24 April 2018

Bata Headquarters (1/144 scale), Part 1


It's been almost a year since I built my cardboard study model of the now non-existent Bata Headquarters, a fine example of Canadian mid-century modern architecture designed by John B. Parkin, and I'm now just about at the painting stage with my proper scale model. This build has been frustrating at times, but always interesting and a great learning experience. I'm having lots of fun with this and I'm pleased with how it's coming along.

View from Eglinton Avenue.
(just east of Don Mills Road)

This is pretty much the view I had of this beautiful building each time I went to St. Clement's or the Science Centre in the 1970s and '80s (yet somehow completely ignored it/took it for granted when I worked next door at The Radisson in the summer of 1989). Because this was the only angle from which I'd ever seen the building, I had no idea there were six, three-storey-high tower blocks on the opposite side where the main entrance is.

My model will have some of that landscaping (and I'd like to include that Bata sign), but I want to keep the base size to a minimum as the long side of the building itself is 16".

Cardboard prototype.

I made the study model above to get a sense of the scale I'd be using, get my measurements in order, and get some much needed practice with scratch building architectural miniatures. I built that model pretty quickly and it came out okay, all things considered (one of those things being the mistake of having two rows of eight (instead of nine) windows on the long side).

Cardboard (in this case, cereal boxes) is a good practice/study material, but I knew this was a project I'd want to build more definitively using a sturdier and easier to paint material like plastic (I ended up using wood as well).

I couldn't get ahold of (or find samples of) the original architectural drawings (they might be at the Bata Shoe Museum (maybe even a model or two), but I never got around to checking), so all my measurements are pure conjecture based on the height of the doors (presuming they're standard 7' tall commercial doors). So, while my model is probably not technically accurate, it's as close as I could get (I'm no architect –I'm barely a model builder).

Drawings for laser cutting.

Because the upper floors had many oddly-angled (not perfectly squared) windows, I was doubtful I'd be able to get the consistent precision needed to depict this building properly if I made them by hand. I looked into some laser cutting options and decided Toronto Laser Services might be able to make me the parts I needed. I imported a good elevation view into CorelDraw, drew my best-guess plans over it, and made a file compatible with TLS's specific requirements.

The top box was top priority, but there was so much room left on the workspace that I decided to draw components for the rear towers and the posts as well. The posts were the most complicated shape in the whole design of the actual building and I was intimidated a bit by them, thinking I'd never get them looking right. I thought simplifying them might help and designed an interlocking system where I could get some semblance of the actual thing.

Laser cut bass wood.

These were the parts I got back from TLS and it's all really good, except everything's twice as thick as I'd like it to be (not their fault; I knew the thickness of the wood they'd be using, but I thought it would work). This thickness slightly changes the dimensions of the upper floors, but I can manage –however, the interlocking posts are now too thick and weird, and not elegant at all. Again, all my fault, but I carried on...

Assembling the top floors.

I used my 1-2-3 blocks to get the walls as square as possible but still screwed it up (the short walls were vertically square, looking directly at them, but they were at slight angles when viewed from the side), so I broke them apart and tried again.

Vincent helps put the pressure on.

I got some balsa wood for the floors and ceiling and this picture shows the newly-aligned walls getting glued to the floor with the help of an impressionist. I should have cut the wood to fit inside the walls rather than underneath them as this adds to the height of the building, but I'm still figuring out how to build stuff (I'm not used to this kind of precision).

Test-fitting the posts.

After assembling all the posts I lined them up and delicately rested the upper floors on them to check their height and how they'd look, considering my design simplification compromise. This was my first real look at the model and I'm glad I had the windows laser cut.

Inspected by Han and Chewie.

The figures helping with the inspection are 1/144 scale Han Solo and Chewbacca from my Factory Stock Millennium Falcon build. They were helpful in determining whether I got the heights of the posts right since they're the same scale as the model and they could fit in the colonnade.

However...

Inspection not going well...

While the overall headroom added from the floor's thickness looks correct, the vertical pillars of the posts look too short (even accounting for the base he's attached to). Deciding how to proceed held up construction for too long (I should've been building the main floor or the rear towers while deciding the fate of the posts).

