Corvette Project Part 1 - C1 Series (1953-1962)

This project started back in September 2014 on the old AutoModeler Forum, when I started the '53 Corvette build. It was on and off the bench until late November 2020 when it was finally completed.








Work started on the '54 Corvette in mid-2019, and it joined it’s older brother on the display shelf in late February 2021.







I haven’t had a Chevy on the bench for a few months now, so it’s time to start tinkering with the '55 Corvette. This one will be the same kit as the '53 and '54, but from an older (1982) boxing.

Time to cut the 40 year old factory plastic and see what’s inside!

Hmmmm . . . . . . red plastic, and the chrome and clear sprues loose in the box! :unamused:

Some work to be done here to clean up the body with those filaments of flash and heavy sprue gates.

Not sure what the dark stains are on the bonnet, perhaps from the rubber tyres.

A lovely scuff mark on the windscreen to polish out, thanks!

Crusty old instruction manual, and no decal set. This is gunna be fun!

I will start tidying up some of the parts in between working on other builds, and this kit will also need a donor V8 from another kit to lift it to 1955 spec.
Next post I will list all of the kits I have lined up for the rest of the C1 series.

Cheers, D

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Here we go, the C1 series build list!

1956 (cosmetically the same as a '57)

1957

1958

1959

1960

1961 (Minor mods required from '60 kit)

1962 (Dual build to celebrate the end of the C1 series)

It was 68 years ago this week that the first Corvette rolled off the line. Happy Birthday LEGEND!!:birthday: :beers: :grin:

Cheers, D

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Some nice looking Corvettes there, D., and you have quite a few in your stash. The only one I have is the Revell 1963 Split Window snap kit.

Jim

When done, those beauties will make a killer display.

If you know a good woodworker, it would be pretty cool to have a scale model, alongside the plastic models, in real wood, of the wooden bucks, you shared pictures of, some years ago.

Thanks for checking in Jim and Jesper! As always, a long term project for me to tinker with between Group Builds and aircraft kits.

That would be awesome! The original mahogany moulds for the fibreglass bodies are absolutely stunning!





Cheers, D

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Those are beautiful builds . The bucks are a work of art

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Doing some preparatory research, there were 700 of the '55 Corvettes built, and 693 of those had the all-new 265ci V8 fitted. The remaining 7 had the 235ci “Blue Flame” inline 6-cylinder.
A while back I picked up a “rebuilder” '55 Chevy Cameo Pickup for next to nothing, so it will kindly donate its 265 V8 to this build.



All I will need to do is dig through the spares box to find a flat air cleaner.
55VRef04

Cosmetically, the only difference of significance was a slightly wider grille, but that would require some major surgery on the kit for something that would be barely noticeable in this scale, so I’m leaving it as is. I recall reading in a forum some time back that the kit grille is actually somewhere in between the 53/54 and 55 dimensions anyway.
55VBrochure07

I have also decided on a colour scheme.

Photo of the fibreglass components just because!
55VRef05

Hoping to get started on cleaning up some parts soon.

Cheers, D

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Well, the best laid plans . . . . . . yeah! I went through the '55 Cameo box to pull out the engine parts to make a start, and the oil pan is missing! Oh well, back to the drawing board. In my box of car after-market I have a couple of Revell Parts Pack engine sets! I’m fairly certain that the 1/25 283ci will look passable as a 1/24 265ci. I will do some research on the physical dimensions of each engine and confirm my suspicions!


I also made a start on Steps 1 and 2 on the kit, cleaned up the chassis and assembled some of the front end (after hacking my way through a little flash!).


Cheers, D

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Plan C is under way on the engine swap. The Parts Box 283 doesn’t have a stock option which is what I want to show. Also, the 283ci V8 was based on the same block as the 265ci, and in 1/25 rather than 1/24 will be noticeably smaller in the engine bay. I am digging through my stash of Tri-5 Chevy kits to see which kit will be the lucky donor!

I put a bit of time in last night trimming the parts off the sprues to see how they look, and separating out the 6-cylinder engine components that won’t be needed. So far only a couple of small sink-marks to fill, nothing major to slow proceedings at all.

I also started cleaning up the mould lines on the body.

Cheers, D

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Ok, all of my 1/24 Tri-5 kits have either modified or big-block V8 engines, so dead end there. We circle back to the option of stealing a 1/25 small-block from another kit so it’s time to crunch some numbers.

