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29 Ford Highboy Roadster In As-Found Patina - Completed with Final Photos

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  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
29 Ford Highboy Roadster In As-Found Patina - Completed with Final Photos
Posted by gbk1 on Monday, April 27, 2020 1:53 PM

When I was building my last project, a black ’32 Ford Highboy Roadster featuring a deep gloss paint job, I experimented with various black paints to compare their shades (yes black comes in different shades, although it is subtle). One of my many faults is that I have a weakness for cheap paints. I’ll always give a budget a try in the hopes that I find an incredible bargain. I don’t airbrush so we’re talking home and auto aerosol spray paints and craft acrylics here.

One of my favorite cheapo aerosols is Brite Touch, sold here in the U.S. at auto supply stores and made by Sherwin Williams. Even the brand name is cheapo! I’m a big fan of their primers. Their grey is a lighter shade of gray which, if you’re doing a primer rod is much nicer, to my eyes, than the dark grey hot rod primers like Duplicolor or Testors. Brite Touch Red Oxide primer is a much truer red oxide color than other red primers, too, and also makes a terrific undercoat when you want some primer to show through (see below). They even make a black primer which is an ideal matte black for tires, among other things. I only wish they made a white primer.

So I thought I’d try their gloss paints. There white gloss is a true white and flows and sets up nicely and is rapidly becoming a mainstay for me as an undercoat and as a race car base color. Now it was time to try their Gloss Black. This time it was an utter Fail. It doesn’t flow well and sets up with a grainy texture, almost like a very fine orange peel. Bummer! But what I did discover is that when you sand it out, whereas it will never get you back to a true, deep gloss, it does a fine imitation of worn, faded black paint.

The shiny black Deuce Highboy came out the way I wanted it too, nice and deep and glossy (I used Duplicolor Universal Gloss Black with Krylon Clear on that one). After the usual brief period of builder’s block the obvious follow-up presented itself. After Glossy Black how about worn and faded black? After all I had accidentally stumbled on the perfect paint to do it, that wretched Brite Touch Black Gloss. And sitting in my stash since it was first introduced back in 2015 was the ideal candidate – the Revell ’29 Ford Highboy roadster.

That kit which created tremendous interest and excitement when it first came out, shared a characteristic with most Revell hot rod and custom kits – the kit was engineered with a very specific vision of what the final result should be – one that I rarely agree with. It took me a while to come to terms with and when I finally built it I built the Low-Boy version. This left plenty of parts left over, including the Nailhead motor and the chassis and interior for the Highboy version. While I was building it someone offered a kind of “Highboy build kit” with a body shell and grill, all the suspension, the chassis, suspension and the interior. I still don’t understand it since all that was missing was the motor and the wheels and tires. But at Buy It Now for less than $15.00 USD delivered who was I to ask? Sold!

And there it sat in my stash until now. The plan is to build the Highboy as kind of my version of Jairus Watson’s recent box art illustration for the re-issue of this kit which is coming out as I write this. Jairus’ illustration is of the highboy in worn black paint, featuring the rather questionable “rust” decals that come in the kit. But the illustration captures the flavor of what I have in mind. In my case the Nailhead, which has become somewhat overused of late, will remain in the box, and I’ll be using an Oldsmobile V8 in stock trim (itself on its way to being overused) with a mild hop up. I’m also substituting a ’32 Ford grill. The wheels and tires consist of the superb Lincoln tires and 16” wheels from Drag City Casting at the rear, and Modelhaus .120A tires on AMT ’40 ford steelies at the front.

The patina on the paint was achieved as follows. The base coat is Brite Touch Red Oxide primer followed by a coat of Duplicolor Primer Sealer and two coats of the dreaded Brite Touch Gloss Black. The whole thing was wet sanded, first with 1000 grit to knock down the peal and create the worn areas, and then with 2000 grit to bring the shine back. One thing about worn and oxidized paint is that it’s actually quite smooth and not matte as some might think. Then I gave the result a light pass with rust colored weathering powder to create some mild surface rust in the crevices and corners, and then a dusting of pale gray weathering powder to simulate the oxidation and dirt. The result is what you see below.

Next up is the Oldsmobile V8. Then on to the problem of what to do about all that kit chrome…

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

Click on picture for larger image


Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 1:59 PM

gbk1

In my case the Nailhead, which has become somewhat overused of late, will remain in the box, and I’ll be using an Oldsmobile V8 in stock trim (itself on its way to being overused) with a mild hop up. 

Just so long as it's not a small block Chevy. 
Im really liking the look of this build as well. Love the worn black finish. Very authentic looking. 
I agree with your comments on varying shades of black. Once, when looking for the blackest of the available hobby enamels, I did some tests, and was surprised at the variations. I now use these variations in my building, by using several sources for black on a given build to avoid the 'everything from the same can' look. 

"It would be unusual, if the unusual didn't occur."

