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66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Whilst I sit and admire the work being done on the current Dallara Indycar in another thread,
I have been getting on with my own project
of exploring the possibilities of doing some Indycars from yesteryears.

I have put together a couple of Penskes from 1979 and am starting on a couple of Parnellis.
In the meantime I discovered the SRC McLaren M23 basic body and chassis presented me with the
possibility of looking at the McLaren M24b cars raced that year at Indy.

Started with the O'Connell entered Tom Sneva Sugaripe sponsored car that sat middle from row
between the Mears Penske and Unser Chapparal.

Vehicle Toy Aircraft Toy airplane Airplane

This car posed a problem with colour choice. Debated back and forth with some very knowledgeable chaps
on an open wheel modelling forum and the choice came down to a 'biscuit' or 'light creme' even though
most of the photos from the time showed up pale yellow. Settled on the creme and then when photographed,
it came up pale yellow. Still not sure but pressed ahead anyway.

The almost Ensign MN08 like narrow nose configuration was only raced at Indianapolis from what I can see
and did not quite get the tapered angle on the side I wanted but then it is hidden under the front wings.

Toy Vehicle Automotive design Toy vehicle Plastic

Have to admit it is not my favorite car and did rush through a bit. And what gets me is realising that it is almost
like building two kits. The car then the driver. Had to chop out yet another Simpson 'star wars' lid...
The decals were home made and did the artwork twice as my reference material covered so many practise and qualifying days and hardly anything from the race itself.

Tire Wheel Vehicle Car Automotive tire

A very basic livery and I am sure there is more to go on but there do not seem to be many close up shots of this car left. to look at on the internet. I have in the meantime ordered the 1979 Indy 500 year book with race days pics galore which might give me more clues as to what else I may have to add.

Yes. I have the Osterero Chapparal to complete the front row from that year with decals form Indycals for the 1979
version of the car.

Toy Vehicle Toy airplane Aircraft Toy vehicle

I then went on to look at the McLaren Team Budweiser sponsored M24b of Johnny Rutherford.
There are enough differences in the cars to keep it from being a simple repeat process which I guess keeps
the interest up in the builder...

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Again the narrow nose but the rear is akin to the standard M24 from previous years of which there were a couple on the grid in 1979.

Vehicle Toy Hood Boat Aircraft

Masking. Spraying and then the model technic Trimline comes into play. Thank God for Trimline
Unfortunately Indycals do not this version in 1/32 so it is back to the laptop and art working again.
I must learn how to do this with a vector programme rather than photoshop. Would tighten the quality of
what I print and give me a decent library of logos etc for future projects.

Water Leg Liquid Human body Pink

Went a bit mad with the driver figure. Another Simpson Star Wars lid with all the rimmings.
Got a few more logos to sort out for the side of the helmet but getting there.
And the drivers eyes decals from KevinOz are so great.

Vehicle Automotive design Tire Wheel Racing

So getting ready for the final push. get my decals on and then sort the front suspension and Cosworth engine cover on.

I went for 1979, it was a tumultuous year for USAC/CART racing in terms of the politics and how the sport was run,
but more so because there was that interesting move from the mid 1970s evolution of design into the wing car era.
That year had cars from Penske, Parnelli, McLaren, Lightning, Lola, Wildcat and all sorts that dated back to the mid 1970s. I have some specific subjects I want to do from 1977 and 1978 but will plod on with this particular year for now given the material available to work from. Living in London in the UK, I originally looked at the cars that came over for the two races at Brands Hatch and Silverstone in 1978 but my experience of modelling at 1/25th leaned me to this year. As and when I finish these I will likely get to finish the Parnellis and will post them on the end of this as well as anything else I do from that year.

Already thinking about the narrow nosed Penske PC6 of Gordon Johncock to complete the front two rows...

Apologies if this rambled on a bit. I know this subject matter is not to everyone's taste but maybe it might prove of interest to some.

Regards to all


66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Believe it or not it simple thin packaging clear plastic. Can find the kind that bends without frosting
and will not frost when applying clear laquer. Collectable card protection sleeves work well cut to size.

66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Completed as far as I can tell unless I find something else in future pictorial reference.

