Thursday, 29 July 2010

Zagato at Goodwood

Mooching through the camera card at some of the other photo's that i'd not really looked at, I came across these and just thought, Jim Clark, Goodwood. A few "action shots". Well sort of.

And all through the body not sitting on the chassis square. The last shot is the best in my opinion as there's just a hint of opposite lock.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

A Complete Zagato

Well I guess it's been quite a while coming, but it's finally finished and it looks very pleasing. The final touch was to just nudge the side glazing a little more so that it fitted snug and flush. Anything else and the photo etched frames wouldn't have sat right. The front and rear screen trims require a little bending to get them to seat properly too, but the material is very receptive to being curved between thumbnail and forefinger. The idea of the window frames was to hide those awful gaps that are found on most kits. It's a feature that I find always lets down a model, along with windows that sit too far in. I started out with the intention of correcting these faults and I think i've achieved my aim.
The trademark Zagato "Z" on the side of the car is to scale and is an exact replica of the real thing. Windscreen wipers although very delicate, have a half etch just below the blade, allowing a ninety degree bend enabling them to sit against the glass as they should do. Amazing what photo etching allows you to do.

The grill is a two part piece, with the vertical bars being half etched again. This gives the illusion that they are actually behind the horizontal bars, again, just as they should be. To finish it all of, the interior mirror gives a nice three dimensional touch.
When John Bolster road tested the car in the early sixties, he described it as being "fierce beyond belief. I'm not sure I agree with his sentiments, but it certainly has a prescence. Job done.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

E Type

Pit Schwar over in Germany produces some glorious models. Here's his latest offering. As usual, the level of detail, fit and finish is just astonishing. Blue and red don't normally work well together, but Pit has managed to pull it off on this. The paint combination being particularly appealing.The model is built from a 1/24th scale Gunze Hi Tech kit although a fair number of few parts have been re-made. Pit informs me that the wheels are manufactured by a friend of his at quite a ridiculous cost, but as ever, a good set of wheels will finish off a model.
Interior detail is up to Pits usual standard too, along with the compulsory driver. Not sure about he blonde hair though Pit.
The photograph above shows the unique shape of the E Type off very well, enhanced by that stunning paint finish. Pit has his own website showing a lot more models. is the place to go.

Friday, 16 July 2010

1/24th scale Aston DB3

Mickey Gossett over in Hutchison, Kansas seems to have picked up the carving bug. His subject is a 1/24th Aston DB3, designed to run on a Carrera E Type Chassis. The method of laminating the layers of wood, which in this instance is basswood, which I believe is lime, is quite inspiring and it's good to see someone else having a go. After all if we don't show these things, the possiblity of these skills being passed on to yournger guys might be lost.
The shape is coming along very nicely and i'm sure with some minor adjustments, will end up looking pretty good.
Although I havn't spoken to Mickey in any great detail I would imagine that each piece is cut with a bandsaw or similar. The square cut of the wood tells me that they've not been cut by hand. If they have, then I take my hat off to him as I know how tricky it is to get a cut like that manually. All in all a very admirable project and Mickey tells me he has plans for a second model, the next one being an Austin Healey 100/6. By the look of the Aston, we have something to look forward to. Excellent work Mickey and keep it going.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Scale Hardware

A site i've recently been introduced to stocks some very interesting and useful items. Scale Hardware over in the US offers a wide range of miniature rivets, hex nuts and bolts, either threaded of simulated, washers, acorn nuts, taps and micro socket wrenches. The rivets start at 0.4mm and are priced quite reasonably with a pack of 100 costing $10.00 plus shipping. What that is in real money, I have no idea, but it sounds good value to me. All items are available in either brass or stainless steel, with the latter costing a little more.
Chris Clark in Texas recently finished off a beautiful 1/24 scale Ferrari P4 and fitted nearly 500 rivets, with each hole being drilled by hand.
The uses are endless I would imagine and i'll certainly be giving them a try. One of the details I wish to include on the DB5 convertible is the fasteners around the soft top and tonneau. I think these guys have the answer.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Lancia D24

I've just recieved some information from a guy who lives in Thunder Bay, Canada. Dave Knutson has been following the blog and watching the Aston builds and decided to share with me the build of the D24. Rather than me waffle on in my usual way, I thought i'd post the pictures along with the email word for word. Here it is.


