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'68 Javelin Promo Rescue--Photos Added 9/9


Snake45
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A few years ago I bought this '68 Javelin promo off ePay. Actually it's not even a promo, it's a friction motor toy. When it came, it was basically complete and undamaged (except for chrome wear) except for the body itself, whose surface was an absolute mess. I wish I had taken some "before" pictures of what I started with. I think maybe the poor thing had been painted, and then someone tried to strip it, and whatever they used to strip it crazed or etched most of the surface of the body, including some fingerprints (!) etched into the surface in a couple places. It was so bad I thought there was nothing to do with the poor little hot mess but sand it smooth and make some kind of mild custom or street cruiser out of it.

Before proceeding down that path, I took a good look at all the body trim and emblems under an Optivisor. Amazingly--miraculously--they all seemed to be undamaged and in more or less perfect condition! I decided to see if the body could be saved by sanding (I'd already tried the full range of paint-removing solvents on it, no joy with anything). Started sanding with #1000 Wetordry around the emblems, as those would be the hardest parts to do, and when those areas came out okay, I did the rest of the body with the #1000 Wetordry, then repeated with #2000 Wetordry, then polished with Weiman's (formerly Wright's) Silver Polish.

Here's the closest thing I have to any "before" photos, a couple shots showing what appears to be some kind of gold paint overspray on the inside of the body and behind the rear bumper area.

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Edited by Snake45
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At some point during the 20 or 30 hours I spent sanding and polishing this thing, the bright, almost "Richard Petty" blue color began to grow on me. And the stupid little model was taking a good polish, too. The color's a bit eye-jarring at first, but I eventually decided it was just too pretty to paint.

Body after polishing:

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Thought I'd see what a white interior would look like with the bright blue. Painting the interior was complicated by the fact that the front buckets are molded right in. This is one coat of Walmart Color Place gray primer (WONDERFUL stuff!), followed by a couple coats of Color Place white primer, followed by a couple VERY light coats of Krylon crystal clear, dusted on dry from about a foot and a half out, for a little "vinyl sheen." I guess that's about as good as it's gonna get.

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Test fitting the white gut into the blue body didn't look TOO bad....

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So I drove on in that direction. Flat black "carpet," Black Chrome Trim dashboard, package tray and kick panels, black vinyl tape seat belts. I thought tape belts would be easier than painting the molded-in ones, but the stupid black tape left sticky black adhesive residue everywhere it touched so it was at least as much time/trouble to work with, although the belt edges are at least straight. I even put a little "loop" in one of the rear seat belts, just to show off.

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Back bumper still had about 85% of its chrome and I coulda worked with it except for some major glue damage and another fingerprint in a conspicuous area. Stripped it (it was molded in GREEN plastic! And the interior shifter is molded in RED!), repaired it, and airbrushed it Testor Chrome Silver. Someday I'll get a chromed Modelhaus replacement for it. Maybe. Painted the taillight, which was a very weak red, with Testor Clear Red Acryl (also Wonderful Stuff!), added the backup lights, and hand-painted the chrome trim. It'll have to do.

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Front bumper/grille was in a little better shape. I did some detail painting with Black Chrome Trim, Testor Steel, and Turn Signal Amber, and touched up the worn spots with a silver Sharpie, which works for this much better than you might imagine. Amazing what a little detail painting of this kind can do for a simple model--compare with the stock red promo next to it. (I'll work my evil magic on YOU later, my pretty!)

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Got the foil trim on yesterday. Now to come up with a chassis and some sort of satisfactory wheels/tires for the poor abused thing. Stay tuned. I might actually kick the beast (which I started on over two years ago) through the goalpost sometime this week, with a little luck.

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Does the silver polish leave any residue that would affect paint if you chose to paint it?

The stuff is water-soluble, no solvents or petrochemicals in it at all, no silicone. (Remember, it's made for eating utensils). There's always residue left in the door lines but that washes right out under warm running water and a toothbrush. It's a great paint polish, too. I've been polishing paint with the stuff for 30 years now.

The name has changed but the package is the same. One thing of the stuff will easily polish out two or three dozen models. Such a deal!

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Time to wrap this project up. Last problem to solve is the headliner. Near as I can tell, '68 Javelins with white guts had white headliners (some cars with white guts have black headliners), but there's no really good way to paint white on this project without it looking horrible. I finally got the bright idea to do the headliner in white vinyl tape, which could do double duty by holding the glass in as well. It all went according to plan, just for a change.

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That out of the way, time to nail it all together. Decided to set the original friction-motor chassis aside and "borrow" a chassis from a '74 Javelin/AMX kit to hang it on (hat tip to Big Tall Dad). Here it is, in company with the original JoHan '68 Javelin kit that I built back in 1968.

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And now it's off to the "Under Glass" section for more completed photos. See you there. B)

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