After building four of the Tamiya Mini Cooper kits, and still had a few more on the shelf to build, including the Monte Carlo rally version, i wondered if it was possible to convert one into a more basic Mini.
The items I needed to do this were the correct road wheels and hubcaps, front grille, and boot and bonnet badges, these i managed to get cast in white metal and the scripts done in photo etch, the grills turned out slightly too large, but with a few millimetres shaved of the bottom, it solved the problem, after cleaning up it was covered using Bare Metal Foil.
After sorting out the parts I needed, I made a list of any modifications I would need to do, these inclused :-
1/ Removing the remote gear change housing and linkages, and mounting from the chassis
2/ Trimming off the drivers side fuel filler cap, as the standard Mini only had the one,
3/ making a new gear lever, this was done by simply using a dressmakers pin and a blob of solder for the gearknob
4/ shaving off the moulded in "Mini-Cooper" badge on the bootlid, these will be replaced by the photo etch badges
5/ I also cut off the heater from under the dash, as it was an optional extra on the basic Mini
6/ Inner door handles needed removing and replacing with the plastic coated wire that the basic Mini had, this was done by simply using a resistor, trimmed to size and then painted black
7/ Converting the Cooper's twin carb' set up with a sinlgle SU Carburator
Front grilles cast in white metal, top one is the Austin version, where as the bottom one is the Morris grille .
Front grille trimmed and test fitted on bodyshell
Gear stick made from dressmakers pin with a blob of solder for the knob.
Inner door handles modified using resistors
.Road wheel painted and hubcap added
Bodyshell has now painted and trimmed out with Bare Metal Foil, basic Mini's did not have the chrome trim around the front window as the Coopers did
Steering wheel as supplied in the kit
Steering wheel modified, The steering wheel in the Morris Cooper kit has an aftermarket wooden rimmed steering wheel, as I wanted it to look more factory standard I decided to modify the kit supplied steering wheel, This I did by turning the wheel 180 degrees and cutting off the top spoke, filled the holes with model putty, this will be sanded and smoothed out when it dries out, then painted gloss black
Engine fitted with modified single SU Carburetor
Non factory standard kit supplied exhaust modified by cutting off the rear silencer and turning it to the side, small imperfections were filled with Squadron green putty, and spray silver
Dash, seats and steering wheel fitted, gearstick was made using a dressmakers pin and a blob of solder for the know, then painted gloss black
Because the original Tamiya wheels had locating tabs on the back of the wheel, I ran into a small problem with the cast metal wheels, as they didn't have these, to get over this i got some 80 thou (2mm) Evergreen round rod, which just fitted into the hubs, next, the wheels had to have a 2mm hole drilled into the middle of them, this will later be hidden by the wheel hubcap, 3mm sections of the rod were glued into the hubs, giving the wheels something to locate onto.
Wheel with centre drilled out
Wheel hub as built as per instructions, the cast metal wheels will not fit without modification.
2mm Evergreen rod added to front hub
Front wheel fitted onto hub
Wheels & tyres fitted, Tyres are the original Crossply type of tyre as used on the early Mini's, hubcaps were cast in white metal then covered using BMF
Front & rear windows glued in, for this I use Devcon 5 minute clear epoxy, you only need a few spots applied with a wooden cocktail stick, window rubbers were replicated using a chisel edged black permanent marker.
Bodyshell & Chassis attached, body was given a final polish using Mothers cleaner wax
Rear Lights painted using Tamiya transparent acrylics, and BMF for the chrome surround
Front & Rear bumpers were modified, as only the Coopers had the corner bars on the bumpers, so these were cut off, the overriders were left on, as these were factory options on most early Mini's, the bumpers were then stripped of there chrome, they will be painted using Alclad 2 chrome lacquer later, But first they need a coat of gloss black lacquer, they primed using white plastic primer, followed by a few coats of gloss black cellulose lacquer
Roof fitted, Interior mirror was fitted first, the roof was fixed using small amounts of 5 minute epoxy resin.
Front Grille & Headlamps fitted
Rear lamps fitted, the mounting holes needed drilling out using a 2mm drill, as the chrome foil I had used on the back had made the mounting lugs bigger
Bumpers painted in Alclad,
Front & Rear Bumper's attached
Front bonnet badge fitted, this was a photo etch item done in Stainless steel, once cut off the sprue, I stuck it to a piece of masking tape facing upwards, painted in satin black, left to dry then block sanded it, so the silver "Austin" and surround went back to the silver of the photo etch, it was fixed on using a small amount of Tamiya clear acrylic.
Rear Boot badge "Austin Mini" added,
All finished, Wipers, door handles fitted
Placed into a made to measure Acrylic showcase, again, made by Dave Poole of Bristol, see hiis details in the "Links" section