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When I started painting the rear aches, I noticed that the hand brake pivot bracket looked like it has been pulled out of position.
( I think it has always been like that on this second hand body shell, I just hadn't picked up on the problem. )
So I hammered the panel back into position, as straight as I could get it & cleaned the area up for welding.
Note: I had refitted the bolt to ensure nothing got twisted when I was hammering / welding.
I couldn't get the welder in behind the bracket, but, in addition to welding the panel, I added extra welds to the edges of the bracket.
Then I slapped some fibreglass filler over the welds and across the edges of the panel the welder couldn't reach.
Then, after rough sanding and a coat of primer, it was ready to be painted along with everything else.
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Rear Wheel Arches:
Well after a number of messy fibre glassing sessions, and even dustier sanding sessions, the arches were ready for paint.
The grey primer give you a pretty good idea of the various areas I was working on.
As usual, getting the whole area the same colour makes a big difference.
The under side was initially painted...
Before being given a a couple of coats of a "stone chip" protection paint, which dried a nice matt black.
Whilst I continue to work to a "rough & ready" finish, I'm really pleased with how the underside looks.
I put some fibreglass filler over the welding on both sides of the brackets.
( And on both sides of the frame. )
I quickly tidied up the filler with my angle grinder, belt sander & some sand paper.
But obviously as I am tidying up one thing, I am making a right mess of another.
Then it was etch primer over the top of the brackets.
Followed by the first coat of black paint.
I must confess I am really happy with how these brackets have turned out.
I wanted to the edges where the floors met the frame work underneath.
So I added some masking tape before slapping on some seam sealer.
Now this stuff is still pretty new to me, but it had worked well when I used it previously on the bulkhead.
However, I'd made yet another one of my classic school boy errors.
I applied it over primed surfaces before, not the "keyed" painted surfaces of the floors / frame that I had done this time.
So there was some sort of adverse reaction with the paint and even after leaving to "set" for two weeks it was clearly not working.
I must confess that I had a major sense of humour failure was I dug all of this stuff out.
It took ages to remove it all and in the end I was still just back where I started.
By chance this work was being done on the 70th anniversary of D-Day and seeing the veterans there gave me some perspective.
No one has been shooting at me during this build and I am unlikely to die working on it either ( Touch Wood ).
Note to self - I must find some time to watch my Band of Brothers DVDs again.
So I set about sealing the joins with some fibreglass filler instead.
Although I opted to cover the front edge with fibreglass matting, rather than "stuff" filler into the narrow gaps.
There was still a little bit of work required to finish this off & I'll cover that next...
I needed to add some extra fibreglass to the two front corners of both floors.
This was the last job as I'd already sanded and primed the rest of the floors.
So I ended up painting this in two stages, as I initially painted around the freshly primed corners.
Before coming back and finishing the job off.
The really good news is that the underside is complete, so I will now be able to cover it with stone chip paint.
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Floors - "Sunny Side":
Around the same time that I was working on the underside, I was also chipping away on the other side too.
It was the usual routine of anti-rust treatment, filler, primer and paint on all the edges where I had welded the floors to the frame.
There will be a final bit of welding required on this side when I finally come to join this section to the rear wheel arches.
I have some new clips to hold the modified access panel in place.
After bending some of the edges a bit, I had a good fit when I temporarily screwed the panel into place.
Note: I will not actually be fitting this panel until the wheel arches are back on the chassis.
( I will also use some sealer around the edges to give me a waterproof join. )
As the "hole" allows me to centralise the arches over the suspension / lowering block bolts.
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That pretty much brings me up to date and while progress is always slow, at least it is still progress.
I have also started to prepare the doors so I can seal them to the bodyshell, but I'll cover that next time.
Until then, take care, Paul.
A while back I bought some self tapping Tek/Tech screws that came with a matching drive socket.
I hadn't picked up on the fact the socket has a magnetic head, but that makes using the screws so much easier.
