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31  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Models of old race cars on: April 06, 2013, 12:59:27 PM

I haven't ordered materials online from them, although the website is clean and their 1:43rd footprint within the scene a longstanding one.  If there were issues in relation to poor reputation, I suspect such would have surfaced long ago.  The models I've seen displayed at shows impress, with brief notes of such to follow. 

Many of the Trans Am tools employed are now quite old, although for many years indeed such constituted the only game in town but for larger unassembled plastic kits and independently pursued kit mods.  The finish quality of the models is high, whereas odd to note in a sense that 1:43rd hand-built factory releases are commonly produced to a standard that well exceeds what is seen in 1:18th.  I would recommend that modest caution be displayed in relation to the secondhand market for I'm not sure how sensitive the decals and artwork is to sunlight, etc., although recent builds based upon the old tools shouldn't worry you.  Some fine photo-etch work won't respond well to handling, hence wise it is to keep the model within the display case and atop the factory plinth the item is delivered upon. 

Kits exist of the same range, but personally I'd recommend spending the money for a high-quality factory build and simply honor the expense required to afford what is on offer ready-made.  These are jewel-like, and hardly the stuff of mindless mass production absent sensitivity to the topic.  One word of caution though!  I have vague memories of the '70 Penske Donohue Javelin coming through factory finished sporting the wrong shade of blue (too dark I believe - and a metallic finish too!), so in this discreet albeit important respect one is forced to consider the building of 1:43rd kit so that this detail might be attended to.   

I suspect as the new-tool Chinese-manufactured 1:43rd SCCA Trans Am topics continue to emerge on the market that the demand for the older tools will slacken still further, but also know that these earlier tools are in the main not hateful even as they are (and always were) a bit pricey.  Some topics likely will not be revisited, hence for some items, perhaps best it is to celebrate that a firm has decided to replicate the topic and spend the money if so-moved.  Kind regards...

Mike K.
32  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Firebird and the Trans-Am series on: April 05, 2013, 09:43:18 AM

A link guiding you to a thread current on another board, this being The Roaring Season.  Contributions from 'our own' Bruce 302, with lovely color images of the T/G Firebirds as seen in 1971 (I could be wrong here, although I believe a lighter body color with either green or yellow numerals would identify them as late '70 season images), in addition to an image of one of the T/G Firebirds that was converted into a Camaro bearing evidence of an unfortunate off.  See:

Mike K.
33  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 01, 2013, 01:37:07 PM
Thanks for the kind notice,

... the intake is well underway.  Mounting flanges and base recycled from 1:18th GMP '70 GTO, whereas the individual levels of the two-plane design constitute two layers of plastic sheet shaped to suit.  A base for the water inlet was taken from the 1:18th ERTL Authentics '67 Impala SS and reused here, whereas most everything else was blended together for the use of putty.  Though a bit muddy in the photo image provided, the cast-in manifold heat passage has been added, while 'burning it' together via the use of clear lacquer discolored matters a bit.  When a mold is made of this, all should blend together in an agreeable fashion.

The carburetor base combines two castings formerly scratchbuilt to reproduce a fair Hurst S/S AMX cross ram intake.  The rear of the manifold flanges required sectioning in of material to reproduce the solid contour seen in the photo atop the model, whereas other discreet additions will in all likelihood bring it to life.  I may cover the part with a dusting of baking soda scattered atop a layer of clear to afford the entire assembly a bit of surface texture.  

This prototype is a bit raw, whereas modest additional detail will be added including attachment points for hardware, linkages, etc.  For use on the '70-'71 season Pontiacs then, hence one for the '70 T/G Firebird (with hack and slash mods. for the first race if I so choose given they tried to slip a short deck block past tech.), one for the Gray Ghost, and perhaps one for a B.F. Goodrich Radial 'Tirebird' if such is ever attempted.  Proceeding ahead then.

Mike K.
34  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Websites that might be of interest to us on: March 28, 2013, 06:06:41 PM
Thanks for the link, Mike. Some really great photos there and I was surprised to see me in there as well (green arrow) as well as my parents and younger brother. neat!  The photo collection was referenced by others on another messageboard visited, and if anything I was slow to post it here.  I so wish I could have experienced the road racing scene much earlier in life 'live' if you will, whereas there you are on a family outing no less - wonderful!  Thanks, and sorry so slow to respond...

