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    1. Kit: , by (Yearly Subscriber) Roger Zimmermann is offline
      Builder Last Online: Jul 2019 Show Printable Version Email this Page
      Model Scale: 1/12 Rating:  Thanks: 0
      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:

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  1. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Roger
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    Stange...I cannot edit my post; I forgot to insert 2 pictures. Well, they are coming now…This is the plaster mold which go somewhere in the first post.






    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #2

  2. MODEL A MODEL's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    don
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    I wish I had pictures to share of my first scratch building. I was in love with wooden ships. Lots of models! Nothing survived several moves.

    Thank you for showing these photos! Very nicely composed, by the way!
    -craftsmanship is a lifelong project of
    self-construction and self determination
    QUOTE QUOTE #3

  3. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Roger
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    Thanks Don! My story here is a translation of what I did for a French forum; I'm trying not only to be informative but to add some fun! I have to confess that's more difficult in a foreign language...


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #4

  4. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    During the construction from that model, I felt less and less comfortable with the frame's look. In between, GM had a contest for scale models, similar to what was done in the USA. I registered and the benefit was a set of wheel and tires made with hard rubber much more suited than the Meccano wheels. The new wheels and tires required a frame modification to fit. I cut the frame aft the front wheels, creating a front suspension more in line with the Studebaker look/design and I did also a new steering box approaching the original one. some cosmetic modifications were also done to the frame, but the basic was still there. The first two pictures are showing the "new" frame; I took that picture much later, in 2003 during the reconstruction from that model. The discarded front end is on top of the photo; I still have it as well as this primitive frame. Souvenirs, souvenirs!





    The model was most probably finished around 1966; it's good looking in pictures even if there were many, too many errors.








    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #5

  5. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Even if almost nothing was left from this model, it had following specifications: it had a working suspension and steering but no engine. Instead of a nice V8, there was a battery box for the headlights, tail lights and inside illumination. By pushing the brake pedal the stop lights would illuminate; it was the same bulb as for the tail lights, but with 3V instead of 1.5V.
    The trunk had a remote handle to opening it, similar to the real car. The hood could be opened by pushing the clutch pedal, and the side windows were opened/closed with the inside handle.
    The outside color was an unfortunate baby blue; the choice of spray cans was very marginal in the sixties or I was not looking at the right places!
    The wheelcovers are good looking on the pictures; they were made with resin The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti and sprayed with a silver paint. The rear window was made with Plexiglass, this window was used without modification for the last model's version.
    Most chromed parts were made with brass (already!) and chromed. The door's handles were used with a slight modification for the last version.


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #6

  6. MODEL A MODEL's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    don
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    Excellent foundation for a future masterpiece.

    Quite a leap from your cardboard models!
    -craftsmanship is a lifelong project of
    self-construction and self determination
    QUOTE QUOTE #7

  7. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Roger
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    Early 2002, GM decided that they had to reduce the number of employees in Switzerland. At that time, I had a good contact with a colleague from the management; this may the reason why I was among the people who had to go as he knew that I expected an early retirement. Around Easter, I was told that I would leave the company at the end of September. The conditions were not too bad, about 50% less revenue as when I was active, but zero stress and the possibility to do what I wanted. I could only say thank you!

    Autumn arrived, the early retirement too. The company promised that I would get some German to French translation to do and effectively I got some for some years. Therefore, I was not totally jobless but I had more free time.

    When my new condition settled (it's nice to sleep really longer!), I had a look at that Avanti model and was thinking that some "cleaning" would be a benefit to it.

    We are in 2003, the begin of a new adventure!

    I really don't remember with what I began in 2003. I remember however that the general idea was:

    - replace the wheelcovers, the existing ones were bad looking with the time
    - repaint the model with a more pleasant color, more in line at what was offered on the Avanti models. I very soon found the new paint: a turquoise from Volvo! I did the first trial on March 3, 2003!
    - replace the leather stained by the contact cement used more than 35 years ago
    I remember when I took the dash panel assembly and slowly the idea came to do another frame. When I began it, I noticed that the width at the back of the model was excessive compared to the original. Stupid as I am, I decided to reduce the excessive width only 50% to avoid a too heavy rework at the body.

    Once the frame was done, I saw that I could not do a rear axle without a drive shaft. However, this drive shaft must have some connection at the other end, it cannot be held in the air! Consequently, I did a transmission. And at what this transmission will be attached? OK, go ahead and to an engine!

    Once the engine was done, I saw that it was no ore possible to close the hood. Like the rear, the front end was too broad and too low. Therefore, bye bye the hood and the filler between both front fenders!

