Category Archives: Reader made or modified

1:10 Scale Hand-Made 1923 Voisin C6 Laboratoire

From Jerry Broz

Hand-Made 1923  Voisin C6 Laboratoire to 1:10 scale

The text is by, and copyright of, Jerry Broz. All photographs are by, and copyright of, Yves Bertola.

This article shows a handmade 1:10 scale model of a unique full size Avions-Voisin C6 Laboratoire Formula One race car that ran in Grand Prix ACF de Tours 1923.  At a later date part two of this article series will look at the details of the race, the car and its designers, Gabriel Voisin and Andre Lefebvre, as well as the commercially produced and hand crafted models of the Voisin C6 Laboratoire.

It has been 40 years since this meticulously handmade, proportionally correct model was made.  Frenchman, Yves Bertola, was 30 years old when a few black and white vintage photos, and the principal dimensions of Voisin C6 Laboratoire were printed in the first issue (Nov./Dec.1978) of the bi-monthly magazine “The Enthusiast“.  The article sparked his passion for this technologically and aerodynamically advanced race car, which was significantly different in comparison with the other contemporary race cars.
He decided to build a model of this car not realising he was taking on
quite an endeavour to make this model.

Before he began building the model he had to make a series of detailed drawings. In 1977, there were no personal computers with CAD, no three-view engineering drawings or any other documents readily available for this car. The scale engineering drawings for this car were made the old fashion way, i.e., with ink pen on drafting paper, a ruler, a protractor, and other manual drafting tools.  All drawings were painstakingly extrapolated from the perspective and the position of the photographer. Yves Bertola was able to transform all this, along with technical data, front and rear track, wheelbase, wheel and tire size, etc., to get right proportions.  Finally, after numerous tests, verification, and comparisons, the three-view drawings were ready to be used to build the model. When personal computers arrived in 1990s the pen and ink drawings were redrawn on AutoCAD.

The 1;10 scale model of the Voisin C6 Laboratoire race car is a
quintessentially handmade model, as there is not a single part of the model produced commercially. Absolutely everything is painstakingly “hand-made“.  In fact, relatively simple hand tools were used to build the model. No lathe, no milling machine, or hand held power drill/grinder, only a soldering iron and small hand tools (shears, files, hand drill, sanding blocks, jeweller’s saw, etc.). Most of the model is made from brass pieces such as 0.5mm sheets, rods and tubes of various diameters, flat and extruded H profiled strips, nails to represent rivets, mini fasteners, chrome paperclips, glove leather, thin sheets of steel, very fine wire mesh, etc. Forty years ago the materials and various small pieces commonly used in model making today were unavailable.

The wooden base of the seat is padded with foam and the leather is stretched over it and glued to the base.  The front and back of the wheels are made from a brass sheet, with the front bent to a slightly conical shape and the wheel halves soldered together.  The tires are made from the round rubber rod, cut and the ends glued together and then carefully fitted onto the wheels. The dashboard dials were
drawn at a large scale and cleverly reduced to correct size on the photocopier and then glued into the eyelets.  There are other handmade parts of the model that required ingenious and imaginative methods to create such as the hood leather belt, steel
cables, shock absorbers, wooden body sides protectors, windshield frame, suspension leaf spring clips, etc.

When Yves Bertola visited automotive dealership in Nimes, he met an 82 years old gentlemen who worked as a mechanic in 1923 when he was 23. As a mechanic he had an opportunity to work on Tours’ Voisin C6.  The retired mechanic said that the Voisin C6 was not blue, but had the color of eggshells, sand, or cream.  In the 1923 photos from Tours’, the Voisins C6 were apparently of aluminium
color.  Unfortunately, there is no credible or substantiated information whether the Tours’ Voisins C6 were painted or not.  And if they were, what was the colour.

The following photographs show in great detail the exceptional 1:10 scale model of the Voisin C6 Laboratoire built by Yves Bertola.


Thanks to Yves Bertola for the information about this unique model and for his photographs. 

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

From Part Work to Unique Model – 1966 Cadillac Four Door Hardtop De Ville.

By John Quilter

All Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

By 1965 Cadillac styling had become more subdued in comparison to the wild chrome laden, tail-finned cars of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Perhaps the tail fin had run its course as a styling gimmick. Or perhaps the popularity of the conservatively styled Lincoln Continental sedans and four door convertibles launched in 1961 was the beginning of a new trend. While American luxury cars were still huge by any international standards they were, by the mid 1960s at least not so over styled.

Cadillac’s 1965 cars wore all new styling and this body shell carried over to 1966 with only minor rear tail lamp, front grill and other trim changes. These were the most conservatively styled Cadillacs in well over a decade. Still massive with a 224 inch length and 129.5 inch wheelbase for the base de Ville series, they were powered by a 429 CID (7 liter) V8 driving through a relatively new three speed Turbo Hydromatic 400 automatic gearbox.

A part works series from Mexico has featured a diecast version of the 1966 Coupe de Ville in a gold colour. Nicely done in an accurate 1:43 scale, the only nitpick is that it has blackwall tires which would have been decidedly unlikely on a new car at the time.

Some of these partworks series are leaking out via sellers on eBay and this Mexican subscription series includes a large number of interesting cars, American, Japanese, French, German and others.

The count of the planned models stands at 61 as of this writing. Details can be found at:

Authors side note: this website even has a feature that shows where those that have visited the site are located. Quite interesting and shows there is a fair amount of interest in these cars from outside Mexico.

