Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

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Jean B.
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Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Jean B. » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:24 pm

No time to be lazy, model building continues! Two days ago I posted pics of the Maybach and the Horch Roadster, and of course there's one, probably the one, of the German dream cars of the late 1930s missing, the gorgeous Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster. Presented in 1934 as 500K, it became a bigger engine in 1936. In 1939 an even bigger version was planned as 580K, but due to WWII, this project never took place. The "Spezial Roadster" was special, as bonnet and passenger shell were placed 18cm back compared to the normal roadsters, on the same wheelbase, so that the radiator almost stood behind the front wheels.

Western Models must have made 100,000 copies of this model, as it seems on ebay, and there are several different versions of the model. I bought two, one of the very first series (the red one), and one of a later year:

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The red one has a completely different construction, as the body consists of two halves:

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Nice proportions, roughly made, and lacking of many important details...

Very decent holes for the compressior pipes:

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The wings don't have the characeristic edges on the bottom line:

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You can see that they used the master of the first model version and remodelled it for the later one-part version with open spare:

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Beautiful:

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This can't stay that way:

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New challenge for my soldering station:

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Looks awful, but you need some stuff to mill and file it down afterwards:

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With my new lathe I'm able to make dummy wheels in the exact final size for the building process:

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Can you see the "new edge" of the wings?

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The wings and running boards get some more "swing":

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Last edited by Jean B. on Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Tom
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Tom » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:42 pm

Wow, another challenging project! Looking forward to the beautiful end result and the many inventive steps.

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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by dcast » Sat Jun 03, 2017 2:32 pm

Very interesting project and fascinating to see actual metal work done to the model instead of using putty or bondo.

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LUW
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by LUW » Sat Jun 03, 2017 4:27 pm

Ooh, this is going to be good!
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:checkered_flag: Luciano :checkered_flag:
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Jager
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Jager » Sat Jun 03, 2017 8:50 pm

Jean B. wrote:Western Models must have made 100,000 copies of this model, as it seems on ebay, and there are several different versions of the model. I bought two, one of the very first series (the red one), and one of a later year.
I'm surprised Western Models sold any of these given how bad the castings are. The Matchbox Yesteryear model looks like a gem in comparison :

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Will you have a functioning 'dickie' seat like the Matchbox ?
“Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.” - Steve McQueen

ben1961
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by ben1961 » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:35 am

Ohh man that is a real challenge .. look forward again to follow a build of you !

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Jean B.
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Jean B. » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:35 pm

Jean B. wrote:
Tom wrote:Wow, another challenging project! Looking forward to the beautiful end result and the many inventive steps.
...and these are challenges :o Hardly anything of the original models will remain when I'll have build them...
dcast wrote:Very interesting project and fascinating to see actual metal work done to the model instead of using putty or bondo.
I think it's more authentic to make the body changes in metal instead of putty. On the other hand, I plan so "hard" conversions, that only a stiff metal bodywork will bear those works. Generally it's very difficult, as the body has to have the same temperature for soldering as the soldering wire and iron, and in this case the body already melts away :shock: So you have to work very carefully...
LUW wrote:Ooh, this is going to be good!
Lay back and enjoy! :P
Jager wrote:I'm surprised Western Models sold any of these given how bad the castings are. The Matchbox Yesteryear model looks like a gem in comparison : Will you have a functioning 'dickie' seat like the Matchbox ?
I've owned the Matchbox as a child... Unfortunately the MOY always have wrong scales, and furthermore white-metal models meanwhile are a kind of fetish for me :oops: I only use diecast models if there is really no alternative in white-metal, no matter how badly it's made... :roll: And no, I won't make dickie seats. Not that I've not thought about, but it would be a really absurd work, and a dickie seat is for me not so very attractive compared to the luggage thing with the Maybach :)

Soldering goes on:

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...and already gets better:

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Already designed the fender chrome parts:

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...photo-etched:

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...as I do not need them only for the final decoration, but already to glue them in place for the exact cutting of the edges (post yesterday):

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Last edited by Jean B. on Sun Jul 02, 2017 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tom
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Tom » Sun Jun 04, 2017 1:41 pm

As usual, you're keeping the pace up! Those wings now look great.

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Jean B.
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Jean B. » Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:59 pm

Tom wrote:As usual, you're keeping the pace up! Those wings now look great.
Nice to hear! It's really crazy, the more you've changed the details, the more you find what is still to change... :roll: Western did a great job concerning the scale and the proportions of the car, this couldn't be better. But every single detail is so crude that after all nothing of the original model will be left, I guess. And the flowing lines of the Spezial Roadster need a very delicate shaping as there are no straight lines you could refer to, everything has to be shaped "by the turn of the wrist"!

The rear brass tube for the axle has been soldered:

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You won't believe how asymmetric such an old model is! It's quite difficult to bend it diagonal in a way that at last all four wheels touch the ground and the body is somewhat symmetric and horizontal:

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The tail is more a fantasy than accurately made:

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So it needs a pound of solder:

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...to get its final shape slowly (not yet ready):

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Last edited by Jean B. on Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Jager
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Jager » Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:12 am

Jean, sometime I wonder if it would be easier if you just started with a 4" x 1" x 1" block of solder :D .
“Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.” - Steve McQueen

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Jean B.
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Jean B. » Wed Jun 07, 2017 2:11 pm

Jager wrote:Jean, sometime I wonder if it would be easier if you just started with a 4" x 1" x 1" block of solder :D .
That's what I wonder, too :roll: ! But, well, at least this way I don't need to make drawings etc. and I'm not forced to think about constructing the single parts, how they fit together and so on... Meanwhile hardly anything of the original model is left, at almost every single spot I applied solder and/or milled original details off:

The tail seems to be ready:

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Bonnet is overdone:

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And lines for dickie seat, persenning and the gap for the passenger shell are newly made:

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The upper door edges - as to be seen - are still to be shaped, and all the smaller blemishes of the surface will be filled with putty.
Last edited by Jean B. on Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tom
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Tom » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:20 pm

Is this the model that needs the most work on its shape so far? Very impressive, you must've spent a lot of time looking at photographs...

