Back in the winter of 2019 I received an order from a good friend to make 13 units of the Seat Leon Supercopa MKII with which Ingrid Rossell participated in the VIII Pujada Alp 2500 that was held on July 14 and 15, 2018 starting from Seat Leon TDi WTCC by Scalextric. I had already worked with that slot car when I made the street version that you can see in this link and although I don't particularly like the real car, when I worked with the slot model I really liked it. It is a very good reproduction, with a good plastic that has the right thickness and hardness to work the body with guarantees but it is still quite thin for a slot car and it can be modified very well. The thickness of the plastic allows its manipulation without the care that must be taken with the models of the last 5-7 years to here, where the cars are injected in a very fine plastic, in many cases less than 1 millimeter thick, which logically reduces the weight of the bodywork and improves the behavior of the slot car on the track, but that complicates things when we want to do a scracthbuilding work. On the other hand, the model he asked me to reproduce had significant differences with respect to the starting model, which for me was an additional challenge that was very stimulating. As I saw it at the time, it was a decoration of the car with "something else", some small modifications of the model to make it more similar to the real car and I accepted the job. I didn't know where I was getting.
The car with which Ingrid Rossell participated in the VIII Pujada Alp 2500 is a Seat Leon II Supercopa MKII. On the second series of the Seat León, Seat Sport developed a competition version, the Seat León Super 2000, to compete in touring car races, with great success in the World Touring Car Championship, where it was proclaimed champion in 2008 and 2009. In 2012, the competition model Seat developed a new evolution of the car that resulted in the Seat León Supercopa, who has several differences respect to the model that Scalextic reproduced.
This is the car they asked me to reproduce
And this is a sample picture of the Scalextric car that it would start from:
As you can see, between Ingrid Rossell's Seat Leon Supercopa MKII and the Seat Leon TDi WTCC that Scalextric reproduced, there are slight but obvious differences. Fundamentally the modifications to the body were limited to the fenders and the front bumper and minor modifications to the rear of the car:
Regarding the chassis, the differences were limited to:
Last but not least, the rims of the original car, a 5-double-spoke Ronal ones, which fitted all Seat Leon Supercopa models, were different than the 6-double-spoke SCX model rims fitted to the WTCC Seat Leon.
Logically, they were small modifications that could be made on the fly for a single car, but for 13 cars things changed radically and became a much bigger work, so planning and division of work was essential to reach a successful conclusion.
Normally I plan the work I do, but in this case the planning had to be much more exhaustive if I didn't want to lose myself in such an enormous job, so I decided, on the one hand, to do them from the bottom to the top, that is, first the chassis and then the bodywork, and on the other hand, clone in polyurethane resin all the possible parts so as not to have to repeat the work over and over again, since many modifications required the placement of several parts than doesn´t belong to the original bodywork and it did not make sense to do 13, 26 or 52 equal parts (depending on the part of the body that was involved) when you could make a piecec and copy it as many times as necessary.
With the general lines of the work clear, the first thing I did was disassemble and unpaint the 13 slot cars to leave the bodies completely clean before beginning any modifications.
Once I had the bodies completely clean, I made the original models of the parts (what is called "master" in the modeling world) that I needed to modify the bodies and which appear in the following image:
These are the parts I made:
With all the pieces manufactured, through my friend, I sent them to Joan Barrera from Project Slot, who is an artist in the casting of pieces with polyurethane resin, among other things, so that he could make all the necessary copies to build the 13 cars. I could have done them but not with the quality that this job needed, since my experience in parts and bodies urethane casting is limited and I preferred to have them done by a professional in the field. Needless to say, the quality of the copies impressed me, especially the rear diffusers (which were 0.3 mm. thick as I mentioned above) and the wheel inserts, which turned out to be much more resistant than the original that served as master. Without a doubt an excellent work by Joan Barrera, it is well deserved for his fame.
When I received the finished parts, I started the work as planned. I would first do the chassis of the cars and then focus on the bodies. The parts that I had to put on the chassis were the front spoiler and the rear diffuser, which appear in the following image:
In preparation, I modified the front and rear parts of the chassis so that the parts fit properly,
and glued both pieces in place. The front spoiler with cyanoacrylate and the rear diffuser first with cyanoacrylate and then reinforced with two-component glue.
To finish the job, I glued a plastic strip in the center to give the shape of the front air inlet that the original car has...
... and at the rear, I made a hole in the center of the diffuser to place the exhaust pipe.
I repeated this same process for the rest of the chassis.
I always like to finish the mechanics of the cars to focus on the modifications to the bodywork. In addition, in this case, the chassis modifications affected those of the bodywork, since the front spoiler hugs the bumper and this remains a little embedded inside it and, on the other hand, the rear diffuser forces to modify the bodywork a little as it is again fitted between the rear bumper. So I wanted to have both pieces fixed to the chassis to make the necessary modifications to the body.
To avoid later problems and since the pieces of the chassis were not going to be exactly the same for of them, I paired each chassis with a bodywork so that both pieces would be perfectly adjusted.
Regarding the bodywork, I began to make the modifications starting with the simplest parts to continue later with the more complicated parts. I did it this way to see progress at work and thus encourage myself to continue. With such large jobs, there comes a point where you are "in the middle of nowhere" and it becomes very difficult to carry on with the job. Knowing that this moment would come sooner or later, I wanted to see parts of the work finished that would give me an incentive to continue.
In this case, the simplest modifications are those of the rear of the car, starting with the rear bumper lip...
...which I first carefully removed with the mini-drill and the spherical grinding wheel, taking care not to touch the rear wheel arch,...
