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31  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 13, 2014, 02:39:21 PM
Greetings and thanks for the kind interest displayed,

(...apologies for the images are quite large - a matter to be addressed soon)

Below can be seen the unfolding labors of my wheel and now tire project for period 1:18th Trans-Am topics.  My efforts to produce my own resin Minilites with a proper spoke and outer rim lip design has gone well enough, although to date I've relied upon old GMP tires that are of scarcely different size front to rear, are somewhat square of shoulder and further, feature a wet weather tread design.  That 1:18 GMP Trans-Am wheel and tire sets have become both rare and pricey when they do surface on the market has served as an additional prod to come up with other options.  And oh, the Autodynamics Challenger images seen depict what were likely open practice shots captured early season at Bryar, NH.

Continuing then, a two-part urethane casting was taken of a 1:18 ERTL Goodyear Blue Streak tire (actually the front and rear) as found on a much older Cobra 427 SC tool, whereupon a pair of castings in two-part white resin was produced to facilitate the narrowing of each tire (one tread 'rib' from the front, two from the rear) whereupon a sidewall was thinned and cut before being glued to the bulk of the tread and sidewall from the first casting.  I wish I could claim all this was done employing a hobby lathe, but I cannot!  Instead, a very large rasp file was employed to quite deliberately thin and plane each respective white resin casting before the quality of such was sufficient to glue my labors together.  

Seen in the photos are the original GMP Minilites wearing the GMP tires (note the peg-like spoke design - yuck!), while just behind these may be seen the 1:18 ERTL Goodyear Blue Streaks 'as delivered'.  Slightly further back can be seen my narrowed masters sans raised and angled GOODYEAR identification (see the IndyCals post to discern what I hope to apply instead), while the final set in the rear have been sufficiently opened up in diameter from the center to fit the resin Minilite wheels (less internal structure to fit into the old semi-hollow GMP tire).  Next step will be the creation of urethane molds for the tires proper, whereas also seen in an image provided are sample pucks of material that vary in hardness and flexibility affording this writer various 'compounds' to employ in the final product.  Lastly, a tint can be added to appropriately color the resin or urethane employed to generate an agreeable final product.  Whew - much work here!  

...from front to rear the line up of options and stages to better proportioned and detailed dry weather period Goodyear Blue Streaks.

...material pucks suggest latitude afforded with regards to that which the tires will be made of.

...and finally, an experiment was conducted consistent with what was done on the period E-bodies to accommodate those enormous tires; i.e. a rear wheel house was extended on a spare chassis to the extent of removing material to allow space for a wheel and tire right up to the side of the rear subframe rail.  Nothing is seen underneath nearest the front, although the right rear wheelhousing has been cut.  What at point of departure resolutely would not fit now does with comparative ease. In addition and lastly, the aluminum wheel lips seen on the 1:18 Gray Ghost can be employed to help do a pair of AAR 'Cudas in the specification they were most often seen during the 1970 SCCA Trans-Am season.  As always - thanks for indulging me.

Mike K.
32  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 09, 2014, 04:24:04 PM

After a long silence - a return.  Very kind thanks to Jon Mello and others for the support afforded during an exceptionally uncertain time which I truly hope is behind me.  I greatly value the support and informed feedback afforded here at the CRG in the past, and eagerly hope such may continue.  Again - my great thanks for the tangible sense of community availed.

Consistent with a certain proven inconsistency of focus, here is witnessed what is now a pair of 1970 season Autodynamics Challengers last seen in 2010.  These are 1:18 Hwy. 61 tools that form the best platform for replicas of such in scale.  Continuing, common it is for me to fabricate parts to accommodate most specifications of a particular racer as seen across a season, whereas I'd accumulated enough parts to effectively fit out a #77 Laguna Seca entry as I've reacquainted myself with the #76 Kent project which was seen within earlier posts of this very long thread.  If anyone is determined to mount the courage to stare down a 1:18 Hwy. 61-based E-body SCCA Trans-Am project (among others), I may be able to help out for territory explored and mistakes made.  

