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Monogram ex-Aurora Aston Martin DB4 1:25


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The Aston Martin DB4 was launched in 1958 and was a pretty-much all new car; with a new chassis, engine and bodywork.  It had a few teething troubles with its all-alloy twin-cam six-cylinder engine suffering oil pressure problems in sustained high-speed driving such as could be enjoyed on the newly opened motorways (no speed limit in those days).

 

Aurora launched it's kit of the DB4 in 1965 (according to Scalemates), just after the real car had been superseded by the much better known DB5.  The kit was re-issued under Monogram in 1978 and 1991, with box art featuring photographs of the completed model in silver and green respectively.  A final issue under the Revell Monogram brand in 1996 copied the style of the original box art from 1965.

 

I have a soft spot for classic GT cars, so the DB4 is a kit I've wanted to build since I learned of its existence.

 

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As you can deduce from what I wrote above, it is the 1991 version, which I bought online last year, sold as complete but partially started.  It looked pretty much complete in the photos and was a reasonable price (not that I remember how much).  Having built another ex-Aurora kit at the start of last year, I feel like I'm in familiar territory as this seems to go together in much the same way as the Aurora/Monogram Maserati 3500GTI.

 

I've pretty much decided on burgundy as the colour, with cream interior, I'm not planning to use too much aftermarket stuff, but who knows where the project will take me?

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Nice choice. I built the 1978 issue back in the day it's one of the few models that have survived since the 70's, along with the Maserati 3500GT. It's lost a few parts over the decades but it's still mostly intact.

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Outstanding choice! :clap2:


Whatever birthing problems the engine had, it delivered incredible low-end torque!

 

The kit's engine has good bones. You need to leave that goofball top-right alternator off and fix the belts. It needs the central pipe that contains the plug wires. The wheels are crap, but there is available aftermarket. The boot needs work with the spare intruding above the floor; they also didn't close off the boot side-wells.

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Good morning everyone, thanks for the responses.  Let's have a look at what I got in the box.

 

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Here is the body, moulded in white plastic.

 

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Black plastic parts.  The previous owner of the kit tried to use some felt for the carpet, I've got some other felt that I will probably use instead.  The front part of the chassis has been built up.

 

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Chrome bits.

 

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The engine has also been part assembled by the previous owner.

 

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Tyres and some rather tired decals, I hope that the dials and Aston Martin badges are still usable, although I'm sure there are options if they aren't.

 

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The clear parts aren't bad on the whole, although the rear quarter windows are a bit thick and don't fit the body very well.  I may cut replacements out of clear plastic.

 

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The windscreen is a bit distorted, but I hope it can be gently reshaped.

 

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Test fitting suggests that it is possible to persuade the windscreen to fit the frame.

 

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Talking of test fitting, this is the boot lid, which seems to fit quite well.  The arrangement for hinging the boot isn't very satisfactory and I'm tempted to cement it into place.  It's a bit of a shame as you get some nice luggage for the boot, but I don't want the boot lid falling off all the time.

 

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The bonnet is altogether less satisfactory, being too small for the opening and not sitting flush with the rest of the bodywork.  I have taken steps to fix this.  You can also see a bit of a moulding defect in the headlamp surround, which will need filling.

 

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A bit of microstrip on the underside of the bonnet provided the necessary thickness to lift the panel to the level of the surrounding bodywork and increased the width of the bonnet to better fill the hole.  More microstrip was added on top, to eliminate the step around the sides of the bonnet and the whole thing was then sanded to achieve a better fit.

 

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There's still a little work to do on the leading edge of the bonnet, but it's greatly improved over the original fit.

 

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Talking of work, these sink marks will probably haunt me, I'll fill them with styrene but I know it's going to take a lot of effort to eliminate them.  There are a few slight mould lines, that I've sanded away.  Another issue is that the instructions show the front and rear valance panels going on after the chassis is installed in the body.  This isn't an issue at the front, where the bumper completely hides the join, but at the back this would leave a visible join in the rear wing.

 

My plan is to glue the valances on and get a seamless fit on the rear valance, then assemble the chassis into the body in two parts, much as I did with the Maserati.  If necessary, I'll remove the front valance to fit the chassis as the join will be less noticeable.

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Loveley choice John,it was great to see the car modellers getting involved in the Matchbox GB and with the huge choice this GB offers for subjects it looks like

we're going to get a lot more which was our wish for this GB.

