MJK XW / XY Falcon

MJK XW / XY Falcon

Postby wixwacing » Thu 15 Oct, 2015 8:51 pm

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MJK XW/XY Falcon


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By Phil Wicks

For those who have newly ventured into the field of slotcar scratchbuilding there is a bitter sweet experience based on inexperience and lack of market place knowledge. How many times have we seen our favourite slotcar body advertised for sale on the online auction sites and how many times have we been tempted more than several times to commit hard earned mazoolah to an overseas company on the promise of an immaculate resin body of your dreams only to find on arrival that it is a mediocre model of poor moulding quality and of dubious scale and worst of all a hundred grams overweight and almost useless as a race model!


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And how many times have I been on line looking for that special model that someone else has made only to find the builder was behind the eight ball from the word go due to a severely defective moulding, poor decals and atrocious clear parts and windscreens. Sure enough, the model will receive praise enough from on lookers, who, it appears, many of which couldn’t tell a Rembrandt from a “Banksie”; and I wonder how many were just mumbling platitudes to cheer the hapless builder up!


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Well, there currently is a solution as far as us here in Aus are concerned. The ever industrious ‘all things slotcar’ suppliers MJK have moved to the next level as far as scratchbuilding supplies are concerned. You may have seen elsewhere on this forum that they have recently designed and built some new chassis designs aimed at giving the scratchbuilder a racing platform comparable to anything currently available in the market place in the same price bracket.


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Updated techniques in tyre manufacturing now sees them produce faultless urethane tyres which are also market leaders internationally. They also have their ears to the round as far as innovation is concerned, and they currently have several projects on the horizon which should please most of us in one aspect or another; but they are still secret!


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Fantasy livery in the style of ‘Moffat’


But the good news currently is that they are producing some classic Aussie muscle cars for general release which have been recently revised. Now, some of those models are available for local racing. The big improvements are the sharpness of body detail for the aficionado and more importantly, the reduction of body weight at the moulding process. Resin and plastic moulded 1/32 bodies invariably weigh in at thirty five to forty-five grams and above.


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All body openings have been ‘cleaned up’


The latest MJK bare bodies are now coming out at about twenty grams, and above for larger models. A breakthrough indeed for the ardent racer who has become fed up with top heavy models tumbling in the corners. This achievement represents a reduction from model bodies being fifty percent of the model weight to around twenty percent! Gone are the hours sitting at the hobby bench with files or a dremel grinding away precariously at the inside of a model in an attempt to reduce its weight, then fixing slabs of lead to horizontal and vertical surfaces in a desperate attempt to keep the model upright in a tight corner.


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How thin is that!! No more half tonne resin bodies


The Falcon in question is one of those models and completed it is a great (dare I say unique!) model. The chassis carries enough weight to let the model behave confidently in corners and in sweepers. The secret formula urethane blended MJK tyres leave nothing to be desired on virtually all track surfaces in all weathers, and the chassis layout has no bad habits influencing the model’s performance. So what do we need to do to get this model on the track?


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Motive power kit


The model comes in a very nice box carrying details of the contents and first job is to lay everything out and check everything is there. I recommend fettling the body first as it will influence things like axle widths and wheelbase. The window apertures can be cleaned up with modeler’s files and body detail can be touched up at this stage to enhance its appearance.


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De-bugging the body


My body had some very fine pinholes at a couple of extremities caused by minute air bubbles getting trapped in the intricate areas of the mould. This is not unusual on this type of moulding and the fix is simple. Primer applied on the tip of a fine paintbrush will see the holes filled after two or three applications; other areas like door and bonnet gaps can be redefined if they need it and tidying up around the body in general will pay dividends for the appearance of the painted model.


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The clear screen parts can be tested for fit t this stage, there isn’t much to them but you don’t need to be filing and trimming a newly painted body so now’s the best time to do this. I split the windows front and rear, side to side and applied the windows separately. The window holes are filed or sanded to shape to get the optimum fit and once all the windows look like they are ok, they were put aside.


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The driver’s tray was painted and assembled in advance and its fit also confirmed. Final trimming of the drivers tray won’t occur until the body is in its final stage of assembly, and the tray will be the last item to go in the body. Don’t be afraid of trimming spare plastic from these parts as it will improve their fit. trim and test repeatedly; these will be the last parts going into the finished body


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Another important job is to clean up the wheel arches. This will determine the vehicle wheelbase as mentioned before and once tidy the chassis can be assembled and offered up into the body. The hardest bit will be mounting the chassis in the body. The new MJK body mounts require fixing to the inside edge of the body. I chose to epoxy the mounts in and to get these in the right place the body has to be ‘chocked up’ while the glue is curing. In retrospect I could have left fitting the chassis mounts ‘til last as it can be a bugger trying to maneuver the windows, and then the drivers tray past them while there is wet glue about. The main reason for fitting them at this stage was to give my painting sticks somewhere to be anchored and thereby negating the need to handle a wet body.


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MJK’s new chassis


The chassis is a new concept design by team member Dave Bowden, and a great job he has made of it too; as well as conventional features it has a quick release mounting system where the four mounting screws need less than half a turn each to release the body. If you like to race with ‘screws loose’! the chassis also has some black adjusting screws which allow you to adjust the degree of body ‘float’ on the chassis. Or, you can screw them down and fix the body firmly to the chassis.