Tire Wheel Car Automotive tire Vehicle

Something very odd happened with this one that has me a tad annoyed and mystified.
The laquer used on many other models went on fine. Rear wing still white. Sides still white.
top plane of front wings, nose and cowling... Well it went Ivory!
Have no idea why. Same primer. Same white. Same decal paper and clear on that.....
Can you sun bleach a laquered model like you can yellowed decals?

Car Vehicle Tire Automotive tire Automotive design

Potential there to do some other interesting cars from that era from McLarens to Lightnings and Wildcats.
Will all take time but I have launched into a Parnelli VPJ6 to do the AJ Foyt version.
Now off to test that laquer.........

One thing I will have to source are rear wheels and tires for these. Using F1 spec kit but could do with
something with the same radius but ever so slightly narrower to make for a more accurate profile.

Tire Wheel Car Land vehicle Vehicle

66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Found this on Indycar 101.

Wheel Land vehicle Tire Vehicle Motor vehicle

Attenuator Light: A road-course rain light is mounted on the attenuator located on the rear of each car. The rain light doubles as a safety light at all tracks. Similar to track condition radio, race control activates the flashing safety light on the attenuator, indicating a caution so that drivers can see the flashing attenuator light on cars in front of them.

Hope this helps.


66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Perhaps I should have started a new thread but it all comes under the Indy 500 from 1979
so will just keep this one going for now. Hope the faithful do not mind.

Another 'DNQ' production based conversion. Parnelli VPJ 6 of AJ Foyt who finished second that year.
Do not know anything about resin casting but this well proportioned base is of a resin that is so
nice and easy to work with without being brittle or difficult to sand, sculpt or add to.

Green Wood Toy airplane Aircraft Military aircraft

Using a SRC McLaren M23 chassis with their inline set up which should match the performance of the
other cars from this race I have modified already.

Tire Motor vehicle Hood Vehicle Automotive design

Just waiting for the Ford Poppy Red rattle can and the scaled radiator mesh for the sidepods.
Front suspension is not entirely correctly proportioned but will risk mounting it without the usual
axle across the front which normally a solid safe way of hanging the front wheel assembly.
Fingers crossed.......

66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Done I think.

This what I was going for.

Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Automotive tire

This is what I came up with.

Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Automotive tire

Not easiest of births.
Coulda done with a few epidurals along the way.

Happy with it but can do better. Wish I had some plans to work from.

Front wheels should be higher. Will try to sort that with the next one I do.
Means the front can be lower to the track and look more purposeful.
But so far have got away without the solid front axle given the suspension config on the real thing.
Have no idea what is on top of the engine cover.
Cannot identify all the decals from the ref I have. Indycals and a couple of my own on here.
Thought about running the leads from the engine cover.
If I do that I will have to go back and do all the others.
Want to use narrower rears with the same radius to look more USAC than F1 but cannot source any yet.
When I do I can finish the hubs correctly and just swap out the rubber over time.
I know the decals on the tires were opposite to each other in reality but done now just for appearance.
Did think about applying speed blured tire markings but would look odd when standing still
and you do not notice when running on the track.
Kinda like doing the radial blur on a propeller image and then onto a clear disc for a plane kit in flight.
Wish I could get a consistently good result when painting and laquering.
Temperature? The product? Me? Anyone got any Klear on sale in Europe?

Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Automotive tire

Want to go on and do the Ongais car from that year. Hopefully improve on this one.

Want to thank 'DNQ' again for the base to work from. And loving the SCR M23 chassis and running gear.

Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Automotive tire

66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·

Should have been clearer.

When I say the top of the engine cover I meant on the actual bodywork.
Do not know if it is open. Has a mesh. Has any peripherals, fuel caps etc...

The logo issue is more to do with the multitude of supplier logos mainly on the side pods.

66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Hope you all do not mind we going on here but started a new 1979 USAC racer,
but thought it worth chucking in because it is a bit different from me taking a body and converting it.
I went more or less full scratch on this one. Trying to push what shapes I can get from styrene whilst
exploring the unique shape and curves I can make out on this particular car.

Mike Mosley Eagle. 3rd at Indy in 1979.