The Cadillac is one that I acquired in duplicate with the intention of plying my modification skills once again. This time it was a conversion from a Coupe de Ville to a four door Hardtop De Ville. Unlike some car companies, Cadillac assisted me in this effort by having a standard length top and a uniform “Dutchman” panel between the trunk and the rear window. Therefore the conversion only required a removal of the base plate, all chrome pieces, glazing, and a paint striping. Another bonus was the windscreen and rear back light were the same from coupe to sedan.

The real work was on the side where I had to score in new door shut lines using Google images as a guide. The side windows were created with clear plastic (clam shell clear plastic food containers provide a good source of this material) with a chrome chart tape divider between the front and rear side windows. I chose a representative green colour from the available colours for the 1966 model year. Again easily researched on Google but I also have copies of the original factory sales brochures as guides.

The grills on both were improved with a black wash and both got thin whitewall tires using a new method I have perfected. This is done by forming four rings of the correct diameter using an appropriate gauge wire. Once all are formed and checked for uniformity I spray them white and when dry simply glue them to the tire. While not absolutely flat they still are a fair representation of this era of whitewall.

I’ve also been working with new paints to approximate the factory colours since I like to keep to originality and have had good success with them and a “Testors Model Master” clear coat on top to provide almost production model gloss. A flat black vinyl top could have been done as these were optional on the cars in 1966 but I chose a single colour green for roof and body. The diecast has a small tampo printed ridge for the full length side moulding but I accentuated this with a 1/64″ wide piece of chrome graphic art tape made by Letraset.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Ford Transit Connect Conversion

By John Quilter

Photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author except for one clearly marked publicity Photograph from Greenlight.

In the last few years Ford has completely revamped its commercial vehicle range moving away from the long running Econoline  in the USA and adopting the international design vans and mini buses,  a more European type range of commercial vehicles.  These compete with the Mercedes Benz Metris, and Dodge Ram Promaster City, Chevrolet City Express offerings as well as some from Nissan such as the NV200.    There are two basic Ford models  but lots of variations.  The smaller of the two current offerings is a Transit Connect and the larger,  just known as a Transit.    In the USA the Connect is actually the second generation of this vehicle, the first being smaller still and imported from Ford’s Turkey operation.    The second generation was launched in 2012 and sold in the US from 2014.   It is produced in both Turkey and Valencia Spain.   It comes in two lengths,  174 inches or 190 inches.    The passenger version is known as the Titanium edition with side windows and additions rows of seats,  two behind the driving compartment on the shorter version.


Greenlight Collectibles, who do a number of 1:43 scale replicas of modern vehicles, produce a white Transit Connect van with a black interior.  These are quite accurate diecast models probably used by Ford as promos since they replicate current production Ford products.   The Connect measure 4.37 inches which is virtually dead on accurate 1:43 scale for the longer version.  Greenlights are good value for money so for an inveterate modifier such as myself, they make great donor models to create something a bit different and not currently in an model range.  Therefore I set about making one of the cargo versions into a passenger van known as the Titanium edition which features  more features and fancier interiors.

To do this required disassembly, quite easy with two Philips screws holding the plastic base plate in place.  Grinding off the spun pegs  releases the fascia unit and this gives access to the front side windows which also need to be removed and set aside for protection.   Then comes the harder work.   After covering most of the model with masking tape for protection, drill a number of small holes in the inset areas of the side panels.   A Google search for photos of the real vehicle, often internet advertising websites, will give good views of the shape of the windows and in many cases the design of the rear rows of seats plus representative colours.    Many of the Titanium editions will be in various colours but in order to preserve the logos and badging and black mouldings I chose to keep my model in the very typical commercial vehicle white.    To open up the windows it will be necessary to drill multiple holes in the body sides.  Be advised this Mazak material is hard stuff, use sharp bits.   Then much filing with various square, triangular, and round files will open up the window areas to the proper shapes.  Once the windows are to the correct shape I cut out of clear 1/16th inch thick clear plastic windows to fit the apertures.   The modern vehicle practice these days is to have a wide black boarder around windows so some flat back paint surround is painted in as well.

For additional rows of seats I scratch made reasonable facsimiles from pieces of styrene plastic shaped and glued together then painted grey and black and fitted to the base plate.   The  on line images I found showed seats in duotone grey and black so these additional details were added to the stock Greenlight front ”captain’s chair”  seats.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Customised Volkswagen Beetles and Transporter T1 and T2 Trucks, Vans and Minibuses

By Jerry J Broz

All pictures by, and copyright of the Author.

Upon leaving Formula One in 1999, I continued my subscription to F1 magazines, followed F1 on TV,  and collected F1 memorabilia and model cars and kits.  On the suggestion of my wife, I started collecting old and new Beetles, and Transporter Type 1 trucks, vans, and buses. Since then, I’ve gathered a large collection of diecast and resin models in 1:43 scale as well as kits of all scales.  I also established and maintain a library of pictures as a reference source for making models of existing concept, converted, and customised cars. Various web-sites, featuring photographs of customised cars, are good sources of ideas for converted model cars.  Subscribing to one of the full size Volkswagen magazines, such as the French “Super VW Magazine“, for example, is another exceptionally good source of ideas for all kinds of Volkswagen Beetles (old and new) and Volkswagen T1 and T2 trucks, vans and buses. The New Beetle models have great customising potential and full size VW Beetle and Transporter T1 and T2 commercials are among the most customised cars in the world. No matter how much these cars are changed they always retain the character of the original.  Few other cars can claim this strong identity and public recognition.

