Building Model Cars

I wrote back in February about building and launching model rockets as a kid. That got me thinking about when my dad and I made model cars when I was around maybe 13 years old.

The whole process took a few months because I lived with my mom but I always looked forward to it going over to his house. The timing in the year could have also been a little better but I’ll get to that.

I had grown up making models. I had done a few different cars, including The General Lee, that had come pre-colored for beginners. I had also built a model plane with my sister’s friend’s dad one day when he was watching me.

But the models that I built with my dad that year were the first time we put in the effort to detail things.

My dad bought two sets. One was a 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe and the other was a 1929 Ford Rat Rod. I picked the Rat Rod so he went with the Coupe.

The first step, as with any model, was taking the pieces off of the molds. Usually we would just take off the piece we needed as we needed it but we were going to be painting so we took everything off.

Then we each took an exacto-knife to remove any burrs from the molds. We made sure to get everything as smooth as possible.

After everything was de-burred we cleaned all the pieces. This was to make sure the paint would have a nice finish without any dust or fingerprints.

Painting ended up being the part that took the longest. We were using an airbrush to paint everything and since the air tank was kept in the garage that was where we painted.

Most of the time that would be fine but we were painting during the winter. The days that I was actually over to paint were always cold which slowed things down.

We had to keep the paint inside so it wouldn’t be too cold and it would eventually start having difficulty spraying as it got cold. Then it would take forever to dry. Some pieces needed to be repainted because the paint didn’t dry correctly.

My dad ended up doing some of the painting when I wasn’t there as warmer days would happen, just so we could get to the actual building part of it.

We both had 2-in-1 kits so we had some options. I could choose to have the engine showing or not and there were a couple of exhaust options. I could also have a couple different tops for the cab as well as no roof. There were also a few choices for the truck bed. It could be left open, with or without wooden side rails, or it could have a canvas cover. The tailgate was also optional.

I ended up wanting the engine showing since it was going to be in it anyway. I didn’t really like the exhaust options so I modified the ones provided into a custom one that bent around itself and looks cool.

I know I went with no side rails of cover for the bed. I don’t remember if I kept the tailgate or not. I also don’t remember what roof option I went with. I would assume I went with no roof because I wanted to show off all the painted parts.

For the paint I went with a nice metallic red for the main body. The bed had brown for wooden planks. The engine was chrome. There were also some various details which were painted in.

My dad’s car was a metallic blue. For a while they sat no display at his house next to each other. Then after one of the floods he gave them to me.

I had them for a while but then when I moved out of my mom’s house my truck was one of the things she threw out. She didn’t throw out the car so I’m assuming she knew one of them was built by my dad but guessed wrong trying to decide which. I still have it on display on my bookshelf.

When my wife and I moved in with her sister and the kids around the time of our wedding I bought a couple model cars to do with my nephew to get his mind off the separation since I knew his dad wouldn’t be putting in much time to do fun things with him.

I still have them in a drawer because his new step-dad was able to do fun things with him so he was rarely every home. I still haven’t decided if I want to just do the models or save them for when I have a kid and they are old enough to make a detailed model.


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