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FROM THE June 2008 ISSUE

Repairing fractures in old models

Q: I recently acquired several old kits, and found that some of them are broken in the same spot: there's a vertical fracture from the top of the front fender well, and it goes up and across the fender to the hood opening.

I'm curious as to how that happened - and will it happen to any other of my older models? - but I'd really like to know how to fix it.

- James Arnett
Clayton, New Mexico


Ken: Because we don't know how or where these old kits were stored, it's difficult to determine an exact cause of the cracks, but they might be stress fractures that gave way across the thinnest expanse of plastic: between the top of the wheel well and the hood opening.

This may have been caused by subjecting the model boxes to temperature extremes over the years.
One way to at least take that possibility out of the equation is to store your kits in a more climate-controlled environment - and not, for example, in an uninsulated attic.

Repairing the breaks shouldn't be too difficult:
Align the joints as carefully as possible, and secure the pieces from the front with a piece of tape. Run a bead of solvent cement along the back side of the seam, under the fender, to melt the pieces together.

When the glue is dry, reinforce the back of the joint with a thin strip of styrene. Glue the strip in place with more liquid cement to create a chemical bond.

To hide the seam in the front, block- sand across the joint to ensure the sides are the same height, then enlarge the seam with a motor tool or a folded piece of coarse sandpaper. Be careful not to go all the way through; just enough to create a little "ditch."

Apply body putty to fill the crevice.

Without the ditch, the putty would not have adequate surface area on which to bite, and would eventually flake off.

From there, it's simply a matter of sanding the joint smooth, applying primer, and finishing the model the way you typically would.



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