Recently I was hired by my good friend and local client Harry Watson, to improve his new Limited Edition 1:18 scale Healey model that comes with the new Frederique Constant Healey tribute watch...
The model is depicting the famous Healey 100/S, NOJ393 that was one of the original pre-production special test cars built by the Donald Healey Motor Company.
It competed at LeMans in 1953, and was then reworked into a 100/S when it returned to race at LeMans again in 1955. - There it was involved in one of the worst disasters in motor racing history. After which it was rebuilt, sold off, raced privately for a while, and then went into hiding for decades.
The car was rediscovered, sold at auction and properly restored by Steve Pike of Marsh Classics back in 2012 to it's 1955 specs.
Unfortunately the 1/18 model of the famous Healey as it comes in the box with the watch, is entirely the wrong colour! Not to mention, not well detailed for it's larger scale..
So, Harry asked me if I'd be interested in taking on the task of re-painting and improving the model to be more accurate, which I graciously accepted! Especially during this time of COVID isolation, I couldn't have asked for a better home project!
Like any restoration, I started out by taking it all apart...
I filled and sanded several blemishes around the body before priming and painting it in the proper Spruce green..
I even found some replacement decals in the correct scale to re-apply to the freshly painted model.
I ended up getting another set of decals for my own smaller 1/25th scale model of this car and decided to refinish the 2 models together...
I also made a few more changes and improvements like:
-restructuring the rear inner cockpit area and relocating the spare wheel.
-I fashioned a complete new dashboard from scratch
-made new perspex windshields
-made new belt straps for the bonnet and spare wheel
-painted some of the chrome bits to aluminum as they should be...
Needless to say, Harry is quite thrilled with the end result, and so am I!
What a fun job! - The model looks much better now:
The 1/18th scale project got me re-energized to re-examine some of my older 1/25 scale Healey models I've built over the years. - Including my own model of NOJ393.
ALL of my previous Big Healey models have ALL been built using this classic 1:25 scale model kit:
The 'Revell' Austin Healey kit was first released back in the 60's and has been re-released several times over the decades with various different box arts:
Straight from the box: the Revell kit depicts an early 'Longbridge built' 100/6 BN4:
I decided to paint my BN4 model in the classic Healey Blue over White, with the rare Teal blue interior found only on cars built in '56/57:
The next model I built using the same Revell kit, was this 2 seat 100/6 BN6:
As you can see, I had to fill in and restructure the rear seat area to make it a 2 seater...
- I also made some interior and engine detail improvements like the later armrest, and lots of added piping and wiring details...
The next model I tackled using the same old Revell 100/6 kit, was the famous Healey 100/S, NOJ393:
As before, I had to fill and restructure the kits rear seat area to make it a 2 seater,
- I also chopped and modified the kit engine to make it into a 4 cylinder, and moved the carbs and ancillaries to the opposite sides as on a 100S engine...
- I made a new RHD dash and changed lots of details to the interior and seats...
Just like the real car, I first painted the body and chassis in the lighter Lustreen green metallic (as it was painted in 1953), then I over sprayed the outer body only in the darker spruce green (as it was re-painted in 1955).
This gave accuracy and vibrancy to the details having the lighter green on all the under areas and in the engine bay
I had a lot of fun finishing it off with a new set of decals that I found on e-bay, and making all the little details like fog lamps, the S style grill, and all the belts and buckles...
With the success I had in making my first 4 cylinder car from the old Revell kit, I decided to make another one of a standard early BN1 in Healey Blue:
I made the same modifications, filling in making a 2 seater out of the Revell 4 seater kit, and making the 6 cylinder engine into a 4 cylinder...
Lastly I added the 100/4's distinctive keystone shaped grill and folding windscreen:
- This model is just like what my own BN1 will someday look like!
Recently as my addiction to these Healey models has progressed, I found a set of decals online for the famous 100/S racer that Carrol Shelby raced and crashed at the 1954 Panamericana in Mexico.
This is one of the few 100/S's that never survived and was supposedly destroyed after the wreck instead of rebuilt, so inevitably I found another old Revell kit on e-bay and got to work modifying it to be a 100/S...
As with all of my Healey models, I finished this one off with some new etched metal wire wheels to improve on the kit details...
I proudly display my models in several display cabinets around my trim shop, this one featuring the Healey models greets customers as the come in the front door...
Until next time,...
