Category Archives: Reader made or modified

Big Hand Crafted Four by Fours – Part Five

By Robert P. Gunn

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

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 to 1:10 scale, four of which have already appeared in MAR Online. The fifth is a 1957 Land Rover 107 inch wheelbase described by Robert below.



When the Land Rover appeared in 1948, its all terrain usefulness was much appreciated from the beginning.  But farmers and other users soon found the rear load area to be too small, owing to the very short wheelbase – 80 inches originally, then 86 inches (2.3 Meters and 2.18 meters).

In 1955 Land Rover answered this criticism by introducing the long wheelbase Land Rover, in pickup and station wagon versions. The wheelbase was stretched to 107 inches (2.71 metres), giving much more room in the load area. Oddly, the allowable load was initially exactly the same as the short wheelbase model, but the road limit was soon raised; possibly the springs were strengthened.

The 107 inch was stretched to the more familiar 109 inches later, the extra length being to accommodate a diesel engine which longer.

Making the Model

This model was made in the same way as the other four earlier ones in my ‘1:10 scale 4×4’ series. (use the site search feature and search for ‘big hand crafted’ if you wish to read Robert’s four previous articles). It is of mixed materials, to strict 1:10 scale, using whatever suits a particular part best. Or sometimes simply what I have available!

The chassis is of pinewood, and most of the body flat panels are in hardboard. The cab roof is aluminium sheet glued to a softwood block, while the bonnet lid was formed from nickel silver sheet – this is more rigid than aluminium but easier to work than steel.

Springs and much of the steering is of brass strips and tubes; some universal joints from radio-controlled cars were adapted to enable the front wheels to turn.

Rubber tyres are correct tread pattern, Dunlop ‘TRAK-GRIP’, a tyre actually fitted by the factory as an option on this model.

Seats are carved from softwood and covered in vinyl, obtained from a cheap handbag bought in a charity shop – with some funny looks from the assistant!

The many galvanised parts presented a problem. Only the cowling above the windscreen is real galvanised steel sheet. This is very realistic stuff of course, but is too hard to work. Instead I bought some bright zinc sheet and made it dull by a special chemical process. Other parts are painted in grey primer, which seems to match quite well.

The number plates and photo-etched Land Rover badges were bought from eBay suppliers, as were the rear lamps.

This model has 1,500 parts and took nearly a year to complete. It’s overall length is 18 inches (455mm).

The Result

Front Steering


The steering assembly test fit.



Details of the Damper


Rear Bodywork


Rear bed made of hardboard with sheet brass floor and plastic rubbing strips.


Tailgate is of aluminium and brass, superglued together.


The Interior

The doors do not hinge open but were made as separate parts. This gave access to build the model, and resulted in realistic gaps around the doors.


Views of the steering column, instrument panel, and gear and other levers.


Seats look as uncomfortable as the they are in the real thing!


More Views of the Cab

Showing the galvanised screen and the wipers.


Doors in place and all the galvanised strips showing clearly.


Doors shown in more detail with hinging shown even though doors do not hinge! But as can be seen a realistic gap can be created if doors are fitted separately.

General Views of the complete model

Model seen from front three quarter view .


Passenger side with exhaust winding its way underneath and mirrors standing high and proud on the front wing.


Drivers side with exhaust box and tail pipe and spare wheel clearly visible.
The Rear End

Cross member built-up of brass sections.


The Engine

The engine is fully-detailed. Bonnet stay is hinged like the real thing and works.


The Tailgate

Tailgate opens on chains, and the spare wheel can be removed from its bracket.


The Underside


The underside is fully detailed with all the transmission shafts, pedal linkages, springs and chassis sections modelled.


The Front End

A general view from the front. Note the strengthened hole in the front bumper to allow a starting handle to be used.


A view of number plate, grille and front lights as well as the Land Rover badges.


A detailed look at the front grille and headlights as well as the neatly made Land Rover badge.


The Wheels and Suspension

The wheels were modified by fitting the nuts and studs, among other changes.


The rear leaf spring and damper are shown above with the rear axle and prop shaft.

Rear Detailing

‘UO’ was a Devon registration. Number Plates include a realistic effect to suggest the raised letters used on 1950s plates. Reflector and rear light flank the plate.

The Completed  Model

All complete and ready for work!

