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


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Roger, Nice to see the photos and read the history of your model making experiences. I got given some Meccano when my cousins family emigrated to Australia. I could not get into Meccano, it never looked like a 'proper car'. I am amazed how well the wetted cardboard model looks, also I like the steering and suspension, it's no wonder that you were proud of it. It must have all been very good experience for the model making you have carried out since. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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That the reason why my bodies were made with cardboard! There were interesting constructions to do with the Meccano (and I did some) but for cars it was not realistic.

I cannot resist to show those old frame and suspension pictures when somebody new to scale model is claiming that he (I was never confronted with a girl/woman doing scale models!)  cannot do progress quick enough. The beginning is always a little bit hard!

Unfortunately the Chrysler model did not survive an attempt to give it a real frame and suspension; it was destroyed more than 40 years ago.

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During the construction from that model, I felt less and less comfortable with the frame's look. In between, GM had a contest for scale models, similar to what was done in the USA. I registered and the benefit was a set of wheel and tires made with hard rubber much more suited than the Meccano wheels. The new wheels and tires required a frame modification to fit. I cut the frame aft the front wheels, creating a front suspension more in line with the Studebaker look/design and I did also a new steering box approaching the original one. some cosmetic modifications were also done to the frame, but the basic was still there. The first two pictures are showing the "new" frame; I took that picture much later, in 2003 during the reconstruction from that model. The discarded front end is on top of the photo; I still have it as well as this primitive frame. Souvenirs, souvenirs!

 

The model was most probably finished around 1966; it's good looking in pictures even if there were many, too many errors.
 

9 Châssis seconde version.jpg

10 Châssis seconde version, de dessous.jpg

5 RH side.jpg

3a LH door open.jpg

4 Avanti model.jpg

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Even if almost nothing was left from this model, it had following specifications: it had a working suspension and steering but no engine. Instead of a nice V8, there was a battery box for the headlights, tail lights and inside illumination. By pushing the brake pedal the stop lights would illuminate; it was the same bulb as for the tail lights, but with 3V instead of 1.5V.
The trunk had a remote handle to opening it, similar to the real car. The hood could be opened by pushing the clutch pedal, and the side windows were opened/closed with the inside handle.
The outside color was an unfortunate baby blue; the choice of spray cans was very marginal in the sixties or I was not looking at the right places!
The wheelcovers are good looking on the pictures; they were made with resin and sprayed with a silver paint. The rear window was made with Plexiglass, this window was used without modification for the last model's version.
Most chromed parts were made with brass (already!) and chromed. The door's handles were used with a slight modification for the last version.

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Early 2002, GM decided that they had to reduce the number of employees in Switzerland. At that time, I had a good contact with a colleague from the management; this may the reason why I was among the people who had to go as he knew that I expected an early retirement. Around Easter, I was told that I would leave the company at the end of September. The conditions were not too bad, about 50% less revenue as when I was active, but zero stress and the possibility to do what I wanted. I could only say thank you!

Autumn arrived, the early retirement too. The company promised that I would get some German to French translation to do and effectively I got some for some years. Therefore, I was not totally jobless but I had more free time.

When my new condition settled (it's nice to sleep really longer!), I had a look at that Avanti model and was thinking that some "cleaning" would be a benefit to it.

 

We are in 2003, the begin of a new adventure!

I really don't remember with what I began in 2003. I remember however that the general idea was:

- replace the wheelcovers, the existing ones were bad looking with the time

- repaint the model with a more pleasant color, more in line at what was offered on the Avanti models. I very soon found the new paint: a turquoise from Volvo! I did the first trial on March 3, 2003!

- replace the leather stained by the contact cement used more than 35 years ago
I remember when I took the dash panel assembly and slowly the idea came to do another frame. When I began it, I noticed that the width at the back of the model was excessive  compared to the original. Stupid as I am, I decided to reduce the excessive width only  50% to avoid a too heavy rework at the body.

Once the frame was done, I saw that I could not do a rear axle without a drive shaft. However, this drive shaft must have some connection at the other end, it cannot be held in the air! Consequently, I did a transmission. And at what this transmission will be attached? OK, go ahead and to an engine!