Here are the pictures to refresh the description.

I started with the BSR/ProtoSlotKit Lancia D24 and started by heating and remoulding the body
to get the tail droop, nose droop, wheel cut outs etc. about right. Although the model looks pretty decent "as-is" I couldn't quite get the compact but wide "feel" of the car as it appears in period photo's with the long appearance of the kit body. Shortening the snout and relocating the ventilation openings helped. Also the ProtoSlot Kit headlamps were removed and larger lights, more widely spaced was anticipated to help achieve this impression. The body at this stage has the headlights temporarily mounted and will require significant "fit-up" to achieve the integrated look of the real car.
The wheelbase adjustment rose as a result of studying those photographs and not being able to reconcile the appearance from a quarter view. Measuring the wheelbase revealed rather a large difference from the scale dimension.
The 7 mm has been removed between the rear wheels and the cockpit by cutting horizontally "tangent" to the top of the rear wheel opening, then laterally across /through the headrest. The headrest fairing was then cut out using a jeweller's saw, following which the balance of the 7 mm was cut from the (now separate) rear fenders/tail assembly. The tail was then "offered-up" to the front section, fitted-up and then glued in place, reinforced with glassfibre cloth. The rear wheel openings were then scribed for the 7 mm offset and cut to size. The headrest fairing was reworked and blended in.
After the surgery, I noted a variation in the tail -either there was a variation side to side in the original or I had introduced a small angular error when I reconnected the front and rear. This was resolved by grinding off the rear flank vents behind the wheel wells, tail lights, license plate mount, etc, reshaping the rear end and then adding new vents, lights, plate mount fabricated from styrene.

The more I look at it, the more variations I can see -hence the purchase of a second body kit- I've learned from the work so far but I'm reluctant to do too much rework on this shell. However, I think that this is getting closer to the natural beauty of the D24.

By the way, the chassis is a narrowed Slot-it HSR 2 with an offset motor mount- it looks like her "slip is showing" from the "worms-eye" view...

Anyway, I hope these are of interest.
Cheers, Dave K.
Well I like it!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Silver Birch DB5.

No, not that one. This is my convertible. Peter's kindly let me have a few sets of his wheels now, and as a fully built and painted set arrived in the post of Friday morning, I thought i'd better do something with them. The only Aston Martin that i'm currently working on that would have used fifteen inch wheels, is the DB5. The wheels are actually suited to smaller sports cars really, but are ok on the 5. In the package along with the wheels were two tiny items replicating Borrani spinners. Left and right hand of course. Again Mr Seager Thomas has captured these to perfection and do finish of the wheels very nicely.
After fitting up the wheels to the axles, the chassis was lined up to the body, so it's all of a piece now. I thought i'd more or less managed to get the ragtop looking ok after taking a lot of material off, only for it to break into three seperate pieces. It happens. I moved onto the body and deciced to take advantage of the light and get some paint on the car with a view to taking some photographs. A tin of silver paint has been winking at me for a few weeks now so I thought this was probably the one to try it on.

Considering it's straight out of an aerosol, it's gone on quite well. I'm not sure if this will polish, but a quick rub over with a dry cloth gave it a little age, if nothing else. The paint is very flat with the sparkle being remarkably fine.
Front view showing wonky front bumper, and the paint showing the lines. This was probably the most single popular colour when this car was new. Apart from the obvious reason, I can see why. Silver certainly does show the car in all it's glory.
The last shot clearly shows Peter's fabulous work on the spinner. Only me, the most fussy, eye for detail nutter on the planet, could put the wrong one on!

