an automotive photographic archive

The Model Kits

Pro-Street Pontiac Firebird | 1965 Ford Galaxie | El Camino | Ford Sierra XR4i | 1934 Ford Hot Rod | Ford F150 Truck | 1957 Cheverolet

Model kits became a part of of my formative years, beginning with battle ships, planes, a Sikorsky Rescue helicopter that I had displayed in a local model shop window and then later cars. I was inspired in July 1983 by a feature called Small Talk in the UK magazine Street Machine which they did an article mildly customising a Ford Galaxie (AMT) to which I followed and made my own version. The rest was history, and a local model shop specialist in Farnborough had in stock most of the latest car kits by Monogram, Revell and AMT as featured in Small Talk.

These photos were taken in January 2015 and the first time, for some of the models, had been completely out of the box for over 25 years. Unfortunately the polystyrene chippings had stuck to some of the cars spoiling the paint work as well as the glue becoming brittle and parts fell off.

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Pro-Street Pontiac Firebird

I don't remember a great deal about this kit, it must have been summer 1983 when this was made. It may have been my first trial at customising a model kit as it was built originally with un-modified Tonka truck rear wheels, a higher rear end and painted blue. The magazine article Small Talk had lots of tips which I may have tried to implement here. The ali interior is made from chinese takeway foil trays and for this incarnation the rear end was brought down and made to look more pro-street. The rear wheels were off an old Tonka truck and the tread was shaved off to get the wheel diameter down and to make slicks. As can been seen by the engine detailing I wasn't very clued up on were pipes and wires should have gone.

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1965 Ford Galaxie (AMT)

This is the model kit from that early feature in Street Machine (circa Jul 1983) which influenced my modelling skills. I believe it was some time after the article that I got to buy the Galaxie kit (maybe around summer 1984) and also buying a Williams F1 race car kit just for the rear wheels (slicks) and a few other parts. It was my first try at using car celulose aerosol spray paint and T-Cut for a quality shine. Well after spraying with a special undercoat to protect the plastic from the celulose paint, I didn't rub it down enough to gain that deep shine. At the time I didn't know why I had to use T-Cut to get that shine...

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El Camnio (Monogram)

Tonka rear wheel treatmnet as per the Firebird. I have no idea when this was built, going by the blue spray paint job I am guessing before Summer 1985 as I was spray painting in my bedroom by then! Note the chemically molten plastic filled rear quarter lights, you can see the plastic sagging! I still didn't have much of a clue about car mechanics either!

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Ford Sierra XR4i (Tamiya)

Built around 1986 the Pink Sierra was painted using acryllic and took countless coats of paint to get a decent solid colour. The kit was followed as per the instructions because I wanted to try and pay more attention to detailing and painting skills. Pink was chosen because of this car.

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1934 Ford Hot Rod (Monogram)

This kit was the ZZ Top Eliminator kit by Monogram. I kept a diary of progress for each stage of the build during 1986, hopefully I can find it and repeat exerpts from it here. The front beam was home made with homemade steering. The rear suspension has real springs (from biros) shod with the front wheels from the F1 car spares box and there was a fair amount of filler (milliput) to create the front end. Pinted with Tamiya acryllics, this too took many coats to get a decent solid colour. The interior has aluminium panels made from those chinese take-away trays.

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Ford F150 Truck

Here was another 1985/86 attempt with a roof chop, detailing, felt interior and those Tonka rear wheels again!. Unfortunately after removal from the packaging (Jan 2015) it fell apart as can bee seen in the pictures.

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1957 Cheverolet (AMT) - Street Machine

Probably my finest model built and the last. It was started in 1987 then packed away before being resurected in 1994 and finished off. To lower the front, the front of chassis was chopped off at the bulkhead and moved up about 5mm to maintain all the anchorage points to mount the original kit front suspension. This is why there is a large bonnet (hood) bulge to accomodated the higher position of the engine. The mounting points for the rear suspension were carefully carved and filed away to lower the rear by 1-2mm, again using the kit original parts. Detailing was important and I seemed to had developed more of an understanding of car anatomy by then. The exhaust headers were homemade and mated upto the left overs of the ZZ Top Eliminator kit. The ribbed trim pattern originally moulded on the rear wings (fenders) was filed and smoothed out .