Once the engine was done, I saw that it was no ore possible to close the hood. Like the rear, the front end was too broad and too low. Therefore, bye bye the hood and the filler between both front fenders!

By going from the rear to the front of the body, I saw that the roof was 2mm too low on the right side. An other problem which plague me for a long time: the windshield's rake was incorrect. To modify that, new "A" and "B" pillars were needed and the roof at the front had to be elongated. The doors had not the same length. The hinges were cemented at the door and at the body; it was a good opportunity to do new ones attached with screws on door and pillar and to correct the length of the doors.
While I was correcting the width of the rear of the body, I saw that the shape from the model is not at all similar to the real car. As a consequence, the trunk lid was discarded and the rear of the body deeply modified. At that stade, I regretted my option to modify only slightly the width of the rear, but it was too late, I had to continue and hope that it would not be too obvious.

With a new frame, the existing floor did not fit anymore. So, the old one was cut and a new one made with resin and fiberglass.
 

It's now easy to understand that it was no more a refreshment but a reconstruction. What did I kept from the old model? Just a few elements:

 

- the doors, just corrected for the length

- the outside door's handles

- the front fenders, just heated a bit to have a narrower front end

- the roof, elongated at the front

- the rear window

 

All the other parts will be scrapped.

 

As I was not visiting any forum during the first part of the reconstruction, I did unfortunately no picture during the construction of the frame, engine and floor. I do regret it now.

I just did pictures from the finished frame and engine.

 

16 Avanti frame & engine, rear left.jpg

17 Avanti frame with exhaust.jpg

19 Avanti frame, from above.jpg

20 Avanti frame, from under.jpg

21 Avanti frame, rear.jpg

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Saturday, Dec. 09, 2006
Another view form the frame. Emergency brake, suspension and steering are operational. In that first picture, the frame is under the body, attached to it with screws. The rear of the body was already modified.

The restauration work is slowly going on. We are maybe still in 2006 or early 2007. On the second picture, new hinges are fitted to the door. If we could have a look faced to the front, we would see that the body is too flat between the front fenders.

On the last picture, I'm doing the "A" pillar in brass; this time, they will have the same dimension!


 

23 Underside.jpg

22 body with door,red.jpg

24 Windshield pillar.jpg

Edited by Roger Zimmermann
Removing French text (see edit history)
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Friday, Dec. 29, 2006
Today, I'm showing some parts wich are now scrap; first picture. At that time, I kept them for a while, as you never know...One is sure: the windshield's chromed molding will not be used again as the shape of the opening was modified.

Even the steering wheel will be replaced. The shaft was a Meccano part, replaced with a new shaft of better proportions.
As I wrote earlier, the trunk lid and hood are new; their shape is a better reduction of the original ones.
The round lid in th background is showing the color I choose for the model. On the screen, the difference is not obvious. It's a turquoise paint for a Volvo (don't remember from which model and MY), very similar to the Avanti paint. 
Anyway, some parts will be used on the new version, most of the time with some modification. the third picture is showing the rear seat bottom and the rear back rest. The red leather was not very well glued, the shape was irregular and the profile too flat.



 

14 Pièces au rebut.jpg

15 Autres pièces au rebut.jpg

40 Siège ar.1.jpg

Edited by Roger Zimmermann (see edit history)
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Even if the glue was old and not very well applied, boy, the old leather is hard to remove!
The seat's modifications are done with 2 components filler. All the desk surfaces are covered with filler dust!
In the second picture, the rear shelf and seat base are ready. I just have to glue the leather, which I don't have yet. In the background, a picture from the real seat.
How they look like into the model. The rear shelf is not yet installed. For practical reasons, it will be glued at the body. Of course, when the time will come to glue the new leather and perform the paint operations, everything will have to come out again.

41 Siège ar. 2.jpg

42 Siège ar. et tablette.jpg

43 Sièges ar. installés.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

We are in December 29, 2006.

The said  rear shelf cannot be seen on the previous picture; it's time t show it. This picture is also showing the new fuel door. 
On the same first picture, there are 2 parts which were practically not modified: both outside door handles! 

