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How to build a scale-powered Woody!


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#1 Jairus

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:40 AM

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I have always loved Woodie’s and wagons! The combination of varnished warm wood grain colors combined with a vehicle that you can drive is something ethereal that I cannot describe with words… only feelings. The fact that you can combine one of these beautiful vehicles with the Surf culture, AND vintage Rock & Roll only makes it that much more special to me. So… it is with strains of Dick Dale playing in the background I bring to you my newest project:
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I sure hope mine turns out as nice! ;)
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#2 Dooner

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 11:52 AM

I have a K& B rolling chassis begging for a body like this.
Tom Backes

#3 Jairus

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 12:07 PM

I built my first model woody back in 1985. After that I was hooked and built 5 more since using real wood to construct the passenger compartment and to this date have constructed a 1929, 1932, 1936, 1938, 1941 and a 1948 Ford woody wagons. All are a variety of vehicle types… the 1932 having a set of tracks and ski’s and the 1941 a Rat Rod of all things… LOL.

This time I decided to do a slot car based on the article posted above by the great Don Emmons. Don’s article inspired this very model that I built back in 1988, but I took it a few steps further by making the doors and tailgate open. The woody was based on Revell’s antique ’29 pickup kit and because of that the running boards do not have passenger car rubber mats. This is something no judge has yet to caught…. Haha but is not really correct so added some weathering (mud) to hid that fact.

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For my project I will be using a 1931 Woody kit, again by Revell, chosen because it was first issued during the mid 60’s and I did not have a 1930 Revell roadster kit to cut up like the one Don used.

Onward….

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#4 Dooner

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 12:20 PM

Beautiful job Jairus as always. I'm sure your new project will turn out great too. I have always been partial to early Fords.

Here are some pics of our yard where I grew up. If you look closely on the lower right pic you can see the steering wheel of a fourth Model A Ford. My dad was a sign painter and he taught all three of his children how to do lettering. The state of PA forced my father to sell the house so they could put I-95 through his property.

Backes_Signs.jpg
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#5 Jairus

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 12:46 PM

Wow, very cool Tom! I would have been frustrated to have grown up in that yard, playing in the old cars... smelling the musty odor of old grease and aging upholstery... but not able to drive them. Hot rod them... sigh... :dash2:

Thanks for the pictures.

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#6 Jairus

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 01:18 PM

All good projects need a solid foundation. For a slot car, it needs a chassis that will not disappoint on the track and therefore I spared no brass creating something that could have been built about mid 60’s. All bits and pieces are as period correct as I could with regard to my limited knowledge. The chassis is a scratchbuilt “space frame” design that looks like it could have come from the era. (But then what do I know? I'm told that I just copy other peoples work anyway -_- )
The motor is a Kemtron and the gear mesh smooth and very quiet. Front wheels rotate independently and the rear axle spins through sealed ball bearings. The whole package should last for years and years!
Total weight 165 grams and the drop arm is weighted with lead… so isn't suppose to be be a race car by any stretch of the imagination. However it should be quite easy to drive with very little chance of crashing.

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Cowl is attached to the fenders and some of the under floor needed to be cleared away to make room for that bulky antique “padlock” style Kemtron motor. Therefore the rear floor was raised up about .25”.

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Frame fits into a pocket in the front and held to the rear by a brass machine screw running into a buried blind nut.

Now it’s time to start cutting wood using the original kit pieces as a pattern! The base for the side panels is very thin .025 model aircraft 5 layer plywood. The tailgate is much thicker material at about .078. The whole combination will end up being very lightweight, eliminating inherent top heaviness while remaining fairly strong!

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More to come…
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Jairus H Watson - Artist
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#7 Mike Steube

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 01:54 PM

I'd like to add some Surfer Stoke. Neat build for sure, Dude. :D
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#8 Jairus

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 02:12 PM

I spy with my little eye... a nice 1947 Chevrolet (body by Hurcules) in the back with two '49 Fords on the right and three '40 Fords on the left. Great collection Mike!

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#9 havlicek

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 04:20 PM

YOWSA Jairus! Now yer talkin' Dewey Weber (aka "The Little Man on Wheels" and my childhood hero!) would definitely approve!

