Saturday, April 26, 2008

GS-Hypo Cement--Useful but not Foolproof

This has been a tough week. A combination with increasing dissatisfaction with the kitbash 29 Ford has crept in and I'm not sure why. I know I don't have time to spend endless hours on a hobby that I'm pursuing to take my mind off of other things. And yet if it's so casual why am I taking the time to write a blog about it? I must be more serious about this hobby then I'd like to admit....I will have to spend more time pondering this.

So onto this week's post. I have recently started using G-S Hypocement for any sort of "mission critical" finish or chrome gluing. Before I was trying to use clear enamel or superglue. I found G-S Hypo Cement on Micromark's site and decided to give it a try, and, after messing around with it a bit I came to the conclusion: this stuff works quite well.

But it's not foolproof. The directions advertise that you can "remove excess cement with alcohol". Well that sounds like a winner--try doing that with CA glue or Testor's stinky red. It won't work.

Glue that sticks stuff together but can be debonded with alcohol sounded too good to be true so I decided as usual to run some tests. First test was to put a big blob on an unused piece of plastic "glass" I had lying around. I have found neatly gluing glass to be one of the toughest and most frustrating things in this odd hobby, so if G-S helps with that I am all over it.

Well, if I used some alcohol right away (in the first few minutes after use) I could still see a faint trace of the glue left behind. Even if I put a bit on and immediately wiped it off with alcohol (I had a drenched qtip standing by) I could still see some "faint white dreck" on the glass. So at least for glass, G-S isn't foolproof--you have to treat it very carefully just like stinky red of CA glue--if you get it on the glass you're going to have to polish it out like other glues.

And if it drives at all you're really screwed! Alcohol will no longer remove it at all--not even a little bit--you end up with a huge white blob.

This is the same rear window after soaking in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 1 week. The GS stain simply would not come out. Soaking doesn't help!!!

Chrome is a bit different. The G-S glue dries very clear if you don't muck with it too much. So even if you can't get it off you might be OK. I put some on a left over chrome sprue and let it dry. To my surprise the glue on the "tube" section of the sprue came off easily--I could rub it off with my thumb, and it left the chrome below in good shape. I c0uld not get it off the flat stuff though. It seems that if the chrome is a bit porous the stuff sticks. In this case there were some slight notches in the flat part of the sprue. However, for assembly chrome with G-S I am still going to scrape off the chrome where the glue is going to be applied if possible.

So here's the good news. This glue really helps. I am not the tidiest guy around and in assembling this chrome hot rod frame I did my usual blobs here and there (it's from an AMT parts pack and was not easy to assemble--lots of parts didn't fit and required trimming and bending).

This would have been a huge mess if I couldn't use alcohol to clean up the G-S while it was still wet. As long as you work fairly fast, and keep in mind it doesn't stick too well to chrome, it's extremely useful stuff.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Great Devcon Epoxy Experiment

I am not getting too much positive feedback about the 29 Ford Kitbash....perhaps I rushed through the build too fast and it shows too much. Oh well. I have to keep rethinking why it was I started up this hobby again. The primary goal is to find some relaxation, and I still feel that spending hours and hours and hours on a single part or assembly means I have become as obsessed about modeling as I have about other aspects of my life, and that would not be a good thing.

On to this post's main topic: Devcon Epoxy

As a modeler who is maybe in too much of a rush, I am looking for fast ways to glue things up. In my young years I used a lot of tubes of the "stinky red" Testors glue, which was pretty good on the sticky scale, but was stringy, left a big mess, and sometimes didn't get the job fully done. And it stank really, really bad.

Enter Epoxies. I was looking for something sticky (so when I placed a part it wouldn't immediately fall off). CA glue is good for some things, but, it's not sticky--it runs like water, for the most part. I was using Ace Hardware's Epoxy but it dried a bit yellow, and the tubes got nasty after a few uses, getting Epoxy goo all over my hands each time I used it. On a web modeler site I read about Devcon: easy to use and dries clear so I mail ordered some, and started using it about 2/3rds of the way through the 29 Ford project.

I am sold on this stuff. It indeed dries clear and fast. And a side discovery I made: For better or worse it does not stick to chrome.

In my rush to finish the 29 ford I deposited a big chunk on one of the valve covers, in my rush (and inexperience) to get the distributor wiring in. It really bugged me, and I thought about trying to cut off the valve cover and replace it with an unsoiled one from the parts box, but I CA glued the heck out of the part and it wasn't going to be easy to take off.