 

December 30,206

On a previous picture, I showed the seats and the parts which will be discarded. In between, the body got some modifications like the new door locks.

36 plage arrière.jpg

33 Serrure de porte.jpg

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The date is still December 29, 2006:

 

I could begin with the surface finishing of the body. The first picture is showing the headlamp bodies; the headlamps will be installed with screws.
The open hood is showing the radiator attached to the body structure with screws. The radiator was needed to fabricate the hood: the shroud is the highest point and must not touch the hood when it's closed. At this specific place, the hood has a thickness of less than 1 mm; the space between the hood and shroud is also very tight.

Once some surfacer is sprayed, the body is looking a tad better.

Finally, a view of one trunk hinge. There are four springs (2 per hinge) to keep the trunk open.
 

35 Face brute.jpg

30 Carrosserie brute, de l'arrière.jpg

31 Carrosserie brute, de l'avant.jpg

37 Carrosserie en apprêt.jpg

38 Carrosserie en apprêt, av.jpg

39 Charnières coffre.jpg

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March 15, 2007
It took some time, but I could buy some blue leather (which color would be perfect for the baby blue paint I first did on that model). Unfortunately, that leather is way too thick. By chance, I discovered that I can peel the outer surface (sorry dear animal who gave this leather!). This operation is tricky, the skin can tear easily; the thickness is about 0.2mm.
For the correct hue, I ordered vinyl spray cans by Studebaker International. The cans are shipped but, as they are coming via surface mail, it will take some time.

Comments from 2019: As most probably know, the surface mail does not exist anymore. It was cancelled shortly after I ordered the paint. I had luck!

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March 28, 2007
Yesterday, I got both spray cans I ordered in the USA. Of course, I immediately tried to spray some leather: it's fantastic! However, the original leather must have a color near to what is desired. I tried the turquoise paint on the blue leather and the fawn paint on a white leather: a thin coat is sufficient. When I tried to spray the fawn color on a dark brown leather, multiple coats are needed for a good rendering but, when the paint was dry, the touch was not agreeable because the coat was too thick.

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May 05, 2007
When the front bumper was ready, I began to prepare the blue leather for my needs. I wrote that it was way too thick (between 0.8 to 1.0mm), I could get enough surface to begin the trim. Thanks to the cans, I could color the needed leather and covered the inside quarter panels and began to do the rear seat. When the negative roll will be full, I will publish pictures (at that time, I had not yet a digital camera and it took a long time until the film roll was full).

I noticed too that I will not have enough screws and nuts. As I’m lazy, I did not want to go in a store for 1.0 and 1.2 screws they will have to order anyway. A search in Internet gave no result for tiny screws in Switzerland, what a shame!

A friend gave me an address in Germany: what a surprise! This store has all what I do need, even screws with an hexagon head which smallest diameter is 0.6mm! Furthermore, the heads have a better proportion compared to the commonly available screws and nuts.

I ordered immediately a rather large quantity; I suppose that I will replace some screws and bolts used on the Toronado model with the new ones as they are better looking.

 

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June 06, 2007
With analog cameras, pictures cannot be shown until the negative roll is completed. Here are some, with comments.
I had the leather and I had the paint for it. It was time to see how it would look like on some trim parts I could rescue and modify. On the first picture, the part on the right side is the unfinished LH quarter panel. To simulate the stitching, thin leather bands are glued on the hard surface.  The end result can be seen on the part at the left.


Second picture: Both trim panels are ready, together with the arm rest. A chrome trim will be inserted between the blue and fawn leather; an ash tray will be inserted into both armrests. The excess leather will be glued into the quarter window aperture during the final assembly.


Third picture: I could not resist installing temporarily the quarter trim panels and the seat bottom. The rear seat back rest is still uncovered as you can see.  

The leather work is requiring a lot of attention and concentration. From time to time, I need to do something else; this time, I began the front bumper. The fourth picture is showing all the necessary parts. For various reasons, I had to redo the central part four times! The supports will be black painted, the 3 main parts will be chromed and both rubber pads will be flat black. I’m using large screws for that assembly: 1 and 1.2mm screws.

