What was supposed to be an easy project, that started back in 2003, turned into a very long, often stagnant build. I wanted to build a Civic similar to the one I used to own. After stripping the paint and using large amount of body filler, as well as removing the wing, I smoothed out much of the Fast and Furious look. Once the body work was complete, I started painting with Testors spray can lacquer. I struggled with spraying a smooth layer of paint and also found that the paint easily chipped around the doors and hood and didn’t know how to avoid it.
Shortly after, I decided to copy the look of a Grassroots Motorsports project car that was painted red oxide primer. For the most part, the paint looked okay but it was still too thick. In the end, I set this project aside.
Fast forward about six years I had renewed interest in this project after having completed two other projects with a bottle of railroad red oxide paint. I tried prepping the existing paint but decided that I needed to start from scratch. Once I stripped the paint, and realized how much work would be required to repair the body work, the project stalled once more. During this time, I did paint all of the interior pieces.
Over the next three years, I continued my reluctance to move forward with this project. Eventually, I realized that my successes with spray can paint in recent years would make this project much easier to complete. I abandoned the red oxide primer theme and returned to the original idea of painting it red.
I started by experimenting with Krylon paint and found that I would need to clear coat the paint if I wanted a high gloss finish. I quickly repaired the body work and sprayed primer. After several coats of paint, I set all of the pieces in my dehydrator to cure. Interestingly, I had an issue where pin holes appeared in several areas as if gas bubbles had worked their way through the curing paint. I decided to aggressive sand the paint and was rewarded with a smooth finish. I cleared the paint with Testors lacquer clear, decanted and sprayed through an airbrush. Similar blemishes appeared in the clear but were easily sanded and polished away.
Now that the body was painted and polished, I masked and sprayed all of the body detail.
I wanted to add more detail to the interior work I completed years ago. I sealed the dashboard and door panels with satin clear and used a fine brush to add button details as necessary. I also added flocking material to the interior and trunk.
The engine was pulled apart and detail painted. Other than the valve cover, most of the engine detail is poor compared to the 1:1. I used Alcald chrome for the headers. I detailed the valve cover and used clear red over silver to paint the intake tube.
The wheels were painted bronze and the center lugs were hand painted.
Once all of the pieces were ready, I started assembly. I did manage to chip the paint on the edge of the hood, while installing it, but corrected it easily with touch up. Assembly went quickly and with minimal issues. One final step was adding an aluminum tube to replace the existing exhaust tip.
Started in 2005 and finished in 2016…I honestly never though I would finish this project. The skills I learned over the years gave me the tools I needed to finish this project and far better than my original expectations. I do have to say that I’m surprised I still had all of the pieces! I stumbled upon a few parts in the box of another abandoned die-cast project. In the end, I’m very pleased with this project!
Completed: December 2016
I never took a picture of this model prior to pulling it apart and stripping it. I searched online and found pictures to use as a reference.
Stripping in a can. Nasty stuff that does a great job on die-cast.
After cleaning and sanding the body, I started adding filler.
I tested the paint on a few of the panels. At this point, everything was working well.
I continued to refine the body work.
I completely filled in this bumper and shaped the lower portion with a straight edge and sanding stick.
This is the chipping that started giving me trouble. If there was any interference between panels, it chipped.
One last shot before I gave up on the gloss red paint job.
After reading about a project Civic in Grassroots Motorsports, I chose to paint this the same red oxide primer they chose.
I tried using spray paint and it worked well other than a few areas. Out of frustration, I would give up on this kit for a number of years.
Fast forwarding roughly six years, I decided to give this another shot. I tried smoothing out the finish but the mistakes in the paint were too aggressive. I would end up stripping it one more time.
I jumped on the interior to get it out of the way.
Most of the interior would be black making this relatively simple.
I wanted to add gray detail to the dash and door panels. I masked them with parafilm.
Parafilm to the rescue.
The extra detail brakes up the all black interior.
Sadly, after I finished the interior and ground down the rest of the paint on the body, the project has taken the back seat once again. I’m not very motivated to do this but I will get it done one day.
Early in 2016, I decided to get moving and hammer out the rest of the body work repairs.
I wanted to test the paint prior to committing to the entire body. If I hadn’t damaged the wet paint in the corner of the hood, I would have been happy to use this. Once I test sanded and polished the paint, I stripped it one last time and prepped it for paint.
Further body prep.
I filled the original wing holes with JB Weld. Filling in Die Cast poses different challenges than in styrene. It takes considerably more effort to sand the metal than the filler.
I finished the repairs on the body work. It was finally time to apply primer and move forward!
I sprayed all of the exterior pieces with white primer.
After sanding the primer smooth, it was time for paint.
I set all of the pieces in my dehydrator to cure. I may have used too much heat, or possibly due to paint incompatibility but I ended up with pinholes in the paint on all of the parts.
I wasn’t sure how to correct the pin holes. I decided to let the paint cure for a few more days before I moved forward.
I decided to try sanding the pin holes before doing anything drastic. After a few hours of sanding, I was able to eliminate most if not all of the pin holes.
I sprayed the body with decanted Testors clear.
While I waited for the clear to cure, I worked on everything else.
In order to give the interior more depth, I sprayed the dash and door panels with satin clear.
This engine looks very little like the 1:1 version. Either way, it was time to paint.
I found similar pinholes in the clear and in similar locations as the color. I was able to sand them away as well.
I polished the paint using Tamiya’s rubbing and polishing compounds. The results were excellent!
Once the body parts were polished, it was time to mask and spray the trim.
Using a significant amount of parafilm, the body was ready for trim paint.
Since the original paint was black, I had never seen this kit in this level of detail. It was the sign that the end was near!
By this point, the wheels were painted, the body was finished and the interior was detailed.
I loved the way the wheels turned out. Much better than the original chrome.
I took the time to detail all of the buttons on the dashboard. This detail is one of many that I would not have done had I completed this years ago.
I assembled all of the body panels and glass. The chassis was also reassembled along with the interior. This was the first test fit.
I decided that the interior needed a little more and pulled it back apart to prepare it for flocking.
I mixed black and gray flocking and ended up with a color that was close to the original. I also flocked the trunk after using Krystal Klear to fill the NOS bottle holes.
The interior looked infinitely better. I do need to comment that the shifter is an automatic yet this model has three pedals. Oh well.
Here is the completed interior. Again, this has turned out beyond my wildest expectations.
The flocking truly added detail that this project needed!
Overall, the engine is very inaccurate. All but the valve cover! With a bit of effort, the valve cover would make the engine.
With the valve cover and plug wire cover sparyed, it was time to spray the distributor cap and wires.
The distributor cap and plug wires were sprayed. Time to remove the masking and hand paint the oil fill cap.
The final touches under the hood included hand painting valve cover nuts and spraying the intake tube clear red over silver.
I also painted the header with Alclad Chrome.
I hand painted the buckles and clips on the harness and attached the pedals I detailed earlier.
The plastic and chromed exhaust tip looked fairly chunky. I pulled it off, centered the tip in the opening and attached a piece of polished aluminum tubing.
The last detail, only because I found them later, was painting and installing the door sills. Now it was completed.
The completed engine looks great under the hood.
From this angle, it’s easy to see the flocking and the impact it makes.
At last, after 11 years, this Civic is complete and better than I had ever envisioned.