I took the blob in some tweazers, pulled, and to my amazement the entire chunk came off in a single piece--and the valve cover looked great!

But was this a fluke? I got the chome block out the left-over Lindberg Auburn (the one I took the Duval-becomes-Hallock windshield out of) and purposefully globbed a bunch of Epoxy on the side.

I let it dry for about 4 hours and then using tweezers removed it:

Again the whole blob came up--it was easily removed, really, but some of the chrome came up with it. Too much that I could do this on something serious (even my version of serious, which is less serious than a lot of other's version of serious) so perhaps the ability to recover from bad Devcon mistakes is limited.

It does make me remember that I will always have to scrape the chrome where I glue, just as I do with stinky red. Overall I am adding Devcon to my bag of glues, and it may become the franchise player. I am about to do my first project with resin and I understand Epoxy is the glue of choice for that. We'll see how it goes.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Kitbashed 29 Ford Hot Rod--Finished, Well, Sort Of

Another couple of weeks gone, and I haven't had as much relaxation time as usual. But in spite of long work weeks and little time at the bench the 29 Ford hot rod kitbash is pretty much done; I should still add some details to the underside (it has no mufflers right now for instance) but I will probably leave that for a rainy's nice weather out right now so I am not anxious to flip the model over and keep working.

Modeling is a constant struggle between finding time to get things right and substandard results because I couldn't find the time. The more time I take the better things come out. But there are of course only so many hours in the day.

So on this build I spent a fair amount of time "engineering" how all the parts were going to fit together, modifying the frame to accommodate the engine block/headers/valve covers (which came BTW from the 57 Chevy "Boyd Coddington" kit AMT/Ertl #38251), figuring out how to fit the tie rods onto the front axle, and so on. But not enough time on paint, which is usually my favorite part of a build.

Thus, I should have spent more time polishing then I did. I used Duplicolor rattle can forest green since I was in a rush, and Krylon Crystal clear as the clearcoat--didn't even use the airbrush. But there you go. I spent about 1 hour polishing with 2000 grit sandpaper and then Tamiya polish, and it shows. It looks like an old time lacquer job--shiny from a distance--and my wife--who BTW is truly an angel walking the earth--says she loves the color, and that's good enough.

One of the things I wanted to try to learn on this build was what role the primers made in the finished look. I am sorry to say I didn't spend enough time painting and sweating the finish to come to any real conclusions. I did use "Primer Filler" on the frame rails and didn't spend a whole evening sanding them down after Z-ing the frame; it was more of a quick twice over with a few sanding sticks, and the frame rails came out looking good (I used duplicolor Gloss black Acrylic Enamel for the frame, and it looks good and smooth). So perhaps the filler helped a bit.

The hardest thing about this project was (first) getting all the pieces to fit "straight" and (second) making the Duval windshield look decent. I have built jigs and bought 90 degree angle weights and grids to work on and everything else I have read about, to make things come out "straight" like the real car, and my cars still come out with things a bit off-kelter. In this case the rear of the body sits about 3 scale inches too high on one side, but the front is fine. I have no idea how this happened, but once I epoxied down the body there seemed to be no way to go back. So I don't have an answer to that yet.

The windshield was another thing I never fully sorted out for this build. But again it came out pretty well, in spite of some real struggle. The one from the 29 Ford donor kit (AMT #6572) didn't work at all--it was too "model T" looking and made the car look too high. I jettisoned that during the early planning stages. As I mentioned last time I ended up using the windshield out of a Lindberg 35 Auburn Speedster, #72324. IMO the Lindberg kit is pretty junky (I noticed there is a photo of a 1:1 Auburn on the box art, and not a photo of a master-modeler built rendition of the Lindberg kit--and that's never a good sign). One of my complaints is that the windshield is pretty out of scale--the real car didn't have a fence-post sized solid chrome metal strip along the top edge of the windshield glass, for instance. So, I ended up doing a lot of surgery on the windshield's frame, and used some PET plastic for the window glass instead of the clear plastic Lindberg provided(which looked way too thick to me). So now it's a Hallock and not a Duval. Oh well.

How to glue the PET onto the "Duval" (well, sort of) chrome frame was another matter. I had a tough time, in spite of using G-S Hypo cement (the end all uber-clear glue which you can get from Micromark). The merits and problems with G-S Hypo are a discussion of its own and will be the topic of a later post.

