Thursday, June 10, 2010

This Month's Header

The Candy Box
What do models have to do with Summer? Well, when I was a kid, if we couldn't go to the beach, or playing various games in the street, we built stuff. As a matter of fact, my brothers and I were fairly avid car modelers. Most of the time we just couldn't help but modify them to the extent that they rarely resembled what was on the box cover.

I built this model sometime around 1970-71. It was it's second build and was loosely based on Roth's Mail Box.

When my interest shifted, I stopped building cars and started building bikes. The first one I remember was Revell's "Chopped Hog". At first it was built as it came, but since it was a lousy depiction of a chopper, I quickly tore it apart and customized it. I added a hard tail, a molded in peanut tank, new pipes, sissy bar, rear fender, seat, and scratch built a brass springer.

The next victim was Revell's CHP model. I don't recall ever building it stock. Instead, it became the raw material for a chopper based on Jim Breo's trike from the first issue of Big Bike magazine. I posted Jim's trike here last January.

As in real life, a cop bike becomes a donor.

Here's how it looked the first time around. In someways I wish I left it alone.

Like most of my models, it didn't stay intact long, and soon it was apart for a new build based on Roth's Mail Box. Since, I had already modified the Shovelhead frame and engine to look like a 45 c.i. Servi-car. The new mods consisted mainly of stretching the down tube, molding a cut down gas tank, building a body, and adding a longer springer.

The Real Deal. The Crosley engine really only looks good from this side. Roth didn't want to use another flathead 45 since he had already built the Candy Wagon. Each trike project was built to gain more experience. The Crosley engine was an experiment for using a water cooled engine with the radiator mounted in the back and served as a stepping stone towards the later V-8 powered trikes.

Roth's original Choppers magazine used Ed Newton's Mail Box drawing at the top of the letter's to the editor page. For fun, I took a shot at replicating it.

Engine and frame mod details. The cam cover was cut down and the timer centered. The barrels, heads, and push rods were cut down and filed to resemble flathead cylinders. Drag pipe were fashioned from other pipe pieces. This is the second oil tank and was made from a rear shock capped on each end with a spotlight. Now, the only part of the frame left intact was under the engine and trans and the seat post. The drive chain was moved to the right side. Rear fender mounts were used as 45 brake and clutch side straps. Some parts, like the kicker, brake pedal and foot pegs, have broken off over the years. A top engine mount was never made.

The finned heads were scratch built from sheet plastic. Cutting and fitting each fin and the bolt pattern was the most tedious chore. The carb was moved to the left and a working choke was made from a pin. The primary cover was also reworked to resemble a 45's. The left side engine case was the biggest omission, it should be finned. The spark plugs wires and coil have since come off.

The body was made from balsa wood and the interior is covered with vinyl. The gas tank is from a Triumph kit. To create the indents, the knee pads were cut off and glued inside on the opposite sides. The fork was scratch built out of brass and was from another model I built. I don't remember ever seeing a color photo of the real trike back then, but read it was fogged in various colors. My attempt at custom paint was fogging some red over the green Testors metal flake and was never very happy with the result.

The Candy Box. Another fun exercise, a Photoshoped Candy Wagon/Mail Box combination for comparison. You can definitely see the Candy Wagon's influence on my model.

I still have remnants of other chopper models but, somehow this one survived. It was tossed around and stored in a box for about two decades but has since been on display in my studio for about the last 6 years. I'd like to rebuild some of the others, but that will have to wait for a future Summer.... perhaps in a second childhood?

1 comment:

Sammy said...

I really dig your Mailbox Chris ! - We're hosting a Trike & Chopper Challenge ( Plastic Models ) at our site, Model Masters ;

The deadline is March 4th; but I'll extend it if there's more entries All are Welcome to Jump in We already got a few great completed builds on there - Krazy Rick