This is yet another thing I've not had any experience with, so a quick test was in order with some fibreglass off cuts.
So I drilled a few holes.
Using the screws was very straight forward and they certainly hold everything together nicely.
I know that there will be a lot of "cutting & shutting" required when I start on the body work which is quite daunting for me.
So again I started with something simple...
Given how often I've had to remove & replace the body shell, I was getting a bit worried about this crack.
This was caused by cutting out sections using straight lines instead of curves.
So I cut down one of the sections of fibreglass that I had used to test the tech screws.
Then I drilled a couple of holes and used it as a brace which I hope will help stop the crack spreading until i do a "proper" repair.
With the basic testing of the screws and some initial fibreglass work under my belt, I felt happier about trying a bigger job...
It was time to seal the doors to the body shell, so I dug the two doors out.
OK, technically it is one door and one outer door skin.
But as you can see the door was held together just as badly as the other one I'd separated previously.
As always, this was a old Sammio company quality control issue, nothing to do with the new Ribble kit company owner.
So it only took a couple of minutes of gentle work with a screwdriver to separate this door as well.
Grinding the old bonding paste off the door skins was a simple, if very messy, job.
Door Skin #1
Door Skin #2
Now given the fact our washing lines were full of clean clothes, I couldn't risk covering them in dust.
So I was working around the side of the Summer House which ended up looking like this.
I also used my own body as a dust barrier and ended up looking like a ghost myself!
I also turned these off cuts...
Into these brackets to fix the door skins to the body shell.
I lifted the body shell off the chassis and left it on the drive to play with.
I put some tape on the door skins, so I could mark the position of the bracket hole with a bradawl.
Then drill it through.
Then a tech screw held the bracket in place.
I had to drill extra holes in all the brackets to allow for the door "gaps" so I wouldn't be too near the edge.
Eventually the passenger door looked like this.
Then it was a slow process of drilling the corresponding hole in the body work and putting another screw in, one bracket at a time.
Whilst I did spend a lot of time trying to figure out a "best fit", the honest answer is there simply isn't one.
So this is as good as it is going to get and at least the door is vaguely in line with the body.
You can get a better view of the different size gaps when looking from the inside.
There will be a lot of filler work required to get this body looking even half decent.
At this point I realised that my plan to cut the lip of the door opening off after I had screwed the door skin in place wasn't a great one.
As the screws were now in the way of the angle grinder.
So I cut the lip off in sections and ground it flush, which was another dust storm creating job.
I will come back and remove the remaining lips during the next round of fibre glassing.
Then I used some wood to prop the body shell up on it's side & keep the weight off the door.
Then it was time to cut out sections of fibreglass matting to fit in between the screws.
Thankfully I remembered to put down a dust sheet before I started or resin would have gone through the gaps and on to my drive.
In the end, I put on the layer of matting in the photo above.
Then added a thin strip across the the door gap.
Before adding a couple of thin strips over the top of that.
After the fibreglass had reached it initial setting / curing point, I very carefully moved the body shell back onto the drive.
As it was now time to start the same process for the driver's door...
There were a few edges to trim on the driver's door before it would fit into the door opening.
Then I could get on with repeating the bracket fixing task.
This time I trimmed most of the door opening lip off before I started.
Unfortunately there was simply no way of getting a good fit with the driver's door, so I just did the best I could.
Again, it is pretty decent when looking along the side of the bodywork.
But in order to get that line working / flowing, the gaps left at the top of the doors really jump out.
Again here is the view from the inside.
Then it was time to prop the body shell up again.
This time I put the thin strips of matting over the door gaps first.
Then the big sections of matting between the screws, followed by thinner strips over the top.
By the end of the day, this side was set as well, so I could rest the body shell back on the drive and cover it up for the night.
Even though the doors are a mess, sealing them shut was definitely the right choice.
I will be re-enforcing the frame / body work to support the "climb in over the side" entry technique required.
