VW trailer project

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Every now and again I get asked to build something a bit different, this time by a friend of mine that is heavily into VW Beetles.

This was the picture he found for me

I sourced the VW Beetles quite cheaply a while back and will be using two of the three I bought, these are Welly diecast in 1:32 scale.

The Scooter was a bit harder to find but now have a mint boxed version in 1:32 scale.

The main part of this conversion is the trailer but the towing Beetle will be getting the roof rack and towing hitch.

This is the victim or should I say donor.

These were only cheap so don’t feel so bad cutting up a perfectly good Beetle.

Luckily the customer wants the trailer and car in black and one of the Beetle’s is already black, the blue one has gone into my collection and the white one will become the trailer.

The only downside to these cheap far eastern diecast is the friction drive so the rear wheels and base plate is of no use for this project.

With the body stripped it’s ready for some cutting.

With the main body removed I started looking for a suitable chassis the best fit for scale was an old Matchbox Superkings boat trailer, also the Vespa looks about right with it.

I cut the back off the trailer to match the curve of the inside of the VW body and tried it again.

Once I was happy it would work I cut off the mudguards and removed the wheels and axle, the Matchbox axle box needed a bit of easing with a small grinding burr and the Dremel as the Welly axles are thicker.

The wheels needed altering to keep the VW axle width right.

Then another check.

I checked for alignment by using packers to see if everything fits.

Next I made an aluminium base for the body, there isn’t going to be a lot left by the time I cut and grind out the body so this is to strenghten the body.

Then glue into place with epoxy (yes this was a door sign, nice thin metal)

Then cut out all of the surplus metal carefully with a Dremel cutting wheel.

I totally lost track of time and come down from the model room to find I had been cutting and grinding for 2 hours

The next and main part of this project is the formation of the wheel arches, so here I will show you the best way of moulding and shaping you own in glassfibre resins, as this is only a one off I’m not going to make a mould but build them up insitu.

To start with I filled up the cavity with plasticine.

Then shaped with a craft knife and small clay tools, remember this face will be the underside of the arch so you need to cut back beyond the finished edges.

The better you finish this at this stage the better it will look underneath.

Next we lay up some ready mixed resin and fibre mix and have added the hardener, this is used in the diy car body repairs and has been around a while, in the UK it’s called Isopon P40 It dries a bit tacky to start with but if left a day or so it gets harder, this won’t sand easy so try to get it about right then you can grind off any high spots with a Dremel sanding disc

Once the shape is best part right you can now fill with ordinary car body filler or whatever filler you prefer, the reason I use car body filler is the resin to resin application will bond better and become one.

You can now clean out the plasticine and clean the under arch.

With the filler rubbed down there are still some fine pin holes and lines in the filler so now I go to auto body stopper this is really fine and will give a great finish before priming.

The bed of the trailer is going to have scale checkerplate added so first I cut a template out of card to fit correctly

I think it’s the best way of approaching this, if you get it wrong you just start again, the checkerplate is expensive to waste and even I took two attempts at getting the template right.

It’s now time to fix the chassis to the body before the final clean up and primer coat.

Next is finishing off the body before painting begins.

After a few coats of etch primer I can now see any minor marks that need filling.

I use car body stopper for this as I have been using this on real cars for years, it fills all the tiny pin holes etc and sands easy with fine wet and dry.

This may well need to be done two or three times before painting, the high black gloss I am doing will show every tiny imperfection so getting this stage right is critical.

Finally the painting can begin, firstly the black

Because I used Plasticote and is known for slow drying times, once I got to this stage I unmasked it and put it aside for four weeks.

Next the chrome spray, again once done it was left for about three weeks, I had plenty of other things to do.

The  re-assembly was straight forward.

Next my attention turns to the car, there was going to be a roof rack but that never happened and wasn’t required, so that leaves a suitable tow bar.

The one I used was taken from a Matchbox Kingsize Plymouth Fury and screwed though the original mounting hole, I did have to file down the exhaust though.

This was painted black and now finally here we are.

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