Jump to content

Alfa Romeo Spider Gran Touring by Grant - Pocher - Scale 1:8

Recommended Posts

Body Work (continued)


The next step was to assemble the hood. At this stage I also added some chrome trim using Monokote Chrome trim. Of the four Hood latches, only the two rear latches are functional, with the forward latches being dummies. So these dummy latches were also attached.





 Next up was the doors. The doors are supposed to have working latches, but the design is poor, so a modified approach was taken, following Paul Koo’s recommendations. In the photo below you can see the door handle applied on the outside of the door, with the modified latch and spring mechanism attached on the inside of the door. In theory this should still make the door handle spring-loaded, but in practice this still doesn’t work terribly well.




The door liners are then added and the next problems dealt with. The kit instructions call for these to be attached with small cheese-head screws. First of all, the holes in the door liners do not align with the screw post in the door, so these have to be adjusted. Secondly, if the cheese head screws are used, these will subsequently protrude as lumps under the leather lining. Thirdly, the screws are too long and if not shortened, will go right through the door. The solution to the second and third problems was to replace these screws with countersink screws that were cut down to an appropriate length. Here are the door liners in place.




The final stage for the doors was to apply the leather upholstery. This turned out to be a lot easier than I had anticipated. Following Paul Koo’s advice, all upholstery was glued using Automotive Goop. As a nice additional touch, a separate piece of leather is provided for the map pockets on the doors.




The main body then had its upholstery applied. This included seat backs, seat bottoms, dashboard cover, foot-well side panels, and luggage box straps. Monolote chrome trim was also applied, although the photos do not do this justice due to the way the light catches this in the photos.


Here is an overview of the main body upholstery.




And here are a few extra shots with some close ups showing the stitching detail and the door pockets:








The carpet was also applied to the floorboards, though I didn’t take a photo of this.


Next up will be the addition of extra fittings prior to installation of the body parts. Stay tuned….


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, gjdale said:


The hinge is then fixed in place by first melting the locator pin and then applying glue around the hinge. The masking tape is simply to contain the glue.

First of all, this has to be one of the best build logs of any model I have ever read. Great work and thanks for thoroughly documented the details.


Regarding the locator pin: Is it necessary to melt the pin? Wouldn't the glue be enough to hold it strongly?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys,


3 hours ago, BobG said:

Regarding the locator pin: Is it necessary to melt the pin? Wouldn't the glue be enough to hold it strongly?


Good question Bob. I was just following Paul Koo’s advice and he hasn’t let me down yet. I think that melting the pin is the primary holding method and the glue is just extra backup.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, BobG said:

Regarding the locator pin: Is it necessary to melt the pin? Wouldn't the glue be enough to hold it strongly?


3 hours ago, gjdale said:

Thanks guys,


Good question Bob. I was just following Paul Koo’s advice and he hasn’t let me down yet. I think that melting the pin is the primary holding method and the glue is just extra backup.

It's an industry standard connection when mating two completely different materials and one of them has to be hard plated steel and operate while maintaining strength. The melted pin maintains the connection while the glue acts as a locator.....


There were many items of the period when the kit was produced that were manufactured that way.... Think plastic box cases with a lid that contained operating machinery like a child's record player. They had a steel piano hinge along the edge between the lid and side opposite the handle side. Usually the top has a row of plastic pins molded into it, the hinge is placed over them and the pins melted down over the hinge to hold it in place... With 6 to 12 pins being melted down there would be no need for glue to help secure the location.


Very common metal to plastic connection back in the 50's - 70's....

Link to post
Share on other sites

Minor Update and a Re-think


The build is now at the stage of completing the final fittings and then assembling the body work to the chassis. However, after some deliberation I have decided that I am not happy with the Monokote chrome trim and will replace it with Chrome paint. This means that I will remove the Monokote strips, carefully mask the body parts, remove the polish/paint from the trim strip area, and then paint. 


I have not been happy with the Vallejo Chrome in their Metal Colour range – it’s the only one of the Metal Colour range to disappoint. So, I’ve been researching Chrome paints and have decided on Molotow Liquid Chrome. I acquired some of their Paint Pens for testing and like the results but have since discovered that this can also be airbrushed. Rather than pulling a paint pen apart, I have ordered one of their refills. Once that arrives in the next week or so, I will do some final testing with the airbrush before committing to applying this to the model.


