Fred's Model World
 Model News and Notes


Past Issues:   Vol 1 No. 1

September/October 1999 Vol 1 No.2
A Casual Newsletter for Fred's Model World Customers
   Where Have All the Models Gone, Long Time Passing
   Weathering Your Models, The Older the Better
   Law Enforcement Modelers of the World Unite
   Kit Review: MPC Dodge Omni 024 (Kit number 1-0789)
   Tips for the Frugal Modeler

For those of you who wish to contribute to the next newsletter, the deadline for copy submission is October 15, 1999.  Don't forget, if I use your article you get $ 10 off your next order!  Please contact me with any questions on article subject, length and other editorial concerns. 


Please note that my email address has changed.  I am now at  Mail to my old email address will be forwarded to me but may be delayed a day or two.  Please pass this information on, as some ads I have on the net haven't changed the email yet.  Thanks!

Where Have All the Models Gone, Long Time Passing
By Fred Sterns

      By my own admission, I am hopelessly sentimental.  I pine for the days of old, the 60's and 70's, when life as a youth was filled with good memories of playing sports, hanging out with friend and, of course, building model kits.  Iíve had difficulty coming to grips with the fact that you canít go back in time and change the past.  Rather, you have to deal with the present and future.
     The past includes memories of being able to find model kits almost anywhere you went.  The present and future means limited options and a much more drab outlook.
     Before I launch into a diatribe of our current dimemna, letís visit the early 70's.  By 1971, I was building an average of one model per week, thoroughly enjoying my new hobby and eagerly looking forward to my buying excursions.  Growing up in Williamsville, New York, a rapidly growing suburb at that time, I was  within a 10 minute  bike ride of at least a half dozen retailers that carried model kits.
     The best place to go looking was Eastern Hills Mall, a new 100 store mega-sized structure on Transit Road, the main drag of Williamsville.  I would often ride to the mall, lock my bike in the rack in front of the mall, then step inside and begin my search.  First stop was usually Sears, which carried some kits, but usually had a good clearance section.  In clearance, I could find $1.00 kits of less popula ritems, such as pickups and classics. 
     Next stop was to Woolworths, where I bought a substantial number of kits.  Woolworths usually sold kits for $1.99, about 25 cents cheaper than other places.  They had an entire side of one aisle loaded with kits.  This wonderful store  usually had a lot of MPC and AMT kits, my favorities then and now. 
     If I hadnít found anything at Woolworthís, it was on to KayBee Toys, which had about half as many as Woolworthís.  KayBee acted as sort of a backup plan to Woolworths.  From there, it was onto J.C. Pennyís, whose kit selection was limited but sometimes had the foreign brands that intrigued me.  Next store to the mall was Child World, a 70's version of ToysRUs.  They carried some kits, but too many airplanes and ships for my taste.
     On the off chance that there was nothing at the mall, next stop was to the plazas down the street at Transit Road and Maple.  Kmart was on one side of the street, Leader Pharmacy on the other.  Kmartís prices were low and the selection was decent, plus they usually had clearance kits.  Leader had a nice nook of kits next to the magazine section.  I would usually read a few mags, then search the kits.  Leader charged $2.25 for most kits, and  never had any on sale.
     There was also a pharmacy down the road from my house, but there were no sidewalks for biking, so I had to wait for mom or dad to go so I could tag along.  Again, the models were located next to the magazines.  If you went up to Main Street, there was a hardware store that usually carried kits, as well as a pharmacy or two.
      Letís pretend that I still lived on Fruitwood Terrace in Williamsville and wanted to buy kits.  Whatís left in the way of model options?  Sears no longer carries  kits, nor does JC Penny.  Woolworth is gone.  KayBee still carries a few kits, but their selection is poor.  Both pharmacies 
I mentioned are gone.  Kmart gave up the ghost on kits.  There is an Ames department store next to the mall that carries kits, and Wal Mart is down the road.  ToysRUs built a store even further down Transit Road in the late 80's, which is probably the best choice for clearance kits.  Other than that, pickings are scarce.
     So whatís going on here?  Why do you usually have to go to Wally World or ToysRBoring for kits?  A look at business practices and society will provide an explanation.  Chain stores have put mom and pop hobby shops out of business in many cases.  Thatís not to blame corporate strategy for that, though.  You have to admit modeling is more of an adult hobby than ever, and in order for hobby shops to survive they have to carry radio control items, slot sets, trains and other related products.  Those who resist are a rare and hearty bunch. Thereís simply not enough profit margin and volume left in kits to make a lot of money.  My kids like kits but have interests in music, sports and hanging out with their friends. Priorities have changed.  In the 60's, everybody built kits.  In the 70's, many still did.  When the hobby took a nosedive in the 80's, hobbyists went away.  Now, itís the 90's and life is simply too complicated.
    Time is of the essence.  People have no time to make a special trip to the hobby shop or mall, even around the holidays.  We save time by logging onto the net and ordering in a few easy steps from our favorite modeling websites, or slugging it out on ebay. Of course, itís always fun to go the modeling shows and try and find a few gems, but YOU must wait for these shows to come once or twice a year as scheduled. 
     Collectible kits, which used  to appeal to a minority of modelers, are now hot, as we try to get back what we once had.  Prices have skyrocketed and so has aggravation in trying to find the good old stuff.  I hope you will find a bit of nostalgia at Fredís Model World.  I continue to mail out lists when many have told me just to do it on the website.  As I recall, Auto World put out great catalogs for many years which are cherished items today.  Thereís nothing wrong with doing things the old-fashioned way, especially when it feels good to do it!

