Friday, January 18, 2013

Custom VW Beetle Camper Mini Home

Volkswagen Beetle Mini Home- Built on a VW Beetle Chassis With Sleeping and Camping for 4!
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The DIY plans for this mini VW Beetle camper were originally published in Popular Mechanics and Mechanix Illustrated Magazines                                                              

Camper Length: 125 inch
Camper Width: 79 inch
Camper Height: 73-1/4 inch
These VW-based mini-motor homes were being manufactured by a small shop in Irvine, California. MiniHome is built like any other camper using 1 x 2 structural members covered with paneling on the inside and conventional corrugated skin on the outside. According to a Robert Q. Riley Enterprises, LLC. webpost, he negotiated with the owner for the rights to publish the plans, which resulted to the publication of the  little motor home on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated magazine as MI's MiniHome.

The ad claims that with the MiniHome's wide offset wheels, beefed up stabilizer bar, and rear overload shocks; it handles very much like the stock VW. More product descriptions: "Inside, it has all the appointments and facilities of a standard camper. Appliances and storage space are situated across the rear. The butane stove and stainless steel sink in the left rear corner mount to a single module that slides out the side so you can cook and wash either outdoors or inside. A 50-lb size icebox is located in the center rear, and a closet is located on the right. Turning the large swivel-base chairs 180 degrees (backs against the windshield) opens up the center so the modular lower bed can slide out of its hideaway compartment. The cab-over section makes into a full-size bed by folding down a hinged extension."

Acceleration and cornering are much like the original VW but one does have to negotiate a few trial turns in order to gain confidence in its roll stability. The only detriment is limited rear visibility, similar to that of many other RVs. Also, maximum speed is reduced about 10 mph, and fuel economy suffers slightly because of increased air resistance at highway speeds.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

King Tiger Build Proper- Prepainting Ritual

After building the King Tiger (KT) kits by section and zimmerits application, next is painting preparation. The plan was to paint before the sections are fully assembled as the concern was that I may not be able to reach all of the spots once the kits are put together. The kit was built and prepped per major section (hull and parts, turret parts and main gun) with the minor sections (road wheels, sprockets, tracks, etc.) still detached from the main tank.(Please see my previous post "Scale Modeling Guide: Main Battle Tank Parts" as guide). My goal was to thoroughly prepare the kit surface for painting and to apply the paint on every nook and cranny of the tank.
KT sections temporarily assembled with sticky tape.

KT Hull section and parts with zimmerit applied
KT Turret, Main Gun section and parts with zimmerits applied . Note that this turret section was mounted
on a makeshift painting stand using a small camera tripod  and the inverted base of a CD Spindle cake box (see below).

Assembled road wheels, sprockets and parts mounted on modeling
clay using "tooth picks". This shot was taken post painting.
Continuous tracks broken down into parts mounted on modeling
clay using alligator clips on "tooth picks".This shot was taken post painting.
Cleaning the built kit before painting:

The oily and greasy stuff that comes with the plastic molding process and from your hands during kit build will stick on the kit surface and will affect paint surface adherence. Below are some materials used to clean  the kit before painting:

1. Soap and water. Dish washing liquid is usually used as it makes water wetter. The pre-assembled plastic model parts are soaked in the Dish washing liquid mixture of 4-8 drops in a 1/2 gallon of warm water for 10-12 minutes, rinsed in clean warm water and allowed to air dry.

2. Plastic Prep #546007 (from Polly "S") is a pre-painting cleaning agent for plastic surfaces used after the soap and water wash to remove any remaining mold release, Silicone or grease & oils still in crevices and again allowed to air dry before painting. It does a good job of lifting oils and mold release off of plastics and is reusable; you can run it through a coffee filter to keep it fairly clean.

3. 90% alcohol also works but you need to rinse it quickly before it evaporates and leaves all the gunk back on the surface. It also gets a bit heady in a closed room.

4. Some use vinegar on metal models because it's thought to act as a mild etchant to the metal making the paint adhere better to the model.

NOTE: It would be a good idea to use rubber gloves when handling the plastic after washing as well as there will be natural oils on your skin which will adhere on the dried parts.


King Tiger Build- Painting 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Volkswagen (VW) Beetle Body Dimensions, Measurements and Specifications

For Volkswagen (VW)  enthusiasts into body repair or restoration, the sources below may be of great help as a reference:

  1. Body measurements for the Volkswagen Beetle which can be a useful reference for replacing sheet metal. This was part of the forum responses from on a 1965 Volkswagen Type-1 (Beetle) D.I.Y. Project.

Added larger letters with arrows pointing to the original letters which can be difficult to see. Text translation:

a) width of the front apron measured in the area of the first fender weldnuts (600mm)

b) width of the fuel tank well between the side members (693mm)

c) width of the fuel tank well along the longitudinal direction of vehicle (368mm)

d) distance between the first and last front fender weldnuts -left side (1118mm)

e) -right side (1120mm)

f) distance from the lower weld seam of the hinge pillar to the…

g) …upper corner of the rear roof rail (1394mm)

h) distance between the hinge pillar and the rear pillar -left side (935mm)

i) -right side (937mm)

k) distance between the hinge pillar and the rear pillar -left side (924mm)

l) -right side (923mm)

m) distance between the roof rail and the heater channel at the rear pillar -left side (1049mm)

n) -right side (1049mm)

o) width of the interior between the spot-welded flanges of the side window openings around the seat belt fasteners (1203mm)

p) width of the luggage deck between the wheel wells over the spot-welded seams between the front corner of the bottom rail/transverse wall and the rear corner at the bottom rail/side/wheel well (939mm)

q) left front – right rear (1989mm)

r) right front - left rear (1985mm)

     2. Below are the spec sheets  for a standard 73 beetle used as reference in replacing the front     quarter panel, apron front and rear etc. from the


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