LeGrand 1/8 Collection VW Beetle Cabriolet build diary

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LeGrand 1/8 Collection VW Beetle Cabriolet build diary

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LeGrand 1/8 Collection VW Beetle Cabriolet build diary

Postby ScaleAutoWorks » Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:28 pm

I was excited to build a brand new 1/8 scale kit from a new company after building so many Pocher kits over the years.
Here are my quick building impressions of the new LeGrand 1/8 Collection VW Beetle kit (a complete kit version of the DeAgostini partworks kit)

a decorative metal sign is included
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body parts are prepainted with all necessary scripts and trim, wheels are metal, tires are softer than Pocher
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plastic parts are prepainted, bagged and boxed in groups (no sprues!)
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the screws are nicely pre-packaged in three compartmentalized boxes (you will have many spares remaining to use for other projects)!
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Introduction
Part quality and fit is good, all metal and most plastic parts have a nice pre-painted finish. There are no decals to worry about, all necessary markings are pre-printed.
A small Phillips screwdriver is supplied with the kit, but more specialized tools can make the job easier. I have been using Wiha Precision Phillips screwdrivers sizes #00 x 40 mm, #0 x 50 mm, and #1 x 60 for a range of screw sizes and torque required.
Pay attention to the numbering of parts in the assembly steps, which usually is the order in which they should be assembled.
Many parts have D-shaped mounting holes or assymetrical mounting points that help ensure they are oriented correctly. Parts with Left and Right pairs are often stamped L and R to help with placement.
It may also be helpful to consult the step by step assembly instructions for the subscription version https://www.model-space.com/landing-pages/beetle-uk/download.html. They are designed more for a novice modeler but include many more diagrams and photos, although the assembly order is different compared to our kit. For my build here I am ignoring those instructions and using only the included paper manual.

