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Construction of a Continental Mark II model, scale 1:12


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On the suggestion of Barry Wolk, I will relate here the constuction of a Continental Mark II, scale 1:12, built from scratch. However, before I'm coming to that subject, here is a little presentation:

I'm living in Switzerland; I will be 65 this year. I'm an automotive engineer and I, since a child, was interested by cars, especially by the 1950 Studebakers and othere US cars. My parents were living in a rural part of Switzerland (in the French part) and cars were rare, US cars even rarer. Most of the farmers had a Volkswagen; I still cannot understand why so many were sold: such an ugly, noisy and impractical vehicle is beyond my understanding, then and now. To perfect my own situation, my parents had no car, which was not unusual in the fifties in Europe.

When most American kids can drive at the age of 16, I had my first car (a 1965 Opel Rekord Coupe) when I was 25. My first US car was a 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass Coupe which I bought new.

I began to work for GM in 1970 and was put in early retirement when I was 57. My last job was Service District Manager for...US vehicles.

Very early I began with the construction of car models; the body was...cardboard. In 1963, I began the construction of a Studebaker Avanti; this time, the body was polyester. When this model was completed, I began the construction of a 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado, a car which was revolutionary then. This model is extremely complex with electric windows, an electric engine inside the V8, a transmission, functionning suspension, steering, emergency brake, and so on. In 1982, I was a little bit tired of that car model and I began to restore a 1956 Cadillac Sedan de Ville. During winter season, as it was too cold to work in my "garage", I continued with the Toronado.

Once the de Ville finished, I began to restore a 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham with its infamous air suspension. I was busy for 7 years with this car. After that, I began my last project: a 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz (nice rust is its name); I had 10 years to reconstruct it. I still have my 3 Cadillacs, but the Olds was sold in 2006 when I bought a 2000 Cadillac DTS.

After I was put in early retirement, I had a look at my old Avanti model and I desired to refresh the paint and do better wheelcovers. What was a quick job turned indeed as a reconstruction at 95% with very few parts rescued. Last year, when I saw that it was almost finished, I took the decision to do a very last one: a 56 or 57 Mark II.

Thank you for those who read until the end; I will try to add pictures from my cars (the ones I can sit in).

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Edited by West Peterson (see edit history)
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February 3, 2010 was the begin with this mad project: the construction of a Continental Mark II, scale 1:12, from scratch. Indeed, the project began earlier, gathering as many pictures as I could, buying some books and corresponding with some of the members of the Mark II forum. Feb. 3 was the physical begin: I will do first the rims. Strange choice isn't? there is a reason for that: my previous model, a 1963 Studebaker Avanti is almost ready. I'm doing now the tires for this Avanti and, as expected, there are difficulties. Furthermore, time is needed for the material to cure (about 24 hours) and I hate to wait and do nothing.

The rims for the Mark II are standard parts (more or less) which have to be done anyway. Then I will do the tires for the Mark II as my notices and experience with the Avanti tires will be helpful.

I did the same work with the tires for my first model (a 1966 Olds Toronado) but it was for 30 years and the products are no more the same.

I hope you will enjoy this adventure; you must be patient as progress are never quick.

Attached are 2 pictures. You may notice that my lathe is very small and the brass part is looking huge for this small machine!

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The begin of this model is not quite exciting; the frame would be more interesting. This will come, later.

The long cylinder was precut to have 5 drums. The final cut was done manually with a saw blade as obviously it was not possible with my small machine to completely cut each drum on the lathe.

Then came the regular work as a picture is showing it. When the first rim was done, my desk was covered with brass chips! Fortunately, it's easy to clean, and yes, I do it myself.

Now, I still have four rims to do....

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I finished the last rim on February 9. 5 rims are now ready to be assembled on the wheel's centers, when they will be done. For that, I will have to take dimensions from the cars located in Switzerland; it will not happens before 2 months.

