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FROM THE October 2008 ISSUE

Opening recesses for fender-mounted headlights

RELATED TOPICS: HEADLIGHT
Q: Many cars prior to 1940 had fender-mounted headlights and taillights. Many times, you have to open up little recesses on the underside of the fenders for the headlights, taillights, and sometimes the horns.

What is the best way to open these recesses accurately, and for a good fit? I find this one of the most difficult things to do when building such a car.

- Mark Zurblis
Geneva, Illinois


Ken: Mark went on to tell us that one particular kit he was referring to is the AMT '34 Ford Sedan. On the surface, this question might seem a little too kit-specific to be mentioned here, but it brings up a larger issue of having at least a small arsenal of versatile modeling tools on your workbench.

Being able to tackle a specific job with the proper tool can make our precious hobby time much more productive - and a lot less frustrating. We strongly recommend looking through tool catalogs and stocking up on whatever happens to strike you in the Helpful Tool category, including dental tools, minifiles, cutting and sanding tools, etc.

In this instance, Mark, the 1934 Ford does indeed have rectangular dimples up underneath the fenders; they need to be drilled and squared off to accommodate the various mounted pins for headlights, etc., and care must be taken so you don't make the hole bigger than the square pin on the bottom of the headlight.

The project can be completed in short order by drilling a pilot hole and finishing off the corners with a small, square jewelers file - providing you have one. If you don't, you may want to try rounding the corners of the headlight mounting pins with sandpaper so they'll fit into the round pilot holes you can drill through the dimples in the fenders.

Either way, sand or file the chrome plating off the mounting pins before you begin the test-fitting procedure. Otherwise, the pin may end up being too small for the hole you've drilled, and a gap may appear; not what you want to see when mounting lights.

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