Completed Model On Display

The fisherman, from eBay, sits in the rear of the finished model.


In a natural setting – the Rocky Mountains!


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Converted to some Chevy IIs

By John Quilter

Photographs and text by, and copyright of the Author.

The partworks series from Argentina includes a model they call a Chevrolet 400 sedan. This diecast replica is likely made by Ixo a brand name produced by Premium Collectibles Trading Co of Macau, China. Unfortunately, these partworks items are a bit difficult to obtain for collectors outside the partworks subscription area. However, some enterprising individuals apparently get a number of subscriptions and then re-market the models on eBay for other parts of the world. Collecting 43rd models is sometimes all about the chase for some unusual item not already in one’s collection. Perhaps since these items are diecast with the attendant higher tooling costs compared to resin models, they will appear in some other marketing channel in the future.

This Chevrolet 400 was of interest to me as it is a car that was sold in the USA from 1962 to 1965 as the Chevy II. It was a belated entry into the compact car market by Chevrolet who soon realised by mid-1960 that the radically engineered air cooled rear engine Corvair was being handily outsold by Ford’s very conventional Falcon. Both were launched in the fall of 1959 as 1960 models in answer to the ever growing popularity of the European small cars such as the Volkswagen Beetle, Renault Dauphine, Morris Minor, Hlllman Minx and many others including the Ford Consul and Zephyr, Opel Record, and Vauxhall Victor, which were known as captive imports.

Seeing the Corvair was not matching the Falcon in sales GM hurriedly designed an launched the Chevy II as a 1962 model and it came in two door and four door sedans, a four door wagon, a convertible and pillarless hardtop. Engines ranged from a 153 cubic inch four cylinder to a 230 cubic inch six cylinder. Later cars had larger V8s up to the ubiquitous Chevrolet 283 and even the 327. Gearboxes were usually three speed column shifted manuals or the two speed Powerglide. The basic first generation body design lasted until 1965 when it got a re-skin for the next two years. Along the way it was renamed the Nova. This name had a bad translation into Spanish as “no go” hence the Argentine version being called the Chevrolet 400. This was as small car by American standards but was probably considered a mid to large car in many other markets. Like Ford and the Falcon based Mustang, GM took the Chevy II and used it as a base for their pony car, the Camaro in 1967.

The partworks version is a white four door sedan, probably the most common of all body types. It is quite accurate and in all respects replicates the US version closely. I was able to acquire three of these partworks items so I could create different versions. I chose to make a station wagon and a convertible.

The convertible was the easiest being that I only had to use my jeweller’s saw to cut off the roof, change the length of the door from a four door car to a two door car and create a top boot using a piece of sheet lead. The door edges can be made with a saw cut groove and the lead material lends itself easily to bending and shaping for a top boot.

I added the detail of period accessory wheel trim rings and thin white walls to the existing black walls using some white painted wire rings. Decals for whitewall this thin are not yet produced to my knowledge but this might be a good offering for one of the decal suppliers such as Interdecal marketed by Tin Wizard.

For greater accuracy I added a graphic artists tape chrome moulding down the flanks to replicate the factory moulding. The Ixo model has this in tampo print along with various badges. After repaint in red, I was able to touch in the badges approximately using my newly discovered Molotow 1mm chrome paint pen. Both the convertible and wagon got a bare metal foil sill moulding as per the actual cars.

The work to create the station wagon was a bit more complex in that I had to create a roof extension and side windows. Careful research on Wikipedia showed that the station wagon had a slightly longer length than the sedan, all in the rear quarter.

This meant that to get the correct proportions I was necessary to cut off the tail panel and extend it rearwards and fill the resulting gap with epoxy metal. Being a four door car the door joints were retained from the sedan.

I appreciated adding these variations of American compacts to my collection as model makers such as NEO, Premium X (another PCT brand) and Goldvarg* seem to be concentrating of the larger, flashier American cars in their products but if one is going to replicate what was on the streets this era, compacts from all of the big three American makers certainly played an important part at the time. I welcome models of some of the other GM compacts of the time such as the Pontiac Tempest, Olds F-85 and Buick Special or Ford’s Mercury Comet or the intermediate Mercury Meteor or Ford Fairlane. There are no shortages of body style to pick from as all had a full range of versions.