The next step will be the tire's pattern. I ordered a bit of brass; next week I will begin with it. The first step with the Avanti tires are promising; let see what happens next.

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Some time ago, I began the work on the pattern for the tires. It will be made with brass, a metal I like. Easy to turn, no need to lubricade, easy to braze and soft sold.

The pattern is, for the small machine I have, a huge piece of brass, 1.25 kg heavy (about 2.8 pounds). As one of the pictures is showing it, it looks disproportionate on the lathe. It's time consuming; not only because I can take only a little bit material each time, but after about 20 minutes the electric motor of the machine must cool down...

The second picture is showing that there is already some progress, but it's far from finished.

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The work on the tire's pattern is going faster than anticipated. The tire's back side (picture) is almost ready. The tool to form the sides is a flat chisel. It cut into brass almost like butter! Of course, the chisel is held by hand; this technique requires some habit.

At the moment, the weight is less than half it was at the beginning.

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Roger,

You are amazing. What talent you have. I am in awe. Beautiful, awesome what else more can I say.

Thank you very much for coming on here and sharing with us.

Looking forward to seeing more.....

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Some time ago, I put the tire pattern for the Mark II on side to finish the Avanti's tires. This morning the last tire was taken out of the mold; I have the impression you may be interested by that.

First, some clear silicone is prepared with a black paste and catalyst. Then, the product is poured into the forms. The pictures show that a lot of air is entraped into the silicone; this air is removed by placing the forms into a desiccator. The needed vacuum is created by a hand pump, which is good for the muscles!

After almost one hour of this treatment, all air bubbles are gone, the molds can be taken out of the desiccator.

After 2 hours, when the product is still sticking but no more flowing, it's time to join both halves together and press them firmly to let escape the unneeded silicone. As you can see, I put all the wheight I found on the molds. Will the tire be good? I will know it after about 8 to 10 hours.

Fortunately, you will not have to wait so long!

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After the necessary curing time, the excess material at the outside can be peeled off. A small screwdriver is inserted then into prepared notches to separate both mold's halves, taking care no to apply too much force. When one mold is removed, the excess rubber around the tire is taking away with a cutter.

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Then, with some pressure on the tire, it is gently removed from the other mold. It's the minute of truth! Fortunately, the last tire is also good and can be used.

I did the pictures only with the last tire because I was too nervous before to think at pictures. With that run, I had 2 bad tires; I had to scrap them.

Once the center is cutted away and the tire cleaned, I can insert the white wall into the recess I molded and the tire is ready to install on the wheel, and the wheel on the car.

The whole process is rather complicated; it will be explained in detail when I will be ready to do the Mark II tires.

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Now that the Avanti model is almost completed (2 small parts will have to be added later, I forgot to let them chrome), I can continue with the saga with the tires for the Mark II. On the picture, you can see the "tire" and some brass bands. What can those bands to have in common with the pattern?

The answer tomorrow if nobody could find the reason!

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What can those bands to have in common with the pattern?

My thought is that the bands will be affixed to the wheel blank as tire tread and manufacture details (name/size). Then the finished wheel will become the master for the mold that will make the actual tires. I could be wrong, but that’s my thinking… Also, let me say now that I am amazed at those that have the talent and patience to be able to see this type of project through. I, along with many others will be following along and (maybe even impatiently at times) waiting for updates as you make progress.

By the way, when you are done with the Avanti will you be posting a picture of the completed model? Scott

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Bingo Scott and Keiser31! You are right: the band will be milled and fixed on the blank. This is a long process, you will see later how this is done. If I had a sophisticated equipment, I would mill the tread directly on the blank. Would that be fun?

For the name and dimension, it will not be done with that. There is another procedure, again completely foolish.

To be honest, I did not "invent" the process to make tires. I got it from a book I bought in Reno at the famous museum in 1979 if I remember well. The book is: The complete car modeller from Gerald A. Wingrove. He must get the credit for it.