As I mentioned before, the 100+ Spyder kits based on a Triumph Herald never had doors and they work OK.
The next phase of the body work was to remove most of the screws and fixing brackets.
I left two brackets in place in one corner as there is no matting behind that section (yet).
Daft as it may seem, I got a real kick out of the fact the doors were solidly fixed in place.
Anyway, with limited time available I came up with the idea of simply turning the whole body shell upside down.
My theory was that this would allow me to work on one door after the other, rather than wait for one side to set before turning it over.
But before I started fibre glassing, I needed to remove the rest of the door opening lip from the passenger side.
The large section of lip in the bottom left of the photo corresponds with the two brackets I left in place.
After a session of cutting and grinding the passenger door was ready.
The driver's door just needed a minor trim along the top edges on both sides.
I cut out all the sections of matting that I needed and laid it out in order so I knew which strip went where.
As before, I put one strip along the door gap and then a bigger section across the gap.
I thought there might have been a few issues working with the vertical angles of the bodywork, but all the matting stuck with no problems.
With one door done, I repeated the process to do the other one.
When all that was set, I was able to remove the last two brackets and finish 'glassing those small areas from the inside.
Next it was the turn on the door gaps themselves...
By now the passenger side of the body shell looked like this.
This photo was taken before the last bit of work described in my previous post was done.
Similarly, this was how the driver's side looked before I started work.
Then after grinding away both sides of the door gaps, the sides looked like this.
The next job was to cut out a selection of fibreglass strips.
As I find it easier to work with lots of smaller strips, rather than fewer longer sections of matting.
This was the door gaps after the first two layers of fibreglass matting was added.
Whilst all areas got at least two layers, I did have to build up a couple of areas.
But there are also some areas where I will just have to live with the mis-matched gaps for now.
Eventually all these problems will have to be dealt with when I get to the point of fixing the other major body shell issues.
I gave the edges of the fibreglass in the door gaps a very quick tidy up.
Then I put the body shell back on the rolling chassis so I could give my wife back her parking space.
Without the rear frame work in place, the back end of the body work rests on the the tyres (tires).
Which makes it easier to see some of the major "cutting and shutting" work required to the body shell.
In the photo above, you can see driver's side wheel (RHD) sits pretty central in the wheel arch.
Whereas, in the photo below, clearly the passenger side doesn't.
So whilst the body shell looks a bit of a mess at the moment, it is going to get a lot worse, before it gets any better.
My main focus at the moment is still getting to the go-kart stage.
But as part of this work, I do need to modify the body shell to fit around the Spitfire bulkhead.
As, currently, the body shell points upwards where it rests on top of the bulkhead.
This is a photo showing the current "gap" between the bottom of the body work & the bottom of the bulkhead.
So the body shell needs to "drop" at least 1.5", if not 2" at the front to be sitting correctly relative to everything else.
Anyway, that's all for this update, so until next time, take care, Paul.
I forgot to add a "fashion tip" that I learnt during some of the body work above...
Whilst shorts & a t-shirt keep you cool while working in the heat, they do let the dust in.
Last edited by Paul L; 06-15-2014 at 07:28 AM. Reason: Adding the "PS"
There were 5 big pieces that needed to be joined together as part of my preparation for the "Go-Kart" stage.
- Spitfire Bulkhead
- Cordite Rear Frame Work
- Cordite Lowered Floor Pans x 2
- Spitfire Rear Wheel Arches
- I've welded the two floors to the rear frame work, so that is now a single piece
- I've welded brackets to the rear frame so that it can be joined to the Spitfire bulkhead
- I've modified the rear aches so that they will fit around the rear frame work
The next step was to join the rear wheel arches to the rear frame / floors.
I started preparing for this job by spraying 'stone guard' on the underside of the frame / floors.
With my wife's help, we carried the wheel arches through the house and on to the front drive.