A view of the front bumper, ready to be installed, less the plating. The main supports are rather easy to assemble at the frame rails; the bumper ends are attached to the front fenders with one screw each side; they are not so easy to install on the model, but it can be done.

The front bumper is installed on the sixth picture.

As I was in a good mood with the bumpers, I began the rear one. For practical reasons, I had to do some changes compared to the original set-up: the original bumper is attached to the frame with brackets and the bumper ends are attached to the fenders from under the vehicle. This method was just not possible on the model; I did following changes: the vertical bumper guards are attached to the main bumper with concealed strong supports which are attached at the frame underside. The bumper ends are attached to the rear fenders with screws installed from inside the trunk.


To change a bit the work, I began to rework the dashboard. On the next photo, it’s ready to get covered with leather.

The last photo: this is the covered dash. The picture quality is disputable; I will try to do better the next time!

The next things to come: doing the tail lamps apertures into the body.



 

 

44 quarter trim panels1.jpg

45 Quarter trim panels2.jpg

46 rear bottom seat.jpg

47 Disassembled front bumper.jpg

48 Front bumper, assembled.jpg

49 Front bumper, on car.jpg

50 rear bumper, on car.jpg

51 Work on dash panel.jpg

52 Dash panel.jpg

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July 25, 2007
Sometimes it can take a long time but it happens. I did for a long time pictures the traditional way with negatives etc. Now, I will get a digital camera! It will be shared (this was the plan but it went differently) with Christine, she takes the opportunity to learn how to use it. We did a try, here is the result.

On a PC screen, that word « Avanti » is not very well done. In reality, it’s 10 mm long (0.4 »). The space between the characters is too narrow to use a file and rather prone to be bent while doing it. It will be chromed later; the base will be painted fawn and the outside of the console covered with turquoise leather.
 

55 Console.JPG

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Sept. 22, 2007
Even during summertime I could do some small things for the model. The original front seats were completely incorrect; I began almost from the ground up. The way the seats were adjusted did not please me anymore, therefore, I did « quickly » two new ones.
The rails are moving on two balls each; the lever is allowing the seat to be adjusted on an adequate length.
I could keep the original seats but with many modifications. Here is the result; the second seat is still covered with the red leather. The excess glue is hardly visible on the picture.
That red leather will be soon taken away and the plastic basis modified to look like the first seat. Then the turquoise leather will be once glued.



 

58 Dessous siège.JPG

56 Nouveau et vieux siège.JPG

Edited by Roger Zimmermann (see edit history)
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Yes, Mike, I did it that way. Maybe two thin brass bit soft soldered together to have more rigidity, but I'm not sure. Then of course, the word was soft soldered on the base. Compared what I did more recently, I'm almost sure that I could do better.

The lazy way it etching, (or 3-D printing) but, in my opinion, it's too easy, dexterity is not required with that chemical process.

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Sept. 24, 2007
 

Just for the fun, the completed rear seat is installed into the model. The driver seat is installed too. It’s evident that the seat back can be tilted but, like the on the real car, it’s not adjustable nor locked in place

The whole inside trim will have to go out again for the paint process (in one year maybe?).

62 sièges dans modèle.JPG

63 dossier mobile.JPG

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Oct. 10, 2007
Long before I began that reconstruction, I did name plates for the Toronado and, recently the Studebaker name plate for the Avanti. 
Sorry for the dust/dirt; I usually forget the cleaning before taking a picture. The letters "OLDSMOBILE" are OK in my opinion; the name plate Studebaker too, but the plates "Toronado" (11mm in length or 0.43") could be more precise; I will survive.

 

64 lettres, mots1.JPG

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Dec. 07, 2007
After doing the windshield and its garnish molding which will be chromed, I'm beginning the frames for the side windows. First, the quarter windows. On that picture, the molding under the roof and the one for the center pillar are temporarily installed.
The second picture is showing the parts for those quarter windows. The still unassembled thin parts are indeed shaped as a "U" for the plastic window. Missing for the moment are the hinges and the locking lever.