Mike K.
35  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: March 28, 2013, 05:51:35 PM

Perhaps not enthrallling, but how engine setback is accommodated in 1:18th scale.  Plastic sheet in two thicknesses, with the weld bead clear nail polish applied thin on the edges that meet, and rather thick consistent with pushing the material out from behind.  The heater core cover is also new (it seemed fabricated rather than a delete plate), whereas left of the cowl seal is where fuel is routed to the carburetor.  Concerning the firewall - more exciting seams and bumps to follow.

Though not witnessed here, the accessory drive configuration has been altered to the extent that the alternator has been repositioned to the left and down, while I'm trying to source fanbelts both small and large enough to suit the application.  Odd setup in use whereby the top pulley and bottom run in tandem for the use of a single belt, whereas a second pulley 'row' is employed on the bottom to run the alternator without 'involving' the top pulley at all.  Well - that's how I discern matters in the period photo seen above!  Pushing the bottom pullies outward required some analysis, such which revealed that no harmonic balancer was present on the scale representation of the Pontiac V8 employed.  For scratchbuilding the same, problem solved...  

I've gathered material to scratchbuilt a Edelbrock R4B intake which is a dual-plane design appearing very much like a squashed octopus when viewed from above.  As contrasted to the intake seen on the '72 Adams/Milt Minter Firebird which appears very modern by way of contrast, this earlier design is and will be very 'old school'.  At first the GMP intake seemed something I could use, then something I could modify, whereas now it will serve as a dimensional template.  Why all the fuss?  This I cannot tell you.  Thanks...

Mike K.
36  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: March 23, 2013, 09:48:29 AM

Only modest changes will be noticed even for the considerable labor required to afford such.  The foam cold air seal ring was trimmed to reflect the revisions made to the 1:1 item for use on the Gray Ghost, but pity I misjudged and cut carelessly.  Further, I could not determine how to reduce the height of the seal which needed to be at best one-third as tall as the stock seal.  Perplexed, I opted to create a mold of the seal, to latter sand and shape the result pulled from it for use here.  The casting was mounted on a round plug to stabilize it as I went about the process of both thinning the part top to bottom and shaping with care the areas the otherwise would be the two smaller circles that blend into the cold air seal as per stock.  A good result achieved, but very very tedious...

The original firewall structure has been reintroduced to the work after first sanding off the face of the same and filing in the opening necessary for the home-brewed cowl induction setup.  What was an empty void behind the fabricated firewall is no longer.  For reemploying the structure, the forward end of the roof assembly can be positively sited, as can be the dashboard that now reappears on the work.  A seal is further seen on the firewall, as well as structure to support the brake master cylinder.  The black box to the top right of the firewall is a wiper motor.  Thanks...

Mike K.
37  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: March 19, 2013, 04:44:56 PM

Modest update depicting fabricated inner wings being shaped and sized.  Full-length top-to-bottom nearest the radiator support, tapering a bit towards the rear, plus slightly stylized control arm cutouts for each side.  The opening for the hinges will be enlarged, while the bend nearest the firewall on each inner wing will be fabricated and added soon.  Not terrible as a baseline.  One notices four holes drilled atop each assembly, these positioned well forward.  It is my understanding that one could remove spark plugs and situate them within these holes as needed.  Thanks...

Mike K.
38  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Websites that might be of interest to us on: March 18, 2013, 06:24:40 PM

Something called - with a Kodachrome thread that really engages do believe me.  See:

...content scattered across periods, series, etc., but some Team Starfish Barracuda rain footage that hints at much is visible on the first page.

Mike K.
39  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: March 17, 2013, 02:57:54 PM

The 1:18th GMP '70 GTO parts car arrived, with items so-afforded being blended into the project where and when the suit.  The firewall has been cut out of the '64 Sun Star Tempest/GTO, with a scratch-built unit taking shape as can be seen.  The engine set-back necessitated firewall cutout affording clearance for such is yet to come, whereas the throttle bell crank should be possible.  The home-brewed cowl induction 'system' may be seen taking shape, whereas a wiper motor from the 1:18 ERTL American Muscle '67 Impala SS will be added.  

