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Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/2/12 10:22 a.m.

Okay, it's time for another model car build thread! Last time we started easy with a reissue of an old Scarab Mk IV Race Car. While fun, it was a "curbside" model, meaning it had no engine or drivetrain to build.

So this time, we're stepping it up a notch. This model is a Revell-Monogram 1993 Ford Mustang Cobra SVT. This is a "typical" Level 2 type model, meaning it's a fairly new mold, has the complete engine and drivetrain, suspension components, and a full interior. Usually the only opening part is the hood, which is fine.

This type of model is an order of magnitude more complicated than the curbside, but fits in that really nice compromise area of enough detail to look really good without being so complicated that it's frustrating to build. So, let's dive in!

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/2/12 10:25 a.m.

As this model is more complicated, I won't detail every step like the Scarab. I'm going to concentrate on new and/or harder stuff with every build, so use all of the threads to fill in the blanks.

Obviously first we're going to use the side-cutters and X-Acto knives to trim all of the big parts off for painting. Tip: Most newer, complicated models use a mold release agent to ensure the sprues pop out of the metal mold. It's a smart idea to wash them in Dawn briefly before starting. I've found that brush paints stick fine, so I only wash the parts that I will spray (body and body parts, interior tub, and chassis.

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/2/12 10:29 a.m.

Next we're going to sand off all of the mold release lines. On the Scarab there were only a few as it was an older kit and a simpler design. The molds that make modern kits are multi-piece (so internal parts of the mold can actually move), giving much higher detail, but also more mold lines where they separate. Take your time finding them, as they are usually well hidden on fender crowns, and here on the hatch of our Cobra (look close, go due left from the bottom of the quarter window and you'll see the transition from the hatch shut line to the top lip).

failboat Dork
4/2/12 10:32 a.m.

whoa can you stuff an LS1 in there?

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/2/12 10:58 a.m.
failboat wrote: whoa can you stuff an LS1 in there?

Sure can! In fact, I've already built an LS1-swapped model, a 78 Corvette Silver Anniversary Edition.

Pro-tip: You don't have to swap the whole motor sometimes! On the Vette I glued LS1 heads, exhaust manifolds, intake, and coil covers onto the stock SBC. It works on most V8's.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid SuperDork
4/2/12 11:25 a.m.

What Color are you thinking?

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/2/12 11:40 a.m.
SyntheticBlinkerFluid wrote: What Color are you thinking?

93 Cobras only came in three colors: Red, Black, and Teal.

I'm going Teal.

I had brief thoughts of modifying this one into a cool drag car, but then it would like like any other fox-body. They're so hard to find stock now (full size), and I think that translates to the model world as well.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid SuperDork
4/2/12 12:09 p.m.

I would make it look like someones weekend autocross car.

Teal sounds like a good color.

gamby PowerDork
4/2/12 7:34 p.m.
SyntheticBlinkerFluid wrote: I would make it look like someones weekend autocross car. Teal sounds like a good color.

I remember when I used to see a few '93 Cobras on the road here and there. I guess the smart owners turned them into garage queens around 10 years ago.

Teal strikes me as the "proper" color of a '93, IMHO.

jimbbski Reader
4/2/12 9:41 p.m.

Build it into a 93R, but then they all came in red.

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/9/12 11:58 a.m.

Weekly updates:

Time to lay some paint down! The fox Cobra was a pretty modern car and the chassis was done up in a light grey color, so we have replicated that here. Notice that the colored body panels are being done inside-out. The Cobra is a significantly more complicated model than the Scarab was and we have multiple body panels to deal with, and since the undercarriage is actually detailed, we have to ensure paint in all of the right places. You'll want to paint the "hidden" areas first so the coats on the main outside portion of the body do not get any overspray on them (as we'll do them last).

Once the flat grey dried take the color paint and spray next to the sides and back of the chassis to replicate the factory overspray. The Cobra was a unibody car and as such will always have overspray. The uneveness is on purpose, the pattern was definitely not uniform on the full-size cars so take a little artistic license with it. Notice that there's overspray at the top of the trans tunnel where the firewall will connect.

