Bugatti Type 35B (Monogram) Build #6 – The Cockpit Gets Attention, with PLENTY of Really Small Details to Provide Even More Diversity

Attention moved to all the small parts in the cockpit. Since I’m doing this car in racing form, some things will be different from the road car (you’ll see some of them later). Seeing as the cockpit is wide open and the things in there will be quite visible, I tightened up my notion of what will be acceptable. That started by cutting off the plastic steering column and replacing it with a section of a paperclip as well as replacing the molded-on section where the steering column mounts to the instrument panel and continued with the removal of an extension of the steering column that was incorrectly molded to the hub of the steering wheel; that’s supposed to be flat, so I scraped away the nub that had been molded on:

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As you’ve probably noticed in the photo above, I’ve preshaded parts with Tamiya’s XF-1 Flat Black. One that paint set up, I started misting a coat of Tamiya XF-16 Flat Aluminum (more about that later):

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Most of these parts were clear gloss coated (Tamiya X-22 Clear Gloss) before being given an wash using Testors Enamel Gloss Black (yeah…those little square bottles). The Gloss Black gives the hint of an oily surface (which is what I wanted) and since Tamiya’s clear gloss isn’t all that “glossy,” I didn’t shoot another layer of clear of any type (the washed parts are on the left):

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While I was masking the springs preparatory to painting everything else on that part Tamiya XF-16 Flat Aluminum, clearly I supplied too much force because the bloody spring broke…and was glued back together:

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There are a few features that are evident in the cockpit that the kit didn’t supply. One of those is a valve assembly for the auxiliary oiling system. I started to scratch-build it figuring, “How difficult could this be?” Perhaps someday I’ll stop asking that question because the answer is almost invariably “VERY.” This little thing required eleven parts to construct (fifteen, counting the oil lines made from .015″ [.381mm]) solder:

2022-04-12

While that sat to let the glue cure, I started working on the seat. Since it’s not a street car (and ride-along mechanics stopped being a feature in racing crews), I replicated wear on one side of the seat by sanding the pleated surface down to replicate how horsehair padding compresses over time. I indicated wear with a combination of dry-brushing Tamiya XF-64 Red Brown straight from the bottle and then used brown and tan pastels:

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I added the instrument decals to the panel:

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I added the .015″ (381mm) solder to the valve body, fitted it roughly to minimize bending (and then paint flaking off) of the solder, and then painted it. I thought that Tamiya XF-6 Copper looked more brassy than I wanted, so I mixed two parts copper with one part Tamiya X-18 Semi-Gloss Black (to impart a more metallic sheen) and glued the assembly to its location under the instrument panel:

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There was also a fuel shut-off valve on the driver’s side, so I did that valve as well and painted it the same:

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Having fixed the broken spring, I finished masking and then painted aluminum:

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And now that I have these…:

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…I can begin assembling. That started with attaching the instrument panel/firewall and attaching the lines from the pumps as well as the pump assembly to the frame and the ignition timing adjusting lever to the instrument panel:

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I had covered the floor with Bare Metal Foil, thinking that I was going to do the inside of the cockpit walls with it as well. I suppose I could have done that, but that foil is SO delicate that I’ve no doubt that I’d have spent a great deal of time replacing torn foil. So I painted the sides of the cockpit instead. Rather than totally waste the foil I’d already put down, I decided to overpaint it flat black for preshading and then mist aluminum paint over the black and add the scuff wear. Remember how speckled the instrument panel and other parts look from doing that? It seems that metallic paints use incredibly small metal flakes for the effect. If one is going to paint normally, those small flecks overlap and create the look of the metal. But it doesn’t do misted cover very well. So I decided to reverse the preshading process. I painted the (overlapping) aluminum with the intent to mist the flat black over it instead. I laid the frame over the floor pan to determine where the shadows would fall, which showed me where the wear would be. Since the wear marks would also be shadowed, the wear marks had to be put down first and then the flat black shot overall.

If you look closely, you’ll see where I lightly outline the wear patterns with pencil. To get a soft edge with the masks, I cut paper out in the shapes of the wear patterns and then used rolled masking tape to allow the masks to stand off of the surface:

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Then I shot the aluminum to get an even coat and then removed the masks, leaving the shiny aluminum foil to show through (you have to look closely to see the masked areas):

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Then the shadows were put down over it all:

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Satisfied with alignment and effect, I added the body. I glued the frame assembly to the upper part and then glued the belly pan/floor to that, stuffing some sprue and scrap styrene to finish filling the hole at the tail:

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The seat was added and jiggled into place:

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With the body in place, alignment problems emerge. This is where the steering arm goes through the side of the body to the steering box. But first I have to fix the alignment of the hole, so I squared the hole and glued a scrap of .030″ (.762mm) to fill the space (the speckles on the body are just sanding dust):

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I meant to add the leather drive strap for the tachometer before I added the body because it would have been so much easier to access that area had some fool (me) not put the body on before then. Fiddly, but I got it done:

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Then ensued very careful filing, filling, and sanding of that horrible seam where body and belly pan meet. The care was required because the line of louvers is right next to the seam:

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I think the office of this thing is certainly getting there:

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Next month I get to add all the safety wires to all those little panel fasteners I had to put back on.

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