Rejecting the laser cut posts.

These simplified posts didn't do any justice to the beautifully designed tree-like shapes of the originals and the rectangular (rather than square) vertical posts (due to the thickness of the wood) looked not only wrong, but bad. So all these guys had to go.

Also rejected were my laser cut tower blocks, the measurements of which were totally off with the rest of the model. It was a good try, and these were bonus elements anyway, the windows being the main reason for laser cutting.

Base frame jig.

The main floor of the real building sat on a concrete base and I figured I should start that portion with a base, in scale, made of square rod styrene. The C-shaped form was supposed to be the underside of the upper floors, but, again, my measurements were off, and the new dimensions kept changing as I put things together, so I couldn't use it for that, but it did come in handy as a jig for the main floor base as it was precisely the right size.

Reinforced base frame.

I reinforced the frame in case it went out of alignment, something I didn't really need to do since I'd be attaching a floor on top of this, but stronger is better, I guess.

Base floor jig.

That's a single styrene sheet attached to the frame, but I now realize I didn't really need a floor on top of that frame (plus, it adds even more to the overall height of the model). I really don't remember, but maybe I thought I'd be using clear plastic for the main floor windows, rather than building opaque plastic walls which I will then paint to simulate windows. Maybe I was vacillating between these options and installed the floor just in case. Either way, the base is very sturdy, now.

Building the base box.

I used just about every tool at my disposal to build the walls of the main floor and make sure they were as square as I could make them. There's machinist squares, 1-2-3 blocks, magnetic clamps, rulers...and lots of patience and concentration (not depicted).

Taller and thinner posts.

My solution for the posts was to saw off the vertical pillars and attach longer pieces of square rod styrene to the old bases (which are still too thick).

New posts!

They're not great, but they'll do. I'm hoping that the eventual paint job will mitigate or obscure the inaccuracies.

Posts attached.

I hope the Weld Bond and super glue keeps all this together during all the building, painting, and assembly to come. Note the rear tower block reference photo of the actual Bata building on the laptop (the title image I shot of my model for this post closely matches that photo).

Main floor with Bondo.

The completed floor got some gap filling treatment with colourful Bondo instead of white Tamiya putty because it's easier to see on white plastic. The next step for this will be a coat of primer and then it'll get painted as though there are vertical blinds behind glass on all sides. I then need to add "steel" mullions and doors, and paint the base I started with as though it's concrete.

Post eveners.

Since the interlocking bases were shorter on one diagonal than the other, I cut some styrene to beef up the outer (more visible) angles to better match. Slightly better, albeit slightly awkward since they're squared at the bottom (I couldn't find the patience to finely shave down 13 tiny pieces of plastic to make the joins seamless). It's another compromise I'm just going to have to live with.

Chopping triangles.

As long as I was adding slightly better, albeit slightly awkward elements to the post bases, I decided to add the second cross by cutting little triangles (four for each of the 13 posts)...

So many tiny triangles.

Slightly more accurate posts.

I'm still hoping all these slightly-better-yet-slightly-awkward details will be mitigated by the paint job. I had an idea of building one, good, as-accurate-as-I-could-make-it post out of plastic, making a mold, then making duplicates, but that idea didn't get far. I did try building these things in 3-D using SketchUp (to eventualy have them 3-D printed), but I had no success since I have no experience with that program and the shapes are very complex...I mean...JUST LOOK AT THEM:

Actual posts.

They're probably really simple to model for an experienced 3-D modeller (they're just four intersecting triangles), but I didn't stand a chance without months of learning and practice. I just wanted to get on with this project, so I did, and started building the rear tower blocks...

Building the towers.

Moving on to simpler forms I started building the rear towers blocks in assembly line fashion which worked very well. I made 12 right-angled walls, reinforced them with square rod styrene, then attached them in pairs to make the six towers.

Test fitting the main masses.

Since this photo was taken, I cut plastic to close up the tops of the towers (the only thing on this list not visible in the title image), cut an opening in Tower #4 for the main entrance, built the portico over that entrance, and built two sets of stairs for the side entrances.