Weathering Your Models, The Older the Better
By Lenny Logatto 

     The first step to any project, of course, is to choose your subject.  In this case, itís the 48 Ford ragtop from Testors.  I like to use newer kits for building, as they have great detail.  Before starting, try and do some research on the subject via books and magazines. Look at real cars on the road and in junk yards to get a feel for what you want to accomplish in scale modeling.
    Next, clean the model of choice and prep the parts, including removing seams.  Glue as many parts onto the kit as possible before needing to paint.  Build the engine and chassis right out of the box.  With the body, use a Dremel with a grinding bit and grind away material from behind the wheel wells, quarter panels, around headlights, floor board, exhaust, etc.  Do this until the area is paper thin with tiny holes.  Using an Xacto knife, make some jagged holes into the thinned plastic.  You may also put a dent in the car by holding it over a candle and blunting with an object of choice.
     After all the damage is done, wash the body with soap and water.  Dry thoroughly and spray a few coats of red oxide primer.  This works great for a rusty color.  Spray thickly in order to sand later on.  Mix some Testors rust bottle paint and baking soda and apply to the damage on the 
bottom of the car until you get the desired affect.
     When the paint has dried, apply some rubber cement to the rust. Apply the color paint coat over the primer.  When the paint is dry, rub the rubber cement off and you now have paint that has rusted and peeled off.  Next, start sanding the color coat until the primer shows through (this works great for the roof and hood). For the interior, you can leave the seats out or grind them like the body and put on dirty cotton through the holes. Finish with bare metal foil to simulate duct tape.
     I recommend purchasing the Rustall system, as this product is great for adding rust to a car. Just follow the directions.  You can also sift dirt and water to make mud and dirty the car.  Apply a thin wash of gloss black on the motor for an oil leak.  For extra detail, put a spare tire in the car (make sure you drill out the center and lug nuts), or stick some scale wood or pipes in a pickup truck for working truck look.  Use balsa wood to cover up a broken window for further effect.  A last tip is to check your parts box for other good accessories.  Happy weathering!

Law Enforcement Modelers of the World Unite
By Nicholas Henson 

     One of the fastest growing parts of the hobby today is law enforcement models.  Even though it is becoming popular, there arenít many people who know where to go for the right items to finish off their cruiser.  Below is a list of the best aftermarket companies dealing in the 1/24-1/25 LE world. As always, send a SASE when requesting a catalog or information. 

     Ben Holokai, owner of AccuScale Models and Hobbies, produces the best LE decals Iíve personally seen.  They are sold under the Code-7 name (which by the way means lunch break) and feature the tiniest details down to company logos on the lightbars. 