Whether made in metal, resin, or plastic models, and in whatever scale, these Volkswagens may be customised in endless creative configurations and settings. The following photographs show a few of my customised VW Beetles and Transporters.

Based on a 1:24 scale VW Transporter Type 1 truck, the rest of the “Search & Rescue” model is built out of the parts-box items. The dog figure is from Animal Den. The lights (blinking and others, as well as siren), all work. The wording on the side of the truck is created and printed on the P-touch labelling system, using 18mm/0.7″ laminated, white on clear, TZe tape. The decals are computer generated and Inkjet printed onto clear waterslide decal paper. The tracks are from a toy tank. The paint is airbrushed Tamiya Acrylic Red.


Based on the 1:24 scale Jada double-cabin truck converted into
“two-girls” service truck, the hard hat, ladders, search light, short wave antenna, tow/hoist chains, fire extinguisher, and other add-on parts are from the part-box. The traffic cones are from a Radio Shack Radio Control model car kit. The girl figures are from the toy set with sculptured dresses and repositioned arms and legs. All the lights work.

The wording on the side of the truck is created and printed on P-touch labelling system, using 18mm/0.7″ laminated, white on black, TZe tape. The heads of girls on the side of the truck are copied
from one of the web-sites to the computer, reduced, Inkjet printed
on the white, waterslide decal paper and cut out from the background.

The Vespa scooter is a New Ray model painted to match the colour of the truck.


A magazine picture inspired me to build this 1:24 scale box-stock
Jada VW Old Beetle . The air conditioner, front window visor, wheels, spare tire cover, and cargo box are parts-box items. The Coca-Cola cooler, and metal/wood roof rack are all scratch built. The side decoration is wallpaper thinned down to decal thickness and applied to the body via Futura. The paint is Tamiya Acrylic Bright white and the red stripe is a decal.


This is a VW Transporter Type 1 pick-up converted to a dragster. Chopped, shortened, and lowered body with a hand-made wheelie bar and working roof hatch. Large (dip dish) and small (with simulated wire) wheels and tires, as well as all the other parts are from the parts-box. Two-tone painting is Tamiya Acrylic white and Racing red with a black accent. The waterslide decals,
including the flames, are from the decal-box.


Built from a Jada Toys VW Old Beetle box-stock, this concept
model has a detailed interior and spoked wheels from parts-box.
The working gulf-wing doors were carefully cut out from the body
with a jewellers saw before they were attached to the centre of the
roof with a hinge  The paint is Tamiya Acrylic dark maroon.


Valentine’s Day inspired me to built this “Girls and their heart decorated new Beetle” ready to depart for evening of fun. The scene is based on the Maisto 1:32 scale, diecast new VW Beetle. The body of the car and the wheels are decorated from commercially available sheet of a hearts. The interior includes two-colour seats, painted headrests, and detailed dashboard. Dressed up, accessorised, and posed girls are from commercially available sets, the dog figure (Poodle ) is from Animal Den. The car is airbrushed with Tamiya Acrylic black.


A friend in Netherlands owns a real horse pulled “half-a-VW Beetle
wagon. A Revell kit was used to create this model, along with
a horse from Animal Den, and the driver, a seated Adam, is from
 American Diorama. Everything else is scratchbuilt including the
spoked wheels and horse harness. The paint is airbrushed Tamiya
Acrylic yellow.


Custom built for a client in California who owns a 1:1 three-seat tricycle built from part of the old Beetle. The rear part of the Beetle body and rear wheels and tires are from the Revell 1968 VW Beetle plastic kit. Front fork, wheel and tire are from a commercially available motorcycle kit. The rest of the tricycle is scratch-built from parts-box pieces and from sheet plastic, aluminium sheets and rods. The windshield is cut from clear plastic sheet.


A Maisto 1:32 scale New Beetle, re-designed as a practical Fresh Fruit shop delivery pickup. The wooden bed is scratchbuilt and Coca-Cola bottles in a yellow case are from Town Square Collection. Custom-made and Inkjet-printed waterslide decals are used. The finish is airbrushed Tamiya Acrylic spring green paint.


Based on 1:32 scale Kinsmart Old and New Beetles, this is  a prototype model built for the French “Retro Assurance” auto insurance company insuring “Old and Modern” (Anciennes et Modernes) cars of the same marque. The model is a combination of New Beetle (front body part) and Old Beetle (rear body part) including the appropriate wheels. The finish is Tamiya Acrylic light green and light blue.

This “Wolfsburg High” school bus is based on a 1:24 scale Revell
kit. I only used the front part of the body and the chassis, The rear
view mirrors and wheels/tires are from the parts-box. Everything else is scratchbuilt. The body is made from White Styrene sheets glued together with Bondene Solvent Cement for strong and permanent bonding.The windows are made from blue matte coloured film. There is no interior fitted. The “Stop” sign is functional. Painted in Dupli-Color Acrylic Enamel – School Bus yellow.


Built from 1:32 scale Maisto metal model of old VW Beetle.  A reshaped body painted in Tamiya’s spray-can acrylic yellow paint, includes a working roof hatch and computer designed and Inkjet printed waterslide decals. The detailed interior includes seat with seat belts, dashboard with steering wheel, and fire extinguisher. Model has a completely wired and plumbed engine. The wheels and tires are from parts-box.