*Editors Note: John sent his article to MAR Online the day before Goldvarg announced that the Chevy II will form part of their forward programme. If Goldvarg do a Chevy II two door hardtop it will allow John to complete his collection without the need to convert another partwork model!

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Modelling a Silent Movie Star’s car

By Richard Nosker

Text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author except where otherwise acknowledged.

Copyright acknowledged
The model with modelled Fatty on running board

The 1:1 car

A young Harley Earl (1893-1969, and later the head of GM’s Design Division for over 30 years) worked for his father’s company, Earl Automobile Works, in Hollywood, California, designing automobiles.  Young Harley showed good aptitude for this work.  He also mastered the art of presentation and the selling of a design early on. He produced not only full-sized drawings of the proposal for a client, but also built clay models of them, a skill he first learned as a child. The utilisation of both enabled him to promote his concept to a prospect wanting something exclusive and who could well afford the luxury.

Earl was able to get established with the Hollywood crowd by re-modelling a car for the cowboy movie star Tom Mix, but his ‘piece de resistance’ was the next car that he designed and built for Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle. Arbuckle (1887-1933) was one of the most popular silent stars of the 1910s, and soon became one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood, signing a contract in 1920 with Paramount Pictures for $1 million US Dollars. His career was derailed after he was accused (and eventually acquitted) of the rape and manslaughter of a young, aspiring actress in 1921. Was Hollywood ever thus? Talking films, by the way, didn’t take over until the early 1930s. Colour photography was about 1935.

And here is a picture of Fatty’s house in 1919, in the West Adams district of Los Angeles.  The 1:43 scale model and Fatty have been “placed” in the picture.

But back to the important part. Earl used what was perhaps the largest automobile chassis in production at the time, a 1918 Pierce-Arrow Model 66 with a 147.5-inch wheelbase that was powered by an enormous 855 T-head six cylinder engine.

With this impressive platform Harley first started out by designing special hubs and sharply-dished wooden-spoked wheels constructed of Burmese teak that were fitted with nickel-plated rims and light grey tires. For the coachwork, he started with a clean slate and designed a magnificent and totally custom built touring car body, radiator, hood, and fenders. The bright blue creation was trimmed with nickel-plated accents. The interior was finished in fine leather with a spectacular curved wooden vanity on the back of the front seats.

The creation and its design was started at the Earl Automobile Works in 1918 or 1919, but it was finished and delivered to Arbuckle by the Don Lee Coach and Body Works (who had bought Earl’s company). The May 2, 1920 Los Angeles Times reported on the just finished car: “Arbuckle’s Car Is A Genuine Knockout”, and went on to state that “ten-thousand people had filed through the Don Lee showroom in a few days just to see the car that cost $25,000”.

Restored by Lon Kruger of Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2007, this Pierce-Arrow has taken best-in-class awards at Pebble Beach (in 2007) and Amelia Island (in 2009), and in 2015 captured Best in Show at the Pinehurst, and in 2016 in Boca Raton. Once part of the Blackhawk Collection, the seven-foot-tall, 7000 pound touring car (built without windshield wipers or even side curtains, a nod to its Southern California roots) was purchased in 2014 by Robert S. Jepson, Jr. of Savannah, Georgia.

The 1:43 scale car.

There are very few 1:43 cars to choose from when selecting starting points to build a car like this.  A 1926 Solido Hispano Suiza gave its body & chassis to the cause, but those parts had to be sectioned in multiple ways to get the right proportions.  Such an “oversized” car was able to use parts from 1:32 scale models too!

This is a famous, and historically significant, car, and would be worthy of some manufacturer’s effort to make a model of such a spectacular vehicle for model collectors.

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Amateur Building #2 – being a reconstruction of GFCC’s Austin 7 of 1930

By David Holcombe

Unless otherwise stated all text and photographs are copyright of the Author.

When Maz reviewed this little fellow in all its 1:43 glory (MAR Online, 31 Dec. ’17), he concluded that it “.. really would benefit from taking the model apart and treating it like a kit.” That’s when I decided it was time to find one for myself.