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Underneath


The area where the mounts will be glued will need cleaning, no paint, no oil, no grease to be left here or the glue will not bond properly. The inside dimension of the body is measured and the mounts are trimmed to length and for good measure I roughed them up a bit to help with keying. The assembled chassis complete with wheels was placed on the setup block and the body was placed over the mounts. The body was spaced off the setup block so that it sat squarely at the right height, once happy with its stance some super strength epoxy was applied to the ends of the chassis mounts and to the spots on the body where it was going to sit. Being careful not to get glue in the wrong places the body was lowered over the chassis and the chocks adjusted. Once happy, the assembly was placed out of the way for another twenty four hours.


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Ready for colour


Once all this was done, all that is left is to paint the body. First up the body needs washing in clean soapy water and rinsing well to remove any mould release agent or other chemicals that might be on the surface. The body is then fixed to one of my trademark lolly sticks (mentioned above) in readiness for painting. The model got a thin dust over with grey primer which helps to highlight any body defects. I then spent some time removing any blemishes and moulding defects before applying a spray coat of flat red acrylic. Again the body was checked for any outstanding defects and the repair spots dusted over.


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Body mounted on its ‘lolly stick’ for ease of handling during painting


It is important at this time to ensure the base coat is good as any blemishes will show up through the gloss and there will be almost nothing you can do about it! Firstly the flat coat is not sprayed too thickly, just enough to cover the panels, so to speak. The finished flat coat will feel coarse and at this stage I would normally rub the flat finish with a coarse piece of linen from say, an old bed sheet or a pillow case. If there are still blemishes present I can lightly rub them down with 1200 wet and dry. If you go through the flat coat then a light dusting with more flat to the affected area should be enough, DO NOT do the whole body again. The thicker the undercoats on the model, the easier the top coat will chip!


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First coat of colour


Next up was the top colour coat. This was a mix of Tamiya Italian red and some yellow to give the paint job a slightly orange appearance as per the real car. The paint was decanted from the spray can into an empty Tamiya acrylic bottle. The same with the yellow but this time just enough to mix with the red to achieve the slightly orange-red colour . Enough paint was decanted to allow me to spray a good gloss coat, and to leave enough over should I need to do any touching in at a later time in its racing career!


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Trims picked out before the flat black is applied


Next up was a clear coat, again Tamiya paint, but this time sprayed directly from the can. I took the liberty of warming the spray can up in a small dish of hot water, and placing the body on its mount under my 100 watt anglepoise work bench lamp, this will help the paint to initially flow more freely and reduce the risk of an ‘orange peel’ finish. In the longer term it will also encourage the paint to firm up more quickly and reduce the risk of runs.


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Decals going on nicely


Again after a long period of drying and curing it was time to start applying decals and other paint features. The chrome trims were applied by brush around the windows, bumpers and grilles and once dry, the decals were cut and applied one side at a time. Avoid applying decals in various places around the model at the same time as you will eventually end up dislodging or damaging them while they are still wet. My preferred method is to do one side or end at a time and allow a day for the decals to set firm.


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Ready for the top coat of clear (flat black parts will be brush painted on after the last coat of clear)


Some of the black decals had picked up some minor marks while placing and the best method is to allow all the decals to set and then with dilute flat black paint or even a felt texter/marker, the marks were touched in. At this time I also decided to paint the white lights. I chose white as the solid lights don’t look good in silver and it doesn’t distinguish them from the grill colour. So, I mixed a small amount of silver with some white and painted the headlamps, driving lights and front side marker lamps. Also at this stage I painted the rear lamps with Tamiya clear red and clear orange acrylic. The lamps had already been painted silver and this helped the red and orange appear semi translucent and stand out.


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How is it looking


Once all is comfortably dry, the model then gets its second clear coat and again an obligatory rest for paint to cure, not just dry. Last up are the flat or semi matt areas, this was achieved with an acrylic semi matt acrylic paint brush applied carefully with a fine brush. Items to be painted were the black window trims, screen trims and most of all, the grille spaces between the lights. When painting the silver parts initially a finer edge can be achieved by a light stroke or two of the red to smarten up the edges of the silver before the last gloss coat is applied.


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Lastly, the model in this case was left for several days to cure, and when I came back to it I lightly dusted the non decal areas with some 1200 wet and dry and cleaned the areas. The model then got its last gloss coat! If you have carried out the first and second stages correctly then the final coat will dry to a perfect shine; and once again LEAVE it alone for a day or two and go and start your next project!


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Chassis mounts and driver’s tray in position


So that was it for me and again a great model from the MJK boys who were more than helpful in getting this model together. The hardest bit was researching the model. If you Google the Moffat Falcon you will find more variations than are helpful. In the end I opted to do a composite livery which showed several of the Moffat decals and fixed them in traditional Moffat positions, so you won’t find this as the real thing on the net, neither will anyone notice (other than a Moffat aficionado)!


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The bonnet decal needs the middle cutting out of it for the intake. Wad punch the corners and cut the waste out with some sharp scissors


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This is my third MJK model and I have to say the new chassis (also available separately) is a big plus, I do have another new MJK model sitting on my bench which is awaiting the clear parts, but that is still a secret!
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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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