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Revell's new-tool Land Rover kit is a dream come true! While I give my local hobby shop (Top Shelf Models near Tulsa) a chance to get it in stock, I decided to dig this old relic out of the attic and give it a try.

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The Land Rover is probably my all-time favorite Monogram kit. I bought my first one at TG&Y in 8th grade, and it went through several paint/modification stages that seemed cool to me in junior-high. The kit pictured here came from a hobby shop in the mid-1980s when I was in high school. I broke the body early in the build process, and then put it in the box where it remained for decades.

At first, I thought I was keeping the parts for when Monogram eventually reissued the kit. I've tried finding an unbuilt example for years, but prices are through the roof. Revell's new tool hints (in the best possible way) that Monogram's old tool is probably gone for good, and Revell's new kit probably outshines the 1980s version in every way. I can't wait to build the new kit. Meanwhile, what I have here looks mostly complete, and I'm not so discouraged by the repair as I was years ago.

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The Hobby Shop owner gave me some repair ideas for the broken body. But first, the old paint has to go. Time for a dip in my tub of Purple Power, where the Rover will stay out of sight and out of mind while I turn to my `65 Impala project!

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Thanks for the link, Mike! The history behind the kit suggests that it was the wrong place, wrong time. Monogram's Rover might have hit big in the late 80s or early 90s after Land Rovers were reintroduced to the US and the Defender developed a following over here. In the early 80s, I knew LRs from Gorgi/Dinky toys, National Geographic, and Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, but I don't think I'd ever seen one in person at that point.

Dennis, your LR is beautiful! I've got a similar build idea in mind, and I hope mine comes out half as good. I take it I've got some wheel-hub research to do before I really get started. Where did you get your tires?

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I agree about the ballistic prices for this long-discontinued kit.

Back in the 80s, I remember imagining some future date when this kit was reissued and my skills were up to the task of kitbashing two of them to make a 109' 4-door version. The reissue never happened and my skills aren't up to that even now, but the 4-door is happening anyway!

In the meantime, I'll settle for repairing the broken body and getting this finished after a 32-year hiatus!

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Thanks Brad, fortunately, I had these for the longest time! I narrowed the stock rims which I found too wide. The spare tire and wheel are from an ESCI kit, it doesn't match the 4 on the Landie. I've had many old 4X4s and always bought tires in sets of 4, the spare never matched!

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Looking forward to seeing how this build goes. I've had three of these kits over the years, and I am happy to have an unbuilt one to apply all the tricks and techniques now available to the modeller. When I last built this kit in the early 1990's, I tried to fill in the ejector pin marks and sink marks with spot putty, and didn't have the painting or sanding skills needed to fettle and cover the repairs properly.  

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The Monogram Land Rover Series III was never reissued after it first run.  I was able to score one and I built it minus the goofy decals.  I just got the new Revell of Germany Land Rover Series III LWB Station Wagons and it looks like a really nice kit. 

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Edited by mrmike
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  • 2 weeks later...

While waiting for paint to dry on my Impala, I checked on the progress of Land Rover parts soaking in Purple Power. The stuff is breaking down that decades-old paint nicely. I put the parts in the bin about 10 days ago, and progress varies across the range of parts. Not bad considering this paint has been on this Rover for decades. After scouring off the loose paint, those parts with lingering turquoise bits went back in the tub.

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I found an additional break on the firewall/windshield. I'm not sure if this was already broken, or if I broke it recently since messing with the kit. I don't see a glue joint surviving the rigors of painting, sanding, assembly, etc. without some sort of reinforcement. Right now, I'm thinking a paper clip epoxied to the back side of the windshield post will do the trick.

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On 1/12/2020 at 10:08 AM, dino246gt said:

Thanks Brad, fortunately, I had these for the longest time! I narrowed the stock rims which I found too wide. The spare tire and wheel are from an ESCI kit, it doesn't match the 4 on the Landie. I've had many old 4X4s and always bought tires in sets of 4, the spare never matched!

 

American SATCO tires - I miss that company! I still have some of their wide whitewalls. The kit tires seem better suited to an American 4x4 pickup, especially the white-letter version that came with the kit. Still, I may use them anyway - one of the builds pictured above uses them, and it looks good. I'll check my tire box when I reach that point in the build.

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  • 4 months later...

It's time to catch up on what's been happening with this build since the pandemic hit.

As I mentioned before, this kit survived uncompleted in my stash because I kept thinking Monogram would reissue it. Also, whenever I began a project over the years, starting fresh with a pristine kit always sounded more fun than dealing with the old paint, broken body, and inevitably fragile repairs involved in this Rover build. Those obstacles probably worked out for the best because it preserved these pieces for a time when I have a glimmer of hope to do it justice. If I'd finished the Rover in the 1980s, it would probably be in a landfill now or resting in pieces in a big box of dusty, older builds I have in my attic.