    By going from the rear to the front of the body, I saw that the roof was 2mm too low on the right side. An other problem which plague me for a long time: the windshield's rake was incorrect. To modify that, new "A" and "B" pillars were needed and the roof at the front had to be elongated. The doors had not the same length. The hinges were cemented at the door and at the body; it was a good opportunity to do new ones attached with screws on door and pillar and to correct the length of the doors.
    While I was correcting the width of the rear of the body, I saw that the shape from the model is not at all similar to the real car. As a consequence, the trunk lid was discarded and the rear of the body deeply modified. At that stade, I regretted my option to modify only slightly the width of the rear, but it was too late, I had to continue and hope that it would not be too obvious.

    With a new frame, the existing floor did not fit anymore. So, the old one was cut and a new one made with resin The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti and fiberglass.

    It's now easy to understand that it was no more a refreshment but a reconstruction. What did I kept from the old model? Just a few elements:

    - the doors, just corrected for the length
    - the outside door's handles
    - the front fenders, just heated a bit to have a narrower front end
    - the roof, elongated at the front
    - the rear window

    All the other parts will be scrapped.

    As I was not visiting any forum during the first part of the reconstruction, I did unfortunately no picture during the construction of the frame engine and floor. I do regret it now.

    I just did pictures from the finished frame and engine.












    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #8

  8. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Another view form the frame. Emergency brake, suspension and steering are operational. In that picture, the frame is under the body, attached to it with screws. The rear of the body was already modified.



    The restauration work is slowly going on. We are maybe still in 2006 or early 2007. Here, I'm fitting new hinges to the door. If we could have a look faced to the front, we would see that the body is too flat between the front fenders.



    On that picture, I'm doing the "A" pillar in brass; this time, they will have the same dimension!




    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #9

  9. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Friday, Dec. 29, 2006
    Today, I'm showing some parts wich are now scrap. At that time, I kept them for a while, as you never know...One is sure: the windshield's chromed molding will not be used again as the shape of the opening was modified.
    Even the steering wheel will be replaced. The shaft was a Meccano part, replaced with a new shaft of better proportions.



    As I wrote earlier, the trunk lid and hood are new; their shape is a better reduction of the original ones.
    The round lid in th background is showing the color I choose for the model. On the screen, the difference is not obvious. It's a turquoise paint for a Volvo (don't remember from which model and MY), very similar to the Avanti paint.



    Anyway, some parts will be used on the new version, most of the time with some modification. the third picture is showing the rear seat bottom and the rear back rest. The red leather was not very well glued, the shape was irregular and the profile too flat.




    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #10

  10. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Even if the glue was old and not very well applied, boy, the old leather is hard to remove!
    The seat's modifications are done with 2 components filler. All the desk surfaces are covered with filler dust!



    The rear shelf and seat base are ready. I just have to glue the leather, which I don't have yet. In the background, a picture from the real seat.



    How they look like into the model. The rear shelf is not yet installed. For practical reasons, it will be glued at the body. Of course, when the time will come to glue the new leather and perform the paint operations, everything will have to come out again.




    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #11

  11. Bugatti Fan's Avatar Established Member
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    Very interesting work in progress The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti . I have followed your other builds as well. Why don't you approach a publisher with a view to getting a book printed about your scratch built The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti model making techniques. It would complement the late Gerald Wingrove's books. Perhaps Haynes Publishing in the UK might be interested?
    QUOTE QUOTE #12

  12. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Thanks Noel!
    Well, there is such a project underway by Randy from California. Unfortunately, the last few months were not kind with him, business and health wise. I don't know if he will continue the project or not; myself I have no interest. There should be somebody who should rewrite the texts in a better English; this is one more difficulty to the whole. To publish that in French (my native language) is a no go, too few potential customers.


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #13

  13. happyfreddy's Avatar Active Member
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    freddy
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    Roger, You told about a GM modelcar contest in mid 60ties.
    I´ll think it´s the same contest about 1967 started from Adam Opel AG which I also took part.
    some pics from that contest You find here:
    https://www.google.de/search?q=opel+...QgeXrEK1jL5bM:

    As I remember when registered You got for Your model 4 rubber wheels. You had to choose between two sizes.
    For young boys such contests were a good idea. Today resuming perhaps a good and cheap idea for GM to get " fresh ideas"
    in design studies
    QUOTE QUOTE #14

  14. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    It was certainly the same idea, because GM was behind that contest. When looking at your link, the pictured models have a similar shape at what I saw in the US contest.
    You are right, it was a cheap method to get ideas.
    I don't remember if 2 sets of tires came when registered, because I had the large ones I used for the Avanti and the smaller ones, like tires on 14" wheels were used when I tried to refresh the Chrysler. I don't think I applied twice for this contest.


    The story about my 1:12 Studebaker Avanti
    QUOTE QUOTE #15

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