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Jaguar Mk. II Saloon "Inspector Morse" (part 1)

This will be my build report for the Jaguar Mk. II Saloon that was driven by chief inspector Morse in the TV-series of the same name.

My intention was to build this car for my fathers 50th birthday, as he is a great fan of the TV series.
Knowing that my father was born in 1948, I think it is safe to say that I am a bit late with this build. But that doesn't prevent me from starting it (finally).

This will be my first build after my period of absence from the hobby. And that's why my first intention was to build this car out of the box. I figured that it would be a challenge enough just OOB, without adding extra details and so on.
But extra details would make the car look much nicer. Just look at all those great examples on the forums.

And thus I decided to add some extra detail, to spice things up a bit.


The Kit:
The kit is from Tamiya, item no.: 24151, scale 1/24.

The engine
I started this build with the engine. The detail on the engine in this kit is quite good. But I figured that some additional plugwires would look good.
To that end I drilled some holes in the engine, the ignition coil and the (funnily shaped) distributor.
The holes in the engine and ignition coil where no problem. But drilling the 7 required holes into the tiny distributor was a different story. I did manage to get the holes in, but there was not much left of the distributor.
But the distributor won't be very visible (same as on the picture below, because that strange blob on the foreground is the distributor...), once the car is completed, so that won't be much of a problem.

I noticed that Tamiya had made a few mistakes with the paint-instructions for the engine, which I rectified in my build.
Nothing dramatic really, because in all the pictures of old and restored Jaguar Mk.II Saloons I have found, I think none of the engines where exactly the same regarding the colours. And as I don't have a picture of the engine from the car in the TV series, there's no guarantee that I got it right.
What I also did was strip the cam-covers of their chrome plating (by putting them in toilet-cleaner with chloride). I found the plated parts too shiny. After stripping them they were painted with X11 Silver from Tamiya.

What I do know however, is that the engine in Inspector Morse's car is a 2.4 litre engine, while the engine in this kit is a 3.8 litre engine. So there are bound to be some differences (probably concerning the carburettor-system, I'm not sure), so this kit will never be an exact 1-on-1 copy of the real car. But as long as the hood is kept closed, nobody will see in the end (I hope).

Building and wiring the engine was pretty straightforward really. If I had to do it again, I'd probably use thinner wires for the sparkplugs, but for a first time I was quite pleased with the result.
Even though not all wires will be connected to the distributor... But as I've mentioned before, this will be barely visible, once the car is completed, so that's no big deal.

A few pictures of the completed engine:

The Wheels
After the engine was completed I took to the wheels.
The original wheels that were provided in the kit were open spoked wheels. And they looked really good. But I couldn't use them, because Inspector Morse's car has closed wheels with a chrome hubcap.
At first I tried to find replacement wheels. I thought that the wheels of a Lotus 7 might fit. But sadly, they don't.
As I couldn't find a replacement, I had no choice but to adapt the wheels from the kit.

I started by grinding as much as possible of the spokes from the wheels. After that I used putty (the "regular" one from Tamiya) to create an even finish after the grinding.
I again used a grinding tool in my Dremel to smoothen things further out.

After several new layers of puttying and grinding the wheels, I came to a reasonable result, considering the fact that I don't have a lathe or something similar at my disposal.
The picture is a bit fuzzy, but I think that the general idea is clear.

As can be seen in the picture above, I tried to make the hubcaps myself. I used styrene sheetmaterial for this.
With the aid of a drawing tool, I drew the circles onto the sheet and cut them roughly out of the sheet. After that I used files and sandpaper to make the parts circular.
And I must say I was pretty pleased with the result, but it still looked like two pieces of sheet glued together.

The company I worked for at that time makes use of contractors to produce their machine(d) parts and I approached one of the contractors for these hubcaps. And to my delight they made them for me for free. Very nice.
And after I painted them with Alclad Chrome, I was very happy with the result.

Even though I'm satisfied with these hubcaps I think I'll sand them down again to smoothen out the surface, because with this Alclad Chrome paint you can see even the smallest spot or scratch. But all in all I'm very pleased with how the hubcaps look. Especially on the painted wheels.

The Exhaust
To become one with the subject (...) I decided to watch a few episodes of Inspector Morse myself. Why I never watched this series I don't know (probably because the episodes have a duration of 1 and a half hour), but they were actually good.
The episodes I watched were from the final season. So if anyone is into murder mysteries, you can't go wrong with Inspector Morse, imho.
But watching the episodes I noticed a few things about the car of the Inspector.
For one, there was only a single exhaust-pipe. Hmmm, and the kit car has a double exhaust. So, I had to make some modifications.