...and with a lot of patience, a triangular section file and a lot of sandpaper, I gave it the final shape, achieving this result:
By removing so much material on the sides of the car, the body was excessively thin and brittle, so I reinforced it by the interior with some globs of two-component putty to maintain the rigidity of the entire area and avoid later problems.
The lower part of the bumper was much easier to modify, since I only had to remove the plastic that was between the exhaust pipes.
So, filing it gently with a coarse flat file, I removed all the excess plastic to finish it off with fine sandpaper, getting the result shown in the next image.
I could have used the mini drill to go faster, but whenever I can, I prefer to do the modifications by hand, with sandpaper, file and similars, before using a power tool. It is heavier, but with the hand tool I control the work in a much more accurate way.
To finish off the rear, I glued the resin pieces to widen the rear wheel arch and applied some Tamiya Putty diluted with acetone to cover flaws and finish better the surface.
Finishing the rear of the cars, I focused on the front, where the modifications were much larger and more complex. The original front wheel arch was like this:
I first made two cuts with the minidrill and the cut-off wheel because I had to remove all the plastic from the wheel to the door.
To rebuild the front wheel arch I made two templates in a piece of cardboard to which I had glued a piece of graph paper, which are the ones that appear in the next image on the left. At the bottom, there are the template and the pieces that would serve as support for the rest of the pieces, cut from plastic cards, because the plastic of credit cards is very resistant and therefore very suitable when we have to make a piece with structural function.
In the upper part of the image appear the pieces to match the height of the body to that of the car door. I cut these pieces from an one millimeter thick Evergreen plastic sheet so that the height of the bodywork was the same as that of the doors.
I glued the parts that served as support on the inside of the body with cyanoacrylate,...
...and the piece that shaped the wheel arch on top of the piece that served as a support. The wheel arch was already taking shape.
To get the wheel arches of all the cars exactly the same, I made a cardboard template that would serve as a guide to place the resin pieces...
... and I prepared the resin parts by adjusting them one by one for each body and for each side, so that each chassis was paired with a body and each piece of the wheel arch was adjusted to a specific body.
In the meantime, I also cut out the pieces that I would put on the front apron to simulate the shapes it has. As I did throughout the job, I first made a template with graph paper that I later cut out of a plastic card sheet to check the fit. When I got the piece with the right shape and dimensions, I used it as a template to make the rest of the parts for the 13 cars. I could have sent it out for casting, but it took many days of waiting and I wanted to advance the work at all costs, so I handcrafted the remaining 25 pieces. Making all the pieces involved about 6 hours of work but as I said, I wanted to move forward at all costs. In the following image, you can see in the upper left the piece that I used as a template and on the right one of the copies.
The placement of these pieces did not have any mystery, just place it in position on the front bumper and glue it with cyanoacrylate carefully to leave it well adhered to finally finish it by gently sanding if necessary.
Using the cardboard template as a guide, I set the resin pieces in place and held them with two modeling tweezers to make sure they did not move out of the correct position while applying the glue.
Being made of polyurethane resin, the pieces were perfectly glued with a little bit of superglue.
As I had made the support pieces somewhat larger, there was a bit of material left on the inside of the wheel arch, material that I removed with a 240-grit wood sandpaper rolled in a tube by sanding the inside of the wheel arch until it gave the proper way.
This is how the body was on the inside at this point.
To finish off the inside of the wheel arch, I cut two 0.3 x 5 mm. plastic strips like the ones that appear in the following image...
... and glued them on the inside with cyanoacrylate. After finishing it off with a fine sandpaper (water-based 220 grit) and reinforcing the entire inner part of the wheel arch with two-component glue, this was the result.
To finish off the work done up to that point, I applied a little bit of Tamiya Putty diluted with acetone, as always, with the intention of covering pores and highlighting small flaws that I must to correct later.
The next step was to drill the holes for the air inlets that go in the hole shown in the following image.
To make them all the same, I made a template with a plastic sheet, with two holes one millimeter in diameter that marked the center of the openings. The template fit perfectly into the opening of the plastic sheet that I glued on the front bumper.
Placing the template in place, and with a one millimeter diameter drill bit I marked the position of the holes...
...which where progressively enlarged with drills and a round file to approximately 2.5 millimeters in diameter. To finish, I glued some small plastic strips under the air intakes.
At last, extend the center air intake upwards, carefully filing it slightly higher.
I repeated all the previous work for the 13 cars. I do not usually record the time I invest in the work because I do not want to know it, but just for curiosity, I looked at the time it took to make the front wheel arches and only in the whole process of placing the resin parts for the front wheel arches Not counting the openings in the bumper, I spent about two and a half hours per car. That was for nine bodies, because there were four that meant more work for me, since the shape of the front bumper was different.
When I received the cars I realized that the Seat Leon II had two different bodies, with slight differences in the shape of the front bumper, while the rest of the car was exactly the same. At that time I did not give it much importance, but when came the time to rebuild the front bumper, I found additional work, since I had to apply two-component putty to fill the side of the bumper and thus match the shapes of the bumper on both types of bodywork. It was a very simple job, applying the putty, letting it dry and shaping it with wood sandpaper and then finishing it off with 220-grit waterproof sandpaper, but it added more work to a job that was getting very uphill.
To finish all the modeling work, I adjusted the chassis and bodywork one by one to achieve the correct fit of the chassis in the front air intake for all the cars.
With the body modeling work finished, I applied a couple of coats of Zero Paints white primer, reference ZP-3023 to begin the decoration process of the cars.
...to be continued...Go to top