She also helped me move the body shell and rear frame / floors, until the drive was full of big parts.
Initially I started to put the arches & frame together like so.
Then it occurred to me that I might not be able to clean up the frame to weld the rear mounting "feet" back on with the arches in place.
( If you remember, these feet were cut off to make room for the arches to fit in between the frame work. )
So I pulled the arches out of the way and then cleaned up the lower ends of the box section on both sides.
( Sorry photo is a bit blurred. )
The other thing I did at this point was put some plastic end caps into any "open" box section in the rear frame work.
I needed three different sizes, although apologies again for having another collection of blurred photos.
Then it was time to slot the two sections together and I used the fixing bolts to locate the corresponding holes in both layers.
You can also see that I clamped the front end down to make it easier to carry, as it wants to pull apart when lifted.
By this stage, my two daughters were also roped in to help my wife & I carry this thing over the bulkhead and then onto the chassis.
Then I put a couple of bolts on each side to hold the rear frame to the bulkhead.
( You can see that I've also sprayed some stone guard on both sides of these brackets as well. )
Then I did up the four bolts that go through the frame, floor, arches and the chassis itself.
With the bolts tightened the hand brake panel does sit flush with the floor.
The seat belt bolts also go in, although one hole feels like it needs the thread re-tapping.
At the back of the frame, the arches sit centrally over the lowering block studs.
Which just leave the "feet" for the rear frame to sort out.
By chance, the driver's side is at the right height and the foot just needs to be welded on.
Unfortunately, the frame "leg" had been left a little longer on the passenger side.
But nothing a quick trim couldn't fix.
Then I cut & tidied up the feet.
So now both feet will now fit nicely in position like so.
Another bit of preparation work I had done for this area was to cut a couple of mini crush tubes.
Because the rear frame sits on top of this section of the rear arches.
So the tubes will sit in here like so and support the feet.
Well, that is my theory anyway.
With the mini crush tubes fitted I then bolted the feet to the chassis.
However, this "pulled" the arches down a fraction, so the frame no longer touched the feet for welding.
This was an easy fix, as I simply sat on the frame, which brought it back in contact and I could start welding.
Thankfully after the initial welds were done, I could return to the ground to finish the welding off.
You will notice that the feet are in different positions relative to the "legs" of the frame.
That is because the Sammio frame work is not symmetrical, with different gaps between the frame and the wheel arches on either side.
Still, the good news is that with these feet welded & bolted in, the whole structure is now really rock solid.
But in a true "belt & braces" style I wanted to make the join between the rear arches and the rear frame work truly permanent.
So I decided to use a length of box section here.
I cut one end to match the contours of the wheel arch & shortened the other end.
After cleaning all the surfaces I clamped it into position and welded it in.
It is low enough to avoid fouling the bodywork, but is also a strong join.
I will weld a cap on the end of this box section another day.
With one side of the arches joined to the frame, the other side was a straight forward repeat of the first.
By now I had also remembered while I wasn't planning on fitting the plastic end caps until all the welding was done.
But while I had the welder out I welded six sections of the hand brake panel to the floors (3 on each side)
( Sorry the photos aren't great. )
I ran out of time on that day to finish the welding, but I will come back and weld the entire length of the join on both sides.
But even at this stage, these "jigsaw pieces" have now formed one single unit, which is now pretty heavy.
So I think I will get some of my mates round when I need to remove & re-fit this to the chassis for the final time.
The last few jobs include sealing the join between the floors and hand brake panel on the underside.
( With I can't reach from underneath as the prop. shaft is in the way. )
I also need to fit a flexible fuel line from the petrol tank ( sorry, gas tank ) to the original Spitfire fuel hard line.
Once the tank's output pipe has been turned around by 180 degrees, the hose will run along the framework and exit thru the trunk floor.
Note: I think I will actually run the hose in front of the frame rail you can see in the photo above.