I acquired mine a couple of weeks ago (the postage from China was far more than I paid for the model); I had only pictures with which to compare, for I have never seen an Austin 7. But surely the staid English motorists of 1930 would not have used this green! So I turned to my long-suffering internet pals on Forum 43 and braced myself. Comments flowed, “Needs window glazing,” “like the postal slot in brass,” and from Master John Roberts, “different colour?”. One collector even posted his hot rod version. Horrors!

First, I made an attempt at just cleaning it up by touching the door handles and hub caps with silver/chrome, and adding a bit of pin striping. It still didn’t work. That green was just too green. So, I started with the conclusions of Maz and implemented the others as best as I could (where I agreed with them, anyhow). The model has two basic parts of die cast metal, being the cabin and the fenders/subframe. The rest, including a well-formed undercarriage, is plastic. The roof is also plastic, somewhat simplified. It appeared that the Austin was held together by two minute screws, but after removing them and the undercarriage, I found a third. Very small tabs, all plastic, tended to break as their glue gave way; but construction was so simple that they went back together rather easily.

The window glazing was relatively easy, working from the inside, as the metal of the cabin is quite nicely finished. That is, until I attempted the windshield (that’s “windscreen” in the UK). Sorry if a smear shows, but even my third attempt was faulty. I applied a light grey on the seats to ease all that black, and even picked out a little of the minimal dashboard. One of the guys who hangs around my models volunteered to drive, and he is still there.

Final touch-up was simple, as that’s the term for the Austin 7. My chosen dark red was advised by John Roberts, even though I found many, many shades of red in restored Austins. Chrome is only a touch here and there, and I had fun adding the pin stripe for a black on red contrast. That’s not paint; it’s a trimmed slice of the plastic striping I applied on my 1:1 PT Cruiser about 15 years ago. Never throw away something that you might need in the future. And, yes, I used a brass/golden tint on the postal slot. (I wonder if that is the correct term. Oh well, I like it and it seems to fit.)

If all this seems a lot of fuss over the very small car, then I suggest one of the several Austin 7 models that have been produced over the years. Oxford, I think, has one still in production. But none of them have just quite the same features as mine. (Big Smile!)

Picture from unknown source.


The 1:1 Austin 7 (sometimes referred to as the Austin Seven)

This is how it arrived, well packed but with no pretty box.

So I attempted a little work, but it still was too green! Time to “do a Maz!”

And so, we took it apart. And then I had fun!

And here it is now, on the streets of London, c. 1930. Okay, this driver found some pavement.


Here is how it looked in comparison to its English kin. That’s a Western Model’s version of the 1926 Rolls Royce Phantom 1 Doctor’s Coupe. And it’s a 2-passenger car. The Austin 7 was designed to handle four.


Sometimes it’s fun to take something apart and put it back together. . . kind of.

Yes these are both to 1:43 scale!

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Heat Moulded Model Glazing

By Graeme Ogg

All text, illustrations and photographs by, and copyright of the Author. 

NOTE: This may look like a long, complicated story, but rather than giving a very basic set of instructions (“1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – all done, easy peasy!”) and leaving people to struggle with unexpected little problems, I thought I should spell things out in more detail and mention various points to look out for. If you’re still interested, read on …]

I’ve done my share of trying to make new model windows from bits of thin, flat scrap plastic, which works fine if the curvature is slight, but if you get into restorations or conversions involving more heavily-curved glazing (including wraparound front or rear screens) that method can be inadequate. Trying to force flat plastic into a 3-dimensional shape can be a nightmare, and next morning you find the springiness in the plastic has gradually popped it loose from the adhesive. Some people resort to cutting suitably-curved sections from old plastic soft drink bottles, but if the rest of your model is looking pretty good, chances are that those makeshift windows will spoil the overall effect.

So eventually I bit the bullet and had a go at heat-moulding. Contrary to what serious modelling handbooks may tell you, a fancy vacuum-forming rig complete with hinges and clamps and an air pump isn’t really required for this kind of job. Just a hot-air blower, some balsa, scraps of old plywood and some suitable clear plastic. However it does take a bit of time, and trial and error, and in early attempts there were a lot of scraps of warped, over-cooked plastic in the waste bin before I got a decent result. So it’s not something that everyone would want to bother with. But for any enterprising soul who wants to give it a try, the following instructions may be useful. And if your eyes start glazing over (so to speak) just take a short break.