Resin casting of key elements scattered across both these cars will allow this builder to fit out a pair of AAR 'Cudas with most shared elements, with allowances made to modify parts that will nevertheless be easier to fabricate using basic shapes saved from the Challenger projects; i.e. the front upper control arm inner wing/inner fender pockets will be modified on the AAR 'Cudas reflecting AAR's specific desire to have greater shock absorber travel to match the one inch lower ride height spindles that weren't shared with Autodynamics.  Apparently one must be on guard to be certain that all the trick stuff is afforded upon delivery of a rolling chassis!

...the 'new build' #77 awaiting lip flares to the shell amongst other things.  And yes - that daunting physical presence seen behind the table is me...

...the 'old' #76 stripped of some items in anticipation of casting each to share across builds.

...and a family photograph of sorts complete with what is now one of two research folders.

Kind regards to the board - as always!

Mike K.
33  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Websites that might be of interest to us on: October 01, 2013, 12:22:03 PM
See link for a twenty-five minute in-car footage video of vintage Trans-Am topics at speed.:

Mike K.
34  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: May 25, 2013, 12:13:14 PM
Thanks for the kind notice/comments,

It took some time, but eventually the model car community was able to afford those of the fold plastic part vacuum rechroming services that are equal or superior to what may be found in a normal kit release.  Promotional model collectors are an especially serious bunch, insisting that plating be fresh before parting with $300-$700 for a rare dealer promo, and probably led the way in relation to what is afforded at present.  Little Motor Kar Kompany (they have a light web presence and are seen mostly at midwest regional hobby shows) as well as Chrome Tech USA seem the current options as I write this, whereas another firm situated in Canada also did a bit of business although for light research they seem to have vanished from the scene.  Others who do not wish to enlist the services of a vacuum rechroming outfit may opt to use Alclad lacquers which, if applied with reasoned care via the skilled use of an airbrush, can simulate a plated surface with some fidelity.  


Beyond issues of wear and fade, resin castings can be plated, whereas there is much to be said for cleaning up a clumsy casting of something that was originally a stamped part if such is applicable.  Contours and surface detailing can be missed if mastered from web images in particular.  Removing the seams, contrasting a part directly to a 1:1 example of what is desired (i.e. the blade bumper of a '69 to '70 Mustang BOSS 302 as done by Welly in particular) affords one the chance to substantially (albeit discreetly) alter the appearance of a scale model for the good.  While I never strictly rechromed the rear bumper of the 1:18 GMP Penske/Donohue Camaro I have (i.e. such wasn't required), something had to be done about those awful overriders someone specified including!  Tow hook cut outs, as well as attachment hardware dimples can be better reproduced as well for the flexibility afforded.  Thanks...  

...sans a few parts, but notice the taiilpanel pinstriping added, as well as the reshaped bumper ends and the overriders that have been removed leaving no trace behind of the same.  The dashboard with tiny 'Dymo' labels too can be noticed here, complete with the aircraft spec. starter switch.  Yes, the steering wheel is missing in the photo.

Mike K.
35  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Chaffey College and Sam Contino on: May 21, 2013, 12:40:08 PM
540 HP in a 70 T/A Cuda?  Must be a typo?

Robert Barg

...I was thinking the same.  Maybe 480-490 hp for a late-season 'Cuda.  I wonder too if reference is being made to a 427 Cobra or the antiquated 289 Cobra running transverse leaf springs front and rear and generating maybe 390-400 hp in period.  Thanks...

Mike K.
36  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: May 21, 2013, 12:05:11 PM

     Some further refinements to a 1:25 Jo-Han (John Hanley was the name of the original owner - and hence now you know) 1970 Mark Donohue Trans-Am Javelin with the Jimmy Flintstone resin bodyshell complete with flares.  Note that it has a scratch-built late-1970 season front spoiler intended to be aluminum with a pair of lexan extensions (note the split), whereas the brake cooling inlets are situated high up the assembly.  Viewed face-on they appear small of section top-to-bottom, although when viewed at an angle they make good sense for the inlet is positioned to route air down at an angle just below the bumper stamping headed rearward.

