'39 Sports Wagon

05-01-2012, 11:27 PM
I am going to use the '39 Wagon Rod kit. Although I have never built this kit before, I think it will become my #1 donor kit, in the future, replacing the Dodge Sidewinder, which has become pricy and hard to find. This kit has a rare Chevy LT5 DOHC engine, B-W 5-speed trans, separate Art Morrison frame, four-link rear suspension, Ford 9" rear end, air bag suspension including pump and tank, nice wheels and tires, and brake rotors and calipers. All neat parts and they are labeled on the instruction sheet, which is sorely lacking on so many kits, including Tamiyas.


To me, this kit has everything going for it except it's not very pretty. http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/295.gif It seriously needs to be sectioned. http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/125.gif I'm going to try.

I started out by setting the body on the piece with the fenders. What is going on here? http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/167.gif There is a 2+ mm gap between the body and the running board. I colored it with a pink high-lighter in the pix.


Next I mocked up the engine and trans in order to check clearances. The engine was assembled with white glue, so that I can disassemble it by soaking it in water. The frame has a slight twist behind the rear axle. Otherwise, it looks like I can do what I envision.

05-02-2012, 10:02 PM
I did some more work on this one. First I want to close up that 2mm gap between the body and the running board. All I'm going to have to do is raise the arches for the fenders.

I did this by making patterns of the openings. Make sure that the patterns are raised perfectly vertically. It is very helpful to have vertical reference lines. In this case the door panel lines are perfect for this. Just raise the highest point of the pattern arc the amount you want to lower the body.


The original height from the bottom of the running board to the highest point of the roof was 57mm. After this simple 2mm drop the height is now 55mm. I'm sure I can find at least another mm somewhere. Notice how the hood now sits 2mm too high now. It's always something. http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/295.gif


05-03-2012, 02:51 AM
Thats a good call to drop it to get rid of that gap. I know that some raise the headlights so they are on top of the guards and I have always wondered if it would look better if the B pillar was straight up and down.

I've got this one sitting in my pile so I'm following your build closely.

05-03-2012, 10:30 PM
I did some more cutting. I think I am done with the exterior sectioning part of this build. I have reduced the original body height from 57mm to 47mm. I'm now at a standstill. I discovered that because of additional modifications that I want to do, I won't be able to assemble the interior until I do some major surgery on the floor pan. http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/295.gif

This is what I've got.


A lot of people dislike the kit headlights. Right from the start, I was planning on using VW Beetle headlights, however, after major sectioning, the originals are kind of growing on me.


05-04-2012, 11:31 PM
I did a 2 1/2" gentleman's top chop to the rear. Two small cuts on each side of the roof let the top droop.


This is the original floor pan. It has to be cut open so that the interior can be worked on after future modifications.



You can see in the above pix, that I thinned the headlight nacelles.

05-07-2012, 11:41 PM

Hauled out some clay and got to work. Finally got to see what I had envisioned from the beginning. Not sure how I'm going to pull it off, but at least I'm motivated again.

I'm terrible at sanding and putty work, so I'm trying a different approach. I've finished sculpting this thing.


I'm going to try to cast this thing. If it works out I can make as many as I want. http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/241.gif


Then again, just because you can, doesn't mean you should. This will be my first try at casting something with fenders and a roof.

05-13-2012, 11:49 PM
This looks pretty good, but I have to ask, do you have any specific plan for it or just playing it by ear? If it's the latter, I suggest you stop where you are, take a good look at it, then make a plan to go by.

The reason I say this is that it ended up taking me nearly 5 years to finish a 1953 Ford Vicky because I really had no plans. MANY of my models have gone to the parts bin because of no plans.

Of course, there are the ones that come out incredible with just the artist's eye as their guide. Seems you have a good eye for style, so carry on, I want to see how this turns out.

05-14-2012, 12:30 AM
Actually I do have a plan for it. So far the only change I have made to that plan is keeping the slightly modified original head lights.

Here is a pix of the mold and master.


After spending time cleaning up my mold, I was ready to proceed. I mixed up some resin and cast a part. Now came the moment of truth. Thankfully it opened up OK.

Sadly the body was less than appealing. The body texture is quite ruff. Like fiberglass without gel coat in many places. I believe the reason for this is that I used the last of some resin that I probably bought five or six years ago. In fact the polymer was crystallizing in the bottle.


So the next step was to use some resin that I had recently purchase, but had never used. More surprises. This resin is a translucent green. Not at all what I expected. It seems like resin for fiberglass or 1-minute epoxy. The container says it's for models. It is very thin and easily gets into every nook and cranny.

The second body looks very good, if a little weird. I thought the acid test would be if the hood fit into the slots next to the fenders. It fit very well on the first try. http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/241.gif http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/124.gif


Now I can make all the Sports Wagon/hearses that I want.

Gotta go. I have a model to build.

05-14-2012, 08:46 PM
Temporarily reunited the floor pan and body . Next I cut the fire wall to fit. http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/125.gif It is less than half it's original height. http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/295.gif After some clearancing I got the floor pan to fit for the first time. http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/124.gif


That piece on the side is what was cut off of the fire wall. 11 scale inch section and a little off the top.

First pix of hood and grill in place.


05-17-2012, 02:52 AM
Scribed the new door lines.

I made tail lights from sprue. http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/125.gif Not the prettiest, but they match the head lights and dash. They are just pressed into place. Looks like they should be pressed in further.


The tail lights look better pushed back into the body.

Next I made wheel spats from flat styrene and super glued them into place.

Finally, I made new B pillars. I glued two strips of quarter round onto a styrene sheet. The two pieces of quarter round were separated by an exacto blade, since I use a blade to make the panel lines. http://www.briansmodelcars.com/forums/images/smileys/125.gif


These were cut to length and installed with super glue.


05-21-2012, 01:12 AM
I made a license plate out of regular paper with a piece of transparent tape over it.

You can also see parts for my hood hinge.



This pix shows how the hood hinge functions. When open, the hood stands vertically, giving complete access to the engine. When closing the hood, the hood is rotated horizontally and the hinges pivot on the cross bar until they face backwards and nestle alongside the engine air intake.


05-21-2012, 01:38 AM
Here's a few pixs of the power-train, a '94 Chevy LT5 and Brog-Warner 5 speed manual. The engine is a 405HP 349 cubic inch, all aluminum, DOHC, 32 valve, and electronically fuel injected V-8.

This is the first time I've used wire separators. With my eyes and fingers it was a major accomplishment. Also drilled the power steering pulley.



It still fits nicely under the 11 inch lower hood.

05-22-2012, 10:14 PM
Time to work on the interior. Been working on the dash for some time. The original dash is a 1990 Corvette dash, seen in the lower part of the first pix. It's OK, but I thought I'd try something different.

I'm going to use the dash from a Dodge Sidewinder show truck. I think it carries the front end styling. It was too wide, so it had to be narrowed. I couldn't just cut the ends off, so I had to section it in two places.


I used the steering column and pedal assembly from the original Wagon Rod kit. The steering wheel is from a watch. I think it looks period correct. The flip down central navigation/infotainment center cover/drink holder is made from a leftover piece of the original grill. The knobs are painted period ivory.


At the bottom of the second pix you will also see some floor mats that I made.

I used embossing powder for the first time to flock the floors and door trim. I think it's much more in scale than traditional flocking powder.I didn't have to paint it. The color is called Walnut, and Michaels was closing out big containers for $1.48

The side panels had 11" cut from the bottom edge. The seat bottoms had 3" removed from the bottom.


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