Scale Auto Replica's

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Austin Healey Sprite MK1

I don't usually buy models that have been started, but I took a chance on this one, as it was going for a very good price, and trying to find one of these models new is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

The bodyshell and some small parts had been painted in a dark green, I'm not sure what brand and type of paint had been used, but it needed to be stripped off, in the past I have used oven cleaner, Caustic soda and other chemicals to remove paint, but lately I have heard that some modellers have been using Fairy Power Spray to remove paint, so I bought a bottle to try, well 2 applications, one left on overnight, and a good scrub with a toothbrush saw the bodyshell back to clean white plastic.

All the chrome parts had previously been stripped of there chrome, these will be either be chromed using Bare metal foil or Alclad.

I'm not sure of the colour scheme I'm going to go with at the moment, but I'm thinking of a nice iris blue with a dark blue interior, the chassis has already been built, but it looks to have been done very well, so I will leave it as it is, paint it matt black and pick out any detail parts as needed.

 As all the chome parts had been stripped of there chrome when I got the kit, i decided that all the chrome will either be done using chrome BMF or chrome Alclad, i really didn't like the way the windshield frame was supposed to be attached to the body, and as the real thing is held on with screws, I drilled two holes in each side of the mounting and cut down some brass pins, these will be painted chrome along with the frame, not only does it look more prototypical, it gives the mounting a stronger joint when glued together

The trim around the front grill and the trims around the cabin have been glued into place, as it will be easy to cover them in BMF after the body has been sprayed than to fit them afterwards.

All bodyparts have now been primered using Hycote acrylic plastic primer, after I have re-scribed all the panel lines in the bodyshell, (See photo beIow left), I will sort  all the parts into seperate groups that need to be done in body colour, satin black and Alclad, it makes it quicker and easier to get the job done, as you don't need to keep swapping paint colours in the airbrush.

All chrome parts have now been painted using chrome Alclad, the parts were first airbrushed using Revell gloss black enamel thinned with cellulose thinners, this makes the enamel dry faster, and I find it gives a much deeper shine, Alclad gives a much better finish over a shiney black base, while I had the airbrush out I gave the wheels a few coats of cellulose wheel silver.
I ordered the painted yesterday afternoon (August 5th) and it arrived today (August 6th) great service as usual from Paints4U, so I thought I would get the body into top coat, I mixed the paint 70/30 with Rustin's cellulose thinners, I used my Paasche H set to around 20 p.s.i, I will leave it to dry out for a week before polishing out the paintwork, chassis and interior was first painted body colour for the small part that the gearlever fixes onto, then it was masked off before the chassis and interior was airbrushed satin black.

(Photo Left) Here's the dash after the chrome around the dials have been added, I did this by covering the rims with chrome BMF, then it was given another coat of satin black lacquer, after I left it to dry for a few min's, I took a cotton bud damperned in lacquer thinners, and gently rubbed off the black around the dials, after the black had dried out it was given a couple of coats a flat dark blue, but left the buttons that needed to be black left as they were, when this was dried the dash was given a coat of satin varnish, the seats were also painted matt blue followed by a coat of satin varnish, the interior tub was masked off and airbrushed matt blue, this will be left as matt to give it some change from the satin (Vinyl trim) for the seats and dashboard, the dials were filled in using thinned down 4 minute epoxy to replicate the dial glasses.

Bodyshell polished using Minicraft drill fitted with a wool mop, I used Poorboys SSR2 polishing compound, followed by a coat of meguires Crystal Clear wax applied by hand, I have also fitted the handbrake lever and the gearlever and gaiter to the interior, the exhaust had already been glued into place when I got the kit, and I didn't want to damage it by trying to removing it, so was left in place when I gave the chassis it's coat of satin black, once this had dried out, the chassis was masked off so the exhaust could be airbrushed flat aluminium, the model doesn't have any engine detail, but it does have the engine sump molded as part of the chassis, this was also masked off and airbrushed green, which is the correct colour for the BMC A Series engine.
(Photo above Right) The trim on top of the doors and around the top of the dash and rear were polished aluminium of the real car, I wanted it to look as prototypical as possible, so I replicated the trim using aluminium BMF, I did this in 4 pieces, I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Body & chassis fitted together, dash and interior panels fitted with epoxy resin, the front grille trim was done using chrome BMF, (Below) the front grille fitted which was painted using Alclad chrome, (Photo Left) headlamp pods fitted and the headlamps, again painted using Alclad chrome, these were simply pushed into the pods, as the fit was so tight.

(Above) front & rear lamps airbrushed in Tamiya clear red and orange

Photo on the left shows the rear end of the Sprite finished, the bumpers, fuel filler cap and rear number plate lamp were done using Alclad chrome.

Photo on the right shows the front end finished, the front grille, headlamp pods and bumper were again done using Alclad chrome, the trim above the grille was done using chrome Bare Metal Foil (BMF) the chrome around the indicator lamps were done using the same chrome foil.

Photo's above show the finished model, firstly, I don't usually build kerbside models, (Models without any engine and gearbox and running gear details), but this is the only scale model in 1/24th scale that is available, there was another version of this kit with white metal engine, but that kit is near impossible to find, and when they do become available they usually go for silly amount.

If I ever build another one of these models, I would do things slightly different, the headlamp pods should have really been fitted to the bodyshell and the gaps filled before being primed and painted, as that's how they were done at the factory, but that's the only thing I would do differently, all in all, a very nice model to put together.