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Monogram ex-Aurora Aston Martin DB4 1:25

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1 hour ago, TonyW said:

All that extra fettling and finessing is going to pay off big time further down the line. It's looking better and better every time I look in.

Thanks very much :).  The DB4 is such a good-looking car, so I feel like it's worth investing the time to get it looking its best.



This is a little behind the actual progress, but gives an indication of the steps taken to finish the body.  I've used Halfords (automotive parts and accessories shop for those who don't know the name) plastic filler primer (the yellow) and also some automotive scratch, touch-up primer (the grey blobs).  These were sanded down and given another coat of Tamiya Fine Surface Primer.  The primer highlighted a few more minor blemishes, which I've attended to.



While the primer was drying I assembled the front suspension and steering rack.  You can pose the front wheels at an angle but you can't leave the steering free to pivot.


The engine is just dry fitted to ensure that everything still fits.



I also decided that the switches on the dashboard looked a little under-nourished.  So bits of stretched sprue were cut and glued in place.


It will soon be time to paint the body, which is a process that always makes me a bit nervous.

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Lots of pictures this evening.



The steering wheel boss needed a little more work, which was achieved by adding a thin styrene strip.



It's not perfect, but it's not bad and better than what was there before.



I've added a bit more paint to the engine.



The back axle was assembled using the chassis as a jig.  I started with the springs and trailing links.



The next part was to add the Watt's linkage, which is a bit of a tight fit next to the boot floor.



All the above was done while the primer on the body was drying.



That's looking a lot better than it was.



As is the other side.  I'll give it all a gentle rub down tomorrow and, who knows, it might be in paint by the weekend.

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On 04/07/2022 at 22:12, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

That is a very good looking engine. I never knew the Aston-Martins used a straight six, you learn something new everyday. 

Aston Martin has used four, six, eight and twelve cylinder engines in its history.  Until fairly recently the engines used were fairly long-lived (that is, they were in production for a long time).


This may be wrong as I'm not an Aston Martin historian but I'll do my best.


From 1922, when Aston Martin started car production, to 1939 Aston Martins used four-cylinder, single overhead camshaft engines of either 1.5 or 2.0 litres displacement.


Car production resumed in 1948 with the Two-Litre Sports model (sometimes referred to by its retrospective title DB1).  I had assumed that this used the same engine as the pre-war 2.0 litre models, but it was actually a new, pushrod-overhead valve motor, designed by Claude Hill.  This model lasted two years in which time Aston Martin made 14 examples.


Aston Martin's next engine was a twin-overhead camshaft straight six, initially of 2.6 litres and later 3.0, from Lagonda.  This engine is usually credited to W.O. Bentley (the founder of Bentley Motors) who had moved to Lagonda after Rolls-Royce took over Bentley.  Lagonda and Aston Martin were owned by David Brown (who had made his fortune by making gears, machine tools and tractors).  Although Bentley supervised the design of this engine the website astonmartins.com names Willie Wilson as the actual designer of this engine, which was produced from 1950 to 1959.


Apart from the general layout, there is no link between the earlier six-cylinder engine and the all-aluminium twin-cam straight six that was introduced in 1958 for the DB4.  This engine was designed by Tadek Marek and initially produced in 3.6-litre displacement, being enlarged to 4.0-litres for the last DB4s and the DB5 of 1964.  The engine remained in production until 1973.


Tadek Marek also designed Aston Martin's next engine, a 5.3-litre V8 with twin-overhead camshafts for each bank of cylinders. This engine was launched in 1969 and remained in production until the year 2000.


After that, I think it gets a bit messy.  There was the 3.2-litre supercharged straight six, based on Jaguar's AJ6 family of engines for the 1993 DB7.


In 1999 the DB7 Vangage was launched with a V12 derived from a pair of Ford V6s (I'm sure that's an oversimplification).  I think I'm right in stating that this V12 was used by a number of other Aston Martins including the Vanquish, DB9 and DBS.


The Aston Martin Vantage of 2005 got a new V8, loosely based on Jaguar's contemporary AJV8 (there was also a V12 Vantage from 2007).


From 2013 Aston Martin signed a deal with Mercedes-Benz to use Mercedes-AMG engines for its models.  Unfortunately I don't have much interest in new cars so I'm not sure exactly what, but it looks like the mainstay is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 although the DBX SUV is available with a 3.0 twin turbo straight six.

