Have you ever started a project with one thing in mind and ended up doing something completely different?
Well this was one such project. Although I tend to be a bit more of a Holden fan I had been racing the Richards car a bit for the last season at my local racing club and, as per usual, so as not to have the same car on the track as others, I had altered the livery somewhat.This was a quick and dirty re-paint where I masked off most of the car leaving a little on the roof and bonnet and added extra yellow to the car.
WARNING! The following pictures may distress some Ford people!
So this is what the car started life as and the following pictures are what it looked like for its racing career.
As this was a quick paint job I was never happy with it and so I guess it was destined for greater things.
So I started by stripping the paint and that’s where the project turned from a repaint to a complete face lift. I went to the local paint shop in search for a better means of stripping paint. The stripper that was suggested, when used, not only melted the paint but also started to melt the plastic!!!
Now I know what a lot of you are thinking, and that is that I should of tested a small patch inside the shell, but you have to realise this project was a test of sorts and although the project didn’t get off to a great start, it provided me the opportunity, and excuse, to go to town on it. I have always wanted an Australian police car and started to Google pictures and came across a fleet of lairishly painted Federal Police cars and thought I have to try making one of these.
Once I neutralised the reaction the stripper had on the plastic, I gave it several coats of primer while sanding each coat back until I was happy with the surface. At this point, I also made some modifications to the body to make it look a little more like the road going version of the Falcon which included:
removing the front air splitter
adding a full rear bumper bar
removing the hump on the bonnet
removing the V8 Supercar style fuel filler
removing the contour of the lower door panels
changing the contour of the side skirts
cutting out the windows using a scriber, and
adding more pronounced panel lines to the entire car (some of the panel lines were lost after the mishap with the stripper and all the coats of primer)
I then moved my attention to the interior and started scratch building it using Evergreen styrene sheet, Balsa and plenty of imagination and test fittings. I was in two mind as to whether to do a full interior or a half interior and although I was ultimately happy with the choice of a full interior it did come back to bite me on the bum when it was time to try and fit all the electronics for the lights and siren in the car.
The following pictures show a dry fit of the initial interior and exterior mods to the body shell.
The last image shows a layer of putty over the dash and rear parcel shelf ready for sanding to leave a smooth finish. The interior got final sand then a coat of matt black. Once this was all dry I then added decals to simulate the dash and added the all-important steering wheel made from more styrene.
Once I was happy with the interior I started cutting out the clear plastic for the side windows, windscreen and rear window. I used the clear discs that are often put on the top of spindals of DVDs for packing. My understanding is that its one of the plastic layers that goes into making a DVD. I find this plastic perfect as it can take a bit of direct heat from a lighter and does not immediately warp, discolour or bubble, so it’s a more controlled shaping.
Holding the blank disc with a slight bend in it one way while applying heat from a lighter about 6 inches away will eventually give it a nice bend, you can then bend the plastic the other way and do the same steps again to get a concaved curve for both the rear window and winsdscreen.
Its then a case of carefully cutting out and fitting the piece with a billion dry fits and fine sanding along the way. I used the solid plastic pieces that I originally cut from the body shell as a template and cut the new pieces slightly larger than the templates.
Once the pieces were fitting correctly, I used a sharpie pen to mark in black the outside lip of all the pieces before gluing them in place. The front and rear windows were super glued with the poly glue and the side windows were glued in with Testers Clear cement.
It was time to paint the car and I choose to do the orange version so several coats of orange went down. I then masked off and painted the black trim and then masked off a second time to lay a white coat down for where the side artwork will go (although I reproduced decals on both clear decal sheet and white decal sheet, I find the white decal film tends to bleed the background colour. To ensure a crisp white I lay down a coat of white where needed).
I normally do a lot of reseach on Google to find the best images I can. I then use Corel Draw to reproduce the image by drawing the image as a vector image before printing on to decal paper. My printer is old (Epson Photo R210) but I find in enhanced photo mode and fresh decal paper it prints really well (pity I didn’t use fresh paper for this project!!!). Once I have printed the decals I then give them a coat of Crystal Clear Lacquer to seal the film.
The decals that I created/produced for this job were:
The side graphics (Corel Draw), traced from a Google image
Wording (Police) Bonnet, Rear bumper, top of lights (Corel Draw)
Telephone number (Corel Draw)
Number plates (Corel Draw)
Ford badges (Adobe Photoshop)
Headlights, Tail lights (Adobe Photoshop)
Dash and Centre Console image (Adobe Photoshop)
I decided to cut the large decal with the graphic up the side of the car into 2 pieces at the door line, this made it easier to apply.
I then turned my attention to the electronics. I first tried casting my own roof lights from a doner (Coast Gaurde Range Rover) but without a de-gasing chamber the clear resin set with air bubles inside . The plan was to use the electronics from an earing christmas decorashion from the 2 dollar shop but as the cast did not work I decided to use all the elctronics and clear roof lights from the Range Rover instead. The Range Rover will end up being another project one day J
One of the things I wanted to do was to have the siren on a switch so I could turn the sound on and off. I tend to keep all my old DVD players, phones, TV etc and pull them a part and cannibalise them for the parts. From my pot of parts I found a micro switch that was suitable and I used the winding wire from the back of an old picture tube for the wire that connected all the electronics as this is insulated but is thinner than general purpose plastic insulated wire.
Of course I quickly discovered that there was a lot of stuff that I was trying to fit inside the body of this car and some major surgery to the circuit board will be required to get it all in. I decided that I could cut the board into 2 and have one piece in the front under the bonnet and the other in the boot! I took the 2 large capacitors of the later bit of board and laid them down on the board so both the board and the capacitors could fit in the space behind the axle. I found a home for the speaker under the newly built interior and the front piece of the circuit board with all its connectors at the front above the guide just over the front axle. The switch was mounted underneath at the rear.
Here are some images of the work.
I then worked on the roof light and as the circuit board and wires could be seen I decided to modify this as well and simply wire 2 LEDs, glued in place, directly to the rest of the circuit without its board. This was then flat enough on the roof to not be too noticeable.
It was now starting to take shape and all was coming together, so I returned to finishing small details on the outside such as decals, final clear coat, adding grill mesh, rear spoiler, tow bar and anything else.
Below is the final construction and finished car.
The tow ball is made from a drop of molten solder dropped onto the bench (6 to 12 inches is just enough for it to cool and form a ball before hitting the bench) a piece of .8 mm wire and a small piece of Styrene. I drilled a small hole in the base of the solder and glued the wire in place and then put it all together.
The rear wing was crafted from a paddle pop stick and styrene, before being painted and clear coated.
The micro switch
The head lights and tail lights were created from clear decals. I put some Bare Metal Foil (chrome) on before laying the decals. I then clear coated
I removed the blue paint from the under side of the roof lights as the police cars have one side blue and the other red where as the parts that come from the Range Rover are both blue LEDs
And finally pictures of the actual car that I used to create my model.
Hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed making it.