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1980s Monogram Land Rover SWB

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Sub-assemblies got some attention while I worked on the body in stages.

Several missing parts kept me scrounging the parts box. The kit’s instructions and 1/1 photos show a disk at the back of the transmission. I have no idea what the disk is for, but I fashioned a replacement from a wheel backing.

My kit was missing the carburetor, and I cobbled together something resembling reference photos, using a cut-down exhaust manifold and half a custom carb from an AMT 57 Chevy.

In the 1980s, the frame and suspension were painted a single shade of black while the engine was painted silver.

In recent years, I’ve started using different shades to pick out details on the chassis and under the hood. The engine is a rusty-metallic color like reference photos, using a mix of three craft paint colors. I tried to make the mechanical bits look used but not worn-out. The wheels and tires, as with most everything in the photos below, have a light-tan wash.

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Each of the Land Rover’s four (!) shifters has a different colored knob. The shift boots are painted with Viejo Paint’s “Black Grey,” which looks like rubber when painted against the standard gloss black of the shift lever.

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One of the rear jump seats was broken, and my repair using straight pins came out just as I hoped, and apparently stronger than the original part. Here sit all four in their custom-mixed semi-gloss black, and I can’t tell which one is the repaired piece.


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I dropped a small bottle onto the body, and the build took an unwelcome turn. Fortunately, the support structure made this an easier fix than before. The challenge lies in keeping everything intact through the build process.


The broken area was small, straight, accessible, and separated by a panel line convenient for masking - advantages that got me quickly through the repair stages. The pictures below skip a lot of sanding, but the fix took less than a day, and most of that time was to allow for substances to dry.

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In retrospect, I probably should have strengthened my initial repair by drilling holes and using metal reinforcements at the joints. As it is, this Rover requires handling with the delicacy of late-stage building tasks after the body has joined the frame.

The task of polishing an easily breakable body led me to consider alternatives to my usual regimen of sanding. I bought some Pledge Restore-It Floor Polish (aka Future) recently. Others on this forum have explained that Future is self-leveling and can be applied with a brush. I was skeptical, and I tried it out on a scrap body. I did nothing to the model below except yank it out of a big box of scrap parts and give it a cursory dusting.


Pleased with the test, I brushed Pledge onto the Land Rover’s rocker panels and several touched-up areas. The material’s self-leveling impressed me so much that I eventually brushed the rest of the body. I’ll try airbrushing Pledge on my next build.

I don’t have any pictures of how the Rover looked right after I brushed the Pledge because I got caught up in the polishing process. Initially, it had a wavy surface like old-fashioned window glass (but subtler than the usual rattle-can orange peel).  It didn’t take long to get satisfactory results.

At this point, I’ve gone as far with polishing as I intend to go. Imperfections remain in some of the crevices, but most of the body now has a scale smoothness. Further polishing leads to a glossier surface than I want, even as it exposes more areas of bare plastic for touch-up.

The main thing is, I’m happy with the results and look forward to a good-looking Rover on the shelf. Next time, I’ll show some assembly pics as this build gets closer to sitting Under Glass.

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The Rover is coming along. Here, the almost-finished truck sits with some touching-up and detailing yet to do. Decals scanned and copied from Revell’s new kit helped liven up the interior.

I committed to an open-top build, and so I scratchbuilt a factory-looking tailgate. I’ve seen Land Rovers with pickup-style tailgates and others with gates that swing to the side. I went with the latter. I should have made in-progress pics, but the 1/1 example’s straight simplicity made this doable for my scratchbuild-greenhorn self. I used masking tape to copy the shape of the door handle opening from one of the side doors to the rear gate. Otherwise, I simply cut plastic stock to fit the kit opening.

I opted for Italian plates. Land Rovers may be rare in Italy, but probably more common than in the US. Also, Italy’s climate makes for a plausible open-top vehicle, unlike many of the more northerly countries whose plates come included in Revell’s kit.


My build process involves assembling and then cleaning up any sloppiness that I find along the way. Here the Rover sits 95% complete. I got a few details wrong, such as a some areas I represent as bare aluminum should be the body color. I didn’t accent the panel lines around the ventilation doors on the cowl: I got the folding-windshield panel wrong, and my many coats of Testors and Pledge clear softened the panel lines. It seemed better to leave the area as-is.


Like the undercarriage, the engine compartment was treated to a light coat of simulated grime.

I dropped the radiator hose as I was trying to attach it, and it fell into some dark, unseen recess under the hood (flashback to many a 1/1 auto repair project). Turning the model upside down and shaking gently did not dislodge the hose, and I did not want to shake more vigorously. I plan to display the model with the hood closed, and maybe  the hose will drop eventually. For now, the hose rests somewhere invisible to the naked eye, my magifying lamp, and a jeweler’s loupe.

Spottedlaurel pointed out that the headlights Monogram provided were too large – just as well, since my kit has one missing. The photo below shows my first attempt at replacements from an old Monogram 57 Chevy - still too large, and thick enough to exaggerate the edges that I normally blacken with marker to add detail. I later found better replacement lenses from a Revell 65 Impala.


That about wraps up the WIP photos of this Land Rover. Next, I'll clean up some of the lingering sloppiness found in these photos and other areas of the model, and then I'll post finished pics in the Under Glass section.

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