Many builders have more skill than I do, but I’ll share this build process because I rarely stray far from box-stock projects, and this project will take me beyond what I’m used to. Maybe some on this forum are like me in that way.

First thing was get the cracked windshield header up to the stress of building, painting, and polishing. Two shortened straight pins epoxied to the rear of the header should do the trick. On the finished build, these metal pieces should blend right into the weatherstrip area where the door post meets the windshield.

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Way back when, the body broke along a rocker panel in a section no thicker than a typical model car's A-pillar. Monogram molded the doors separately to allow for a Jeep-style doorless build, and the body once had temporary supports in the door frames. When I removed the supports, the door-panel area became fragile and not up to my teenage building habits. Now in 2020, my plan was to repair the rocker panels and then add my own temporary supports to withstand the rigors of the build process.

I considered reinforcing the rockers with little pegs made from straight pins. This works well for sturdily mounting rearview mirrors, but it would require drilling matched holes into the narrow plastic rockers with a precision beyond my skill level. I thought about adding reinforcements from behind, but any support that thickened the rockers would have required modifying the frame, and it would have detracted from the scale realism of the undercarriage. I decided to just glue it together and take my chances.

Rejoining the broken rocker on the passenger side was straightforward, but the missing section along the driver’s side was about 1.5 times wider than the Plastruct material I had on hand. I made do (or should I say “needs must” for a British build). The nationwide quarantine has made all my projects – modeling and otherwise – exercises in “needs must” engineering.

I taped the body together so the doors and firewall could guide my fabricated section into the right length, width, and thickness. I cut plastic strip into roughly the right size, filed it into shape, and filled the rest with putty. I use Bondo spot putty because it dries quickly and sands easily.

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Earlier this year, the Rover sat steeping in Purple Power, out-of-sight and out-of-mind, while I finished my previous build. All that time removed most of the old paint, but virtually endless clumps of clingy, flaky sections remained – especially in underbody nooks and crannies. I probably should have removed more of old paint before proceeding with body repairs, but I was anxious to see whether my fix (and this build) was viable before I spent more time on other parts of the project.

The body’s fragility is an issue only during the build process. Once built, other parts hold the body in place and prevent flexing.  After the rocker panel repair had dried, I was ready to create my temporary supports to mimic what Monogram molded into the original kit. I used the frame to support the fragile body while I cut away the masking tape and replaced the doors with Pastruct.

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The repair broke while I was removing the firewall. I reglued the joint and set the body aside to turn my attention to other aspects of the build.

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Most Land Rovers I’ve seen wear the hardtop, but I like how an open vehicle can show off the interior. Also, an open Rover would help set it apart from my eventual build of Revell’s new 4-door version. My plan at this point is to make the hardtop removable.  

I won’t be using the roof rack. My teenage paint job looks OK, but the thick rack looks less like an SUV accessory and more like something that holds logs in a fireplace.

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I’ll post more soon. I’ve got a back-log of build photos. I like posting my build progress, but I need to figure out how to build-while-posting. I get caught up in the build process and then find my posting has lagged far behind. Next time, it'll be all about the paint!

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An interesting read, good to see how you're moving on with it after all these years.

I've seen them crop up for sale here every so often, but never really took much notice of them. I suppose the Land Rover is a bit too familiar here as a 1:1.

The wheels and tyres do look a bit chunky compared to the standard items, but like any off-roader they do get upgraded.

I was also trying to work out why the headlights on the built examples above look different to standard, in reality they're set slightly behind the surround, which can be either body-coloured or painted silver:

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1974 Land Rover 88" 2.2 petrol by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr

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1974 Land Rover 88" Petrol by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr

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1982 Land Rover 88" Diesel by Spottedlaurel, on Flickr

Edited by Spottedlaurel
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3 hours ago, Spottedlaurel said:

I was also trying to work out why the headlights on the built examples above look different to standard, in reality they're set slightly behind the surround, which can be either body-coloured or painted silver:

I'm glad you pointed that out. My kit is missing one of its headlights, and Monogram LR's pieces are molded larger than most. In fact, I can't find anything that size in my parts box. I was planing to make do with smaller replacements, and now I can see smaller may be better for this build.

Thanks for the good words, above. The Land Rover may be as common in the UK as Jeeps are here in the US. Land Rovers are rare and exotic over here, and the sight of one conjures up images of adventure in a vaguely "Indiana Jones" style. The Defender came to the US in the 1990s, and even then it was scarce and expensive enough to be a status symbol and not the utilitarian machine depicted in British dramas (like the one my wife and I are now watching: Last Tango in Halifax).