A 2007 French “Super VW Magazine“,  had an article entitled “Papy’s Story”  which set out McBeetle’s (Victor W. McBottle) concept of a desert racer, the highly modified VW Beetle motivated me to build this land speed racer from a Revell 1:24 scale VW Beetle kit. Plenty of scratch-building and reshaping went into this model. There’s very little left of the stock Revell kit. The wheels with chrome hub caps. covers and tires, as well as a driver and parachute are from the parts-box. The airbrushed paint is Tamiya Acrylic Gloss red applied over a white primer.


This model is based on an editorial illustration in French magazine “Super VW Magazine“. It is built from a box-stock Polar Lights/Disney plastic kit and painted with Tamiya Acrylic yellow. The windows were painted from inside with Tamiya Acrylic clear orange. The model also has darkened headlights lenses, hand-made
front and rear bumpers and hood pins as well as deep dish wheels. The side decals were based upon the magazine picture and computer cleaned, brightened and Inkjet printed on clear waterslide decal paper.


Built from a Jada Toys VW Old Beetle box-stock, this concept model has detailed interior and special wheels from the partsbox. The working “suicide” doors were carefully cut out from the body with a jewellers saw before they were attached to the body by a hand-made hinge. The paint is Tamiya Acrylic gloss black.


This concept of a  “Beach Beetle” started with a Welly 1:32 scale New Beetle diecast. Using a rotary tool I removed the portion of the door and a body, I then filed it to the correct curvature, and sanded the opening smooth. After removing the original paint, the body was primed and painted in Tamiya Acrylic, desert yellow. Reshaped  mirrors, the jewellery chain for protection, and the antenna with a ball topper are added. The lowered windshield is tinted.

Built from a box-stock Welly 1:32 scale VW New Beetle and painted
using an airbrush in Tamiya Acrylic, Italian (Ferrari) red. The only scratchbuilt part is the rear wing and rear wing side panels. The wheels and tires are from parts-box and decals are from decal-box.


Based on a Kinsmart 1:32 scale New Beetle, this is a model of Retro-Designs‘ VW New Beetle with stylised Bentley front and rear end with a fully detailed interior and chrome plated typical Bentley radiator. Painted in Tamiya Acrylic bright white.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Wolseley 2200 Conversion

By John Quilter

Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author. They can be seen below the text.

So what do you do when you end up with a duplicate model of one you already have? A while back a fellow model club member, who only works with 1:24th scale models, gave me a Heller plastic kit of an Austin Princess 2000. So what to do with this since I had already built a stock Princess 2000? Checking the British Leyland product range circa 1975 I found that there was a Wolseley version, the Wolseley 2200 of the controversial Harris Mann wedge design era that included the Triumph TR7.

The only real noticeable differences between the Princess and 2200 were the shape of the bonnet and a trapezoidal grill. So I decided to modify this kit into a Wolseley by adding a bulge to the bonnet and a modified grill. A layer of styrene plastic to the bonnet and a grill made from a piece of solder bent to shape made the conversion possible. Google images showed that there was a gold colour offered in 1975 with a tan interior. This is a nice addition to my Wolseley shelf, and if I am correct, it was the last BLMC vehicle badged as a Wolseley before the marque faded into obscurity.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at at maronlineeditor at

Maserati 4CLT c.1:10 scale handbuilt model

By Jerry J. Broz

All Photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Here we are looking at a few pictures of my very first model car, which was not a scale model, but an accurate depiction of the 1948 Maserati 4CLT. Built in 1955, when I was sixteen-year old, to approximately 1:10 scale, this model car is sixty-two years old. Back in 1955 when I started work on this model I had no documentation available for the actual car. and no access to any detailed drawings or photos; however, I was able to find some basic descriptions and a few low quality photographs taken at Grand Prix races.

The chassis and hood of the model were made from an aluminium sheet. The body was carved from balsa wood, sealed with a paste made from clear lacquer and baby powder, and then sanded and painted. The louvres in the body were hand carved and the louvres in the hood were hand formed. The brake disks and wheel centre hubs were turned from round aluminium rod on a small lathe. The wheels were made from short aluminium containers for water colour paints. The rims and center hubs were glued together and small holes were drilled around the perimeter of the rims and hubs for the spokes. Each wheel assembly was then hand-laced with smooth, thick thread in order to simulate the spoke pattern typical of wire wheels. Before the tires were attached to the wheels, whole wheel assemblies were spray painted with aluminium colour paint.
The toy rubber tires, the number “7’ stickers, and the screws are the only commercially purchased items used in this model car.

The metalwork, such as the dashboard, suspension arms, radiator grille frame, steering wheel centre, arm protector (with drilled perforation), windscreen frame, gas filler cap, tie and steering
rods, and hub caps, were either cut from aluminium sheets, made from aluminium wire, or turned from round aluminium rod and polished as needed. The exhaust was made from aluminium circular
tubing and painted flat black. All small parts were adapted from anything which could serve the purpose.

The cockpit; the cockpit detail is minimal, gauge bezels were turned from aluminium round rod and then the gauge faces were hand drawn in. The rear view mirrors were turned from hardwood dowel and then the silver mirrors were painted in. The two-part seat was hand-made from thin leather which was stretched over the seat shape made from balsa wood, stuffed with cotton balls and shaped into a seat. The circular steering wheel rim was hand-made and shaped from hardwood, painted black, and attached to the steering column by a metal three-spoke central part. The windscreen was made from clear plastic and glued into an aluminium windscreen frame.

