F e r r a r i 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta

Part Five - Body/Final Assembly

Modifications to the body started with opening the hood. Since I planned on using the hood after removal, I wanted the amount of material removed to be minimal - to minimize the gap between the hood and the body. I installed new blade and started scribing really slowly...

Polished and waxed paint looked amazingly deep and shiny. All hard preparation work has paid off and I was really satisfied with the paintjob on this body!

...until the hood was finally completely cut out. The edges were a bit rough, and required careful cleaning. Even the lightest sanding will increase the gap between the hood and the body, but this will be somewhat compensated by few layers of primer and paint, so I proceeded with cleanup.

Now when the painting was finished, I started adding details to the body. Kit headlights were not very realistic (see review) so I bought some Sakatsu turned steel headlight bezels #3191 that were just perfect for this project.

Thankfully, the body was very thin, and cleaned up perfectly. Both hood and opening in the body were lightly sanded with fine sanding sticks.

Bezels were fitted with slightly modified lenses from Protar 250 GTO kit, and I also used Italeri's 250 California Spyder headlights with lenses for the fog lights (kit supplied fog lights were not very good).

Then I cut two thin stripes of styrene and glued them from the inside. These will hold the hood level in closed position. I also made a tiny latch that will center the hood while closed.

I scraped my BMF work 3 times on this model! Windshield and rear window were simple, but the sides...The curvature of the window frames was so complex, it took me hours to get it right!

In order for the latch to work properly, I carefully drilled the hood and installed small brass pin in the middle.

After finishing trimming the windows with BMF, I installed windshield and rear window and painted entire body flat black from the inside. I just used wide brush and Tamiya X-1.

When the hood is in closed position, the pin is inserted into the latch, holding the hood centered and securely attached to the body.

Headlights and fog lights were glued to the body. I also test fitted the radiator trim to see if it fits with few coats of paint on the body. The fit was tight so I sanded the trim a bit more.

Using similar technique, I also made a small brass hinge, and glued it to pre-drilled hood. It took few trials to make this hinge right!

At this point everything was ready to permanently assemble the body and chassis together, so I checked the ride height and body fit one last time.

On this picture you can see that the gap between the hood and the body was almost non-existent at this stage. With the hood opening/latching mechanism in place, I started cleaning the body and correcting all the flaws. All knobs, handles, badges and other small details were shaved off.

Everything fitted nicely on the left side, but body was sitting too high on the right - upper part of the inside door panel slightly interfered with the window frame on the inside. I lightly sanded the frame and body dropped right in.

Entire body was carefully sanded, puttied, and panel lines deepened. Using motor tool, I thinned the body near the wheel arches and radiator opening. I also had to boil the body in water to straighten it up!

Hood was carefully sanded, puttied, corrected, and finally primed. After few such cycles it was ready for paint.

Since I wanted to use aftermarket headlights, I had to drill through very thick resin to open up the headlight areas. I also slightly enlarged radiator opening and carefully sanded the edges smooth.

Other side of the hood was also smoothed, puttied and primed. I also reinforced the hinge with a drop of superglue before spraying final coat of primer.

Radiator trim piece provided in the kit was now too small for the opening, so I decided to make my own trim. I cut a styrene strip and bent it to fit the opening. Then I superglued the ends together.

After primer was completely dry, I sprayed few mist coats of my custom mixed paint, and left it dry overnight. Next day I sprayed 2 wet coats, and left to dry for a few days.

Using body as a guide I marked the contours on plastic. Then I removed the piece and carefully trimmed it with a knife.

Just like on the body, paint was polished with 3M polishing compound, followed by Tamiya fine compound and Last Detail Treatment model wax. I also trimmed hood scoop with BMF and made a mesh from leftover photoetched mesh piece.

Using fine sanding sticks, I smoothed the area where the strip was glued together until it was the same thickness as the rest of the trim. I also smoothed the edges all around.

Hood was masked, and other side was carefully painted flat black. Notice that I also scribed the paint from the hinge - it will be fastened to the body by the bracket in this area.

After all the work was done I inserted the trim back into the opening to check the fit - it was really tight. I needed to enlarge the opening even more, because few layers of paint on the body and trim piece won't let me insert the trim later.

Photoetched mesh was glued to the scoop, and hood was glued to the body. I just used one bracket to glue the hood to the body, and paint buildup on the sides of the hinge prevented the hood from sliding to the sides.

I sanded both radiator opening and outside of the trim piece until the fit was satisfactory. As a side note, next time I will make a joint on the upper part of the trim! Even though it will be fully covered with primer and paint, it would be better to hide it completely.

