Here's a Cambridge from which I'm making scale drawings as it's a nice square side view.
Friday, 4 December 2009
Here's a Cambridge from which I'm making scale drawings as it's a nice square side view.
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Usually, people who are into scale models have a fairly narrow band of interests. Probably because they can only give their time to a limited number of projects.
Strangely, it was to be many years more before I took such an interest in ships again, at least actively, by making models of them. By then I'd become a real fan of classic speedboats and record breakers. I wanted to make models of them for sale and that wish came about by my old chum in Florida e-mailing me with a potential customer in Washington DC.He wanted a model of Miss America X and Baby Horace III for permanent display in Arty's restaurant in the city, which was being refurbished with a record boat theme.
At the very last minute I left marks on the freshly painted seats which I couldn't remove, so I quickly carved the two toy teddy bears that its driver, Gar Wood, always carried with him for luck and covered the marks with them.Flown west by FedEx, it was safely delivered and installed in its place in a booth at the diner, where, I assume, it still is along with its much humbler brother Baby Horace. The family could eat again!
Saturday, 17 October 2009
My Mum still has happy memories of that little car. Previously all Dad had was a Coventry Eagle motorbike which would only go up steeper hills if my Mum got off the pillion seat!
Later, my Uncle also got the specials bug and I helped him build his very low, light, modern Austin 7-based special. He tried to get it to look a bit like a Maserati 250F at the front and it had the typical special-builder's short back.
I remember many trips in it at 70 or more MPH, which was good for any car then, let alone something which started life in 1937 and had only 747cc.
Pretty soon, the aluminium sheet jobs started to give way to the new post-War material, fibreglass and all manner of wierd and wonderful creations were popping out of tiny units up and down the country from recently de-mobbed servicemen looking for a new direction in life. Some, like the Falcon were really quite professional looking and some were just appalling to look at, but the public took them and a new industry was born, with several companies specialising only in the bits and pieces that would make your special go better as well as look unique.
I'd love one, but they seem to be fetching as much, if not more than, the cars from which they were built. Not so long ago an Austin Seven Special was an affordable entry level classic car, but no longer.
Sunday, 11 October 2009
I made the model from various scale sizes of nickel silver rod, because nickel is so much stronger than brass. All bracketry and platework that was part of the chassis was done in brass as I had some the right thickness. The removable panels were made in thin aluminium as are the real ones. These all fixed to tiny brackets soldered to the framework.
The jigs for the front suspension can be seen on the left of the above picture and the gear selector and gate on the lower right.
To make the impression as stark as a good silhouette should be I used Indian Ink that I normally used for technical linework. This is really black. Then on the Concorde picture I experimented with a faint lightening of the hue to suggest just a little detail.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
Goodwood racetrack (the tarmac one, not the tedious nag run) was closed due to burgeoning beaurocracy in 1966, but, unable to resist, Lord March opened it again a few years back, but decided it will not have changed. And so, it is still the case that no car built after that year will compete or even take a position inside the environs of the track. And the crowds are positively encouraged to dress in the styles of the years before the cut-off date.
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
The only way I could think of to convince any likely big spender that I was their man was to build models "on spec."
So I knocked up the odd item from time to time when things were a little slow in the master world.
One such was the McLaren M8F Can-Am car, which I found at Scott Racing in Brandon, Suffolk. Near enough to my house to be an easy trip for measuring and photographing.
Trevor, Scott's proprietor and his son were helpfulness personified and I had a great couple of days measuring and sketching every detail of the car.
The gearbox and clutch housing of the 1/12th scale M8F model with the suspension bracket made in brass. The engine and gearbox are made in plastic strip and sheet and will be moulded in resin for strength.
My chum Chas has a fotki photo site and he insisted I do a step-by-step album of the build, so here's the URL for that. There are pictures of every stage of the construction up until I moved aboard my boat. Much later I continued to work on it and will finish it sometime.Find the build at http://public.fotki.com/cafox513/m8f_112th_step-by-step/
Unfortunately the price Bonham's suggested I put on it as a reserve would not these days be attained, or anywhere near. I've also discovered how auction houses rip a one man band off with all their extra charges which they either don't explain when you trust them with your work or don't quantify before they sell it. I once sold another "on spec" model of Miss Britain III via them and I got £2100, six MONTHS after the auction at which the new owner bid £2850, on which he would have paid buyers commission as well!!
Is it any wonder e-bay has stormed the world?
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
For the whitemetal industry it is almost exclusively the case that the patterns be made in brass. My first brass master was made for a very new company then, called Grand Prix Models. I'd suggested they made some kits and they agreed and asked me to make a master of a Trojan Chummy, that strange little pram like thing with solid tyres, much beloved of vicars and district nurses.
This is a 1/76th scale model of a Fairline 50, the company's one-time flagship. It is all in brass, with a little epoxy putty for the "water". The deck removes and inside are seperate cabins with all furniture, all also done in brass, right down to the turned-down corners of the bedspreads.
A 1/48th scale Jeep with trailer and, unseen, its cannon. Bits of its suspension and equipment can be seen in component form waiting for the caster's mysterious art.
And one of the smallest, but not quite. A master for an Alfa Romeo Spider to a "fit-the-box" scale, for a giftware company. I believe they were used for a motoring version of Monopoly. There was also a Damon Hill F1 car and this:-
A Rolls Royce Silver Ghost at an even smaller scale, being a bigger car, to fit the same box! The artillery spoked wheels were one of the most taxing jobs I've done on a brass master.
A complete 1/43rd scale brass master of a Berkeley T60 3-wheeler. It was one of the last complete masters I did before going to live afloat, where such things were not possible.
This selection barely scratches the surface of all the masters I have done. Not all were in brass. The Aston Martins at the top were carved from a resin toolmakers' material and given brass wheels and tyres with correct tyre tread pattern. They were then used by a silversmithing company to make silver copies to be sold under Aston Martin's giftware label for around £1000 each.
The patterns were rather more expensive....
Monday, 28 September 2009
Saturday, 26 September 2009
He was responsible for the Railway Preservation movement with the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society, the Vintage Sports Car Club and the Inland Waterways Association. The second and third of these ensured the purity of genuine vintage motoring and the saving of the canals for the widespread liesure use they now enjoy respectively.
He found Prescott Hill for the VSCC, which is now run by the Bugatti Owners' Club, who have a museum in his name at the hillclimb course in Gloucestershire.
Prescott has grown in stature to become the premier hill for all vintage and classic motoring events.
I have spoken with people who were fortunate enough to have met him or who knew him and it is probably true to say that he was not, perhaps, the easiest man to know. Men of strong, unbendable principles rarely are, but the world is poorer for the woeful dearth of such people in this modern age.
It is also immeasurably the poorer for the lack of writers of his ability. Those for whom writing was a constant struggle, but whose style was born of an earlier, gentler age where the English language was to be revelled in; those who were uncowed by any considerations of political correctness. It is far more enjoyable to read what a person really thinks when it is not only unfettered by such things, but done with elegance and honesty.
I continued with the other two books in his "Landscape Trilogy", "Landscape with Machines" and "Landscape with Figures". These three books form his autobiography and through his self examination help to explain how he, to some extent at least, came to terms with the dychotemy of his apparent hatred of the way the modern world was heading and his love of engineering. All was revealed to him one night at Llanthony Abbey in South Wales. Having been there, I can well understand how his epiphany came about. Reading these books made me want to read his philosophical works. I was to wait some years until I could both find and afford them, for here we enter the realms of rare books and their collectors, for Tom had become a collectable writer.