Other things attempted are both numerous and discreet.  A better front tire has been mastered utilizing a mid-'60's MPC kit release Goodyear Blue Streak Sports Car Special sidewall with the tread (such as it was) of a late'60's/early '70's MPC Goodyear Blue Streak NASCAR tire.  The tread of the latter was cut from a flexible vinyl kit tire, trimmed to reduce the outer diameter of such, and then glued fast to a round plug to which the better sidewall detail was glued.  Nice width, a good aspect ratio - a job well done.  

The rear tire is the late-season spec. '70's MPC Goodyear Blue Streak NASCAR fitment, albeit increased in width about 30%.  I'd ordered and contemplated the use of Perry's Resin Trans Am wheels and tires, but wasn't entirely sold on their use in 1:25th scale as contrasted to 1:24th.  Given this, what is seen here was worked up instead.  I intend to cast these in pliable two-part tinted resin, and employ the results across my 1:25 Jo-Han Javelin projects to-be.  Perhaps a '68 and '69 RKE Javelin someday?  A '69 entry would be especially fun given I've never seen such done in scale, whereas not so long ago there really weren't sufficient available photo images around to inform what needed to be replicated.  

...a nice Racemark seat employs two AMT NASCAR Matador assemblies to stretch out the bottom towards the knees.  The seat edge detail didn't strictly exist, nor did the headrest extend out as far as it might - hence these aspects were scratch-built.

...brass grille mesh then.  Inner wing/inner fender detail to be entirely redone from scratch, for not so much can be salvaged from what was afforded.  Surely the most labor-intensive aspects of this project.  The 'fiberglass' air cleaner housing is a resin casting of something scratch-built from before.  The center 'hardware' is new, whereas a flexible soda straw will be cast, bent to shape, and sanded to reproduce the duct work needed heading away from the firewall to feed said housing.  

A dimensionally shorter Jo-Han AMC engine was created for reducing the overall height of the block, flattening the base of the intake, and shortening the mains girdle area.  Jo-Han economized when tooling the later AMC V8 for revising some aspects of an older tool without wholly committing to starting anew.  Given this, the heads were wrong, the water pump and timing chain housing/casting are mounted far too low, and the intake as-delivered comes through with a noticeable dip visible front and back to fill in and disguise the use of an incorrect block.  Worse - to house this too-tall assembly, all Jo-Han Javelins/AMX/Javelin-AMX tools have front crossmembers dropped to accommodate such.  The use of the original tool engine results in a model that cannot be set at the proper ride height given the strange engine dimensions and everything done to disguise the use of it.  Here most everything is fixed.  

...note the Panhard rod chassis mount taking shape, as well as the larger-piston/outer body KONI double adjustable shocks taking form behind two pair of stock '69 Jo-Han S/C Rambler kit parts.  A bit longer, thicker across the top then.  Though very easy to miss, the cast-in rear bumper has been removed entirely, with a two-piece plug now substituting for it.  

A short, compressed wrap up then.  Underside view depicts a 1:25 Jo-Han '70 Rebel Machine front suspension grafted onto their '70 Javelin Trans-Am chassis, with a '69 S/C Rambler rear axle 'hump' and trunk floor, plus overlaid leaf springs.  The rear diff. is indeed an AMC Model 20 humorously afforded and supplied within a Jo-Han funny car kit (with keyed-axles - um-mm, I don't think so!). The leaf spring shackles are '69 S/C Rambler (one each from two kits given the shocks are staggered on the S/C Rambler, and not on this application), whereas I hope there will be enough room for the anti-roll bar (especially the odd clamped pickup points) and Panhard rod assembly in anticipation of creating like-assemblies for other (and usually larger of scale) projects.  

