There are in fact some suitable lamps, but for the scratch builder they are very costly indeed. Indicator/brake/sidelights work out at about £10 per thousand at cost, yet similar items are sold by major retailers at a cost of £1.00 per 4 which according to my lousy maths is a little over a twenty-fold profit.
I would imagine that the headlamps available (2 for £1.00) have a lesser margin.
The chap who ventures to produce superior lamps is brave indeed. I offer my hopes for success on this venture.
Saturday, 18 June 2011
One of the little details for slot cars that has always annoyed me is headlamps. The problem being that all those that are available are the wrong size. I searched high and low for some suitable replacements looking in every art and craft shop that I could find locally.There are absolutely loads of small self adhesive gems available for making birthday and Christmas cards, with every conceivable shape, colour and style. Except the one I wanted of course. In the end I had no alternative than to make my own.The size of course was critical. All the headlamps available are made to 4 or 5 or even 6mm diameters, but a standard 7 inch diameter lamp as used on pretty much every car built in the '50s and '60s scales down to 5.5mm. So I drew them up in Corel Draw and had a sheet produced in photo etched stainless steel. Where would I be without photo etching!
The lenses are created using nothing more than clear casting resin, with a yellow pigment added to the resin to give an amber lense as an option. The photos show the prototypes but these have now been improved and they will be available shortly on the GP Miniatures website. I'm sure somebody will find these useful.
The ackerman steering unit has now been fitted to this Revell-Monogram Galaxie 500. A slight oversight in the design of the unit meant that it was a little too wide to fit any of the Astons, so mooching through my collection revealed that this was the only model that it would fit without too much modification.The only real mods required were the removal of two mounting posts for the fitment of the original front axle and the drilling of two small holes allowing the unit to be bolted in place in the correct position. The picture below shows the unit in place. The stub axles were very kindly turned by a neighbour and press fitted into the wheel hubs and the whole piece placed approximately where it should be. I havn't tested it as yet as I have no space for even the smallest track, but it all moves very freely with the minimum of play either in the axles or tie bar, so I see no reason why it shouldn't do what it's supposed to.
The bodyshell has been stripped of all the tampo printing and paint with the idea of it being repainted to represent the car Jack Sears raced in the 1964 British Saloon Car Championship. Along side the Revell Cortina and maybe a few Minis and Jag Mk2s, I think it will look quite splendid.
Here's a shot of another 214. This one is being built up for a customer in Canada. As most will know i'm pretty fussy about my models and if I see something i'm not happy with, i'll do my best to improve it where I can. In this instance, the offending parts were the transparent lamp covers. I was never totally happy with the originals, so I redesigned them with the result being a huge improvement.
The customers request was for the car that beat the Ferraris at Monza in 1963. This was a support race for that years Italian Grand Prix and being driven by Roy Salvadori, I don't suppose the Tifosi were very pleased. This was the only victory that either the 214 or 215 ever scored.
Well after a very long gestation period, i'm pleased to say that i'm now fairly happy with my version of Borannis fabulous wire wheels.The development of these things has taken around six years off an on as funds have allowed.The original idea was to design the internal parts, ie the spokes and discs, to fit a modified BWA rim, in particular the very narrow, "skinny" item that was one of the last introduced by Al Penrose. Al worked very closely with me and redesigned the wheel to my specification only to announce his retirement twelve months later. Back to the drawing board!The only solution was to find a company in the UK who could do a similar job and eventually a machining company was found. After a fairly lengthy wait the required wheels were delivered and a complete set built up The photograph above shows the result. The tyres are recasts of all the skinny items found on various Scalextric models with a scale appearance being the priority. Cast is a soft resin, not only do they look good, but i'm told they have much better grip than the originals.The initial lot are offered in the three sizes shown above, but this will be expanded to six very soon. The first batch have been designed as disc braked items, but i'm also working on a drum braked version too, allowing a much wider range of cars to be fitted. A two eared spinner is also offered as a further option. Clicking on the picture will give a close view.