When the weather will permit it, I will do a serie of pictures from the Avanti with outside light and will publish them

Those who follow the construction of this new model must be patient: the planning go from 6 to 10 years...

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Up to now, you saw only my fingers. During summertime, they would no be so clean as I'm working from time to time to my real cars. But how is looking that funny guy from Switzerland?

As the publisher from Strudebaker toys asked for pictures, we did some this morning. Here are two at the "working" place...

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Hope you're a patient person. I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

Roger, you really should post some file pictures from your other projects to help fill in the time between progress reports.

He and the other readers have to be patient! Sometimes what I do is a repetitive work not worth to photography, sometimes I have other activities. Don't panic: since I have a digital camera, it's so easy to publish almost immediately failures or great parts!

I'm a little bit reluctant to post pictures from my other projects; it distracts from the real subject and can confuse people. What do think the people who are looking at that thread?

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No, I meant to post them in this thread as a comparison as to what went before. Since all of the operations have been done before a "preview" of an operation might be interesting.

OK, I understand better. As far as the Toronado is concerned, bad luck. I have very few pictures. It will be better with the Avanti as I posted on a regular basis to the French forum. The first pictures were first with a traditional camera; since 2007 a digital one came home. Since that day, I did a lot of pictures and was (and still) amazed with the quality of the pictures at short distances.

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After two days of milling, the bands for the tire pattern are ready; there are more than 1000 teeth milled one by one! I know, I'm mad. As you can see the vice of the machine is way too short. After about 40 mm (1.5") I have to release the band and reposition it. This method does not allow to have a very precise pitch, but who cares?

The bands are now ready to be soft solder to the blank.

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To mill the bands was annoying, very repetitive. To install them on the stock is not so repetitive, but annoying too! The first one is soft soldered around the perimeter of the tire; to get the tire hot enough to sold it takes about 8 minutes and no question to position the first band with the hands, its too hot...

Once the first is soldered, it's time for the second one. The whole has to cool down to adjust the next band at the proper length. At first I wanted to fix them on the tire with small pins; I abandoned the idea because while boring the band shifted. At the end, I positioned it with masking band and soldered at 10 places. One band needs about half hour to be soldered. Then, the whole has again to be cooled to clean the excess solder. Then the next one is installed...

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Edited by Roger Zimmermann (see edit history)
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Roger,

I’d gone out to the French site where you posted the rebuild of your Avanti model and went through all 28 pages. Your work, tedious detail to say the least, is nothing but just amazing. And as far any concern of it being in French and not being able to follow along, I believe that every picture spoke a thousand words in many languages. I also noted that the time period basically covered 4 years, now I can’t imagine why that would be, it must be that you were trying to put to much detail into it. Ok, now you’ve got to believe that I’m pulling your leg. The Avanti can only be a taste of what the Continental project holds in store. I for one am in for the long haul. Scott

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Roger,

I’d gone out to the French site where you posted the rebuild of your Avanti model and went through all 28 pages. Your work, tedious detail to say the least, is nothing but just amazing. And as far any concern of it being in French and not being able to follow along, I believe that every picture spoke a thousand words in many languages. I also noted that the time period basically covered 4 years, now I can’t imagine why that would be, it must be that you were trying to put to much detail into it. Ok, now you’ve got to believe that I’m pulling your leg. The Avanti can only be a taste of what the Continental project holds in store. I for one am in for the long haul. Scott

Thank you Scott!

In fact, I began in 2003 with the restoration/reconstruction of that model. The first work was the construction of a new the frame and suspension. I began later to post in the French forum; they had before a strange system to insert pictures I never understood.

It took so many years because I'm not all the time doing that; it may happens weeks without activities on the model. Summer time is a bad season for models: as you can see in my signature, I have 3 older Cadillacs which need work or maintenance. From time to time, I'm overhauling 1956 to 63 Hydramatic transmissions for other people; I like to do that too!

