On the Bench 157a: Joe Divar’s Knightrider and R2-D2

Here’s the reissue from our favorite David Hasselhoff show, yes even better than “Bay Watch”, “Knight Rider”. I’ve taken the liberty of sanding off the cheesy “Knight” raised lettering on the nose piece and the other erroneous left over detail from the tired and recycled molds. I’m talking about the Special Edition and Indy Pace Car type raised emblems that came with the body. Those guys from Dyersville are wack.

From there prep was otherwise easy. Two coats of Tamiya primer sanding with 3200 grit sandpaper between coats. After giving the primer a full week to cure I followed with the initial color coat of Tamiya black from their synthetic lacquer Spray Color line of aerosols. I found these can paints to be superior to anything I’ve used before. Being an airbrush snob this means a lot for me to put up the airbrush and reach, instead, for a can. I can’t praise them enough.

The second color coat has been applied after progressively sanding with 3200 and then 3600 between coats. You see the model as it has just finished a nice hand rubbed 3600 grit treatment. One more color coat and I should have the results I want and then I’ll finish the paint job by going all the way up to 14000 grit and final wax.

Here’s an update to my Ultimate KITT build-up. Disaster! A small pinhole on my final color coat caused me to resort to some Squadron White to fill it in with the results visible in this image. Lesson learned, don’t forget to prime over putty work before color coats. Especially when using lacquer finishes!! The hood is sitting in my sink right now being stripped with EasyOff.

Here’s another blast from the past. I found a few MPC/Fundimensions R2-D2 models on eBay. I’ve kept the 1977 issued kits in the shrink wrap, but I’ve unwrapped one of the ROTJ ’84 vintage kits to do a build up.

Didn’t have the camera for a “before” shot. You’re seeing the current state of the kit on my workbench. I’m attempting to correct as many kit flaws as possible with this project while scratch building an array of sensors and accessories.

All chrome parts have been stripped using a Clorox bleach bath. An hour or two for stubborn parts usually does the trick. Parts are just dry fitted now so they look a little lose on the dome. The dome has been painted with Testor’s buffing metalizer in aluminum. Not bad, looks more accurate to the ESB and ROTJ props with fiberglass painted domes than the issue chrome plating. ESB & ROTJ R2 props had fiberglass silver painted domes mixed in with bare aluminum domes so I’m not too worried about which I’m trying to build. However, Alclad from the UK make a superb “bright” chrome metalizer that looks the part for scale. It’s a whole process though of painting the part gloss black as an undercoat first and then spraying their proprietary metalizer. I’m going to try that on my Naboo Starfighter whenever I feel like tackling that. It’ll be soo sweet…

I’ve snapped a shot of the unplated parts so you can see how well bleach removes all the plating. For tougher parts, Castrol degreaser works wonders. Had to resort to that to dechrome my Knight Rider rims.

BTW, the dome has a fingerprint on it from my heavy handedness. I’m going to have to reshoot that piece later. Don’t know if it shows up on the image very well though.

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