Black Magic Woman
Funky RC '73 Chevy Caprice lowrider
A '73 Caprice Lowrider from the Valley
For an old school, '70's, build off I teamed up again with Maestro Armando Flores from MASTERPIECES model car association.
Armando knows the '70's era Lowriding like no one and creates custom paintjobs that reminds him of the lowriders he had seen cruising back in the days down in the San Fernando valley.
specs & features
Model: 1/25 scale '73 Chevy Caprice model by MPC
Paintjob: Armando Flores
Wheels: Hank's Tru Spoke
Hydraulics: 1440 micro servos
Cutting opening Doors and Moonroof
I had to be very careful cutting the moonroof since I needed the cut piece as well and it needed to fit perfect.
Opening doors on these types of classic cars is tricky since they run under the windshield and there's no plastic to support it. I used metal wire that run from pilars to the body to reinforce that area before cutting.
When you open these type of car doors you will notice they turn inside the body where the hinges are. It took a couple tries to create the right position for the hinges.
I created a styrene template for the moonroof panel that I used to cut around.
With the pattern in place I started out by carefully scribing the plastic using a photo etched scriber attached to my hobby knife.
After scribing I switched to a photo etched razor saw blade and began cutting through the plastic.
The photo etched razor saw blades are so thin that it hardly leaves a gap around the moonroof panel.
Before I started cutting the doors open I reinforced by adding a brass bar and a rod that runs from the pilar to the body.
The doors on these classic cars fold inside where hinges sit at.
Two brass tubes glued inside the door panel make it easy to adjust the door before glueing it in place.
Here you can see clearly how the door moves inside of the body when it opens.
Photo etched razor saw blade result hardly leaving a gap around the door panels. A small magnet on the door and body makes the door snap into place.
For this '70's lowrider model car I wanted to create a working moonroof that smoothly opens and lays snug with the rest of the roof when it's closed. That last part proved to be quite challenging but after two weeks of thinking the solution proved to be extremely simple as well.
I used a Polulu Linear servo that moves aprox. 15mm just enough to get the desired effect. I sits in the trunk of body and two pieces of 1mm spring tubings run to the slidng frame of the moonroof. The trick was to make the frame as thin as possible so you won't notice it too much looking inside the model car.
Two steel cables run through the spring tubing to push and pull the moonroof. When the moonroof closes the brass lip meets the flat bar at the end and pushes the panel up so it sits flat with the rest of the roof.
The round pushbar has some free play to make the moonroof panel drop down and slide under the roof again.
After I shaved the inside of the roof I added two brass slides placed on both sides sitting in an angle make that the moonroof can easilly move under the roof.
Thin steel cables running inside spring tubing opens and closes the moonroof. The steel cables run to the trunk where a linear micro servo does the pushing and pulling.
It took me quite some time to figure out how to levelm the moonroof once it's closed. The brass lip at the end of the moonroof hits a notch that sits under the flat brass strip making it pop up at the end of it's travel.
Pololu sells these beautifull 20mm stroke linear micro servos. It runs at 3.6V making sure it won't lock itself at the ends since I modified them.
Multi Patterned Paintjob
Time was running out so I had to clean up the body, shaving the door handles, sanding and lay down several thin coats Tamiya Fine primer.
Shipped of to Armando Flores where he envisioned a wild paintjob like that of the lowriders that cruised the San Fernando Valley back in the '70's. Without a doubt Armando Flores is one the best painters out there.
He laid down the base colors followed by lot's of masking so that color lines and patterns show up after the final black coat of paint.
Famous pinstriper Jonathan Mercado added some traditional lines and patterns.
I got rid of imperfections, sand the body and used Tamiya fine primer.
After it arrived at Armando Flores' place he started to lay down the base colors.
Here you can see Armando airbrush another color layer.
All custom painters will tell you that masking takes most of the time. Armando masked off all the patterns and sprayed black over it.
Red pattern showing up after removing the first pieces of masking tape.
Removing more tape reveals the rest of the colors.
The final results after all the masking tape is removed. The next step is adding a 2K urethan clear coat to make the colors really come to life.
Famous painter and pinstriper Jonathan Mercado from Lifestyle car club laying down intricate pinstriped patterns.
The result after laying Armando layed down the 2K clearcoat and I buffed and polished the body.
Motors and Servos
Late '60 and early '70's Chevy's featured narrow lower A-arms which makes it harder to create a working suspension on a model car.
After I got the allignment right I used micro balljoints made by Orlandoo to install the steering knuckles and rods. The steering consists of a slider that the more modern resambles a power steering setup.
For lifting and lowering the rear I used two Turnigy 1440 micro servos hooked up straight to the cylinders. Behind the grill of the car sits another 1440 servo with a braided fishing line attached to it that controls the front of the car.
The color bar is molded in the center of the dashboard and has an oval shape. I created a tiny 3 channel circuit board that is connected to the micro MP3 player and leds.
Creating a smooth working A-arm setup using micro ball joints.
Steering rods and slider installed mounted to a micro servo.
Chassis with the rear servos and A-arms installed.
This is the 3 channel circuit board that drives the color bar
I created an oval shaped color bar in the dashboard.
Mounting the leds face down on a clear strip of plastic to make easier to position and solder.
Led strips mounted.
I removed the orginal grill and created one with twisted bars.