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The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
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The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
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    1. Kit: , by (Yearly Subscriber) Roger Zimmermann is offline
      Builder Last Online: Sep 2019 Show Printable Version Email this Page
      Model Scale: 1/12 Rating:  Thanks: 1
      Started: 06-10-19 Build Revisions: Never  
      Supported Scratch Built Completed

      Since a boy, I was always fascinated by cars. There were some cars in the small village at the countryside where I grow up, especially VWs (I will never understand why this ugly thing, noisy, unpractical was sold in such quantities). I believe that one of both grocers from the village had a early fifties green 2-door Chevrolet; this was probably the king of the village!

      Ironically, my parents had no car et never had one. If by chance a Studebaker was parked at one of both cafés from that 300 inhabitant's village, I could stay hour(s) to look at it. The 1950 model was the one which started it all.

      We are going forwards for some years: in 1963, the Studebaker Avanti was shown at the Geneva Show; I'm sure that I was a nuisance for the stand's personal as I could not away from this stand!

      I will not relate here all my attempts to recreate cars during my youth using cardboard and a frame done with the Meccano kit. The last vehicle done with this hybrid material was a 1963 Chrysler. I did for this model an innovation: by wetting the cardboard, it could be better shaped in both directions at once.



      After the Geneva show adventure, I had to replicate this Avanti. At that time, I was 18 years old; my father, a wood worker, had not the right tools for my needs. Anyway, I began to do a frame using as a guide the image from the sales catalog I reluctantly got in Geneva. My father had some galvanized sheetmetal; I used that for that frame.
      Why did I choose the scale 1:12? Probably because the available skinny Meccano wheels were suitable for that scale. The construction went muck quicker than what I did in the recent years; there were less details and the resemblance was...marginal at best!



      I was proud from my front suspension and steering system miles away from the reality:



      The main idea was to do again a body using my "new" technique with wet cardboard. However, one of my colleague at the apprenticeship told me that I would get much better results using polyester and fiberglass (he was living in a town and me in the countryside, what a difference!). It was totally new for me and I had to do my experiences with that product. A small story about it I still remember: the instructions stated that it was important to have about 25°C to allow the polyester to set. I waited that my parents went away a Sunday afternoon to heat like hell the furnace in the living room using wood to get the desired temperature, even more, for my first experience. As it was probably autumn or winter, all windows were closed. I still hear the exclamations from my parents about the heat and the bad smelling when they came back!
      I learned quickly enough that a positive mold was necessary as first. Then, as a second step, a negative form should be done using the positive mold. Finally, the negative mold is to be used to get the final part. How easy it was with cardboard: not overheating needed, no bad smell and quickly done!
      How could I do the positive mold? I choose probably by accident the plaster. Not the one used by the sculptors but the cheap one to do walls and ceilings!
      It's easy to work with once it's dry (sometimes too easy) and it's doing a lot of dust. This later aspect was not important, the shop from my father was full of wood dust. A little more did not matter.

      The first result:



      Me at work, probably 1965 or 1966:




      The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
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  1. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Roger
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    Even during summertime I could do some small things for the model. The original front seats were completely incorrect; I began almost from the ground up. The way the seats were adjusted did not please me anymore, therefore, I did « quickly » two new ones.
    The rails are moving on two balls each; the lever is allowing the seat to be adjusted on an adequate length.



    I could keep the original seats but with many modifications. Here is the result; the second seat is still covered with the red leather. The excess glue is hardly visible on the picture.



    That red leather will be soon taken away and the plastic basis modified to look like the first seat. Then the turquoise leather will be once glued.


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #32

  2. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Sept. 24, 2007

    Just for the fun, the completed rear seat is installed into the model. The driver seat is installed too.



    It’s evident that the seat back can be tilted but, like the on the real car, it’s not adjustable nor locked in place.



    The whole inside trim will have to go out again for the paint process (in one year maybe?).


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #33

  3. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Oct. 10, 2007
    Long before I began that reconstruction, I did name plates for the Toronado and, recently the Studebaker name plate for the Avanti.
    Sorry for the dust/dirt; I usually forget the cleaning before taking a picture. The letters "OLDSMOBILE" are OK in my opinion; the name plate Studebaker too, but the plates "Toronado" (11mm in length or 0.43") could be more precise; I will survive.




    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #34

  4. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Dec. 07, 2007
    After doing the windshield and its garnish molding which will be chromed, I'm beginning the frames for the side windows. First, the quarter windows. On that picture, the molding under the roof and the one for the center pillar are temporarily installed.