A big box like this makes the ideal paint booth. I've used this one for over 12 years. It's sunny and warm outside, which is perfect for painting. Top tip though, never let gloss paint dry in direct sunlight. The UV rays and direct heat will cause it to outgas and dry unevenly, giving you dull splotches. Always make sure it ends up in the shade to dry. The high sides on the box will keep most grit particles from entering as well, but try and keep it propped up high. Leaving the box near or on the ground just invites contaminants.

In the meantime, between coats, start assembling the engine. The chrome timing cover and lower intake are incorrect, and essential for proper assembly of the engine with no gaps so I assembled it all at once. Notice that I scraped off the chrome plating where the upper intake will glue on. Model cement does not penetrate the chrome plating so you have to scrape it off to have adhesion. The whole unit will be sprayed aluminum, and then we'll brush paint the engine block and heads black.

This is a good stopping point for the body as the full color coats are on. I'll let it dry and outgas in the garage for at least 72 hours before working on it. We're going to polish before any assembly this time.

Any questions?

failboat Dork
4/9/12 12:07 p.m.

proper painting really does make a night and day difference in how nice a model looks when its all put together. especially painting all the little details.

how is model glue these days? seemed the last time I assembled a model (must have been 15+ years ago), over time the glue became brittle and things like wheels and mirrors liked to break off pretty easily. I was kind of disappointed when one of my favorite models started falling apart.

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/9/12 12:11 p.m.

Plastic cement hasn't changed much in the last 15 years, but the quality of the plastic itself used in the models has. The "oldest" model in my collection is a little over 15 years old and has required only one repair, despite three moves (one of which was cross-country). I have had no issues with shelf breakage, but the clear cases help tremendously.

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/9/12 6:31 p.m.

Can you guys keep up without the step-by-step? It makes the building go a lot faster for me!

JFX001 UltraDork
4/9/12 7:11 p.m.

IMO, the best factory example of the Fox. GT40 package, SVO tail lights, cool rims...just wish they had more colors to choose from.

Cool build.

vwcorvette GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/9/12 7:38 p.m.
Javelin wrote: Can you guys keep up without the step-by-step? It makes the building go a lot faster for me!


Have you seen the model car contest on Stacey David's Gearz? Must be done by May 15th and you have to select from about 10-15 choices of muscle car.

Model car competition video

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/9/12 10:36 p.m.
vwcorvette wrote:
Javelin wrote: Can you guys keep up without the step-by-step? It makes the building go a lot faster for me!
Yes. Have you seen the model car contest on Stacey David's Gearz? Must be done by May 15th and you have to select from about 10-15 choices of muscle car. Model car competition video

Dude, thanks! I didn't know about that. I have 6 of the eligible kits, but getting something done by 5/15 is going to be tough. Decisions, decisions...

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/16/12 11:08 a.m.

Weekly Update:

I go through the instructions and select the big parts that will need spray painting. Clip them from the sprues and sand and prep as needed. These parts are arranged into the piles by the color they are going to need to be. The exhaust systems in particular need a lot of work. You absolutely must sand/file off all of the mold release lines so they look like round tubing.

Some parts will need to be glues a little before painting, especially seats. The Cobra seats have fully upholstered tops (no separate seatback like more modern or older cars), so the lines here that would result from gluing the two halves together would be wrong. Instead, sand and prep the pieces and glue them. Use a toothpick to spread a light coating of additional glue around the join line. (We'll come back to these next week after drying).

Time for more paint! The variety of finishes used on modern cars is what will really make the model detailed. We have a semi-gloss black for the suspension and radiator, aluminum for the exhaust and trans, and a bronze for the stainless steel manifolds. Notice that I painted a stripe in the bottom of the interior tub the same chassis grey and the frame from last week as you will be able to see the tunnel. This is often forgotten.