Code-7 AccuScale Models and Hobbies
6454 Westminster avenue
Westminter, CA 92683 

     Chimneyville has bene one of the longest running decal manufacturers in the LE community.  They have all 49 state agencies available (Hawaii does not ahve a state agency) and many other large city and fire departments.  Most sheets come with the option customizing the numbers to produce a particular cruiser. $1 for catalog. 

Chimneyville Hobbies
P.O. Box 1937, Pioneer Station
St. Paul, MN 55101-0937 

      Fred Cady produces his LE decals in an unusual fashion, as each color is a separate decal.  This means that they must be layered, but they produce some great looking and very accurate graphics packages. 

Fred Cady Design, Inc.
P.O. Box 576
Mt. Prospect, IL, 60056 

     Dave Panek produces custom light bars tosuit the individual modelerís needs.  Each bar is hand made and features every option of the rear one, which makes these one of the best on the market. He is also a distributor for Chimneyville and Code-7 decals. 

Dave Panek
4000 Newport Drive
Island Lake, IL 60042 

     Models by Tony is one of the newest companies on the LE scene, but they have quickly become a great supplier for all sort of resin items and ecals.  They feature conversion kits for the Impala, several wheel/tire combos for the Caprice and Crown Victoria, as well as semis and duallies, police accessories like strobe lights and push bumpers, and of course their own decals, Pursuit Plastics, Chimneyville and Code-7. 

Model By Tony
Inman Grove Center
1115 Inman Avenue #176
Edison, NJ 08820-132

     Although this list is not comprehensive, it features several vendors to help you with aftermarket accessories.  If you have any questions, please contact me via email at

Kit Review: MPC Dodge Omni 024 (Kit number 1-0789)
By Andrew Lacey 

Tired of building those same old Vettes, Mustangs and Camaros?  Try MPCís annual of the 1980 Dodge Omni 024.  This kit can still be found cheaply (I found mine for $8 at a flea market), usually under $15. 

I chose to build mine stock, including 13" wheels and normally aspirated engine.  The stock tires seem a bit narrow, but the optional wheels and tires are too large, so I went stock here.  This kit has several design flaws that require improvisation to make everything fit right.  There is a conflict between the oil filter and lower radiator hose, neither of which fits per the instructions.  I chose to eliminate the lower hose altogether, as it is nearly invisible from most angles.

Another problem is the front wheel drive and gearbox.  These are too be assembled prior to installing the engine, but I found the gearbox would not match up to the engine.  I went back and 
glued the gearbox directly to the engine. 

After dealing with these problems, the remainder of the kit assembles well.  The kit is molded in a rather dull orange red color, so I painted it in a similar color for improved appearance.  Body trim was painted flat black for added effect. MPC did slightly different issues of this kit in 81-82, then renamed it Charger for 83.  The 81 kit is called Silver Bullet (#1-0710), the 82 is Sidewinder (#1-0815).  Both are molded in different colors.  If youíre looking for something a bit different to build, try an Omni! 


Tips for the Frugal Modeler
By Jimmy Anderson 

Assembled models can be considered works of art.  Managing to fund this sometimes expensive hobby can be somewhat of an art as well. Following ar some tips to help you stretch your modeling dollars. 

1. Donít buy every kit you see.  If you are a builder and collector, you wonít be able to resist opening a factory sealed box and inner bags.  This immediately lowers the value of the kit, making it more difficult to get your money back in sale or trade.  Alhtough you feel this kit will never leave your collection, ask a fellow collector for his disposal list! 

2. Use houselhold items for detailing.  Telephone wire stripped to the core works great for plus wires. Olds bracelets and necklaces can be used for tire chains, tailgate chains for pickups, safety chains for semis and wreckers.  Dental floss and fishing line work well for emergency brake cables and other cables. 

3. Buy clearance kits. Some of my best deals have come from the clearance racks of the local department store.  Two to three dollars for an opened kit missing parts is common.  These make wonderful additions to your parts box.  The tires and wheels alone, plus decal sheet are worth the price alone.  Many factory sealed kits can be had for $4-5. Itís easier to kitbash something when you donít spend much on it. 

(Editors note: More tips from Jimmy in the next issue!) 



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