 

66 vitres latérales.JPG

67 cadres vitres.JPG

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Dec. 11, 2007
As I have less external work those days, I could progress with the side windows as you can see. As on the real car, the quarter windows can be opened for ventilation. The whole unit is assembled like a module, to be inserted into the body. On the  pictures, a temporarily window is used to maintain the parts together; the vertical part will not be soldered to the "J" frame because I could no more insert the "glass".

The locking lever is not yet done. The parts are not yet perfect; some work is still needed before the polishing for plating. The reddish dust is not rust but brass dust.

On the model, the windows will stay closed.

 

 

68 Cadre assemblé.JPG

69 Cadre ouvert.JPG

70 Cadre vitre sur voiture.JPG

Edited by Roger Zimmermann (see edit history)
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Dec. 19, 2007
Once the quarter window's frames were done, I had a look at the rear window. It gave me headache since a long time, especially the garnish molding. Good news for me: I can save the window itself which was done about 40 years ago; only some small corrections at the edge. The bad news: the chromed molding is not quite following the aperture and the chromed did suffer from attempts to correct the shape. With  a bit of brass 2.5 x 2.5mm, I did a new molding with some wasted brass: the finished molding is 1.7 mm wide and .6mm thick. 

The assembly is just resting into the aperture; it will better looking when glued.
The small hammer in the foreground is a fantastic tool: with it, I can bend what must be bent or I can do delicate adjustments!


 

71 back window.JPG

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January 11, 2008
If the windshield, quarter windows and rear window are done, if I'm right, the windows at the doors must be done. The begin is with the went window because it must be adapted to the slope of the windshield  and its frame is the guide for the door's window. A vent window is not quite exiting; however, it's more complicated than anticipated.

The various parts are shown on the first picture. On the left, the guide for the window; next to it the frame for the vent window with its locking lever to keep the vent window closed when required. Further on the right, a filler with a double function: it attach the unit to the door and, when painted black, it will represent the rubber seal. The last part which is indeed a cap will be chromed and will give the illusion that this chromed part is maintaining the assembly to the door.
The next picture is showing how the assembly is attached to the door.

The next view when the door is closed: the vent window is closed too. The tape is to maintain the windshield molding in the correct position during the construction of the vent window assembly. You may notice a very long shaft at the top of the vent window. During the definitive assembly, the glass will stop the shaft and the chromed frame will prevent that the shaft is escaping from above.

 

The last picture: the vent window is open. As you can see, the locking lever can be moved; it was a difficult part to design and to do.

 

There is no glass installed, it will be done during the final assembly.

 

Now, I have to do the other side…

 

72 Pièces du déflecteur.JPG

73 De l'intérieur de la porte.JPG

74 Déflecteur installé.JPG

75 Déflecteur ouvert.JPG

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January 30, 2008
The second vent window assembly was much quicker done than the first one because the "how to do" questions were all answered. Now, it's the turn to the side windows which will go up and down, as on the original model. Here too, I have to study to find a solution which is practical to do and reliable.

On the first picture, you see the old door trim panel. They will not be used again, with 2 exceptions: the handles for the window and to open the door from inside. However, those parts will be modified for their new lease of life. Stains from the old cement are clearly apparent; this one of the reasons why I wanted to refresh the model.

Next picture: the other side of the scenery: the window frame was attached to the string, allowing the movement. I was probably a pioneer at that time: the unit is to be considered as a module: all the parts and the leather were assembled outside of the model and, with some contorsions, the assembly was attached to the door with glue. This is now my dilemma: I don't want that the trim panel be assembled like I did more than 40 years ago (with glue). I will continue the module idea, just partly: the window and door aperture mechanisms will be assembled outside the model. The completed module will be installed on the doors with screws; the trim will be installed separately.

Now, there is a problem which must find a solution: when the trim panel is lastly installed, how can I insert the handles securely and, if necessary be able to remove them in case something is getting wrong into the door?

 

After a good brain storming, I found a solution. On the last picture, the handle to open the door is temporarily installed. But how? Will somebody in 2019 guess what I did 11 years ago?