Tire Wheel Car Land vehicle Vehicle

Apart from a few other internet sourced pics this is all I had to work from.
I looked at doing everything forward of the engine and then mating it to a SRC M23 rear end to then mate to their
strait forward M23 chassis retaining the screw mounting points.

Did a drawing starting with the engine dimensions and keeping the SRC track and wheel base.
Printed on to self adhesive film to stick to the styrene sheets for chopping out but hand.
I say that because it keeps occurring to me that a Cricut machine could be a good thing
whilst I continue to explore this medium. Sure the 3dprinting crowd will say otherwise but that will come one day.

Font Material property Parallel Pattern Engineering

With this done I set about cutting out and seeing how the styrene stood up to the shapes and bends on here.
Normally I would add my conversion on to an existing body but with the low profile of this car's side pods
I slotted the rear of the M23 body over my basic front end.

Water Watercraft Boat Vehicle Naval architecture

Water Naval architecture Airplane Ship Lake

Triple thick skin thick around the front suspension area ready to drill into and mount the front wishbones
securely as this one will not have a front axle like my last one. On those USAC racers the top suspension arm went to the middle of the wheel. And it keeps the front wheel up off the track when it comes time to run it.

Watercraft Naval architecture Toy Wing Scale model

Front of the cockpit is of a profile I have never seen on any other racer that I can recall but the styrene behaved.

Vehicle Naval architecture Aircraft Toy Spacecraft

Ensured I had sufficient wheel clearance at the rear before mounting the radiator planes onto the main body.
Got some interesting shapes to form to match the curved panels as I go.
But with the cross brace just behind the front suspension and with the cockpit area done it has become quite sturdy whilst very very light.

Hope to make some real progress in the next couple of days whilst I am off work and the F1 and F2 is on the box.

66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Gotta get getting on because from Tuesday I am on shifts all the way thru
Christmas and the New Year.
Stayed up late with the styrene off cuts amusing my cats as they fell to the floor!


Water Naval architecture Vehicle Aircraft Airplane

Allot gone on to the model here following the limited reference I have as best I can
whilst looking at other Cosworth DFX ref from other cars raced in 1979.

Toy Creative arts Wing Scale model Toy vehicle

Probably not to absolute correct scale but it may amuse some to know
where these bitz all came from.

Rear view mirror casing came from 1/48th bombs from a
Luftwaffe crew and equipment kit set.
The various bitz on the back are put together from spare
Thunderbirds 2 vehicle kits and a star wars kit.
Domes at the front are spare 1/24th Ford GT 40 head lights.
I cannot recommend enough the retaining spare odds and bobs.
I have a bundle of unused photo etch
optional parts from 1/43rd kits that come into play for body catches
and fuel caps that just help no end.
Guess building all manner of stuff in plastic, resin and white metal at all scales does help;
Don't chuck anything out! One day it will be that one bit you can use to get something done.
Probably preaching to the converted but still think it worth mentioning.

This subject matter is very niche, even for my comrades
on an Indycar modelling forum.
I will look at EVERYTHING in the scratch build section, even if I do not comment on them,
because there is so much to learn.
Without that resource I doubt I would have had the bottle to even attempt anything like this.

66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #30 ·
Got to a decent pause point.
Back on shifts now 'til just after the New Year so cannot see me
doing much over the next two weeks but might get an hour here or there.

Cutting mat Aircraft Vehicle Toy airplane Airplane

To reply to the question about the styrene.

'Evergreen' sheets.
The basic lower part of the body has a shell made from 1.4 or 1.2mm thick
Top plane of body and nose goes thinner to about 0.75 which allows enough thickness
to sand the edges and lose the join line.
Cockpit surround went thinner still but not TOO thin. Likely to be 0.4mm
to allow me to glue the clear screen on later.
Wings are either 1.5 thick for larger contact area when fixing with the lead edge sanded,
or if they have a large curved leading edge
I will use the really thin stuff wrapped around a styrene rod at the leading edge.
Wing end plates. Well they are 'wafer thin' as Monty Python might suggest. Almost paper thin.
Cannot find the packet to be specific. 0.2mm maybe?

