February 2011

Further body detailing, creating interior, detailing chassis, applying primer coat


February 6th 2011: Another phase in the project today. Proceeding with the interior is the target for today. The first thing to do is to used the power tool to remove some more resin in the boot section to reduce the wall thickness and establish a place for the boot card to be positioned. Since this work is very specialist job Ito-san is doing it to avoid drilling through the body. Now that the boot section has the correct wall thickness the boot card can be made. This part is made out of 0.3mm thick styrene board. Firstly the material is cut to the approximate size, then trial fit to the body and once satisfied with the size the corners are rounded by using 420 grid sanding paper. The shape of the part is very simple so it is made and trial fit in a few minutes.

Basic shape of boot card from 0.3mm styrene board.

Rounded corners of boot trim by sanding.

The second part for today to create is the luggage area partition. This part has to fit to the interior of the body. The upper portion of the body is not a straight line and therefore firstly a dummy partition will be made out of 0.3mm styrene board. This material is relatively easy to get in shape with a pair of scissors. Quite some trial fits later the styrene dummy is ready. The dummy shape fits nicely to the inner shape of the body. The dummy is used to determine the shape for the metal net. After reviewing several nets the choice is made for a certain size.  The outline of the dummy is now used to cut the net in the proper shape. The net is ready. Now the frame needs to be made. The frame is made out of square plastic strip. After cutting the strips to the correct size the 4 horizontal bars are positioned first. The positioning of the upper and lower bar is fairly straightforward because a clear border is given by the outline of the net. The bars are fixed to the net with superglue. The 2 bars in the middle are tricky. Since the grid of the net is straight the bars have to be positioned straight and additionally the bars have to properly divide the net in equal sections. The positioning of the bars with glue proves to be difficult. It takes me several tries to get the bars in the right position and prevent my fingers to be glued together. I've glued my fingers to each other several times. After the horizontal bars the vertical bars have to be made and positioned. This is even more tricky. Due to the small size of these bar the positioning is very tough. I glued the bars to my fingers more then once. Finally I got the in position by using tweezers. In general the final shape looks very nice, unfortunately due my poor skills there is an overdose of glue in several portions. Hopefully I can remove some of this glue. I will ask my teacher.

Metal net and styrene board, ingredients for partition wall.

Styrene board which needs adjustment to fit body inner shape.


Trial fit of styrene dummy part after several iterations.


Metal net cut in same geometry as styrene dummy part.


Lower and upper horizontal bar glued to the metal net.


All horizontal bars positioned after gluing my fingers to each other several times.


Partition finished with vertical bars.

Trial fit of finished partition, looks quite nice.

Now the chassis has to be adjusted to assure correct position of the partition net. To achieve this the correct position is determined and the tunnel on the floor of the chassis and this position is marked by masking tape. The tunnel is now cut at this position by sawing. The front position of the net is now fixed. At the rear end he net will be supported by the elevated floor which is the next part to make. In order the determine the correct width of the floor the rear inner wheel wells are glued to the body. With the wheel wells in position the width of the bottom beams of the elevated luggage compartment floor is easy to decide. The beams which will be glued to the floor are cut with a Stanley knife from square plastic material. Luckily the gluing of these beams is going much more smoothly then the previous glue operation. I guess the proverb "practice makes perfect" has some meaning ;-) The elevated floor itself is again made out 0.3mm thick styrene board in 2 layers. The first layer is made to determine the correct width to fit nicely in between the rear wheel wells. The second layer is made to determine the proper length of the floor. Cutting the layers is done with scissors and a Stanley knife. The first layer is after a few iterations quite okay and fits nicely to the shape of the body. The second layer unfortunately needs some adjustment by my teacher. The skill of Ito-san keeps amazing me every time. Not only does he have many years of experience but also his enormous talent is beyond any doubt. As a final step the car is trial assembled with double sided tape for the wheels, the seats and the front & rear bumpers. The trial fit gives a good impression of what the car will look like once it's finished. Ito-san looks quite satisfied and apparently I'm smiling from ear to ear but I can't see that by myself. I take the assembled car home with me and thank Ito-san for his valuable time and willingness to cope with my mishaps. The partition is definitely my favourite part of today. Except for the overdose of glue it looks perfect!

Centre tunnel sawed to correct length and floor outline drawn on chassis.


