Yahoo auctions Japan base model & first project activities
On Yahoo auctions Japan I found the perfect base model for the Giardinetta Furgone project. It is the blue coloured Minichamps Alfasud with reference number 400 120100. The starting price is very low so let's see how high it will get in the end. As always with Internet auctions the price starts rising at the end of the auction, but the end price is fair in my opinion. Now let's wait a few days until the model comes in to see the actual condition. The description of the auction states that it is an unopened box merely taken out of the packaging to take the pictures for the auction, let's see.
21 November 2010, Yahoo auction for Minichamps Alfasud which I won.
November 2010, Minichamps Alfasud in perfect condition except for the rear view mirrors.
In order to get from the current geometry to the desired Alfasud Giardinetta Furgone geometry quite some modifications have to be made. In order to get a rough idea I write down what needs to be done. Most probably during the project additional items will come up, but at least the list will give me some idea of the work to be done.
Create proper body shape to reflect the Giardinetta furgone (including grooves in roof & luggage compartment side wall stiffeners).
Create windshield, side windows & rear window.
Create correct rectangular shaped rearview mirrors for lh & rh side.
Create rear lights by decals or vacuum formed plastic.
Create reversing light.
Create the specific decals to represent the lettering as originally designed by Alfa Romeo for the Furgone.
Create rear interior to simulate the flat loading floor.
Create luggage compartment separator (net).
Create proper geometry wheels.
Create front seats without headrest and without side supports.
Create boot hinges.
Create boot card.
Create boot handle.
Adjust bumper shape for front and rear to geometry without overriders.
Replace casted indicator lights on lh & rh front wing with plastic lights.
Replace plastic windshield wipers with photo-etched ones.
Paint body and interior in correct colours and apply decals.
That's a long enough list for the moment I guess. I'll see what I missed during the project progress.
Nov. 28th 2010: Today the Furgone project will start; Iím very excited because itís not an every day thing that I get some tips and pointers from a talented artist like Ito-san. Knowing my own scale model making talents Iím worried whether it will become something acceptable, but the aid of Ito-san will put the project back on course when itís going in a wrong direction.
Iím bringing the base model, the dimensions of the real car and pictures of the Giardinetta Furgone to get started. After a short discussion with Ito-san and looking at the pictures the actual work gets started by disassembling the donor vehicle. The build quality of the Minichamps is good. The parts are disassembled with a screwdriver and a sharp knife rather quickly. During disassembly Ito-san pointed out the geometry of the rim holes of the base model are incorrect. That is something I didn't realise myself yet. Of course I knew the hub caps are not supposed to be different, but the hole geometry was an unexpected difference. The Minichamps rims have round holes whilst the actual vehicle rims have rectangular holes. New rims will therefore have to be made.
The windows and rear lights will remain in place currently because the base model itself will not be used and therefore a casting of the outer contour has to be made, the fastest way is to keep the windows in position. Now green coloured clay is applied to the base model to roughly represent the extended rear shape of the Furgone. The open front windows of the base model are of course also filled with the green clay to get the desired outer contour. As you may understand not filling this window hole would make it impossible for the casted model to come out of the mould. With a knife the approximate shape is sculpted into the green clay.
Base model on top of vehicle dimensions print.
Base model disassembled.
Base model body filled with green clay.
Base model filled with green clay, roof extension made and plastic base plate attached.
The blue colour of the base model and the green colour of the clay is a strange looking combination. Even though itís a quite rough shape the contour of the Giardinetta is clearly visible now. The next thing is to build the box for the first mold. This box is made out of cardboard and is a simple rectangular shape. The model is glued in the center of a cardboard plate which fits in the box. Then tape is wrapped around the cardboard box to provide a wall which will prevent the silicon mold material falling out during the vacuum operation. The silicon mold material is pored inside the cardboard box and now the vacuum operation start to get all the air out. I estimated that some air bubbles would pop up, but the amount of air coming out is far more then I expected. This vacuum operation is therefore very important to get a decent result. When the mold is cooled down the base model is taken out and small portions of remaining clay are removed from the mold. The green clay is taken from the base model and the base model body is, except for the smudged windows, almost back in original condition. Now that the mold is sufficiently cooled down the resin casting of the first stage model can start. What surprises me is the temperature of the 2-component resin when itís mixed. The chemical reaction taking place between these materials must be something very energetic. After cooling down of the resin the casted part can be taken out easily. The difference between the base model and the first casting result is very obvious. Itís already looking like a Furgone at this point although there is still a lot of work ahead. Today was a very educational day and the hardware end result is a convincing reason to keep on going. A great thanks goes out to Ito-san from YOW MODELLINI for spending his free time to teach me something.
Cardboard box for first stage mould with tape around it to avoid overflowing.
Filling box with silicon material (from certain height to avoid air inclusion).
First stage silicon mould during air hardening process.
First stage silicon mould ready for filling with resin.
First stage resin casting after vacuum operation.
First stage resin casting has become hard.
First stage resin casting result with dimensional drawing in 1:43 scale.
First stage resin casting result besides base model with clay.