25 February 2011

The Paintshop - NSR Fiat Punto Abarth

Back to the "Paintshop" section, here's a recent work on a Fiat Punto Abarth from NSR...

I had no ideas on what color scheme I should use here, so I just ended up painting 3 stripes resembling the Italian flag (it's the same order actually...). At first I thought it was a shame I ran out of white primer, but the grey primer I used here actually ended up looking good. Plus, grey is not stranger to an Abarth car.

The stripes were brush painted using the always helpful Tamiya masking tape. The side mirror housings and wing were painted without help of tape, so it ended up with some flaws...

Here are the grid details. The top was a simple drybrushing with Tamiya Chrome Silver. The lower one was also painted by drybrushing, starting with the white (all surface) then applying either red or green on top, fitting to the lining on the hood. The green section looks a bit brighter than the rest, due to the white base it was painted on. I was about to correct it with some darker tone, but looking at it again, I thought a little contrast would look good. Strange though, the red tone actually didn't bright up that much as the green...
Also, this was the first time I tested the Vallejo brilliant varnish. I think I have applied too much, you can see the reflex on the hood. Now I'm getting more used to it and the results are better.

'Till next time...

16 February 2011

Test Drive - MSC MG Metro 6R4 review

Here's the start of a new section for this blog. The first guest for this Test Drive will be a long awaited release of mine: the MSC Competition MG Metro 6R4!

I have to be honest, before I start this... I love Group B cars. And I also love THIS Group B car (although not the only one). The reasons for this are not obvious: the car was not the top performer in the scene. It was also plagued with embarrassing faults. But still, it had the crazy looks most easily associated with the "pocket-rocket" image that Group B cars had. And... no turbo!? What? But relax: both chassis and powerplant have Williams Grand Prix Engineering hand on it!

The MG Metro 6R4 is based on the Austin-Rover Metro... but let's say that "based" is a bit over the top... let's say that "the car looked like the Austin-Rover Metro"! The "6R4" reference is quite straightforward: 6 cylinders, Rally car, 4 wheel drive...

This beast was released in 1985 and managed a 3rd place on its first outing, by the hands of Tony Pond in the Lombard RAC Rally. In 1986 it entered 4 rounds (Monte Carlo, Sweden, Portugal and Corsica) and retired after the Group B ban. Results were not so good, given to poor reliability that prevented the Metros to finish any rally in 1986...

Still, the car had some success in the hands of privateers and also found its place in Autocross events. Plus, most of its spare parts, specially engines, were used by Tom Walkinshaw as base for the Jaguar XJ220, only this time a turbocharger kicked in the 3.0 V6.

MSC Competition already made a name as a parts supplier. More recently, taking the versatile Monte Carlo chassis as base, it decided to launch two Group B cars, the Ford RS 200 (another must-have) and this MG Metro. The external looks are impressive! The car appears to be correctly in-scale and details are plenty. Painting is also 10/10.

Amazing little bugger, isn't it?

Another great aspect of this is the use of real rubber in the bodywork! This is found almost everywhere: under the front spoiler, by the large sidepods and behind wheel arches!

Cracking the nut open, we can see the modular Monte Carlo chassis with the fixed blade support and inline motor. Replacing parts are available, but even the "short" version of the tilting blade support won't fit, so we'll have to stick to the original. Still, it's a Ninco style spring blade, which is not that bad at all for rallying. The MSC motor drives the rear wheels through the typical pinion/crown system, and front traction is achieved by single pulleys on each axle, with a very loose feel. Not an issue for clean track rallies, but for very dirty events, it's better to fit 2 pulleys per axle...

The original interior seems very light, almost as an usual lexan tray, but with great detail.

Although small, it's not a very light car. The scale accused a total weight exceeding 80g, divided as below:

I assure you the paint pot is not adding weight! It was zeroed before weighting the chassis. This is only to prevent any magnetic interference on the scale...

The real fun begins with the track tests. Tested in Ninco environment, this car is surely one of the best ever "out-of-the-box" cars I ever drove lately... and a smile on the face is inevitable as you see that the price you paid gave a nice return! The stock gear ratio is 10/28, may seem loose at first, specially as this motor seems to lack braking power. However, after you get used to it, it's amazing how the car curves so fast, just with a bit of loosening on the body fixing screws! Stock tires may seem hard at first, will need some running-in...

After some laps, I decided to do simple mods: replaced front tires for Slot.Its 17x10 Z0, replaced rear wheels by Slot.It 15.9x8mm aluminium wheels with MSC 18x10 G1 slick tires. The blade guide was sharpened a bit and the paper covering the motor was cut open to allow proper "breathing". I replaced the original screws for the smaller SCX Pro screws, but even so, there's some "clicking" remaining in the body roll. A slight loosening of the rear and front axle chassis screws, oiling up, and here we go again!

I can say the car improved a lot, but even so, some strange roll-overs occur which I could trace back to the rubber underside of the front spoiler. Here's the evidence on the rubber's wear in the corners:

Maybe only varnishing it?

Still, the car is dead fast around corners! Not the smoothest ride, though - I already nicknamed mine as the "atomic ant"!

Here ends the Test Drive, but I can assure you I intend to run this car as much as I can! It's a real treat and now I look forward to get my hands on the Ford RS 200 "cousin" - but will wait for the 1986 Swedish rally livery.

15 February 2011

Taxi !!! (an update...)

In a previous entry on the "Slot car madness" section I presented you my project of turning a Revell's Mercedes 300 SE from the Argentinian Rally into a Portuguese taxi!

A long time has passed and progress on this project has been slow so far. So, here's a short update on how things went so far, something light to resume publishing on this blog...

The original bodywork paint was stripped with ethyl alcohol... I thought it would be an easy task, only to be wrong! The paintwork from Revell is very resistant to the alcohol I used, had a tough time stripping it and could only manage to sand paper it in several bursts, after long alcohol baths (2 or 3 days, sometimes...). Details like the race numbers and letters were quite easy to remove, at least.

I then applied grey primer from Tamiya and already painted the black sections. Here's the looks on it by now:

As you can see I covered the roof section before applying the black paint, otherwise I would have a tough time painting it green over glossy black. The plate in the rooftop was applied as a model, it's not final yet... will need some extra trimming and side lights, in order to look like this:

The choice of green will be tough... it's really a unusual tone, but guess that with some nice Emerald green from Citadel paint and some mixing of white, I may get this. Taxi badges have been ordered to a decal specialist (Pedro), and will surely bring up the looks on the final model. Then I will have to make a "civilian looking" interior for the model... and I also wish to set the driver with the arm over the sidewindow!

I really need to push on this one... it's a "non-racing" project, so it looses a bit on priority.

Stay tuned for more...

14 February 2011

Back in business...

Well, this blog underwent a long hiatus, due to having many things going on at once in my life, and the consequent time constraints prevented me from a more frequent writing... but the passion for sloting has not decreased, that's for sure! ;)

So, stay tuned and I'll promise you guys some more news on slot madness, car tests and weird painting schemes!