Now I just have to wait a bit for warmer weather to apply primer to all the parts. The upper floors will be spray painted, but I think I'll use my airbrush for the rest. I also have to figure out what to use for and how to apply the glazing on the upper floors.

All that to follow in PART TWO...






14 April 2018

The McLuhan Institute Logo Design

Winnipigeon Logo for The McLuhan Institute
Ink and digital, 2018

I was recently contacted by Andrew McLuhan (a friend, master upholsterer, and a former colleague at the Regent Theatre (he's still there; I'm not) about doing a logo for The McLuhan Institute (he also happens to be Marshall McLuhan's grandson). He had a very clear idea what he wanted, but felt he couldn't execute it to his satisfaction.

The idea was of a pigeon perched atop a W, which could then be inverted to become a pigeon hanging from an M. The M is, of course, for McLuhan (and Marshall, too), and the W is for Winnepigeon. I'll let Andrew's comments from the TMI Facebook group explain that last bit:

"Marshall McLuhan referred to himself as a 'Winnipigeon.'


"As far as I know, he's really the only person to do so - it's not really a thing.

"I think I first came across that reference in this issue of ChicagoLand (July 1969) in his article 'Media--And the Making of the Midwest,' where he writes: '
As a "Winnipigeon" (Winnipegger), Minneapolis and St. Paul represented for me the most immediate features of American urban life.' (pg. 12, I think)

"He goes on to speak of Winnipeggers collectively as Winnipigeons one or more times in that article. I've also seen or hear him refer to himself as such other places, and other people have mentioned his habit of calling himself that (my aunt Elizabeth is quoted, and Richard Altman has made a great documentary called 'I Am A Winnipigeon' which you should watch...) - though I've not found any explanation of why he did."


Inverted version.

Another idea Andrew has is to eventually have this logo animated and rotating, which will be fun to see.

Preliminary sketches.

Andrew suggested Times New Roman for the W, but said I could use a different typeface if I felt one worked better. He preferred something with serifs, and I agreed, since serifs would provide a natural "perch" for the pigeon (my sketches above have it perched on an outside serif in case I found an alternative W without a middle serif)). I looked around but Times New Roman had that nice serif on the middle peak of the W and, since Andrew suggested TNR and I had no objections to it, I simply went with it, happily.

I did a few variations of the head with lines in case I decided not to go with a flat colour fill and also played with spreading the feet apart so it looks more stable (especially when inverted). When drawing the stripes near the bottom of the wing, I stumbled upon a slightly staggered pattern that I decided to exaggerate to further distinguish the design.

I also drew a circle around the whole thing based on Andrew's mentioning of possibly making lapel buttons and I wanted to see how the design might look with a border (and it would give me a place to echo the blue-grey colour of the bird's head). At our consultation when I had some designs to show Andrew, he said he liked the circle and was going to suggest just that –but maybe an oval instead, evoking an "egg" to go along with the bird.

One of my cardinal rules for working with typefaces is not to alter them by squishing, stretching, or skewing them, but that applies to paragraphs, sentences, or titles; a few letters, a word, a name –certainly a single letter– is fair game. So the circle was squeezed into an oval –and the W got squeezed along with it (and later customized further).

Ink drawings.

The bird on the left was the quickie done for the demos I showed Andrew at our consultation and the one on the right was done afterward for use in the final logo. Because I wanted the pigeon's head and the W to be the most prominent elements, I didn't add any colour to the tail feathers or the feet, instead I used many lines close together, which makes a sort of grey half-tone compared to the white body of the bird.

Letterform alterations.

After our meeting, Andrew sent me a message with a sketch suggesting perhaps a W that isn't solid might work better. I looked for a typeface comparable to Times New Roman with that in mind, but wasn't satisfied. Plus, he seemed to really like TNR, and it already had that nice middle serif for a perch, so I decided to customize the TNR W instead of using something else.

I had already dropped the middle peak prior to our meeting, but after squeezing the W to work better in the new oval border I extended the outside of the left and right serifs to echo the extensions I did on the middle one and give the letterform back some of its width lost in the squeeze. The extensions also add a little something; a little character; something maybe only noticed subconsciously, but it looks and feels right.