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It's been a fairly busy day on the workbench with the Aston Martin.

 

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Test fitting the bonnet again, it hinges on curved tracks in the inner wing panels and with these (dry) fitted the bonnet fit is pretty appalling.

 

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The hinge pins were filed and thinned down but things still weren't right.  You can see that with the bonnet where it needs to be the hinge on the left of the pictre actually sits below the track in which it should move.

 

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Out with the razor saw, banking on the thickness of the cut being just enough to reduce the length of the hinge, so it was cut off and immediately glued it back in place.

 

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Re-fitting with a little bit of styrene strip added to the leading edge of the bonnet and it's looking more like something made by the artisans at Newport Pagnell.

 

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While studying the instructions I noticed that part 127 is designed to hold the boot hinge.

 

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I eventually found the appropriate part and attached it to the floor/interior tub.

 

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Checking the fit of the chassis parts, it looks like my plan to insert the rear section of the chassis as a separate part should work.  So I can paint the body with the valances fixed in place.

 

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More test fitting, I'm not sure about the boot, it's not practical to add material as that would foul the opening.  I might see if I can tweak the hinge a little but it might still end up being glued shut.

 

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Interior trim panels were glued in place, to ensure they fit properly into the body.  I've also installed the pedals and fixed the front and centre parts of the chassis together.

 

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The engine was part assembled and there were a few loose pieces rattling around the box, to these were attached before they got lost.  I must admit I've not seen any real DB4s with a belt driven device (looks like it might be a water pump) in that location.  I wonder if Aurora's example car was non-standard in some way.  I've also noticed that a lot of Series IV DB4s (which this one is) have three SU carburettors, I'm not sure if I've seen one with twin SUs even though earlier DB4s used this arrangement.  It would be rude not to add plug wires, so I did.

 

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More plumbing added to the outside of the engine.

 

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Other side of the engine, lots of painting needed.

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That's such a good looking car. Everything just seems to flow in a very satisfying way. 

 

Is it possible to get the hood and trunk tacked into perfect place temporarily and then fit the hinges from underneath to follow the fit?

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Very nice work!

 

10 hours ago, johnlambert said:

I must admit I've not seen any real DB4s with a belt driven device (looks like it might be a water pump) in that location.  I wonder if Aurora's example car was non-standard in some way.  I've also noticed that a lot of Series IV DB4s (which this one is) have three SU carburettors, I'm not sure if I've seen one with twin SUs even though earlier DB4s used this arrangement. 

That belt-driven device is what I was blathering on about earlier. It needs to go as it's a complete fabrication.

DB4/106/L most definitely had twin carbs.

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9 hours ago, dnl42 said:

Very nice work!

 

That belt-driven device is what I was blathering on about earlier. It needs to go as it's a complete fabrication.

DB4/106/L most definitely had twin carbs.

 

Ah, thanks, I'll go back and check reference photos again.

 

11 hours ago, CliffB said:

It looks like this could be a real beauty John.  Any thoughts on a colour yet?

 

Probably burgundy, unless I suddenly see a colour that I like more.

 

11 hours ago, TonyW said:

That's such a good looking car. Everything just seems to flow in a very satisfying way. 

 

Is it possible to get the hood and trunk tacked into perfect place temporarily and then fit the hinges from underneath to follow the fit?

 

Not sure, as the part that holds the hinge is on the chassis, I might have a go and you have also given me an idea for getting the doors fitted.

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Thanks for all the likes and comments.  Today I have taken two steps back to make one step forward.

 

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Most of the ancillaries were removed from the front of the engine.

 

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On this side of the block I removed the oil filter.

 

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With the aid of a right-angle piece from the spares box, the oil filter is somewhat closer to the actual car's.

 

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y4mdv8FBR5KwUYD8bQlhhOsiFCL0QaVMIHAJAf88I've patched the hole where the oil filter was and added a hole for the dipstick.  The dynamo mounting bracket has been moved and some extra styrene added to reinforce it.

 

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I've also glued together the cases, I'm tempted to save these for Tilly Masterson's luggage when I build a 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang Convertible.

 

The good thing that came from all this was finding some handy resources for Aston Martin engine details. 

 

There's some nice black and white photography here.

Parts diagrams here.

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Back to working on the boot.  I've pretty much decided to junk the Aurora/Monogram hinge and fabricate/bodge my own.

