Saturday, July 1, 2017

Breakthrough in F1-GTR MeLans 1995 1/12 scale conversion project

This is my "dream" project. I wanted to convert Minichamp's die-cast McLaren F1 road car into winner of Le Mans 1995 race. It has been on the back of my mind for many years. I have event started it few years back, but got stuck on the first step. Bottom part of the chassis just didn't want to separate, even though I took out all the screws I could see. Apparently there were 2 more screws at the top of rear wheel arches. Following an advice from automotive forums' F1 forum, I've removed rear tires from the wheels and that opened access to those hidden screws. After that block was removed I was able to dis-assemble the rest of it with pretty much no issues.

It turned out a decent models with high level and accuracy of detail for a die-cast. There will be a lot of things that would have to be improved and converted to specs of racing car. But it provides a decent starting platform, imho.

Here are some photos of the process.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Decal work in progress

TABU decals finally arrived last Friday and I have started applying them over the weekend. Yellow strips are quite challenging to get straight. And I could not completely achieve that. I am also not 100% happy with accuracy of TABU decals. Quite a number of them are done with over sized fonts. And some are bigger then they should be according to my references. Decals provided in the kit by Ebbro actually look more accurate in that respect. However I wanted to get JPS livery on my model and could not use decals from the kit. Also black on kit decals does not match my TS14 paint for whatever reason. Mixing up TABU and Ebbro decals was not possible either, as they use different shades on yellow. Pin stripes on side boards will be even bigger challenge, as it is not clear how the sizing of two rectangular outlines could be determined. Have to think about that and come up with a solution.

I have also applied CF decals from the kit to upper part of monocoque. I think it looks too greenish like that. My plan is to put some smoke clear over them to achieve more realistic look.

Below are some quick shots of where I left of.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Started first assembly steps on Lotus 91

Work continued on Lotus 91 build in mean time. There wasn't much to show, as it was all prep work, priming and painting of various parts. Another major blocker are decals. I have ordered a full TABU set from HLJ and it has not yet arrived after 2 months of waiting. First time issue with shipping from HLJ. Most likely it is Canada Post's fault, but I ended up ordering another set from fat frog.

Almost all painting is done by now and I was able to start some assembly steps. Started with engine and suspension parts. I will have to deal with CF decals over monocoque and seat belts, before I can continue much further. As soon as decals arrive, I will be able to start working on main livery, though. Here are couple of quick shots of the progress.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Lotus 88 - decals completed, F2008 - decals in progress

Have been working on decals for Lotus 88 and F2008 for number of weeks. Pretty much completed decal job for Lotus. For F2008 there are many more to do, mostly CF. But at last I can present couple of quick photos.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Primed and painted lot of parts over the weekend. For some that picture might look boring. For me it is a great milestone in any build, when I am able to put primer on parts. This step indicates that prep work is completed for particular build.

Most of the parts were for Lotus 91 build. However I've painted parts for MP4/6 and F2008 builds as well. Both builds were blocked and now I can move further on them.

Though, body of MP4/6 is fighting me all the way. Got crazed spots on it again. So, will have to prep and re-paint it at least once more.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Started decals on Lotus 88 body and wings

I've started application of decals on Lotus 88. Could only do top body cover and chrome decals on side panels and rear wing for now. Sponsor decals on side panel partially go onto side air intakes. However after I stripped factory chrome and painted my parts in Alclad chrome, they do not match chrome decals provided in this kit. I had to find a way to get replacement parts. After trying different shops and forum with no luck, I've eventually found contact form on official Ebbro web site. And they agreed to send me part for small cost and little shipping fee. As soon as replacement parts arrive, I plan to complete decals and get clean coat on as soon as decals dry. From that point the will be little there to complete this model.

There is one confusing moment with application of Lotus logo decals on the nose. Instructions say to use small chrome decal and decal #1, but don't specify in which sequence. I've missed that double decal application point and only applied decal #1. However I am not sure, if I could still apply chrome decal on top of it, or should chrome decal have been used as background. Still thinking about it and trying to solve this dilemma.