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-john
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#10 endbelldrive

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Posted 24 March 2009 - 05:17 PM

Surfin', Sign Paintin' and Woodies...some serious Kulture happening here! :music:
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#11 Jairus

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 09:16 AM

Thanks guys! :)


Where was I....?
Oh yeah, Wood!
It’s all around us, and one of the greatest renewable resources available to mankind for construction. It’s strong, cheap and easy to work with. I love the smell of the wood while sanding on a piece of Oak, Maple or even Fir! Incidentally, my savior was a carpenter if you didn’t know.

The wood for this little piece could fit into your shirt pocket so not much actual material is needed to build the box. Most of it is tiny and can be found at the local hobby shop in the railroad section for a couple of bucks a package. (Ironic that the wood and the motor both come from the model Railroad hobby!) Railroaders use it to build scale HO buildings, bridges, water towers and other such scale related pieces. Therefore all the measurements are in HO scale. So I won’t bother calling out any sizes. If someone is following along to build their own woody, simply buy a range of sizes that look right and you cannot go wrong. Oh, and contrary to popular belief the wood used is not Balsa but Spruce. Spruce is much stronger than Balsa because of it’s tighter grain. Therefore can be milled down into tiny pieces much smaller than you could ever do with Balsa. Because of this, it’s available in a large range of dimensions and great for those wanting to build a scale woody!

As Don did in the above article, 4 strips are soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes. After that the strips are very pliable and wrap around an object quite easily without breaking. After holding in place with rubber bands or a clamp, it is left overnight to dry.

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The bent pieces are for the wheel arches and I did them side by side and stacked so that there are 4 total in two different diameters.

Then pieces are slowly cut and glued down in place using Elmer’s Carpenters glue because it is very strong and waterproof. Epoxy is used only where additional strength is required.
First attached: a top rail, then the doorposts and then the belt line and bottom piece. Lastly the inside structural pieces are laid down using the kit parts as a pattern, horizontal first and then the vertical.

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While things are drying, I turned my attention to the floor. After cutting out clearance for the wheels, gears and motor… the rear fenders ended up loose and flopping around. A set of “donor” inner fender wells are added to the chassis. Well beyond the needed depth, but this provides a ton of strength where it will be needed.

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Very important is to test fit the side panels from time to time in order to see any problems that might crop up down the road.

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Stay tuned…
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#12 Jairus

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Posted 26 March 2009 - 12:50 AM

If you are still following along the final step, after all the pieces are glued to the sides and the tailgate, is to block sand the edges flush. Some of the pieces are not exactly the same dimension and block sanding will ensure a nice flush look.

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I didn’t take any pictures of the step… but one of the last pieces added to the sides is a wide top rail, which I wetted in the middle and warped into a slight curve. This piece, once dry is glued securely. It will become the overhang over the doors. Plus, it will be carefully rounded for a nice transition to the rooftop.

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With that in place the task of cutting open the window openings is next. “Window” is really a misnomer because no woody had any side glass until 1935 when Ford finally put roll up windows inside the doors of the front seat passengers only. Until then, all side openings were open to the air, and for inclement weather, snap-on canvas and isinglass curtains were provided.

Note that some plywood material is left in the upper cargo openings. This will replicate the cast iron gussets and brackets that were used to bolt these beautiful panels together. This also provides added strength. In-fact, I placed gussets and fillets in numerous locations for the same purpose.

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Now, on a flat surface, the tailgate and the side panels are glued together and left to dry. Care must be taken to insure that the sides are parallel and the perpendicular to the tailgate. Use of a square is an excellent idea about this time.

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At this angle is it possible to see that the top most rails project above the side panels quite a bit. This is to provide a place to lay the roof ribs…
….which we will do next!

Ciao
:)
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Jairus H Watson - Artist
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#13 Jairus

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 07:57 AM

Time to turn attention to the roof. Roof ribs from the middle door post to the rear are all the same width so a stack of them are carefully notched on both ends so they fit snug on both sides leaving a bit of a recess below the side rails for the roof slats. This is a great place to start using epoxy. The two ahead of the middle door post are custom cut to fit since the roof tapers toward the cowl. The header took a lot of fiddling and to get correct, as I want a nice tight fit between the wood and the cowl. Mounting on the fenders/cowl is necessary and epoxy a requirement in this location.