- Steamboat Gariepy

Trevor

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Sunday, May 10, 2020 7:57 PM

Thanks Trevor!

I got the motor built and the front and rear suspension parts done. The rear suspension is installed as well as the front axle.

The motor is the stock Oldsmobile Rocket V8 from the Revell ’50 Olds stock kit. The only changes I made was to use the headers from the Revell ’50 Olds custom kit and change out the carburetion, adding a 4-barrel from my infinite supply of Revell ’32 Ford small ,block V8s. The “batwing” aircleaner is a resin re-pop of the unit found in the Foose Cadillac kit. I found it on eBay. It’s from Action Modeler (vendor: action-shopper) and they make very nice resin parts. Highly recommended. The air cleaner is finished in weathered black to match the bodywork.

The chassis is the kit chassis with the rear modified to a more traditional leaf spring setup with a ’37 Ford truck rear crossmember and spring. The (rather sketchy) lever shocks were scratch build. The front suspension has been lowered at least a couple of scale inches, perhaps more, by reversing the front crossmember and shaving 3 leaves off the spring. The kit chrome was knocked back by coating it with black Vallejo wash. The inner channel of the axle has been filled with flat black paint.

Now it’s ready for a stance check and any tweaking required. Time to assemble the wheels and tires. With the interior mostly done it’s getting close to final assembly time.

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

Click picture for larger image

Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 12:39 PM

I’ve gotten the wheels weathered, glued to the tires and the rolling stock glued to the axles. With the grill shell loosely mounted and the body held in place with a rubber band I was able to do a stance check. The grill shell will take some fiddling fettling but overall I like how low I was able to get it (a big improvement over Revell’s “mile-high: ground clearance) and the rake that the big ‘n’ littles provide.

The next issue will be the windshield. To my eye roadsters always look best without one and it’s oh-so tempting to just call it a dry lakes racer and call it good. Time to face it, though…  It’ll be important to conserve the unadorned simplicity I’ve managed to maintain so far.

Thanx .for lookin’,
B.

Click on picture for larger image

Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Friday, May 15, 2020 2:27 PM

This will be an extremely brief update, just about the grill placement and windshield selection.

Sometimes the simplest solution is the most appropriate. After spending time at the bench fiddling with various combinations of AMT and Revellogram ’29 Ford windshields and dashboard combinations, chopped and unchopped, the one solution I hadn’t tried was the windshield in the Revell roadster kit just as it came in the box. It’s a really nice part, a finely detailed and thin piece of kit chrome with a nice rearward angle cast into it. Finally I succumbed to the obvious and tried it unmodified with only a coating of Vallejo black wash to knock back the kit-chrome look. Bingo! The simple, classic hot rod look that was the whole point of this project.

The grill shell mounting is exact;y as it will be in the completed model. Interestingly, adding just an .020 strip of styrene to the bottom of the cut down Revell Deuce radiator I’m using is what I needed to dial it in. I’m always surprised at the differences these seemingly tiny adjustments can make when working in scale.

There are no major items left on my list except the biggy: whether to finish this up as  the ultra-simple “as-found” period hot rod pretty much as you see it here, or to add some detail “The Race of Gentlemen” styled touches such as period decals and racing numbers. The process of finally assembly will no doubt decide it for me.

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

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Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 9:05 PM

This project is now complete except I forgot to install the door handles. I’ll do that before I do the formal “beauty shots”. The summary of some final details shown below isn’t as sharp and clear as I’d like because I improvised some bench shots without a tripod. My usual photo setup wasn’t available today. I’ll include some sharper detail pics tomorrow. In the meantime thanks to all who followed along.

Thanx for lookin’,
B.

Click on picture for larger image

Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Thursday, May 21, 2020 6:28 PM

This project is now completed. Thanks to all who followed along. Here are the final "beauty pics".

Thanx for lookin'.
B.

Click on picture for larger image







Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    October 2008
  • From: Kennesaw, GA
Posted by nick63 on Thursday, May 21, 2020 7:51 PM

Excellent work and great photography. This is a motivator. Thanks for posting.

  • Member since
    May 2008
  • From: Louisville, CO
Posted by maniacalmodeler on Friday, May 22, 2020 1:35 PM

Great job! The stance is perfect. I like your method of creating worn paint. I'm a fan of things that are easy and look great when done! A way that I've used in the past to make chrome appear aged is to use red primer from a distance and lightly spray the chrome and then spray with semi-gloss clear. Anyway great work! I'll be trying your worn paint method soon! 

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Friday, May 22, 2020 8:37 PM

Thank you both, Nick and Maniacal. I'm glad you dig it!

Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Close to Chicago
Posted by JohnnyK on Saturday, May 23, 2020 2:47 PM

Really nice photography. Great angle of view. 

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Saturday, May 23, 2020 5:18 PM

Thanks Johnny!

I’ve had a request for some outdoor shots in natural light, so here they are.

