It was one of those hot, lazy evenings in Maison Grump. The family had gone to bed early and I was pottering around in the model room. The stereo issued forth with Linkin Park, the brews were ice cold and Snowy, the useless, resident feline, had taken up position on the model bench among the bits and pieces of the ‘62 Impala I was building. At about ten, my pal called around for a chat and a grocking session. As we cracked the first brew, the mobile rang. It was Joey, the club’s newest member. He was having trouble painting some tank wheels. Yeah, come around, we’ll help you! It was …

Time for Some Military Modelling!

While we were waiting for Joey, my pal handed me a parcel. “Here’s a little something for you. My cuzzin sent it from the States”. Inside was a vintage NHRA Nationals T-shirt, sporting the NHRA logo and a yellow ‘32 5-window hiboy. This is so cool – it must have cost him a fortune! I slipped it on – it fitted perfectly! I’ll treasure this forever!

Eventually Joey arrived and explained his problem. He had one of those German tank things with about a hundred wheels that ran in the tracks. Each wheel had a rubber tyre on it that had to be painted with a dark grey charcoal colour. Joey had impaled one of the wheels on a toothpick and had tried to paint it by hand. It looked like a dog’s breakfast! My pal suggested masking each wheel and airbrushing the tire. Yeah, that should take about ten years! No, we needed a quicker way! As we tried to think of a solution, I rolled the toothpick between my thumb and forefinger in contemplation. That’s it!

If we rigged up something to rotate the wheel, we could just hold a brush against it and it would paint itself. Brilliant! I had an old model turntable display that would be ideal. The motor ran at about 3 000 RPM, with a 200 to 1 step-down gear-train. My pal reckons that’s too slow, lets fit the wheel directly to the motor’s shaft. Then we’ll get the job done much faster.

Wait, I have an even better idea! I have a spare Fly slotcar motor that runs at 30 000 RPM. We could get the job done in a tenth of the time, and then get back to some real modelling, namely cars! Man, it was the sort of solution that Don Garlits would have come up with!

While my pal pressed the first wheel onto the motor shaft, I thinned some dark grey enamel and loaded a nice fat brush with the paint. We hit the switch and our makeshift contraption redlined in less than a second. I brought the brush closer and touched the wheel. In a split second, the spinning wheel sucked all the paint right out of the brush and cathrine-wheeled it around the model room, leaving a thick black enamel stripe around the walls, over the display cabinets and along the side of the freshly painted 62 Impala! Worse still, Snowy the cat was now Snowy the skunk! Then I looked down and I burst into tears … the yellow hiboy on the T-shirt was just a black smudge! Damn!!!

Joey was horrified! My pal rolled around on the floor, convulsed with laughter – but I kept my cool, swept all the tank bits on the desk back into its box and stuffed it into Joey’s trembling hands. Get this thing out of here, and don’t you come back until you’ve learned to buy decent kits – CARS!!!

Until next time …

Keep those revs up!

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