By John F. Quilter
All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.
The small artisan business of K & R Replicas in Sandhurst, England produce a multitude of kits in white metal of all the popular Triumph (and MG and Austin Healey) sport cars. Just about every variation of Triumph sport cars is available, some with wire wheels, some with disc wheels, some with top up, some top down. Since my extensive collection of 1:43 scale Triumphs did not include the one year only US specification TR250, I needed to add this missing link to my progression of Triumph’s models. I ordered up the kit (KR130) from their website http://www.kandrreplicas.co.uk/ and within a few days I had the kit in hand. I chose the one without the targa rear window but that variation is also available. All the kits come with a fascia in LHD or RHD to suit. And I was impressed with the included decal for the stripe, and some of the badges that were TR250 specific.
Forty-third scale means the model is 43 times smaller than an actual car making it about 3.5 inches long. This international collecting scale is small enough for a collector such as myself to amass and display a virtual museum of automotive history. White metal is a sort of soft lead like material that is a favourite of small scale 1:43 scale model makers both in built form or in kit form. The kit comes with some chromed parts such as the bumpers and grill. Replicas of the stainless steel faux Rostyle wheel covers that were standard on all US TR250s are also included. I suspect you could request a set of wire wheels be substituted if wanted as many of the other kits come with wire wheels.
Building a white metal kit takes model builder’s skill and techniques, though there is an instruction sheet showing all the parts and some tips on how to complete the car. You will need a pin vice with some very small drill bits and a Dremel tool to drill out the mounting points for the door handles, both interior and exterior, the front parking lamps, the rear tail lamps and reversing lamps, etc. The mounting holes for the bumpers may have to be adjusted with a drill bit to get accurate positioning of these items. The same applies to the holes for the axles shafts to get the exact proper ride height and fore and aft positioning. Final positioning can be effected with a dab of J B Weld or equivalent epoxy metal. Some parts will need cleaning up with a small file to remove any casting flash. I begin by trial fitting everything after cleaning up the castings as needed. Tip: you will need a very small tweezers to hold some of the parts and do this in an area where if they (and they will) jump out of the tweezers to places unknown. Ask me how long I have spent looking for wayward parts on the floor! So have a very clean uncluttered work space.
Trial fit and trim the vacformed windscreen to the separate windscreen frame but do not fit it until after painting the frame. I wanted to do this car in Valencia blue a common colour from this TR250 period. I usually use rattle can Krylon paints but there was no colour matching Valencia blue. My solution to this was to take two shades of blue, dark and light, and a touch of dark green and mix them together in a small jar. Then using my Prevo sprayer (a sort of poor man’s airbrush) I simply sprayed on the custom colour. After fully drying I put a layer of Testors clear over the car for a high gloss look. Keep in mind that Testors clear is slow drying so set the painted body aside for at least 4 days before continuing the assembly project.
Since the wheels did not come chromed, I covered them with Bare Metal Foil chrome and touched in the black areas and lug nuts. The rubber tires provided in the kit are all black but as all Triumph fans know these cars came with red stripe tires as did the subsequent TR6. To create this effect I have perfected a new technique. I use some 28 gauge wire (available at Hobby Lobby or any hobby store or maybe hardware store) wind it around a round object such as a pen, Sharpie, or drill bit pull it tight and cut if off leaving a small ring of wire. Then lay out the four identical sizes rings and spray paint with red paint from a rattle can. When dry simply glue on to the tires as a final step in assembly.
The fascia piece will take some black paint on the top roll, brown on the face and black for the instruments. The grill piece is chromed to but to add realism it is necessary to “black wash” this piece to make the horizontal bars stand out from the background. Black washing is a modelers technique effected by mixing up some very thin flat back paint in say a bottle cap, and brushing it on whereupon it flows off the higher bars and settles in between bars area leaving a realistic appearance. Tail lamps are separate non chrome pieces so they get the Bare Metal Foil chrome treatment after being fitted then using clear red paint applied to the rear most surface. This gives an almost translucent lens appearance.
Much of the information on the details for building this car came from an original factory brochure and from a very thorough article on restoring a real car in Hemmings Sport & Exotic magazine January 2017 issue covering a car owned by Jim Whalen of Loudonville, New York.
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