Although not final, the 1:18th GMP '70 GTO fresh air seal and base was combined with the 1:18th Hwy. 61 '69 Camaro air filter which still proves a better shape, whereas the valve covers and front accessory drive were likewise isolated and substituted in.  One might also notice the upper control arms and the extent of the frame which rises above a flat plane removed from the GMP tool and slated to be likewise added.  Clearance pockets for the upper control arms have not yet been cut into the inner fender assemblies which aren't final either. Though impossible to make out here, each upper control arm is held in with a pin that enables each to pivot and swing in accordance with its function, while shock detail, ball joint detail and the fact that each control arm seems to been painted silver will make all of this stand out - in time.  

...the top pulley was sanded from behind to convert the two-channel/two-belt pulley to a single-channel/single-belt version as per the actual car.  The GMP '70 GTO pulley was also larger of diameter, again better reflecting what was employed on the Pontiac V8.  

...very poorly illuminated this, nevertheless a view of the fuel cell inlet taking shape.  Thanks...

Mike K.
40  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Models of old race cars on: March 11, 2013, 03:28:30 PM
...a French enthusiast tackles a 1:24th Monogram-based '70 Jerry Titus T/G Racing Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.  Quite a solid effort.  See link and scroll down:

Mike K.
41  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: March 11, 2013, 02:24:03 PM
Thanks again for the interest, the kind feedback,

Pleased to report that a 1:18th GMP 1970 GTO parts car has been secured under very generous terms that require that I only cover shipping.  Concerning the tool, of particular interest is the engine and fresh air system, with the former possibly coming as tooled with Ram Air IV heads, while the air cleaner and seal seen in the photograph is clearly a far better basis from which to work as contrasted to what it will replace.  

The firewall was cut clear out of the shell 1964 Tempest just yesterday, permitting the fabrication of an entirely new assembly absent any evidence of the awful dog leg hinges such came through with.  A collection of photographs of a stripped down '64 Tempest shell has been downloaded, the effort facilitated for typing 'rust-free shell 1964 Tempest' into an online image search.  For some Pontiac custom fans, their exists something of a cult of having a smooth firewall with scarcely a thing on it, hence complex contours witnessed are few.  A wiper motor, the distinctive twin remote oil filter setup, a plug atop the heater core, etc. will be required, but in total little should provide too terrible a challenge.  The racing cowl induction setup will be reproduced in full, with all seals, etc. on the firewall and what I might be able to reproduce beneath the hood given scant clearance.  

1:18th ERTL American Muscle 1967 Impala SS scissor hood hinges will be fit to the model, while I intend to do a larger two-piece mold for the hood to reproduce the same in lighter resin.  Such will stress the hinges less, whereas otherwise I doubt very much that a bond could be made to hold between the hinges and the edge of panel they support.  Door hinges will be scratchbuilt, although it will likely take until spring before I might make an inspection of an actual 1964 Tempest/GTO to establish what I'll need to scratchbuild here.  1:25th custom model enthusiasts and builders fabricate hinges all the time, whereas for working in the larger scale I ought to have few excuses to at least equal their efforts.  Kind regards to the community.  

...underhood of a standard 1:18th GMP 1970 Pontiac GTO Ram Air IV.  Quite good!  

Mike K.
42  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: March 08, 2013, 02:27:55 PM
Hi Jon,

Thanks - finding and posting such was very kind of you.  I had the same once before, lost my collection of Motor Trend, copied the same article from an archive, and recently found another copy - albeit the image is tiny as you know.  To my knowledge, such is the only in-period engine compartment shot of the car.  I study the same, hoping dearly that what is black and white might convert to a color image.  The recently taken photos of the car displays roughly the same and predictably, somewhat worse for wear too. The panel work has been cut to facilitate the fitting of brake cooling ducts routed from the inboard headlamps, and though such was legal in '71, nothing confirms such was ever used during the single season the car was campaigned in the Trans Am.  

Hoping very much to secure the incomplete remains of a 1:18th GMP '70 GTO which could afford either just the air cleaner and fresh air metal stamping plus seal, or the entire driveline if this might be superior to the Lane tool.  It seems they clipped the base a bit near the outboard circles that otherwise would form a seal to the twin scoops beneath the '70 hood.  Not at all certain I can successfully perform such, but I do have a 1:18th ERTL Authentics '67 Impala SS as a parts car that may (or may not) yield up proper scissor hinges for the hood, as well as better door hinges.  The hood hinges would be combined with a new firewall with an indentation reflecting the engine setback and the cowl fresh air cutout not yet seen on the model.  Room will be tight underneath the hood 'stamping' for I'm working with a hopelessly thick casting instead!  Regarding the doors and hinge assemblies, it seems I'll need to do something in this respect for the dog-leg hinges on the model fundamentally interfere with the yet to be fabricated roll cage members stretching forward and behind each respective A-pillar.  I've done them in brass to establish the dimensions and angles needed, although absent proper hinge work, I'm reluctant to final fab. these.  

