Although 99% of the time I only build British and European classic cars, now and again I do build the occasional American car, as I have a love of American Muscle Cars, luckily I managed to pick up this kit on eBay for a good price.
I wanted to do this car in a proper Dodge colour, but getting the paint mixed up in England was impossible, luckily I have a good friend in America who bought a small bottle of Dodge Light Blue Poly acrylic enamel, I have never used this type of paint before, so it will be interesting to find out how it sprays.
Opening the kit I found the body needed a lot of work before I could even think of getting some paint on it, the main problem with the body is the bad molding where the roof meets the body, there is a very small trim piece that the '69 body has to replicate the chrome trim that seperate's the vinyl trim on the roof and the body, but the '68 body isn't molded with the vinyl roof, so this trim needs removing, there is also a very small indent just by the gutter trim that needs a spot of putty, and on the passenger's side rear gutter trim, a very small piece is missing, and as this will need to match up the top of the window trim on the rear window, a small section of plastic rod was sanded to shape, attached with superglue, then cleaned up.
I also noticed that the panel lines are very shallow, and will soon fill up with a couple of coats of primer and top coat, so they were re-scribed, and then a light coat of grey primer was airbrushed to show up any problems with the body, which there was, a few light marks in the putty which was quickly sorted.
Now I had a bit of good luck tracking down some Dodge UU-1 light blue from Scale finishes, a good friend of mine in New York got the paint for me and sent it over to me, as Scale finishes don't ship out of the U.S, with the bodyshell and body parts primed and ready for paint, I gave the paint a good mix, as it comes ready for airbrushing, it needs no further thinning, with the body wiped down with panel wipe and made sure there was no dust on it, by using a tack cloth, but as soon as I started to airbrush the body I noticed dust specks on the body ...... as I was only going to do a dust coat I wasn't really worried as I knew they would sand out, before the main wet coats went on, so the body and body parts were left overnight to dry out.
Well things didn't go well, after wet sanding and trying to put more paint on, all I was getting was more dust !!! and after a while figured it out, the dust particles were actually in the paint !!! so the body and all the other parts that were painted were put into a bath of caustic soda to strip off all the paint, while that was happening, I got some paint mixed up, which came very close to the original shade, but this time, mixed in 2K Acrylic lacquer and not enamel
With the body soaking, it was time to start work on the rest of the build, before the body got a soak in the caustic soda, all the chrome parts got the a soak as well, as they going to be done using chrome Alclad lacquer, I much prefer doing the chrome using Alclad, as I find it gives a much more scale chrome finish to the parts, with the high shine Alclad lacquer, you first need to put on a gloss black base, otherwise the parts will turn out more of a silver and not chrome, and as I usually thin my enamel paints with lacquer thinners, I first applied a plastic primer, then a coat of Testors gloss black enamel, which was left to dry out overnight, before a couple of light coats of Alclad were applied.
With the Alclad applied and left to dry, work was started on the interior, now I could have took the easy option and painted the interior either white or black, but I took the harder route, (As Usual) and decided the interior would be done in blue, now not only would it need to be done in a metallic blue, to match the original metallic blue vinyl that the original Charger would have had, but also I didn't have any paint that would match, so that would have to be mixed up, also the blue option needs to have the detail in the seats picked out in a darker blue .... playing around with some Tamiya acrylics soon had the shade i was after mixed, starting with the metallic blue and adding aluminium, all the interior parts got airbrsuhed in the light blue I had mixed.
After the seats had dried up, they were masked up using Tamiya masking tape cut into thin strips, and the contrasting darker blue was airbrushed using another custom mix of metallic blue, when the tape was removed the next day I was very pleased with the results.
With the seats now finished, and left to dry, I started work on the engine, and yes, again I had to mix the paint for it, using many shades of blue and grey lacquer, I got a shade very close to the photo's i had, that I am working from, once I got the shade I wanted, it was thinned ready for airbrushing, Once the engine block had dried out it was time to add all the small parts like the manifolds and carburetors, the distributor has been left off for now, as it is going to replaced with an aftermarket resin one, as I am going to wired the engine and put in the spark plug wires.
With the the body drying, it was time to start on the interior, one thing I do like about this kit is that the inner side panels and rear rear are molded as separate parts, some of the older and infact current Revell kits have the molded as part as the interior tub, which makes detail painting and foiling very difficult.
The side panels were fist painted in the same shade of blue as the seats, then the top and bottom sections were masked off to get a coat of the darker blue that I used for the inserts on the seats.
Once they had dried overnight, I began doing the chrome trim using chrome Bare Metal Foil, the top trim was done in 2 pieces on each side, the front arm rest was done using 6 pieces, and the rear arm rest was done in 4 pieces, the window winders were also done using chrome BMF and satin black paint used for the knob.
