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1/12 Airfix Bentley ...or some of it


Jo NZ
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I'm occasionally struck by madness. I think that this was one instance...

 

I decided that the Airfix Bentley could be turned into Tim Birkin's Brooklands car. So far I've:

Lengthened the chassis

Built a complete new body - from plastic strip over formers

Made a new bonnet from aluminium

 

Here's where it is so far. You may recognize a few Airfix parts...

 

IMG_2624

 

IMG_2623

 

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IMG_2621

 

IMG_2620

 

IMG_2619

 

IMG_2618

 

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Thanks all. Yes, the wheels will go, but probably after the body is finished. The main attraction of the kit wheels is that they do, in fact, keep it off the ground.

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18 hours ago, Sabrejet said:

I've seen a lot of the pre-war competition Bentleys, but not this one: any idea where it is now?

 

Cracking work by the way!

Thanks! It went through Bonhams in 2014 and fetched about £5M. I think it went to a private collection in the US.

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Does make me start thinking about doing an Austin 7 Special, but two questions: are there any basic A7 kits in 1/18 or 1/20 and how do you get those louvres done!!!

 

Could you do an on-topic redux of how you do it and what materials you use? 

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10 minutes ago, Sabrejet said:

Does make me start thinking about doing an Austin 7 Special, but two questions: are there any basic A7 kits in 1/18 or 1/20 and how do you get those louvres done!!!

 

Could you do an on-topic redux of how you do it and what materials you use? 

I'll put some pictures together. It took me a year to work up the courage, and only about 5 sheets of 0.4mm ally to get it right!. More soon.

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13 hours ago, Sabrejet said:

Does make me start thinking about doing an Austin 7 Special, but two questions: are there any basic A7 kits in 1/18 or 1/20 and how do you get those louvres done!!!

 

Could you do an on-topic redux of how you do it and what materials you use? 

There's a metal A7 kit in 1:24 by South Eastern Finecast. 

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OK here's a short primer on louvres....

 

I started making the louvres for the Pocher Alfa bonnet panels. I wanted to use ally because they are unpainted on the inside, and the best way to replicate unpainted ally is with..... You're way ahead of me!

0.4 mm sheet, available from K&S, scales up to 3.2mm in 1/8 scale, so it's around scale thickness. I've used the same sheet in 1/12 scale as well.

To start with you'll need a hand press. I had a secondhand one, so used that, but a pillar drill will do just as well - as long as you can stop the rotation.

Here's the basic setup

 

IMG_2512

 

The male and female tools are made from a scrap piece of steel. The female can just be a slot, the same width as the outside of the finished louvre. The male tool forms the inside profile of the louvre so needs to be sized accordingly. It's important to leave enough room for the material between the parts of the tool...

Here's the male part

 

IMG_2511

 

Notice that the edge that cuts the slot (it does the cutting and forming in one operation) is dead flat on the cutting side. It needs to be a close fit to the edge of the slot to shear the metal. I must have formed about 150 louvres while experimenting on the Alfa, and it did eventually blunt. The advantage of a cutting face on the edge of the tool is that it's easy to re-sharpen it on an oilstone and get the edge back again. The other side is profiled to suit the inside of the shape. A file on the corners and a cleanup with emery is all it needs.

The most important part is to get the alignment of the tool correct. A tight sliding fit, with the cutter parallel to the edge of the slot is what's needed. Trial cuts will show if it's not right, the metal doesn't cut cleanly, and the top surface of the louvre won't be parallel to the sheet.

 

Here it is cutting louvres

 

IMG_2535

 

Note that I'd made a complex inset for the female tool. It isn't necessary, nowadays I tend to make a longer slot than necessary and I can use it for multiple widths of the male tool.

In order to align the louvres, I clamped a fence to the press at the back of the sheet. The gap between the louvres is set by the width from the edge of the slot to the edge of the tool - the previous louvre sits against the edge, and that aligns the next one. It does mean that you need different slot edge distances for different pitches though.

I have seen tooling where the slot is filed into the edge of a block, and a plate clamped to the end to make the other edge - a good alternative if you don't have a mill.

 

A section of louvres from the outside, with a mist of primer (and dust!) on them

 

IMG_2518

 

 

And the finished parts

 

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Which reminds me - the louvres are cut into un-annealed plate, cut to the right shape for the panel. If the panel needs to be curved, it will be easier (much!) if it's annealed - after pressing.

Annealing is very quick to do. Get some household soap (I use Knight's Castile, it's what was lurking in the bottom of the bathroom cupboard) and rub it over the sheet so that you can actually see a deposit.  Use a flame (e.g. butane torch) to gently heat the metal. As soon as the soap turns brown/black remove the heat and drop the sheet into water. It will now be pliable enough to form, either over a former, or with your fingers. It's imperative not to overheat the ally - there's a fine line between anneal and slump....

 

The tooling can also be brass, but will wear quicker. Mine was made from scraps of what was lying around. I've tried the tooling on 0.9mm ally and it works fine. The louvres shown above are about 13mm long and 1.5 mm wide.

 

HTH

 

 

Edited by Jo NZ
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  • 1 month later...
1 hour ago, Jo NZ said:

made from ally bar, scaffolding tube and fishing line

I'd love to say "yeah right" to that but its probably what you did use, just that it looks far to impressive to be made from such mundane sounding materials. Either way, I'm impressed to bits. :)

Steve.

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