Model Kit Conversion Tips (or making a simple KAR model)

Archive for discussions from 2004. Please post new discussions in the appropriate forum.

Moderators: Matthew, neps, Michael Pajaro

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Model Kit Conversion Tips (or making a simple KAR model)

Post by CB2001 » Wed Jan 21, 2004 1:00 am

Now, I know people are wondering "What do you mean by model kit conversion?" Well, I have to ask you this question: Do you know how people take 1982 Trans-Ams and make their own KITT or KARR conversions? If the answer is yes, then that is what I mean, but in 1/25 scale.

Now, I know a lot of people who have made their own KARs (KAR is what I call a vehicle created in the "Knight Rider" universe that we see either on the screen or created by fans for the story). Many people have ideas on what vehicles they'd like to see as KITT or KARR, or maybe just a plain A.I. vehicle. So, below are some small "tips" to turn a model car into a KAR.

There are several things you need to keep in mind. The first thing you have to ask yourself is this: For the model I'm converting, how much do I want to replace and how much do I want to remain stock? Now, let's refer to the real 1982 Trans-Am. Now, how much of the car was original stock after the conversion project? As far as I know, the main body itself, the hood, finders and some of the interior is still stock (that is, depending if they replaced all of the interior including seats and floor board carpet to make it all tan like we see). Now, look at what was replaced: The bumper, the dash (including the over head control panel), steering wheel and shifter column. Do you want to completely transform the vehicle from front to back, make a simple alteration to the front and the interior, or do you just want to keep it as mainly stock as possible? For this post, let's go with option 2, a simple alteration to front and interior (which seems more applicable for the fact that KITT didn't seem to have much of exterior alterations). Now, let's get to cracking to see what it is you want to make your model into:

Let's use a regular model kit you can find from the store. What we are about to perform is called "kit bashing" (no pun intended). Kit bashing is where you take parts from several model kits and create something new altogether. There have been many of people who have done it, including the popular Bill Spencer, who I posted about a while ago with his 1998 KITT KAR model here. From the magazine of Readers' Gallery section of Scale Auto Magazine when it came to details about the model, it says "The model has many scratchbuilt and parts-box items." That means some parts were custom made for it and others he found. Seeing that we are kit bashing, look over the model briefly and make of list of things you want to change or replace.

For an example, let's say you are turning a 2000 Ford Mustang model into a KAR. The things you would want to change, if possible are the following: The front bumper, hood and interior dash.

Now, many fans love scanner lights. A lot were disappointed in TKR for the fact that they didn't include scanners. However, seeing that this is your KAR, you can add one if you wish. And in order to do that, you need to have a space to put it into. Though for a 2000 Ford Mustang has a gap where one can go, some would prefer replacing the front bumper with a gap where one can be placed in. There are many suppliers in Resin kits, where people can customize their car models into Rice Rockets. Though, I do not know if it is possible to use plastic and resin parts on a model, let's just say for the example of the 2000 Mustang model, we decide to only keep the car's exterior as much stock as possible (with the possibility to change the front bumper, but leaving the gap for the grill alone for the time being). Now, I myself have made a scanner light for the diecast 2000 Pontiac Trans-Am model I'm working on. How did I make one? Grab a Diet Coke, there's your answer. You see, when it doesn't come to special contests of holidays, a regular bottle of Diet Coke will have a white cap. These caps have vertical lines that help with the grip of the drinker for them to remove the cap. I took one of these caps off of an empty bottle. I took a pair of scissors and cut half a diameter off of the bottom, below the inner bottom "teeth" that keeps the cap attach to the bottle. Now, with the small piece, you can use this as your scanner light. If you look at the original or the reprint of the KITT model, you can see the design of the scanner light (which is actually attached to the frame of the body on the front section) was a bunch of vertical lines. Now, with the piece you've got, all you need to do is paint it whatever color you like (red or yellow from the classic show, or purple, blue, green, etc. to give the vehicle a different style). Insert it into place and bingo! You got a scanner ready.