This photo shows a 1/25 283ci V8 (from a junker '55 Street Machine kit I picked up from a swap meet) against the 1/24 235ci inline 6 from the Corvette kit. Almost identical overall length from the front of the block to the back end of the transmission.

From the front of the block to the back of the bell housing on the V8 is 30mm. Scaled up from 1/25 makes the engine dimension there 750mm. Scaled down to 1/24 would be 31.25mm. I think I can live with a 1.25mm discrepancy!
Dropping the 6 in place gives me a marker as to where the driveshaft meets the transmission, right over the crossmember, and dropping the V8 in place gives a sense of how it will sit.


I will carve off the engine mounts for the 6 and I might be able to move them forward and lower to use them to mount the V8. I think once the manifolds and rocker covers and other accessories are added on, this will look quite nice.

Never being one to waste an opportunity, I think I will build up the Blue Flame 6 and make a small engine mount stand and display it beside the '53 and '54 Corvettes!
1954-Corvette-Blue-Flame-235-CID-Six-

Cheers, D

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Nice D ! My father was a boat builder by trade and designed , built and raced power boats for fun .
He built a 280 cu. inch class hydroplane when I was a boy . In this class the engines had to be stock and could not exceed 280 cu. in. displacement . The 265 cu. in. Chevrolet was the engine of choice for nearly everyone including my dad .
Cheers- Richard

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And we have a winner! The lucky donor of the stock V8 is this '55 Bel Air kit!

Now I can get on with the assembly so that I can relocate the engine mounts.


I will use the Parts Box custom V8 in the Bel Air kit, he will be happy with the heart transplant!

Tally Ho!

Cheers, D

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The basic engine is assembled and cleaned up ready for primer, time for a test fit to see how it fits and where the engine mounts might be located.


I will need to fully assemble the engine and do some test fitting with the body in place to make sure that the engine sits low enough and far enough back to look the part. The kit distributor looks nothing like the one on the original engine, might be time to scratch-build something to suit there.


The other engine parts are cleaned up ready for primer as well, might be airbrush time!

Cheers, D

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What a great series, and topic too! Following with interest, D :slightly_smiling_face:

You keep making these totally cool scores!!! Gonna be a great set of builds to watch come together.

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Progress report time!

I have primed the floor pan underside in MS1500 Black and the body in MS1500 grey.



The body has some fine seamlines and a small sink mark to deal with then another shot of primer.

I painted the inner wheel halves and the engine components.

A bit of detail painting on the engine, and fitted the fuel filter and carb. On test fitting the air cleaner, it is sitting too high in the engine bay.


I will trim off the details on the sides of the carb to get the air cleaner sitting lower, they will never be seen once everything is fixed in place.

Thanks everybody for checking in, stay safe and model on!

Cheers, D

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A little progress and a backward step on the '55 Corvette body. As always, the primer coat revealed some very fine seams and mould lines that needed attention.



A second shot of primer will test my sanding skills!

As for the backward step, there is a twist in the body so the front RHS corner sits low.

A hot water bath and some time on a flat surface under some weight might sort this out.

Cheers, D

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I shot another coat of primer on the '55 body today, and while the airbrush was out I also primed the parts for the Blue Flame Display engine.

I might spend some time tonight fabricating a display stand from some sprue and see what I can come up with.

Masking and painting the intake manifold on the chrome carburetor part looks like fun! Maybe I need to carve off the manifold and paint it separately and then reassemble. :thinking:

Cheers, D

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Liquid masking perhaps.

I’ve never had much luck with the couple of attempts I made using liquid mask. I probably need to keep trying though, because that would seem to be a good option for this type of small part with complex surface detail.

Never one to shy away from some bench shenanigans, on with the micro-surgery!

First up I used a scalpel blade to deepen the groove where the intake manifold and carb body flanges meet. Great detail on an old kit that it was even there!

Then out with a nice fine razor saw and worked my way around the cut to make sure I kept it as true as possible.

Happy with the result, there is a flange of about 0.5mm on both the manifold and carb body.

As they say in the classics “Off with their heads!”

I drilled some small holes in the flanges (1, 2 and 3 respectively) on both sides so that they go back in the right order, and I will lightly sand the mating surfaces after painting to get a good bond. The manifold will get a bath in oven cleaner to remove the chrome. The chrome air intakes will be masked while the carb bodies get a shot of flat clear to dull them down. If they don’t look right they will get painted with a steel colour.

The body of the '55 has been reprimed and cured, wet sanded, and I’m having a close look now to see if any further work is required.

Cheers, D

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