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An old Kit of an Old Car (Thomas Flyer)

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  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
An old Kit of an Old Car (Thomas Flyer)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 12:02 AM

Since completing the USS Arizona I came back to my home,..... automobiles. I was looking through my stash to come up with something a little different and out popped a 1910 Thomas Flyer. 

KIT:

It was originally molded and distributed by Bandai in the early 70's and later by Entex in the mid 80's. Mine is the fifth rebox from Bandai according to Scalemates. The mold quality is comparable to that of the era, crude and with large seams. It is molded in four colors; green, black, brown, and white, along with gold/brass plated pieces. Compared to the Revell or AMT in its day (early 70's) it holds its own quite well. In part due to the larger scale of the kit 1/16.

The kits instructions are very basic and lack any detail or color call outs. So far I have spent 4 hours cleaning and de-seaming the parts to each hour of assembly. Also, there are no guide pins to aide in attaching any of the parts correctly. This will not be a quick build. 

HISTORY:

The Erwin Ross (E.R.) Thomas Motor Company produced automobiles from 1902 through 1919. Production transpired in Buffalo, New York. The first cars produced appeared in 1903 and were mostly small runabouts with seating for two. The company had begun like so many other auto-manufacturing firms at the time - through a bicycle business. 
The first E.R. Thomas Motor cars were powered with a vertically-mounted water-cooled straight-three cylinder engine that produced just over 20 horsepower. The engine was mated to a two-speed planetary gearbox. As times progressed, so did E.R. Thomas Motor Cars. The Company did much to promote their vehicles and to attract customers, such as painting the cars in bright and attractive colors. The cars became more powerful and elegant and became renowned for their reliability and endurance.  

In 1908, a Thomas Flyer was entered into 'The Great Race' which ran from New York to Paris. The decision was made at the last minute and there was little time to properly adapt the car for the race. Instead, the company pulled one from the production line and entered it into the race. The race began at New York during the winter and proceeded to San Francisco. The entrants then loaded onto a boat and traveled to Alaska, then Siberia. Once they arrived at Siberia, the race continued. The Race was actually won in 169 days, and covered 22,000 miles. 13341 miles were actually driven. At the conclusion of the race, ending in Paris, it was the Thomas Flyer in first place, claiming the victory.  

Demand for the Thomas Motor cars increased after the heroic victory and in 1911, the company only produced six-cylinder cars. Within a year, the car had entered into receivership and purchased by C.A. Finnegan of the Empire Smelting Company.

BUILD THREAD:

My first thought was to back date it to replicate the 1908 race winner. The I noticed that the 1910 had a totally different body and drive train (the  1910 has a differential while the 1908 was chain and sprocket driven). This means it will remain a 1910 flyer. 

I will be building the car mostly out of the box (OOB). After some research on the web I located several photos of real cars to aide my paint and detail work of the engine.

Step 1:  Since I'm really trying to build mostly OOB I'm only added what I feel are necessary items (no super detailing). Here is the engine assembled through step one. I've added a limited amount of nut and bolt details to match source photos, including guides for the push rods:

Steps 2 and 3:   The remaining kit details for the engine are completed to include some wiring. Using the source photos as reference, here is the engine after its completion (less touch-up and detail painting still to occur). 

Step 4:  This began the assembly of the frame. Without question, the worst part of the kit are the front and rear leaf springs and the long side chassis parts. This is a kit where every part requires major cleaning, de-seaming, and multiple test fits prior to assembly; definately not a modern Tamiya kit (smile).

This is where I am currently with much more chassis and drive line work to do. The steering link is functional. Note that the brown plastic part is not cemented to the chassis. It should actually appear as wood, something I will begin working on tomorrow. 

 

Till next update.... as always, your comments are welcome.

Ben

 

 

 

I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well

PROJECTS:

- 1/350 USS Alabama (GB) - DONE

- 1/16 1910 Thomas Flyer (WIP)

- 1/78 AC-119 Stinger Gunship (GB-Pending)

 

 

 

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 6:30 AM

Hi Ben;

     Aha ! The Thomas Flyer! Guess what other famous car had it's roots in Buffalo, N.Y.? As a Matter of fact I went to High School in the very building used for offices and took many shop courses in the Assembly and Manufacturing Building, until I settled on one I would make my trade.