Now, for the interior, if you're very talented, you can create one from scratch with a single piece of plastic. If you have a re-issue or an original copy of the KITT model, then you can make a mold of the dash and make a copy of it. However, if you aren't as crafty (like I am), I recommend digging around through any extra model parts bens you find at automotive swap meets or place a "Wanted" ad in several model car magazines for any "Knight Rider" vehicle parts or any high tech dash parts. You have to look.

Now, color for the car is important to. A color can tell you the "personality" for the car, depending on meaning.

KITT: Black was a universal color. Remember what made KITT seem so cool? The fact that he looked like any other car? He was "universal", able to blend in when needing to.

KARR: The black represent the evil he was, though it wasn't his fault. But when he went two-toned, it took him into the universal area, but noticably different from KITT (gray is also a universal color, seeing that it is in between black and white).

Domino: Red with white racing stripes. Red representing passion, hot as a firecracker. The white stripes represented how sporty it was (in which the KAR's personality did seem to fit).

Kat: Yellow. Light bulb. Kat was a thinker. You get the idea?

Dante: Silver. High class or higher society. The personality of the KAR did seem to act that way. Not only that, it fit the vehicle because of how expensive it would be.

If you can determine the "personality" of the KAR, then you can be able to find a color that matches the vehicle if possible.

For license plates, Testors has released a water-slide decal maker kit, which comes with two black water decal papers, decal spray and a program to help make whatever decals you need. If you decide to do this, I recommend downloading images of whatever state you want the vehicle to be based out of and using a program like Adobe to add in the license plate number. And if you do so, I also recommend in waiting to print them all all at once instead of printing out each small license plate out one at a time (also, be sure to do a test run print out of the decal with regular printer paper before you print it out as a decal). There are some online services that offer similar programs and water decal sheets, but I'm not sure about them. Best to check for yourself and see what you want to do.

That's about it for now. If I come up with anything more, I'll post it as soon as possible.

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by CB2001 » Wed Jan 21, 2004 4:15 pm

Here's some more tips:

1. Make part boxes your friends- Now, having a spare parts box is always handy when you are customizing a model or kit-bashing. If you are an avid model builder, then you would most likely have one. If you're not, don't worry. You can buy boxes of vehicle and craft parts online. Hell, there's even a few up for bid on eBay. You just have to look around and find the right places to buy them.

2. Alternative parts- Sometimes there are some pieces you can't find in a parts box. However, you can make them. Styrene is very useful and you can find it in a lot of products (like phonecards and "No Trespassing", "Beware of Dog" and "No Parking" signs). There's even large sheets that you can buy. And if you are good, you create such parts using a techique known as "vacuum forming".

3. Modeling websites- Go online, look around at tips on kit bashing and modeling tips. One great site, with a wide variety of tips and tricks, that I happen to think is useful is Starship Modeler. It's not just about space vehicles, you know. If necessary, use the term "kit bashing" in your favorite search engine, like Yahoo! or Google. The info is out there, you've got to look for it.

4. Diagrams/Blueprints- Sometimes, a lot of model builders are doing scratch built models, like [url-http://www.culttvman.com/david_merriman___building_the_.html]David Merriman and his Scratch Built Enterprise model[/url], they refer to diagrams and blueprints that have been published (like "Star Trek" manuals and "Star Wars" How Things Word books). If you plan on doing a vehilce from scratch, or plan on doing scratch built parts, try seeing if there is a diagram or blueprint for what you want to make. If not, try creating one before you begin to construct it, so that you can figure out the scale of the piece.

5. Turbo Boost Takeoff Stands- Now, I myself have made a small stand that holds a car up, making it look as if it was launched into the air out of popcickle sticks. I have seen one who has constructed a stand where the car is pointing up very high, as if it were a rocket being sent to the moon. If you do decide to construct one, keep in mind the weight of the model so that you can create a stand that is able to support it and not topple over.

6. Others attempts and variations, and asking questions- Look around at other peoples models. Do you like the way they painted that 1970 Dodge Challnger? How about those seats, don't they look cool? Check out the information on them, find out how they did it. If they don't have the information on the page, e-mail them and ask about how they did it. I'm sure a lot of modelers would be helpful.

7. Time- Don't think you have enough time to work on the model? Time management, baby, it's the best tool in your tool box. Be able to fit in the time somewhere between "do homework" and "go to bed", sometime before and after "dinner" if possible. :)


I know, it's all simple stuff, but its better to state it and be safe.