I was going to put a blower on the engine but it didn't look right, so I found a 6x2bbl carb setup from a really bad (bad chassis, flash and sag, bad tooling--really not a good kit at all) AMT 32 ford kit #38280 and used that. I just love 6 carb engines on 1:1 cars, but, man, I have a lot of trouble with building scale engines. They never come out looking very "straight" to me when build them, compared to photos of engines I see other modelers do that look, well, perfect. Maybe that's because I don't build them that often--I am the king of the curbside.

On this build, I had a really bad time with the distributor wires, so that's something I am going to work on more in the future. But I did discover "Devcon" 5 minute epoxy after reading about it on the forum; I was using Ace Hardware's Epoxy before, and Devcon's was lauded in the forum as a great improvement over generic 5 minute epoxy, and it is. Devcon is easier to mix and dries clearer, is sticky as anything and dries incredibly hard, so I am going to be using that from now on....And it appears to not stick to chrome, which saved my bacon on this engine...I had a big epoxy blob on one of the chrome valve covers (oops), but managed to pick the entire chunk off with some tweezers and left the underlying chrome intact! Lucky, and extremely satisfying!!!

As I said last time I morphed a 32 Ford dash into the 29 body for this project. I took it easy on this interior and used the tub that came with the 29 Ford AMT kit, with the steering wheel/steering column stolen out of the 32 Ford Revell Kit. The gauges are finished with a blob of Tamiya clear yellow. Overall I ended up using a lot of parts out of the Revell "Good Guys" 32 Ford kit #85-2024 which I recommend highly--beautifully tooled, lots of detailing parts, and a lot of fun both as a parts donor kit or if you want to build a "box stock" 32 Ford hot rod.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

29 Ford Kitbash--Priming it up

Last week I was gathering up parts for a '29 Ford Hot Rod, with an emphasis on kitbashing rather than a lot of customizing and/or scratchbuilding. I have learned from previous mistakes (read: glue bombs) that a lot of test fitting and planning has to go into a kitbash.

This kitbash is going together smoothly so far, due to the fact that most parts from the 1929-1932 Ford Era are fairly interchangable. As far as "engineering" this the only hard thing I've tried (and it's not done yet) is to marry a windshield from a Lindberg Auburn kit to the 29 Model A body. For that my main concern was having no good way to glue on the windshield so I built up a "target" for it using styrene rod. We'll see if it works or not.

I am trying to learn about what sort of primer is right for what, so I went to the auto store and bought the three you see here. I have used the Duplicolor sandable primer many times and I like it; it covers evenly and dries very fast. I used the "filler" primer on the Z'd frame since I didn't spend days sanding the frame sides to look smooth--the idea being that it glops over any little cracks or dents that I didn't spend enough time sanding out. Let's see if it works as advertised.

The sealer--I am really not sure I needed that, but, I couldn't see how sealing the primer before painting was going to hurt any, so a coat went on the body and the radiator shell. I have seen the sandable primer show impressions of where the chassis was puttied, and I imagine this sealer stuff will cover over that, but we will see.

Hard to believe that a few evenings went into this, but, it did. Planning and test fitting is time consuming!! The radius arms and leaf spring for the front are the from a 37 Ford pickup kit (see last time for the main kits I "bashed" from). I cut open the radial arms at their apex and spread them out, which I have been told 1:1 hot rodders did this mod on many a Ford hot rod throughout the years.

I cut the interior tranny hump for the of an unknown 1:24 kit in the scrapbox and glued it in with gap closing CA. After drying (which was quick) I noticed that it didn't go in flat, and removing and repositioning it is now impossible. Oh well, it's not noticable when the interior is in the body shell, but, I have to remember to be careful when affixing things with CA, as, there is no going back--I tried using CA debonder for this a couple of builds ago and made a big melted mess out of the whole thing, so I am cautious about that now..

The dash came out of the Revell Good Guy's 32 ford kit but had to be pretty heavily altered to fit the 29 Model A interior. I also added some tabs using CA glue to make it so I have a way to glue it into the interior.

Now I have to figure out how I want to paint this. My gut feeling is to just use metalflake lacquer and be done with it--I have to start the "real" Model A hot rod project in about 3 weeks, so this one is just for fun before the really tough project begins, so I am not going to go crazy trying out yet another way to paint a body.