1913 Model T Van, part 14

by brae  

Finalizing work on the 1913 Model T Van.  It's time to put on the remaining body panels and get to the final details.  I mentioned that I had a problem with the driver's side panels.  Because the passenger side has a door that was supposed to be operational, the front panel and the door were molded as two separate pieces.  The driver's side front panel and door are molded as one piece, which makes it slightly shorter.  There was a gap between the door and the back body panel (larger than the thickness of the micro wood I put on the separating wall, so that effect was negligible).

I added a tiny strip of styrene to make up the difference and repainted the panel.  It's not as clean of a fix as it would have been had I noticed it earlier, but it's less noticeable than a dark gap.  I used plastic cement to glue the front and side panels together before putting them on the frame because they didn't want to line up properly otherwise.  The front middle panel is a little off, but I am happy with the results as is because this was not easy to assemble.

I had wanted to leave the back cabin roof removable to access the wiring due to the delicate back door hinges, and it does sit well without glue.  The side panel top edges show just slightly, so I ran a black Sharpie along them to disguise them as best I could.  I still won't have room to work on the LED wiring, but this does give me access to the battery without having to open the one back door that functions.

For the hood handles and horn, I used Testors Metallic Gold spray paint.  It's not a precise substitute for the brass factory finish, but it will do in a pinch.

I didn't think the gold paint would work as well for the window surrounds and long stays, so I sprayed those black.  I used Crafter's Pick The Ultimate glue to hold the window panes in place since super glue makes clear plastic cloudy.  These panes often need to be glued repeatedly over time in car models.  :]

The front cabin roof didn't fit very well, which was odd.  It seemed to be molded at a different angle than the side panels.  I managed to wrangle it into shape.  I skipped the green sun visor since the pieces from both of my kits were not in great shape.  Better to just leave it off than have it look like a sloppy afterthought.

The spare tires were supposed to be solid parts to mimic covers.

These had belt detailing that I knew would be impossible for me to paint to my satisfaction, so I used two of the spare tires I had from the second kit.  I used super glue gel to hold the two tires together to keep them uniform.  I still plan to make belts, but I am calling it a night.  :D  I glued the brackets to the running board, and slipped the tires in to fit.  Using the tires with the spindle wheels helps disguise that gap fix, too.  :]

I snipped the speedometer and gas light tubes under the chassis since I knew they would just end up snapping parts off as well.  You can still see them in the front cabin and next to the acetylene canister.

The two side lamps and two coach lamps are painted black to match the other lights.  I didn't wire these since there wasn't a way to disguise the wires in the front cabin.

So, that's it...99.9% done.  I'll be making my own removable sign boards for the van for a few reasons.  I didn't plan to use the included decals, and even though I can print my own, I wasn't sure about my success in applying such large decals.  The last thing I wanted to do was muck it all up at the 11th hour since this model gave me so many fits along the way as is.  Finally, I might want to use the van for something else in the future, so I can just swap out the boards.  :]

Final photos coming shortly.  I'm writing up a recap post with links back to the individual steps so it's all easier to find.

1913 Model T Van, part 13

by brae  

Continuing work on the Model T Van.  A dry fit of the body panels shows that the back doors do not open fully.

This is partly due to the outer raised hinge detail, the hinge brackets not being wide enough to clear the body panel and my heavy-handed paint job.  I've seen one other model with the doors open wide, so this is also likely operator error on my part.  :D

Had I known this earlier, I would have removed the hinge detail altogether before painting.  If you didn't know it was supposed to be there, would you miss it?  I took an X-Acto blade and scraped off some of the paint.  I'll touch it up with paint later.

The rear cabin has molded rack detailing on the inside walls.  You are to add pre-cut micro wood strips as accent.  Since there will be such limited visibility, I opted for the easy way out and painted the interior black, leaving the one forward wood wall I did as is.  I won't open the cabin often, just to change the battery, so seeing inside is irrelevant.  I've added the remaining micro wood pieces to the interior as well as the side seat padding and the oval window.

I drilled a hole in the floor board so I could run all the wiring into the rear cabin.  Why such a large hole?  I didn't want to have to do this more than once!  :D

Jasper offering moral support while stealing my chair....