Sadly I had already assembled and painted the kit-provided exhaust. Even drilled out the end of the exhaust-pipes for a more realistic look. Let's just say that it was a good test case.

After some searching on internet I found a site where you could buy spare parts for vintage cars, like the Jaguar Mk.II Saloon. And I was glad, because up till now I hadn't been able to find a picture of the exhaust for a 2.4 litre engine.
But here it is, this is what the exhaust for this build should look like (sort of):

Let the modifications commence.
First part I tackled was the muffler. I had to change the double one from the kit to a single one. I considered modifying the existing one, hoping to keep the amount of effort needed to a minimum.
But I soon realised that modifying the kit part was not an option.
As I was planning on using the existing exhaust pipes for my modifications I cut them from the muffler and subsequently separated the two exhaust-pipes from eachother.
Only thing to do now would be making a new muffler. But that was easier said than done. It took me several tries to come up with an acceptable solution.
At first I was planning on using a wooden piece as a core, and build up the diameter of the muffler by layering longitudinally cut pieces of drinking straws over the core. But in the end I ended up with an oval kind of muffler with no easy way of making something round of it.
Next attempt was some styrene tube of which I filled the ends with Tamiya putty. But the solvents in the putty melted the styrene tube (partially), so the end pieces looked kind of funny. This was also no option.
Third and last attempt was again with styrene tube. But now I glued some styrene sheet to the ends of the tube. After the glue had dried I trimmed the glued on sheets and with sandpaper and files I modified them further, so they would blend in with the tube. A nice and satisfying solution.

After I had finished the muffler I added a tiny wire to the ends, to simulate the folded ends.
I haven't finished the complete exhaust yet, as I want to finish the bottom-plate of the car including the engine first so I can testfit the part, before I make permanent modifications.

The Body
As can be seen in the first picture on page 1, the car of Inspector Morse has a black vinyl roof.
I've been wondering a lot about how I was going to let this show on this car. Apart from the very subtle texture the vinyl roof has also several (small) seams running over the roof. And I wanted this texture and seams to show on this car.
First I would busy myself with the seams. Paying close attention to the reference pictures I gathered I marked the spots were the seams would come. And to replicate the seams I used very thin wire, which I glued to the roof with CA glue.
To prevent the wires from moving and to keep them in place during curing of the glue, I used Tamiya masking tape to tape them to the roof. Next I applied CA glue to the joint between the wires and the roof to glue it together.

But I wasn't happy with my first attempt. The wire I had used was still too thick. So I removed the wires and used other, thinner, wire in my second attempt.

I had thought of several ways to replicate the texture. First option was Cast-a-Coat. This material is often used in military modeling to give surfaces a casted-like appearance or to make anti-slip coating on modern tanks and vehicles.
I thought this might also be used here to recreate the very fine texture on the roof of this car.
But after my first, failed, attempt were I tried to create a casting texture on the intake plenum of the Ferrari F430, I was a bit wary of using this stuff on the roof of this car.
In the meantime I had also read positive things on Faux Fabric from Scale Motorsports, a spray-can with some kind of special paint with which it was possible to create a textured surface.
I ordered a can and test-sprayed it on a scrapped model. But it was a bit of a disaster. I followed the exact directions on the label of the can, but something went wrong, because the result of this test looked completely sh*t. Probably should have shaken the can longer, although I did it exactly as said in the instructions.
And by the time I was ready to paint the roof, the rest of the car was already painted. So it had to go right the first time, because I was very satisfied with the rest of the paintwork and definately wouldn't want to risk having to strip it.
So, Faux Fabric was also put aside.
After my succesfull attempt to recreate a casting texture on the intake plenum of the Ferrari (by using very low pressure and little flow with the airbrush) I decided that I would use this technique also on the roof of this car.

But first I painted the rest of the body. I used Tamiya masking tape to mask the roof.
I was going to paint the car Opaque Maroon. But after mixing the color I found out that the colour was way too bright, compared to the reference pictures I have.
So I decided to make a custom mix, consisting of Tamiya colours X7 Red and XF57 Hull Red.
The original mix, as described in the building instructions added also X11 Silver into the mix. But on all the pictures I gathered of Inspector Morse's car I never found any evidence of metallic paint. That's why I only used X7 and XF57 to recreate the colour of the real car.
After several attempts I found a good mixture and started painting the car. First I did 3 light coats, and after that I added 2 heavy (wet) coats.
Between coats I sanded the body lightly to remove trapped dust and uneven patches.
And I must admit that I was very satisfied with how the colour and paintwork turned out. This was the first time since years that I painted a car body with the airbrush and I was delighted with this result.
I decided to use clear on the car to give it an extra shine. And that's were things went downhill (a bit).
I found it very difficult spraying X22 Clear from Tamiya. The clear didn't flow as nice and predictably as the paint I used before. Even after 1:1 thinning, the clear wouldn't flow right.
I tried several things; more pressure, less pressure, more flow, less flow, shorter distance, greater distance it wouldn't help.
And in the end I ended up with a severe case of orange peel.