(Fig.1) Rough-cut a piece of balsa slightly too big to fit inside the model body. A useful first move is to cut the front face to roughly the angle the window makes with the car body (use one of those cheap see-through plastic protractors). It also helps if you trace the top and bottom edges of the screen opening on to tracing paper, cut out the tracings and mark them on to the top/bottom of the balsa block as a rough guide to shaping.

(Fig. 2) File and sand the balsa, test-fitting regularly, until it can be slipped up into the body and makes good contact all round the edges of the screen opening. (My rough sketch shows the top and sides of the balsa as flat, but of course you may need to curve the top surface, or round off the corners, or slope the sides inwards towards the top, to fit the inner body contour). Go very slowly in the final stages, continually checking the fit all round, because when the mould is “almost fitting in but not quite”, it is very easy to misjudge where it is binding and to sand away a little too much in the wrong place.. If that happens, and you end up with a visible a gap at along one edge or at a corner, cellulose stopping putty (knifing putty) is a useful remedy. Apply it where you’ve removed too much material. When hard, blend it to shape with 400/800 grade wet-and-dry. And if you have a particularly coarse-grained piece of balsa with cracks you think might show up in the moulding, thin down some cellulose putty with cellulose thinners to the consistency of thick primer and paint it over the entire face of your carved window.. When dry it will sand to a very fine smooth finish, and incidentally it can also reduce the problem of stray bits of balsa dust producing dimples on your cast screen.

(Fig.3) When you’re happy with the shape, hold it firmly in place inside the model and trace the window opening onto it with a fine-tip pigment marker pen, otherwise at a later stage it can sometimes be hard to see exactly where the actual window area is on the balsa. Take care not to dent the balsa by pressing too hard with a sharp pen point.

(Fig. 4) Slice off the back of the balsa roughly parallel with the front face of the screen. This helps to ensure you will be pushing the face of the screen flat into the heated plastic, rather than at an angle which could lead to one edge being forced too deep and maybe breaking through.

(Fig. 5). Glue the balsa block to a backing piece of plywood (half an inch or so bigger all round than the balsa) and add a block of wood or a piece of dowel for a handle

(Fig. 6) Use a scrap of plywood or similar for the female mould. In theory the opening should be the shape of the front face of your balsa moulding plus the thickness of the plastic all round. In practice you need to leave a little bit more clearance to avoid scuff marks or stress marks on the plastic. But if you are doing a fairly deep wrap-around shape, too big an opening may mean the sides don’t get wrapped round tight enough, so start with the minimum opening and increase the clearance a bit more if you find the heated plastic is getting scuffed as it is pushed in. It’s easiest to use some kind of coping saw to cut the opening, but failing that you can drill holes all round the outline, “join the dots” with a blade, remove the shape and sand the edges of the opening. At the hot-moulding stage there needs to be enough spare plastic around the opening to be drawn in smoothly during the push, so make your plywood big enough to allow you to pin down a piece of plastic with a border of about an inch all round the opening. Sand the top edges of the opening to a smooth curve to prevent marking the plastic on a sharp edge. When moulding, you can either hold the female mould in a vice, or make a couple of feet from scrap material, as illustrated, so it will sit on the workbench.

(Fig. 7) Test the two halves of the mould together. The male mould only needs to go in just far enough to ensure the shape is properly formed. To avoid the risk of pushing too far (which could over-stretch the glazing) you might need to fit spacers of scrap material to the underside of the backing piece as shown. That then allows you to push firmly down “on to the bump stops”, which helps to avoid any wobbling before the plastic has hardened, which could distort the screen.

You can use various types of clear plastic, but some clear packaging material has a ”scoured” finish which can look bad in close-up on a small windscreen. And some kinds of plastic sheet that looks quite promising will crinkle and curl at the merest touch of heat. (Hard to tell the good from the bad till you experiment!) Too thin and you can easily break though when pushing a deep shape. Too thick and the result can look clumsy, and sharp curves may come out somewhat blunted. I use 20 thou clear polystyrene sheet and simply fix it to the female mould with 4 drawing pins at the corners. You may need a pliers or small hammer to get them into the wood the first time. For repeat attempts just push them into the same holes each time.

