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A look back at 2013

27-12-13 So here we are looking forward to 2014 (but not the hangover). I can now forget all the mistakes I made in 2013 and concentrate on the year ahead. But first what did we achieve? Well quite a lot in the way of new models and an awful lot of modifications. First lets look at modifications, every time a mould wears out and has to me remade we improve it. Take for instance the Maserati 300S. Some have been dropped from the range but the popular ones have been lightened considerably, have new mounting points, new lower resin chassis and are able to take an RM laser cut chassis without modification. And they are still looking brilliant. This treatment has been successful on various in the range. Many models have been dropped from the range this year. If it does not sell well there is no point in making it. I was surprised at how few of some models sold. The Mclaren M8B and M1A did not sell and neither did the King Cobra and I think the Cobra has a great shape. The Mercury Cougar has also gone as mentioned on a previous news. There is no point since the scalex one is out. It is not bad but not particularly accurate and the wheel base is wrong. But when you can buy one ready to run for the price of a resin body kit I know it is a no brainer. As I said it looks alright. It is a tricky one choosing what to make. If it is too popular a subject the chances are a major manufacturer will make it at some point, too obscure and no one will buy it. On On the subject of scalextric they are doing the Mclaren M7A so I will cross that one off my to make list for this year. They have chosen some good models, the lotus 72 tyralls and a VW camper are good choices, although the latter is not a great slot car but lots of people love it. I just hope it is a bit more accurate than their Mk 2 escort which leaves a lot to be desired. It would be easy to knock scalex for there lack of accuracy in their older or classic type cars. But lets not forget they have been the backbone of this hobby for a long time and with firms like revell giving up, long may they continue (Diplomatic eh?). Now back to me me me. We did a few interesting mods and remake on a few Revell cars. We reworked the Galaxie, which I think looks awesome, lightened the lightweight E type!, Notched the Mustang and reworked the corvette. We also brought out a variety of new models, the jag Mk 1, C2 ferrari, merc W154 to name but a few. I have ended the year by getting my 1954 D type jaguar moulded and painted, but not quite in production yet. So for 2014, as mentioned in previous news the Mk 1 Coomes Jag, Merc W125, Auto Union C type, Ferrari 375 1954 LM winner are all underway. The Allard, P3 Alfa, Iso Grifo Bizzarina and Chapparal 2D are all blocked out. And of course my Mk 1 cortina which should be getting a RM laser cut chassis, fairly soon. Possibly later in the year I will modify my Mk 1 Jag into a Mk 2, but no promises on that one. A singer Le Mans is also on the cards. I am also getting on with a new project, my pre first world war race cars. The Gorden Bennet type cars could be a bit of fun, though the wheels and tyres could be a pain. They will probably have a common chassis so we just plonk a different body work on and a variety of driver-mechanic figures. There are still a few 1930s cars I would like to make. Such as alfas, maseratis, lagondas, bentleys etc. There are also plans for a few more modern cars such as the Mk 2 capri, someone has got to do one. The Mk 1 has been done to death. I had a black JPS 3 litre capri II back in 1976 (R reg). I was 23 had hair, was working as a model maker at Matchbox earning good money and single, but was I happy? You bet. I could get that capri showing 130 on the A127 and when the rear exhaust boxes fell off the noise was wonderful. Anyway might do a Mk II if no big firm does one. Of course we will widen it a bit, seeing as all the capri Mk Is being produced seem to be a little on the wide side. And as you may have guessed certain cars just have to be widened to look right. This is not the case with single seaters. These we tend to do scale width, but a tiny bit of bulking up in the middle doesnt do any harm. One of the trickiest cars to model is the Vanwall. It is very bulky around the midrif and I dont think anyone has got it right yet. The maserati 250F is the same, I dont think anyone has quite captured it. What I think happens is that a lot of models are made to a specific drawing which ends up on the computer along with cars that are scanned. The model is made exactly to this information and it does not always work. In order to capture the essence of the car you have to be able to lookg at the model and if it looks wrong it is. You have to look at and study lots of photos and of course study the real car if possible and as I have said before, restored cars are a nightmare. Some times you have to exaggerate certain features on a car. And of course you have to remember we are making slot cars, they have to work on a track. Not stuck collecting dust on a bloody shelf in a box. It is a strange thing but every time I start a model it starts with a block of tooling board (sort of woody MDF type stuff) which is profiled out on a milling machine then it is all down to hand. Lot of filing and scraping and over the first couple of days I dont seem to have a clue what I am doing. I feel like a fraud then there is that Eureka moment. And this happens every time you make a model. You know it is beginning to work. Once you have the shape then it has to be hollowed out. Some of the material is milled out and then, using a flexible grinder, the rest is ground out by hand. The hard bit is getting the shell nice and thin. It is not easy. Of course there is still a lot to do before you get in to production but thats for another day as I am bored of writing and need a little drinky (well it is still christmas) and another mince pie and a vol au vent and one of those big prawns in bread crumbs... Ugh I feel full.

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