The final job in this area is to "seal off" all the gaps where the frame and arches meet to make the cockpit area water tight.
I must confess to feeling really happy that my Frankenstein build plan had finally worked out as well as I hoped it would.
Especially given the fact that, as far as I know, I am the only person attempting to build this kit up in this way.
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But whilst I was making real progress with in this area, there was "an elephant in the room".
This was the fact that I still needed to make the Cordite body shell fit around the Spitfire bulkhead.
This job came in two parts, destruction and construction.
I've deliberately waited until the construction phase was well on the way before posting any updates.
Because during the destruction phase I really did wonder what on earth I had done.
In fact, these next posts could easily have been titled The Wembley Angle Grinder Massacre.
I had been dreading starting this job as I knew it could all go horribly wrong, but it had to be done.
It started when I had the body shell off to do some of the welding on the rear frame / floors and wheel arches.
I had a length of wood that I just needed to trim a bit off the ends to fit inside the body shell.
Then, with the body back in place, I used some of my fixing brackets and some wood screws to brace the top of the body shell.
This photo should give you another idea of just how much body shell needs to drop.
( The body shell originally came with a fibreglass bulkhead, most of which I'd already removed. )
Then before I had the chance to change my mind, I propped up the body shell to make room for the angle grinder.
Took a deep breath and cut out the middle section completely.
Which left the body shell & bulkhead looking like this.
I knew this wouldn't be enough, so I continued to trim away with the angle grinder until the body finally dropped into place.
At this point it was easy to see that these levels were now miles better than before.
The design of the fibreglass bulkhead was based on a Triumph Herald, not a Spitfire, so they shouldn't line up.
Also the bottom of the body shell now completely covers the bottom of the frame and bulkhead
You can also just make out how the (now sealed) door gap is much closer to the original door opening frame work.
The next step was to remove what was left of the fibreglass bulhead.
So out came the angle grinder again and the body shell "bloodbath" continued...
After taking a little bit more of the sides, the body shell dropped down a fraction more.
Which means this is as close to the "factory" body line as I am likely to get.
I think this will give me a decent enough stance, so hopefully the car should look OK.
After the major cutting frenzy, I took a bit of time to consider what other body work issues I would need to tackle.
It was clear that the two "bumps" that I had used to brace the body shell will have to go.
In there place I will attempt to construct a flowing join between the bulkhead and the rest of the body work.
Obviously I can't remove them until I have re-joined the two sides of the body shell.
I will also be trimming the side edges of the cockpit to square things up a bit and provide more room around the seats at the back of the cockpit.
I will also have to look at the rear line of the cockpit as the hump "face" is at an odd angle.
But rather than worry about all the work that lay ahead at this point I decided to have a quick test fitting instead.
I used the off cuts from the rear arches brackets to prop up the seat at the back rather than go and find the proper seat spacers.
Then I roped my wife into taking some photos.
( Sorry for the odd facial expression, but the sun was in my eyes. )
Given all the other body work I will need to do, I don't think I will attempt to centralise the hump.
( All these cars have an off set hump as standard, but a few builders did cut it out and repositioned it. )
Later on I was able to compare the box section I used to prop the seat up with one of the seat spacers.
So my actual seating position will be marginally lower than the photos.
The reason this is important will become apparent in the next post...
Originally this kit was designed to have a main wind deflector screen, with two side screens over the doors like so.
Obviously I had to lose the side screens when I sealed the doors, so I can climb in over the side.
But now I had removed the "curvy" scuttle, the main screen was never going to fit either.
The shape of this screen helps explain the two "lumps" I will be removing from the body shell.
However, I had always like the idea of using two "Brooklands" type aero screens and this a much better idea now.
There is a flat section on the Spitfire bulkhead that the screens can be mounted to.
( Even if this is covered in a layer of fibreglass. )
This was just a rough alignment and I will agree the final position to fix them in another day.