First layer of floor cut with scissors out of styrene board.


First layer of elevated floor glued to the beams to determine the correct width.


Luggage compartment floor including second layer fits nicely.


Trial fit of the majority of parts, looks great in my opinion.

Trial fit of the majority of parts, looks great in my opinion.

February 20th 2011: Today Ito-san is available and I am able to continue the work on the Furgone. The first item to do is to shape the tunnel geometry to allow positioning of the gear lever and handbrake lever. This is done by gently moving a straight chisel on top of the tunnel forward & backwards. This way a straight surface is formed. The 2 parts fit nicely to the tunnel now. The front grille of the base model currently doesnít fit to the body. The properties of the resin material of the Furgone body are different from the original zamac base model body so some adjustment is required in the width. Scraping away some material from the sides of the grille with a sharp knife does the trick. The grille fits now.

Creating flat surface on tunnel with chisel for gear & hand brake lever.

Both parts fit nicely on the newly created surfaces.

The loading area still needs some trim behind the rear wheel arch. These parts for the left & right hand side are made by a 2 compound pate. This pate is mixed by rolling and kneading in your hands. This pate is slightly aggressive material and needs to be removed from the hands after finishing the mixing. Now these 2 pieces of pate are stuck to the side walls to fit nicely to the inner shape of the body. Once hardened a bit the pieces are taken out and put in a climate chamber to become really hard.

2 Components of pate mixed together.

Pate pushed to body inner surface, quite some excess material.

Whilst waiting for the part to harden a next step is taken. The geometry of the boot will be detailed. So far no lines for the boot have been traced into the resin. First the lines on the body are drawn with a pencil. In order to get the correct positions for these pencil lines a compass is used. Since tracing the lines is an irreversible step Ito-san recommends to practice on a piece of leftover resin. This leftover resin has the same hardness as the body and therefore gives a good idea how much force is required, under which angle to hold the chisel and how to trace straight lines. The practice session is not without hick-ups. It seems even more difficult than I anticipated drawing constant depth straight lines. After a few circles on the practice piece of resin with very mixed results I decide to go for it. For an absolute beginner like me the end result on the body is not too bad. The last line to draw is the folding line which runs horizontally on the boot. The tricky part about this line is that it gets very subtle on the vehicle outboard sides and more evident in the middle section. According to my teacher this can be achieved by first drawing the line with the very small chisel used to trace the boot lines and later create depth with a bigger chisel. In order to avoid damaging the other sections they are covered in masking tape. The thin line itself is traced relatively quickly, the detailing with the bigger chisel is a bit more time consuming. With a little assistance from Ito-san this horizontal line is pretty neat. As a finishing touch the lower surface and line itself are sanded with  320 grade sanding paper. It looks nice now. Thatís it for the boot. 

Pencil lines on boot. Positions determined with compass.


Piece of leftover resin for line tracing trial with small chisel.


End result of trial session ranging from extremely poor to acceptable.


Main lines traced, horizontal line below window to be done with small chisel first.


Horizontal line to be detailed with big chisel.

Final detail touch with 320 grade sand paper.

For the rear lights there are basically 2 options; create lights out of decals or out of vacuum formed sheets of coloured plastic. Personally Iím a big fan of real looking lights so my preference is for vacuum formed parts. Iím very lucky that Ito-san is patient and kind gentleman. Iím pretty sure he prefers to make the lights out of decals because itís less time consuming but he is willing to having them vacuum formed. The approach is to take the silicon body mould and put it under an angle and fill it partially with resin. This way you only get a cast of the rear end of the car which can be used as a base for the mould for the vacuum forming operation. When taking out this partial casting from the mould the moulding flash shows a very thin body shape. Only the end of the body is filled. This is a very strange and interesting sight. 

Silicon body mould under an angle to fill only rear section.


Moulding product of rear end with moulding flash, interesting sight.


Resin rear end which will be used to vacuum form the rear lights.

Interesting shape for moulding flash.

In the mean time the loading area parts have hardened. With a pencil the borders are drawn of the material which should remain. The majority of material will be removed. Firstly with a chisel the rough outlines are made and than with rather rough 120 grade sandpaper the rest of the material is removed. Many trial fits and quite some sanding later the parts are ready. If you compare the remaining material with the original amount of material this is not a lean manufacturing process ;-)

Grade 120 sanding paper used to get desired shape.