Black and white option.

I like to always provide a black and white version of the logos I design just in case they need to be printed without colour (a habit I developed when I designed stuff for indie bands in the '90s and printing in colour was often prohibitively expensive). Here, I simply desaturated the pigeon's head and made the oval black.

This was a fun project to work on and it's always great to have someone who clearly knows what they want and can direct me to that goal.


07 April 2018

Brian Kornfeld

approx. 20" x 15", watercolour, 1994, private collection

My friend and former Shopping Channel colleague, Roger Kornfeld, recently posted a photo on Facebook of his son, Brian who just turned 27, and I wanted to add to the happy birthday thread with a photo of the painting I did of him back when he was about three...but I didn't have it on my computer. After rummaging through old photo boxes, I finally found it and here it is.

I was surprised I hadn't posted this this here before now because I like this painting a lot and Brian's wet hair always reminded me of the title character from The New Adventures of Pinocchio which I watched a lot and loved as a kid.


Incidentally, today marks the tenth anniversary of this blog (and this is post #755) which started way back on April 7, 2008 with another family-oriented watercolour portrait.





28 March 2018

Andy's Original (Tomato Basil) Elements

Tomato
11" x 15", watercolour, 2018, private collection

Basil Leaves
11" x 15", watercolour, 2018, private collection

These two illustrations are follow-ups to the Honey and Dill paintings I did for the first Andy's Original dressing back in 2016. That product is now in grocery stores all over the place in Southern Ontario and is doing very well for Andy. Now with these done, his next great sauce can get going, too.

His idea for the label illustrations was that the image of him (which I also painted, but didn't manage to get a good photo of...) would stay the same, but the elements in each hand would change depending on the type of dressing (or seasoning, which is the next product underway). This concept works great for brand recognition and is fun to work on, watercolours being my first love as far as paintings mediums go.




15 February 2018

Axel Foley's Chevy Nova (1/25 scale model)

Multiple tributes, here.

I remember first seeing Beverly Hills Cop on video at my friend Chris K's house, 'cause his family had a VCR and we'd watch tons of movies (and record music videos) together. The summer of 1984 was a special time for us (having created a strong bond in school since Grade 6 a few years before), going on biking adventures around the 'burbs and into the city, etc., and home video played an important role from then until I moved to the opposite end of Scarborough just before we started high school.

We liked the movie a lot, both of us fans of Eddie Murphy from his Saturday Night Live days. I don't think I'd seen the movie since then (it would have been 1985, probably summer, since the movie came out in late 1984) and I became curious to see if it still held up. It did. It does. I found Murphy as charming as ever and the comedy (and even the action) holds up very well and its very re-watchable and very entertaining. Beverly Hills Cop II, was an okay follow-up...and the less said about number 3, the better.

Absolute classic.

Because my mind is always engaged in coming up with ideas for paintings and, now for the past few years, modeling projects, I started thinking about the Chevy Nova that Murphy's character, Axel Foley, drove in the film and wondered if anybody had built a model of it. I really like the look of classic American cars from the 1950s to the 1970s (and have done several watercolour paintings showcasing this interest) and the Chevy Nova from the '70s is a model I've admired since childhood.

I have lots of other modelling projects on stand-by and a few are already underway (and a couple are long overdue) –not to mention new painting projects for 2018– so it was a complete surprise to me that I should watch Beverly Hills Cop, do some online research, and then decide to build it within just a few months (of very sporadic work). So even though a few projects got sidelined temporarily for this build, I enjoyed it immensely (why else bother?).

I decided to go ahead and get a Chevy Nova model kit and try to make the most accurate version of Axel Foley's car that I could, including all the dents, aging, and weathering –after all, Foley, himself, refers to it as his "crappy blue Chevy."

Ironically inaccurate.

Surprisingly enough, AMT actually has a "Beverly Hills Cop" version of a Chevy Nova...but it's not quite accurate. There are two key features this kit doesn't have: a non-SS front grill and the front quarter panel vents just in front of the doors. Also, watching a few review and build videos of this kit, I found it wasn't very detailed in other areas as well compared to the Revell kit below (for example, the door handles and windshield wipers are molded on instead of being separate, chromed parts like in the Revell kit).