In a recent trip to Ikea, I picked up another glass display cabinet to contain my growing collection of 1/24 scale model car kits. I thought I would share some pics of the collection...
Each piece is a plastic or resin kit that I had to build and paint and detail myself. I've never been one to collect diecast or "finished" pieces, I very much enjoy the building process and researching each model to get the details and factory colours right.
The first shelf features my collection of Mercedes 300SL's - the 722 racer is a Monogram kit, the silver gullwing SLR beside it is a Revell kit, the sand coloured roadster is the Itilleri kit and the metallic sage green gullwing is the new Tamiya kit.
Next is a shelf of Jaguars: The D-Type is a modified Tamiya slot car kit, The XKSS is a Revell kit, The white XK 120 a Revell kit, and the C-type is a K&R replicas kit
Next we have a group of Porsche's all of which are built from the excellently detailed Fujimi kits, there are a pair of early 911's, a blue 356 cabrio, and a blue 356 speedster, and a light green 356 coupe
Next is a shelf of some miscellaneous cars: a Revell MGB, an AMT 300SL, a Momogram TR3, and aTamiya VW beetle
The next shelf features my collection of big Healey's - all made using the same old Revell kit from the 60's (heavily modified to make the various marques): the blue&white 100/6 (stock kit), the blue 100/4 BN1, the green 100/S noj393, and the florida green&white 100/6 BN6
Next we have the pre & post war cars: a Revell Bentley blower, a black Heller Alfa Romeo, a Monogram Bugatti and a Monogram MG-TC
Moving along with some more British classics: a Gunze Bugeye Sprite, Revell MGB, Gunze TR2, and a Tamiya Mini Cooper S
In the Japanese section we have a Hasegawa Mazda Cosmo, a Tamiya Honda S500, and a Hasegawa Toyota S2000
No collection would be complete without some Ferrari's: here's an Italeri 250 SWB, an Academy "California" and a Fujimi 250 GTO
A bit of a mix here: in the back a Revell Porsche 904, a Monogram Jaguar E-type coupe, and some Revell E-type roadsters
A couple of Lotus's help fill out the British section; a lotus super 7 by Tamiya, and an elan made by Gunzi
Finally to top it off, a shelf of Aston Martin's: a Doyshua DB5, DB4, and a Porfil24 DB2/3
Of course there's plenty of kits still in the box ready to build:
Until next time -
Growing up around Healeys, my first model car when I was a kid was of course the old Revell 1/25 scale Austin Healey 100/6. The kit first came out in the mid 60's and has been re-released several times over the decades. Surprisingly it's been the only kit of a big Healey to be produced in 1/25 scale. It depicts an early "Longbridge" built 100/6 BN4 - the first of the 6 cylinder/4 seater cars (1956-58).
Built straight from the box, the old castings need some careful sanding and detail improvements to make the grade. I always replace the chunky plastic wheels with some nice etched wire wheels from Detail Master. I also add lots of piping and wiring detail to the engine bay.
Here's the Revell kit built almost straight from the box with just some added details:
The colour scheme I chose for the 1958 BN6 is called Florida Green over Ivory. It featured a "grey" interior with dark green carpets and piping.
Just like the real car, the original colour it was painted in '53 was a light green metallic. Then in '55 the main body and interior were changed and repainted to be the darker Spruce Green. The lighter green still remained visible on all the under areas including the engine bay:
With lots of home made modifications, details and some etched wire wheels, you'd never know that NOJ393 began with the old Revell kit -
So there you have it, where there's a will there's a way! To close, here's a few pics of the out of the box 4 seat 100/6, compared with the heavily modified 2 seat 100/4 model. All built using the old Revell kit model kit from the 1960's...
Until next time,
For today's blog post I thought I'd feature some newer model kits I've built over the past year showing some of the interesting Japanese cars that were coming out in the late 60's to compete with the world market.
The first one I'd like to feature is the 1964 Honda S600. This car was one of the first production cars that Honda produced after having made it's mark on the world as class winning motorcycle producers. This car featured a 606cc, aluminum 4 cyl engine with 4 carburetors and a chain drive system operating the rear wheels. It was small, light and fast, winning first in the under 1000cc class of the Grand prix in 1966. I see a lot of influence from some of the British sportscars of the era - it looks a lot like a Healey Sprite or MG Midget.
