|PRICE:||$7.95 a long while back.|
|NOTES:||Second time around !!|
Normally articles for MM don’t carry any sort of explanation, but hopefully Scott will indulge me a little here ;-)
recently re-located to
I built a fair number of these kits back in the early and mid-nineties, none of them particularly well, so the subject of this, the first of an irregular series of articles, I am revisiting the first NASCAR kit I ever bought and built back in 1991. With each build I am trying to reinvigorate those atrophied car building skills and, put simply, try to get better with each project.
This generation of Buick Regal replaced the Grand National for the 1987 NASCAR season and was used until the end of the 1991 season when Buick left NASCAR, followed by Oldsmobile the following year.
For 1988 Ricky Rudd replaced Morgan Shepherd in the #26 Quaker State Buick Regal owned by drag racing legend Kenny Bernstein. He struggled with engine failures all season long and finished 11th in the standings, his worst points finish in eight years. After his only win of 1989 came at the inaugural Sears Point event, Rudd departed the operation, and signed with Hendrick Motorsports to drive the #5 Levi Garrett Chevrolet Lumina.
As Scott has alluded to in a number of his NASCAR kit articles, once you have built one of Monograms’ kits, essentially you have built them all – the Buick I’ve built here shares all of its ‘innards’ with the Monte Carlo, Grand Prix and T’bird kits of the same era. The differences in these kits limited only to the bodyshell, transparencies and decals – not too dissimilar to the real thing !!
biggest surprise upon opening the box is the colour of the plastic – It’s green,
but so bright it’s bordering on fluorescent. If you buy this issue of the kit,
then be prepared for some very hard work if you plan on painting it anything but
Considering the age of the moulds I was presently surprised with how well the front & rear bumpers matched the bodyshell – virtually no warping at all. Only a little filling & blending needed.
I moved straight onto the engine block which built-up quickly and easily. Looking at other folks builds on-line (especially on Randy Ayers site), I decided it was best to ignore the painting instructions called-out by Monogram, and painted the block a light aluminium tone. What I did next, I did wrong !! – I painted the separate ‘A’ frame and trailing arms and rear axle a combination of dull aluminium and steel tones instead of the satin black they should be. The prop shaft was similarly painted incorrectly… it should be white !! I made no attempt to add the ignition harness, my atrophied car-building skills when I was building this simply weren’t up to the job !!
Block to one side, I started on the interior. I couldn’t find any photos whatsoever of the insides, of this car, but from the external shots that are available, and by pausing footage of various 1988 Winston Cup races available on You Tube I determined the inside was definitely green. I sprayed the whole Tamiya XF? Dark Green but it simply didn’t look right. So I left the cage and floor pan green and re-sprayed the underside, inside of the shell and the frame forward of the firewall glossy Light Ghost Grey (16375).
I sprayed the wheels matt black (I brush painted a coat of Kleer/Future later), then put all of this to one side to focus on the bodyshell.
|COLORS AND MARKINGS|
The aforementioned bright green was always going to be hard to tame, so after masking-off the insides the white lower body was first primed straight from the rattle-can using an acrylic white car-body primer, I brought with me from the UK (any British readers will know Halfords is just wonderful for these).
Once dry I rubbed it back using ultra fine wet’n dry with lots of water and shot two coats of good old Humbrol glossy white enamel cut with 40% cellulose at fairly high pressure (17-20psi). I gave this a week to dry/cure. Next I carefully measured the width of the gold stripe on the Fred Cady sheet added two milimetres for the upper and lower black pinstripes and then masked the body again and sprayed two coats of Humbrol glossy black. Hardest part of this exercise was on the front air dam, where it narrows to a point on the lower centerline (have a look at the photo of the real thing).
I was lucky and everything went to plan with only the very slightest of touching-up to do later. Again the paint was left to dry for a few days and the whole thing re-masked ready for the green. I mixed my own tone from Humbrol #3 gloss green with 20% #69 yellow. It may not be 100% accurate, but ‘it looks right’ to me. Like the white, I sprayed two coats at (no more than) 20psi and walked away for a week to allow it to fully dry/cure and focus on finishing the insides.
masking removed, it looked exactly like I hoped it would !!
Surprisingly the components of the roll cage all came together with very little effort. To piece them together I scraped any paint from the contact points used a spot of cyano to hold them in place, then a touch of Humbrol liquid cement to ‘weld’ joints. I used the same technique for all the suspension parts. A BIG lesson I have learned since building these models back in the 1990’s is PATIENCE. The build is so much easier if one allows sub-assemblies to set before putting any stress on them – why it took me so long to realise this is a mystery !!
After a lot of test fitting, I brought the engine, exhausts and chassis together and gently slipped it all into the bodyshell whilst simultaneously holding my breath. Everything went well, so I took it all back out again, got my breath back and reached for the decal sheet.
My decals were (damp) damaged whilst the kit was in storage, and totally unusable. Initially I was going to replace them with another set of kit decals from Mike Herman (www.mikesdecals.com), but on Mikes’ suggestion I chose the Fred Cady sheet instead, and what a great choice it was !!
The Fred Cady sheet is designed as an (almost) direct replacement for the kit sheet (minus the contingency stickers and the aforementioned black pinstripes each side of the gold cheat-line). The white elements are virtually opaque and so much better than the kit supplied sheet. Most of the white elements have a black border which are all supplied separately and applied straight on top of the white.
Again, I took my time: I applied all the major white decals first (numbers, main sponsor logos), and the gold cheat-line. Then coated the whole in a coat of Kleer/Future and set about the rest. I stole the contingencies from an unsuspecting Monte Carlo kit of the same era and after three ‘sittings’ I was done.
The last job before finishing was to mask and paint the black sections of the ‘glass’, then once dry dip them all in a bath of Kleer/Future. Unfortunately this era of Monogram NASCAR kits require you to attach the front & rear ‘glass’ from the inside. Not ideal but with care and white glue it will look neat.
So, did I enjoy the build… Absolutely !! A wonderful trip back in time and so much more enjoyable because my ‘skills’ such as they are, now match more closely my expectations. Following-on from this project I finished a 1994 BGN Lumina and closely behind that will be a Monte Carlo ‘Aerocoupe’. Would I recommend this kit, well I’d say a ‘qualified’ yes. If you’ve never built a NASCAR before, it may be a good idea to build a couple of ‘ordinary’ car kits first, just to get the feel for it. If you have built NASCAR’s before, then you know exactly what to expect…. Just remember to put-on your shades before you open the box, the green plastic really is that bright !!
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