A black/white photo of this 1948 Maserati 4CLT model was featured in December 1964 issue of the Auto World Newsletter. I expect that some of you might remember Auto World which was a model car mail-order business founded by Oscar Koveleski. Throughout my entire life I have been interested in model and full size racing cars. I have built and raced the slot cars, written articles for Car Model magazine, worked for Auto World, designed model cars and accessories for Auto World, Twin-K, Tonka, to name just a few. I have been involved with CAN-AM race cars and, of course, Formula One.

Since my retirement, I have remained active in Formula One, and am subscribing to F1 magazines, following F1 on TV and on computer and collecting the F1 memorabilia and various types of F1 model cars and kits. I have also took upon a new hobby, collecting and building customised and concept Volkswagen Old & New Beetles and Volkswagen Transporter T1 Trucks, Vans and Minibus models and kits.

A view of the front and left (exhaust) side of the completed car.

A front view of the completed model showing the radiator
frame with a wire simulated grille, and the front wheels
suspension arms as well as the oil lines.

A rear view of the completed model showing rear-view
mirrors, steering wheel, windscreen frame and clear
plastic windscreen,a part of the perforated arm protector,
and the dashboard with hand-drawn gauges.

A detail of the hood and body louvres and hand-laced
wire wheels.

A rear view of the completed model showing gas filler cap, rear exhaust holder, and full arm protector.

Underside view of the Maserati 4CLT model. The piece
of a 1.5ccm model gas engine was left in as a part of the
rear axle after realising that I was to build a curbside model rather
than tethered, model gas engine powered car which
would have required a completely different design of wheels,
tires, and attachment of the front wheels to the body.


Editor: We hope to show some more of Jerry’s adapted and hand-made models in future posts to this site.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please contact us at our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Big Hand Crafted Four by Fours – Part Four

By Robert Gunn

Readers of MAR magazine will have been familiar with Robert’s contributions as an expert on pickup trucks. Since retirement he has been making a selection of 4×4 vehicles by hand which he will share with us over a series of articles. All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Models

The models are hand made to 1:10 scale. Each is a unique creation and when finished is displayed on a modelled plinth in a clear cabinet. Here we look at the fourth of my models the 2016 Land Rover ‘Heritage Edition’ Defender.

How the models are made

All have a softwood chassis of pine or deal. Most body sides are tempered hardboard, as are the floors, but bonnet lids are metal – either aluminium or or nickel-silver sheet. Rounded corners are of timber beading, usually hardwood. Small details are made of anything which suits from my huge boxes of bits – parts of old pens, pieces of metal or plastic, nuts and bolts, tubes and so on. Sticks of solder are good to file into manifolds, carburetors and similar. Windscreen frames are either brass sheets and strips, or latterly in sheet polystyrene plastic.

Parts which I can’t make are brought-in, such as wheels, tyres, mirrors, lights, and badges.

Glues used vary from white PVA (Woodworking Glue) through super glue, Scotch glue and others. “JB Kwik” two pack epoxy is also very useful stuff – a combined glue and filler.

Part Four – Land Rover Defender ‘Heritage Edition’ 2016


On it’s diorama. Real chestnut rail fencing made from a 30 year old post found in my garden.


Front axle and steering gear.


Front axle and steering gear again.


Underside view


Details of lower door hinge. Tiny screws out of an old camera. Aluminium brush finish obtained using wire brush in a mini electric drill.

A view of the engine.


Another engine view.


Interior view. Canopy lifts off to enable inside to be seen.


Rear view of finished model.


Front view of finished model. The real ‘last Defender’ had an egg-crate grille in plastic which looked a bit ugly. So I made mine in real wire mesh, like a traditional Land Rover. The etched Land Rover badges are from a specialist – they’re quite expensive but are superbly made.


A view of the driver’s side of the completed model showing mirrors, black grilles in the wings and a host of other fine details.


Higher view of the front and side of the completed model.


Low view of front and side of completed model.


Engine installed. The thick sturdy metal bonnet stay was unaltered on the real Land Rover from 1948 to the last Defender!


Rear corner. Lights from an eBay supplier from the Czech Republic. Tiny screws from an old camera. The ‘reversing lights’ jewel was a motor scooter’s headlamp on a Birthday card I received.


Rear view of completed model


Front/Side view of completed model.


Seats and console. The real ‘Last Defender’ which the factory are keeping for their museum has cream leather seats. I bought cream leather on eBay ‘same as used by Aston Martin’  and glued it over timber patterns. The seats come from a ‘Bratz Doll’ 1:10 scale Cadillac car and were much modified to the correct shape.


The main body early on before the ride height was adjusted by shortening the springs.


Rear end. Early test fit. The tailgate is brass and aluminium with hard wood ‘triangle pieces’ in corners.


Primed chassis and front bulkhead. Coil spring towers are pen-caps!


The Land Rover’s chassis. Two pieces of structural quality softwood, glued together then cut to correct profile. Wood filler has been applied and it is ready to prime.


The finished Land Rover on it’s diorama with chestnut fencing.