User avatar
sarfraz
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 657
Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: London, UK

Post by sarfraz » Wed Jan 21, 2004 6:36 pm

Ah number 7-time. People don't release it takes time and a lot of patience to build a model. I'm currently building a 1/32 F14 model jet. Its been several months in the working. Lack of time and getting the right paint has slowed progress. Its 60cm long with a wing span of 60cm, bloody big!!! Its looking very good. One thing I have found whilst working on this jet is charcoal is an excellent tool to create a weathering effect on matt finished surfaces. I've used it to create a realistic look to pistons and leading edges on the jet. It would work really well on a car if you wanted to create a more natural, non-shiny showroom finish to a car.

Personally, I always experiment with different mediums to get the effect I'm looking for.

Sarfraz
"I would not sell yourself short Michael, you are much more than a horse"

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by CB2001 » Wed Jan 21, 2004 9:43 pm

I forgot this tip, which is one I've used on both my Beast model and (currently being worked on) Dante model.

8. Skill Type- Know which skill type best fits you. However, if you choose a vehicle that you want to do that isn't available in Skill 2 or Skill 3 but is in Skill 1, then go ahead and buy it. It just makes the customizing process a bit more complicated, yet the regular model easy to assemble in short time (this is without kit bashing and alterations made during the construction stage. If you do wish to alter the body, it would take a little while longer, depending on if you have the parts and tools or not to make such changes).


sarfraz- I know what you mean. Normally I have to work on and off on a model to make sure it gets completed. Of course, some of the time I'm waiting on the painted parts to dry. TBH, I just painted the body of the Skill 1 Ford Expedition model I bought a while back, changing it from the base color of yellow to silver. I have also gotten my hands on an airbrush kit, which I have yet to use (I want to test out my skills first on a piece of paper so that I know what I am doing).

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by CB2001 » Sun Feb 08, 2004 10:53 pm

Seeing that my regular "Update on My Models" post has been locked, I have decided to continue it a bit here, seeing that it is related.

I went to the Molturie Car Show today, and I found a vender who had a lot of model car parts, including tires, engines and various other parts, different scale size and whatnot. I purchased 1 dashboard (model unknown), one bottom chasis for a Ford Explorer and 2 sets of 4 tires. I bought these pieces in hopes of using them on my Dante model. I found out the Explorer chasis is a tad bit "thinner" than the one for the Expedition model. However, the wheels I bought not only look stock, but they would raise the model up to where it sits high. That is the good news.

The bad news is this- seeing that the tires are made for a snap together truck model, I'll have to alter the bottom chasis and customize a wheel rod used mainly for the Skill 1 models in order to raise the truck and have it still able to roll. I could, just to put myself out of all that misery, glue the wheels into place, but it would make the model a non-movable, where as the finished Dante model and (hopefully finished sometime) Domino models have moveable wheels.

Afternote: I asked the dealer how much he would be willing to sale his parts box, with wheels and various parts for the 1/24 scale car models, and he said that he would sale it to me for $25 dollars. I went around the rest of the day, trying to figure out if I should or not (also I was waiting to see if anyone there had the Kenner KITT car and action figure for sale, no luck). I had decided to do so, but changed my mind when I got back to his booth (where I purchased the dashboard and the chasis). I was very close to having my own parts box. Oh well, if I ever need to start one, I can always look on ebay, seeing that they've got a lot available there that people are trying to get rid of (and for a lot less).

User avatar
sarfraz
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 657
Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: London, UK

Post by sarfraz » Mon Feb 09, 2004 5:07 am

Ok, I've got a small problem and I'm not entirely sure whats going. I'm spraying painting missles with Tamiya Matt white paint. I washed the plastic in mild detergent, so the paint sticks...but thats the problem. The paint is not sticking to the surface. I can't seem to build the coats of paint, it just runs down the side. Have any idea whats going on? I suspect it's because its really cold in London right now, but I'm not sure.

