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Going 'Old School' Vac Formed kits from years ago


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kevsmiththai

The kids are on their summer six weeks holiday so most activities are outdoors for now. We have been having a mini heatwave so I've not been doing much modelling lately but the other night, in a fit of boredom, I went into the loft to get out the 'great unstarted kits' box

 

First up were the other two Airfix 1904 Mercedes kits. Ancient patterns and moulding of a one-off racer that needed to be converted into something useful.

 

First one has been done as a purely speculative conversion of the car into an improvised 'Paddy wagon' police van. Either captured or converted by the British forces in WW1

 

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Looks fairly basic but most field conversions usually were. It is sat in the workshop tonight in Brooklands green but typically, on a Saturday night, I've run out ofTamiya Gold metalic acrylic and the model shops are shut tomorrow!

 

meanwhile....In the box were the Tonda vac formed truck kits I bought years ago to finish as civilian lorries top put on out gauge 1 Mardy Colliery layout. Many British army trucks were sold off after WW2 and found new careers.

 

Now vac formed kits, Sheets of polystyrene softened up under heat and then shrunk down onto moulds, were a fairly basic and crude thing. Back in the day when 0 gauge was scarce or stupidly expensive small cottage industries made quite acceptable body kits using this method

 

This is a North Eastern Railway coach made by a firm called Highfield I built, probably about 1980

 

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Nowhere near the standard of a stamped Zinc or etched brass kit but looked fine running around a garden railway (people just looked at the locomotives anyway!)

 

So..Tonda

I don't have many memories of these at the time I got them but recall a Military modelling mate of mine saying 'Good luck with them mate!' as I understood he had not had a happy experience doing one himself. I had a little trepidation about starting them and in the interim found some really nice injection moulded and resin cast trucks that did the same job so the Tondas snoozed like sleeping beauties until now.

 

The one I'm going to have a crack at is the Bedford MWC 15-CWT 4x2. 11,00 of these were ordered during WW2 and the one I'm going to attempt is a Rhodesian unit one in the western desert

 

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This IS the challenge

 

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The polystyrene sheet is in good condition and has not gone brittle. The instructions are cursory and the precision required in cutting the components out of the sheet should keep the grey cells active for a while!

 

I'll keep doing regular updates as I go along (unless I go nuts!)

 

Kev

 

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That will keep you out of trouble or put you in the looney barn! I remember doing a few vacuform airplane models as a kid and lots of putty, sand, repeat going on!

 

jeff

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kevsmiththai

Finished the Paddy wagon apart from weathering and putting on the side lights (forgot them!)

 

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Started the MWC. Using a sharp knofe and cutting round the componenet and then sanding down on the back. Basically found it needs some patience to let the solvent cure properly before proceeding and I decided to do the axles first to see how the polystyrene held up. Seen with the chassis rails amd some cross members

 

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I'm tempted to build the chassis on a false floor to kep everyhing lined up and straight as the chassis rails are a tad warped

 

more soon

 

Kev

 

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kevsmiththai

The basics of doing a vacform kit requires the components to be carefully cut out from the sheet along the cutting lines left by the process. White is not a good colour to se these so I revert to the trick of licking my finger and rubbing a bit of dust in to highlight the lines

 

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Because the moulding stretches the plastic you'll find different thicknesses as you cut

 

The bits will have a raised burr on the back. I 'Adze' these of with the craft knife. Just a gentle scrape to remove it

 

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It seemes pointless going to the trouble of cutting out simpler rectangles and squares out of the sheet. Much better to cut them out of new plasticard and a lot more accurate. The cargo body wheel arches and the steps are cut from 30 thou black plasticard

 

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The front wheelarches have a scribed line but to tidy them up after cutting I used a minidrill with a small sanding drum set on the lowest speed possible. On my Proxxon drill this is about 5,000 RPM. Light pressure only to avoid the plastic melting

 

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On the inside face of the cargo body sides are hollows where the outside strapping has formed. I add the inside strapping to hide these from microstrip

 

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more soon

 

 

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kevsmiththai

The 'Kit' comes with some nice resin cast wheels and tyres but attaching them was tricky as a round stub axle made from two vac formes halves comes out less than round ( a lot less!) and there isn't a lot of material you can file away to make them fit the wheel. So I resorted to liquid engineering. Using car body filler i bored the centre of the wheel out oversize and bonded the wheels on lined up using engineering V blocks. The filler will be hidden by the hub nuts later on

 

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more soon

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kevsmiththai

The front bumper and little aeroscreens will go on after painting

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ready for primer

 

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Rear lamps and side lamps out of the bits box

 

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The grey primer will show where it needs some cleaning up

 

More soon

 

Kev

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kevsmiththai

first coat of Hycote Grey

 

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I've made the frames for the little windshields from code 40 Z gauge rail. The glass should slide in after painting

 

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more soon

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kevsmiththai

The aerosol grey primer gives you a good clue of the areas where it is difficult to get paint coverage. Any area showing the white is a problem. I brush paint these areas with the final colour before the body is sprayed. the spray layer will feather the brush painted bits in

 

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I've repositioned the rear mud flaps as they were nearly touching the back wheels

 

Kev

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kevsmiththai

Painted in Tamiya XF 93 Light Brown

 

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In in desert

 

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Been sorting through the decal collection to see what I've got, might need to buy some

 

with the Rolls Royce armoured car

 

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I think it is going to be a bit fragile so sadly Brooklyn won't be playing with it

 

more soon

 

Kev

 

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Might give it the appropriate battle damage!
 

My friend and I as kids built a scad of 1/72 armor (inexpensive, quick to build and a shelf could contain a whole division) and the set elaborate battle scenes, then stand back 20’ and take turns lobbing small pebbles as mortars and score the hits until one side got a certain causality rate and winner declared. Then picked up all the pieces and went into the shop rebuilding and always with new “battle” scars only to fight another day. I had a big bone yard after a while to fill in lost bits. I had an old set of WWII picture books and a section showed a bunch of “Frankensteining” and patching of vehicles to keep things going that we of course wanted to reproduce. Amused us for long period of time doing modeling, battles and rebuilding.

 

jeff

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kevsmiththai

Finished. Gently weathered after the glass was put in the aeroscreens so they pick up a bit of the dust. Some ad-hoc stowage added. Think the camel needs some weathering as well! Decals from the 'old decals box'

 

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I'll try and take some better pictures outside in natural light

 

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Kev

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