The only downside of the Molotow is that it takes quite a while to fully cure, before which it is very susceptible to marking from fingerprints etc. Best advice I can find so far is to leave it a few days to a week before handling. Also, it appears that there is no clear coat available that will not dull the mirror like shine of the chrome. Some reviews have said that Alclad Gloss Klear Kote will work, so I’ve ordered some of that to test as well (though I’m not holding my breath for success with this).


While it may have been easier to apply this paint at an earlier stage, its fragility means that the later it is applied the better. So, a slight delay while I await delivery of painting supplies and then some further testing. Once that’s done, final assembly will be able to be completed within a day.


In the meantime, a very minor update:


I have managed to wrestle the tail fin and spare wheels into position. This is such a poorly designed/fitting set of parts that many modelers opt to either omit the tail fin altogether, or to only use one of the two spare wheels. Once again, following Paul Koo’s advice enabled me to achieve a reasonable result. The key is to install the spare wheels before attempting to install the fin. The rod upon which the spare wheels are installed is also slightly too short. This is overcome by adding an extra M3 nut on the outside of the body, leaving a very short section protruding through to the inside to secure the rod in place. This provides just enough length to secure the rod on the inside, and just enough to comfortably install the locking hub on the outside.


The fin itself is held in place by three screws – one at the forward end centred between the luggage box covers, and one toward the outer corners at the rear. Attaching this requires installing the forward screw first with just enough threads to hold it in place, then doing the same with one of the rear corners. Then the fun begins. The remaining corner is then bent around the spare wheels with some force to enable it to line up with the screw hole and get that screw started. Once all three screws are started, they can all be nipped up tight. The effect is to actually push the outer spare wheel slightly downward – no wonder it’s so hard to get the fin in place. Even so, you may notice that the fin is not fully seated at the rear corners, but this is probably as close as you might hope to get it without major surgery.




The next item to address is the headlight bulbs, reflectors and lenses. The kit provided bulbs are way too long to fit in the reflector without interfering with the lenses. And the lenses themselves are too large in diameter to fit into the reflector housing. 


The lenses were very carefully sanded down with a bevel edge using a sanding disc in my Proxxon rotary tool (Dremel equivalent) running at quite a slow speed to avoid melting the plastic. At Paul Koo’s advice, I replaced the kit bulbs with some very small bulbs from my local electronics parts store. While this solved the problem of length, they were much smaller than the mounting hole in the back of the reflectors. I solved this by attaching a small piece of 2mm styrene to the back of the reflector, with a hole just big enough for the new bulb assembly. The inside of the styrene was painted with a Molotow Liquid Chrome Pen.  The bulbs were then glued in place and the lenses attached using silicon. I forgot to take any photos during the process, but here is the end result.




The headlight housing is currently in the paint shop and will be attached in due course.


Next up, the windshield components. The windshield is made up of three main “glass” components. The side pieces look deceptively simple, however there is a catch…. The two side pieces are held into a pair of L-shaped metal supports using two screws. The metal supports are subsequently screwed onto the car body. The catch is that the metal support posts are extremely thin, and the holes are not pre-threaded. It would be very easy to destroy these parts. Thanks again to Paul Koo’s advice, these holes were first pre-threaded with a 0-80 tap (a substitute in this instance for an M1.5 tap). The screws are then carefully installed being careful not over-tighten and crack the plastic. The screws are also way too long, so once in place, the excess was very carefully cut off with a cut-off disc in the Proxxon, and the final ends filed with the flat of the cut-off disc. Here’s the end result.




 Last item for this update is the windscreen wipers. These are composed of a plastic wiper blade that is triangular in cross-section, and a thin metal bracket that forms the arm of the wiper. In the photo below are one completed wiper and one awaiting bending. The two ends on the left of the unformed bracket are bent up at just shy of 90-degress and then there are two small lugs on the blades that fit into these holes. The bracket ends are then bent a little further to lock the blade in place. The other end (on the right in the photo) is then bent up at 90-degrees. These will then be installed with a screw through the windshield into the wiper motors on the inside of the windshield. 




Once in place, the bracket will then be bent again, folding over on itself and covering the mounting screw. I have not done this final stage yet. The danger in all of this is that these metal brackets are a one-shot affair when it comes to bending. You can bend them only once in any place – if you try to bend them back, or re-bend them, they will snap in half. I’ll be holding my breath and ensuring my tongue is poking out at just the right angle when I do get to this.


Now to wait for the Molotow Liquid Chrome to arrive…

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the nice comments folks but let’s not forget that I’ve been mainly following the advice of Paul Koo with this model. He is the true master modeller and deserves the credit for the work he has done to make these models accessible to us mere mortals. I would have been lost without his guidance.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Grant


First of all great job on the car irrespective of how much advice you are using you are still the one doing the work!


