Monday, March 12

Revell Kit:07651 London Bus Pt II - "How to eat an Elephant?"

PT II  - “One bite at a time” - would be the answer to that Question it seems – so we start our build this week commencing with the engine and underside of the kit…
Revell Kit No: 07651 London Bus
Scale: 1/24
Material: Styrene
Sprues: 13
No. of parts: 390
Decals for two RML Routemasters
Length 305 mm
Wingspan 417 mm
Skill Level: 5
And so we begin. A kit like this can be built up into many different compartmentalized sections so I thought I would do as much separately as possible to show you as much as I can about the kit. To me this is better than a review as you can see for yourself rather than supposing what a kit MAY be like– It’s like committing the crime rather than investigating it – MUCH more fun!

This kit is yelling at you from every page of the instructions to “Make me! Make me!” and there are lots of interesting sub-sections to investigate but I thought I wouldn’t jump around too much, though I had already reached my first diversion before I started – the colour.

More like Ferrari RML to me!
Now the red that the bus is painted in looks very “Ferrari Red” to me on the box art. I live in London and see lots of busses all of the time, and I can say that they nearly all look slightly different in hue to me. TFL (Transport for London) has many companies with busses in the city and there are only two routes with the RML Routemaster still active in the capital. I want in to see the busses at the Museum of transport and the colour can be best described to me as a red colour - with a slight tinge of purple. It is winter here and in the summer time the busses look a little lighter and more like a bright red – so I went to the books for reference.

PhotobucketThe best reference I saw for this build (of course apart from the internet) is the book from Andrew Morgan “Routemaster Bus Enthusiasts Manual” from Haynes. It is invaluable if you are making this kit and I went out and bought I especially for this build. It has the information on all marques of this bus from 1954 onwards and all of the different schemes and variations of bus you could think of – and all in one place. I would recommend to you strongly if you need reference on this kit – buy this book – full stop!

In the book there is a section on the original finish of the paint, This section describes how the paint was applied on most of the bus, insides and out (and underneath) The RML’s were hand-painted on leaving the factory and then on overhauls repainted in an oil based colour which I have tracked down via additional help from the “T’internet” as “Ayres Red.” I found after applying a few coats to the sides of the bus that Humbrol 19 is a great match for the exterior of the bus. I chose to use the paint straight from the tin with my airbrush but you could just as easily opt for the Rattle can solution just as easily. I would recommend spraying these large panels as you go along and touching up the small seams at the end of the build. There are lots of areas to mask on a BIG model otherwise.

I am happy with Humbrol 19 -  However what you choose is up to you 
The Humbrol colour was a successful match and especially after the first coat which looks a little too red it comes into its own on and thickens and darkens up to just the right shade for my eyes. The thing here to remember is the colours for these busses changed a lot during history and the colour of a bus you see on the street corner isn’t necessarily the same as a bus from 30 years ago. I went with the Humbrol colour and as you can see it is already looking good.
I started the kit proper with the engine which is also the first part of the instructions. I went for the older “Leyland” (Actually AEC AV950 9.6L Diesel) engine and with pictures I had I learnt that in new condition it is a nice metal silver colour with polished chrome on the top rocker covers. The finish then has to be pretty spotless but also include some points of difference to break up the massive block of silver that you would be left with.
The AEC engine on the sprue
The engine assembled very easily though there were some nasty seams to eradicate and some parts to remove from the engine just above the flywheel – why they included them on a bespoke engine sprue I don’t know – but Revell at least left instructions to remove them! The engine block plastic went together in an hour.
As a base colour I went with Humbrol No.11 silver for the engine block and then a coat of the rocker covers with Testors 1451 model master aluminium plate which buffs up very nicely to a shine – this takes away from the large block of silver that is most of the engine. I just rubbed them with a paper cloth and they came up into a lovely shine.

To detail the engine i drilled six holes for fuel connecting wires to go into the fuel pump  - i smoothed off the rocker covers with think super glue before I painted and polished them.
As you can see from this picture in its bare form the engine is pretty dull – Even though no one will ever look at the engine I thought I could do with the exercise and decided to jazz it up a little. I added the six copper coloured wires from the inline fuel pump that travel up to the fuel injector by drilling some small holes in the pump with a pin vice drill – you can see the six holes in the picture above.

