October 2017
Inspired by seeing the CUT8 racing E-Type on a visit to Goodwood for a Revival Test Day I built this ‘fast road’ version model from the old Heller kit.
Originally released in 1978, the kit is basic but it seems to be the best option among the limited range of kit options available.
The main challenge with this kit is the horizontal seam in the body (I presume caused by the moulding limitations of the time) created where Heller have the lower body panels moulded with the chassis\underbody.
The design of the kit prevents the joining of upper and lower body until the interior and side windows are installed by which point filling and sanding is likely to damage the completed interior and allow water to get trapped inside whilst wet sanding.
After researching similar builds I found on the internet and various dry fittings with parts taped together I decided to separate the lower body (sills and rear valance) from the chassis parts using a razor saw and attach them to the main body, reinforcing the join with strips of plastic card. I then glued the boot floor to the remaining chassis parts, the end result allowing the chassis to slide back into the main body after painting.
My assembly method would leave a small slot where the body sides curl under and meet the chassis but this would be out of sight when finished so was an acceptable compromise. What I didn’t realise at the time was that once the side windows were installed (they are moulded with the interior door card detail) during finally assembly, they would prevent the two sections sliding together as planned ! (see below)
I decided to modify the left hand drive dashboard to RHD, using plastic card to make the glovebox look like the instrument panel and removing detail on the moulded left hand panel to represent a new glovebox.
Remainder of assembly was as mainly as per the instructions; I added ignition leads from fine (approx. 0.3mm) wire inserted into holes drilled in cylinder head and coil, running them back to a distributor made from a small piece of plastic tube (which replaced the lumpy kit distributor).
Body was painted with Halfords car paint; Plastic Primer then Rover British Racing Green with clear lacquer to finish. After 3 weeks drying I user 6000/8000/12000 micro mesh to smooth the lacquer before applying Autoglym polish to give a final shine.
Chassis was sprayed with can of Humbrol 85 satin black acrylic. Engine, interior and other details were brush painted using Vallejo, Citadel and Lifecolor acrylics.
The wheels and other chrome parts had their heavy plating removed using bleach before painting. The wheels were then finished in Humbrol 56 acrylic, again from a spray can. Etched Knock-offs from detail master were added to the wheels as the kit parts were very crude.
Chrome was added to window frames and other details using a 1mm Molotow pen; these pens really are chrome, not silver, and are far easier to use than foil.
The side windows were added to the completed body and then I went to slide the chassis (with attached seats and dashboard) up into the body. The chassis snagged on the side windows so I couldn’t get the boot floor and chassis rear in position so I had to carefully separate the boot floor using a razor saw and insert it first before squeezing the reminder of the chassis into position.
Once together I re-glued and re-painted the cut parts through the open rear window opening as best as I could.
Steering wheel was also added at this point, tricky manoeuvre via front and rear window openings using tweezers.
The front and rear windows fit from the outside of the body, I added these last only to find they didn’t fit well, in part due to paint build up leaving the rear screen proud of the bodywork.
Lights were added to the completed body, Tamiya clear red\orange being used for the lenses. Numberplates were printed from my PC onto photo-paper. Bumbers were intentionally left off for a ‘road racer’ look
Lots of work in progress pictures here: https://twitter.com/search?q=cjhm%20heller%20jaguar&src=typd