The key requirement for the UK rules is that I must be able to see over the top of the screen and not have to look thru it (which I can).
- If you can look over the screen it counts as a wind deflector and that is all you need.
- But if you have to look thru it, then it counts as a windshield and needs wipers with two speeds and a screen wash system.
To help with the wind deflection, I will build a base for each screen, something like this arrangement.
This Jag also has a wind deflector for the rear view mirror which is another idea I will try to copy.
As my rear view mirror is likely to be sitting somewhere around here.
I will either "patch" the big rectangular hole, or use it to mount the mirror to the fibreglass covering the bulkhead above it.
( With a suitable bracket to spread the pressure and avoid cracking the fibreglass. )
Although the yellow Jag also has wind deflectors for the side mirrors, I will simply stick with the "bullet" ones I have.
Based on the experience of other builders it seems that side mirrors are fitted for looks first & function second!
However, one builder built a bracket to raise the mirrors high enough to actually to provide a useful view.
The reason for mocking up some of this stuff now is so I can to re-enforce the body shell around mounting points.
Before I started on the big scuttle job, I ticked off a smaller one first by adding some fibreglass filler to the door gaps.
Eventually this filler will be sanded down, but for now is has just added a bit more strength to the area.
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The cold reality is that this body shell was never designed to fit over the top of a Spitfire bulkhead.
But I wanted to use the bulkhead to resolve a number of different problems with the original kit design.
( Remember that production of this model was stopped and then a new body shell and internal framework were created. )
So I needed to design my own scuttle and keep it as simple as possible, given the fact I also had to make it myself.
There was a long period of head scratching as I toyed with various options, but KISS principles were the key.
So I started with the simple fact that I wanted the body shell to clear my dual line brake master cylinder.
So I found the box with the brake pedal in it and bolted it into position.
Then I cut out two hardboard templates to fit on top of the bulkhead at the original Spitfire hoot shut line.
I then added a load of parcel / packing tape that I knew fibreglass would not stick to.
Some big blocks of wood were then used to weigh the ends down to match the curve of the bulkhead.
I cut out a selection of fibreglass matting to start building up the centre section.
After the second round of fibreglass work I had this to show for my efforts.
It took me a long time to get my head around what I needed to do to rebuild this area of the bulkhead.
The section above is actually the base of the scuttle, not the finished top surface.
This section also forms the body shell's hood lip, but not the hood shut line.
Hopefully things will become clearer as the work progresses...
Once the centre section had set, I added a small off cut of hard board to the top of the master cylinder.
This should ensure that the curve of the body shell hood lip clears it with ease.
Then I was able to weigh down both ends of the body shell like this.
This effectively used the top edges of the body shell to pin down the hardboard template.
I had do trim a bit more off the body shell's original hood lip so the hardboard template could pass through.
At this point I am not trying to join the edges of the body shell to this structure as that was going to be a separate exercise.
However, after a number of fibreglass sessions, I had extended both sides of the centre section to look like this.
When that was all sufficiently cured, I carefully peeled the whole thing off the bulkhead.
There are two sections of matting in the middle that look lighter than the rest.
I actually ran out of resin while trying to lay these sections, so they will eventually be ground off and re-done.
But for now I took even more care to remove the hardboard from the fibreglass.
( This is the view from the under side. )
I can not quite believe it myself, but I have actually made something solid out of fibreglass.
A quick test fit over the bulkhead and it sits there very nicely.
This means the new body shell scuttle will "locate" across a large surface area that I can apply bonding paste to.
The hood lip even clears the back of the brake master cylinder.
The next stage was to join the driver's side of the body shell to this "middle" section.
Although this was another job that really made my head hurt in terms of working out what I was doing...
Now the challenge was to join the body shell to the scuttle "base" on the driver's side.
So first job was to tape up the bulkhead and a layer of cardboard I cut to fit on top of the corner I was working on.
The cardboard is thinner that the hardboard I was using to match the basic curve of the bulkhead.