I guess at the end of the day it is paper modelling with plastic sheets.

I have crashed one I made before and simply re did one the front wing
but not really a satisfactory way to go forward.
Might look at small metal rods through the thick nose flanks in future
with folded over wings slotted into place.

66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #32 ·
So I was going to have to leave this for a while.
That was until I tested positive for Covid and got ten days locked away at home for my trouble.
Feel rough but this project kept my mind off things although bit of effort needed at times to stay focused.

All the parts are made. Just waiting for some decals to arrive and art working those I need not included.
And the Mosley figure fits as snug as bug thankfully.

Toy Cutting mat Aircraft Engineering Space

This thing has already got me thinking about some future Formula 1 projects of the time......

As I doubt I will post before 2021 is done, If you will just bare with me I just want to say.

I spent a good few years just doing statics and taking ideas from a top bunch of blokes
on an open wheel modelling forum. I learnt so much.
It sparked all kinds of ideas and attempts at building
models never produced as kits for my collection.
When I found out about the resin bodies available at 1/32 available through this forum,
I came back regularly and eventually submitted a model after looking at so much content on here
that sparked even more and more ideas. That and the bottle to have a go at doing some models
I would never have previously considered or thought I could ever do.
I do sometimes think it is a shame that I did not do all of this 10 or 15 years ago.
But would I have been able to?
The advances in the material we can now buy to sort out a decent chassis and motor/pinion/cog/axle/tire combo.
The tools available to get the precision parts and pieces done. The paints. The way of producing decals.
Resin casting being something for anyone willing to give it a go rather than a few specialists.
3d printing coming to the fore. Brilliant isn't it?
But do still very much admire the handcrafted resin shells that allow for mods.
Fascinating reading every time.
I mean an actual four wheel drive Lotus 63! The Porsches. The Beetles. That Indycar Dallara.

It all comes from passion. We all have this passion for this slot car thing
and go on and express it in such great diverse ways.
But what I find so cool is that I can learn and apply myself to trying things
because of what I see on this part of the forum. And strive to match some of the excellence I see.
This forum and the other one. I call it cross 'threading' (groan!).

If someone takes one thing I might do or mention and it sparks an idea
or a step in helping them create something they have a passion for themselves then all the better.

I think forum member Frederic touched on something similar in his own thread.

I have so much more to learn about chassis set ups and truing tires and digital systems etc
but for now the cosmetic is where I am focused and will continue to look and learn. Avidly.

Get off me soap box now.

Do keep well and stay safe. And thanks.


66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #37 ·
With apologies for possibly using terms that are probably not entirely accurate.

Given I jump between 'two worlds' I ended up distinguishing in my own head
a slot car from a regular scale model.
'Static' (scale model) would not have come up
had I not gotten involved in working on the 'dynamic' (slot car).
Guess I should just refer to them as either model or slot car model!

That Open wheel modelling forum covers for the most part anything to do with F1 and Indycars,
but there are sections for Sports and GT cars as well.
Like this forum it has its highly skilled builders and specialist producers of resin model kits.
F1, Indycar and F5000 models available mainly at 1/25th and 1/43rd scale.
Think it was started in the USA and has its fair share of Indycar material
which what attracted me to it in the first place.
Like this forum the depth of knowledge is vast and they are so generous with their help.
Home | Open Wheel Racing Modeling (
(hope it is OK to post a link to another forum on here).

I have posted the odd slot car on that site which is not their regular subject matter,
but did it because what I am doing now comes from the inspiration and resource
taken from both that forum and then this one.

66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Hey there.

Hope it is a good festive season for you all.

Got round to completing this on Christmas Eve.

Tire Wheel Car Vehicle Automotive tire

For something that was put together without any scale plans I am happy with it.
Have discovered allot more about how the tolerances involved working with styrene at certain thicknesses.
And that may well come in very handy as Santa was very kind and left a Cricut machine under the tree!
My first question was how thick a sheet of styrene will it cut through....

Take a break from these now. Back to work tomorrow and a few other things to sort out whilst I ponder
whether or not to add to this particular race line up. Just got to decal up the Chaparral in 1979 livery.

Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Automotive tire
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