While we are waiting for paint to dry, let's go ahead and buff out the body pieces that have been out-gassing all week. Again, I prefer Meguiar's Scratch-X. Use an applicator to rub in and a microfiber towel to buff out. This will knock-down the paint and give a smooth surface for maximum gloss.

A nice, even coating of paint on the hood gave us a good surface for buffing here. The metallic will really pop in the sun (this is taken in florescent lighting on a white surface, which shows every flaw). The better your pieces look here, the better they will look in normal lighting or outdoors.

The color on the applicator tells us it's working! Use the polish on all of the exterior panels including the tough areas like the front bumper, rear spoiler, and cowl area.

Twin_Cam UltraDork
4/16/12 12:39 p.m.

You, sir, are convincing me to take this up as a hobby. Cheaper than buying and building actual cars

I did this when I was younger, so I have some supplies, but I was more impatient then (yea, if that is even possible), and nothing turned out very well. Any suggestions on a model to start with, or who sells decent ones? There's 1000 places on the Interwebs that sell them...

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/16/12 1:09 p.m.

If you have a local hobby store go there first. They'll be able to set you up with the paint and glue cheaper than online (ORM-D Hazmat shipping makes it tough). They'll also have a ton of models to look at and peruse, but the prices will be high. The cheapest place online is without a doubt, Tower Hobbies: http://www.plastic-models.com/

Get on their email list and there's coupons. I just got a $10 off any $50 or more this morning. Which reminds me, I need to order some new AMT Gremlin models...

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/23/12 12:29 p.m.

Weekly update:

Remember those seats we glued together last week?

I sanded them down entirely around the seams to simulate the full upholstery that Ford used on the Cobra. Those seams would have been totally incorrect. No filler was used, remember we just smoothed a little plastic cement over the seams as the filler. These are now ready for paint.

Time to start detail painting! On the original 5.0 HO used in the Cobra the oil pan is a one-piece stamped steel unit painted a gloss black and the starter is supposed to be glossy as well, so we started there. Leave the nose of the starter and the solenoid the aluminum silver. Here's where those detailing brushes come in handy!

Sky_Render Reader
4/23/12 1:01 p.m.

I think I'm going to take up this hobby during the winter months when I can't tinker on my real Mustang.

Please keep the pictures coming; this is just as much fun as reading a build thread on a real car!

Apexcarver UberDork
4/24/12 10:39 p.m.

Just so you know, your last thread inspired me to get back into doing models and doing them with a bit more diligence.

Annnd my 1:1 scale

Just need to finish up the taillights on the model, its proving to be time consuming.

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/24/12 11:33 p.m.

Nicely done Apex! I love doing models of "actual" cars (though I've only done friends and family, never my own). Yours turned out very nice. Black is the hardest paint to do.

Javelin GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
4/30/12 11:39 a.m.

Weekly Update:

Continuing the detail painting. This is the longest and hardest part of building a model car, but the little details are what will make or break the model. Notice the use of blue painter's tape doubled-over to hold tiny parts. This is also where it's useful to do some research with car books, internet, car shows, etc. I know that Cobras had a black plastic over over the fuel tank and that the k-member and trans crossmember were both black.

The engine itself needs to be black as well, this time flat. Now, I know the real engines and suspension were a semi-gloss but here's a little modelers trick: Don't match the factory finishes. You see, in scale the glosssiness of a paint is distorted, If we painted the engine semi-flat, the oil pan gloss, and the k-member semi-gloss they would actually all end up looking like the same color and sheen. That's why model builders will use different colors, shades, and gloss levels to bring out a greater contrast.

Don't be afraid to use multiple colors on the same part, either. There's 4 coats of various shades on the exhaust manifolds here to replicate the factory's mottled appearance. Notice that the catalytic convertors have been burnished as well. You can do a lot of "aging" on the exhaust if you're weathering a car (I am not on this build).

Also started aluminizing the chrome parts that are supposed to be bare cast aluminum. You can strip chrome as well, but in this case I need some of it left on the parts for the oil fill and intake top plate.

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