Click on picture lor larger image




Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    September 2007
  • From: Vermont, am I the only one?
Posted by -Jeff- on Sunday, May 24, 2020 8:00 AM
B. As I stated elsewhere, what a terrific build this turned out to be. You found the sweet spot on the weathering, avoiding the “decrepitude” of the rat rod scene. Congrats....
Time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so. - Douglas Adams my photobucket
  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Sunday, May 24, 2020 8:49 AM

-Jeff-
B. As I stated elsewhere, what a terrific build this turned out to be. You found the sweet spot on the weathering, avoiding the “decrepitude” of the rat rod scene. Congrats....

 Thank you, Jeff. The person who requested outdoor photos is used to seeing models shot that way I was surprised at how little difference photographing the car under natural light made.

Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Close to Chicago
Posted by JohnnyK on Sunday, May 24, 2020 10:07 AM

How do you get the even lighting? Reflectors? Fill lights? There are no harsh shadows and no extreme contrast issues. Great photography.

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Sunday, May 24, 2020 3:43 PM

JohnnyK

How do you get the even lighting? Reflectors? Fill lights? There are no harsh shadows and no extreme contrast issues. Great photography.

 

Thank you, Johnny.

For the indoor shots I have a crude "studio". It's actually the venthood in my kitchen. There are small incandescent spotlights at the four corners angled inwards towards the cooktop surface so you get multiple shadows crossing each other. I use a small desklamp with a "daylight" bulb in it as the fill light. I position the fill light to highlight an area on the model, or to darken an area. Usually it's some sort of off angle to straight overhead. I use some combination of white and black cardboard backdrops and bases.

The outdoor shots were done on a cloudy, overcast day so that's why they're dead flat. I didn't use a fill light or reflectors. If it had been sunny I would have had to rig up some sort of shade to prevent any harsh shadows.

I consider the photography side of things as a logical extension of my car modeling hobby. What's the point of sharing your builds with fellow modelers if you don't put the same care into photographing them that you did in building them? I'm not a hobby photographer otherwise. It's just for taking pictures of my model cars.

My camera is an old Fujifilm E900 that was first introduced in 2005. It's a 9 megapixel camera which is plenty high resolution for Internet work. The thing that makes it special is that it's was an inexpensive compact camera with a good glass lense and, most uniquely, it can be set to shoot in RAW format. RAW is, as the name implies, the basic data that the camera records without any data compression at all. So, instead of the regular 72 dots-per-inch (dpi) image that Internet jpg files are rendered in, I get high resolution 240 dpi images. I've been through 3 E900s since I got my first one. They've been long discontinued and I buy replacements on aBay. They're still out there and, in good condition, can be had for less than $50.00.

The all black background shots, done in that Rodder's Journal style, are heavily manipulated in Photoshop. They can't be done any other way. But the indoor shots with the white surface are only lightly processed.

Mainly I do a couple of things that have been common in magazne prep for many decades, dating back to chemical darkroom days. First off is to very slightly overexpose the image, which is easy to do in Photoshop but not generally available with most photo processing software. This helps diffuse any shadows a bit and it opens up more detail that might be hidden in shadows. But you have to use this very sparingly. Next is to deepen the contrast in the image, again to highlight edges and detail.

But none of this stuff is all that important. Modern compact digital cameras take beautiful jpg format images and quite often have excellent macro settings for closeup work. What's critical is that you get a good sharp image to begin with. For that there isn't anything more important than using a tripod, and, if your camera has it, a shutter timer. This permits you to shoot your pictures hands-free and they'll be tack sharp every time. Combined with a good macro lens close-up setting and shooting multiple images (which in the digital world are essentially free) so you can pick and choose the best ones and you should be able create good looking images of your models. Just make sure there's as much light as possible so you can shoot with your lens aperture as small as possible for good depth of field. If you can see a good picture in your camera's display then the goal is to capture it in your camera - and of course share it with us here!

Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    December 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Thursday, May 28, 2020 10:38 AM

Such a cool build, Bernard. I think this may be one of my favourites of your old school projects. The outdoor shots look great. You nailed the patina, and the Olds mill is perfect. Love it!

"It would be unusual, if the unusual didn't occur."

- Steamboat Gariepy

Trevor

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Thursday, May 28, 2020 1:20 PM

Thank you Trevor.

I really do think the highboy option on this kit has a far better chance of looking "dialed in" than the channeled version. It's much easier to lower the mile-high stance on the highboy to an acceptable level because the Deuce rails fill up some of the vast space. The kit channeled frame, because it has such a modest z and because they're using the same front axle, almost looks like it has the same space between the bottom of the body and the ground as the highboy, making that "vast space", if anything, appear to be proportionately greater. Because of their smaller bodies, channeled '29's in general don't look as well proportioned as channeled Deuces, IMHO. My first attempt at correcting the stance on the channeled version was OK, but I think it could be better. I'll have to take another swing at at some point...

Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

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