To limit the wear and tear on the rear door hinges, I installed a remote control from Evan Designs for the lights.

It will even dim the lights.

The sensor is installed on the rear frame for ease of access while blending in with the undercarriage.

The taillights had solid brackets, so there was no way to just feed wires as is.  Since I have two kits, I had spare parts to see what I could come up with.  I modified the lamps using custom cut and bent 1/16" diameter aluminum tubing to hold the wires.

I kept the plate that attaches the lamp to the bumper, drilling a hole adequate for the tubing.  The left shows the original bracket; the right shows my modified plate before painting.

At this point, I needed to glue on some of the body panels.  I had a problem with the driver's side, so I ended up prying those off.  More on that later.  I needed one side on to glue on the back piece, so I used the other side instead.  The door is meant to open, but I have no idea how these parts were supposed to snap together without breaking the hinges.  I tried with the spares and the tiny pieces snapped off as expected.  So, I cut the tab on the interior and glued the door in place.  Considering just how many parts have broken during assembly, opening and closing the door is not a priority.

I used Devcon 5 Minute Epoxy from amazon on the taillights to get a firm hold since I was using mixed materials.  This stuff stinks to high heaven with the hardener smelling like rancid, rotten eggs, but it is as advertised.

I painted the lamps black to disguise the sprue marks and to blend the aluminum.

The red is Testors Metallic Red paint.  Using a tip from the guys at Hobby Town USA, I didn't shake the bottle to mix the paint but used the clear tint from the top of the bottle.  It colors while remaining transparent, though it takes a few passes.  I touched up any bare spots with a red Sharpie.

The tube runs long under the bed for stability and connects to the same type of flexible tubing I had used for the headlights.  I'll do touch-ups later.

All the tubing and wires enter through the hole in the floorboard.  The electrical work is all enclosed in the rear cabin.  The door hinges are very delicate.  If one breaks after assembly, I don't think there's a way to repair it.  As it is, one broke as I assembled the hinge holders, so I had to glue one door closed.  :\  I am not hopeful for its longevity.  With this system, I will need to open the door only every once in awhile to change or remove the battery.  The wire length allows me to work outside of the van for battery replacement.  As for accessing the wires in the cabin, if one goes out, it will be out for good.

I dabbed a bit of amber glass paint on the LEDs to tone down the whiteness for the rear lights.

The license plate further disguises the sensor.  It's pretty sensitive; you don't need to aim the remote directly at the sensor for the lights to work.

Testing...okay, so now we can be seen coming and going.  :D

They might look a little rigged if studied closely, but at least the taillights work.  :]

I will let the epoxy gas out for awhile before adding the clear side glass pieces to the taillights.

My little elf

by brae  

If only cats had opposable thumbs; they already have the keen eyesight.  Nine days left....

Tags for the devil wagon

by brae  

I've been working on getting through the remaining steps for the Model T Van, and things have not been going well.  Mishaps with the insanely delicate steering and suspension parts means the wheels had to be glued so they will not turn or spin.  The model is still salvageable overall for looks, so far that is, but it's disappointing that it won't be poseable or roll around.  But, I forge ahead...

Apparently, license plates started out as porcelain not stamped metal, and the 1913 Model T Van fits squarely in that timeframe.  This is an awesome article on porcelain plates.  I find it amusing (and not surprising) that tags came about due to miscreants wreaking havoc on the general public in their "devil wagons."  :D  Yes, I so would have been one of those miscreants.

I measured the plate holders for the model and printed up some old time plates.  I edited the image to remove imperfections and the long holes that would have been part of the plate.  Instead of making these stamped like my previous versions, these are finished in a smooth gloss surface using Triple Thick.  They are glued on with paint dabs simulating screws.  Crank it up and hit the road!  We're street legal!  :]


by brae  

There's a new bird in my collection.  :D  It's becoming rather a zoo around here.  This is Grover, and he is a Great Horned Owl made by tmd_art on eBay.

The feathers are so well done and true to life.  Looks like he's found a rather good perch on the railing of Roland's Retreat.

Even the box he came in is a work of art.  :D

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