Photo Below Left and Centre :- With the side panels finished, it was time to get the floorpan built, the centre console was attached to the floorpan and the rear brace was fixed as well, it's nice to see extra detail in these kits, especially as this won't even be seen once the rear seats have been installed, once the console was fixed in, it got a coat of the light blue that the seat were painted with, the console was masked off while the rear shelf got a coat of the darker blue, afterwards these were again masked off while the rear section got a coat of satin black.
Photo Above :- With the dash finished and the seats fixed into place, the side panel had previously been finished, it was time to bring them all together.. the steering wheel was airbrushed in the same colour as the dash, with spokes picked out in chrome silver.
Photo's Above and Left :- With the these parts set aside to dry up, I now started work polishing the body, this was done by hand using Poorboys SSR2 polishing compound, followed by Meguires NXT, after the body was polished I started on the chrome trim for the body, this was done using chrome Bare Metal foil, a self adhesive metal foil, once you have worked with this material, silver paint doesn't come close, there's plenty of tutorials on the internet about using Bare Metal Foil, so I won't go into great detail here.
With the body finished, and while I was waiting for the clear epoxy glue that I had ordered to arrive, I started work on the smaller detail parts, first to be done was the wheels, as mentioned earlier, the chrome was stripped off, then all the chrome parts were done in Alclad, once the Alclad had dried out, the centre of the wheels were picked out in satin black
Photo Right :- The rear panel was first painted body colour, then masked off for the black parts to be painted, but before the black went on, I applied chrome BMF to the surround around the lights, the "Charger R/T" badge, and the boot lock, once the black paint was airbrushed, I got a small Tamiya cotton bud dampened in lacquer thinners and wiped away the paint, leaving the chrome foil showing through, the top and bottom trim was done using BMF after the paint had dried, the red in the R/T badge was done using Createx transparent red paint.
Photo Right :- Once the body had been finished, the front & rear windows were fitted after being polished using Novus #2 polish, the body could now be fixed onto the chassis/floorpan, the fit was so good it only needed glue applied at the front chassis rails, once it had dried up the front suspension and steering could be fitted, followed by the front & rear wheels.
Photo Above Right :- masking tape was applied to the floor where the front seats would be fitted, the outline was marked with a pencil, then cut around, the flocking doesn't need to go where the seats need to fixed to the floor, also I put a piece of tape where the rubber heel mat is, as this needs to stay in vinyl and not carpeted.
The centre console was covered in Bare Metal foil before the flocking was started, as if was done afterwards, the foil would be hard to stop sticking to the flocking.
The floor was done in four sections, and a thin coat of Solvite Wallpaper repair paste, which is PVA based was brushed on the area's that needed to be flocked, the flocking fibres were sprinkled over the glue, and gently pushed down with a finger and left to dry for a few hours, then the excess was removed, each section received two coatings, once dry the interior was built up, fixing the seats in with 5 minute epoxy glue, the pedals and the heater box was fixed to the bulkhead, along with the gearstick, which had the gaiter painted satin black and the knob was painted flat white using some artists acrylic paint.
With the dash panel airbrushed the same darker blue I had used for the contrasting colour for the seats and side panels, a small piece of chrome BMF was applied over the dash dials, the dash was then masked off, as the panel around the dials had to be painted black, for this I used a 50:50 mix of Tamiya semi gloss black and flat black, With the dash panel now painted in the black, a small cotton bud was dipped in Tamiya thinners, and wiped over the two main dials that had previously been covered in the BMF, which removed the paint and revealed the chrome underneath, replicating the chrome rings around the dials.
With the body painted, the interior finished, I now turned to detailing the engine, I decided at the start of the build that the engine would be wired, a job I had never done before, I could have drilled out the distributor supplied in the kit, but instead I purchased a pre-wired distributor with the correct tan coloured cap, holes were drilled in the engine under the exhaust manifolds where the sprak plugs would have been on the real vehicle, but one thing was missing on the aftermarket distributor was the vacuum advance unit, luckily it was molded on the kit supplied one, so it was cut off and fixed onto the aftermarket version, the engine was drilled and the distributor was fixed into the place, and then the spark plug wires were fixed into the previously drilled holes, with the help of a diagram found on the internet, the wires were put into the proper firing order, a small section of vinyl tubing was fixed to one end of the vacuum advance unit, and the other end was fixed onto a pin that I had fixed into a hole drilled into the front of the carburetor, once all the wiring was done the air cleaner was fixed into the place, the engine was now fixed onto the chassis.
With the body on the chassis, the front grille and the rear panel could be fixed on, along with the bumpers, then all the smaller chrome parts such as the wipers, door handles and door mirror were fixed on using 2 part clear epoxy.
Photo's Above right and left :- show's the finished model
Photo Above :- Engine Finished
Photo Above :- The front grille took more masking and airbrushing that a small part should have, the chrome parts were again done using Alclad, then masked off for the metallic grey part to be airbrushed, then masked off again for the satin black grille to be airbrushed, the R/T badge still needs to be painted red and the grille trim still needs to be done in Chrome foil.