Uninspiring and boring box art.

I prefer the look of painted box art for automobiles rather than photos, but at least this one depicts a Chevy closer to the one driven in the film (ironically, the inaccurate AMT kit's box even has pictures from the movie, inadvertently reinforcing, to those in the know, just how much they missed the mark). Maybe AMT got the year wrong because Revell's '69 kit is a closer match to the car in the movie, and it has a bigger parts count –and the details are nicer.

No-so-boring box art.

I complained about a photo being used on the front of this box instead of a nice painting, but I do like photos on the sides that show the various features and details of a completed and painted kit.

Instructions.

Standard easy-to-follow-and-read instructions. Interestingly, Revell has posted a huge number of their model instructions online in PDF format for free download. So if you wanna see the pretty pictures of the how-to for this kit, just check out that website.

Sprue tour 1.

Sprue tour 2.

This kit is great for options: the tree on the left has bucket seats which I won't be using, but the middle tree has a bench seat for the front which is movie accurate.

Sprue tour 3.

I haven't felt the need in my automotive model builds so far to allow for the hood to open (or be displayed open) to showcase the engine, and this project is no different. I will be building quite a bit of it, though, and painting it and the engine compartment black, just so that there isn't a big open space visible behind the wheels.

However, after assembling the model I realized the wheel wells are such that you can't see into the engine compartment through the sides, anyway. Oh, well, it was still fun to build the engine...

...and the rest.

Again, the detail on this kit is quite nice: notice the angled portion of the chassis pan rear wheel wells (second from left); that part will be covered up by the rear seat! No one will ever see that tasty bit of realism unless a builder wants to build a version where the car is severely beaten up or still in the process of being put together (or whatever other scenario you can imagine). I guess that goes for most parts –especially the undercarriage– that the builder knows are there but which may never be seen by anyone else.

Engine assembly.

The engine and the frame it's sitting on will be painted black. I'll be gluing the hood closed, so you won't see the engine from the top, but the underside would look too empty without it and other things (like the exhaust pipes) need to attach to it.

Actual upholstery.

All my reference for this build was in the form of the 50 or 60 screen grabs I took of the movie (Foley only has this car in the first BHC).

Accurizing the seats.

The kit's seats come ribbed, but the seats in the movie are smooth, so I had to fill the grooves with putty to make them more accurate.

Putty, sand, primer, repeat.

Getting close.

I still have to apply primer to this stage to see just how close to smooth I am. It could be enough, or it could need one final go with the putty –primer reveals all.

Seemed like a good idea...

Foley's car is old and beaten up and the tires are probably nearly bald, so the fresh, new rubber the kit provides wouldn't do for my purposes. I had watched Doctor Cranky's great tutorial on weathering tires, but was too lazy to get my power driver, so I put this stupid thing together, thinking I could weather them all together efficiently like this. Nope!

Nicely worn down.

The tires kept rolling on the pencils because they kept gripping the sandpaper, so nothing was happening. It took a little longer and required a bit more effort, but I did them individually, making sure they weren't all worn down equally.

Tools of the trade.

I watched this tutorial on denting kits and thought it was a great idea to use wet paper towel to protect the areas you don't want heated up (and melted). The lighter I had handy wasn't as hot as the mini blowtorch he used, so the wet protection wasn't necessary.

Close enough.

Heating the plastic and pushing it in with a spoon isn't exactly a precise method; it's not easy, and there's only a tiny window of opportunity to push the plastic while it's still pliable, but I think I got close enough for my needs (if this were a commissioned project I might have been more careful to be more accurate, but this is enough).

Now with primer.

Close enough.

Now with primer.

Close enough.

Now with primer.

Close enough.

You can clearly see in the two shots from the movie above that the dents on the front by the headlight don't match, so there was likely a stunt car (left) and a "hero" car (right) for scenes with Murphy. And maybe others just in case. So, technically, my dent inaccuracies are actually somewhat appropriate.

All primed up.