Little material remaining for the luggage compartment trim.

Now itís time to make the side mirrors. Ito-san has a big stock of all kind of mirror shapes due to his profession. After searching for some time an appropriate mirror shape is found which can be adjusted to represent the proper shape for the Giardinetta. In order to reproduce the mirrors a moulding box is made out of cardboard. Styrene plastic tubes are glued to the mirrors to serve as runners. These runners are then positioned in green coloured clay to remain in position during the casting process. As during the manufacturing of the previous silicon moulds also this time an excessive dose of hardener is added to speed up the hardening process. Once the hardening is finished resin casts can be made. Due to the fact that the Furgone didnít have any rear side windows it was standard equipped with a left and right hand rearview mirror whilst this was an option for the other Giardinettas. The resin casted parts look okay but need some adjustment regarding size to suit this vehicle. The size is adjusted by cutting away material with a chisel and sanding down the cut edge.

Huge stock of rearview mirrors from YowModellini.


Suitable rearview mirrors which require little adjustment.


Gluing runners to rearview mirrors.


Rearview mirrors ready for casting of silicon mould.


Rearview mirror cast out of silicon mould.


As final activities of today the height of the boot card needs to be adjusted because of the elevated loading floor and the position of the exhaust has to be traced in the body. With scissors the adjustment of the height is made quickly and easily. The position of the exhaust is first drawn on the body and then traced with a chisel. Both rather simple tasks but they have to be done. The line-up of the parts is fun to see. The next time the boot hinges, the rear lights, the windows and the internal rearview mirror have to be made and then the vehicle is ready for the final stage, painting. As always huge thanks goes out to Ito-san for his generously given time and patience to teach me something.

Exhaust position drawn on body with pencil.


Exhaust position traced into body with chisel.


All parts so far, pretty nice sight.


February 26th 2011: Another chapter in the Giardinetta Furgone project. Today I will start with tracing the lines in the body for the fuel tank cover. This time no practicing just starting on the body. In order to trace a more or less rectangular geometry a gauge is used. I never estimated that such small gauges would be available, but apparently they are. The end result is acceptable, but not more then that. The lower line is not completely straight, but the geometry of the lines represent the desired shape sufficiently.

Rough pencil strokes for desired lines of fuel filler cap & C-pillar vent.

Fuel filler cap lines traces with the aid of a gauge.

Now the lines for the ventilation openings in the C-pillar have to be drawn. The height of the these features is taken with a compass from a drawing of the vehicle in the scale 1:43. This way the position of the upper and lower line is determined. The next operation is to use a tool to draw the horizontal pencil lines in a straight way. Finally the vertical lines drawing are drawing parallel to the window edge and the boot edge. This text is small and sounds pretty easy, but it took me quite some time to get the proper lines drawn on the body. The scary part is now to trace these lines with a very small chisel. The lines are traced in many repeats. Once the lines are started the tracing becomes easier. The lines look okay to me.

Ventilation opening pencil lines drawn.


Very small chisel to trace lines into the resin body.


Traced lines for ventilation opening in C-pillar.


Task number 3 for today is to make the boot hinges. They will be made out of pieces of bendable plastic material. First they are glued to the roof with quite some overhang to assure the glue has sufficient area to get a grip. Due to the small size of these hinges the gluing needs a few iterations. In the end the only thing that works is to sand the surface of the plastic material with a grade of 600 and also the area where the parts will be attached. The result of this first step looks funny because the length on the roof is obviously too long and the part which is to be glued to the boot is also quite long. After gluing the hinges to the boot pencil lines are drawn on the body to determine the correct length. Then masking tape is applied on the roof section and boot section parallel with the pencil lines to serve as a guide during the cutting operation. The cutting is done with a razor sharp knife. Because the hinges are glued the cut sections don't fall off. They have to be taken off with tweezers. I'm happy with the shape of the hinges. As a final touch the roof and boot lines close to the hinges have to be retraced with a chisel to remove any possible excess glue.

Hinges glued to roof & boot and lines drawn where geometry is to be cut.


Masking tape parallel with pencil lines to serve as guide for razor sharp knife.


Hinges in position, roof section to be trimmed back a little further.