Until researching for this build, I never knew the Land Rover Series III was available new in the US.

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10 hours ago, Roadrunnertwice said:

Land Rovers are rare and exotic over here, and the sight of one conjures up images of adventure in a vaguely "Indiana Jones" style.

Here's another fun bit of trivia about the Monogram kit.  Many years ago I saw a thread about it, somewhere on the Internet.  Maybe so long ago that it was on Usenet!

Anyway, a poster said he had worked on the real Land Rover that Monogram researched for their kit, while he was working in a foreign-car garage in Los Angeles.  That Land Rover lived in Burbank.  The poster said Monogram copied the real vehicle down to the last detail, including its U.S. spec carburetor.  Which he had helped install.

Land Rovers weren't that common even in Los Angeles, where I lived for many years.  The Range Rover was pretty common, starting around the late 1980's when it became a huge status symbol in the richer parts of town. People who wouldn't be caught dead in a Ford Explorer or Chevy Suburban flocked to the Range Rover. Maybe because of the British Royal Family connections. ?

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I worked at a Mercedes dealership in Chicago from 80-83 and we had one of these as a shop truck. Pulled cars in from the back lot, ran errands around town, plowed snow with it, and generally it was abused by a bunch of teen aged shop employees. Never got a speeding ticket but it ran well for it's intended purpose. 

Would love to see this kit comeback but as stated in Chuck's article, likely not gonna happen. Wouldn't it be something if Revell still had the tooling and did run it, after seeing the longer WB model sell well? One can hope!

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It's interesting and amusing to read the views above of the Land Rover. It's difficult to go very far without seeing one here, maybe a newer one still in use as a working vehicle, an older example rotting away on a farm, or perhaps a pampered classic. Lots get modified, and some owners are a bit 'inventive' with what they do to an older model (or at least its identity!) to qualify for free historic vehicle road tax......

We also see ex-military vehicles, so there are lightweights and oddities like the Minerva (which I saw the other day).

The ex-Buick Rover V8 engine was a popular upgrade beside it being offered as a factory model, and Japanese diesels also get fitted. Years ago I put a car into a ditch and was rescued by someone with a SWB model which had a little Daihatsu Fourtrak engine - it did the job well.

11 hours ago, Roadrunnertwice said:

I'm glad you pointed that out. My kit is missing one of its headlights, and Monogram LR's pieces are molded larger than most. In fact, I can't find anything that size in my parts box. I was planing to make do with smaller replacements, and now I can see smaller may be better for this build.

I believe the standard round lights are 7" units.

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On 6/23/2020 at 6:58 AM, Mike999 said:

The poster said Monogram copied the real vehicle down to the last detail, including its U.S. spec carburetor.

I'm missing my carb, that means some ingenuity is in order not far down the road. You mentioned Burnank. When I was there not long ago (but before the pandemic), I visited a fantastic hobby shop.

 

On 6/23/2020 at 7:51 AM, Spottedlaurel said:

It's difficult to go very far without seeing one here, maybe a newer one still in use as a working vehicle, an older example rotting away on a farm, or perhaps a pampered classic.

That's like pickup trucks in the US. In the rural area where I live, pickups make up the majority of the vehicles on the road. Lots of people love them, and they're so ubiquitous to me that I tend to look right past them unless they're at least 20 years old. As for Jeeps, it's not uncommon to find an old CJ7 with a small-block Chevy under the hood.

Edited by Roadrunnertwice
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Before painting, I went over the body not with a fine-toothed comb, but a toothpick to remove stubborn bits of old paint from the exterior and other areas likely visible on the completed build. I also scraped underneath to point of diminishing returns. On the underside, the remaining grayish-turquoise from a long-forgotten 1980s source will get painted over and lend to the weathering texture for the “well-preserved daily driver” look I’m going for.

In the meantime, my first painting step was the black mat molded into the rear passenger area. A single coat of DupiColor black primer did the job without adding texture to the floor’s ribbed detail. I use DupliColor primer of various colors most of the time, and it dries quickly so I can mask it at length for all the priming, painting, and clearing to come for the rest of the body.

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Tamiya Racing White seems to approximate the off-white color of Land Rover roof and wheels. I have good luck with Tamiya spray paint when it works, but I’ve had enough paint-crazing mishaps with it to make me wary. If I’m going to use Tamiya, I go Tamiya all the way from primer to clear coat. In this case, the white came out smooth and shiny enough to make clear unnecessary – especially for a Land Rover that sees lots of time on dirt roads.

