Saturday, May 24, 2008

Minicraft 1/16 scale 1931 Ford Model A Van


" Prior to WWII, few families could afford to own two cars in spite of apparently low cost, and deliveries of necessities of life were frequently delivered door to door. Ford commercial vehicles were ideally suited for the small businessman, as the investment was low and the four cylinder engine was economical and reliable. The Model T was the first popular vehicle to replace the horse and cart.

The pre-production run of the Model A in December of 1927, was sold out before the end of the month. Although similar to the Model T in basic design, by today's standards, it had a more pleasing and comfortable look and the design of the engine and transmission was more advanced. It remained in production until 1932, a production life of five million vehicles, compared to the Model T's fifteen million.

The Model A was replaced by the Ford V-8, which was the beginning of the end of strictly functional vehicle styling. The Model A deluxe delivery van was one of the finer examples of its era."

from: Minicraft Model Kits Instruction Sheet - kit # 11214


I must admit my excitement when I first saw this kit at a hobby shop in Ithaca. I liked the subject of the kit and had built other 1/16 scale
Minicraft kits - my favorites are the 1948 MGTC
and the Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing.

I have encountered few problems with Mincraft kits until this one. The first was a missing part for the interior - the shelf for the left
interior wall. The second problem was a molding error that couldn't be fixed on the firewall cowling.

An e-mail to Minicraft resolved these issues and they replaced both parts at no cost. That was the easiest of my problems. The instructions were somewhat confusing in that they portrayed parts in a different manner than they actually were - as in step 22. The door fit was another area
of concern. I attached the rear door first - doing some trimming of the hinge pieces. I then fit the main body to the chassis and built up the side doors. A "test fit" showed that they would not close properly - leaving a gap at the bottom corner below the exterior door handles. This was fixed by building out the floor area just in front of the rear fenders about 1/4 inch using Evergreen plastic sprue. That accomplished a near perfect fit and door closure - be careful with the hinges!

The last problem was the engine bonnet (British slang for hood). I like the way the MG I built used metal hinge pieces, another kit I built in the past from Minicraft also used this type of hinge. The hinges in this kit are plastic, so be careful here - they are fragile!! Also the hinges require trimming for better fit.

Overall, this is a good model, not one for the beginner but certainly one that could be detailed by a more patient modeler than myself.