I destroyed first set of bumpers in the brake fluid, trying to strip unsuccessful Alclad paintjob. Guido was kind enough to send me another set of bumpers. Replacement parts were cleaned and mounted for painting.

After few minor modifications and complete block sanding, I sprayed my first coat of Tamiya gray primer. It revealed tons of flaws! Every single one was carefully puttied with Squadron white putty.

I sprayed a coat of gray Tamiya primer, then wet-sanded all parts smooth.

Front end was particularly bad, with huge areas with really deep scratches, and several hills and valleys on flat panels. Everything was puttied again.

Primer was followed by three coats of Wal Mart Color Place gloss black enamel, with overnight drying of each coat.

And then started a painful process of sanding, priming, puttying - then repeating all of the above over and over again.

Finally, a light coat of Alclad II Chrome was dusted on the parts. I'm still convinced that Alclad is the best way to chrome small parts at home! The finish is very realistic!

First few times almost entire body was sanded back to the bare resin, then primed, puttied, and sanded again. I believe it took me 4 times to finally get rid of all the flaws.

At this point I had few coats of paint on the body and few coats on the radiator trim, and I was really afraid it wont fit. I was right - the fit was VERY tight! Couple of scares along the way - but finally the trim was installed! I also attached P/E grille mesh, front bumper, parking lights, and Ferrari emblem on the nose.

Finally, the body was sprayed with its final primer coat, then carefully wet-sanded and rubbed with toothpaste under the running water.

Then I glued small bumperettes and a photoetched Cavallino Rampante to the grille. License plate decal was taken from Revell Ferrari 250 GTO kit, and for additional realism attached to the model while still on its backing.

Since I had the rest of the model already completed, I decided to test fit the chassis and the body to check the ride height and general fit of the pieces. Nothing seemed to fit! But eventually I worked things out.

As a final touch I attached teardrop side blinkers from my parts box (they are from Gunze 250 GTO kit).

Next big problem was with glass parts. Kit provides some vacuum formed glass, but it didn't fit at all. I made few bucks from modeling clay, and "vacuformed" some glass pieces myself.

Front end was essentially completed. Combination of three lights, blinker, and a small bumperette put together in one corner looks somewhat busy, but beautiful at the same time.

After few "trial and error" attempts I had two glass parts that I was satisfied with. Now I needed to figure out how to glue the glass in.

Then I started to add small details to the body - door handles were made from photoetched parts, the button was made from thin solder.

The best technique turned to be the hardest one - I had to slowly scribe a small groove around both windshield and rear window with a blade of a hobby knife. It took hours.

Wiper blades were assembled from Detail Master set, and are very delicate and period correct pieces.

The hardest part was trying not to scribe too much and damage the outside window trim. I actually had to scribe only upper side (the roof) for the windshield - it was fitting pretty good on the sides and the bottom.

They were carefully glued to the body inside previously installed bases made from thin aluminum tubing. I also made washer nozzles from tiny aluminum rivets. They were drilled and installed them next to the wiper bases.

After dozens of test-fits and a lot of trimming, both windows were fitting "like a glove" inside the body.

The body was securely attached to the chassis. At this point I hade a mistake of opening the hood too wide - and I broke the hood hinge off! Oh well, I'll fix it later!

Cutting the grove also helped the glass to sit almost "flush" with the body.

Another view of the beautiful Ferrari V12 3-liter powerplant in almost completed model.

Now, with all major modifications completed, it was time to put some color on this baby! I mixed Tamiya TS-11 Maroon and TS-49 Bright Red lacquers at the ratio of 5:1 and sprayed couple of mist coats to cover all the primer. Gray primer darkened the paint a bit, giving it even more depth.

Resin taillight were cleaned and covered completely with chrome BMF. Using Tamiya clear red and orange, I painted the lenses. These taillights are not entirely correct for the Lusso though - they should have round insert in the middle instead of rectangular one.

After all mist coats were completely dry, I sprayed couple of wet coats few hours apart and left the body to dry for a few days. This picture is taken just before polishing.

Finally I glued rear bumper, taillights, license plate and small photoetched Cavallino. Trunk handle/button was painted silver, and Ferrari badge (Tamiya metal transfer) attached to the trunk lid.

Paint was polished with 3M polishing compound, followed by Tamiya fine compound and Last Detail Treatment model wax.

One year after the project started, the model was completed. The result was very satisfying, and totally worth every minute I invested in it. Now I have the most detailed model ever created in 1/24th scale of one of my favorite Ferraris - 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta.

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Copyright 2005 Alex Kustov. No copying or reproduction in any shape or form without written permission of the author.