This time, I just needed to allow for the fact that the layer of bonding paste will "lift" the body shell off the bulkhead a fraction.
I also placed more bits of cardboard along the length of the bulkhead to get an even (ish) gap all the way across.
I had a thin off cut of metal from the lowered floor pans to play with.
So that was also covered in tape and then clamped into position.
Thus forming the bend required for the existing, and new, body shell hood lips to join up.
I then used some of my big blocks of wood to weigh the rest of the scuttle base down.
I had also removed a section of the body shell and cleaned off the gel coat to reveal the fibreglass below.
After two sessions of fibre glassing, the corner now looked like this.
I must say I am really pleased with how this has actually worked out.
Just remember this is the base of the scuttle and all the real sculpting work has yet to come.
You can also see the work still required to get a decent line from the back of the cockpit to this area.
At least once the "lump" has been removed the line will look a look better and give me a decent base to work with.
When I had been trying to work out how to join the two sides of the body shell together I had found yet another problem.
The best way to explain it is use the length of uPVC cable trunking I had bought to help me shape the scuttle.
If I start with driver's side that has already be "fixed".
Then measure the trunking to the back edge of the Spitfire bulkhead to give me a "straight" line.
The passenger side turns out to be around 2cm too long / far forward compared to the driver's side.
So I marked up a reference line on the body shell, ready to mark a 2 cms "waste" section next to that.
However, at this point, I found myself trying to double check everything before I started cutting.
Normally, this approach would be a good thing, but on this build, it is like rubbing your tummy, while patting your head.
Where is all went wrong for me was discovering another difference between both sides at the bottom of the body shell.
In this photo, one end of the set square is in line with the bulkhead chassis mounting plate on the driver's side.
Here is the set square in exactly the same position on the passenger side and the body work comes up short?
Part of this problem is due to the fact the bottom of the "L" shape hood lip is a different length on either side.
But the real problem is that the angles of the main length of hood lip on both sides of the body shell are not the same!
I had to resort to adding a spirit level to the set square as my brain was slowing melting at this point.
So the today's key discovery is that if I move the passenger side backwards to fix the mis-alignment at the top of the bonnet lip...
I would actually be making the gap at the the bottom of the bonnet lip worse than it already is.
The only good news is that this means it is pointless for me to "fix" the bonnet shut line at the top.
Unless I am going to attempt to rebuild the entire passenger side bonnet lip as a mirror of the driver's side.
( And let's be clear, I have got too much work to do as it is, to even contemplate this. )
Therefore I am simply going to accept some of the limitations of the initial kit design and join the two sides together, as they are, like so...
If I ever want to finish this build, I simply can't lose sleep over things like this anymore.
Also, the running joke amongst other builders is that at least you can't see both sides of the car at the same time!
Given I didn't need to "cut & shut" the passenger side of the body shell, I set to work on joining up the top corner section.
Unfortunately, I came across my first issue within minutes of starting as there is a residual "lump" left where I cut the windshield off.
( Which was not a problem when the Cordite body shell was sitting over the Spitfire bulkhead. )
Thankfully I am finally getting my head around working in "reverse" with fibreglass.
At this point I just need to ensure the base of the scuttle can sit on top of this without being pushed up.
Which actually means making a hill on the bulkhead to form a valley in the base of the scuttle.
So I simply cut an opening in the cardboard like so.
Then by adding some more cardboard on top of the lump I was left with this.
Then I cut back the edges of the body shell and removed the gel coat.
I also removed the metal strip I used for the hood lip on the driver's side and clamped it in place.
Here are some extra photos showing the layers of matting I use to build up the gap in between the two sections of fibre glass.
Each layer overlaps in a different place / way in an effort to avoid building in weak spots along the edges.
I build up the front edges by laying up thin strips along the edge itself.
Followed by large strips that can be pressed in to match the contours of the edges.