Sarfraz
"I would not sell yourself short Michael, you are much more than a horse"

User avatar
K.A.R.R. Fan
Volunteer
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Germany
Contact:

Post by K.A.R.R. Fan » Mon Feb 09, 2004 6:21 am

Do you have some tips how I can paint my KITT model in black without airbrush? If you paint big plains with a brush it looks crappy.

User avatar
sarfraz
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 657
Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: London, UK

Post by sarfraz » Mon Feb 09, 2004 12:37 pm

Best bet is Tamiya spray paint for plastic cans. No expensive equipment to worry about, just shake the can and go. I've used those spray paint cans on my model cars (see website, link below! use the left scroll down to Knight 2000 model), as you can see you can get a good finish. All you ned to worry about is good ventilation.

Sarfraz
"I would not sell yourself short Michael, you are much more than a horse"

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by CB2001 » Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:35 pm

K.A.R.R. Fan- The spray can paint tip that sarfraz suggested does work. I've used it in a couple of my previous models. However, I have used the Testor's model paint before (in fact I used a can of the silver to paint the body of the Expedition model, and it looks good). The airbrush method is used by those who are more advanced (some Skill 2 and Skill 3 model builders). Of course, you can always use perminate markers if you want to get small details done. I recommend going to the tip section of Starship Modeler. They've got various tips on painting and detailing to help. You can access it at the right hand side of your screen. Scroll down until you find a link that reads "Tech Library". Under "Tips, Tricks and Techiques", select what area you want to read about and then click search. I normally view all the areas. That's where I found that perminant markers are useful for detailing (I mean, I've used the silver metallic perminant marker for adding correct color to exhaust pipes, drive shafts and knobs for the rolling of windows). The site is here: http://www.starshipmodeler.com/

sarfraz- May I suggest that you use primer on your model. By using primer, it'll help with the paint sticking to the models. I know that there's a white color available for sale (seeing that I came across a can of it in a comic book store where they were selling the "Warhammer" game miniatures).

User avatar
sarfraz
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 657
Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: London, UK

Post by sarfraz » Mon Feb 09, 2004 6:16 pm

I'm not sure testor products are available in Germany. Its certainly not available in the UK, maybe its just a USA thing. I'm pretty sure Tamiya products are worldwide.

I'm not sure about primer, but I may have to seriously consider it. When I first started using these spray paints, the model store guy said that they don't need primer, thus pretty easy to get a good finish for a cheap price. I'm not having any problems with any other colour, but white. Its really weird. Darker colours (used only a few days ago) stick easily but this matt white just seems a little too fluid. I've gone through 2 cans of the stuff! Primer, here I come.

...thats just prime :lol:

Sorry, gotta get the TF reference in :roll:

Sarfraz
"I would not sell yourself short Michael, you are much more than a horse"

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by CB2001 » Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:26 pm

Actually, if you have glossicoat, then you can use white primer and then glossicoat to give it a shiney finish. :)

User avatar
K.A.R.R. Fan
Volunteer
Posts: 12
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Germany
Contact:

Post by K.A.R.R. Fan » Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:42 am

Thanks very much for the tips!

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by CB2001 » Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:55 pm

No problem. That's what the post is for (for model kit conversion tips, as well as model related questions).

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by CB2001 » Sun Feb 15, 2004 9:22 pm

Update: My dad has suggested something to do with the current existing body of the model and the tires I bought from the car show and swap meet last weekend. My dad suggested that I buy some JB Weld, mix it up and pore into the open area of the tires, then drill a hole after the weld dries and then use the rods that came with the model to hold the wheels on. However, I do have a problem with that. The ground clearance for the truck would be low to the ground, like riding in a car that is riding high. I want to redrill the holes, but my dad is opposed to this. I guess I'll have to take the suggest he's given for now.

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by CB2001 » Tue Mar 09, 2004 12:10 am

Update- After showing my dad the problem I have been talking about, he has finally agreed that I should redrill the holes for the wheels for the Dante Expedition.

Also, I have recently purchased a 1968 Pontiac Firebird 500 model with the intention of making it over to appear as Niobe's Firebird from the "Enter the Matrix" game (the Pontiac also makes a brief apperance in "The Matrix Reloaded", which Morpheus lands on after being kicked off the back of the semi truck by the Agent. In the game, you race the Firebird on the Freeway and eventually catch up to Morpheus to save his butt. Trust me, it's a fun and addictive game). The Firebird 500 was also featured in the pilot episode for "Knight Rider", the light blue version driven by the two car thieves who constantly trying to steal KITT.

