Mini Model – II

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In no time, I had the completed engine compartment but when I went to attach the shock absorbers, I again went with red over the suggested color since I thought that would stand out nicely in the black wheel wells.

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Next up was the underside with wheels and exhaust system.

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The interior of the car also required a lot of painting.

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When it came to painting the seats, I decided to leave off the red piping on the seats shown on the box as I knew my hands were not steady enough to paint a thin red line on the seats. It was hard enough just to get a straight line between the black and grey parts of the seats.

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With the interior finished, it was time to return to painting the body. The paint can instructions said it was best to apply multiple thin coats so I took that approach.

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However, even using that technique, the paint surface bubbled.

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To remedy this, I had to carefully sand the entire front of the car and repaint it. Fortunately, this came out much better.

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With the body painted, I was then able to attach the other exterior parts.

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The next assembly step was to marry the body to the chassis. This is always a fun step in building a car model because from this point forward, it really takes on the appearance of a real car and a more finished look.

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At this point, I had detached all of the pieces from the plastic “trees” that they are attached to during the plastic molding process.

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However, I had this one piece left. I did not recognize what it was so I went all back through the instructions to see where I had I missed it. It was nowhere in the directions. Either it was left off the instructions or it was a left over from a different model that accidently got into this model.

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At almost the last step of the assembly process, I next had to glue in the headlights, fog lights and taillights. Here I made the rookie mistake of applying too much glue, which seriously fogs clear plastic parts. One small drip of glue on your finger and when you touch a clear plastic part like a windshield, it is unforgiving. I had already made a few of these novice “boo-boos” in attaching the windows. It would have really been nice if the headlight lenses had been engineered to simply snap fit into the chrome reflectors without glue. But no, this model was going to have frosted headlights.

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Only two steps remained, applying decals and gluing on the roof. But a single piece as simple as the roof gave me trouble as well. This was the one part of the car that was actually molded in the correct color plastic—white—which meant that it theoretically didn’t have to be painted. Unfortunately, during the molding process, cold flow of the plastic occurred which left a long jagged line across the roof surface, almost like a facial scar from a long ago knife slash. As a result, it had to be painted white to hide this mold defect.

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But as can be seen, I had trouble with the paint bubbling again.

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It had to be sanded again and this time I decided to buy different paint from the hardware store thinking my problem was the paint itself, certainly not my technique. After several coats, it seemed successful but then late in the day, I notice it had cracked. More sanding and more painting…

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…and finally a finished roof. While this was going on, I finished applying all of the decals including this one on the top of the engine that was actually suppose to be applied before the engine was installed.

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While I was finishing up the roof, I began to reflect on how the experience had been for me.

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I began to look at the two models that I had previously built, the ones that I remembered having tremendous fun building. These were the models that I recalled where the parts came in all the correct colors and had such detail that I even had to assemble the shock absorbers using real metal springs. One of them even had tiny lug nuts that actually held the wheels onto the car. I knew a Mini was a very small car but these models seemed to just dwarf the Mini. These models were by a brand named Pocher. I looked them up on line and found out these were not 1/12 scale models as I originally thought, they were 1/8 scale—a 50% bigger scale. Well that certainly explained it.

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Having finally finished the model, I think it has actually cured me of ever wanting to build a plastic car model again. Using plastic glue that is unforgiving and alkyd paint that must be cleaned up with organic thinner places constrictions on building a model and demands expert technique. Having built numerous miniature chairs from bass wood and painting them with latex paints was a much more fun and forgiving process. So I think I will give up building plastic models. However, when I was researching the models that I had built to find out their scale, I ran across the current Pocher website where they had new models shown. And wow were they ever sleek! Having had a wonderful experience building the two previous Pocher models, I certainly would be willing to build one of these beauties, no painting, no gluing, just sheer fun. Only problem is it comes with a hefty price tag–$750. Well maybe I will stick with building miniature chairs instead.

2 responses to “Mini Model – II

  1. Very good article. I’m dealing with many of these issues as well..

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