Thursday, 8 July 2010


Pierre-yves point was that even though the original kits have long gone, that's no justifiable reason to take a copy of anybodies work. There are other angles to this of course. For argument sake, lets use Slot Classic as an example. The Jaguar Mk2 that was recently announced was sold out very quickly. My guess is that ninety nine percent of those won't even see a slot car circuit, and just become shelf queens. At knocking on for three hundred quid each, I can understand why. So when someone copies it and offers a kit at a very reasonable price, then the option of a usable slot car becomes more realistic. A kit that costs in the region of £30 will of course attract people who wish to race them. Personally, if an original is sold out and copies do appear, I can't see it doing anything than increasing the value of the original. However, I do see Pierre-yves point, that it is still theft however you wish to wrap it up.
I have heard of a retail outlet in the US that buys up as many of these original kits as they can, not just PSK but pretty much every brand and waits for the value to rise. Now then, what's right and what's wrong? I think it's a problem that really has no solution.

Originals and replicas.

Graham, would Pierre have been able to supply a kit?

One of my many projects is to create a Lagonda from the DB3S, and there seems little point in buying a high quality item if you just want to chop it up. Would the original supplier have supplied the body on its own I wonder?

As I said in an old SF thread, if the model is still available from the original supplier, I think it wrong to sell copies. After this, copies are ok. The folk who would buy the copies are those who would probably never buy the originals due to cost.

I have a few of the more expensive models, but would never build them just to try out an idea. The cheaper kits make this possible.

Just an opinion.


Wednesday, 7 July 2010


The other part of the package that I bought off Marlon, is this DB2. The first real sporting Aston Martin after David Brown had taken the company over. This was a later development of what was initially a competition car, with quite a few modifications to make it a little more civilised. Designed by Frank Feeley, who came from Lagonda, the car was fitted with a 2.6 litre twin cam straight six. Known as the LB6, it was designed by Willie Watson and W.O. Bentley. The LB standing for Lagonda Bentley.A very handsome car for it's day and of course, stupidly expensive. The model doesn't really represent any particular car, more a typical club racer. Detailed in my usual way using Bare Metal Foil and litho plate, again it turned out much better than I imagined it would.
Wheels again are by Peter Seager Thomas and are really a little small for this model. All the DBs up to the final series of DB4s ran on sixteen inch wheels, whereas these are Peters fifteens. Again the glazing wasn't up to the required standard, so a pattern was made for a replacement screen. The rear is as per kit, but the side windows are from flat sheet and still don't fit too well.
The paint is my own mix, with Battleship grey being what I was aiming for. The body itself is a copy of Pierre-yves Labeaus fabulous Proto-Slot Kit and somewhere along the way, lost the nice finish to the resin. A fair bit of work therefore was required to get it to look like it does. I had an email from Pierre-yves recently, expressing his displeasure at me buying a copy. Oops! I won't be doing that again!

214 Progress.

This morning I received further photographs of the 214 from Claus in Munich. His headlamp cover treatment, I must say is really very good and very much like it should be. He's discarded my idea and used the covers from the DBR1, which are slightly bigger. These have been cut down and set into slight recesses around the lamp apertures and appear to be fairly flush. Just as they should be. The photo etched sliding window frames have also been replaced by some rather neat hand painting. Claus is just awaiting delivery of paint now to finish it off and no doubt when complete, the finished model will be a credit to him.
Front view of the car shows the covers, with the trims to the covers again hand painted. The sit of the car looks right, the set of the wheels also look right.
All primered up ready for the final coat. Very nice Claus!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Aston Martin DB3s Coupe