Group 1
Steps 1-4:
The first assembly steps took longer than expected, as identifying some parts was harder without numbered sprues. Examine the master illustration of all parts in a "group" and their numbers at the start of each section, as the diagrams for the chassis and rear suspension assembly steps are a vertical view that is not always clear. Further ahead in the assembly manual the illustrations have a 3-D perspective that makes things easier.
The wheels are metal! I was able to mount the tires after just warming them in my hands, but warming them with hot water or a hair dryer as the manual suggests will make it easier.
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Step 6:
Parts 1.49L & 1.51R: be sure to orient them correctly according to the diagram; round hole faces front, towards steering rack, and oval hole faces rear.
Parts 1.52 are small metal pins with a burred end; insert the smooth end first, then press with pliers or a small vise until the burred end which secures them sits flush in the hole.
Step 7:
Screw lower spring cups parts 1.56 & 1.61 to front suspension, then screw part 1.66 loosely to the chassis leaving as much wiggle room as possible. Then assemble the shock absorbers & springs which must be held together at the ends, compressed and fitted into place, before tightening part 1.66 to the chassis.
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Group 2
Steps 10-12: Assembly of the seats and interior floor is clear and straightforward.
Step 13:
Press the rear mounts for the seats in the correct holes and hold firmly before flipping the floorpan over to snap the forward tabs in their slots; it make take a few tries, and you may have to squeeze the forward seat mounts to get the tabs to line up with the slots while viewing from below.
Step 14:
Part 2.52 has a larger and smaller hole that will orient it correctly on the mounting pegs.
The diagram does not show that grey flocked part 2.54 must be pressed into the rear seat back 2.53.
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Group 3 (engine!)
Most parts are nicely pre-painted, although some black plastic parts will look better if painted.
Remember all part numbers ending in "M" are metal and are located in the foam block that contains the body panels.
Step 16: Be sure part 3.7M is oriented correctly and matches the contour of the engine block.
Step 17:
After starting the screws I had to press the engine block halves 3.8M and 3.11M together slightly with a vice to eliminate a small gap. However, the gap between the transmision and engine block is intentional, as a plastic part will slide between them in step 19.
The mounting tabs and slots for parts 3.9, 3.10, 3.12, 3.13 are assymetrical and will orient them correctly so the flats on the cylinders will face each other.
Step 20: parts 3.20L and 3.21R and stamped R and L, but are shown on the wrong sides in the instructions and will not fit if assembled as shown.
Step 21:
I had to add part 3.22 after mounting parts 3.20 & 3.21 to the engine because of limited clearance. Be sure the flanges on parts 3.21 & 3.22 are pressed completely into the matching recess in the black part between them and the engine.
Fit the pushrod guides parts 3.24 into parts 3.23R & 3.25L before inserting the group into the engine block. Squish the ends slightly so they will stay aligned and in place if necessary.
Part 3.29 is begging us to replace it with real wire.
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Step 24: Spark plug wires; refer back to page 16 to match correct lengths to parts #'s.
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Group 4
Body assembly was quick and clear in general.
Step 35: Slide the thin metal ring onto the ridge at the bottom of part 4.3 before fastening to the interior door panel, and be sure the seatbelt buckle faces away from the door.
Step 43: I had to unscrew and bend the arm of the fuel filler door several times to get a correct fit in the opening when closed.
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Group 5 (dash and moving body panels)
Step 57: Part 5.43 was a loose fit so I squished the mounting pins slightly to get it to stay securely.
I rotated the mounting arms of the rear bumper slightly to get a correct fit in the body.
Step 58: Inserting metal pins into the door hinges right against the painted body made me nervous. I also had to bend both lower hinges slighly to get clearance for the hinge pins. Nylon jawed pliers were a life saver here to squeeze the hinge pins into the hinges.
After mounting the doors they may not fit right, but the door opening will spread when the body is mounted to the chassis.
Step 59: The dash was a tight fit because of interference at the sides from body assembly screws. Next time I may drill holes to allow more clearance.
Step 64: The placement and ID of parts 5.68 & 5.69 is difficult, better to wait until after the body is mounted to the chassis.
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Step 67:
When assembling the body to the chassis you may need to do some flexing and wiggling to get everything to line up at the correct mounting points. Start at the front with the car upside down and be sure the tops of the front suspension towers fit into the recesses in the wheel well. Then spread the body at the sills if needed as you work your way to the back.
After mounting the body to the chassis I gently but firmly spread the upper body opening front to back by bracing against the windshield header and the rear of the car to create more space for the doors to close properly. You will see there is some natural flex in the bottom of the chassis when the doors are open.
Step 69: I wrapped a thin strip of tape around the neck of the winshield washer reservoir 5.72 to achieve a secure fit in the mounting collar.
Step 70:
Windshield trim 5.78; notice the mounting pins angle downwards, and all four must be pressed in and down at the same time.
The ends of the rear shelf 6.3 must be snapped firmly under tabs inside the body to get a correct fit.
Windshield washer nozzle 6.33 is a very small part but shown deceptively large in the illustration.
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Group 6 (final assembly/convertible top)
Steps 72-74: Be sure to refer to the photos on page 60 in addition to the parts diagram on page 57 to help clarify the assembly of the folding top mechanism.
Step 76: It is a little fussy to get the reinforced holes in both layers of the cloth top to align with the "sandwich" of rear window plus interior and exterior trim pieces. Make sure each layer (outer cloth, rear window, inner cloth, inner trim piece) is fully seated onto the pins of exterior trim piece 6.26 before tightening each screw. Be careful your screwdriver does not slip and scratch the window! After the rear window is attached undo the velcro and reattach so the metal top mechanism is between the layers of the cloth top.
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Step 78: Be sure each piece 6.31 clicks fully into each hole in piece 6.29. Refer to the photo on the previous page 62 of the manual for clarification.
Step 79: When attaching the rear of the top to the body, insert the black pegs on parts 6.17 from step 74 first. You will have to angle the top of these parts inward to insert the pegs.
Step 80: Face the front of the model and brace it against your body while pulling the front edge of the convertible top to the windshield header, then press the pegs firmly into the holes to secure the top.
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The cloth top is bulkier than the real version, something that is more difficult to scale down than hard parts, so it is hard to fold without looking awkwardly high. My solution is to unmate the velcro holding the inner and outer layers together, fold and stack the top layer carefully, then fold or roll the inner layer into the middle before covering with the fabric boot. There was some interference when I first retracted the top so I had to pinpoint the problem joints and flex the metal bows gently to get them to stack symetrically. The elasticized fabric boot looked awkward until I researched photos of the car and saw that the real one often looked worse.
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Summary:
I enjoyed this build and the quality of the parts. Total build time was quicker than expected because the car itself is simple (like comparing the Pocher Classic Fiat to the Alfa).

Minor criticisms:
Getting the doors to fit well was a little fussy, partly because the nicely scaled metal hinges are a little too flexible. I'll accept the trade off because the accurate hinges look so good. I wish there was a better latching system than just a friction fit against the body opening.
The tires look a little wide to me but also look great on the car.
I wish the bumpers were metal.
I will suggest improvements to the manual for the next LEGRAND 1/8 kit, additional steps and clearer illustrations. Color photos as shown with the subscription instructions linked above would be best.

Final Thoughts:

The finished model looks great, and will look even better when I get a chance to polish and wax it as I do for every build.
The convertible top looks good up or down, an improvement over the prototype photos. The metal mechanism works well and makes so much more sense than the plastic pieces Pocher provided in the Classic car kits.
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Re: LeGrand 1/8 Collection VW Beetle Cabriolet build diary

Postby casper » Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:14 pm

very nice indeed :mrgreen:
Black plastic never seams to look real on models and in most cases needs a more convincing look but overall this is a really great kit and well painted.
Thanks for showing us your build.
casper
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Re: LeGrand 1/8 Collection VW Beetle Cabriolet build diary

Postby ScaleAutoWorks » Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:58 pm

I forgot to mention above, the LeGrand kit does not include the lights and sound of the subscription kit, but the miniature (LED?) light bulbs are included.
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Re: LeGrand 1/8 Collection VW Beetle Cabriolet build diary

Postby royjess » Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:19 pm

A smashing model to be proud of :o :mrgreen:
Completed Builds Hachette - The Black Pearl
Completed Builds DeAgostini - Build the Millennium Falcon

Always thinking outside the box....!
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