Saturday, March 10, 2012

75 Vintage Vette--Parts Is Parts

I always start these posts along the lines of "no time at the bench" and again: no time at the bench! That's the big challenge here--not patience, creativity, victory over failing vision, or a steady hand--but, just finding enough time to do a hobby--any hobby.

OK on to the build!


Since last time I've finished almost all the sub-assemblies for the 75 Vintage Corvette Roadster--MPC 1-7506. According to Coulter and Shelton's Directory of Model Car Kits this is a 3-in-one kit originally released in 1975 and never reissued, except as stock only in 1985.

The vintage kit has all the great things about MPC (e.g.: great looks and some really fun "customizing parts") with some of the bad things (e.g.: assembly challenges and 1:1 inaccuracies that makes me shake my head in disbelief....)

Case in point: beyond the body, this isn't really a 75 Vette, it's a 73 Vette with a few different body parts. Many things on this MPC kit are just--well, wrong.

The engine for example!


Now I am not one of those car nuts who can talk all night (read: bore you to tears) about the size of a single header bolt in a 47 Chevy Belchfire or whatever, but I do know that 75 'Vettes did not have 427 engines; rather 350's, but the kit has a 427 that's all wrong. To ameliorate I scratch built a spark wire shield, modified some exhaust headers from the parts box to better match the 75 Vette's, stole some 350 valve covers off the MPC "Class Action Monte Carlo" reissue, and made a few other tweaks. But basically after a week or so I gave up on this being a "perfect" 75 Vette--again, time is the big challenge here.


The kit's exhaust system is incorrect as well, although I have to say with application of different "Alclad II" finishes, what I ended up with still looks pretty good.


I am always trying out new paints and the latest is this Duplicolor "Vinyl & Fabric" rattle can. I liked Rustoleum's "Fabric and Vinyl" version of this so much I decided to branch out, but found the Duplicolor much less forgiving than its competitor's. I also make it a point to choose the product with the ampersand ("&") unless there is an 'n ("Vinyl 'n Fabric!") available.....


The charcoal gray appeals but I found the paint difficult to work with. It's fragile and chips off too easily, doesn't reflect light evenly, and looks terrible if you get a molecule of glue on it. Overall I think I won't use this again and stick to the Rustoleum product, if I can find it.


The chassis and suspensions are also done. The kit had a "metal spring" front setup, I imagine MPCs craftmen threw this in to give the model "real suspension" features, but for me their inspired design proved impossible to build. I remember trying to build this same MPC crazy spring deal when I was about 12 and having the whole thing break into pieces and make me weep--it's good to know 38 years later it's still impossible to build. Fortunately my weeping days are long behind me; I replaced the springs with plastic dowels and was done with it.

The last thing to build is body and wheels/tires. Then final assembly, adjusting for the inevitable crappy MPC 1:25 scale stance, and it's done! For color coat I am going to try to use House of Kolor automotive paints for the first time....wish me luck!