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Now I have both the very first (PjMTW) and very last (this one) XC chassis build-it-from-a-kit cars from Tamiya. Once again this was from E-Bay with a 'buy-it-now' and yet again it was from our friend Jason in Japan and it was sent via SAL (Surface Land Air?!? - still don't know what it stands for. Maybe by ship from Japan to Europe and then by overland vehicle freight to England? Anyone know?) to me in England.
Once again and unbelievably to me, the car sailed straight through UK Customs and arrived in about 8 days (quicker this time!) from Japan and there were no VAT or Import Duty or Clearance Fees !! Probably because it was sent using uninsured shipping which means that a full Customs declaration form is not required and the Customs Duty people maybe therefore don't bother with it...
Cost approx 145 GBP for the kit, 26 GBP for the postage, the kit being fair value for money I feel (makes a nice change and makes me more likely to buy them at this price). Conversion rate on Paypal was 1.81 USD to 1 GBP 'cause the auctions are always in USD with Jason. With the strong Pound and the weak Dollar (i.e. going back to how it used to be many years ago) everything is looking a lot more attractive on E-Bay.com all of a sudden!!
I may well be buying another one of these in due course if the USD prices stay low since now that I have actually got this kit and seen it up close I feel that it is a shame to muck it up so I'll just run it indoors and on the patio, and I want the other one so that I can go mud pluggin' in the back garden...
There are some beautiful Chrome parts in this kit and proper clear plastic headlights and you can fit the R/C lighting set to it or the www.RCNEON.com kits but yet again the dual intensity rear red lights that I like to buy from RCNeon are going to be a problem since I will have to cut holes in the rear of the shell to accomodate them. Yet another reason for wanting another CR-V... so that if I make a ***** of one shell then I still have another one.
I see that the chassis is the exact same one as in the 'Jero MTW, the quite a lot longer wheelbase being possible by using longer suspension links. When I got the bodyshell out of the box it was simply awesome, a real thing of ABS injection blow moulded beauty. I immediately saw just how large this thing is going to be, it's a BIG car for 1/10th scale. Even though I bought this for mud pluggin' in the garden, I am really starting to warm to the looks of it, it seems to look better every time I see the box. I think that I'll build this one first before my 'Jero MTW. I need to make one into an XC runner, I wanna see how it drives in the mud :-)
Now to painting it ;- I learned from Jim Peacock (Shodog - the Master Tamiya modeler) and other TC members that first you get rid of the mould lines. You do this by the use of abrasive paper sheets. Since plastic tends to clog abrasive sheets, it is much preferable to use the same thing that they use in Automotive paint shops when they are preparing 1:1 metal and metal / filler (!) and fibreglass real car bodies, i.e. Waterproof Silicon Carbide paper. This is resin bonded and can be used either Wet or Dry. I got Indasa (made in Portugal) brand RhinoWet Silicon Carbide paper, P400 grade, that I got loads of from a local Auto Paint / Auto Electrical shop. P400 is very fast at removing moulding lines and imperfections in PolyStyrene / Styrol / ABS blow moulded hard plastic Tamiya bodyshells - I also got 10 sheets each of P400, P600, P800, P1000, and P1200 grade - there is also P1500 and P2000 grade available - these abrasive sheets are about the size of an A4 or US letter sheet of paper and are best used wet which stops the paper clogging with the particles of plastic and also acts as a lubricant for the abrasive), these sheets cost 40 pence each.