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When my copy of Revell’s new Land Rover arrived, I went through it in search of potential leftovers I could use on my Monogram build. I figured I could make my 4-door right-hand drive and use Revell’s left-drive goodies on my current build. In many cases, the kits’ designs differ enough to discourage that kind of sharing. For example, why adapt the new-tool dash of vastly different kit design when the 1980s dash has good detail for what is a simple piece on the 1/1 vehicle? (But that’s no different from any other subject: how many parts can I share between, say, old and new tools of the 57 Chevy? Or 62 Corvette? Et cetera.) The only thing wrong with my Monogram dash was the thick, black paint applied ages ago, and that came off easily.

Nevertheless, the new kit has excellent decals that I scanned and copied several times over. Can’t have too many European license plates.  On that note, I haven’t a clue what countries many of these plates represent. I’ll check on that when I reach that point in the build.

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Here the main body sits in DupliColor white primer, with engine room accessories masked off prior to color coat. In this pic, I had to do a little sanding and massaging to my rocker panel repair before moving ahead.

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Edited by Roadrunnertwice
Correct confusing wording
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1 hour ago, Roadrunnertwice said:

You mentioned Burnank. When I was there not long ago (but before the pandemic), I visited a fantastic hobby shop.

Burbank's House of Hobbies.  When I lived in Los Angeles, I went there every week. I'm pretty sure they do mail order.  Here's their website.

https://houseofhobbies.com/ 

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Tamiya's Racing White is a good off-white colour, I used it for the first time recently.

The decals helpfully give you an oval plate indentifying the various countries. Looks to me like you have 2x UK, 2x Germany, France, Holland, Austria, Italy, Ireland, Belgium and Switzerland. Land Rover wouldn't be so common in any of those countries, France is the country I visit most regularly and there the Toyota Land Cruiser is more popular.

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On 6/24/2020 at 12:15 PM, Mike999 said:

Burbank's House of Hobbies

That was the place! I bought a "Kenmeri" Skyline there. Alas, one kit was all that would fit in my carrry-on.

On 6/24/2020 at 1:53 PM, Spottedlaurel said:

Looks to me like you have 2x UK, 2x Germany, France, Holland, Austria, Italy, Ireland, Belgium and Switzerland. Land Rover wouldn't be so common in any of those countries, France is the country I visit most regularly and there the Toyota Land Cruiser is more popular.

I didn't notice the country decals until you mentioned them. I'll make my 4-door a UK version. The 2-door will be from an LHD country. The molded-in license plate frame is wrong for a US vehicle, and I don't think my chosen color was available on a LR over here.

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The build really takes off when it changes color!

Most Land Rovers I’ve seen have the color palette of an L.L. Bean t-shirt display, and I’ll probably paint my 4-door the same way. Anticipating my future 4-door build led me to a different color for the Rover at hand.

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A half bottle of Nissan Safari Gold left over from a recent Skyline build looks close to 1970s Rover Bahama Gold. At this distance (Internet, space and time, etc.) whether Nissan Safari Gold is a close match to Rover Bahama Gold depends on the photo. It's close enough for me and helps me put some leftover paint to good use.

British Leyland offered Bahama Gold through the heart of Series III production years. This was an undesirable color when my friends and I eyed “obtainable” used sports cars in the 1980s (240Z, MGB, Triumph Spitfire). Now, it looks like a fantastic expression of a particular era – right up there with avocado-colored refrigerators and harvest gold telephones..

After the color coat, it was time to mask areas for black and silver. Every stock Series III I found online has black upholstery. Monogram’s kit has no chrome parts. The trim on 1/1 Rovers looks to be either painted silver or bare aluminum. Model Master Aluminum Plate looks the part.

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My temporary body reinforcements weren’t up to it: too fragile and easy to snag when prepping the body for clear. I broke the body again while masking the engine compartment. After yet another repair, I altered my building plan. I assembled the major body components so the doors and firewall could give structural support. This required detailing the interior up to a point prior to body assembly, sanding some previously unseen glitches, and repairing areas where the supports once attached.

Only after painting the interior firewall did I discover that my reference LR was unusual. Most photos show body color there. My reference vehicle evidently has a black insulation blanket installed. Still, I’ve noticed a lot of variation in Land Rover interiors. I can’t tell what is and isn’t stock, but my build remains plausible either way.

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The Scalefinishes color anticipates a clear-coat and comes out dead flat (SF offers different options). This clear was shot with Testors Extreme Clear Laquer. I’m not sure if it’s the same as One Coat Clear, but my trouble with it was probably operator error. After all these years, I still can’t manage to apply a consistent clear finish. When it goes right, I’m unsure why and have trouble repeating my success. Other times, like now, it dries with a mist texture that would be great for simulating a vinyl top. Fortunately, what I lack in rattle-can skills I can often make up with polishing in gradually finer grits of sandpaper.

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Edited by Roadrunnertwice
Syntax correction, fix photo location in text
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