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Jager
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Jager » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:00 pm

Looks like your going to need a lot of putty !
“Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.” - Steve McQueen

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Jean B.
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Jean B. » Thu Jun 08, 2017 1:40 pm

Tom wrote:Is this the model that needs the most work on its shape so far? Very impressive, you must've spent a lot of time looking at photographs...
The Aston Martin from Mikansue required the same amount of works, I think. That was the first time that I modelled every single part of a car completely new, including new seats and so on. But it was much easier as the Aston had only some curved shapes of a sports car, this time the 540K is more a sculpture than a car... :roll: And yes, looking at the photos takes about two hours a day. Every time you think that you know how a detail should look like, different photos confuse you again and again! And I don't want to take my PC to the cellar due to the dust and dirt, so I have to walk hundreds of stairs every day! Model building is really hard work :D
Jager wrote:Looks like your going to need a lot of putty !
Hey, I'm not that bad:

Imagebefore...

Image...and after smoothing the body with putty!

Left the radiator of the first version, on the right the later version, plated but shorter!

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I took the higher one and shaped it new for casting it in white-metal:

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The radiator fits now quite good, but the gaps under the grill have still to be filled:

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Last edited by Jean B. on Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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gilma
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by gilma » Fri Jun 09, 2017 12:44 pm

Wow, a wonderful car for a project, and it looks to me the original models are quite bad, but as usual I see you're working your magic and the progress of the body so far is very very impressive 8-)

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Jean B.
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Jean B. » Fri Jun 09, 2017 1:26 pm

gilma wrote:Wow, a wonderful car for a project, and it looks to me the original models are quite bad, but as usual I see you're working your magic and the progress of the body so far is very very impressive 8-)
Thanks! Yes, the quality - especially the first series - is awful! But, as I've already said - the scale, the general lines and proportions are excellent, so I simply have to remove all the details and then have to build up everything newly... The Matchbox 540K is a little bit too big and too angular. Solido and TinWizard do not make the Spezial Roadster, and the one by Cursor was made of plastic :? , so I stay with my fetish Western/white-metal :P

What's happened today? A silicone cast of the radiator master was made:

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The casted radiator grille:

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Put on place, the area below newly made, fitting to the angular bottom line of the grille:

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The chrome strips glued onto the fenders, shaping of the recessed edge will follow tomorrow:

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Last edited by Jean B. on Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tom
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Tom » Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:01 pm

The shape is so nice and clean now. Great work!

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LUW
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by LUW » Fri Jun 09, 2017 2:16 pm

Jean, you should work in the 1:43 diecast industry :D.
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by reeft1 » Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:48 am

Jean - what are the circular tubes you put in the cast alongside the item you are casting?

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Jean B.
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Jean B. » Sat Jun 10, 2017 1:42 pm

Tom wrote:The shape is so nice and clean now. Great work!
...thank you! Yes, it's a kind of liberating to get rid of all the impurities and spots... :P
LUW wrote:Jean, you should work in the 1:43 diecast industry :D.
I guess the industry would fall into deep despair considering how long I need for every single detail... :roll:
reeft1 wrote:Jean - what are the circular tubes you put in the cast alongside the item you are casting?
It's a cylinder of acrylic (material doesn't matter) which serves as a cone: big entry, thin channel to the master. This way you increase the pressure of the molten metal. The industry uses centrifugues to fling the stuff into the tiny casts, that's the reason why you cannot make so detailed and sharp-edged parts at home :cry: . The thin plastic rod serves as a ventilation to let out the air in the mould. This way you get quite nice casts in the kitchen workshop :) And don't forget powdering the mould with talcum before pouring in the metal!

Next turn of photo-etching:

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Passenger shell to avoid the usual "look-throughs" at the flanks of the passenger cell:

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Template to scribe louvers into the body:

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...ready:

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Door and bonnet line:

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...and the recessed line on the fenders:

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Last edited by Jean B. on Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tom
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Tom » Sat Jun 10, 2017 2:21 pm

Looking good. Your redone body lines are always so nice and clean, better than I've ever seen on any white metal kit.

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Jean B.
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Jean B. » Sun Jun 11, 2017 12:45 pm

Tom wrote:Looking good. Your redone body lines are always so nice and clean, better than I've ever seen on any white metal kit.
And it's so easy! You even need no photo-etched templates, but simply cut-outs made of 1.0mm polystyrol sheet (available for pennies). These glued onto the body shell and then carefully scribed the outlines with a steel needle, and you have "perfect" lines. I don't know why they didn't do that at WM.... :?

Today I guess I've finished the first roadster so far. Recessed lines under the wings are made:

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Doors are ready:

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Doors are inside made even with putty:

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Slots for bumper holders:

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...so the second one is now on the table! I'll try to make this accordingly to the first, but it has a divided body shell and therefore needs some different treatment:

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Here you can see the more curved shape of the running board at the re-done one above.
Last edited by Jean B. on Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by reeft1 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 2:42 pm

Thanks for the explanation re the cylinder Jean. How the hell did you figure that out? Is it your own idea?

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Jager
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Re: Mercedes 540K Spezial Roadster by Western Models

Post by Jager » Mon Jun 12, 2017 7:36 pm

What's the plan with the second one Jean.....one to keep and one to sell, one with the roof up and one with the roof down, or do you have another idea ?
“Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.” - Steve McQueen

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