Friday, February 27, 2009

Off the Bench #1 - Motorcraft Mustang GTO

I continue to be amazed at all of the fine things that I see you all turning out, whether knitted, or spun or whatever. Following that vein, I thought that I would post my own finished projects here from time to time.

So for my first project to post, I chose this Roush Motorcraft Mustang GTO. In the 70s and 80s the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) was one of the largest road racing sanctioning bodies in North America. There were two popular divisions, GTO, which was for vehicles with engine displacement OVER 5 liters, and GTU, which was for displacements UNDER 5 liters... Roush Racing, headed by Jack Roush has run well-organized and funded teams in a variety of venues over the years. In the 60s, the Gapp and Roush team was one of the best known teams running in NHRA drag racing. Then in the 70s and 80s, Roush ran teams in IMSA and SCCA road racing, winning championships in both venues. In the 90s to present day, Roush runs a very strong 5 car team in NASCAR, winning that championship more than once as well and finishing in second place for each of the last three years, twice with Carl Edwards, and once with our very own Greg Biffle, from Vancouver, Washington.
The kit that I used is the 1/25th scale Revell Motorcraft Mustang kit from the early 80s. I purchased this kit about 1992, and built everything then except for the body. At that time, I did not feel that I had the skill to do the necessary body work that I do now, so I put it in the box and put it back on the shelf. I have several models that I built then that I am now pulling out to finish so that I can display them in my collection. I pulled this kit out about Thanksgiving last year (2008) and decided that it was time to finish it. I still struggle more with body prep and work than anything else, but each one that I finish is better than the one before and I know that practice makes perfect, so I just need to keep doing it.
I cleaned up the body, painted it white and set it aside for a month or so to gas out before I polished it. During that time, I decided that I would try my hand at making the driver side window net (used on the real car to keep the driver's head and arms inside the car during an accident, but still allowing cooling air to come in the car when driving). Most kit nets are made of styrene plastic and are always "up". This takes away from the realism a bit since the only time the net is up on the real car is when the driver is in the seat. I bought a template set that includes everything needed to make the net. I did not like the paper that was included in the set (it was too stiff), so I decided that I would use surgical tape. I had an operation on my ankle several years ago (Ask Franna that story some day - I called her from the doctors office to tell her he was putting me in the hospital, do not pass GO, do not collect $200... She was NOT thrilled :), and still had a couple of rolls of the stuff laying around...
The set included a guide to cut the strips the correct size and a different guide to lay them out correctly. The nice thing about using the tape is that I did not need to glue each place that the strips crossed over each other and once I painted it flat black it held together great, and the paint covered over the sticky part so it could be handled without sticking to everything. A different set included all of the photoetch (the process that they are made by) pieces to install the net to the car. This included all of the wires and buckles that would be on the real net. So I added them all to the net and mounted it on the model. If you biggify the photos you can see some of the small details that I was talking about.
The only other non-kit detail that I added was the exhaust tips on the passenger side of the car. You can see them in the first photo, or the photo just to the left. I feel that nothing looks better than metal at simulating metal. So what I did was cut two short pieces of aluminum tube, polish the outside and glued them on the end of the plastic exhaust pipe where it comes out through the body panel. Looks MUCH better :)
Once the body had enough time to gas out, I polished the paint to make it smooth and applied the kit decals. I discovered that one disadvantage of waiting all those years was that the decals became brittle, and some of the larger ones cracked when I attempted to use them.
I thought about masking those areas of the car and painting them, but I decided that no one would really know at all if I didn't say anything, so I decided just to leave them off and finish the car as-is. Even though I started this car model over 15 years ago, I am giving myself credit for finishing it this year :) In most years, I end up completing anywhere from 0 to about 3 models... This year, I have already finished two :) Here is a teaser for the next one that will be included for an "Off the Bench" article... Oh, and if anyone actually got to the end looking for a sheep tie-in, the background that the Mustang is on happens to be one of my Shepherd's Extravaganza sweatshirts :)

Enjoy !