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I am building a 1/12th scale Model Factory Hiro Alfa Romeo Tipo 159M.  The kit is extraordinarily detailed and accurate and does not require scratch built parts, modified parts, or trans kits.  There are 1mm and 1.5mm molded bolt heads that could be replaced, but I don't think it's necessary.  

 

This is an OOB build, and the thread will showcase the kit rather than any alleged skill or creativity of the builder.  

 

The instructions consist of a series of exploded drawings.  From the drawings, you create your own assembly plan and determine the best sequence of operations.

 

Below are four photographs of the real thing.

 

 

First.jpg

 

 

Second.jpg

 

 

Third.jpg

 

 

Fourth.jpg

 

Edited by Endeavor
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This photograph shows a few basic kit components.  The frame rails and four cross members are supplied as two white metal castings.  All of the engine components in the photograph, except the block and head, are metal.  Each brake drum is built up from seven cast metal pieces as shown in the photograph.  Also shown here are photo etched leaf spring components and two of the many photo etched chassis structural pieces.

 

The 1/8th scale Pocher Alfa Romeo fenders in the background provide a contrast with the 1/12th scale MFH components.

 

DSCN1724.jpg

 

 

Below are the assembled chassis rails, made up of the two major cast parts, plus six photo etched parts bent and CA'd.

 

Also shown are one turned wheel rim, four cast hubs, and the jig for building the wheels.  Each rim has 72 holes drilled by MFH, but I will drill 72 0.4mm holes in each of the four hubs.  MFH provides 72 accurately positioned dimples to mark the locations of the holes in the hubs and also marks the locations for almost all of the hundreds of other holes I must drill or enlarge in other kit components.

 

 

DSCN1727.jpg

 

 

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' Alleged skill or creativity... ' ?? One needs the patience of a saint and the skill of The Almighty to execute these big MFH's to completion. All of which you have demonstrated in your  other fantastically complex 'correct' Pocher Alfa. This also adds to the other fine MFH builds in progress and will be a contributor to the wealth of knowledge generated in them. White metal projects present a host of challenging hurdles to be mastered.

 

This Alfa (like all of them in MHO), is a jewel to see. The only wish I have is that we could HEAR it.. Heavens own music to those with petrol (or benzine) in the veins...like me. :devil:

 

So please carry on, you have the attention of the diehards! :worthy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Most of the engine and chassis parts below have been spray painted black, gun metal, or silver.  Every part requires some work, sometimes extensive and sometimes just the removal of mold lines and minor adjustments. Most require drilling or enlarging holes for pegs, and occasionally, screws. But, when you are finished, the parts fit together properly and look like the prototype components.

 

 

DSCN1740_2.jpg

 

 

Here you see the painted and partially assembled engine, supercharger, and manifold. The engine block, head, and one of the six black transaxle parts seen in the background are resin. All of the other parts shown in this photograph are metal. 
    

At this stage, the engine is made up of 70 parts.

 

DSCN1744.jpg

 

Edited by Endeavor
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Here is the frame before primer. At this stage it is made up of six cast metal parts and twelve photo etched parts.

 

 

DSCN1752_2.jpg
 

 

Here is the frame after application of Tamiya primer.

 

DSCN1753_2.jpg


 

Edited by Endeavor
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I did not take photographs of the process of building the wheels. The photograph below, taken from the Model Factory Hiro website, gives a sense of the work required.
    
To drill each hole in the hub at the angle at which its spoke enters the hub, I inserted a 0.4mm drill bit through each hole in the rim and drilled its corresponding hole in the hub.  You can see that the spoke holes in the hub are positioned at six levels.  The spokes are installed in six 
“layers” corresponding to the holes in the hub.  The photograph shows the first three “layers” installed.

 

To assemble the wheel, I inserted each spoke (0.35mm) through the rim, and then applied a drop of CA to the end of the spoke before inserting each into the hub.

 

The final step was to slip each "nipple"- which are just 0.7mm X 4mm tubes - over the end of each spoke and through the rim to the correct position and then to apply CA.

 

Front_copy.jpg

 

 

In the photograph below you see the first wheel I built. On the left are a rim, spokes, nipples (MFH calls them "stainless pipes"), and a hub, which I polished rather than painted. The metal parts can be polished, but should be clear coated or, according to MFH, they will oxidize noticeably in a few years.
    
The process of threading each spoke through the rim, then applying CA to each spoke, and finally inserting each spoke into the hub was tedious. This was due to the small size of the parts, and the tiny and increasingly tight spaces created by the surrounding spokes as each of the six “layers” of spokes was installed.  Tamiya reverse action angled tweezers proved to be a very valuable tool.

 

Installing the nipples was also challenging due to the size of the parts and because the correct position of each nipple is not well defined.  Moving from building in 1/8th scale to building in 1/12 was more challenging than I expected. My appreciation and respect for those who build intricate models at 1/12th and 1/15th scale is now even greater.  