     That building still had a machine shop with Belt driven 12' lathes! Even the Band saws were belt driven. It all still worked. Powered by a Re-worked Engine Because Deleware Creek had been dammed upstream and no water came to the still remaining Wheels!

     If You Guessed, Pierce Arrow Motorcars, you are Correct ! Now, nothing remains but a govt.  approved Plaque! That Building had so much history! My Drafting and Design Instructor for Engineering had been a Student himself, of the Well Known, Frank Lloyd Wright school of Design and Knew The Man personally!

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 3:54 PM

Thanks for that history, it is really neat. 

On a different but similar topic, prior to retirement I worked for the Federal Government and at one time was placed in the North American Aviation manufacturing building in Columbus Ohio. North American Aviation (NAA) was a major American aerospace manufacturer responsible for a number of historic aircraft, including the T-6 Texan trainer, the P-51 Mustang, the B-25 Mitchell, the F-86 Sabre Jet, the X-15 Rocket Plane, and the XB-70 Valkarie, as well as various Apollo Spacecraft modules, the Space Shuttle, and the B-1 Lancer. Through a series of mergers and sales, North American Aviation became part of North American Rockwell which later became Rockwell International and is now part of Boeing.

My daily walk into my office was up through the engineering offices, across the manufacturing floor on what was called a cat walk, and down the other side of the production line totalling nearly 1/2 mile. When I first arrived they were still manufacturing wing sub-assemblies for the B-1 Bomber. Above my desk was the original artist print of the older Sea Fury (similar to the S-86 Sabre) in a see through image.

I worked in that building (then owned by Rockwell) for nearly five years before we had our own federal building on a federal installation. Like you those were neat times. 

Thanks again for the kind words and interesting history.

Ben

I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well

PROJECTS:

- 1/350 USS Alabama (GB) - DONE

- 1/16 1910 Thomas Flyer (WIP)

- 1/78 AC-119 Stinger Gunship (GB-Pending)

 

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2014
Posted by BrandonK on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 4:23 PM

OOOH, a brass era piece. I am definately watching.

BK

On the bench: Alot !

On Deck: Alot more !

 

  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: East Bethel, MN
Posted by midnightprowler on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 4:50 PM

Looking great so far.  Definitely watching this. 

Hi, I am Lee, I am a plastiholic.

Co. A, 682 Engineers, Ltchfield, MN, 1980-1986

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

Ask me about Speedway Decals

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 6:22 PM

Very nice work so far.  Great colors. I'm sure it's a bear to clean up.  Those old molds, but where else do you go for a Flyer!?

Thanks,

John

Ain't no reason to hang my head, I could wake up in the mornin' dead 

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • From: Oregon: Beautiful tree country.
Posted by treehuggerdave on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 7:14 PM

I have a list of builds I'm watching.

I'll add this WIP build to that list.

The engine is beautiful, and has a great look 

of being 1 to 1.

Phil. 4:6-7   Jer. 29:11-14  John 3:13

On the bench - Hand made '50 Lincoln "Tail dragger"  1956 DeSoto 'vert., Resin '60 Chrysler 300 , Modelhaus resin '58 Pontiac hardtop kit.

Been a "Plastholic" all my life. Love this stuff.

  • Member since
    June 2010
  • From: Australia
Posted by OctaneOrange on Thursday, November 12, 2020 4:18 AM
I like what you've done
  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, November 12, 2020 8:34 AM

Looking great!

I built the 1:24 AMT kit- the around the world race winner version. 

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Friday, November 13, 2020 8:51 AM

Don, how was that kit, any issues with detail or fit? Was it shared in this forum?

Ben

I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well

PROJECTS:

- 1/350 USS Alabama (GB) - DONE

- 1/16 1910 Thomas Flyer (WIP)

- 1/78 AC-119 Stinger Gunship (GB-Pending)

 

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Saturday, November 14, 2020 10:33 AM

Fast and short update; I found some high quality wood images on acid free high quality bond paper in the scrapbook section of a local craft store. Using the kit parts for templates I added the paper to the pieces and trimmed the paper to fit. I suppose I could've found some decals of wood but I wanted to try these instead.