Editor – Robert’s latest project is a 1:10 scale hand made 1955 Land Rover Series One 107 inch long wheelbase pickup. We at MAR Online look forward to Robert sharing the pictures and details of that build with us when it is finished.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please contact us at our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Ruxton by Roberts

By John Roberts

Editor: This article has been posted as a result of the interest in a model conversion by John Roberts shown on Forum 43. It shows the amazing work needed to make a model of the unusual Ruxton car. The text is a record John kept of the build of this model in 2014 and all photographs are from John. We would like to thank Richard Noskar for supplying John’s build record to share with you all, and John’s permission for us to post it to our website.

Ruxton – American rarity

Although front wheel drive began to appear in Europe in the mid 1930s, notably from Citroen, the concept in America was alien. In the early 1920s, former racing mechanic William J Muller  joined the Budd Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia. He set about persuading Budd that a front wheel drive layout was a superior way of powering a motor car. In addition the centre of gravity could be lowered and road-holding improved.  He proposed building a prototype and Budd advanced $15,000 for the project.  Such foresight was not unknown among coachbuilders in those days because if a new idea was taken up the larger manufacturers might conceivably offer a lucrative contract. After two years and another injection of finance the Muller-Budd car was completed.  With a 130 inch wheelbase the low-slung car looked like no other. The bodywork was designed by Joseph Ledwinka, a distant cousin of Hans Ledwinka of Tatra fame. The new car used a Studebaker engine with reworked Warner transmission.

Much interest was aroused in this new car, but nobody wanted to invest. At this point, a wheeler-dealer named Archie M Andrews appeared on the scene. Andrews had made a fortune on Wall St. and was involved with both the board at Budd and fellow maker Hupp. He arranged to buy the prototype and took it over to Hupp, much to Budd’s annoyance. Andrews arranged everything with Hupp and just as work was about to start, Hupp pulled out.

Undeterred, Andrews announced he would build the car himself and set up a new company, New Era Motors, in New York city. He took the car to the Dyas-Hollywood  Store where he gave rooftop demonstration drives to prospective investors, one of which was New York stockbroker William Ruxton.

Andrews took the sudden decision to name the car Ruxton, hoping that this would persuade the stockbroker to invest. He didn’t, nor was he ever involved in any way.  The newly named Ruxton was developed with a Continental engine in place of the Studebaker unit. The most striking aspect of the car was its appearance. Standing just under 64 inches tall it was billed as ‘The car you can look over, but you can’t overlook‘.  With 19 inch wheels and a 10 inch ground clearance the car bore a striking resemblance to the chopped and channelled hot-rods that would appear in the 1950s.

To emphasise the car’s low profile, New York stage designer Joseph Urban created bizarre paint schemes consisting of  horizontal bands in graduated colours. The theme was continued inside with striped seat and door panels. Only a few showcars sported this look although it was originally intended that all Ruxtons would be like this.

Despite these bold moves problems continued for Andrews and he faced a continual struggle to find a company to build his new car. The saloon used bodies shipped from Britain and made originally for Wolseley by Pressed Steel. These were modified to suit. Other home-based makers produced tourers and roadsters. After a succession of false starts, Kissel agreed to make Ruxtons alongside their own cars in exchange for a promised of $250,000 in new loans. As Kissel was in financial trouble this seemed a good idea. By mid 1930 things were beginning to go wrong. Kissel had only received a fraction of the funds promised and went into receivership, and New Era Motors followed at the end of the same year.

Thus  Ruxton enjoyed a short but eventful life, killed off not only by innovation which the American public didn’t fully trust, but also by the Depression which finished off many small automobile makers. Less than 500 examples were built and those remaining are much prized today.

John Roberts on building a model Ruxton sedan

The model is being created using a Robeddie Volvo 704 body and a Brooklin Packard Light 8 chassis and wheels. I found that the Packard wheelbase is identical to the Ruxton which was a bonus as I’d originally thought of using the Packard for its wheels only. I’ve modified the chassis by severely reworking the front wings and lowering the ride height. The Volvo has donated its body which is a close match to the original Wolseley body that was used by Ruxton. Just like the real one, I’ve had to modify it by recutting the rear wheel arches, chopping the roof down and cutting the body in half to widen it. I’ve also reprofiled the sides to give the tumble-home on the doors. Having tried the body on the chassis with the wheels in place I’ve achieved the correct height exactly in 1/43 scale. The real car is 64 inches high!

After working on proportions today I realised that the body is 1/10th of an inch too long – about 4” in real terms. I thought I could get away with it but realised I would wish I’d changed things, so the body has now been cut in half and I’ve taken 1/10th out. I’m currently fixing the bits back together. I’ll make new ‘B’ posts and recut the door shutlines. I’ve already made the windscreen upright rather than raked. After the body is together, gaps filled and the whole thing sanded I’ll scatchbuild the bonnet and radiator shell.

Photographs below show some of the work….before I cut the body in half to shorten it.

1937 Volvo TR704, Robeddie 014


Packard chassis & wheels, with Volvo body, with modifications already  (Nov. 1, 2014)


Another view  (Nov. 1, 2014)


Since I took the photos I’ve shortened the body shell by 1/10th of an inch. The proportions are now correct. Currently I’m making the bonnet and have made a sub-structure which is glued to the body. This gives me the chance to see if everything is aligned. I’m now looking for some louvres to go on the bonnet sides. I could make them from wire if I have to, but some taken from another model will be quicker. I will then let them in as panels on the bonnet sides. Currently I have an old Norev Peugeot that would do, or failing that a Lansdowne Bentley 8 litre. I’d rather use the Norev if I can. I’m still going through my bits and pieces. Most louvre sets are angled whereas the Ruxton and others of this period are vertical. The radiator grille will be fashioned from plasticard then foiled. The bonnet sides will be plasticard, and the top probably filler. The Woodlites…probably going to be the hardest thing to do. I have several ways here but I want to use metal so they can be polished. Foiling won’t work. I may make one and then make a mould and cast them to ensure they’re both the same size. I may modify a 1936 Pontiac light as I have a few spare.

