Athol Grahams' 1959 "City of Salt Lake"
Land Speed Record Contender
by Claude Reiser © 2006 Modeler Site
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Athol Graham, " the Mormon preacher ", took to racing on the Salt Flat after a dream in 1957 suggested him he should go and break the land speed record.
Opening the box and assessing the kit
My sample had some porosity and imperfections on the upper half of the body, which needed some grinding, filling and sanding. All the other bits and pieces are nicely cast, and fairly well detailed. The kit also includes 2 axle rods, which will have to be cut to the appropriate length. The wheels are cast and can be polished to a nice sheen, or simply painted silver.
The decals had yellowed a bit (the kit is very old by now, and I had acquired my sample at a swapmeet, so it was probably from the first issue), but this was rapidly eliminated by exposing the decal-sheet to direct sunlight for some days (check back often to avoid exposing them too long, which will result in brittle, crackling decals !).
The instructions are comprehensive enough to find a place for each of the 20 individual pieces. Painting instructions are quite basic but largely sufficient. A very nice touch is the inclusion of a comprehensive history of the car.
General Assembly and additional detailing
I glued the two halves of the body together using 5-minute-epoxy, and filled the seams with gap-filling superglue. As the curvature of the two parts is slightly different, some filler and sanding was needed.
I added a 1mm hole at the left front of the car (see pictures). The purpose of this hole is not clear to me (maybe it's sort of an air vent ?), but it is definitely present on the real thing.
I polished the wheels, and placed the decals to the tires after putting them onto the rims. A good dose of solvaset helps the decals to adhere to the rubber, and a final coat of matte varnish both protects and blends in the decals.
The model was primed using automotive primer (light tan), which I also used as the color for the interior (cockpit area). The body was in fact primed and sanded twice, as I had to eliminate further small imperfections and some filing/sanding marks left in the area where the upper and lower body are mated. The instructions suggest to use " Bright red (Peugeot Cherry Red - car plan CC/XAR 054) ". My personal choice was Motip 41750 ; it´s just one " bright red ", and probably as good as any other.
The first two coats of red were very light, followed by a heavier final coat. The same color was used for the chassis/floorpan. I still have my doubts about the shade of the color ; STP was one of the main sponsors for Athol Graham's car, and they were famous for their very bright red, even fluo red at some time (remember the Lotus 56b's ?). Also, on some color pictures, the red looks quite light, and has definitely a " flashy " appearance. Anybody able to shed some light on this subject… ?
Applying decals and finishing
Placing the decals was no problem at all. As a matter of precaution, I applied a coat of decal varnish (Microscale) before removing the individual decals from the sheet. Although there is no problem with curvature (the decals sit on gently curved surfaces only), I applied a good dose of Solvaset. This eliminates the risk of dissolving or disintegrating decals during the application of the clear varnish.
A bit more of details...
The interior was detailed by removing most of the cast in pipes and lines, replacing them by rubber hoses and different detail wires (Detail Master).
The instrument panel was detailed using Provence Moulage generic instrument faces (decals) and Detail Master instrument faces (printed paper). A punch & die set is very useful for cutting this kind of small roundels. A drop of crystal clear protects the faces, and simulated the bezels.
The windows were cut out individually from the vac formed acetate, and glued into place using Provence Moulage glue. This glue has less " gap-filling " qualities than Krystal Klear, but gives a stronger bond, faster. It looks like thinned Krystal Klear, and it's the best type of glue I have ever come across for fixing windows and small trim. Sadly, the new boss at Provence Moulage (he admits not even being a model car collector …) has apparently deleted this glue from their range, because it doesn't pay enough... Well, thanks for that!
The inside of the air-scoop was painted semi-gloss black, the wheels glued to the axle-rods (which were cut to fit). The exhausts were painted matt black, then dry-brushed with toned down silver (chrome-silver mixed with matt black). Finally the axles, exhausts and floorpan (with the cockpit interior glued into place) were glued respectively screwed to the body.
This is a nice model, giving an accurate representation of the real thing, without using too many parts. The quality of the castings is pretty good, but the casting and engineering of the body make it's assembly a bit of a challenge for the beginner in white metal kits.
Next LSR racer on the workbench : The 1960 Flying Caduceus of Dr. Nathan Ostich…
Useful Library references
"Land Speed Record", Cyril Posthumus & David Tremayne
Special tools/materials used
Detail Master "0.012 in. Detail wire, black & red"
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