 

The finished wheels are beautiful, strong, and rigid. The "stainless pipes" add considerable strength.

 

DSCN1778_2.jpg

 

 

Two finished wheels, one with an assembled and polished brake drum.

 

DSCN1785_3.jpg

 

 

The Tipo 159M Alfetta's rear wheels and tires are larger than those on the front. All four wheels and tires of the Tipo 158 Alfetta, the 159's predecessor, are the same size.

 

The rear wheels and tires are on the right.

 

DSCN1786.jpg

DSCN1791.jpg

 

 

A front wheel for both Tipo 158 and Tipo 159M.  The spokes are installed layer by layer, from the bottom up.  The first three layers have been installed.  You can see that the top three levels of spoke holes in the hub are open.
 

Front_copy.jpg

 

 

A Tipo 159M rear wheel. Both the rim and the hub are different.  The first four layers have been installed.  Only the top two levels of hub spoke holes are open.

 

Rear.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by Endeavor
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Codger,

 

Thank you for your support and encouragement.  But if I need "the patience of a saint and the skill of The Almighty" to complete, perhaps I should re-think this.

 

David

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David

What a great start to a great looking kit!

Codger is right, your going to have an iconic and beautiful looking car when you've finished.

The wheels look fun, if that was me I'd put a swear box next to the workbench, that way you'd should have paid for your next kit after completing the fourth wheel!

Your comments on the polishing and clear coating of parts is a good point, I do this to a lot of the smaller parts and you get a great finish, on my last one I've been polishing a look of parts the instructions are saying to paint silver as well. 

I'm going to enjoy this thread.

 

Regards

John

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Endeavor, thank-you for publishing this build. I am also the proud owner of this kit (among others that I am in process of obtaining prior to retirement and lack of suitable funds!).  

 

As I haven't built anything in the past 18 years, these MFH kits break new ground and and looks like new skillsets need to be learned to be learned. I will be following along with great interest on your build! If you don't mind being pestered, I would like to ask ask simple questions as you go along. When you say "I painted the engine black..." or something like that, my mind fills with questions like: were the parts cleaned? If so how? tumbler, wire brush, some sort of metal etch? Was primer applied? is so what manufacturer and how many coats?  If I get too annoying, just tell me to buzz off:smile:

 

 

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Great to see another MFH build: I have a 1/43 Alfa TZ in progress and the 1/12 Mazda 787B waiting in the wings. IMHO they are the best kits money can buy.

 

parryj: my process for white metal is to clean up the parts in exactly the same way as you would for plastic or resin (files, sanding boards, wet & dry etc) and then always finish off with Scotchbrite to get a 'key'. Prime using rattle can Halford's black/grey/white primer and topcoat anything you want.

 

Recently I've used Mr Color Surfacer/Primer and had no problems.

 

I built my first white metal kit back in 1986 and never had any issues with paint lifting, chipping etc. Back then my mindset was, "OK it's metal, so how would I paint metal?" - hence the Halfords primer etc. For me, the prep of white metal was the same process as I'd use to repair my rust-bucket Humber Sceptre!

Edited by Sabrejet
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Parry,

I totally agree totally with Sabrejet, although due to my special gift of almost always dropping most of my metal parts, I used Halfords etching primer, apparently it's bonds to metal better than ordinary primer.  Just make sure you clean all white metal parts prior to priming, a lot of people suggest magnetic cleaners but there expensive and I seem to get buy with a suade brush or drimel (but be careful with speeds) and I've only just advised to get some mini wire brushes from Amazon.

Saying all of that I still have large white metal figures that I painted 20 years ago with little preparation and have no issues, although I do treat them with utmost delicacy. 

There's a lot of guys on this forum with much more knowledge than me who will give better advise anyway.

John

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Hi John. 

Nice to see another classic Alfa. These MFH kits are works of art, for sure.

On the subject of cleaning the parts....Imho, I think these magnetic tumblers etc are an expensive waste of time. Yes, they will polish the metal far quicker than by hand, but they won't remove any flash or seam lines, so the manual approach is the way to go....filing and sanding any imperfections, then a good tickle with a brass/suede brush.

 

Cheers, H

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2 hours ago, harveyb258 said:

On the subject of cleaning the parts....Imho, I think these magnetic tumblers etc are an expensive waste of time.

I'd have to agree: I do no pre-cleaning, just straight in with files/wet & dry etc then Scotchbrite and prime. If I did do any pre-cleaning then I'd plump for an overnight soak in MEK and then air dry. But it's easy to get carried away with bright, shiny gizmos which cost a lot but don't really add anything. It's only when you don't use them that you realise they have minimal or no effect on the finished item.

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Thanks to all of you who have commented or reacted to the thread.  I'm a bit overwhelmed.

 

Parryj- I'm happy to answer any questions.  The posts from Sabrejet, Harveyb, and Hugh cover the topic well.  