Six easy to bend bits of copper wires went from these holes to a VERY simple set of six intakes out of round sprue that were secured on the top of the block. These were good enough for me to pass for an engine that would not be displayed open.

You can see here the fuel lines connected up - they add so much for so little work
The exhaust and the other pipes were placed onto the block and with some black, copper and red highlights the engine started to come alive. With the simple addition of the fuel wires the engine looked a lot more realistic. The horn like air intake needed just blob of superglue sanded off to become round on the end to look like the real thing.

The fan belt and fan blade went on the front of the engine and although again hardly seen I gave the fan blades a coat of metalizer, then some AK interactive “Worn Effects” which I  let dry before simply brush coating a thin layer of Vallejo black 70950 Acrylic. After the acrylic had dried I simply wiped hard on it and the silver came right out from underneath the worn of black areas – creating a well-worn fan blade which looked great.

The power steering reservoir went on to the front of the engine and added some depth and colour as I added a thick pipe which will run down the left side to underneath the vehicle. This is the completed engine ready to install (minus of course the front thermostat housing and pipework which will go in later when the engine is in-situ.) The whole thing was grimed up a little from the bottom up with smears of “Fuel Stains” weathering from AK Interactive. This gave these areas a “Dirty hand” look, and for me gave the engine some age and some life.
Cut - dont - stick!
As you may or may not notice there is a flat plate with “Fuel – ON – OFF” sign on it that goes into the engine – now Revell say in step three that it is a decal to be applied – but what do you attach it to? It is supposed to be like a little flat warning plate which simply site on the pipe. Well I simply cut it out and sliced a hole in the middle carefully and placed it – after painting the back of the decal black, on the pipe. It looked great in the end and I was happy to veer of the instructions in that particular step.
At the scene of the grime - I like how it turned out!
Back in line with the instructions again the underside of the bus was next. The construction for this again was pretty simple – but first I applied some paint to get it mostly coated before just a touch up later on. The Enthusiast’s book and other sources have said it was a silver colour which was applied in the workshops. This I applied simply with a Humbrol No.11 rattle-can to the sprues in the areas that were to be used for the undersides. Having removed the “A” and” sub frames which were in effect the vehicle chassis I constructed all of the underside in order and came across no problems. Again my main problem would be in making this section a little less bland in the final product.

Again by itself in silver the undersides COULD look a little plain
As most of the undersides were painted silver and well maintained by London Transport the underneath had to be fairly stock and not too weathered. I decided again to coat the undersides in the “Worn Effects” acrylic fluid from AK interactive and then colour some parts in black like the fuel tank and a dark colour for the muffler. I would be able to chip away any scratches I needed on the darker areas later on.
After the bottom of the bus was glued together there is one last task to do – a little bit of old fashioned modelling involves you securing the front  of the steering rack by melting the top pin with a hot knife to allow the wheels to turn. This was done with a simple flat screwdriver and a hot gas handheld burner. I miss this kind of modelling!! (and the smell)
The underside fuel tank and muffler system was painted in a Vallejo “Tyre black” which is actually a dark grey colour that I thought would simulate black in scale a little better than black itself. To highlight this I left the hinges holding up the tank silver and to make sure I kept it neat I used a black marker to keep the lines straight before the paint went down with a brush.
To weather this pristine looking vehicle I just moistened the paint with water after it had dried with some warm water then with the tip and the sides of a toothpick chipped off the black/grey paint on the diesel tank to leave silver scratched look that was protected by the AK chipping fluid from coming off. This left a lovely battered but not beaten look to this part. I think it looked great and I was a bit bummed I couldn’t do the rest of the underside in a similar way.
I loved the effect i got from this technique
The pristine undersides were further dirtied up with more of the AK Interactive’s “fuel stains” of which I am a particular fan of right now. All of the crevasses were coated thickly with this grimy looking brown fluid and it gave the chassis parts a lot more depth and that well used look.

After the muffler, fuel tank, air brakes and gearbox were weathered it looked a lot more like the undersides of a busy bus
When this effect dried it was a little obvious and I used dome odourless thinners to eliminate the otherwise too obvious looking weathering. I think it looks a lot more natural now. It certainly looks like a great start to me!

Next week we will look at detailing the driver’s compartment and that front end will get a grillin'!
Till then enjoy your modelling.

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