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MMK cars are truely delightful models with a real nostalgia buzz about them - they look great and are fun to drive.



One of the few downers though is that these cars come without headlamp "glass".

What to do? Well, I had an idea for making some but achieved mixed results.

The first step was to protect the car by wrapping it in clingfilm. I then rolled up a couple of small balls of DAS air drying clay, pressed them firmly into the clingfilm covered headlamp sockets and contoured them to the body shape.



Once dry they were removed from the sockets coming away easily with the clingfilm wrap.

I painted them silver resulting in a pair of quite nice metalised style headlamp covers:



Note that in the photo they are just loosely placed in but they are actually a good fit!

So far so good but the next stage was not destined to be much of a success. I created a simple mold by pressing the lamp covers into plastercine that had been sprayed with release agent. I then dropped a couple of blobs of clear resin into the mold and left it for a couple of days to set completely. Unfortunately the resulting headlamp covers were thin and indistinct not really adding anything to such a nice car.

I do intend to give this another try as the first attempt was a bit of a quick lash up but, in the meantime it would be interesting to see if anyone else has any comments, tricks or ideas for casting tiny parts such as these.
 

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That's good, John.
Alternatives?
I once saw an article by, I think, Rockland Russo (Professor Fate of several forums' fame) on producing items like the headlamp glass. Unfortunately, I didn't save it but perhaps he will see this and do a repeat. I hope so!

As I recall, it started out by making the solid clay 'bucks' in much the same way as described by John P, here. They must have had a small stick or spike inserted in the back and, I think, be sprayed with release oil - aerosol cooking oil seems to be a favorite for this. Then take a small section of the thin clear plastic as used to contain small items such as screws on a cardboard backing - there is a proper name for this packaging but it escapes me! A small piece of lexan or similar would obviously do, but most of us have access to this display type plastic. Then the plastic is held flat over the buck and heated with (a hairdryer?) until it flows, very slowly, over the buck, drooping past the back edges. Allow to cool and carefully trim off the excess plastic. There is even a proper name for this type of molding process, but I can't remember that either!

This might give some basic ideas for experimentation, but I hope Rocky drops by and lays it our more clearly than my befuddled memory is allowing today!
 

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Phil Smith
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You need to be careful with clingfilm.
I use this to make sure FLy cars don't come loose in the box when mailing them, by wrapping a lengh of film around the car and base and then replacing the lid.
Great, this is pretty foolproof.
But one thing I do is to put a piece of tissue between the car and the cling film.
Why you may ask

Well, I had a E2 viper pace car a couple of years ago, even then they were £600 or so, this one was going to the USA, I parceled it up using the cling film method (without the tissue) and due to circumstances the car did not get delevered to its new owner for six weeks or so.
When he unwraped it the cling film it took off all the tampo printing on the car, leaving one plain metallic blue, but worthless, pace car


One lesson learnt, so be careful!
 

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Alan Tadd
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John...Have you a solution yet?........I've got a light weight E-Type waiting to have new headlamp covers!.

Regards

Alan
 

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You all probably know this already, but....
Clear plastic packaging has never yet let me down. Mrs Howmet hates it, but I never throw away this stuff. I may have the world's greatest collection of easter egg cartons. Now there's a claim to fame. I spent more time at Christmas checking out the packaging than the contents. What joyful company I am.
But anyway, sift through, and generally you'll come across something which has near enough the right contours. The bottoms of mineral water bottles are useful too.
Snip it out roughly with nail scissors, lay it on the bodyshell and tape it roughly in place with tiny strips of sellotape to fix the position, then scratch the outline of the headlamp aperture on with a sharp point. Apply some double-sided tape on it so you can temporarily stick a little handle on the outside while you trim it and offer it up, until you have a neat fit. A little bead of clear epoxy will set the finished lens in place.
The contours do not actually have to be that precise to get a good effect, but of course, the better the match, the better the effect. I've done loads of cars like this, and often replaced lost or damaged lenses in the same way.
Bit of a fiddle I admit, but it's often easier than making moulds and castings.
 