 

After filing and sanding, I clean all parts- metal or resin- with isopropyl alcohol.  It is essential to prime.  I applied two light coats of Tamiya's Fine Surface Primer and/or Tamiya Metal Primer. 

 

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Below are some prepared and painted suspension and frame parts.

 

 

DSCN1797_2.jpg
 

 

I painted the frame Tamiya gloss aluminum.  I'm going for the look of the prototype in the Alfa Romeo Museum.  Below you can see some of the work I have done with the pin vise. At the time this photograph was taken, I had drilled 38 holes in the chassis. Many more will be required.  

 

In the background are the rear adjustable friction shock absorbers (dampers) with four holes each, and two chassis support pieces with three lightening holes each. The engine assembly required drilling and enlarging many holes.
    
At this point, I had drilled well over 600 holes.

 

DSCN1828.jpg

 

 

In the background of the photograph below you can see two assembled leaf springs, seven folded and spray painted photo etched chassis pieces, and many other bits.
 

 

DSCN1822.jpg

 

 

Here you can see some of the work put into the front and rear suspension components, drive train, frame stiffeners, and other parts.
    
The tiny fixtures near the center of the photo fit into the brake backing plates. Each fixture required drilling either one or three 0.5mm holes to prepare for connection to the hydraulic brake lines.

 

The black U-shaped link that connects the center of the DeDion tube to the frame required drilling 18 lightening holes of various sizes, from 0.9mm to 2mm.The DeDion tube in the lower left of the photograph is built from two kit parts. After cementing the two pieces with CA, the seams were filled with two-part automotive putty, 9 holes of various sizes were drilled, and the part was painted.

 

 

DSCN1824.jpg


 

Edited by Endeavor
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Some questions:

A. Do any of you see the need or desirability of metal-etching primer?

 

B. David, does the white metal eat drill bits? 600 holes so far is staggering...:wall:

 

 

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37 minutes ago, Codger said:

 

A. Do any of you see the need or desirability of metal-etching primer?

 

B. David, does the white metal eat drill bits? 600 holes so far is staggering...:wall:

 

Personally, I use Mr Hobby clear metal primer for natural finish and an auto etch primer (grey) for any painted parts.

It's surprising just how many drill bits you do go through with white metal, despite its relative softness. Maybe it's the lead content that's destroying the bits????

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Both leaf springs, the front suspension, and the transaxle have been installed.

 

I began to prepare the firewall with some minor work with a file and by drilling holes for rivets and screws.

 

 

DSCN1847.jpg
 

 

The front suspension is complete. It is built up from 48 parts.

 

In the rear, the DeDion tube, the link connecting the DeDion tube to the chassis structure, the four shock absorbers (dampers), and other parts have been installed.

 

 

DSCN1896.jpg


 

On each of the brake drum backing plates, I installed two fittings and the hydraulic lines (solder) connecting them. 


The lines connect the two slave cylinders in each brake of the prototypes. I need to re-shape the solder a bit.

 

 

DSCN1899.jpg

 

 

You can see that the joint separating the two sections of the chassis is open.  Not permanently connecting the two parts made it easier to handle and assemble the front and rear sections of the chassis.

 

In earlier photographs, when they were connected, the two castings were held together by two screws through the upper and lower parts of the cross member.

 

MFH cast the frame rails in two parts because they also produce a Tipo 158 kit, and the 159 and the 158 have different rear frame configurations.  The 158 kit has the same forward frame section as the 159M, but a different rear section. 

 

 

DSCN1900.jpg

 

 

The hydraulic dampers, friction dampers, and the links at each end of the rear leaf spring are all connected to the DeDion tube. At this point, 31 components of the rear suspension have been installed.

 

DSCN1903.jpg

 

 

DSCN1904.jpg

 

 

 

Edited by Endeavor
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I installed front brake drums. and rear suspension trailing arms, axles, rubber boots, hubs, and bearings. Nine parts are attached to the DeDion tube.

 

The rear brakes and the parts for the rear fuel tank supports are in the background.

 

 

DSCN1917.jpg

 

 

I installed rear brake drums and support structures for the rear fuel tank.

 

DSCN1940.jpg

 

 

DSCN1941.jpg

 

 

I permanently bonded the two frame sections and placed the wheels temporarily on the axles.

 

DSCN1932.jpg

 

 

DSCN1943.jpg

 

 

DSCN1947.jpg

 

 

Edited by Endeavor
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21 minutes ago, PC2012 said:

Flipping hell, you work fast!

I'm not building a real model.  It's all just computer generated images.

 

(So far, I'm posting photographs taken a while back.  You will soon see my actual slow progress as I begin to post in real time.)

Edited by Endeavor
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This entire thread has the look  of a fine documentary of the Public Broadcasting System. Concise text which describes a complex subject perfectly, beautiful graphics and a systematic sequence of events.

 

Highly informational and entertaining. :clap2:

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