 

13 Ancien panneau de porte.JPG

12 Ancien panneau.JPG

80 Intérieur de porte.JPG

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January 31, 2008
Well, nobody scratched his head to try a solution. It was to be expected as indeed this forum is for real cars, not scale models!

The picture is showing the solution: shafts from both handles have been milled to form a square. The square shaft will be pushed into the drum or, to open the door, into the swinging lever. There is some interference to keep the levers where they belong but not too much to be able to take them out just in case.
The rear guide for the window is assembled to that module as you can see.

77 Poignée & manivelle.JPG

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Feb. 03, 2008

 

When I was rebuilding the model, I put the same question about how to attach the handles to the doors to a French forum. I got more answers than here, just because it was actual. Most answers were impractical because too complex or not taking in account the dimensions.  Generally, on a model, when something is moving the difficulties are sometimes unsuspected from the viewers. For example, as in most scale models, the windows are in the open position. To replicate that, a simple molding representing the top of the window frame can be attached at the door and it's done. When the windows are operational, it's more complex: the windows must have enough space into the door, guides must be designed to avoid jam, the windows must go completely down and not stop mid-way because attachment parts are too large and the system to let the windows go up and down must be rather reliable.

At that day, the windows are going up and down, but not yet the way I want.
The first two pictures is a view from inside, window up and window down; the last one is showing the module's back; very simple. I still want to make holes for easy verification (and not to do the model less heavy!). 
 

81 Vitre descendue.JPG

82 Vitre montée.JPG

78 Module porte.JPG

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Feb. 4, 2008


I could not take the small problem with my windows out of my mind: when the window was up, the string had a good tension. When the window was down, I could turn the handle 1/2 turn before something was happening. Therefore, I decided to build a tensioner. It's working well, the risk that the string is getting away from the guides is gone.
The window's guide on the left does not belong to the module, the correct guide is part o the went window's frame, attached to the door. However, to verify the function, I had to add one; it will be removed when all is OK.

 

The back of the module is not esthetically very pleasant; it's about the same in real cars: the owner does not see it! 

 

79 Platine modifiée.JPG

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While people are waiting to see the continuation of the Avanti, I already moved to another project: I will do a 1:12 1932 Cadillac V-16 engine and frame. Last week, Christine and me drove about 600 miles one way to measure and take pictures from a restored engine and frame. It was the last moment to do that: this week, the body will be mated to the frame.

We came back Sunday, tired, but I'm happy to have enough info to begin soon this new project. Therefore, when the Avanti story will be over, a new one will come!

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Roger

I’m glad you were able to find a chassis with engine installed. Due o the complexity of all the linkage for the brakes it would have been almost impossible to photograph and measure with a body installed. Vacuum assist brakes and vacuum assist clutch, who would have thought in 1932, not to mention freewheeling pedal. My Cadillac is my first and I was advised to run from this project and run fast. I have never been one to heed to good advice.

Alex D.

 

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5 hours ago, Roger Zimmermann said:

 . . . . to measure and take pictures from a restored engine and frame.

 

Not being a model maker, I would be interested to read how you go about measuring an engine. When I have measured items 'off site' like an engine to see if it will fit in the engine compartment of different make of car. I always seem to miss some important measurements. It must take a lot of time to measure a full size engine so that you can make a scale model of it?

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In fact, the shop manual is providing a good sectional view of the engine. I did measure key dimensions. Some were not possible like total height, the sectional drawing will help. The most measurement effort was done at the chassis because the side view in the shop manual is so small to have details. And boy, those frames are complex with many cast supports for the springs; they will be a joy to replicate!

We stayed 1 1/2 days at the shop hosting the frame. At the end, there would still be a lot of measurements to do, but after a while, you don't see anymore what's important or not.

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18 hours ago, Roger Zimmermann said:

We stayed 1 1/2 days at the shop hosting the frame. At the end, there would still be a lot of measurements to do, but after a while, you don't see anymore what's important or not.

 

Roger, Thank you for the information. I can well believe your statement above.

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