Provence Moulage 1955 Corvette Coupe

by  Chris Webb


Every now and again I like to build Hot Rods or Customs as a change of pace from my usual subject matter, ('50s and '60s sport racers). I got this Corvette kit in a trade with a friend of mine and immediately new it would make a nice mild custom.

Painting flames...step by step

Because I planned on painting flames on this car, the first order of business was to fill the trim lines on the sides of the body with polyester putty. I suppose you were intended to flow silver paint into the recess to simulate the chrome trim.

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After the first coat of black primer was applied it was obvious where the filler had been used.

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A little more sanding and another coat of primer remedied this problem. The reason I'm using black primer (although it looks gray in the photos) is that the House of Kolor Kameleon paint used for the flames must be sprayed over black for the proper effect. To prevent too much paint buildup, I just start out with black primer then apply the Kameleon directly over it.

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The flame color was only applied to the front and sides of the body, once again to prevent too much paint buildup. Because the Kameleon paint goes on flat, I applied one coat of clear acrylic lacquer to prevent the flame masks from pulling it off the primer when removed. After the clear is applied you can see how the color shifts from red to gold as you view it from different angles.

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The flame templates are actually vinyl "peel and stick" flames for 1/64(1/87?) scale Hot Wheels cars.

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I had to cut the flames and rearrange them on the body to get the effect I was looking for.

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Once the flames were applied and a toothpick used to force them into any panel lines, two coats of black acrylic lacquer were applied over all.

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Once the paint had dried overnight the flames were carefully removed. A light sanding with 3200 grit sanding cloth was necessary to remove the "ridges" left when the templates were removed.

Next, three more coats of clear acrylic lacquer were applied to blend in the flames with the black paint.

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This kit came with the stock Corvette wheel covers, which would not do for a custom build. I chose to use the wheels and front tires from a Testor's '32 High-boy die cast kit. This kit comes with two sets of wheels, one of which are nicely done American style five spoke mags. Once the chromed wheels are detail painted I think they look very nice. They even have a molded in valve stem.

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I also used the front tires from the Testor's kit as they are a smaller diameter than those on the Provence kit and give the Corvette the right "stance" for a custom car. I believe that one of the most critical aspects of building 1/43rd scale cars is the ride height and stance of the finished model. Here's a picture taken while test fitting the wheels and tires.

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The interior was primed and painted with the same gloss black as the body. The seats were then painted with Model Master leather enamel while the floor was done in Tamiya flat brown. Decals were provided for the dash board, with the trim being picked out with Bare Metal foil. I generally replace the kit supplied shift levers with a piece of fine wire that has been dipped in epoxy resin to form the knob. It was then painted white and installed in the proper location for the Vettes two-speed automatic transmission.

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Aluminum tubing was used for the exhausts while lenses from M.V. Products replace the cast resin pieces from the kit. 

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Some of you may notice the lack of the two small fins, which were just above each taillight on the '53 to '55 Corvette. When I received the kit, one of them was broken off. Rather than go to the trouble of forming a new one, I just sanded off the remaining three. This IS a custom after all!


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