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LIVING WITH "ALISON" (6)

In an occasional series, Malcolm Robertson outlines life with 'Alison', his 1957 MG ZB Varitone Magnette….
Episode Six - the end of the journey

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The Production of a scale model car
ZA Magnette

Once we have decided upon a new model, based upon requests we may have received, the number of variations we can get from a standard body shell and whether race and or rally versions are possible, we then track down an original car normally with help from the appropriate car club. In the case of the MG ZA Magnette we had over the years gathered an extensive number of photographs of cars, mainly from the MGCC weekends at Silverstone. Along with measurements taken from a car of length, track, width, size of door handles, lights and reference book material all the information gathered is passed to a master maker, who will make all the parts in either brass or in the case of the body shell a resin like material. Initially with the body shell, small detailing such as door lines, hinges etc are left off as this resin body then has to be moulded in a rubber compound to give us our working master (original) which all the ancillary parts have to fit. From this rubber mould pewter castings are generated, the best one is selected, cleaned up and all the fine detail added, ie door lines, door hinges and window trims. Hole locations are added for things like bumpers, lights etc so the customer will know where they locate on the final model. Once all the parts have been made checked for fit the metal master is then moulded in black rubber (sometimes silicone rubber) which involves cutting the rough shape of the model from the rubber so that it will fit. The mould is then heated and subjected to very high pressure so that it takes the shape of the parts being moulded. Generally two moulds will be made, one with the larger parts, body, baseplate, floor pan, seats etc and a second one with all the smaller and finer parts, this gives two balanced moulds which in the right hands will cast efficiently.

Basically the moulds are placed between two metal plates that are clamped together, these locate onto a base in the machine which is then spun at speed, the molten metal is then poured in slowly through the hole in the top of the plate, the centrifugal forces of the mould spinning causes the metal to flow outwards from the centre and fill the cavities in the mould to create a set  of castings - hence the process is known as Centrifugal casting.

Once the required number of parts have been cast in whitemetal (a tin lead alloy with trace elements) items such as bumpers, handles, lights etc are cleaned of their moulding lines and sent to be bright nickel plated to re-create the bright work on the real car. While this is being done a tool is made to create the vac-form (window glass), this is done using an actual casting, by fitting thin sheet metal to the outside of the body shell and creating a 'female' mould which is then used to vacuum mould the glazing. Tyres are made from a synthetic rubber polymer to look and feel like real tyres. Instructions sheets are drawn showing all the parts, with a parts list and hints and tips on how to go about building the model. The castings are then sorted out into either full kits for self build or for us to build to customers choice of body and interior colours, adding license plates if required.

We do have the road car kits available now, the race and rally versions will come early next year. Intially there will be the works team entries for Monte Carlo 1955, RAC 1955 and the Viking Rally entry of Nancy Mitchell from 1956. We do have a certain amount of info on the Lyons Charbonnieres Rally with the exception of the colours for the rally plates - can anyone help? Later next year we will do some of the Daily Express race cars from 1955 & 1956.
Stephen Roff (K&R Replicas)

If club members visit their website they will get a 5% discount on the shown prices for being MGCC members.

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LIVING WITH "ALISON" (5)

In an occasional series, Malcolm Robertson outlines life with 'Alison', his 1957 MG ZB Varitone Magnette….
Episode Five - the ceremonial starting

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LIVING WITH "ALISON" (4)

Episode Four - light at the end of the tunnel

In an occasional series, Malcolm Robertson outlines life with 'Alison', his 1957 MG ZB Varitone Magnette….

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LIVING WITH "ALISON" (3)

Episode Three - A Gleam in the Eye
In an occasional series, Malcolm Robertson outlines life with 'Alison', his 1957 MG ZB Varitone Magnette….