Matchbox SS100 'Jaguar'

Matchbox SS100 'Jaguar'

Postby wixwacing » Mon 01 Apr, 2013 12:32 pm

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Matchbox SS100
‘Jaguar’


By Phil Wicks


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Contrary to popular belief, the SS 100 was singularly responsible for the use and eventual adoption of the word Jaguar as a vehicle marque. SS (Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilding Company) had spent many pre war years tuning a plethora of other manufacturers cars for the fledgling sportscar market.


SS100 'Jaguar'



In 1931, company owner William Walmsley and his partner William Lyons decided to build their own sports car and body, and what eventuated was the SS1. The SS1 chassis was built by Standard and supplied exclusively to SS along with a sidevalve six cylinder engine. Performance was not outstanding but it had set the pattern for future models, and its low cost made it a favourite with the motor racing fraternity.



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In 1935 SS released their next sports car model in the form of the SS 90, this boasted a top speed of 90 mph (145 kph). This was also William Lyons golden opportunity to finalise the distinctive outlines of the car that would eventually become Jaguar. Sure enough in 1936, the SS100 was released complete with shortened chassis and new OHV 2.6 litre Standard engine developed by new recruit, gas flow specialist Harry Weslake. By 1938 SS had developed and built their classic 3.5 litre OHV engine, taking the vehicle’s top speed to over 100 mph.



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The real dash!



William Lyons’ choice of names for the car was inspirational and by 1943 the ‘SS’ name and logo which had become jaded by events in the second war had been dropped for the new ‘Jaguar’ branding. During this time SS (Jaguar) had continued to produce saloon (sedan) cars for the British market, and at better than competitive prices. Indeed, the 3.5 litre SS100 only sold 116 cars in total over its entire production period, but its legacy lived on in the form of the Jaguar XK 120 and 140’s in years yet to come.



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Although a fine touring car, the SS100 became one of the fastest and best handling sports cars of its time. The SS100 was marketed as primarily for competition work. Its first major success came early, if somewhat unexpectedly, when Tommy Wisdom, crewed by his wife, won the arduous International Alpine Trial in 1936, beating Bugatti and bringing the fledgling marque to the attention of the Continental public. This would be the first of many successful rallying forays, including class wins in the RAC events of 1937 and 1938, and the Alpine (outright) again in 1948.



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Which brings me to my model. The kit is the Matchbox kit which to this day is readily available on that well known on line auctioneering institution, and for $30 or $40 you should be able to acquire one from any one of the four corners of the globe! The question ‘why the SS100’ answers itself really; it is an iconic sportscar along with Bugattis and Mercedes and Aston Martins (all of which are available from eBay) and the challenge was just what I was looking for.



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The 'rolling' chassis



I bought this kit after completing the Gowland & Gowland MG TD (scratchbuild section, this forum) and was eager to try a few different things to enhance the finished product. After experimenting, and being very pleased with the little HO motor in the MG I immediately went for another for this model; the plusses being that the motor is a little gem. Small, light and with enough speed to make the model drivable but not that much torque to make it uncontrollable.



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Bluetack in place behind the screen and the rear number plate



Because of the issues with connecting a prop shaft from the motor to the rear axle on the MG I decided to use the old faithful spring drive much in use with current 1/32 models. The connectivity was solved after buying some Pink Kar stock motors, these come with a step up collar to allow a standard pinion to be fitted; in my case it was ideal, the transmission spring slipped over the pinion sleeve a treat and that part of the dilemma was no more!



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OMG!



The chassis was a given, no point in changing much there!! The ‘Wixwacing’ circuit board chassis is now, after several years, honed to excellence and with the diminutive motor mounted up the front and a low slung prop (tail) shaft there was going to be a full interior in this model too!



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Some of the wheel parts



First up the body had to be assembled to a certain point in order that the chassis could be made to fit. The model comes complete with a scale chassis, engine and drive train but this was all going to be sacrificed in the conversion. Doors had to be assembled and bonnet halves fixed and glued in place. Once the basics were assembled , the circuit board was marked out and slowly and painstakingly trimmed to match the under body of the kit.