Photos below show the Omen lady in the background, included for height/scale really – painted in a hurry yesterday. Side view shows the shortened body which now needs detail work round the windows and B posts, plus the drip rails, etc. The white plastic substructure is glued to the body and will form the basis for the bonnet – plastic sides and filler top which I can sand to the right profile. The front shots show the heavily modified front wings – the inners have been cut away and replaced with thin section plastic and the wing profiles have been altered to make them flatter rather than curved as they were originally. Also I’ve cut away the lump of metal in the front to leave the locating arms for the front bumper. These have to be shaped now. The body is just loosely placed on the chassis and it’s slightly off centre – this was me not the model.

Alignment frame for bonnet   (Nov. 2, 2014)


Front section to fit in chassis   (Nov. 2, 2014)


I’m going to be working on the bonnet next and then refining the detail and the fit. There are gaps between the body and the rear wings and these have to be sorted. I’ll make the basic shape of the radiator and when I’m happy with the fit I’ll try a guide coat of primer to highlight blemishes.

Joining the starting pieces   (Nov. 2, 2014)


I’ve found that the Peugeot louvres are a good match so that’s a relief. I didn’t really want to cut a Bentley 8 litre apart.

Side panels for the bonnet before filling in the tiny gaps, bonnet sub-assembly in place, and filler waiting to be filed to shape…plus my bloody fingerprint on the roof after I cut myself! Risky business this model creation!!


The side panels   (Nov. 2, 2014)


Bonnet form taking shape   (Nov. 2, 2014)

Filler curing   (Nov. 2, 2014)


I’m working on the body now – final detailing and cleaning up. All the wire trim has been done – roof, bonnet sides, drip rails. The holes for door handles and bonnet (hood) clips are drilled and the radiator shell is underway – the flash takes the detail out. I made it from plastic with a wire frame with a thin filler coat to blend in the wire. As you know Ruxtons are all different – some have chrome grilles, other black mesh. I’ve also noticed detail differences in the paint finishes and some have uncovered sidemounts, some have fabric and others have chrome. I’m going for the uncovered. The sidemounts sit higher than the bonnet on the real cars and I’ve realised that they do on the model too. I’m concentrating on the painting today and the making of the Woodlites. I have a dozen or so Pontiac headlights in a heap on the bench so hopefully I’ll get two correct Woodlites before I run out. The interior will have the full striped treatment – I’ve thought of a way of doing this.

Parts getting there—see the radiator  (Nov 3, 2014)


And together   (Nov. 3, 2014)


Looking about right   (Nov. 3, 2014)


I am pretty confident the Woodlites will work using the Pontiac ones as a base. I’ve filed two into the basic shape…actually I filed four but two pinged off into the far corners of the workshop and I couldn’t find them!

The body now has its top painted white and I’ve just painted the lilac stripe round the sides. I’ll have to wait until all is dry before masking for the third time.

The aim is to get the body painted and then I’ll leave everything to dry properly. The striping on the wings will be hand painted – free hand on the edges and masked for the central stripes. The stripes on the rear wings should disappear under the body then appear again at the lower ends. I’m not sure if this will happen but I hope it will.

My second attempt at masking and spraying has worked. Still some bits to refine and tidy and the white and lilac will be redone but it’s beginning to look the part now. The masking tape ripped a section of bonnet top off so it’s one step forward, and one back!


Tomorrow I’m masking up and respraying the white. The black roof has taken ages today – several attempts. You can see the striping on this pic. The lilac is being redone tomorrow and will continue along the bonnet sides. On top will be dark blue pinstriping and the blue stripes will go on the door pillars. The drip moulding will also be dark blue and I’ll add hinges for the doors and a bright metal strip along the bottom of the body. The sunvisor will be made and fitted, sprayed dark blue. Tomorrow I’ll detail the striping on the wings, hoping I can get the central white stripe to disappear under the body as per the original. But here’s what it looks like today:


The radiator grille has been made and fitted and the wheels given caps. The lower body sides have wire trim.

The seats are from the donor Volvo. I filled all the pleats to make smooth seats then cut the striped pattern to fit. The same pattern will be used vertically on the inner door panels. The seat ‘material’ was made by spraying small pieces of thin plasticard with the various colours. I then cut these into strips and glued them onto a backing. After this I photocopied the pattern, doubling up each time until I had enough. Then the sheet of panels was reduced to 56% on the copier and printed. I’ll use these to cover the seats and door trims.


The Woodlite headlights were made using 1936 Pontiac headlights, filed down to a Woodlite profile and I’ve just glued very thin wire round the body of each lamp to replicate the raised rib that goes round the upper half. The mountings have been slimmed down from the originals. I think I’ll drill the front wings and fit the lights. I have to line up the lights tomorrow to see how they look. If they’re not mounted in the right place the front will look wrong.


