Roger Zimmermann

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

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The hood was sanded and installed. If the picture is dark, it’s on purpose because the one with a good light was less effective. You can compare the hood with the front fender’s sides; these curved surfaces will not be sanded and buffed because the risk here is too great to go through the clear coat.

The floor mat structure was also installed; its shape is an elegant design as it makes an uninterrupted line with the dash. The junction can be seen on the picture; it’s the spot near the heater outlet. I will put some black leather paint to have it less obvious. The rubber mat itself is not yet glued on the metal part; on the picture the fit near the gas pedal is objectionable.

87 smooth paint.JPG

88 floor mat.JPG

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Lately, I’m busier with real cars than with scale models. Ah! The joy working on an underdeveloped air suspension system (1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham)!

Recently, I ordered small connectors for the external battery pack. Unfortunately, those connectors are too small to be practical; I ordered yesterday two different types; one will be the right one. The lack of suitable connectors is the reason why the rear seat is not yet into the model. To diminish the number of laying parts, I assembled the dash. If the attachment of the right portion of the dash is now known with the left radio knob screwed in the structure, I discovered that the left part is attached in a similar manner: the assembly is attached with a screw behind the A/C & heater control which is then glue at its place.

The fillers under the dash are in place too; the left one is needed a bit of glue to stay in place.

89 dashboard complete.JPG

90 dashboard complete.JPG

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Obviously, that overhauling process is coming to an end. I bought recently small connectors and modified that large battery box changing the output from 6V to 3V and therefore I can eliminate the smaller box.

The energy for the traction engine is done with the “fuel nozzle” inserted into the filler pipe. As the space to insert the nozzle is rather limited, I could construct a system which is satisfactory; therefore, I could reinstall the fuel tank.

With this positive experience, I will replace the system I did for the Mark II with a similar design. Due to different filler tube diameter, I cannot use the same nozzle for both cars!

The electrical engine is connected to a centrifugal clutch and to a 2-speed transmission providing also a reverse, park and neutral. The gears are selected by the lever at the steering column. With the front seat and steering wheel installed, it’s very cumbersome to move that lever, plus the bracket in the engine compartment acting as a relay is way too weak. This will stay as an experiment, totally useless!

The current for the windows and headlamps will come from the battery box; a connector is laying into the trunk. To operate the various systems, it will be necessary to open the trunk and connect the battery box. With that in place, the rear seat was installed as well as the front seat for which I had to replace the string. I’m also satisfied how the seat is functioning.

I still have to glue the back window in place. Who knows, maybe I will find another small repair to perform!

 

91 Installed fuel tank.JPG

92 Power to the traction engine.JPG

93 the fuel nozzle.JPG

94 Current for windows and seat.JPG

95 Stored connector.JPG

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2 hours ago, Roger Zimmermann said:

The electrical engine is connected to a centrifugal clutch and to a 2-speed transmission providing also a reverse, park and neutral. The gears are selected by the lever at the steering column. With the front seat and steering wheel installed, it’s very cumbersome to move that lever, plus the bracket in the engine compartment acting as a relay is way too weak. This will stay as an experiment

 

I find all this work you do fascinating and at the same time 'mind blowing'. I just can't imagine myself ever being able to work on such small components.

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As noted previously, the transmission is hardly to operate with the shift lever. Is a look inside the transmission useful? Who knows…

The 13 screws were quickly removed; I just noticed that I did a gasket with blue RTV material, a product I do hate since I restored real cars. The transmission itself is very simple: a group of gears is sliding on the output shaft, allowing reverse, first and second gear. They are moved with the help of a cart, guided with two rods. The problem is at the steering column; I noticed during installation that the tube for the transmission is not moving freely. To improve it, I should remove again the steering column, carpet, dash…Sounds “déjà vu”!

As it makes no sense, the transmission pan was installed again, and the gear put in neutral.

I still have to glue the back window (not a big deal); I can say that the Toronado is now completed and ready to sleep another 50 years!

96 without pan.JPG

97 simple gear box.JPG

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Posted (edited)

As the Toronado is now ready (the back window is glued), it's time to relate the story from my first real model. All what I did before was dictated by the frustration not having toys detailed enough with, for example, opening doors.

 

The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti

 

Since a boy, I was always fascinated by cars. There were some cars in the small village at the countryside where I grow up, especially VWs (I will never understand why this ugly thing, noisy, unpractical was sold in such quantities). I believe that one of both grocers from the village had a early fifties green 2-door Chevrolet; this was probably the king of the village!  

Ironically, my parents had no car et never had one. If by chance a Studebaker was parked at one of both cafés from that 300 inhabitant's village, I could stay hour(s) to look at it. The 1950 model was the one which started it all.

We are going forwards for some years: in 1963, the Studebaker Avanti was shown at the Geneva Show; I'm sure that I was a nuisance for the stand's personal as I could not away from this stand!

I will not relate here all my attempts to recreate cars during my youth using cardboard and a frame done with the Meccano kit. The last vehicle done with this hybrid material was a 1963 Chrysler. I did for this model an innovation: by wetting the cardboard, it could be better shaped in both directions at once. This is the first image.

After the Geneva show adventure, I had to replicate this Avanti. At that time, I was 18 years old; my father, a wood worker, had not the right tools for my needs. Anyway, I began to do a frame using as a guide the image from the sales catalog I reluctantly got in Geneva. My father had some galvanized sheetmetal; I used that for that frame.
Why did I choose the scale 1:12? Probably because the available skinny Meccano wheels were suitable for that scale. The construction went muck quicker than what I did in the recent years; there were less details and the resemblance was...marginal at best! This is the second image.

I was proud from my front suspension and steering system miles away from the reality, third picture.

The main idea was to do again a body using my "new" technique with wet cardboard. However, one of my colleague at the apprenticeship told me that I would get much better results using polyester and fiberglass (he was living in a town and me in the countryside, what a difference!). It was totally new for me and I had to do my experiences with that product. A small story about it I still remember: the instructions stated that it was important to have about 25°C to allow the polyester to set. I waited that my parents went away a Sunday afternoon to heat like hell the furnace in the living room using wood to get the desired temperature, even more, for my first experience. As it was probably autumn or winter, all windows were closed. I still hear the exclamations from my parents about the heat and the bad smelling when they came back!
I learned quickly enough that a positive mold was necessary as first. Then, as a second step, a negative form should be done using the positive mold. Finally, the negative mold is to be used to get the final part. How easy it was with cardboard: not overheating needed, no bad smell and quickly done!
How could I do the positive mold? I choose probably by accident the plaster. Not the one used by the sculptors but the cheap one to do walls and ceilings!
It's easy to work with once it's dry (sometimes too easy) and it's doing a lot of dust. This later aspect was not important, the shop from my father was full of wood dust. A little more did not matter. The fourth and fifth pictures are showing the plaster.

Me at work, probably 1965 or 1966, sixth photo.

The first result can be seen at the last picture.

 

Chrysler.jpg

7 Châssis initial.JPG

8 Suspension avant.JPG

0 Plâtre.jpg

01 Moule en plâtre.jpg

02 Working to the model.jpg

03 During the construction.jpg

Edited by Roger Zimmermann (see edit history)
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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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Posted (edited)

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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Posted (edited)

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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Even without updates, there are still a lot of people looking at this thread; I'm really surprised.

The story will continue next week, if the paper load accumulate during 3 weeks is allowing it!

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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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