I thought i'd have a bit of a breather from real scratch building and sit down and relax with a kit build. I hadn't built a kit for some time, but I guess with all the practice of building things literally from bits of wood and metal, this would prove fairly straight forward. The kit in question was an Ocar item and i've heard varying reports on these, from not bad, to er....don't bother. Marlon Foakes, aka MAF to those who know him on Slotforum appears to be quite a prolific builder having seen some of his galleries. He now builds his own exquisite range of early Le Mans cars, and from all accounts, he's quite busy. The list of unbuilts that he has must be longer than my arm and a few months ago, I guess he decided to thin them out. One of them was this DB3s Coupe. The only Ocar kits i'd seen up to that point were a few built up by members of the Wolves club, so my knowledge of them was limited. On recieving the kit I looked it over and decided it was reasonably good. The casting was crisp and all the detail was there waiting to be picked out. The downside however was the dreadful glazing. It was never going to fit, even if I cut the the unit into seperate pieces. So, I made new patterns for all the glazing and vacuum formed the lot.
The exhaust system was missing from the kit too, so I made a complete unit using aluminium tube from the K&S range and the silencers from styrene. The paint was Ford Forest green and being polyester, should have been used as a basecoat, with a clear laquer over the top. I decided to just apply paint through my airbrush and just buff it up to a dull shine. '50s paint never had a gloss like we have today. In fact in those days you were lucky to get a shine on it at all once it left the showroom. Astons racing department didn't actually use paint. More a varnish heaviliy pigmented, but that's another story. The real colour should be Almond green, which was used on the DB3s, Coupe and the DBR1, but the Forest Green, although not quite correct, looks good and suits the car well.
The glazing was made as individual parts as I always feel that doing it that way, every piece should fit nice and snug and more importantly, flush. There's nothing worse than seeing a lovely model, beautifully detailed, nicely finished only to be let down by glazing that's set too far in. One way around this is to paint the inside of the window frame matt black to hide the depth. I do this too, as well as trying to get the glass to fit as good as I possibly can. I think the effort is well worth the result. The window rubbers were painted in by hand with the same matt black enamel. A few photo etched parts that I had in stock were used where appropriate. A grill off the DB4 was filed down and made to fit as close as I could get it. A wiper from the 214 kit finished off the windscreen detail and some attempt was made to replicate the sliding section on the drivers door window.
The rest of the detailing is Bare Metal Foil, covering the bootlid hinges, door handles, fuel filler cap and rear number plate lamp. Once you've got the hang of this stuff, it's pretty easy to use.
The decals are what came with the kit and went on fine. The headlamps are partly my own work, with the rims being made from ali tube again and topped off by some self adhesive lenses from our friends at Pendle. Spot lamps were off a Fly Porsche 917k. Brake and side lamps are my usual dress pin/ glass paint combination.The resulting model, I have to confess, is way beyond what I expected, as I think it looks really together and very convincing. I would like to build the standard DB3s at some point, but I would prefer an original PSK version. If anyone knows where there is one, please let me know. I'm itching to have a go at these odd wheels with offset rims.

Monday, 5 July 2010

214 in Munich

I've recently been having regular contact with a guy by the name of Claus Eisenschink who lives in Germany. He recently purchased one of my 214 kits and he's been sending me updates on how the build has been progressing. He's fitted a full interior, requiring the motor to be mounted up front, just where it should be and also a lighting kit. How on earth he's cramming all that lot inside the 214 bodyshell is beyond me. But here are a few photographs to prove it.
He's also remade the lamp covers with a view to making them much flusher than they were originally.
When this one's finished i'm sure it will look splendid and perform really well. I'm not sure of the chassis at the moment but i'm sure Claus will be only too happy to take further pictures and let me show more.

Lovely stuff Claus, keep it going!

