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Airfix "Blower" Bentley, 1:12 scale


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I hope I can get some advice and tips on this one, as it's a little out of my usual subject range (WWI aircraft in 1:72 scale - about as far away as you can get!). I've had the kit since I was a kid in the mid 70's and put it aside then as I wanted to "do it properly!". I now have most of the references I need although any details of the fuel, oil, electrical, and cooling systems would be most welcome!

I've posted some of my progress to date on my usual WWI forum, so I've copied those posts to here to bring you all up to date:

Post 1:

This will be a long term build, as I intend to finish the 2 that are "in progress" before I get seriously involved in this one, but I will post updates as and when I get anything done.

I've spent the last 2 days cleaning up what I'd already done many years ago, and starting to correct the kit parts. I've got a fair bit done, but there are plenty more improvements needed before construction proper can begin, and that will probably wait until my Ilya Muromets is finished.

The chassis: I've drilled out the front end, thinning the top and bottom parts of the chassis rails and extending the gap in the U frame further forward to where it should be...



(since these pics were taken I've also removed the big doughnut that is supposed to represent the stearing rack mount).

The stearing column: The bevel gear end was way too big, so I removed it, cut off the plug on the top and the bevel gear housing, thinned the housing by over 1/2, replaced the shaft with 9/32nd tube, chamfered at one end to blend into the stearing column, and reattached the other bits, blending them in with Mr Dissolved Putty.



I think the lower part of the bevel housing that was cut off the original may be a little small, but it'll do.

The firewall: I removed the moulded oil lines and the blank over the oil tank hole, the latter was replaced with card. The moulding for the throttle mounting was added from stock rod, glued together to get the right size, then sanded to shape. I added rod to the lower edge of the firewall where it meets the floor, then sanded it to the correct slanted profile to match the slope of the floor. 5 thou sheet has also been added to the rear of the firewall to give the correct smooth surface, and the flange around the edge. I also corrected the small lip on both upper corners which shouldn't be there.





The floor: the hashed steel moulding has been removed, and the floor now needs to be narrowed slightly at the front - the sloped part is only between the firewall edges, not running right up to the bodywork.


The fuel tank: a start has been made on stripping the moulded detail, wire mesh has been ordered to replace it.


There are also some nuts missing on the firewall, I've ordered some and they're on their way!

This is turning out to be very enjoyable!
Any advice from car model builders will be welcome, it's over 25 years since I built one and it was OOB! Particular help will be needed for sources for wiring/plumbing materials, replacement resin nuts/bolts (I have some plain nuts on order but can't find castle nuts or dome nuts) and any other auto specific parts I may need (carb linkages?) all of course, in 1:12th scale.....

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Post 2:

Another day spent destroying Airfix's best efforts....
I took apart the engine (so most of what I'd done 30+ years ago has now been undone!) and opened up the gap that should be between the cylinder block and the valve gear drive train. Plastic stock has been added to fill the gaps left by opening that up and will be sanded to shape tomorrow.
The front part of the floor has been corrected, and the horns, carbs, and tail lights drilled out. I've also cleaned off all the detail on the fuel tank except the fuel line connections to prepare it for the mesh stone guards.





This is proving to be more work than I'd anticipated, but enjoyable - it's so big!

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Not too much to report today, I've spent most of it trying to fill all the ejector pin marks and sink holes - the chassis frame parts, suspension parts, and drivetrain are FULL of them! Also sanding down the major parts ready for paint.

I did get the engine back together and finished the mod to the front end. I added 5 thou sheet to the front and rear of the cylinder block to represent the plates that were bolted on, and removed the moulded on pipe along both sides.

I also started to modify the suspension leaf spring hangers. The rear ones are done - simply drilled and cut out the middle part to leave the two side plates. The front ones were totally wrong so I've removed them and will add scratchbuilt parts when I come to fit the suspension.

A quick dry-fit of the modified floor and firewall showed all ok there:



The current state of the engine:


Rear spring hangers, before and after:


and the fuel tank ready for detailing:


Thanks for looking in!

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I've made a little more progress, waiting on my next delivery of resin nuts from Ted's Modeling Marketplace..... (the guy in my local hobby shop didn't even flinch when I asked him if he had resin nuts......) 8)

The blobs representing the cylinder block nuts and valve drive train plugs have been removed and replaced, and I've added the sump bolts, but may replace them with slightly smaller ones. I also clipped off the 6 inlet manifold bolts at each end of the manifold which were far too long - they should be flush with the manifold itself. The nuts will be replaced when my next order arrives.