I've found this much easier than trying to make a single edge "fold & stick".
This all of this is then covered with matting that reaches across the two ends of the body shell / scuttle like so.
Then extra sections of matting are added on top in a 'patchwork quilt' style, again to hopefully avoid weak points.
Anyway, after two fibre glassing sessions, the passenger join now looked like this.
Which means that my body shell is now "whole" again after all my previous scuttle butchery.
Well this is what my scuttle base looks like after all the previous work has set.
Which gives me a vaguely curved bulkhead / hood shape.
I will have to reshape the end of the hood to match this shape, but that is a problem for another day.
I marked up both ends of the body shell using the two lengths of trunking I have and an off cut of the original hoot shut line.
As I need to allow for the curve of the fibre glass matting and the fact I will add the "sharp" edges with filler later on.
I had to cut a channel in one of my extra re-enforcing layers of matting on the passenger side for the trunking to sit flush along the curve.
In a slight change from my previous plan, I decided to build a curve into the shut line like so.
My theory is that a "wobbly" curve shouldn't stand out as clearly as a straight line at an angle.
Whilst I did trim the fibreglass along the front edge of the hood lip, this is not the final shape.
But I was getting very fed up of removing fibreglass splinters from my fingers, hands & arms.
I used some plasticine to bridge the gap from the end of the trunking to the edge of the body shell.
Although, as you can see I added clamps to either end just to be on the safe side, so I will do this section another day.
Then I cut a couple of layers of matting to build up the area on the inside of the trunking.
Plus some big sections to fold over the trunking.
I must confess it was a real struggle to get the matting to lay nicely in the right position.
But eventually I had at least two layers of the bulk of the bonnet shut line.
With the edges on both sides still to do...
Plus a shed load of "remodelling" required to add some smooth, flowing lines to the whole area.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Well that pretty much brings me up to date, after what has been a significant step forward in the build.
A long time ago I made the decision to support the new kit car company owner and build the kit I had, faults and all.
I wanted to use this as an excuse to learn new skills and I have certainly done that.
Obviously all the extra work required can be pretty soul destroying at times.
But I know that if I keep chipping away at it, I will finish this build eventually.
Whilst my car may end up looking a bit "rough & ready" in place, it should still stand out from the crowd.
So until next time, take care, Paul.
I finished the first round of adding fibreglass to the ends of the trunking on both sides of the scuttle.
But as quickly as I was building up one area, I was destroying another...
I removed the cross brace from the body shell as the "partial" scuttle is already strong enough to support the body shell.
Then I cut the "lumps" off both sides of the body shell.
In order to "adjust" the bulkhead (see following post) I had to lift the body shell out of the way.
Obviously, I am really pleased that the work I have done so far is solid enough to hold everything in place.
I recycled the hardboard I'd used as a "former" for the front of the scuttle into a former for the rear of the scuttle.
After five frantic fibre glassing sessions (given the limited "pot life") the scuttle was looking like this.
There is one corner that has been left at this point & that will also be covered in the post below.
Obviously, the scuttle follows the curve of the Spitfire bulkhead below it, which is nice.
Despite having already built the scuttle base around the "lump" in the bulkhead, it had to go.
Then I took my lump hammer to the "lump" on the passenger side of the bulkhead.
While the lump hammer was out, I gave the driver's side a couple of blows for luck.
Then there was the usual round of anti-rust treatment...
And etch primer.
I will get some black paint on these areas when the bulkhead comes off for the final time.
I also decided to trim "just a little" off the ends of the Spitfire bulkhead.
This should make it easier to "blend in" the sides of the body shell when I finally get to that stage.
The cut ends were also treated, filled & primed.
The only other part of the bulkhead I wanted to "tidy up" was this surplus hole I'd drilled in error.
( Note: I'd already welded some metal over it from the other side. )
Whilst it does seem to be taking forever, the final "loose ends" of bulkhead work are nearly done.
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