Everything in the picture above will be getting a coat of light blue to match the movie's car. Although the interior looks like a slightly different shade of blue (a little darker, a little greener), I'll be airbrushing it the same blue as the exterior and the wheel hubs and then use a black wash afterward to darken it and dirty it up a bit. The orange-brown splotches on the body are "rusty, scratched" areas I'll reveal (using the hairspray technique) after the blue goes on.

The roof will get masked off because the movie car has a white vinyl roof (I have to figure out how I want to make the silver metal seams dividing the blue and white and the seams for the vinyl itself), and, even though it'll get weathered, I don't want any blue coming through; I want it to end up on the warm, creamy side of off-white.


Rusty and masked.

I wanted to reveal the rusty spots under the blue top coat, so I tried to spray only those areas with hairspray. The entire roof is masked because that'll be white.


All blue.

The blue craft paint I got is very close to the body colour of the car in the movie, but it's just a tad too dark. I'm counting on the chalk weathering to lighten things up.


Washed and detailed.

I used a black panel line wash over all the elements of the interior and the wheel hubs to darken the blue. Because I didn't clear coat these parts, the wash bled a bit here and there as it dried, but that just adds to the weathered look well enough, so I don't mind.


Dashboard.

While this Revell kit has lots more detail than the "official" Beverly Hills Cop kit from AMT, this model comes with a floor-mounted standard transmission gear-shifter, not one on the steering column  (automatic transmission) like in the movie. I only realized this after installing the shifter and didn't feel like ripping it out and scratch-building a new one. Sometimes modelling is about how much accuracy I feel is reasonable/doable and how much inaccuracy I'm willing to tolerate. Sometimes "close enough" is enough.


Rust revealed.

This is the result of the hairspray technique to reveal the rust under the top coat. It looks pretty good and there's a very slight dimensional quality where you can definitely see there's a layer of paint on top of the rust (as opposed to painting rust over top of the blue) which adds to the realism.


Assembled interior.

I took a lot of shots of the interior because once the body is attached, many of these details will be very difficult to see or even never be seen again. The backseat is where you can really see the black wash bleeding I mentioned earlier –but it looks okay for this particular project; on a cleaner/newer car I'd give it a clear gloss coat first.


There's that pesky shifter!

Also, I guess I should have painted that floor mat (visible behind the steering wheel). A black rubber look with some mud and dust weathering would have been nice. Too late!


View from the backseat.

Pedals!

They're there: painted and detailed, but you'll hardly be able to see them once the body goes on.


Again: pedals!

Tight fit.

As nice as this kit is, I'm surprised at how close everything inside is. With the steering wheel so very close to the front seat cushion, and the back seat cushion so very close to the backs of the front seat backs, there's no room for anyone's legs! I assembled everything correctly; things are just very close together...



Speakers.

Axel's car had oval speakers on the back deck under the rear window and I was going to scratch-build a pair, but then I found a couple of box covers from one of my tank donor kits that seemed like a good size and shape.


Painted chassis.

That's mostly black primer with some titanium silver for the drive shaft, exhaust pipes, and a bit of dry brushing here and there. The stains were made with black panel line wash.


Weathered chassis.

I used hull red, orange, and yellow in various from-the-bottle and watered-down forms in semi-strategic areas to give it a random, rusty look (this car, presumably, would have seen many Detroit winters). Then I used some chalk pastel all over the place for that extra dusty look. I secured the pastel with a spray of clear dull coat, then added more chalk. Spraying clear coat tends to nullify much of the chalk dust, so I repeated this until I was satisfied.


Interior and wheels.

The wheel hubs are nicely detailed and I'm glad Axel's car was missing its right rear hubcap to be able to show this. I assembled, painted, and weathered the tires separately and then attached them after I attached the interior to the chassis. Note the "speakers" on the rear deck.


Like a stripped-down hot rod!

Safe rollover.

Things sure look more realistic if they're weathered; most cars stay showroom fresh only for a very short time, and dust and rust buildup is inevitable. I added some extra "oil stains" with the black wash over top of the chalk dust to really stand out. Of course, this kit has very excellent detail to help promote the high level of realism I enjoy and try to achieve (even though the underside will very rarely –or never– be seen again).