The rear bumper seen has been narrowed as have been the rear indicator/brake light clusters for as-delivered the whole assembly is wider then it should be.  Although puttied up and looking a bit strange, lastly one will notice the rear spoiler which employs the '71 and on ends which extend down a bit with late-season fueling inlet detail.  As the '70 Mark Donohue kit comes through, the rear spoiler is entirely flat of profile across the rear base; i.e. not what was desired.  Thanks...  

37  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Websites that might be of interest to us on: May 09, 2013, 02:54:21 PM
With kind thanks to Justin McCutcheon for bringing this to my attention,

Previously I'd posted a link to the David Friedman Collection maintained by the Benson Ford Research Center at The Henry Ford.  Then it had just been launched, with but a rudimentary taste afforded concerning just what might be sampled - presumably on-site or via correspondence with archivists on the scene.  The later is still very much possible of course, but I didn't monitor matters to fully understand and/or appreciate how much is now simply up and accessible for little effort made.  Now a very enviable and powerful resource - a very mature and web-friendly archive waiting for you to inspect in detail.  Do see:

Mike K.  

P.S. Afford them feedback consistent with correcting errors of classification and identification made to help sort matters out.  As this was written, the '69 Mission Bell 250 file was actually from '68.  Also say THANK YOU! 
38  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Websites that might be of interest to us on: April 28, 2013, 03:55:24 PM

Something slightly beyond the fringe, but likely of interest anyhow.  Film capturing the press roll out of the '72 Penske Matador, four-wheel disc brakes hidden beneath less than svelte panel work, with SCCA Trans Am-derived road race know-how applied to the feverish unknown in sum and in total.  Be on the lookout for terrible period dress and gruesome wind-swept hairstyles, although both Penske and Donohue acquit themselves well in this regard.  See:

Mike K.
39  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 27, 2013, 11:14:29 AM

The discovery of a cheaper and more-effective means to reproduce machined lip detail for the wheels of topics that require such prompts me to update my '69 Welly/GMP Shelby Racing Co. BOSS 302.  Brutally tough on the hands to cut these down to size, but enough of an improvement afforded to merit the effort.


...and after.  The opportunity was taken to refinish the wheel spiders with Model Master Stainless Steel overlaid with a dusting of Tamiya Pearlescent Clear - seemingly the way to 'do magnesium' given experimentation and comparison with my real Minilites.


A source then:



Mike K.
40  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 20, 2013, 09:47:30 AM

A modest update - minor tweaking then.  The straight profile of the front bumper seemed off, looking particularly lifeless.  Others commented about the same, and while I didn't think I had sufficient material to do it, for reintroducing the profile I was simultaneously called upon to narrow the entire bumper assembly.  This effort had the effect of tucking in the ends and is consistent with cleaning up the frontal profile in a way that seems believable.  The mods. whisper 'factory car' to this enthusiast, although in truth I'm not sure if there was so very much done to the 1:1 vehicle in this respect.  So - narrower, pulled inward slightly, as well as upward and bending down slightly for how it is mounted.  Better I do believe.

Not breathtaking, but a new air filter element and base is in place, taken from the 1:18 ERTL Authentic's 1967 Camaro Z/28.  The height of the entire induction system including the cold air seal and cold air seal base has been reduced and is far better than before.  The photo images are not of sufficient quality to detect much has been done.

Oh, and a bit of latter-day forced perspective fun - pretending if you will that the smaller resin 1:25th version and the larger 1:18th rendition are equal in size.  The aqua-painted wheels reflect a later season spec., whereas the hood tachometer pod will have to be pulled.  Oh, and yes - the radiator support does tilt a bit inward from the bottom, although a touch exaggerated on the 1:25th model at present which features revised radiator and oil cooler detail.  Thanks...

Mike K.
41  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 13, 2013, 10:54:36 AM

A happy discovery here and update of something I felt settled, done, finished, etc.  Some firm known as Pegasus Model Accessories also does turned aluminum wheels in scale, whereas product #2399 23" Aluminum Stepped Sleeves replace the previous aluminum wheel lips employed.  Such feature a less fussy lip design, are agreeably tapered, and may have been fabricated from harder stock in point of fact.  