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Fixing the chassis too at this stage was settled. Because this model isn’t going to be involved in the cut and thrust of full on racing I could afford to make it a little more fragile than would otherwise be safe. The chassis was to be fixed by a pair of screw under the seats. The circuit board is a snug fit between the running boards so all the screws will be doing will be to hold the chassis in its location. To do this a couple of short plastic tubes were cut from a length. Holes were drilled through the chassis and smaller holes through the underside of the body. By screwing from the outside I could pull the plastic sleeve against the body on the inside and with a drop of glue, create a short screw anchor; enough to fix the body in place. These, conveniently, are located under the seats. All the other dimensions were then marked out, wheelbase, contrate position, guide sleeve and front axles.



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It got very tight at the font end as the tapered bonnet presented minimal space to mount the front axle mounts and the guide sleeve. But we did it and I’m pleased to say it is all nicely hidden under the finished model. As with the MG I decided on the guide sitting a little way behind the front axle as this is a purely for fun model, and any disadvantages caused by its location would be academic!



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It ain't easy being green!



The motor position was marked out and eventually the motor was soldered into position. The closeness of the guide to the model and the end of the bonnet posed the next problem but I decided on having the very short lead wires cross over under the model, this allowed the guide to move from side to side without hindrance or risk of pulling the lead wires out.



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The biggest issue, and probably still not fully addressed is the wheels and tyres. After spending a considerable amount of time and money looking for ideal wheels and tyres I have drawn a blank and as a last ditch measure I have decided to go with the wheels and tyres from the kit. The wheels were assembled and counter bored and sleeved with a small length of brass tube. These were eventually superglued to the axle ends and I don’t mind saying look quite effective. The wheels were anodised out of the box and this all looked a bit too 'bling' for my liking. I mixed a brush load of satin black with a deal of thinners and hand painted the wheels with this very ‘watery’ mix. Once dried I rubbed the spokes with a cotton bud which removed the paint from the spokes, leaving the gaps between dark and the spokes gleaming, still not the best but a lot better than putting the wrong wheels on simply because they are spoked. Maybe someone will make some scale wheels to fit this model soon?



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Getting the ride height right




With the chassis pretty much fixed up, the rest of the model needed finishing. First job was to get all the bits to fit. Placing the model on the chassis saw the prop shaft hit the underside of the transmission tunnel. This was fully expected and the fix was to cut the tunnel away and create a new one from plastic tubing available from the local hobbyshop. The tunnel wasn’t the only issue; the contrate had to fit under the back seat too! As the model was going to have the tonneau in place it was a case of carefully grinding away a minimal amount of plastic and once the chassis was fixed in place, covering it over with plasticard. Once the body fitted the chassis the rest was all cosmetics....... almost!



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I was in a dilemma as to what colour as to paint the model. I initially settled on traditional British racing green and primed and painted the model, but a look around my shelves showed I had been traditional for more time than I care to recall. Bitterly disappointed I decided on a colour change which led from one disaster to another! I dipped the model in a methylated spirits bath and this admirably removed the paint from the model... it also removed the anodising from the radiator grille which had been attached after the green paint job to allow me to finalise the front end of the model.



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Dash board detail



Disheartened but not down I tidied the model up, spray painted the grille with chrome silver and after a period of days masked the grille and painted the rest of the body white...now this was looking good! few days later I decided to give the model its first coat of clear. I always clean the spraygun after each paint job, spending several minutes alone at this task. With the gun cleaned out I decanted some clear enamel into the spray bottle and cleaned the body of dust and other bits. The first pass of the gun was fine...the second too, but just as I was putting the final coat on a whole swarm of dark specs came out of the gun, polka dotting the immaculate white finish and to my horror ruining the white paint job!! I suspect that some acrylic paint inside the unreachable parts of the gun finally became detached by the enamel paint I was using.