The kit mounting for the water pump is also wrong - it's too high and sits where the fan bracket should be, so I've added a new one based on what I can figure out from pics - it may not be 100% accurate but at least it's in the right place. That also left me free to add the fan base and bracket and I've started to fabricate a fan assembly. (pic to follow on that one).


I'm still not sure about the shape and size of the sump, but without definite evidence of this car, it will stay as it is. Airfix couldn't be THAT far off, so I'm assuming that this early race car was different from later road versions.

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A little more done on this one, although my main problem seems to be finding a problem, referencing pics to find out what should be there, then noticing something else and getting sidetracked! I need to concentrate on fixing the problem I started with, and the moving on to the new one later....somehow I don't think that will happen!

I painted the firewall with Model Masters buffing Aluminium, then decided the inner part, which will be body colour, was too bad to paint (previous spraying with primer had "spat" and I couldn't get in too smooth it all out). So I removed the detail I'd added and cut a piece of 5thou card to drop in. The details were then replaced. I also corrected the central bracket mounting on the top edge which is a cutout on the kit and should be a raised part of the structure, and the bolt locations for the plating. The side ones were ok, but there was one missing on each upper corner (where the indents had been) and the top ones weren't spaced correctly. These have all been drilled ready for the bolts to be added when the painting's finished.


The engine now has some paint (again buffing aluminium), and the cylinder block and nuts/bolts/plugs have been painted. I have some .5mm aluminium dome nuts for the side and end plates which will be added after the painting is finished.



The other recent work has been on the fuel tank. I've added the straps on each side which will hold the wire mesh side pieces, and made up the mounting brackets from stock rod/strip with pins added from brass rod to ensure a correct fit to the chassis.


I need to find a good match for the BRG, my first try is going to be Tamiya Imperial Japanese Army Green. It doesn't have to be exact as the colour varied a little from car to car, but it needs to be a very deep green so that colour might work.....

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and finally today's post to bring you all up-to-date:

Besides thinking about paint colour, I also got a little more done today - I cut out the fuel tank side screens from wire mesh and added the strengthening fillets around the tank mounts, although I'm not sure that the CA glue I used will hold them, I'll find out later!
I wanted to get these and the lower /rear fuel tank screens done before painting the tank. I'll then fit them and paint the tank again. That should ensure there are no paint free "shadows" under the screens and straps that hold the rear screen in place.


Thanks for looking in,


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I picked one of these up a couple years ago, as a partial glue bomb. I've been working on it, off and on, ever since. The size makes "super detailing" easier, which is fortunate since the limitations of the molding technology of the time make it almost mandatory.

I can see that you've done many of the same modifications that I did: separating the spring shackles, sanding off the molded wrapping and getting rid of the molded on stone screening on the fuel tank (although my approach was to scratch build a new tank)



I think the screen you used is a better match to the 1:1, but this is all I had on hand. The wrapped fuel lines are old strings from my guitar.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with this kit. I like where it's going so far.

Edited by Shardik
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The August 2014 edition of the Airfix Model World magazine had a nice article on the building of this kit but you seem to be doing very well without any assistance.

I'll be watching your build with interest since I have the Heller 1/24 scale Bentley in the stash as a someday build.


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Thanks all, for the positive comments, much appreciated!

JollySipper, yes it is the same kit, and I have that thread bookmarked as reference - the chassis detail is particularly helpful.

Shardik, that fuel tank is gorgeous! Do you have details of where the fuel lines run under the car?

SJordan - thanks for that link, that will be very helpful.

Moderator - if you think this would be better in the Big Boyz section, please feel free to move it, I wasn't even aware that section was there!


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Thanks Tony, I'll take a look at that.

I have a feeling that it will be too bright though, the 60's version of BRG was nowhere near as dark as the earlier cars...


I have been recommended a mix of 8:3 Tamiya X5 Green to Tamiya X1 black, I'm going to try that too....


Edited by IanB
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I made an attempt at the final stone screen today, but it'll have to be redone. 3 hours, but not wasted....at least I now have a better idea of how to go about it...


I think 6.mm instead of .4mm for the frame, and I'll fit the mesh to the frame flat, then bend it to fit the tank....


