Badillac by Russell Eden
I’ve always loved leadsleds and custom cars but without a lottery win I doubt I’ll ever own a real one. That doesn’t mean I can’t build a model one. Some of you may remember my ’49 Mercury leadsled – my first ever competition entry from several years back. I fancied something a little different this time. Whilst trawling through Jimmy Flintstones site of resin car bodies I came across the Badillac – a Custom 58 Caddy – new lower roof, extended fins and a new mouth for the grill. After checking out the finished pix I was in love –
How low can you go…?
By chance I found one at Modelcar.org – a UK company so snapped it up – no US postage, or customs charge, for me for a change.
Whilst waiting for it to arrive I did a bit more online research and found a couple of built ones – the green and white ones are the Jimmy Flintstone resin body and the red one is a custom one based on a plastic kit before the Badillac was sculpted. It’s been de-finned and has most of the original grill….
I then looked at wheels – there are many aftermarket manufacturers out there inc. – Hoppin Hydros, Pegasus, Aoshima and Fujimi. I eventually choose a set of 23” Chrome ‘T’s from Pegasus, including resin brakes £10 inc. reasonable shipping from the US.
This is going to be a cheap build so nothing extravagant will be purchased. I also decided to build it at work to give me something creative to do in my lunch break, when I get one.. This has a big advantage – a fully kitted workshop with lots of tools and material to play with. I needed this as the Badillac is one of the few Flintstone bodies that doesn’t have a donor car so I’m going to make a simple chassis and black out the windows like the green and white ones above. This will hopefully show off the heavily modified body to maximum effect and without me having a scratch building nightmare!
After checking all the available pictures online I thought I’d de-fin the Badillac too – it makes the shape of the car flow better. I’m currently building a custom 59 caddy with huge fins so that will satisfy my fin fetish! Once the body was here it was onto the clean-up – these bodies arrive as they leave the mould with no clean up done, unlike my Scale Production Nissmagnum which was perfect when it arrived. I got on with cleaning up the body, rubbing down all edges, removing the window flash and attacked the rear end with a razor saw – a bit too much on one side so it was out with the filler – oops. The fins were removed and cleaned – this took copious amount of emery paper but the resin is quite soft and nice to work with. The headlight surrounds came next – I like the sunken look of the headlights on the red car compared to the other two so I’m replacing the supplied resin lights with twin lights off my old unfinished ’58 Impala. The body needed a bit of clean-up around the lights to make these fit but luckily nothing drastic. I might keep them chrome or strip the chrome of and spray them the body colour for the frenched-in look – we will see as the Badillac progresses.
Exhausts were next – whilst rummaging in my car spares box I found a set of metal exhaust tips from my R35 GT-R Skyline – these looked great so I filed slots in the rear of the body to fit two of these.
I then drilled out the rear lights and filled them square – I’ll machine up some tail lights from clear plastic for these.
With the body prepped it was onto the chassis. As I said before there is no donor car for this body so I was going scratch build one.
Step 1 – scavenge some nylon – I found a piece 17mm by 14mm and cut it 200mm long. This will be the backbone of the chassis.
Step 2 – I marked out where I wanted the wheels to be on the body and measured the distance between them giving a 134mm wheelbase.
Step 3 – Starting 24mm in and 4mm up I drilled and tapped two M3 holes through the nylon to mount the wheels. I was originally going to use some M3 hex stand-offs but these were fractionally too long so I am now using M3 studding. This will give me plenty of adjustment but means I will have to measure accurately to get the wheels in line. The wheels were also drilled and tapped to M3 – easy when you have a mini milling machine at work!
Step 4 – Ride height – With the wheels on I started gluing small 2mm thick blocks of plastic to the nylon to a height of 10mm at the front and 8mm at the back. This gives me the ride height I wanted – I don’t like my sleds too low and this is perfect for me. I then glued some more of the plastic blocks to the inside of the body to align the chassis in the centre.
Step 5 – Exhausts – I had some spare metal R35 GTR exhaust tips lying around so I glued them to some metal pipe –I was going to solder them but the tips look like they’re stainless steel so soldering didn’t work. It did work on the bits of wire I soldered the pipes to. These can be bent to fit into the holes I drilled in the nylon chassis. This gives a nice flexible mounting system. With the chassis done it was sprayed black and the disk black primed and painted.
Grill next – mmmm – choices, choices. The front of the car does look a bit like a rather large catfish… Or is that just me? It needed something to set it off.
Along with several grills left over from my Mercury kit I now had lots of choice….
My favourites were – one from a 1960 Oldsmobile with separate spot lights, a 1960 Mercury grill as per the white car and one from my old Mercury kit.
The choice will be made once she’s painted…. That’ll be next..
With the chassis complete I got on with painting the body.
Originally I had planned to paint it a teal/turquoise colour and use some large blue tribal decals from an old Itasha decal set. I gave up on this idea when I found a set of stunning silver scallop decals on eBay. These were popular on sleds in the 1950s and I thought this would give the car a bit of a retro look. Plus I’m a sucker for a decent decal set….
Colour choice was down to what I had left in the Halfords spray can cupboard at home – I thought about Ford Purple Velvet but eventually went for British Racing Green.
Sadly these are the usual American quality which means no sooner do they hit water then they start to crack. Rats!
I’m having flashbacks of the nightmare that was my Mercury lead sled as the same thing happened. I persevered though. I took me a week of very slow and careful decaling to complete the decaling – massive sigh of relief when it was all over. Next were 10 coats of Halfords Clear Lacquer and a week to harden before I got on with the chrome parts. Sadly it went a bit orange peel in places but no matter. The panel lines were filled with thinned down Humbrol gloss black.
With the body finished I moved onto the detailing. The window glass was made from 0.5mm clear plastic painted black. These were cut roughly to shape and glued in with epoxy – slightly messy but they’re not coming out in a hurry.
Front and one side window – I’d already glued the others in when I remembered to take a photo.
The headlights from my old ’58 Impala were glued in place next and then I finally chose a grill and glued it in place – this was a slightly more complex job than initially thought as I decided, last minute, to use the ’60 Mercury grill as it filled the whole gap. This meant cutting out the full grill gap – not a good idea after painting but I managed it with only a couple of touch-ups needed to the once pristine paintwork… Oops…
The exhausts were a bit easier – I trimmed the wire down and bent them to fit. Once at the correct angle I glued them in place.
The tail lights were made from clear plasticard glued in place with Tamiya Clear red on the front and bare metal foil on the reverse.
And there we have it – Badillac – not bad for quick and easy, ish, project built in my lunchtimes at work…