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by CB2001 » Sun Mar 14, 2004 9:30 am

Update on Conversion Tip Essay: I just now realized this, though they have been out for a while. I suggested that if you needed a scanner, you could use a cap from a Diet Coke bottle and then cut out a piece to make into a scanner. Normally, they are white. Lately, however, Coke has been promoting a new game, where all of the Coke bottles come with red caps. These red caps are ideal for your red scanner light. It's semi-glossy and red, enough to match KITT's scanner. However, if you like, you can still paint it red and get a darker or a shinier red for the scanner.

Pepsi also had a promotion for the iTunes (ick!) code. The cap is yellow. Good enough for anyone doing their own model kar based on KARR. Save those caps! They can be useful.

User avatar
KARR Engineer
FLAG Recruit
Posts: 349
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2004 12:12 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Post by KARR Engineer » Sun Mar 14, 2004 10:18 am

Are You going to make those TKR models? I mean, I think it would be good too see them...
I think I'm working on KRO, but in 1/18.

User avatar
SPEEDBREAKER
Recruit
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2003 12:59 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: RENO NV
Contact:

Post by SPEEDBREAKER » Sun Mar 14, 2004 2:57 pm

YOU CAN USE TAMYIA CLEAR RED OVER TOP TO MAKE IT LOOK MOR LIKE
THE SCANNER. I USED IT ON A CLEAR PIECE OF ACRILIC SQUARE ROD AND IT WORKED GREAT.IT SPREAD EVENLY WITH A PAINT BRUSH AND IT STICKS TO THE SURFACE BETTER THAN I EXPECTED.

User avatar
KARR Engineer
FLAG Recruit
Posts: 349
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2004 12:12 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Post by KARR Engineer » Sun Mar 14, 2004 3:31 pm

Do You have Caps Lock on?

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by CB2001 » Sun Mar 14, 2004 9:44 pm

So far, I had Ford F-150 done that is suppose to be Beast. I am currently working on an Expedition that is suppose to be Dante and a Ford Mustang that is suppose to be Domino (I've got the body painted red with the white racing stripes). They're still a work in progress.

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by CB2001 » Mon Mar 29, 2004 6:13 pm

For those who want to look at the F-150 extended cab model that is suppose to be Beast, you can head here:
http://f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/code_b ... /my_photos

Also there, you'll find a picture of Cobra, Type II (the white Mustang) and an old picture of Domino in Progress. I am thinking about just gluing the hood shut and gluing some of the engine pieces together and just glue the car to look as if together on the outside without any engine interior (seeing that both the Beast and Dante models are Skill 1 models that do not have moveable hoods).

Also, for a quick laugh, if you haven't seen this one: http://f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/code_b ... artoon.jpg

User avatar
neps
Site Administrator
Posts: 3255
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: nyc, usa
Contact:

Post by neps » Mon Mar 29, 2004 11:25 pm

Beast is looking great! I don't think you should worry much about closing off hood access, it wasn't a huge detail to the cars in the series, and I don't think there was anything interestingly custom about them. Poor Dominos all in pieces! ;)

That's a pretty good cartoon there too, I don't think I have seen it before either. Thanks for that!

CB2001
FLAG Assistant
Posts: 567
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Florida
Contact:

Post by CB2001 » Tue Mar 30, 2004 1:07 am

Neps- No problem about the cartoon. So, I take that your response about closing off the hood is a "yes you should do it", correct? Because if I do it, I plan on putting the bottom of the engine together so that when someone looks at it, it'd look as if it was completely built.

User avatar
neps
Site Administrator
Posts: 3255
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2002 1:01 am
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: nyc, usa
Contact:

Post by neps » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:05 am

Yup, that would be a yes from me, I think it's a good idea!

User avatar
KARR Engineer
FLAG Recruit
Posts: 349
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2004 12:12 pm
What year did the original Knight Rider start: 0
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Post by KARR Engineer » Tue Mar 30, 2004 9:31 am

I really like that AB. Looks good.

Locked