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I decided today to start to tackle the most daunting part of this build - rewiring the wheels!
I had already spent a good while thinking about how best to go about it, so this morning I bit the bullet and went for it. Before I did anything, I used the kit parts to make a jig to hold the hub central and at the correct height relative to the rim, and marked the rim and hub so that they would align correctly.
My main problem was figuring out how to accurately drill the holes: should I make a stencil? If so, how? It would also have to be reuseable.... I decided in the end to use the kit parts as their own stencils.... I snipped off the spokes from the outer rim, leaving the stubs at the end, and used those as guides. I drilled each hole from the rim side, and at an angle, to allow for as straight a run as possible through the rim. Initially I only drilled part way through, then trimmed off the stubs and cleaned up the rim. After that I finished drilling through.
The hub was marked and drilled, one hole just each side of the mark, and correctly staggered front to back. Then it was a relatively simple job to cut small lengths of .020" steel wire and thread it..."relatively" simple being the operative word.....



I must say, I'm very happy with the results, and even more so that I got it at the first attempt!

Now I know my method works, I'll take step-by-step pics of the next wheel as it's done and post them so that anyone contemplating spending a few days doing this can at least save themselves some of the hassle!


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OK Gents, for anyone contemplating doing this, here's how I've gone about it. I've never attempted anything like this before, so hopefully this will encourage others to do likewise...grab a beer and sit back......

First, the jig -it's pretty basic. A piece of stiff plastic card stock (about 2mm) with a hole drilled to accept a length of 2mm (.080") rod. I placed the wheel on the rod and pushed it down so that the rim was on the card, then cut the back off the rod and glued it in place. This made sure that the hub was at the correct height relative to the rim. A few pieces of .010" card were added around the spindle to take up the slack and stop it wobbling as the hub was not flush with the card. With the wheel sat on the spindle I then glued 4 pieces of thick rod to the card, pushed up tight against the rim, to hold it in the correct place.


Next step was to mark the rim and hub to ensure correct alignment. (I brushed some white paint on first to make it easier to see the marks). The first mark is any one of the pairs of spokes where they meet the hub (the larger hub mark in the pic). Next, mark the rim opposite this mark, on both sides of the hub, to ensure correct alignment (notice that the rim marks are between the spokes). Then mark the outer ends of the two spokes that start at your hub marking - one I marked "top" and one "bottom". These two marks should be the third spoke either side of your rim datum mark.


You're now ready to cut the moulded spokes out, but make sure you leave the nipples at the rim - these will be your "stencil" for drilling the holes! Here's one I prepared earlier..... (sorry, I've been waiting years to say that - "Blue Peter" fans will understand))


I am going to use .015" (.38mm) wire, so I used a .018" drill bit to drill the holes for the spokes. Drill from the rim side (the back) and make sure you don't drill perpendicular to the rim - for the top (inner) row the bit should point clockwise, for the back row, anti-clockwise. This will ensure that the spokes slide in easily and don't bow, which they will if the holes are perpendicular to the rim.


I didn't drill all the way through at this point, and here's why: Once you've drilled all the holes (make sure they are deeper than the nipples on the rim!) you need to remove the nipples and clean up the rim. There is a nasty mould line there that also needs to be removed.


This will of course fill up the holes you just drilled, so now you can go ahead and finish drilling through.


You're now about 2 1/2 hours in.... time to drill the hub: If you're looking at the edge of the hub ready to drill, the top row should be slightly to the right of the marks you made previously, with the bottom row slightly left. Drill these holes perpendicular to the hub edge.


Once that's done, the hard work is over - time to start lacing! Bend one end of each spoke to about 45 degrees to fit into the hub holes.
Start with your reference marks, then add the bottom row all the way around - they will fit into every other hole around the rim, make sure that you are following your reference mark and fitting the bottom row of the hub into the bottom row of the rim - notice from the earlier pics that the rim holes are staggered! After 6 or so, the hub will stay in position. (I removed the wheel from the jig to slide each spoke through the rim from below, then just slid it back on to the jig to fix the spoke to the hub with a tiny dab of CA gel on the spoke end).


About 5 hours after you started (assuming you used a pin vice like I did) you'll be finished! Half of one wheel done!


As you can see, the second wheel (with the thinner wire) is much more to scale, so I shall rewire the first one, and stick with the .015" wire for the rest.

Time for a beer!

Thanks for looking in!


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