by John Quilter May 2014
I find one of the fun things to do with 1:43 scale models is to find an inexpensive but creditable model that lends itself to the creation of multiple variations of the real car it represents. American cars are great subjects for this, as for each model year there were often many different body types on offer from the manufacturer. In this project the models were quite inexpensive Yat Ming replicas of the 1964 Mercury Marauder. The Marauder was the sporty version which sometimes had the optioned of the hot 427 cubic inch V8 engine in place of the more common 390 cubic inch version, not that the four-barrel carburetor variant was any slouch in the performance department.
To create almost the full range of the full sized 1964 Mercurys, I acquired five Yat Mings and proceeded with my modifications. One became a Commuter station wagon using the roof of a partwork model from the James Bond Collection of a 1964 Ford Country Squire station wagon (now available as an Ixo model in light blue or cream). In this era the Mercury and Ford shared the same greenhouse, so this was simply a cut off the roof and transplant job. Of course there was a bit more to it, as the tailgate area had to be formed, and other details created. Not to worry, the roofless Ford took the top from the Marauder and became a Galaxie 500XL hardtop.
The next Mercury became a four-door hardtop, using a modified Marauder roof. The body sides were modified to show the four doors and painted in a new-for-1964 colour, turquoise. This was one of two four door sedan-hardtop styles offered by Mercury in that model year. It was known as a ‘fastback‘ while the other version had the distinctive reverse-slanted roll down rear glass and was known as a Breezeway. This reverse-slanted window was an on-again off-again Ford feature which showed up as early as 1958 on the Lincoln Continental, and later on various European Fords such as the mid-sixties Anglia, although none of the European versions had the roll-down feature.
Next came a simple job of creating a convertible, which was achieved by removal of the top and creation of a top boot, using some malleable sheet lead, properly formed, textured, and painted. The bucket seats of the Yat Ming Marauder are quite appropriate for the sporting convertible. The final conversion was to make a two-door pillarless hardtop in the Breezeway style. Here it was necessary to scratchbuild an entirely different roof, which I was able to do with some sheet aluminium. The final contours were created by using epoxy metal known as J B Weld. I was able in this case to preserve the red body colour and the tampo-printed badges, by making the top in a contrasting colour. Two-tone cars and vinyl roofs were all optional features of this period, and on these big Mercs.
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