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The driver 'in' the seat



The model was again stripped back and I started from new. This time I got a good white coat on the model. Several days later and at great expense I bought a can of Tamiya clear lacquer, and after warming it for twenty minutes I sprayed the model at a good distance. The end result was a speckle free clear coat.



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All this had taken several months as I don’t do things in a hurry these days, and once again after a few more months waiting for stuff to arrive from overseas and again being notably disappointed on its arrival, and after completing more pressing slotcar things I turned back to the model. Two more challenges ahead now!! The windscreen and the driver!!



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Sounds like fun I hear you say....No, not really! The driver took an eternity to arrive from overseas as I had ordered it with what I thought were going to be the ideal wheels and tyres for the model!! As it turned out I had to wait for weeks because the tyres were out of stock awaiting new mouldings and correspondingly the driver waited too! On arrival the (pre war) driver was ideal , but the wheels and tyres weren’t! But at least I could get on with the cockpit layout. The seats were miniscule but nothing bigger was going to fit.



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I shaped the base of the seats to fit the new interior complete with bigger transmission tunnel and then I had to get the driver to fit the diminishing dimensions. I decided to go with the obvious in the end. I cut rather painfully through the driver’s groin with the dremel and a special conical diamond cutting bit. This allowed me to glue the legs and feet together to fit the foot well in the model. Next up, the SS100 has one of those huge four spoked pre war steering wheels, so the poor old driver copped it again. This time I cut him through the shoulder blades almost three quarter of the way through! This allowed me to open his arms to the width of the wheel! So far, so good!


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Next up was to get him to sit low enough. To do this I profiled his back, butt and upper leg backs to fit the shape of the seat; eventually he was sitting lean and low in the kit seat. Victory at last!! Eventually he and the seat and wheel had to be fitted. I was sweating a bit on this as if I fitted and fixed the seat in place then I couldn’t get the driver in place. If I fitted and fixed the driver and seat in place, then I couldn’t get the steering wheel in place!! Mmmmmmmm? As it happens I managed to get the driver and seat in place as one manoeuvre, I then had the slimmest of spaces to insert the steering wheel into the drivers hands and enter the shaft into the hole in the dash! Phew!..... All this and trying not to get glue on the bits that didn’t need it! Time for a week off!



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Last unknown was the screen. This came as a small piece of clear plastic which presumably was cut to size and glued in place? Anyway, this is what I did. Not content with this very amateurish effort I decided to hold the screen in place by floating a layer of araldite clear over it to thicken it. The araldite was duly mixed and applied to the screen, this I had already done a few times with headlamps on other models, but this in itself presented problems. The aging tube of ‘clear’ araldite wasn’t as clear as it was supposed to be. The mix was very yellowish to say the least! And because it starts to set in six or seven minutes there wasn’t sufficient time for the air bubbles to disperse, consequently I ended up with a very yellowish and bubble filled screen. The idea was good but somewhere along the way it all ended up in a train wreck!



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HO power!



Not to be deterred and again after some several weeks I looked at it again Mmmmmmm? In the end I settled for a clear plastic screen. This was recut from thicker material and shaped so that it would fit snugly inside the screen frame, so far, so good. Once having achieved this I cleaned and resprayed the frame. Once dry, the screen was placed inside the frame; I then sprayed one side of the frame and screen with the expensive tin of Tamiya clear enamel, then, day on day, I sprayed alternate sides of the screen until I achieved a thick even screen material and, a thick even screen!



