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My own Sundance


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I know it's been done so many times that it's become a cliché but like many in our hobby, my love of American trucks sprouted from the series Movin'On. In GB in the 70s Sonny's truck looked like something from another planet! With no internet it was a real quest to find out more about this stunning vehicle. I've loved that KW ever since and built poor copies from the AMT W900 in the late 70s, working from memory and the odd photo. 

When I built my 1/32 W900 Aerodyne I realised that this kit would make a good Pruitt motor but wasn't prepared to take the risk on that kit. However, a week or so ago three built snappers came up on eBay for £30 starting bid, one was another AMT 1/32 Snap-Fit. Mine was the only bid so I got the kit for £10 all in, at such a price, I am prepared to take the risk! 

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I stripped it down and set about cutting the Aerodyne cap off. I used the rear section of a Monogram T600 cab to make up the roof. I also used the sleeper roofs to start forming the sleeper roof cap. 

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I need to replicate the dome of the sleeper roof but wasn't sure how to achieve it. In the end I measured the sleeper on the kit, 43mm deep. Then I put some masking tape on my tablet screen and blew a picture of the real truck up until that measured the same, then I traced the roof cap profile onto the tape and produced a profile on card. This I can use as a template

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Monogram wheels added, stacks built and mocked up, different truck! Before I carry on, gotta to strip the paint. 

Many thanks to Force for his help on this already. 

Edited by Rockford
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On 10/28/2023 at 8:22 PM, leafsprings said:

Judging by your previous 1/32 builds, there is no doubt you can pull it off, and then some. The torsion bar suspension🙂 will probably be your next big modification. NIce work, look forward to seeing this one!

I was going to try to get away with a kit suspension but you've pointed out the elephant in the room now haven't you? 😆It got me thinking though, and I think I've got an idea on that one. Watch this space. 

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On 10/28/2023 at 11:43 PM, Chariots of Fire said:

Ant thoughts on what you will do for the open Monogram tires?

Short answer, no. Long answer: not yet. No aftermarket for me, not a caster, might try my idea from the W900 Aerodyne, but not sure. 🤔

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There's not much about the KW torsion bar suspension on the web but I gathered what I could and set about it. 

I used the perches for the Hendrickson rubber suspension from the kit as the brackets for the torsion bar mounts with some hollow tube. Some ali tube slides right through as the torsion bars themselves. 

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Only the front axle bellcranks are visible, the rears being tucked inside the chassis so I can hide them with the fifth wheel plate. Fashioned the bell cranks and the links out of plastic tube and card.

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Added the adjusters to the rear end of the bar and it doesn't look too bad all said and done. 

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I wouldn't want to work on the real thing though, all bushes and bearings that wear out. 

Edited by Rockford
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Added the airtanks hanging from the chassis. Fitted the quarter fenders I shaped when I was building the Aerodyne. Added rear mudflaps, they're just temporary, the real things were black. 

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Biggest job has been stripping the paint from the cab. Soaking in methylated spirit softened the paint and then I set about it with a grey Scotchbrite and cocktail sticks. Only paint left is in the Kenworth insignia, I'm going to use a magnifying glass and a straight pin on them tomorrow. 

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Made some progress on the truck. Reshaped the top of the windshield and added the screen rubber. You know a W900 looks right when it has the appearance of a surprised beagle. 

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Built a visor, just needs final trimming, refitted my fuel tanks in the correct position. I'm going to have to lose the licence plates from the front bumper. I'm hopeful it's going to look the part. 

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Edited by Rockford
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Bent up my exhaust pipes from sprue, added two hangers to go to the chassis. 

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Cut a Monogram T600 windshield piece into 2 and filed them down to fit the openings in the cab. Finished the visor off. Made some indicators for the hood using my clear sprue and wire method. 

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Did my usual filling of the rear diff with plastic offcuts, scratch built some rear shock absorbers, brake chambers and airhoses etc ... 

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Added the mounting plates for the 5th wheel slider. Drilled them and added 0.8mm ali wire to simulate the substantial bolts there. Looks good to me. 

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Whilst doing this I snapped a quarter fender (should have took them off I know), they're very fragile though and I've repaired it but I'm dreading the terrible fender droop you see on some finished kits. So, I decided to try something I've been thinking about for some time. I took another pair of fenders that were already broken and drilled six holes where the moulded braces start and finish. Then I filed all the detail off. I drilled three corresponding holes in a piece of 2mm ali tube and then wired the two together with 0.8mm ali wire. Flattened the ends with pliers and it looks ok for a first shot. I'll rewire it and keep it straight next time, the braces got a bit mauled on installation. Bit messy at the back but who will see that? Will certainly be sturdy! 

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9 minutes ago, Gary Chastain said:

I like your idea on the mud flaps, little detail and they will look way better than the molded part. May steal your idea. 

You're more than welcome mate. They'd be much easier to do in 1/25th too, bigger pieces to work with. 

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Did my second quarter fender. Treated the back of each with superglue then trimmed the tail ends of the wires. Look ok to me, good to have the separate braces as in the real thing and I love that I can see the wire going through the tube and into the fender. They're strong too. Just got to add the flap to the top edge but I'll leave that until after paint. 

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I'd done my usual and covered the crossbar for the mudflaps with a closing panel but it isn't accurate. I needed to open up the rear of the chassis and that will require a new way of hanging the mudflaps. 

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I shimmed the old holes with plastic tube and rebuilt the rear ears of the chassis. I hung two prototype mudflaps over a straightened paperclip using electrical tape. 

Also added top and bottom flanges to the chassis rails. 

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I'm considering how to do this for the finished product. I'd like to eliminate the crossbar but the flaps have to be fairly robust still. At worst I'll use one bar right across and mount the light bracket below it to confuse the eye. The crossbar there now is temporary. 

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50 minutes ago, Chariots of Fire said:

How about cutting the crossbar inside the frame and just leaving enough that you could slide a piece of tube on like a washer that you could glue to the frame.  Would that give the mudflaps sufficient strength?

Good suggestion sir!

That's the sort thing I'm mulling over. Really not sure how to balance accuracy, robustness and the need to assemble cleanly once painted. 

 

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Well, great minds think alike Charlie, I fitted a couple of bosses through the side rail, cut the crossbar and inserted the brackets and it looks ok. The bosses will blend in better when everything is green. Looks much more like the real thing. 

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In the photo of the real thing they've moved the deckplate to behind the 5th wheel for a stunt where Sonny unhitched a drawbar trailer from the pintle hook fitted to the rear cross member. The deckplate was only held by rubber straps. 

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4 hours ago, leafsprings said:

Great fabrication work on the midget Sundance.

Thanks, I'm really nervous about getting it looking right. I'm not going massive on the details on this one (I hope), but the back end is so open to view I had to get it looking right. 

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