Another part of detailing the body is creating the Giardinetta Furgone unique stiffener ribs in the section where the "normal" Giardinetta's have the rear window. The ribs are made out of small styrene strips. In order to get these ribs in the correct position a piece of masking tape is put behind the rear door. Because these ribs are very small and the access to the inner section of the body is small the gluing operation is tough. Even though I was using tweezers to position the ribs I glued the parts to my fingers twice instead of the body. First the horizontal ribs are positioned and then the vertical ones. Quite a nerve wrecking task to glue such small parts.

Stiffener rib out of styrene ready for gluing operation.


Horizontal stiffener rib glued in position with aid of masking tape.


Vertical stiffener ribs glued in position.


When looking at the dashboard more carefully the geometry of the Minichamps base model (glove compartment available) but the centre console was never applicable to the Giardinetta. The centre section will be cut with pliers and then the cut surface detailed with a Stanley knife. Such small details also have to be correct in my opinion. The decals for the dials are removed because the dashboard will be painter in the same colour black as the rest of the interior parts. The modification of the dashboard is not a big item but it fills me with joy that the car is becoming more and more detailed.

Minichamps base model dashboard with centre console.

Steering wheel, centre console and dial decals removed.

Whilst reviewing the body shape and adjusting here and there to prepare for the next project stage I realised that the doors didn't have vertical lines anymore in the B-pillar. This line was deleted by the added material for the extension of the rear end in the beginning of the project. This is definitely something which needs correction. So first draw these vertical lines on the LH & RH side and then trace them with a small chisel. Near the roof there is the horizontal trim which makes this tracing pretty difficult. The door lines should have been traced in the beginning of the project, but I simply forgot. Of course I accidentally tore the roof trim loose. This is luckily easily repaired with some patience and glue. The final body detail that is missing is the boot handle. This small part is again made out of small styrene strip. The centre of the boot is found by using a compass and drawing an arc from the left and right side. Where these 2 lines cross the boot there is the centre. With some glue this final part is attached easily. That is everything for the body.

Pencil line in B-pillar for door edge which is to be traced.

Boot handle glued in the centre.

Now that the body and other parts are finished the next exciting stage will commence. The application of the primer is what's up next. Before this can be done all the parts are cleaned with detergent and warm water. The detergent is applied to the parts with a tooth brush to thoroughly clean them of any grease coming from fingers and sanding dust. Once washed the parts are individually pinned to washing pins in order to dry further. The small parts such as the rearview mirrors and bumpers are glued to supports to ensure the visible areas will be covered with primer. The pins are applied in less visible / non visible sections of the parts. This sounds and looks logical but if Ito-san had not pointed this out I would have surely not done it. The first and a very important thing is to clean the air brush gun. This is done with thinner and a special liquid which avoids the paint from getting stuck in the gun internally. During this operation Ito-san informs me that the gun for primer and final paint are different. The entrance in the gun for the primer is bigger to adjust to the viscosity of the primer. An interesting fact I didn't know. Whilst the parts continue to dry the preparation for the primer is done. The primer consists out of a grey coloured substance mixed with thinner to achieve the appropriate viscosity suitable for application with the airbrush gun. Once the mixture is finished it is filtered. This filtering has 2 reasons. The first reason is to avoid any pollution in the primer, the second reason is to check the viscosity of the mixture by looking at the speed the mixture is going through. Of course I can't judge this and therefore this judgement is done by the skilled Ito-san. The cup of the airbrush gun is filled with the primer mixture and ready for action. Since this is the first time for me to use an airbrush gun Ito-san kindly shows me how to do it on 1 part. Now it's my turn to give it a try. Before the primer is applied each part is blown dry with an air gone which not only dries the parts but at the same time ionises them to avoid static electricity attracting dust particles. I start with the smaller parts to get the hang of it. All parts unfortunately require some small adjustment from Ito-san to be correct. Just like every time I learned many things today and especially the usage of the airbrush gun is something very exciting. The project is now really coming in its last phases. As always a big thanks to Ito-san for his time and patience.

Washing parts with detergent and tooth brush.


All washed pins attached to pins and drying.


Prepared primer mixture.


Filtering primer mixture to remove pollution and check viscosity.


Applying primer to body.


All parts applied with a coat of primer drying.


Dried primer coat on body.

From left to right 1st stage resin cast, 2nd stage resin cast & final body with primer coat.

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