The previous effort cost about $45 spread across two applications/models and largely extinct on the market, whereas these are $9.99 the set and gasp, are available! Further, the slightly oversized diameter issue suggesting I'd 'upgraded' (not desired this) to 16" rims vanishes for the replacements are incrementally smaller in diameter - this judged good too.  Yes - the 'beak job' is coming - I promise!  Examining the final Mid-Ohio image suggests a very non-stock angle, hence all will be corrected and/or seen to.  Thanks...

Very subtle front bumper mount work, witnessing the further tucking in of the assembly relative to the panelwork.  

For near-endless revision of the 1:18th wheel arches, the shortcomings of the 1:25th resin-bodied version suddenly came into focus resulting in this update.  Taller and wider openings now both front and rear, and given the materials work quickly, this done in about forty minutes total.  So soon from now I'll attend a local club meeting where plastic is extolled and diecast is loathed, hence I sense that both projects should be displayed to quell quibbles.  The fueling port on the resin model is approximately right, whereas the 1:18th effort clearly needs to grow.  Thanks...

Mike K.
42  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Websites that might be of interest to us on: April 09, 2013, 11:48:30 AM

A website best negotiated with French language skills at the ready, with focus on St. Jovite, some BOSS 302 material, and modest focus upon a racer identified as Richard (Dick) Brown.  Some unexpected images, one a '69 backdated T/G Firebird wearing atypical ARE CP-200/Tran Am wheels and yet not the MIS Tunnel Port 303 paddock conversation piece.  See: Flashback certain to use the forward and return buttons on the bottom of each respective screen for more content may be accessed thus. 

Mike K.
43  Model Specific Discussions / Trans-Am Camaros / Re: Ideas to share concerning 1:18 '67-'69 GMP Penske Donohue Camaros. on: April 07, 2013, 02:37:04 PM
Thanks for the kind interest,

An attempt here to reproduce some detail seen on the 1:25th plastic version of the Gray Ghost a while back, for I've created a mold of the grille sans identification, creating two in total, and have flattened the profile of the front bumper (as opposed to the 'vee' as per stock).  Further, the opening witnessed within and across the front bumper ought to have continued both straight and flat where the license plate mount is seen, and hence what additional material rose above this opening has since been trimmed back.  

A bit of a muddle at present for the result appears as menacing as a slow-moving nurse shark.  Clearly the bumper needs to be both raised and pulled further back into the panel work, but strangely meek it appears in total.  I'm sure it was the right choice to make, whereas filing off and rebuilding the Pontiac 'beak' on a slight diminishing angle will help consolidate matters visually.  It seems Trans-Action (the official name of the team then) had an eye on the Holman and Moody Torino Talledegas to the extent of discreetly cleaning up the profile up front.  

In other news, the resin intake was added, further refinement of the upper control arm mounts and blending of the chassis to the added GMP '70 GTO items is in process, while an incongruous Orbit Orange painted hood tachometer pod replaces the Lane '68 Firebird part.  Kind regards to the community with much appreciation...

Mike K.

...before, and such will look better for the front bumper is body color and the grilles reflect back a chrome finish.  The standard grilles are in fact stamped aluminum, hence no profound worry that I'll not be able to strictly see to this via the use of Alclad lacquer.

...slightly underwhelming, if not slightly dumpy.  The bumper will move up a bit, and further back surely.  The 'loss' of finishes detracts from what work was in point of fact done, while looking at now-prominent 'beak' suggests a nose job is surely in the offing...

...still requiring some work to clean up the side indicator pockets wish bear evidence of unneeded extra material.  The headrest is too wide as well - this slated to shrink from side-to-side.  The resin intake pokes through, while yes - I do have to reduce the height of everything to ensure the hood may close, etc.  

Mike K.
44  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.
45  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.
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