Then you fill imperfections with BONDO brand 'Glazing and Spot Putty' #907, 4.5 Oz. tube, which is available in USA only [not Bondapaste, that is a UK thing I think] (There are loads of fillers available, NitroCellulose, Epoxy ready mixed (?), 2-part Epoxy, CA (brittle), Acrylic, modeling filler, and PolyEster car body Filler, but some can dissolve Styrene bodyshells so pay heed to the warning information below!), so I will either have to get help from a TC member import some of the above Bondo filler (it's only 3 USDollars a tube! and I need the stuff badly!) or try the Tamiya modeling putties - they are all in the Tamiya catalogue. Then you wash the body in industrial / automotive de-greaser (make sure it is not harmful to the Styrene body and that it does not dissolve your filler (!) - again see below for warnings!) or washing-up liquid (presumably until the body 'squeeks' when you rub your finger along it!!) and then put it in a box and let it 'air dry' (don't rub-dry it, since Static Electricity forms and this will attact dust to it), the box being to keep air-born dust off the bodyshell.
Then spray 4 or so very THIN coats with Tamiya Fine Surface Primer L since it is the lightest primer available and won't obliterate the mounding's fine details, grey is better at showing the imperfections better but white makes the colours lighter, anyway I bought the white one!
I had to import this primer from Germany since it is not available in the UK as far as I know. Then, for example, to paint the Honda CR-V to box art colours, you spray the Tamiya TS-30 Silver Leaf synthetic lacquer on it as a reflective base coat colour enhancer and then you spray
Tamiya TS-53 Deep Metallic Blue, and then you spray on Tamiya TS-51 Telefonica (Racing) Blue and then finally you spray on 4 coats of Tamiya TS-13 clear coat. Jim Peacock did this on his 'Juggerlux' - have a look in his showroom for one of the most gorgeous paint colour and finishes that you will ever see on an R/C car! I would be glad to achieve 70 per cent of what he did with the paint on my CR-V but I doubt I'll get that close!
I also learned that spraying black before the colour coat makes the colour more intense but slightly darkens it. Gold can be used as a backing coat as well. When it comes to masking off areas;- You have to be careful to stick the masking tape down very carefully and thoroughly with a long-ish finger nail at the edges so that the paint gets to be in a sharp line and no paint gets under the tape. Tamiya's paper masking tape is what I want to try. Also needed is a VERY VERY sharp knife for cutting the tape. I have Tamiya's FINE craft knife, #74053, and I got some replacement blades as well (!) ...and I must say that this is the absolute sharpest knife that I have EVER seen, it is like a medical scalpel (probably sharper)! The above things are all
things that I learned from Tamiya Club...Thank God for TC!
If you make a balls-up of it, then strip the paint off and try again by putting the bodyshell in DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid - warm if possible (not hot) for more activation energy, and let it soak for a few days - the paint should start to peel straight off - Use of a tooth brush or paint brush is useful while you do this to get into the detailed areas on the bodyshell. You can also use 'Easy Off Oven Cleaner', see;-
...Rubbing alcohol works as well apparently, but I don't know what it's actual chemical make up is. Methylated Spirit (Meths) leaves a white residue. Isopropyl alcohol - tape head cleaning fluid (!) also works I imagine, and leaves NO residue - I got some that I use for tape deck heads, but I also got a big bottle from the local Chemist (Pharmacy) which was cheaper for more of it (better value). Trouble is, anything that is an organic solvent like Benzine, Nail Polish (Acetone base, or even the acetone free ones! - See;-
...TriChloroEthylene, etc etc will dissolve the Styrene body!
ALWAYS try your intended paint removal chemicals on SCRAP Styrene of the EXACT SAME kind as the bodyshell as a test to see if it has an adverse effect on the plastic BEFORE you ever try it on your bodyshell. Some fillers (like a tub of wood filler that I found the other day in our house) actually use a styrene solvent base or other organic solvents that will dissolve Styrene bodies... and the Polyester resin that I use to bond GRP contains styrene so again that would dissolve Styrene bodies...
Also, if you live in England like me, you have got next to no chance of getting a good day to paint on, we get rain, wind, 80 per cent relative humidity quite often, cold, etc... Paint 'blooms' when it is humid and won't cure properly... I am screwed, basically. God only knows how my paint job will
turn out...! For the best tips on using Tamiya's TS Synthetic Lacquer paints on Styrene bodies, see Tamiya's own article at;-