 

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This is the proof of concept, the pivot point is a bit low but if I move the hinges in and up I think I might have a workable solution, even if it's not the neatest.  I wish I had a way to make uniform bends in wire.

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Nice work so far John. I have some small wire bending pliers, easy to get and easy to use. They will at least help you with making a nice consistent bend. 

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Another bit of progress on the engine.

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Dynamo fitted (after cutting down to clear the exhaust.  The drive belt was fabricated from thin styrene strip.

 

33 minutes ago, JeroenS said:

Nice work so far John. I have some small wire bending pliers, easy to get and easy to use. They will at least help you with making a nice consistent bend. 

Thanks Jeroen, I'll look at getting some.

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I've ordered some wire bending pliers.  Until they turn up I've done a bit more work on the engine.

 

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I've added paint and also looked at the cooling fan and decided to scratch a replacement for the kit item.

 

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Then I added the carburettors and also a piece of stretched sprue for the rod to operate the twin throttles.  The rod is a bit thick but somehow better than nothing.

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One more quick update, I've done some painting.

 

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XF-59 for the seats and XF-64 for the luggage.  The exhaust manifolds are painted Valejo burnt iron.  The fan will be painted red.

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I've had a busy, enjoyable and (hopefully) productive afternoon of modelling.

 

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First thing was an updated version of the boot hinges, this time in finer wire.  Less robust but more like the real thing.

 

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Seems to give a reasonable opening.

 

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Closed needed a tweak but it was all done with tape at this stage.

 

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Here's a close-up of the new hinge in place.

 

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Still only mocked up but showing better fit is possible.

 

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And boot open, I think you can just about see the styrene strip I added inside the top of the boot opening to give it a bit more of a lip and to prevent you from seeing into the boot when the lid is closed.

 

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I decided to see how the doors would fit.

 

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The plan is to fix the inner part of the door to the body but not to glue on the door skin until after painting.

 

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The parts that complete the hinge are a bit tricky, if you look to the instructions for guidance.  The good thing is that they only really fit one way and it's not too difficult to fix them without accidentally gluing the hinge solid.  Just watch out for flash.  But the fun wasn't over with fit issues...

 

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I had to remove the front valance because it is very difficult to install the chassis with both the hinges and the valance in place.  You can also see that the body sides are being forced outwards.

 

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Repeated attempts at trimming and test fitting eventually caused the chassis joint to break, but that made it easier to see where the issues were.  The vents in the wings are ducted to the engine bay but there isn't much room for the ducts and the hinges.  On a Japanese kit this would probably all just fit together like Lego but in this case some serious filing was required.

 

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It is fortunate that there was plenty of plastic to file away without damaging anything important.

 

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Whilst dealing with the chassis I spotted some small sink holes at the corners of the windscreen and at the same time decided to fill the hole on the wing for the wing mirror.  I may move the mirror to the door.

 

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After all that structural work I decided to concentrate on something different.  Just about every DB4 and 5 I've seen has a radio and speaker in the centre of the dashboard, but this is completely missing from the kit.  Fortunately I recently bought some automotive accessories including this.  I think it's supposed to be an in-car Minidisk player, but it's close enough to a radio for what I need.

 

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A suitable hole was hacked in the dashboard.

 

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Some styrene sheet was fashioned into a crude representation of the speaker.

 

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And tested for fit.

 

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The steering wheel centre boss is entirely the wrong shape, so I sliced off the rounded end of part of the sprue to give something of a better shape.  Reference photos suggested that there should be two column stalks so I fitted a second stalk, which is an aftermarket turned metal item and that made the moulded left-hand stalk look incredibly crude so that had to go too.  Technically these aren't correct as the switch base is the wrong shape, but they are lovely enough for me to overlook that failing.

 

I must admit that I was hoping to have paint, or at least primer, on the body by this stage, but I think I've made good progress all the same.

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I've finally got some primer on the Aston's body.

 

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As expected the primer shows up where the sink marks haven't been completely filled and seam lines are still there.

 

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Also as expected, you can see some places where material was added to the bonnet.  I'm sure it's nothing that can't be fixed.

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I've applied some filler primer to critical areas of the DB4, no photos at the moment but I've done a tiny bit more to the engine.

 

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Exhaust manifolds glued in place and a tiny wire loop added for the top of the dipstick.

 

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Front view with my scratch built fan in place.  There's still a little painting to do on the other side of the engine but I'll leave it until the glue has set on the fan and exhaust.

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