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Body fixing screws


With wins coming thick and fast it was just a case now of basic modelling skills to finish the model off. All the ancillary bits had already been painted and other stuff done to them. As the final assembly got closer the rule of ‘fragile bits last’ came into play. With model handling becoming less and less intense it becomes OK to put the fiddly bits on. First major fiddly bit are the headlamps and brackets. These had been glued and lacquered months ago, and it was a simple case of cleaning out the mounting holes in the body, inserting the lights and putting a spot of superglue on the back of the holes to fix them in seconds. The rear number plate was almost as easy. I cleaned the mating surfaces and fixed a small piece of ‘bluetack’ to the body. Glue was applied to both surfaces and the plate holder put in place and lightly pressed into the bluetack. The position was adjusted to align with the body and all was left to cure. The bluetack wouldn’t be removed until the model was finished.



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Stablemates



The screen was a bit more of a challenge but at least I have come across this on other models. The idea was to apply some small blocks of bluetack onto the top of the dash. The screen was then fitted to the dash top dry and pushed into place until it assumed the correct position with the help of the blutack. Once happy with its final position I removed it from the model carefully, leaving the bluetack in place. I then painted a thin bead of extra strength araldite along the bottom edge and wings of the screen frame. I then did this a second time to build up the layer of epoxy. Once there was a decent even strip of wet araldite along the bottom edge of the screen, I slowly and carefully lowered it into place on the body making sure it was matching the angle of the bluetack. A gentle press into place and a visual check to make sure there were no gaps in the glue under the screen and the model was set aside for twenty four hours to set and cure.



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With that the model was complete!! All that was left to do was to screw the remaining assemblies together and take it for a run!! As it happens I had done the running bit some months earlier when the chassis was first finished and while the body was in primer. I had screwed the body on and taken it to the LCR for some serious track evaluation and guess what, another outstanding Wixwacing success! The model was run for some time on the kit wheels and tyres and after the tyre flash had worn off on the Ferrador surface the model drove very well. The little HO motor doesn’t add a lot of weight to the front of the model and total weight is divided about 50/50 front and rear, well balanced. In fact, I probably won’t even bother looking for replacement wheels and tyres!



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Bluetack again!



As mentioned elsewhere the HO motor is actually rated at 28,000 rpm, but because of its low torque it doesn’t get up to maximum revs and the weight soon overcomes it at a reasonable speed. This is another one of those model you can circulate for hours at a time and just bask in the pleasure of its aura. Me, I think might just venture it out in the next classic NC1 sports car event just for the kick, but time will tell.



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Plenty of space to spare!



Now there is a gap in my kit building activities! But I seem to remember there is a Mercedes SSK somewhere in the garage waiting for my attention?!
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When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
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wixwacing
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Re: Matchbox SS100 'Jaguar'

Postby wixwacing » Sat 16 Nov, 2013 4:28 pm

After much deliberation I decided to finish the Jaguar off by procuring some photo etched wheels and urethane tyres. The hard bit was finding someone who actually made wheels and tyres which would be scale for the model. There are lots of wheels and tyres available on the net but almost without exception they are not scale but usually basic hubs with tyres of differing depth making the whole thing look very un genuine. In the end I managed to track down a maker of scale wheels and tyres in the UK. At great expense I purchased the wheels and tyre and I have to say they are very good. Not only do the tyres appear scale in their radius but they are also quite narrow (5.0 m.m.).


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The SS 100 with its new wheels and tyres



Tyres and wheels were procured from Peter's wire wheels but they are not cheap. On this occasion I decided the model was worth it so I bit the bullet and paid out the 30.00 pounds plus postage. One word of warning, putting them together is not for the faint hearted and I recommend a couple of trial runs before you commit yourself to assembling them. The tyres too need the backs trimming off. This I did with a safety razor blade and by inserting the rim into the tyre it tensioned it allowing me to follow the inner edge of the rim with the blade. There is also the odd bubble in the urethane where the tyre fits over the rim; for this you will need to invert the tyre and again, using the safety razor blade, carefully trim the small bubbles off. If you don't do this the tyre will not sit evenly on the rim.

Peter's wire wheels



So there you go, I thought it was worth it! What do you think??
Image

When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
User avatar
wixwacing
Marshal!!!
 
Posts: 1888
Joined: Thu 10 Jul, 2008 8:22 pm


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