Here is the chassis with the wood pieces attached.

Image

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Also, since the kit does not have guide pins to aide in the assembly orientation I decided not to glue the axle and springs together. This will allow me to rotate the axle to better fit the differential when it comes to that step. Likewise for the brackets on the axle and the corresponding chassis support. 

Image

Next I will finish cleaning up the rear spring suspension; paint and add the differential and springs to the chassis; and then work on adding the wood finish to the (wood) firewall that will fit behind the engine.

Final detail painting of the engine and chassis once it is complete.

Till then.... comments welcome.

Ben

I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well

PROJECTS:

- 1/350 USS Alabama (GB) - DONE

- 1/16 1910 Thomas Flyer (WIP)

- 1/78 AC-119 Stinger Gunship (GB-Pending)

 

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 9:16 AM

Another update on the Flyer. As previously mentioned I finished the rear suspension and drive line then went on to complete the forward axle and steering linkage; now it is ready for final paint and detailing.

My next step is actually a little out of sequence. I completed the details and added the wood firewall to the chassis. In order to add the wood finish I had to first remove some of the detail, in this case the conduit for the gas lights. It was later created by using brass wire as seen here. Details on the interior wood box were sourced from extra PE left in my stash. I plan on adding decals from my spares in the instrument dials.

My build of the body is nothing like in the instructions as they assembly it by piece onto the chassis. Based on several reasons, I decided to assemble the whole main body off the chassis prior to painting it. For me, this will allow for a much smoother or "fitted" appearance and will make painting much easier. Here is a picture of the chassis, body, and hood assembled and ready for painting.

Till next time. Please let me know what you think of her.

Ben

 

I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well

PROJECTS:

- 1/350 USS Alabama (GB) - DONE

- 1/16 1910 Thomas Flyer (WIP)

- 1/78 AC-119 Stinger Gunship (GB-Pending)

 

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Friday, November 20, 2020 4:10 PM

Small update:

Painted the chassis its final coat along with all of the suspension. I really am enjoying this build without going overboard on scratch building or after market detailing. With that said, I really do not like the mold technology or standards from the 70's or earlier. The seams, ejection pin marks, flash, and general fit really has something to be desired and are nothing like current kits. Obviously something you forget about over the years, but we are really spoiled with the quality of kits now.....

Prior to the final de-seam and paint of the chassis I also added a control box with brass lines to the left side of the engine and a brass fuel line to the carburetor (based on real photos). I may still wash / weather the springs and tensioners, but other than adding the gearbox, differential, and exhaust, the chassis is mostly done.

Image

Image

All of the brass lighting consists of multiple parts each. They all have seam, fit, and sprue scar issues. So much that I have decided to try to get them under control but knowing that they will have to be totally repainted. Here is an example of the clean-up required.

Image

The body is going to be the same color as the chassis (like on the box). I am going to deviate from the plastic color or photos of the kit when it comes to the interior. I am leaning towards a deep red leather finish on the seats.

I also purchased some 1/16" (1.57mm) and 1/32" (0.793mm) pinstripe tape to attempt to stripe the model after painting. I will not know the thickness of the pinstripe until it arrives, but I hope it will be very thin and hide under a gloss coat. I may wait till it arrives before painting the green. If it is too thick perhaps I can paint the gold, pinstripe over it, paint the green, then remove the pinstripe (?). We will have to see......

Till then, keep modeling and please share your thought on my build.

Ben

I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well

PROJECTS:

- 1/350 USS Alabama (GB) - DONE

- 1/16 1910 Thomas Flyer (WIP)

- 1/78 AC-119 Stinger Gunship (GB-Pending)

 

 

 

  • Member since
    April 2003
  • From: USA
Posted by keavdog on Friday, November 20, 2020 7:11 PM

Great looking project!  I wonder how effective wooden firewalls were Stick out tongue

Thanks,

John

Ain't no reason to hang my head, I could wake up in the mornin' dead 

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