I paid a visit to Frome Model Centre on Thursday (Dec. 11, 2014) as I needed some black decal sheet to finish the Ruxton Sedan. I found a plain black sheet and also a sheet of printed grilles and grids which have many applications for model cars. The company is BECCs self adhesive vinyl Custom Decals – website


I’ve managed to fit the dreaded Woodlite headlights! They look just right. I now have to detail the lights and refine the shapes slightly.

All I need to do now is make and fit the front and rear bumpers and detail the trunk then it’s done.

Finished!  Dec. 19, 2014


With the 1:1,  Dec. 19, 2014

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please contact us at our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

1963 Oldsmobile conversions

By John Quilter

All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Recently I bought three ME-MOD resin kits of the 1963 Oldsmobile Starfire coupe even though I already had the Brooklin coupe in maroon. Some will either consider this heresy or craftsmanship but I set about modifying these kits and built three different 1963 Oldsmobiles. The Starfire was Oldsmobile’s answer to the newly introduced Pontiac Grand Prix but Olds did both a coupe and convertible both with the hottest version of the 394 CID Rocket V8. One of the kits became a four door Dynamic 88 sedan, (the entry level full sized Oldsmobile) one became a Starfire convertible, and one became a Super 88 Fiesta station wagon.

My model collecting and building hobby often includes making models of an actual car that no model maker has done before. Since I already had the Brooklin Starfire hardtop, I decided to do some different things with the kits. In reworking these I did finish them with somewhat larger tires than the undersized ones in the kits, and added white walls using my technique of applying a thin white painted wire to the tire. I also changed the dashboards to replicate the actual ’63 Oldsmobile one which I was able to research on Google images.

It is amazing the number of photos one can view using this search and these are useful in picking realistic exterior and interior colours as well. And then there is the US car brochure website that is a great resource as well. My friend in Norway, Hans Tor Tangerud maintains this amazing resource.

On the sedan I made some wheel covers that were stock on the less fancy versions of this year Oldsmobile. On both the sedan and wagon the front bucket seats had to be connected and the centre console eliminated. Also on both of these the top had to be raised just slightly to accommodate the chrome window frames which were created with thin silver coloured solder. Luckily the vacform windscreen still worked well as making the curved windows is one of the most challenging tasks in these projects.

The side mouldings had to be changed to two different versions not used on the Starfire which had a wide silver band for the length of the car. The grills had to be cut off the plated white metal front bumper and a new grill of simple horizontal bars created which I was able to do with silver coloured wire adding jewelled headlamps and headlamp rims.

The roof for the wagon was made by joining the displaced roof cut off from the convertible and the load strengthening ribs were added to the rear half.

The convertible was the simplest to construct, as only the top had to be cut off and a top boot created but it too got the fascia improvement as well as some small interior handles for the doors and windows made from silver wire.

Here is one website I used to study the details of the wagon. I also use my library of books for research on details. The Crestline series of marque books is exceptionally good as these show at least one photo, usually factory promotional photos, of every model of car for every model year of production. They are, however, in black and white so colour information has to come from elsewhere.

The maroon 1963 Starfire Coupe in the pictures is from Brooklin and gives a good comparison to the Sedan, Convertible and Convertible I have created from the ME-MOD kits.

We welcome your comments and questions.   Please contact us at our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email the Editors at maronlineeditor at

Big Hand Crafted Four by Fours – Part Three

By Robert Gunn

Readers of MAR magazine will have been familiar with Robert’s contributions as an expert on pickup trucks. Since retirement he has been making a selection of 4×4 vehicles by hand which he will share with us over a series of articles. All photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

The Models

The models are hand made to 1:10 scale. Each is a unique creation and when finished is displayed on a modelled plinth in a clear cabinet. Here we look at the third of my models the Datsun Patrol.

How the models are made

All have a softwood chassis of pine or deal. Most body sides are tempered hardboard, as are the floors, but bonnet lids are metal – either aluminium or or nickel-silver sheet. Rounded corners are of timber beading, usually hardwood. Small details are made of anything which suits from my huge boxes of bits – parts of old pens, pieces of metal or plastic, nuts and bolts, tubes and so on. Sticks of solder are good to file into manifolds, carburetors and similar. Windscreen frames are either brass sheets and strips, or latterly in sheet polystyrene plastic.

Parts which I can’t make are brought-in, such as wheels, tyres, mirrors, lights, and badges.

Glues used vary from white PVA (Woodworking Glue) through super glue, Scotch glue and others. “JB Kwik” two pack epoxy is also very useful stuff – a combined glue and filler.

Part Three – Datsun Patrol L-60 1965


Alice the farm girl – Sarah’s sister – another modified Katmiss (Jennifer Lawrence) figure with new clothes and a bow and arrow surgically removed! She is holding a traditional wooden rake with prongs made individually from cocktail sticks.


Test fitting the parts with the Datsun in its ‘first-coat’ orange paint.


Datsun door cards and handles. These are filed from aluminium with pin heads as the ‘bolts’.


Datsun dashboard
Datsun Engine. A 3956cc unit producing 145hp when the Land Rover had 2286cc and 77hp.


Alice checking the engine.



Alice with the Datsun.



Swinging the spare tyre carrier aside to allow the rear tailgate to be opened.


Alice on the diorama I made with the rake.

A future article by Robert will cover the Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition 2016 he has made.

 We welcome your comments and questions.   Please go to our Model Auto Review Facebook page or email us at