MP4/20 mods started

First mods started for this build. I'm borrowing ideas from past WIPs from other modelers. Added brass strips to the floor to help with alignment of engine cover.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Body test fit mock up

Glued together body parts before primer. This is test fit mock up. Loos nice to me. Can hardly wait to see it in gloss black with gold decals on it. Next is putty job.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Ebbro Lotus 91 started

Yet another kit started. I am breaking my own artificial rules limiting number of kits I build in parallel. But with my elbow injured, I cannot really work on any of the other builds. That's my excuse anyway.

Starting with my usual removal of parts from plastic trees, clean up and preparation work. Will do some test fit assemblies along the way as well. Quite a few parts in this kit have to be pre-assembled and prepared before primer can go on. There are many body parts for example, that I want pre-assemble and putty seems before paint.

Just a pile of parts at present.

And here some sub-assemblies are done.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Chassis completed.

Completed chassis pretty much. I have used fishing lead lines to simulate oil cooling hoses. In addition to that I've added some connections for the fuel distribution system: from tank to pump and return line from distributor to tank. Used metal wire wrapped with shrink tubes. Also added couple of breather lines: from fuel tank and from radiator pipes. Installed fire extinguisher. Added throttle linkage later as well. After all that I was able to mate engine/gearbox assembly to monocoque and then attach complete chassis to floor. Next, radiators and pipes were installed. Everything was going ok, before I've attached chassis to floor. Floor in my kit apparently was warped a bit clockwise at the rear and not straight horizontally. Not sure how much of that was factory defect and how much I might have contributed with my painting process. In the end, rear suspension ended up uneven, with left side about 1mm higher. There is a big chance model will end up standing on three wheels :( What a let down.

Here is how model currently looks. Finishing of body panels is the next target. Need to apply decals and clear coat over them.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

MP4/20 Kimi's Monaco winner started

Always wanted to build a model of this car. Got cheaper copy lately from f1m member. Have no excuses not to start it. Fit is pretty bad. Spent 3 hours adjusting parts last night. Lots more work needed. But mixing up metal and resin parts should hopefully help me produce better result. Main reason I often like metal parts over resin ones is that they could be adjusted/re-shaped. If all parts were done in resin, it would have been much more difficult to get them fit together.

Quick shots of current state.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Monocoque closed

Made decent progress on monocoque assembly and was able to close it last night. To get steering rod to sit at proper hight, I had to cut about 0.6mm from the middle of it. Otherwise toe out would be too much. I still have a bit of toe out, which I think is ok for F1 car. If one wants no toe out or in, about 1mm to 1.2mm would need to be cut out. Scratch made seat belts from material and spare PE sets I had. Installed pedals, brake and clutch fluid reservoirs, steering rod dashboard, gear shifter, seat and all other cockpit items as well. Will add steering wheel and seat belt labels later.

Also continued work on suspension and engine. By now all suspension items are done. Last night I've attached exhaust pipes. Another advise to future builder of this kit - assemble all items of exhaust together, if you don't want to have seams and gaps as I have between subassemblies of header and tail pipes. Event when all items are glued together it is still possible to carefully spread headers a little to push down over the front of gearbox and the tilt them to get into horizontal position.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Engine wiring

Worked on the "wiring" for engine last week. Fuel lines look a bit too big, but it was the smallest lines available in my parts box at present. I will likely need to tie up ignition wires to simulate look on real car. Also need to work on my dry brushing skills, as logos on valve covers do not look great.

For this model I've decided to route some houses between oil reservoirs, radiators, gearbox and fuel tank, according to instructions from 1/20 MFH kit of the same car. Not much I could figure out from reference photos I have in my possession. It will be pretty much first time I do that, so results will likely be far from perfect.

Couple of shots of the engine in current state.