The Nissan Z cars, they've always held a special place in the automotive chamber of my heart. After high school I purchased a 1976 280Z. It was five different colors and cheap. It gave me its fair share of troubles, and even left me stranded a couple times. But, it was probably the most fun and memorable car I’ve ever owned. It had character, and an eagerness to go fast. I loved that car. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to give it the love it needed, and I ended up selling it to someone who could. I still have dreams of buying another one and restoring it with a G-nose conversion and LZ14 engine swap (big dreaming there!).
For now though, a scale model will have to do. Unfortunately, a decent amount of Japanese model kits do not come with engine detail. The best I could do was the Fujimi Fairlady 240ZG kit. This one came with an engine, but as I found out when I received it, the hood does not open. Hacking the hood open would have been an option, except that there were no other engine bay details, and I wasn’t about to fab all of that. So I decided to build this one as the kit called it.
I started off by doing my research, getting the correct colors for everything. For the exterior I decided to go with the Grand Prix Maroon, but had to settle on Merlot Red out of the current Nissan catalog for the closest match available. I used automotive paint from the parts store, as I find it gives a smoother finish and acts well with the gloss clear coat. I found a new-to-me method for spray painting models on the internet that I wanted to try out. After sanding and priming, I applied two thin coats of paint, within about three minutes of each other. Then I laid down two heavier coats with five minutes in between. I let that sit for another five minutes and applied the clear coat in two medium-heavy coats with only about three minutes in between. I put the car in a warm, secluded spot and let it dry for two days. The results were far better than anything I’d ever achieved before.
Now that I got my perfect finish, it was time to get my grimey hands all over it and paint the window trim. My original idea was to use Bare Metal Foil to give it that chrome look, but it was way too bright compared to the real car, so I decided to mask and paint instead. Once I was mostly satisfied with that, I went on to paint the fender flares, front valance, rear spoiler, and tail bezel in a gunmetal finish. Then, two more coats of clear to seal it all in.
Happy with that, I moved on to paint and build the engine. I used pictures from the internet to make the right color selections. I’m always temped to go further on these engines and build custom headers and intake horns, but it would be a waste in this case, since the hood doesn't open.
With that done I started on the interior. Fairly standard, all black with some chrome accents. I used acrylic floor polish (Future) over a flat black to get a semi-gloss leathery look. Makes me wish I would have spent more time getting rid of the mold lines on the seats.
With the chassis all built up, I went through the tedious task of gluing the side mirrors and spoiler on. Usually, I end up dabbing glue and trying my best to hold these little mirrors in place while they dry. This time I had a brilliant idea. I used a pin vise to drill out tiny holes in both mating parts, and then used very thin wire as a pin to hold them in place. It worked great! No gluey mess from a shaky hand, no parts falling off when I thought they were dried, just nice and easy.
That out of the way, I applied a couple Fairlady Z decals and some coats of future to seal it all in. It really adds a nice shine!
Finally I got all the lights painted and assembled, as well as the glass, and it was time to put the body on the chassis. It was a pretty tight fit, but I managed to get it together without breaking anything.
The finished product.