    The second picture is showing the parts for those quarter windows. The still unassembled thin parts are indeed shaped as a "U" for the plastic window. Missing for the moment are the hinges and the locking lever.




    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #35

  5. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Dec. 11, 2007
    As I have less external work those days, I could progress with the side windows as you can see. As on the real car, the quarter windows can be opened for ventilation. The whole unit is assembled like a module, to be inserted into the body. On the pictures, a temporarily window is used to maintain the parts together; the vertical part will not be soldered to the "J" frame because I could no more insert the "glass".





    The locking lever is not yet done. The parts are not yet perfect; some work is still needed before the polishing for plating. The reddish dust is not rust but brass dust.



    On the model, the windows will stay closed.


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #36

  6. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Once the quarter window's frames were done, I had a look at the rear window. It gave me headache since a long time, especially the garnish molding. Good news for me: I can save the window itself which was done about 40 years ago; only some small corrections at the edge. The bad news: the chromed molding is not quite following the aperture and the chromed did suffer from attempts to correct the shape. With a bit of brass 2.5 x 2.5mm, I did a new molding with some wasted brass: the finished molding is 1.7 mm wide and .6mm thick.

    The assembly is just resting into the aperture; it will better looking when glued.



    The small hammer in the foreground is a fantastic tool: with it, I can bend what must be bent or I can do delicate adjustments!


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #37

  7. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    If the windshield, quarter windows and rear window are done, if I'm right, the windows at the doors must be done. The begin is with the went window because it must be adapted to the slope of the windshield and its frame is the guide for the door's window. A vent window is not quite exiting; however, it's more complicated than anticipated.

    The various parts are shown here.



    On the left, the guide for the window; next to it the frame for the vent window with its locking lever to keep the vent window closed when required. Further on the right, a filler with a double function: it attach the unit to the door and, when painted black, it will represent the rubber seal. The last part which is indeed a cap will be chromed and will give the illusion that this chromed part is maintaining the assembly to the door.

    The next picture is showing how the assembly is attached to the door.



    Here, then the door is closed; the vent window too.



    The tape is to maintain the windshield molding in the correct position during the construction of the vent window assembly. You may notice a very long shaft at the top of the vent window. During the definitive assembly, the glass will stop the shaft and the chromed frame will prevent that the shaft is escaping from above.

    Now, with the vent window open. As you can see, the locking lever can be moved; it was a difficult part to design and to do.



    There is no glass installed, it will be done during the final assembly.

    Now, I have to do the other side…


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #38

  8. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    January 30, 2008
    The second vent window assembly was much quicker done than the first one because the "how to do" questions were all answered. Now, it's the turn to the side windows which will go up and down, as on the original model. Here too, I have to study to find a solution which is practical to do and reliable.

    This is the old door trim panel.



    They will not be used again, with 2 exceptions: the handles for the window and to open the door from inside. However, those parts will be modified for their new lease of life. Stains from the old cement are clearly apparent; this one of the reasons why I wanted to refresh the model.

    This is other side of the scenery.



    The window frame was attached to the string, allowing the movement. I was probably a pioneer at that time: the unit is to be considered as a module: all the parts and the leather were assembled outside of the model and, with some contorsions, the assembly was attached to the door with glue. This is now my dilemma: I don't want that the trim panel be assembled like I did more than 40 years ago (with glue). I will continue the module idea, just partly: the window and door aperture mechanisms will be assembled outside the model. The completed module will be installed on the doors with screws; the trim will be installed separately.

    Now, there is a problem which must find a solution: when the trim panel is lastly installed, how can I insert the handles securely and, if necessary be able to remove them in case something is getting wrong into the door?



    After a good brain storming, I found a solution. On the last picture, the handle to open the door is temporarily installed. But how? Will somebody in 2019 guess what I did 11 years ago?


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #39

  9. Nortley's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Quick guess - the panel that the handle is mounted in is a temporary piece allowing access to the door interior while holding the handle in its final position and allowing it to pivot. When everything was worked out, you then made a final full panel which covered the door's inside.
    Scorpio - Builds models the way the prototype should have been built.
    QUOTE QUOTE #40

  10. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Thanks Buck to try to answer the question! In fact, I don't understand very well your description/solution, but it can be that my wish was not clear either. I'm trying to explain in a better way: in a real car, the handles can be removed; a spring clip is usually used for that purpose. Sometimes, a small screw is holding the handles. Obviously, those two methods are not practical. When the hardware will be completed, the trim panel will be installed and only then the handles will be inserted. What is the method I used to have functional handles which are not going out when "playing" with the model?