Tom Wysoms HRG

Tom has his own blog so probably won't be posting much stuff on here, which is a bit of a shame. So i've taken the liberty of posting a few images of the HRG that he's been working on for a while. These obscure '50 sportscars do have an appeal and I find them totally fascinating. I know very little about this particular car, but I can see why Tom decided to model it. Looking at photo's of the fullsize car, and there aren't that many, it seems he's captured it very well and as the mock up below shows, it looks very period and absolutely glorious. You'll notice the lack of a radiator grill, which is one item I believe Tom had a right game with. So to finish it off, I offered to get a few made in photo etched stainless steel. These are expected at some point this week and will complete what is probably a unique model. To see it in more detail, just click on the image.The wheels are by Peter Seager Thomas who seems to making scale wire wheels into something of a crusade. I'm glad he is as he's begining to show some really nice results after eighteen months work. A good model will always be set off by a proper set of wheels and tyres, so Peters work is just what the hobby needs.
On the tyre front, Peter and myself are working on certain tyre sizes that will suit this type of car. They are Scalextric tyres which we are reproducing in a soft resin and although there are the inevitable production teething troubles, they seem pretty good. Peter reports that the level of grip is good and all we need to know now, is how they wear. Two sizes will be available initially, the fronts from both the Ferrari 156 Sharknose and the 375 from the early fifties.
Anyway, young Tom has promised me a Hurg body(well that's what he calls it) and i'm very much looking forward to getting my hands on it (or two!). More of the same please.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Wheels, the first lot finished....

It has taken about 18 months of sometimes manic work to reach this stage. 18 months? What stage?

In January last year I posted a thread on SF asking about the availability of reasonably accurate wire wheels, only to find that there were absolutely none available. 32 spoke plastic mouldings (even the Austin Seven wheels had 36 spokes), several etched spoke wheels with 'flat etches' which have never been used on the real thing, plus a few brave attempts which were closer, but still far to inaccurate for me. So, I decided to make my own.

The following month I started looking into photo etching, machining and casting, with immediate surprise as to the potential cost. I decided therefore that the only practical action was to make a large quantity, thereby achieving reduced cost, but with the gamble that I could sell the balance. The prototypes were made using wheel etches kindly donated by Steve Ward of Penelope Pitlane, with many sets of 'test' wheels made to try out different methods of construction. I eventually settled on a two part rim, with the wheel centre being a sleeve in the rim, clamping the outer rings of the etches between the two wheel halves. The etches, as per full sized practice, must be slightly conical, and thus would have a spacer between the two, viewed as the wire wheel hub.

The last part of the equation was the wheel nuts. These were made in in steel with the intention of casting them in whitemetal.

The first big leap was a crash revision course on AutoCAD starting late November, resulting in finished drawings early in January. The order was made, the etches arrived in February.

Since the etches had to be conical, it was simple enough to make up a set of presses, and after some experimentation, perfectly formed etches were possible without actually separating the etches. The process was slow, so more time was spent developing a faster process, which cut down the time to an acceptable level.

During this time the wheel nut masters were sent off, and within a month a large number of castings arrived. The quality was debatable, with the result that all the wheel nuts I supply are machined, thus the nice shiny finish.

The last bit was the machined parts, two piece wheels and spacers. Once the etches were made, the order was made for wheels and spacers. These arrived last week, thus all parts were available.

Below are the results. Some of the earlier etch pressings were not wasted, but used to produce ready to fit wheels. The main problem had been deformation of the etch outer ring, requiring extra work to ensure a decent fit in the wheel, so, I put in the extra work, and the result is shown below.

Not a 'posed' picture, these are a set of the wheels I painted and built up, the top ones being disc braked, the bottoms drums, and yes, they are left and right handed. The wheel rims/flanges are about as close as one could go, and I feel they are the best representation of the 15" Dunlop made for sale. Well, I would, wouldn't I? Below is an image which is hopefully a little more helpful, if not so pretty.

Hopefully the image is fairly obvious. Coned etches top left, finished wheels bottom left, whilst top right are wheel turnings, and bottom right hubs/spacers and wheel nuts.

Kits and ready made are now available. prseagerthomas@btinternet for details.

These are of course of a scale diameter. Below is an image of such a wheel fitted to a Triumph TR4, which hopefully shows up the 3D effect a little better.

And last of all is the first of the 18" Dunlops, shown on an SS100 Jaguar. Not yet ready but if there are needs, there are ways.

And here is the first set finished.