Having once burned out a domestic hair drier I now use a hot air stripper on its low setting at a distance of 5-6 inches. Don’t go too close or the plastic can “fry” or bubble. Play the heat back and forth over the whole piece of plastic, not just the central area. That way the surrounding material will also be softened and will pull in smoothly. After maybe 20-30 seconds it will sag, then start to bulge up again. Press the male mould in gently. If there is too much resistance, don’t force it or you’ll get scuffing or stretch marks. Apply a bit more heat and try again. When the mould sinks in nicely, hold it steady for 20-30 seconds to let it cool. Prise up the drawing pins with a small screwdriver and remove the glazing piece. If there are scuff marks/stress marks in the plastic, ease the female mould a bit more before trying again. A smear of mould release (liquid vaseline) over everything can also help avoid this problem. If the casting looks OK, slip it back onto the male mould and trace the window outline from the balsa to the glazing so that you can see exactly where the window starts and ends on the plastic “blister”. Also mark any tabs or borders required for concealed gluing inside the body shell. Remove the pigment ink with methylated spirits. Trim carefully. A small craft scissors is recommended. NIbble carefully around any sharp corners to prevent the thinned plastic tearing or stressing.

Fig. 8) For a relatively simple curved screen (or for curved side glazing on flush-glazed vehicles) just shape a single piece of balsa to the required curve, fix one end of a strip of glazing to it using double-sided sticky tape, apply heat (keeping it away from the sticky tape as far as possible) and use a scrap of smooth wood to press the glazing down on to the curve and hold till it cools. Use white spirit on a cotton bud to remove the sticky tape afterwards. NOTE: If you don’t apply the heat for long enough, the glazing will soften enough to bend but won’t be heated right through, so the residual elasticity will tend to unbend it a little as it cools. Give it a bit longer. If you keep getting an inadequate bend, try exaggerating the curve of the mould just a little to compensate for this.

(Fig. 9) You can also use the heat-and-press technique to form tail-light or headlamp units with a more severe wraparound. Once again, if you don’t get the heat right through the plastic, it will tend to uncurl. Give it another dose of heat and press it down again (decent plastic can be re-heated and re-bent a few times before it starts to permanently distort).

Even if you aren’t into making your own models or doing conversions,, you can also use this technique to replace cracked or discoloured glazing on precious older models, or add it to models which didn’t have any in the first place but would look the better for it. You are bound to have quite a few experiments that don’t turn out quite right, but eventually (with any luck) you should get a decent result.

Male and female moulds for a couple of models. In the left-hand one the balsa was left “raw”. The one on the right got a thin smoothing coat of cellulose putty, hence the dark appearance.

A selection of successful attempts at window moulding are show below


Wrap-round/wrap-over front screen of ’59 Edsel (conversion from Brooklin ’58)

Replacement for disintegrated front screen of Kager Edsel kit

Rear screen for ’60 Ford Galaxie Starliner (modified Brooklin convertible)

Panoramic rear screen for 1960 Chevrolet (modified Brooklin convertible)

Side glazing panels for Pontiac Type K ( conversion from Yat Ming Firebird)

Compound-curvature rear window for 1960 Edsel (modified Brooklin ’60 Ford)

Or maybe something a little more outrageous

Rolls Silver Seraph glass-top Ceremonial limo (fictitious)

Compound-curved side and rear glasses for Bentley K2 SUV (fictitious)

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Suddenly it’s 1960 (A little later then planned)

By Graeme Ogg

All text and photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Upper Photograph is from an Anonymous source on the Internet. Lower is the Author’s Handiwork

A few years ago I got hold of a Brooklin Models 1960 Edsel convertible and in one of those moments of rash enthusiasm decided to scratchbuild an estate roof on to it to make a Villager wagon, which would fill a gap in my Edsel collection. This was a rare bird (only 275 built before Ford finally pulled the plug on Edsel production) which essentially shared the 1960 Ford body, and I found the wagon roofline particularly attractive. Unfortunately I ran into problems with the build and chickened out (it’s a long, sad story) and set the whole thing aside. For about 5 years.

Meanwhile, fellow chopper John Quilter took the sensible approach to building his own Villager by making resin castings of the Brooklin bumpers and grille and fitting them into the Ixo body. I could have done the same, but clung to the idea I could make my Brooklin conversion work. Then along came the Ixo 1960 Ford wagon. I bought a couple of them and found that the roof was a remarkable good fit for the half-demolished Brooklin body.