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #41

  11. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    January 31, 2008
    Well, except Buck, nobody scratched his head to try a solution. It was to be expected as it was found years ago!

    The picture is showing the solution: shafts from both handles have been milled to form a square. The square shaft will be pushed into the drum or, to open the door, into the swinging lever. There is some interference to keep the levers where they belong but not too much to be able to take them out just in case.
    The rear guide for the window is assembled to that module as you can see.




    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #42

  12. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    When I was rebuilding the model, I put the same question about how to attach the handles to the doors to a French forum. I got more answers than here, just because it was actual. Most answers were impractical because too complex or not taking in account the dimensions. Generally, on a model, when something is moving the difficulties are sometimes unsuspected from the viewers. For example, as in most scale models, the windows are in the open position. To replicate that, a simple molding representing the top of the window frame can be attached at the door and it's done. When the windows are operational, it's more complex: the windows must have enough space into the door, guides must be designed to avoid jam, the windows must go completely down and not stop mid-way because attachment parts are too large and the system to let the windows go up and down must be rather reliable.

    At that day, the windows are going up and down, but not yet the way I want.

    The first two pictures is a view from inside, window up and window down:





    Now, the module's back; very simple. I still want to make holes for easy verification (and not to do the model less heavy!).




    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #43

  13. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    I could not take the small problem with my windows out of my mind: when the window was up, the string had a good tension. When the window was down, I could turn the handle 1/2 turn before something was happening. Therefore, I decided to build a tensioner. It's working well, the risk that the string is getting away from the guides is gone.
    The window's guide on the left does not belong to the module, the correct guide is part o the went window's frame, attached to the door. However, to verify the function, I had to add one; it will be removed when all is OK.



    The back of the module is not esthetically very pleasant; it's about the same in real cars: the owner does not see it!


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #44

  14. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    February 09, 2008. Tensioner or not ?
    As some little changes were needed, I had to cut the string to remove the window. Once the repairs done, I did the same number of turns with the new string on the drum to raise the window as to the drum to lower the window which I did not the first time. I gave a good tension on the string before I did the knot to attach both ends and I noticed that the tensioner was no more needed. I played a lot with the window until the shaft from the drum almost seized into the bearing! It was gradually more and more difficult to turn the handle till I understood that a drop or two of oil would not harm. Once the situation coming back to normal, I let the assembly alone. It will be good for the next 40 years !

    February 29, 2008
    That ***** of left window gave me a lot of trouble. The window was jamming, the string broke, the handle was turning with difficulties; I had a lot to do to save the situation. Curiously, the RH side went without any difficulty. It seems that now everything is under control and I can go further. To hide that mechanism, a door panel is needed. I used a 0.3mm sheet of brass; the padding at the top of the panel is done with a two components filler.

    The various bits of leather were needed to get the proper alignment of the lock escutcheon. This part is attached to the door’s panel with 2 screws.



    The final trim will be glued on this base. I have first to do both horizontal moldings, the one located between the fawn and blue leather; the other molding is between the blue leather and the carpet at the door’s bottom. The armrest is not yet finished; there is still plenty of work ahead!

    A detail of the lock, with the strange looking escutcheon.



    A view from the other door, without the arm rest I could rescue and modify from the original model.




    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #45

  15. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    As the hardware is ready, it's time to go to the software. Oups! to the upholstery. I'm showing how the "stitching" is done. On the brass basis, I'm gluing The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti strip of leather, 0.5mm thick, with just enough space between each strip.



    The upper molding is there as a guide, the strips are not going under the molding.

    All strips are glued on this picture.



    I can now begin with the skin wich is a 0.1 to 0.15mm thick leather. If something is going amiss, I will have to begin from zero. I'm pushing the leather between each band, one after the other; therefore, it takes a rather long time for one panel.

    With some luck and not too many difficulties, the first door's panel is ready. The arm rest is screwed from behind; it helps to keep the leather at its place. The lower part will be cover with velvet to simulate the carpet; the excess leather will be cut when the glue is set, after about 24 hours.



    The next step: to cover the padded part with the fawn leather. Here, I will be able to stretch the leather to get a pleasant structure.


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #46

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