I started building card models and after finishing a card model of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, I decided that it would look great in a Demi-John.

The card model.

I figured that I could build it using the card model parts as templates and duplicate them using wood, brass, styrene and resin. These duplicate parts would then be covered with the relevant printed card parts thus getting a perfect colour scheme finish from the printed card.
After measuring the Demi-John, I decided that the card model parts had to be reduced to ¾ size to fit into the bottle.
I started by printing out the chassis base, gluing it onto a sheet of 1mm styrene and cutting the styrene to the shape of the chassis base. I then printed the chassis frame members and remade them in wood. For this, I used Jelutong which is very close grained, soft and perfect for cutting and carving.
I got a piece of scrap wood and drilled a 28mm hole in it. This was the bottle neck template and I used it to check that all the parts would fit through it. As you can see, the chassis base had to be cut into three pieces to enable it to go into the bottle.

All the individual parts were fitted together using either round brass tube in tube or square brass tube in tube.

The chassis springs were made of 0.4mm brass strip which was left over from some photo-etched frets.

The running boards were made from printed card and attached to the chassis with wooden brackets. The picnic hamper was made from a block of Jelutong and bound with brass strip. All the printed card parts were coated with a layer of white PVA glue to protect them. This dries clear and is as good as a coat of varnish but has the added benefit that being an adhesive, it fortifies the existing glue joints.

The bridge was made next. This consisted of two side frames with planks on top. The legs of the side beams were fitted loose so that the assembly would fit through the neck of the bottle. Once inside, they were glued to the longitudinal braces.

The planks were positioned on the side frames and “bolt” holes drilled through the planks and into the side frames. Brass pins were cut to size and fitted in the planks so that they protruded 1mm underneath. The planks were then given two coats of sanding sealer to seal the brass pins. The corresponding holes in the side frames were enlarged so that the pins fitted loosely and these frames were also sealed.

The bottom of the car’s wheels were drilled and fitted with 2mm mounting pins. The car chassis complete with wheels was then placed on the bridge and the wheel positions marked on the planks and 2.2mm holes drilled in the planks. The bridge was then disassembled and the side frames inserted into the bottle and the legs glued in place.
Two temporary wooden spacers were inserted and fitted over the side beams to give them the correct spacing apart in order to fit the planking.

Four planks were fitted at the rear of the bridge and two at the front and when set, the temporary spacers were removed.

The bottle was placed into a bowl of water to act as a heat sink and some fibreglass resin was coloured with some silver paint then mixed and poured into the bottle through the gap in the centre of the bridge. The bridge was then centralised in the bottle and the resin left to set.
Once set, some more clear resin was mixed without the paint, poured into the bottle and some limestone chippings were scattered about to simulate a river bed.
The bridge planking was then completed.

The three parts of the chassis base were now inserted and together with the picnic hamper, were joined together and glued. The wheels were fitted and then the chassis glued to the bridge planks.

The body shell was fabricated by making it in card and then using the card shell as a mould to cast a resin duplicate. When set, the card shell was cleaned off the resin and the resin shell touched up with car body filler. The shell was then clad with printed card parts.
To fit into the bottle, it was divided up as follows:-
The bonnet was cut off and a piece of square tubing glued underneath the front into which the headlamp assemblies would fit after insertion.
The dashboard section was cut off and divided into two pieces.
The seating cabin which remained was cut into two pieces.
The bonnet was now inserted into the bottle, the headlamps inserted and fitted to the bonnet.
The dashboard was inserted in two pieces and joined together.
The seating cabin was inserted and joined together.

The dashboard assembly was fitted and glued onto the chassis. The bonnet assembly was now fitted and glued to the dashboard and chassis.

Finally, the seating cabin was fitted and glued in place.
The seats were made of card and then filled with body filler and when set, glued into the cabin.
The windscreen was inserted and fitted to the dashboard and the exhaust and horn assemblies were fitted.

The base was made and a swivel bracket fitted to the bottle so that it turns on its base.

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