I didn't think the copyright markings (top and top right) would bother me (like I said: how often will the underside be seen, anyway?) but I eventually filed them off and re-weathered and re-painted those areas.


Seams like a good idea.

To make the seams of the vinyl roof, I placed strips of masking tape, two layers thick, in the appropriate areas (to make two long seams on top and two short ones on the front posts), then filled that tiny gap with putty.

At bottom left you can sorta see where I used the same tape-and-putty technique to create the "metal strips" where the "vinyl" meets the body, and they'll be painted chrome silver when I do the rest of the trim.


The "vinyl" roof.

After removing the tape I had more or less in-scale seams (although the edges toward the middle of the roof should be lower than the outside edges as that centre panel overlaps the two outside panels), but it's close enough and looks pretty good painted and weathered.

Weathered.

I used buff acrylic paint for the mud stains and lots of chalk pastel for the dust. I initially overdid it on the brown dust in the seams of the roof, and I had to take it down quite a bit with some watered down white paint to get it back to a more screen accurate level. The windows got a quick shot of dull coat before installation.

The side reflectors are decals as are the "Nova" markings (which go over raised "Nova" details on the sides and back) and the long stripe which is supposed to be a moulding. The side mouldings in the movie are black with a silver outline, but the kit only came with black, grey, and white outline options which all have openings that reveal the body colour in the middle. I suppose I could have masked off the (very thin) stripes, painted them black, then applied the white decals...but close enough is good enough.

There were also decals for the keyholes, but I decided to paint them chrome silver and applied a touch of black wash.


Too much.

The back window is overly foggy because I sprayed the inside accidentally, so the inside surface was dull but the outside was shiny! Which is the opposite of what I wanted. Removing the fogging from the inside would be too much work (if at all possible) so now it's extra dusty. Oh, well...


Pretty good.

I'm fairly happy with my denting, painting, and weathering to get it as close to the car in the movie (and look as realistic) as possible.

However...


Oops.

I masked off the appropriate arcs of the wipers, but accidentally inverted the bottom one. It's a stupid mistake and it's glaring at me whenever I look at the windshield. Bah! Curse my temporary inattentiveness! This is definitely a case where "close enough" is not good enough! But it's irreparable, so I have to live with it.

Bumpers.

The side reflectors came as decals, but these lights came as clear pieces which I painted on the insides; the reverse lights white; the brake lights clear red; and the turn signals clear orange (I left the headlights alone, 'cause they looked good unpainted in the silver housing). The chrome parts got a shot of dull coat to reduce the shine and reflectivity, then the grill got a few passes with the black panel line wash.

Foley's car only had a rear licence plate, so I added that but have yet to print out a movie-accurate plate to glue on it.

Classic automobile.

I mentioned earlier how I prefer cars from the 1950s to the 1970s (they have a personality that I find lacking in most cars from the 1980s onward) and that I'd done a number of watercolour paintings featuring cars of this era. I didn't paint a Chevy Nova as part of that series, but I really like the look of them...and this project scratches that itch (even though it's not shiny and factory fresh).


Sound system.

The kit-bashed parts I added as speakers in the back look good and convincing, but I wish I'd placed them just a few millimetres more together and a few millimetres forward.






Outdoors.

There's nothing like shooting a model outside with the sun to make it look realistic and less like a toy (proper painting, detailing, and weathering help, go a long way to this end, too). These shots are just on our well head (which is covered in pretty lichen) and I still have to create a nice curb scene for models of this scale which I can take around town for some better contextual shots. I took one of my Fencing Trucks into Picton and tried to make it look like it was actually in the scenery with some degree of success).



My interest in modelling encompasses the whole process of building and painting. Sometimes parts need to be adjusted or replaced; sometimes things don't fit well; sometimes you need to scratch-build something. The building's fun and the painting and detailing's fun. It's all fun for me, and if I can add a personal custom touch then it's even more enjoyable. This particular kit went together well and, as I've said elsewhere, it's beautifully detailed (while I like challenges, I also appreciate a well-designed kit that has few fit issues).

At this scale, and at my current modelling skills, this is the closest I can get to recreating Axel Foley's "crappy blue Chevy," and I'm very happy with the result.