After carefully sawing it off the Ixo body I glued it in place and it only needed a touch of filler here and there to blend it into the lower body. The rear fins on the wagon, curving their way around the tail-lights, differ from both the Edsel sedan and the Ford wagon, so those had to be fabricated. After that it was only (hah!) a matter of tidying and detailing.

I had kept the Brooklin seats but the Ixo seating unit sat better in the “blended” body so I used that, but tarted up the seats a little to make them look more like the Edsel upholstery pattern.  I replaced the Ford wheels with the Brooklins.

The Edsel wasn’t exactly lacking in brightwork, so a fair bit of work was needed with the Bare Metal Foil. I was going to foil the grille and bumpers but they looked bright enough to match the BMF so I left them alone, although I did drill out the metal headlamps and front sidelights and fitted plastic lenses, which brightened up the front quite nicely.

I also remembered to add the “gunsights” on the front corners that weren’t originally fitted to the Brooklin.

And that would have been it, really, except that when it came to the knee-trembling stage of final detailing and re-assembly, my nerve went again, and the model just sat there unfinished. However, in the past few weeks I finally got my whatsit back into gear and completed the job.

Of course (as a country barmaid once confessed to me) when you start fooling around with the country squire[*] it can be hard to stop. Pretty soon I was attacking another Ixo wagon. I’ve always admired the styling of the 1960 big Fords but only have a very warped plastic Galaxie (Anguplas) and a Starliner coupé (Motorhead Miniatures) in my collection, so I launched into a sedan conversion. For some reason I found the particular variation of the “Thunderbird” roofline used on the 1960 Galaxie less convincing than on some other Fords of that era, so switched my attention to the Fairlane 500 Town Sedan, with its slimmer rear pillars and huge back window (interesting that in 1960 Ford, GM and Chrysler all featured outsize “bubble” rear windows on some models).

While Ixo kindly provided a suitable lower body and roof structure, the whole back end had to be changed, with a new rear deck and the cropped fins of the wagon extended forwards and inwards, and the boot lid that sits lower than the rear wings, with the centre of the rear window dropping down into the valley. After more than 5 years without laying hands on an X‑Acto blade or a needle file, it was an interesting exercise in reviving old skills. (Skills? Surely you jest.)

I did at least successfully revive the old trick of carving the rear window in balsa and push-moulding it into heated plastic, with only minor charring of some domestic furnishings, although I did have to take the batteries out of the smoke detectors. And the moulding came out pretty well in the end.

The distinctive chevrons on the rear flanks were snipped from small staples. Fairlane 500s had a crest on the nose rather than “Ford” script, so that was done with a tiny colour photocopy. I put “Fairlane” on the boot lid in proper 1:43 lettering and it was pretty much invisible, so I went for over-scale lettering which may have been a bad idea (not helped by the elderly decal sheet having yellowed somewhat) but I wasn’t going to scrape it all off. Since I can’t print badges in chrome or white, I put “Fairlane 500” script on the front wings in black, which sounds like another daft move but if you look at photos of real cars the script is often half in shade and could almost be black …. OK, don’t believe me. At least it gives the impression that there’s a badge there.

The grossly over-scale chrome gunsights used by Ixo were replaced by something a little more delicate.

Building working steering into a model that will just sit on a shelf was a spectacularly pointless exercise and I don’t know what possessed me. (In retrospect, I think it was a bit of displacement activity at a tricky moment in the build.)

The Ford was done at the same time as the Edsel, and sat around unfinished for just as long, so I am just glad to get these models completed at last. It has to be said that doing a decent paint job, applying BMF tidily and putting small pieces of trim back neatly are all things that benefit from regular practice, so after the long lay-off this was not my finest hour in those areas. Close up, there are too many raggedy details, and after spending so long trying to get things right, it’s a little discouraging (said he, apparently calm but inwardly fuming). Of course I don’t plan on letting you get that close. Just stand back and enjoy the general impression. No, a bit further.  Further.  That’s it.  Nice, eh?

And here it is alongside an original Ford brochure photo.

Upper Photograph from period Ford Brochure, lower the Authors Handiwork.

[*] OK, so the Ixo is officially a Ranch Wagon, not a Country Squire. Listen, if you’re going to be difficult ….

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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