Lastly, I'm rebuilding the front left flare to 'add length' much as I did on the rear, although I do believe I'll retain the profile and shape of the front right.  Still going then. Thanks again...

Mike K.
43  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: February 28, 2013, 01:11:02 PM
Thanks for the kind feedback/responses,

The fabricated inner aprons are beginning to take shape here.  Though invisible to the viewer, four holes have been drilled atop each well forwards - these intended to accommodate a spark plug when readings would be performed.  Tops and some inlet detail added to the oil coolers, with visually undetectable weld beads added.  One cuts out some round plastic stock to use as an applicator (for toothpicks are porous and absorb glue, this equating to poor consistency of application and/or control), and then applies a succession of overlapping beads as required.  Hardly final, whereas revisions and fill panels require fabrication and fitting yet.  

The fuzzy front three-quarter image depicts the new and elongated flares created for joining two, with the body filed to accommodate such.  The inaccurate 1:18th GMP '67 Penske Camaro chromed air cleaner has been replaced, with a lid cut apart and away from a 1:18th Hwy. 61 '69 Camaro Z/28 substituted and affording a fair AC filter top appearance.  Removing the '302 Turbofire' with too hot nail polish remover burned the plastic horribly, although given the shape was rendered too sharply anyhow, sanding and softening of the contours of the same salvaged matters for the better.  The base of this assembly stands to be wholly redone for never was what I created in this regard good, while I may still find a 1:18th GMP '70 GTO assembly to substitute in entire.  Thanks...

...the discreet ink pen marks indicate material slated to be removed.  Rather like assembly line end quality control, messages to self that equate to work required to even matters up.  

Mike K.
44  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: February 26, 2013, 11:50:23 AM

Just in short, economic development in China translatable as growing internal demand for goods and services in addition to their established and ever-expanding export 'workshop of the world' production is driving up costs with regards to both materials and labor.  Suppliers, existing firms formerly content to fulfill aspects of the production process aren't content to produce comparatively inexpensive replicas/toys if they can seize opportunity to move up the supply chain.  Workers too move up and out reflecting the human capital face of these same trends.  For many firms attempting to tool and manufacture diecast models withing such an environment, the ground is shifting beneath their feet.  

At present the market is shifting upward, with $150-$300+ becoming the new norm - come what may to the bottom of the market that will not be provisioned new tools.  Some old ERTL tooling is dusted off and mildly updated to afford better quality rereleases in attractive packaging, etc., but in essence the bottom of the market is slowly being abandoned.  Firms such as CMC, the resin-bodied product of Spark, etc. constitute the present and likely the future too.  Product planning of such firms anticipate fewer sales priced to amortize tooling costs with ever greater speed.  

Hobby shops and boutique outlets are now inured to the reality of release prices shifting upwards two or three times before (and if) product finally emerges.  How many people will buy a $500 diecast model of a fetching 1:18 Donohue Camaro?  We may well see - this the hobby manifestation of a certain deepening and globally-sourced class divide.  As anyone and everyone knew, drawing materials and labor from a less-developed country to serve the consumption needs of the more developed world was only going to go on just so long.

Firms such as Hwy. 61 have ceased production, GMP closed shop in the wake of a bank shake up impacting their lines of credit, and other players too have faded from the scene.  Sun Star has produced some exemplary late '50's and early '60's American topics, but as you've noticed, the comparative flood of product witnessed in the mid-1990's has clearly ebbed.  Thanks and kind regards...

