Sunday, 19 December 2010

HRG Aero

Some will have seen this little gem on the Slotforum or Tom Wysoms wonderful blog, Slotty Salad. Tom really is the one responsible for starting this one off as it began life as a SMEC kit.
Carved from a solid block of wood, painted and detailed, Tom did rather a lovely job of it. I expressed an interest in the model and asked Tom what his intentions were. Being the lovely chap that he is, he sent me both the master and the mould with the strict instruction to do what I liked with it.

Well I have, but the research required to find out a little more about these cars took some doing. Total number built of the Aerodynamic Speeder, to give it it's proper title, varies between thirty five and forty one. I guess as with any other small scale hand builders, the true history will be almost impossble to find. The chassis was HRGs own and apparently flexed so much that the suspension wasn't really required. Power came from a 1500cc SOHC Singer engine giving 65 bhp which was just enough to get it moving. The sleek shape adding to it's top speed of just 100 mph.

Produced from 1945 apparently, although 1946 is more probable to around 1950, the shape is of particular note. Aerodynamics in those days were very much in their infancy as far as automotive design went, but the effort the HRG designers achieved is as good as it got. All hand panelled in aluminium the car is certainly distinctive for it's day.

The model itself as mentioned was originally built from the SMEC kit and plans and research revealed that the latter was a little off from scale. The body itself was too wide by 4mm and needed slimming down. The plans also showed that the body tapered from the front wings to the rear wings in straight lines. In actual fact the body sides were parallel from a point in front of the front wings to the leading edge of the doors where it did taper inwards to the rear wings. Some fairly major surgery was required to rectify this. Once the correct width had been obtained, the car started to take on the character of the fullsize. The photograph above shows how it looked before the slimming down took place. The photo's below, show it after.

There was some fairly fine detail in the body too, such as the beading running along the tops of the wings and also the louvres. Tom had managed to capture this quite well, but when I re-cast the first body, for some reason some of it got lost. So there was no real alternative than to start all over again. The beading has yet to be added, as I feel it will be easier to apply it to the next cast, plus the fact that the liquid poly cement might just attack the yellow primer/filler and spoil the finish. The louvres took some thinking out and as ever, a solution popped up just when I wasn't expecting it.

Whilst I was rummaging around in the shed looking for whatever it was I needed, I spotted a box of tile spacers. The type usually used for bathrooms/kitchens etc. Being made of plastic, I thought they would be ideal, particularly as the number of ribs matched exactly what I wanted. Bingo! Cut to shape with a scalpel, sanded down and trimmed to fit, I think they look very good. One or two may need replacing before the moulding takes place as a little bit of damage has occured during fitting up.

The hood was made completely from Chemical Metal with just two small pieces of obeche to act as supports for the filler. The outlines of the hood frame were achieved by varying grades of wet and dry and one finger used to obtain the shaping in between. All the panel lines were filled and re-cut with a razor saw and the various details, such as side lamps, number plate housing, boot lid handle were made up from scrap aluminium.

The quarter bumpers at the front were built up from litho plate and filler and eventually will be cast in metal and polished up. Finaly the grille, or I should say one of six as I have seen that many variations. In the kit i'm proposing to include three, giving the option of building either a road car or a race version. An interesting little car, that's probably unknown to a lot of people. I think it looks quite cute!


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