‘First Pancake’ key takeaways

Thinking back to those halcyon days of yore -you know, like a week ago- when I thought I was going to make a museum quality showpiece on my first go, I can scarcely believe how utterly disappointed I am with my first attempt at this whole modeling thing. So many things went so wrong that I won’t bore you by listing them all. Having said that, I am quite pleased with a number of things that went right with project First Pancake. In an attempt to preserve what is left of my tattered self-esteem, I’m going to focus on those instead.

ellipticalFirst, I should mention that painting fine details is a problem for me. Ever since I quit drinking (to say I quit drinking is no longer accurate. After being a very serious alcoholic for over a decade, I quit cold turkey, as detailed here, and abstained from alcohol completely for about eight years. Recently I have began drinking in moderation again. When I say moderation, I mean only on vacations and at select social events; perhaps four or five times a year), my hands tremble like Michael J. Fox on speed. It has gotten a bit better over the years, but I still don’t have a steady hand. To overcome that while trying to paint the fine details on this model, I wrapped my hand around the handle of the elliptical machine in the room and held the parts like you see in the picture. It helped a lot, of course it did nothing for the hand that was wielding the paint brush. At least this way I was trying to hit a stationary target with a moving one instead of a moving target with a moving one. To combat that on my next project, I have ordered one of these: Elenco Helping Hands which will not only hold things steady for me, but also magnify them. Hopefully that will make the process easier on the next go.

enginebayLet’s start with the engine bay (click the image for a larger version). My twitching got a bit out of hand on some of the detail on the sides, particularly around the window wash reservoir (at least I think that’s what the white part on the far side is) where I splashed over onto the body paint just a bit around the edges. Aside from that, I’m pretty pleased with the way the engine compartment came out. I could spend a lot more time on it right now and make it look even better, but I don’t want to spend much more time on First Pancake. I think I pulled this off pretty well.

enginebaytopHere that is again from the top. Among the other things that I was happy with in the engine compartment is that I was able to get the radiator hose to line up from the engine to the radiator. Even though I haven’t built one of these things in 30 years, I know I was never able to pull that off before. I also got the radiator cap, hood ornament, window wash cap, battery, brake master cylinder, battery terminals, and even the hose clamp on the radiator hose, painted up to look pretty good. I see in the photo that I have body paint splashing through at a couple of places on the battery. I’ll hit that with a bit of paint when I go back to touch up a couple of other things later. You’ll also note that the hood is not in place in any of the photos. That is because while the hood itself looks pretty good, the small piece where the scoop is supposed to be is being a real bitch. I wanted to make the hood flat instead of using the raised scoop, which required a lot of sanding and trimming. Unfortunately I ran out of paint along the way. I have a small bottle of touch-up paint in very nearly the same color which I am using to try to remedy this. I have it almost the right color now, but it still doesn’t fit quite right. Hopefully when the paint dries I can glue that sucker in place and it won’t look too bad. Also absent in the photos is the air cleaner, which I keep sanding and repainting to try to remove blemishes. Again, hopefully I will be happy enough with it to put it in place eventually.

interiorwindowNext up is the interior (I encourage you to click through for a larger version of this one). I just can’t say enough good things about the interior. It is far from perfect, but it is still the highlight of this build. I am fairly confident that I will be able to learn from painting this one and improve upon it on the next build. The next build will also not have a black interior. The black almost feels like cheating because it hides blemishes so well. I do hope I am able to get results when the color isn’t so forgiving. I know one thing: I won’t be using semi-gloss paint on the interior in the future. The steering wheel in particular looks pretty bad because of it in the current build.

backThen there are some things that I tried just to see if it was possible. Here in the shot of the back (the masking tape on the bumper is just there because the flash kept reflecting and ruining the photo), you’ll see some passable free-hand painting on the tail lights (although I missed it a bit on the back-up lights), but the reason I took this picture was to showcase the exhaust pipes. Having finished the whole exhaust system in grey, the tips of the pipes were just a blotch of grey. It looked horrible. Since I already knew this one wasn’t going to be the centerpiece on the mantle, I decided to see if I could make them look a bit better.

exhaustI figured I could drill them out, paint the interior of them black give them chrome tips to make it look a bit more realistic. Of course I don’t own a drill bit small enough to drill into the tiny piece of plastic, so I improvised by using the tip of my Exacto knife and drilling it in small circles until I had what looked like a reasonably thick piece of pipe left for the exhaust tip. Once done with that, I painted the inside of the pipe with flat black (the hole is cone-shaped and only perhaps an eighth of an inch deep) and then painted around it with silver metal paint. The result looks pretty good. This is a close-up of the driver’s side exhaust tip. The passenger side one doesn’t look nearly as good because I didn’t sand them to remove the excess material from molding. Again, this was to see if I could do it and it looks pretty darn good. When I do it on the next model, I will make sure I have those pipes smooth and round and finish them off with some Bare Metal Foil to really make them pop.

frontangleThe model doesn’t look that bad, really. Just look at that grill, all the time that went into that really shows. (as an aside, I didn’t modify any of the images on this page. The gleaming reflections in the photos that look like they were added to give it some sparkle are just how they came out on the camera) Most of the trim molding lines came out nice and straight (thought I did miss it at a couple of places). I know there are parts of it that my OCD is simply being overly critical of, but there are also many, many places where I can do better next time.

My New Kit arrived today, which is nice, because the things I have left to do with First Pancake are all the type of things that I have to either paint or glue something and then not touch the damn thing for several hours. Of course the paint for the body of the new kit didn’t arrive. Just like last time. This time it was UPS that fucked me. The shipment is sitting in their warehouse in Phoenix, has been for almost two days now, but they’ve rescheduled deliver from 12/30 to 01/04 because a truck was late. I don’t know how a truck can possibly be five days late, but it managed to pull it off. I’m sure UPS would blame the holiday and the weekend, but my paint doesn’t celebrate holidays and also doesn’t care what day of the week it happens to be.

Additionally, the box the new model came in somehow got wet during shipping. The parts are all sealed in bags and the decals appear to be fine, so I’m not going to send it back. The actual box it came in is pretty trashed though – both the Amazon shipping box and the sealed box with the model. How the water got through the Amazon box and plastic wrap to destroy the inner box is something of a mystery. Nonetheless, I have another project to work on rather than, quite literally, watching the paint dry on First Pancake. Let’s hope my optimism about the new project isn’t as misplaced as it was with the last one. I’m very confidant that with what I’ve learned from First Pancake, I’ll be able to do a much better job with this one.

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