you do) and showed its highest potential. I'm not suggesting that it's anything extraordinary, just trying to show what an average builder like me can do with a box-stock build of it, in regard to the recent Airfix reissue. Thanks again, John.

Edited by sjordan2

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Posted · Report post

So Skip... when do we see a new WIP with that Mercedes of yours? ;)

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Skip-just beautiful and very advanced for the day. Tons of Brit character you captured.

Why not contact Airfix and try to replace the missing parts? Or better, you're certainly sufficiently skilled to scratch them yourself and rejuvenate the ol Brit.

And one of my glass cases shouldn't be beyond your skill level-why not try one? Will defend it against cleaning ladies (I hope she cried!) and add that 'museum' quality it deserves.

I'm tempted to dig mine out of mothballs and try to reattach those feeble fenders, etc.

BTW Skip-I used to subscribe to Classic & Sportscars for about a decade and a great feature was the classifieds. The premier Brit (or was it Welsh?) Bentley restorer was Stanley Mann and he ran glorious 4 page ads for all manner of these vintage behemoths-in perfect color. Great reference.

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I'm actually suprised at how 'minty fresh' it looks, considering how long ago it was built. Kind of looks like a 1:1 that's been in storage for a few years awaiting a light cosmetic resto.

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Skip-just beautiful and very advanced for the day. Tons of Brit character you captured.

:D I just built it the way I saw it from my reference, and my only original touch of Brit character was to make the sump look like it was leaking oil.

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:D I just built it the way I saw it from my reference, and my only original touch of Brit character was to make the sump look like it was leaking oil.

So what about refurbishing with replacement parts or scratch-built?? It's too nice to just leave as a dust collector and you're already 95% of the way to a museum model.

What say??

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Posted · Report post

So what about refurbishing with replacement parts or scratch-built?? It's too nice to just leave as a dust collector and you're already 95% of the way to a museum model.

What say??

Speaking as the devil on Skip's shoulder, to Cato's angel. B) ....

Yes... but it's that 5% that gives the model a story, and sets it apart from others like it. From the years it has lasted to the wrath of the cleaning lady, this model tells most certainly a story.

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I can't tell you how great your support makes me feel, and how much it inspires me to get off my butt and work on the kits I've researched for so long, like the 1/16 Mercedes SS. If there would be a couple of things I would do to update this kit, it would be to replace the headlight stone guards and the tonneau. I'm looking for 1" diameter PE stereo speaker grilles for the headlights. It's too hard to cut out like I did before and make custom O-rings.

I thought I was being so clever to take the "plastic" leaf bag for the tonneau and use it instead of more iffy fabric (plastic glues to plastic, right? Better than fabric? Wrong.) But the trash bag is different plastic and does not like liquid glue as you can see from the bubbling on my overhead shot, and over the years the tonneau has collapsed, its original shine has reappeared as the 3M dullcote wore off, and you can see all its cardboard backing segments.

I would also do what I've been working on with my 1/16 Jaguar SS 100, which is to use needle files to thin out the outer parts of the wire wheels (looks great so far). The insides don't need it. No way would I attempt working with individual wheel spokes à la Pocher. (Do you hear me, Harry? I think you're stalled because you don't like the wire wheels.)

Edited by sjordan2

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No way would I attempt working with individual wheel spokes à la Pocher. (Do you hear me, Harry? I think you're stalled because you don't like the wire wheels.)

I have 2 Pocher Rolls in the works... all the wheels are done for both cars. So that's not what's holding them up. Lack of time, mostly, is what the real problem has been.

I don't mind doing the wire wheels, but it's just so tedious.

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If there would be a couple of things I would do to update this kit, it would be to replace the headlight stone guards and the tonneau. I'm looking at 1" diameter stereo speaker grilles for the headlights.

I would also do what I've been working on with my 1/16 Jaguar SS 100, which is to use needle files to thin out the outer parts of the wire wheels (looks great so far).

OK-I;m encouraged. You're talking about what you would do and what you'd use.

Those things are cake compared to what you've done already to build the dang'd thing.

Harry's right-the plastic bag tonneau is great-just make a new fresh one and use hot (heated) glue or rubber cement or-- experiment. We've got a world of new glues from 40 years ago. My Cobra's tonneau was made of heavy, black vinyl which has a similar sheen. Pics if you want. Go for it!

Screens? There's tons of 'em. The supermarket has a jillion tiny food strainers, coffee filters, cake sifters-all for pennies.

Thin those surfaces-you know how. Get a .005" thick pie tin and make new real metal, scale thickness parts-like the fenders. Make new fender braces out of paper clip or music wire. C'mon-you don't need me to tell you-you've seen it all before.

It'll be very rewarding to bring this Bulldog back... ;)

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I just went back and looked at all 16 pages of John Teresi's build. This is what I meant when I said I was glad I didn't have too much reference to go by. If I'd seen this build, I would have taken my box and put it back on the shelf.

http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=50534&st=0

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