Mike K.
45  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: February 24, 2013, 03:12:45 PM
Thanks for the kind feedback,

Long ago (in my teens actually) I hoped to do the entire '70 grid in 1:24th/1:25th and started collecting parts.  Bits and pieces of the Jo-Han Javelins are still in my possession, but most everything else was eventually sold or moved on.  1:24th/1:25th is, by contrast to 1:18th, so much better supported in terms of parts and accessories, whereas what takes me weeks can be done with greater speed if the shell is cast of more easily fashioned styrene plastic.  For the RKE, the Penske and later ARA/RWR Javelins in scale, there's no other way (as you well know), and at some point I'll dedicate further time to replicas based upon these traditional Jo-Han tools.  I suspect I might start with promotional model bodies for the '68 and '69 RKE Javelins if only to take advantage of the better plastic employed in their creation.  If it tells you anything, I've been gifted unassembled plastic kits partially out of pity from kind individuals that wish for me to experience the joy of a quick build, a quick turn around...

Indeed - Zamac isn't much fun to work with. Heavy and brittle - the 'plastic people' have it better!  Back to Zamac, perhaps a small advantage afforded to model enthusiast is that it files and shapes so very slowly - a quality that suits 'slow me'.  Some 1:1 body supplies likely work better with it, whereas maybe too the overall assembly won't be quite as delicate as the usual plastic kit.  The Sun Star-based Gray Ghost in particular terrifies me, for the roof is plastic and non-structural.  Nothing but the tiny sills hold the front to the rear of the car, and so worried I've been that metal fatigue will reduce this project to so much scale junk.  It was a bold leap to even try doing the flares on this shell, for it was about the least likely success story I could have scripted.  At present it seems strong - definitely not a old-school Welly, whereas I think it will be safe across years.  

No - I don't have profound justification to afford to relate just why I bear the cross of 1:18th.  In grad. school I worked in a Detroit-area automobilia store that sold much in the way of 1:18th prefinished and preassembled diecast and little in the form of 1:25th unassembled plastic kits.  I was a terribly frustrated 1:25th 'plastic person' always building above my level and finishing precious little.  For being situated, for being in the presence of enthusiasts who'd buy something 'out of the box' and display it, occasion would arise to 'seal a sale' for doing discrete mods. of soon-to-be customer cars.  

Strange to relate that so many contemporary customers wouldn't dare purchase and build a plastic kit, whereas the backlash on the part of 'plastic people' decrying the loss of a skills base for the 'laziness' of 1:18th pre-assembled and pre-finished enthusiast base is something I still regard as valid - in part.  Personally, I don't believe anyone is so well-served if only a builder can reap the rewards of having the skills to create the art.  Less of an issue now, those who've only just arrived to the dying 1:18th market missed a broad period of poor quality product that was indifferently researched.  I suppose for carrying in a certain sensitivity (this informed by a broad collection of period racing books and magazines), I felt less overawed by the $30-$120 1:18th models we then sold and simply gave them a whack for addressing many a problem noticed.  For taking a model home for some limited conversion, maybe I'd be 85% satisfied something would be 'right', whereas customers often afforded encouragement and topic-rooted feedback that translated into validation for the effort made.  Observing the length of this thread, clearly I still value such.   

Confidence partially restored, I found the strictly limited nature of the mods. undertaken comforting; i.e. 'it was nice before, and now it's better' - and the world didn't end if I gave the effort up and returned to my starting point.  The GMP Penske Camaros came along and needed help here and there - and so I tried those.  The Welly/GMP BOSS 302's needed a LOT of help - and so I tried those.  Given my background, it seemed a natural to continue on with discreet mods. extending out across the spectrum to embrace more thoroughgoing projects.  I suppose I could reach for an old 1:25th MPC '70 Firebird Trans Am tool to do a proper T/G Firebird, but something inside tells me to embrace the possibilities of doing the same in 1:18th.  Regarding the 1:18th diecast efforts I've undertaken, response at area shows has been decidedly mixed. People who engage me in conversation understand and appreciate that such is 'my thing', although the 'plastic people' are often cool.  Same skill set, same passion, an analogous motivation to produce something of quality - or so I say!  

The '70 Titus Firebird indeed will have the full-length exhaust, whereas but for a few recent online discoveries, I hadn't suspected that the normal spec. of the Titus-driven car was this way more often than not.  Although not desiring to be strictly morbid, the Michael Lamm title 'The Fabulous Firebird' contains an image of crumpled T/G Firebird exhausted against the bridge abutment which took his life, and there too can be seen the full length exhaust exiting out the back and left.  I've been surprised to notice that the aqua-painted Minilites didn't strictly vanish post-Laguna Seca, hence these too will be seen.  Thanks for your interest...

Mike K.

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