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A couple of examples of easter egg headlight covers- Dan Gurney in Lotus 19 and Jim Clark in Lotus 40- both fibreglass shells.

 

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QUOTE John...Have you a solution yet?........I've got a light weight E-Type waiting to have new headlamp covers!.

Hi Alan and thanks for asking. Umm… no!

I had considered vacuum forming the headlamps from the moulds I made but my big problem is that while my big fat sausage fingers might be perfect for fretting a power chord on the old stratocaster, they are highly clumsy and inefficient tools when it comes to positioning a tiny thin piece of gluey clear plastic into a tiny recess. Even using tweezers, I just know that I am going to have a big finger-printed mess all over the headlamp/car and finish up wishing I had spent the evening chatting on SlotForum instead!

So for me the answer would seem to be a nice cosy fit, fully rounded headlamp moulding such as you get with some of the Top Slot kits. I can just pop it in with a little diluted PVA glue, have plenty of time to position it, wipe away the inevitable mess I will make with a damp cloth and, once set it will be strong enough for any purpose I may have for it.

My thought here is that a two-piece mould is necessary to make a casting like this and to this end I now have some silicone moulding compound from Tiranti's. They also have a nice little booklet on how to go about making molds (although it is really intended for casting metal rather than resin). Given what I am trying to do here it's all a bit of a palaver really!

The other problem of which I am aware is that although this style of cover is OK for some cars and would probably look very nice if done well, it is not necessarily prototypical:



...fortunately easter is just around the corner! …another great job with those cars there btw howmet
 

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Alan Tadd
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Thanks John for the progress report, not easy is it !.

Howmet I am also an avid collector of clear packaging, (this is so sad!), and had to use your technique to form some headlight covers for my Topslot Porsche LH as I somehow manage to lose the ones supplied with the kit.

It worked OK , but I'm not 100% satisfied with the results and I may have another go after Easter!.

I always use a clear solvent, (PVA based I think) that I obtained from Grand Prix Models. You can form small windows or seal gaps using the surface tension characteristics of the adhesive. Great for my wonkey cutting abilities with scissors!.

Nice work by the way.


Regards

Alan

 

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If you chaps have another spare couple of hours....

The other method I have for headlight lenses-again, probably well known- is to take a silicon rubber cast of the nose of the car. Then I saw out the headlight apertures, refit the nose inside the silicon casting, and pour in clear casting resin. This works really well if the aperture is on the small side, and is fairly flat; you can rest the shell at a convenient angle and just pour in enough resin to provide a thin skin, which covers perfectly and without any gaps or gluing necessary. If the headlight housing is very big, and 'goes round the corner' a lot, as it does on the Ford 'J' car I built (Photos if you want 'em, but it's a sad effort compared with the Maxi Models version, blast it!) you have to make a solid 'block' resin cast, like the ones you get in Top-Slot kits. All very well, but you can't satisfactorily sit a seperate headlight in there as well. I thought of making an 'internal mould' as well, so that the clear resin would be a thin skin, but in the end it was all too much trouble. Life is too short. I still have to complete my half-scale model of Macchu Pichu out of toothpicks.
To use this method on those MMK cars, you'd have to do as John P does, and fill the headlamp housing temporarily with body filler before casting the whole thing in rubber. Silicon release spray would stop the filler adhering permanently to the shell.
But why do you put us through all this MMK? Sure the things might fall off, but how many other parts could you leave off on that basis? Mirrors? Drivers heads? Wings? Wheels? Do us a favour! Put 'em in in the first place, and let US take them out and put them in a very safe place if we're worried!
Happy scratching everyone.
 

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QUOTE But why do you put us through all this MMK? Sure the things might fall off, but how many other parts could you leave off on that basis? Mirrors? Drivers heads? Wings? Wheels? Do us a favour! Put 'em in in the first place, and let US take them out and put them in a very safe place if we're worried!

..or, just in case we crash and lose the originals, they could include a spare pair of glasses with the car


Some good ideas there guys
 
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