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OK, so my prediction of getting the body painted turned out to be optimistic.  



I realised/remembered that the tail lamp surrounds should be body coloured rather than chrome plinths, so the chrome was stripped with oven cleaner and glued to the body.



There followed a process of filling, sanding and priming that still isn't done.



Other chrome parts were stripped, the wheels because the chrome finish didn't seem appropriate, the spinners and bumpers needed filling and sanding.



The wheels and spinners were painted Valejo flat aluminium, the tyres have been lightly sanded on the tread, the one tyre with the whitewall seems to have gone slightly hard with age, so that's relegated to spare.  The back axle has been sprayed satin black (good old Tamiya X18).



At first I thought there was a flaw in the back bumper, but it's just a little bit of black plastic.



Talking of X18, the underside of the chassis has been sprayed that colour.



The top side had a more satin black and desert yellow where appropriate.



Test fitting the seats shows that a little more paint needs to go on the inner wheel arches.  This red carpet is just a template for the carpet I'll use on the final build.



A couple of little bits to finish this update, this case has been given brass catches.



The steering wheel has been painted up.  It should really have a "DB" monogram in the centre in gold, but I don't have the resources to reproduce this.


That's all for now, but at least there's progress.

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I've been doing lots more filling, priming and sanding (so much sanding) on the Aston Martin's body, but pictures would have got very repetitive.  Between those sessions I've worked on other parts of the build.  I've got an important decision to make about wheels.



Kit wheel painted aluminium and clear-coated.  This is the cracked tyre.



With a wash between the spokes, it doesn't look too bad.



Not that you can see much of the wheel once it's in the boot.



Looking at the wheels as they will go on the car, the wheel is far too small and the tyre is way too big.  The tread pattern is pretty awful too.  I've got these resin/3Dprinted aftermarket wheels and tyres from Motobtiz, which should look a lot better.



The kit tyre is almost too big for the wheel arch.



The aftermarket tyre looks like a better fit, even though it is 1:24 rather than 1:25 so should technically be over-scale.  I'll just need to be careful as the aftermarket wheels and tyres are wider than the kit items.  


The funny thing is that the kit wheels and tyres used on the Aurora Maserati 3500 look like the same parts but don't look nearly as bad on that car and when I tried 1:24 aftermarket wheels/tyres everything I had was too big (although Motobitz hadn't produced its replacement wire wheels for the E-type at that time.


Next time I'll update you on the dashboard/interior and engine bay.



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That's weird, I can only assume those tyres are a throwback to the Aurora tooling, because they don't look like anything Monogram normally used (nor like the ones in my 3500GT).   They'd be perfect for the rear of a hot rod though. 🤔


What's the OD of the kit wheels?  I might have something more in proportion.

Edited by Six97s
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Here's an update on the DB4's interior and engine.



I painted a rectangle for the speaker grille.  On the decal sheet the dials, switches and warning lights are a single piece, so I had to cut around these.  You can just see where the decals tried to break up, but the overall effect is quite pleasing.



With the steering wheel in place.



Dry fitted just to see how it looks.



Talking of dry fitting; the exhaust was used to ensure the engine was in roughly the right place.  The only real attachment point for the engine is the front crossmember, it's not a very satisfactory arrangement as it doesn't do much to positively locate the engine while the glue dries.



Once the engine was solidly in place I added the various details.  I'm impressed by the level of detail you get in the box for this kit.  Technically the screen wash reservoir (the white bottle) should be a clear part.


38 minutes ago, Six97s said:

That's weird, I can only assume those tyres are a throwback to the Aurora tooling, because they don't look like anything Monogram normally used (nor like the ones in my 3500GT).   They'd be perfect for the rear of a hot rod though. 🤔


What's the OD of the kit wheels?  I might have something more in proportion.

On closer examination the wheels aren't quite the same between the DB4 and the 3500GT and the tyres are definitely different,  The Maserati has slightly larger wheels and slightly more low profile tyres.


The DB4 wheels are 15mm diameter as close as I can tell, which I think makes them under-sized as an actual 15-inch wheel would be slightly larger than that across the face of the rim.  Interestingly the wheels of the Monogram DB4 are very similar to the Airfix/Doyusha 1:24 Aston Martin DB5, where they look even more under-scale.  I bought the aftermarket wheels for the DB5 and I could use the tyres from the DB5 on the DB4 as they are slightly smaller in overall diameter.  I'll try and post some photos for comparison.