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After the ribs are solid it is time to start on the roof slats. All woodies from the early horse drawn “wagons” to the last all-wood Station Wagon of 1948 used similar construction techniques. With regard to the roof… that means a series of thin slats laid over ribs followed by a chicken wire mesh, then batting and finally an oil-cloth/vinyl roofing material. The last was pulled tight and attached with a tacking strip all around the edges held in place with small nails.

Since most early woodies had mostly flat roofs, the laying out of the slats is pretty straightforward. Tack on the slats at the rear and once that is dry… a touch of water applied to the curved area with a paint brush and allowed to soak in… then epoxy applied to the header (where I left a nice wide shelf for attachment purposes.) and the slat bent down. It is held in place with a clip until the epoxy sets.

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This part of the project is the most tedious as I can only do a few slats at a time so as to allow plenty of drying time. Eventually, only the last few slats in the center are left. At that point I slather a lot of epoxy over all the slats effectively burying them permanently assuring plenty of strength. While it is drying, a few clips and a nice block used to insure that all slats dry smooth and level. Leaving like this over night is a must.

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After all has cured, block sand the roof and round off the side rails, first with 220 and then with 2400 to get it all smooth.

Now is time for yet another test fit and mockup. The stance looks early “Hot Rod” and the powerplant a 421 Pontiac, which will sport 3 deuce carbs and chrome valve covers.

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On ward….
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Jairus H Watson - Artist
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Check out some of the cool stuff on my Fotki!


#14 Roger U

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 11:34 AM

Wow, with all this intricate detail work on the car are you actually going to run it on the track? Don't want to damage a beautiful car and all the effort put into it. :)
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#15 bosmeck

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 01:15 PM

Mr J

This looks pretty amazing sofar - the workmanship in this car is excellent! :o I can't wait to see it painted. Brilliant job brother :)
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#16 endbelldrive

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 02:36 PM

Goosebumps...yep, I got goosebumps and a big old smile on my face. I love looking at wood, J! :i-m_so_happy:

R&C Models and Don Emmons were permanently etched in my brain. I loved all of the projects in that short lived magazine. :wub:
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#17 havlicek

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 05:05 PM

Hi Jairus,

The build looks sweet! Looking at this thing, I'm reminded of how models of all kinds were built when there weren't molded plastic parts. You're a real craftsman!

-john

(PS...is there going to be a blown Rat motor sticking out of the hood?...just kidding!)
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#18 Tex

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 07:08 PM

Jairus,

Yer a model-buildin' fool! And I mean that in the best way!
Richard L. Hofer

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#19 68Caddy

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Posted 27 March 2009 - 07:14 PM

Jairus you sure have a creative mind and lots of patient, looks awesome. ;)

Nesta Posted Image
- Gabriel
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#20 havlicek

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 06:39 AM

I wanna see more.

-john
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#21 Jairus

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 09:50 AM

Not a lot of progress to show on the Woody today other than some painting and sealing. Building that woody body goes pretty fast so progress shows, but now it's down to painting and detailing. Which takes more time and when I only work on it in the evenings... not a lot gets done that actually shows.
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So far have two coats of "Ol'Dads" varnish to seal the wood up. Nothing worse than to build a woody and have it warp before it is done. Sealing up the body is very important and the varnish has to go everywhere to completely seal. The finish is a satan and I put two coats on with a little steel wooling accomplished between to knock down any dust or bits that got in the mix. Looks great but I don’t want to touch it just yet.
Messed around last night putting some paint on the fenders and cowl and have the engine painted and wired. Updates later.

Jairus H Watson - Artist
Need something painted, soldered, carved, or killed? - jairuswtsn@aol.com

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Check out some of the cool stuff on my Fotki!


#22 endbelldrive

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 04:16 PM

I'm holding my breath while the varnish dries. Onward... :victory:
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#23 dbs

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 04:26 PM

Jairus, I've been folowing this project since the start and it's just too cool!

Can't wait to see the engine finished - especially with the Vertex magneto.
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#24 H10

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 06:30 PM

jairus , very nice work !
Rene Goessens

#25 tossedman

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Posted 28 March 2009 - 08:49 PM

Beauty eh!

On! On! :D

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