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Rusting up an old Impala

In the July 2011 FSM, Karl Logan models a junker after a car he found at a racetrack near his Pennsylvania hometown. Here's more information on his techniques for adding snow and making the model's base.
After my Impala was built and painted, it was time to add the snow and groundwork. First I prepared a wooden plaque with a few coats of varnish and let it dry. Then I mixed Celluclay in a plastic container with a little white glue and white acrylic paint, 1. I wrapped the mixture in an old T-shirt and squeezed out excess moisture, 2. The more water in the Celluclay when it's applied, the more it will shrink and crack later.

Using a cocktail stick and a wet brush, I shaped this on the model in the areas where I wanted snow, 3. I smoothed it with my fingers, wearing plastic gloves so the glue wouldn't stick to my wet fingers. After cleaning up glue residue on the window with a moist brush and tissue, I let it all dry overnight.

Once it was dry, I brush-painted the snow white to provide an opaque base for Woodland Scenics snow powder. Don't be tempted to think the snow powder alone will be enough; it is translucent and will not appear snow white if it lacks a white base. I used an old brush to apply another layer of white glue, then generously sifted on the snow powder, 4. I let the glue sit and absorb the powder for a few hours. Once the glue was dry, I shook off excess powder, 5. After sitting for a day or so, the Celluclay cured further and shrank a little, pulling away a little at the edges (especially on the smooth window surfaces). I had to fill gaps with white glue, paint over them, add more glue, then apply more snow powder to the patches.

Making the base was a simple process. I began by mixing Celluclay with white glue and acrylic brown paint for color. I taped off the edges of the plaque and spread the mixture around, adding broken twigs and small stones, 6. Then I pressed the car onto the base to get the wheel locations and depressions the car's weight would have caused, 7.

After that was dry, I added a coat of white glue and sprinkled a layer of ground material over it: real dirt, tree leaves collected in the fall, various shades of grass powders, and Joefix Studios' Fall Leaves (real birch tree seeds dyed to look like scale leaves). I pressed the mixture onto the glue using a sheet of paper as a barrier, 8.

The next step was to mark off the perimeter of the car so I could apply the melting snow around the car. I put the car down and used some twine to mark off the perimeter, securing the twine ends under masking tape. Then I measured the inner area, cut out a square piece of paper the same size, and placed it on the base. I airbrushed white paint on the base, spraying the ground cover where the snow would lie, 9. Just like the snow patches on the car, this step makes the snow more opaque. After I finished the white, I sprayed Testors Dullcote over the still-masked base. Then, while the lacquer was still drying, I sprinkled snow powder over it. I repeated this process twice to build up layers of snow.

After removing the mask, I finished by adding leaves and Zeeschuim (a sponge-like foliage material) from Joefix Studios, 10. As a final touch, I added a trademark of my junked-cars builds: a white snowshoe rabbit that might have used the old husk as shelter.

Pick up the July issue to learn how Karl built, painted, and weathered his Impala.


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