What's on the bench, Chris?
I build and detail the new BMC32 dual purpose resin slot/static mini commercials
Ref. number:BMC 1221 (van) BMC 1230 (pick up)
Model: 1960s Austin mini pick up and van
Price: £20 from the usual suspects
Slot suitability:Excellent, sturdy and mounts for PCS32 type chassis included
Static suitability: Good, static axle mounts included but benefits from some detailing (see below)
Casting: Injection resin molded, virtualy no casting defects or flash, however detail a little blurry.
Kit contents: One piece bodyshell, resin drivers platform/driver, vac formed window unit. Van and pick up kits identical (including the window unit) except for bodyshell.
Van kit contents (on left, pick up similar) My finished pick up after some detailing work.
Ever since reading an article in an old Airfix magazine about converting the standard Airfix mini kit into the commercial variants I had planed to have a go at this myself, however BMC32 have beaten me to it! Don't get me wrong, these models are not based on the Airfix and are a completely different casting altogether.
So, what do you get? Well first of all you have to decide wether to buy the van or the pick up (or both). The contents of both kits are identical apart from the main body unit, even the window unit is the same (more on this later). A resin drivers platform/driver is included and is fine for slot purposes although I decided to scratch build a full interior for my static model.
BMC32 have used an ingenious way of making them suitable for either slot or static models by including chassis/axle mounts for either type.
How is this done? Mounts for the PCS32 type chassis are cast in as normal practuce (the rear on the van going all the way to the roof meaning that the rear windows have to be solid, hence the pick up cab window unit suffices for both) but in addition are four "ears" to take axles for a static model. Cleverly these feature a score line to allow them to be snapped off when not required for a slot car.Hopefuly the photo will make this clearer. This is a great feature in my opinion but slot racers may disagree!
Production values are top notch as you might expect on a model made on commercial equipment, with virtually no flash or defects of any kind. Slot racers merely need to snap off the static axle ears, paint it and drill some pilot holes for their PCS32 chassis and they are away. Hardest part will be finding some decent looking small wheels though ones from any Scalextric mini cooper will fit and the C76/very early C7 ones with the proper mini super hub caps look great if you can find any.
First job, wheels and interior
The obvious choice here for donor parts is the Airfix mini saloon kit and thankfuly kits made from the original tooling are still available cheaply so no need to rip open any poly bags if you don't want to! I used 3/32nd plastic rod for the axles (although older scalex axles could be used) after drilling out the static mounting ears and fitted them with the Airfix wheels and hubcaps.
If you are after a quick model then the resin drivers platform as supplied will suffice for the interior. This is very good quality but suffers from one of my pet hates - the window level seat cushion! I don't undertsand why some manufacturers do this, if you have a light coloured interior (red in my case) then a cushion at window level stands out a mile. Far better to just have the tops of the seat backs and the rest can be painted "in shadow". Strangely enough the driver doesn't have a corresponding cushion holding his arms up!
A simple U section interior was bent up from 1mm plasticard (I have access to a hot wire bender but it could easily be glued up from three pieces) and mounting ears fitted fore and aft to match the resin interior. Seats, steering wheel and column are straight from the Airfix kit but the dash needs to be straightened up a bit at the front as the pick ups windscreen lacks the more realistic curve of the Airfix mini. It does leave a bit of a gap which could be filled but it doesn't really notice when painted. As a final touch the pudding stirer gearlever was added using that old favorite a bent dressmakers pin.
Part 2, detailing the body