The fact that many people are looking what I'm doing is an incentive to go further in the details; I like to surprise people! Another factor for the time spent: my very basic equipment. With a sophisticated milling machine, the master tire would be done in one afternoon. then, everybody with a little flair could do the same. With my limited tool park, it's a little bit different...

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Roger,

I’d gone out to the French site where you posted the rebuild of your Avanti model and went through all 28 pages. Your work, tedious detail to say the least, is nothing but just amazing. And as far any concern of it being in French and not being able to follow along, I believe that every picture spoke a thousand words in many languages. I also noted that the time period basically covered 4 years, now I can’t imagine why that would be, it must be that you were trying to put to much detail into it. Ok, now you’ve got to believe that I’m pulling your leg. The Avanti can only be a taste of what the Continental project holds in store. I for one am in for the long haul. Scott

Can you, or someone post a link to that French site please?

If there is a link in this thread, I'm not seeing it.

:)

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Can you, or someone post a link to that French site please?

If there is a link in this thread, I'm not seeing it.

:)

Sorry about that, this should help: accForum :: Voir le sujet - Avanti au 1:12

I found it under unimogjohn's Avanti R2, 163, Refresh. Roger had posted there in response to a comment unimogjohn made after he had found it.

Enjoy... Scott

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Thank you Scott to respond to the question from Sweepspear!

By looking at the French forum you may have difficulties to understand unless you can read French. At first the vehicle is complete, then there is a new frame and a funny one, then again something which makes no sense. Here is shortly the reason: I began the model in 1963; it was ready in 1966 I believe. When I was put in early retirement, I had a look at that model and decided to refresh it a little bit. At the end, it was a reconstruction at 95 %. Therefore the first pictures in the French forum were posted somewhere during the reconstruction. It will be different with the Mark II model: pictures will be posted since the beginn.<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

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Just an FYI for anyone that cant read French. Google Toolbar has a feature for Firefox and Internet Explorer that can translate the French to English and maybe some other languages.

Roger,

You sure kept people interested over there. Thirty pages of replies. How wonderful is that.

Edited by Packin31 (see edit history)
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Just an FYI for anyone that cant read French. If you use Firefox as your browser it has a feature where you can translate the French to English and maybe some other languages.

Roger,

You sure kept people interested over there. Thirty pages of replies. How wonderful is that.

Tom, I try my best! There is no secret to have so many pages: to post on a regular basis with something new. I will do it too.

About the translation done by a machine: I used to translate for GM or correct text translated by machine or people who are not specialized in technical matters: I had sometimes to request the original text in order to understand what I had to verify/correct!

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At least, all the bands are on the tire. After some finishing work, the master tire is ready. Ready? Not quite. Usually bias-ply tires have ribs on the side; I'm attempting to reproduce them. The first picture is showing the milling; the second one is showing how this is done on my small but versatile machine. After 120 indentations on one side, the other side is also to be done. It seems a lot of work but it's indeed quickly done.
Pictures 3 and 4 are showing the master tire from front and rear. The cavity in the front is the space for the white wall. You will see it in pictures; it's easier to understand with pictures than an approximate explanation.

And now is the master tire ready? No! Not yet: I have to write the brand and dimension. How? Quite simple: with paint.

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Edited by Roger Zimmermann (see edit history)
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Sorry about that, this should help: accForum :: Voir le sujet - Avanti au 1:12

I found it under unimogjohn's Avanti R2, 163, Refresh. Roger had posted there in response to a comment unimogjohn made after he had found it.

Enjoy... Scott

Thank you Scott!

Roger,

You are a gifted individual! I had no idea as to the level of intricate detail you put into these!

My late Father owned an Avanti at one time, so I have some first hand knowledge.

I am speechless as to how accurate even the smallest of details where faithfully reproduced.

Thank you for sharing. thumbsup.gif

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Hi Roger,

After following your work on this thread, I can really understand the term "runs like a Swiss watch" . Talented and beautiful workmanship, and something to be extremely proud of. Thanks for your posts, and keep them coming!

:) kaycee

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