The model kit is the Tamiya 1/24scale kit, nicely detailed, full engine detail, chrome metal transfers and decals included. I painted it in traditional red with black interior.
The next car I'd like to show you is the 1968 Mazda Cosmo,
This car was Mazda's first production sports car and featured the first production Wankel engine (rotory engine design) The name cosmo was fitting for the time as the world was watching the technology boom of the space race unfold - the new technology and forward thinking that came with the new Wankel engine seemed a good selling point.
I find the lines of this car to be very reminiscent of other car trends of the time, the enclosed headlights like on an E-type, the long tail and bulging rear window that looks very American..
These cars were quite rare and only a few thousand were produced - by hand, between 67-72.
The model kit I built this from is the Hasegawa 1/24scale kit. Built straight from the box in white with black interior. The kit is very nice with good curbside detail, though no engine.
Lastly I'd like to show you the beautiful and powerful 1968 Toyota 2000GT -
This car was more of a super car when it came out rather than a sports car. It featured a beautiful lightweight body design, similar in it's shape to the famous Ferrari 250GT of the 60's. It had an inline 6cyl engine with twin overhead cams and triple webber carburetors - just like what you'd find in an E-type or Aston Martin of the time.
The interior featured a lot of leather and a polished wood dash and console. These cars were fast, powerful and beautiful. They even had flip up headlights which were just becoming a new trend at the time.
These cars were rare and expensive and the value for one today has skyrocketed into the millions!
I built this model from the Hasegawa 1/24scale kit, and paintd it in original Bellatrix Yellow with black leather interior. Again, it's a nice kit in the same series as the Mazda cosmo - nice detail but no engine.
Well that's it for this week, ciao for now -
I just finished building the new Tamiya 1/24 scale Mercedes Benz 300SL gullwing kit.
This kit has been a work in progress for quite some time. I had to pause on the building of it because I was having a hard time finding paint to represent the rare original light green metallic colour. In the end I ended up mixing metallic british racing green with chrome metallic to achieve the right shade with metallic still in it.
This kit was a joy to build, It already comes with a ton of great detail, and clever ways of construction to make the car a showpiece. I went all out on adding extra details like wires and hoses to the engine bay. The kit even comes with the correct decals for detailing the engine bay components.
The interior is also nicely done, with decals for all the dash gauges and chrome dry transfers for the various Mercedes logo's. The doors and the bonnet are hinged and I've left them unglued so that they're functional.
All in all, I am very impressed with how nice a model this was. The kit was just released in 2014, and the dimensions, detail and fit are all outstanding! Another great piece for the display cabinet.
ciao for now -
Just finished building this 1/24 scale 1956 oval window Beetle, it's another Gunze Sangyo kit. No engine detail with this kit, but still a very nice model to build and has sufficient detail as a curbside model. I painted it in original Almond Green colour with Sand interior. A classic colour scheme for this era of Beetle.
Again with this model I primed and painted the body after first giving the whole thing a light sanding to remove any casting marks. After 2 light coats of the green paint (sprayed through an airbrush) I let it dry overnight and then gave it a light wet sanding with 3200 grit and 6000 grit polishing paper to remove any dust and smooth out the paint finish. Then I sprayed it with Testors "wet look" clear coat. After the clear was thoroughly dry I wet sanded again using 4000-12000 grit polishing papers.
Then I polished the entire thing with Novus 2 plastic scratch remover, rubbing it in with a soft cotton cloth on the end of my finger.
Finally I polished it with "The Finishing Touch" model wax.
This polishing procedure has become my new standard for getting good paint finishes on model cars. It's time consuming, but it makes a huge difference! I use the same polishing compounds on the clear plastic windows as well and it makes them extra clear and shiny.
This was my evening project over the past week or so. I'm quite happy with how she turned out.
Over the past week or so of evenings I built and painted this 1/24 scale Triumph TR2 model. It's the basic Gunze Sangyo kit, no engine, not much detail, but a nice looking curbside model. I finished it in british racing green with ox-blood red interior as original.
The blue TR3A kit I already had from years ago, built and painted in Iris Blue with black interior. I believe that kit was an old Minicraft kit. Again very basic, no engine detail, but a decent curbside model. The two models make a good pair, the only thing I would like to change is upgrading the TR3A's wire wheels with some etched metal ones at a later date.
Classic auto enthusiast, upholsterer, coach trimmer, and fine scale modeler.