Thanks to everyone who has liked or commented, I appreciate the encouragement.

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No pictures at the moment, but a quick discourse on tyres.  When launched the Aston Martin DB4 was fitted with 16-inch wheels and 6.00-16 V-rated Avon Turbospeed tyres.  The quoted diameter of the inflated tyre is about 28 inches.


The Monogram kit is a Series 5 DB4, by which time the tyre specification changed to 6.70-15 with a quoted overall diameter of 27 inches.


The tyres supplied in the kit have an overall diameter of 30mm, which would scale out at about 30-inches.  Both the DB5 tyres and the aftermarket tyres are about 27mm but the aftermarket items have a much more realistic wheel diameter of about 16-17mm.  I think Motobitz is going to do well out of me as I'll be buying more wheels for the Aston Martin and Jaguar kits in my stash.

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The aftermarket wheels and tyres were primed and painted.  The wheels also got a clear coat.


Tyres are Tamiya Rubber Black and the wheels are Valejo Matt Aluminium.



Here is a comparison photo.  From left to right; original kit wheels and tyres, kit wheels and Airfix DB5 tyres, aftermarket wheels and tyres, Aoshima 1:24 MGB wheels and tyres.  Although it doesn't look like it, the aftermarket wheels are slightly larger than the MGB wheels.  The aftermarket wheels are a very tight fit in their tyres, I sanded away as much as I dared and then carefully pressed the centre into the tyre.



I've painted the headlining and mounted the body ready to spray.

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Excellent work on this!  :clap2:


7 minutes ago, johnlambert said:

The aftermarket wheels and tyres were primed and painted. 

Are those the Motobitz parts? MBA24059?

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3 minutes ago, dnl42 said:

Excellent work on this!  :clap2:


Are those the Motobitz parts? MBA24059?

Sort of, they are the first version where the wheel and tyre were separate parts.  I can see that the wheel and tyre are now a single piece, no need to force them together but possibly a bit more difficult to paint.

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Nothing terribly exciting to report.  I didn't feel like doing much spraying in the heat last week.



I got a couple of coats of paint on before the temperatures got too high.



After a week of drying I've rubbed the paint down so it's ready for some more coats.


It doesn't look too bad, the colour isn't quite what I hoped but at least it's going on evenly.  The paint is Vauxhall Burgundy Red which I thought I'd used before, but it was either a similar colour but not quite the same, or it looks different because the last time I used it I ignored the instructions and put it over red rather than grey primer.

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I've applied a few more coats of paint to the Aston, I think the colour gets better the more paint goes on.  I'll get some pictures later, but it's currently under cover while the paint dries.


In the meantime, you might enjoy this article on the Aston Martin DB4.  It does almost make me wish I'd chosen a metallic grey-green.

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1 hour ago, johnlambert said:

I've applied a few more coats of paint to the Aston, I think the colour gets better the more paint goes on.  I'll get some pictures later, but it's currently under cover while the paint dries.


In the meantime, you might enjoy this article on the Aston Martin DB4.  It does almost make me wish I'd chosen a metallic grey-green.

Thank you for posting that, I thoroughly enjoyed it! 


To be sure, I wholeheartedly agree with the opening statement:


Forget Bond’s Silver Birch Aston Martin DB5; surely the DB4 is the best-looking of all the DBs? More sophisticated and less vintage in feel than its predecessors, better proportioned and prettier than its successors.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Proof that I've not forgotten the Aston.



Window frames have been painted and today I touched in some of the body colour around the door opening and on the inside of the side vents (as pictures seem to suggest that body colour extended to these parts.

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And some more Aston progress.



Rear windows are installed.  I separated the rear quarter windows from the rear windscreen and gave the quarter windows a bit of a sanding and polish to try and thin them down a bit and get a better fit.  This is supposed to be a test fit but I might just leave the body on now.  I always find it encouraging to see the body and interior colour in their proper places.



Test fitting the wheels, I've drilled out the wheel centres which helps locate the wheels on the axles.



Front wheels, the ride height might be a bit low, but that's probably better than too high.  I think the aftermarket wheels are definitely the right way to go.



The front wheels are tucked quite far in at the moment, but installing the front brake disks and proper hubs should fix that.


It's getting there.

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