So, out came the MicroMesh polishing cloths and I started to sand out the orange peel.
Sadly I had to repaint several small spots, because, although I had been very careful, I sanded through the paint layer on several places. Nothing dramatic luckily and it was easily fixed.
After that I again clearcoated the body. This time I thinned the clear even more. It made it flow a little bit better, bit it still wasn't to my satisfaction. Next time I'll try another brand of clearcoat. Strange is that if I mix the clearcoat with Flat Base from Tamiya, the clear flows a lot better and predictable...
Anyway, I cleared the body again and after my initial fear that I had to sand again, the clear dried up reasonably smooth. I hope to get it better with some Polishing Compound. But before I tackle that task, the roof will be painted.

Before I could paint the roof I had to mask off the body of the car. I used Tamiya masking tape for the important bits and used a piece of paper with a cut-out for the roofsection to mask off the rest.

After masking I proceeded with painting the roof. For the color of the roof I used Revell Aquacolor semigloss black. The Aquacolor range of Revell is a range of odourless acrylic paints which are very easy to work with and can be thinned with regular tap water.
I've used several of these colours with brush and airbrush and they're really great to work with. I just hope that Revell will extend their current limited range of colours soon.
I thinned the colour with water in a ratio of 2:1 (colour:water) and sprayed several layers onto the roof.
At first I tried to recreate the structure of the roofmaterial as I had done with the intake plenum of the Ferrari F430. The attempt failed (probably because I had thinned the paint a bit too much). But afterwards I'm glad it failed, because on second thought I don't think it would have looked right.
Looking at the roof of Inspector Morse's car, you can see that the structure of the roof is very fine (if you can see it at all, because the picture below isn't that great). In my opinion too fine to recreate realistically in scale. So I will leave the roof as it is now, which I'm quite happy with.

The masking tape has left some residue behind on the car, as you can see in the picture above, but the residue will come off when I polish the car with polishing compound and wax (at least, that's what I hope).

The Interior
In the meantime I had also started work on the interior of the car.
The interior is very nicely recreated, with lots of detail. And in the kit is also a sheet of felt-like material included. To make the carpets on the floor of the car from. A nice touch.
I decided to build the interior almost completely OOB. I would love to add the details that Ramon Garcia added in his build on Automotive Forums. But, for now, I lack the patience and the skill to take on such a task.
Besides, once the car is complete, you won't see that much of the interior anymore, so OOB it will be.
There wasn't much to build, so I could start painting right away.

But after I painted the interior in the colours that Tamiya advised, I came to the conclusion that they didn't look right, compared to the pictures of Inspector Morse's car. They were too bright.
So off went the parts into some brake fluid, to strip the paint from the parts.
After all the paint had come off, I cleaned the parts again with lukewarm water and dishwashing soap. After the parts had dried, I mixed several shades of red, corresponding with the colour of the car and airbrushed the interior with them.
Below is a picture of the dashboard (which still needs some correcting here and there).

The main colours (red in 2 shades) have been mixed from Tamiya acrylic paints (XF-7 and XF-57 to be precise). The black and silver details have been brush-painted with Aquacolor colours from Revell.

While painting the interior parts, I noticed that the gear-shift lever was missing. That's one of the dangers of spending almost 2 years building a kit. Oh, and being a bit sloppy in storing the parts doesn't help either.
I turned my hobby-room upside down, but couldn't find the gearshift lever anywhere. So I had to scratchbuild it.
I took a piece of plastic I cut from a parts tree, filed it roughly into shape and made a few cuts here and there, to simulate the wrinkles in the leather of the gearshift lever.
In the end I'm satisfied with the result, although it's still a shame that I lost the original part. I'll probably find it once the car is finished...
Up close, the part looks quite "lumpy". But I'm convinced that it will look good enough, once everything has been put together.

Only thing left to do on the gearshift lever is to make on knob on top of it. And I'm planning to do that by building up layers of paint-droplets.

The interior is finished so far. Next thing will be to add the carpeting to the floor of the car and to put the required decals (dials and woodfinish) onto the interior parts.
But before I start with that, I'll clearcoat the parts with some satin clear, to give the leather of the chairs that "leathery" shine and to provide a smooth surface for the decals.

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