The molotow pens are amazing. One tip I saw on another forum is if you are to brush it on, add a bit of alcohol to the chrome, work quickly and if you need to redo a bit wait till fully set before attempting second coat and you should get a smooth finish. 


Keep up the good work.



Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, gjdale said:

Thanks for all the nice comments folks but let’s not forget that I’ve been mainly following the advice of Paul Koo with this model. He is the true master modeller and deserves the credit for the work he has done to make these models accessible to us mere mortals. I would have been lost without his guidance.



Everyone should have such a master or mentor, Grant.  It's still your skill and ability to carry the lessons to the model.  Don't sell yourself short.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Painting the Chrome Trim


The Molotow Liquid Chrome paint arrived the other day, along with another essential supply – masking tape designed to go around curves:






The most difficult part of this job was probably the masking up. I needed to make sure that the Chrome was going to go only where I wanted it and nowhere else. The curved masking tape is brilliant stuff – it feels like a plastic tape (a little like electricians’ tape) and really does allow you to conform to curves. I used this as an initial mask close up against the curves, then overlaid regular painters’ tape and some Tamiya masking sheet to wrap the car body. This may have been overkill, but I was taking no chances! Once the masking was in place, I then carefully applied Isopropyl Alcohol to remove the existing paint down to bare plastic. Here is the main body masked, after I had sprayed Liquid Chrome. This stuff sprays beautifully, straight up – no need for thinning, and no need for priming of any sort.




The only downside to the Molotow product is that it takes quite a while to cure. It needs to be left several days at least prior to handling. I didn’t want to leave the masking tapes in contact with the other painted surfaces any longer than necessary, so I gave it 24 hours before very carefully removing the masking. Here is the result. The eagle eyed will notice that there is a tiny spot at the bottom left of the door where the chrome snuck through, but the masking was otherwise successful. You might notice also that the painted trim is the same colour as the door handle, which did not get painted. I think I’m calling this a success!




The hood and front nose were a little easier to mask. Here are their results:




There were a few other parts that needed a chrome finish, including the front and rear licence plate holders. In the picture below, you can see just how much of a mirror finish this stuff gives as you can see the reflection of the other parts in the large rear licence plate holder.




From all the accounts I’ve read to date, there is no clear coat that will not dull this finish. However, if left to cure properly, the final result is quite durable. So, I’m going to leave all of these parts for about a week to ensure they are fully cured before I start handling them again.


In the meantime, I realised that when I ordered my replacement steering wheel from Model Motorcars, I forgot to order the centre hub to go with it (a $6 part). So I bit the bullet the other day and ordered the hub. To spread the hurt for the $16 postage charge, I also ordered a pair of buckles to replace the kit parts on the luggage straps. By the time they get here, the chrome paint should be ready to go.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Fantastic work, Grant. The Molotow Liquid Chrome looks great! Did you try to apply it as a marker? Does it have a screw top that you opened so you could pour it into your airbrush?


I've been using the Tamiya Masking Tape for Curves a lot and I like it very much. I have it in 3 different widths. I was able to make very small radius curves around the rudder hole on my Pen Duick hull and it sealed off perfectly. Great stuff!


I wish I had known about the Tamiya Masking Sheet when I painted the hull. I had to mask off and cover large areas of the hull 3 times since the Pen Duick hull has 3 colors. I spent a lot of time patching together pieces of wax paper with masking to do that and it got old quickly! I'll look into this masking sheet too. 


All the best,

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Bob. The Molotov comes in 3 sizes of paint pen (1mm,  2mm and 4mm) and then there is the Refill, which is what I have used here (in the photo). The refill has a screw cap over a fine hole/spout. After shaking well, simply unscrew the cap and pour directly into the airbrush cup. Some people dismantle the paint pens to access the paint but why bother going to the extra expense and trouble when the refill is available and so easy to use? It is more expensive to buy but holds a lot more paint (30ml), so more economical in the long run.


The Tamiya masking sheet comes in a roll with masking tape pre-attached to one edge. I can’t remember the exact product name as it’s a while since I bought it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks great Grant!  Good to know about spraying it - I tried using the pen on my Citroen 2CV, and it's a bit tricky.  You need to be very careful and not go back over your work or the finish will look wonky.  The pens generally have good flow, but from the one time I used them, at times the flow isn't consistent.  I'll have to try out the airbrush approach.


Also agree on the longer drying time.  I found that to be the case with their black pens as well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...