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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All,

I've been taking a break from slotcars. However I've just started noodling away at a 1/32 Minialuxe D-Type.
Minialuxe was a French firm that mostly made 1/43 plastic models, but did do some 1/32 stuff, they were contemporaries of Norev, another well-known French firm that also made 1/43 plastic cars. Minialuxe also did a 1/43 version of the D-Type but it was very toy-like. This version, a shortnose, sticks very closely to the proper dimensions.
In the early sixties, MRRC sold the Minialuxe D-Type as a slot car body, together with a Mercedes and, I think, a Gordini. They are listed in MRRC catalogues from that time.
I first acquired a Minialuxe D-Type a few years ago in amongst a lot of very early slot car bodies from England, which I obtained via ebay. It was one of my first posts on Slotforum, as I had no idea who made the bodyshell. I posted some photos of it and eventually found out it was a Minialuxe. I think it's a great little shell that captures the curvaceous organic shape of the original very well.
The only problem with these shells is that over the years they warp like hell. The first one I acquired was in a very sad state, warped and twisted apparently beyond repair. I kept the shell and did nothing with it until about a year later I acquired two more upper parts and one lower part of a bodyshell. I gave away my original minialuxe plus one more upper part to Charles Lawrence in Seattle, as I knew he had a liking for these cars. This left me with one other upper and lower Minialuxe which I decided I would have a go at resurrecting. I straightened out the body as much as I could using my favourite method of holding the parts over the spout of a steaming kettle. They straightened out quite easily and I managed to get the shell together. I painted the shell and added some Revell wheels to it and it was coming together nicely. I decided though that I should have a go at rebuilding the nose because it looked wrong so I placed the shell in Castrol Superclean which is my favourite paint stripper but then disaster struck, the bodyshell turned into a gloopy green blob... it melted. This had never happened before with Superclean, it doesn't usually attack plastic at all.
Anyway I gave up on that project as a lost cause.
Then, about six months ago I wrote to Charles to see if he still had the parts I had sent him. Having gained some experience in carving my own bodyshells and in casting shells in resin, I thought that maybe I could have another go at trying to resurrect one of the Minialuxe shells. I thought that maybe, by straightening out the body as much as possible, then casting the shell and somehow manipulating it while the resin was still setting, I could straighten out the body. Charles very kindly sent me the two upper parts and the lower parts and also a resin cast of a carrera D-type that he'd been working on. He was very interested in seeing a good shortnose come out of it all.
I love the Jaguar shortnose, and I was hoping that the Scalextric version, which I knew they'd be releasing after the mercedes, would be a shortnose, but alas it wasn't. So I'm just as enthusiastic as Charles in hoping that a decent shortnose comes of this project.
I eventually gave up on the idea of manipulating the resin shell of the cast D-Type, and instead opted for drastic plastic surgery. I first of all straightened out the shell as much as I could using steam. Then I proceeded to cut away the front offside wing, and glued it back on after filing away some plastic on the bonnet to straighten it out. I then did likewise with the driver's side wing. Then I cut a slit in the back end and opened it up to straighten it out and cut the bulkhead behind the driver's head off because that wasn't on straight either. While I was at it I cut the fin off because I want it to be a finless version. I have stuck it all back together and filled it with Tamiya grey body putty (which I haven't used before and which is wonderful stuff), and two-part mastic putty. I am also going to re-align the cockpit opening and the cover for the passenger seat. I've added filler to the rear of the car to further straighten it out, and right now I'm working on reshaping the whole nose area to get it to look right.
It'll end up looking o.k. I hope. So far so good...
It'll be great to reincarnate this great little bodyshell.
The following pictures are of my original Minialuxe which I posted on this forum, then the same car which I tried to fix but screwed up. Then the photos after that are the car I'm working on at the moment.
It'll take me a while to get this finished, but I'll post more pictures when I make some substantial progress.
Cheers, Tom.

My original Minialuxe...



My first attempt at fixing one... (ending in disaster)




My current attempt...










Cheers...
 

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Premium Member
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3,013 Posts
the original on the Revell wheels looks good enough.

Its very interesting to read these restoration techniques as I have boxes of old Scaley, Revell and Airfix models that need restoration,

Thanks for sharing Tom
 

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Slot King
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2,608 Posts
Tom

I have just picked up this (was away racing in Bordeaux when you posted). Very nice project!

I think the plastic used by Minialuxe is similar to that used on the early Scalex cars. Both do react with caustic soda if left in there too long.
I never knew they did a D type (I have a Gordini somewhere I think) Can you post a scan of the MRRC catalogue?
For a nice short nose D type, have you looked at the OK Kadder version? It is very good, just needing rework around the headlights.

Joel
 

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9,652 Posts
Same here Tom - thanks for posting this! I've picked up a couple of the Minialuxe 1/32 bodies over the years, and they're pretty well done! Also, thanks for reminding me about the MRRC connection - this was a bit of a mystery at the time, and even years later I couldn't figure out where MRRC got their bodies.

I have an Aston-Martin DBR1 that needs some major restoration, so keep posting tips!

And if you ever make it to Paris, I'll take you to the local Minialuxe museum...

Don
 

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Gerald Lambourn
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998 Posts
The first sports car I built (1961) used the D type shell and one of the new K's Mk 1 motors which was a disaster. The main point about these is that they are in acetate like the old Frog Penguin model aircraft kits. As caustic is used as a solvent in the acetate production process....The correct glue is old fashioned balsa cement. I also had the straight 8 Gordini but it was way over scale, especially having seen the real car at Angouleme. Mine had a two very lose Microperm power eggs and magnesium Russkit wheels and was a goer on Estuary Equipe's Rug Racing circuits using Airfix track. Nice to get some more history as we were told that they were French made and that was it. Gerald L
 

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1,155 Posts
i too missed this one Mr. Tom!

thanks for the post - and hope all is well

I still have sitting here for you the 'swedish' (i think) blow mold d type -

will post a pic of it so others can wade in with opinions on its slot conversion potential and possible approaches

cheers, Ron
 

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Premium Member
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572 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello folks,
Hi Ron! How's Smallville coming along??
I've been away in the U.K. and I've just got back so I'll be posting further progress pics soon.
I don't have the MRRC catalogue featuring the Minialuxe bodies I'm afraid, the only reference I have to MRRC distributing this shell is an ad from model cars where the D-Type and the Gordini are listed. If I can find it I'll post it.
Thanks for the replies by the way, I was beginning to think it was a non-starter.
All the best,
Tom.
 
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