Page 1 of 2

Built during Jan 03rd-08th, 2003

The Story:   A very dear friend of mine, Serdar Gul, owns a VW minibus-microbus, whatever you call it. What makes his vehicle stand out from a normal VW minibus is its right rear view mirror...It has a defect at its base and so cannot be held firmly in its place. What he has found as a solution is to tie the mirror to the door frame with a piece of rope! He is a very busy man, so cannot really find the time to search for a new mirror, so he keeps on driving with the aid of a rope. This drew my attention and I felt that I had to fix this period of the VW permanently, by building a model of it; since the vehicle was lucky enough to have a similar model kit in production. It would not be too hard for me to convert a camper kit to a normal minibus. The major parts would be converting the roof from the camper to a standard one, and constructing extra seats. But, this task had to be completed in a very short period of time, that I was back home for 10 days from work; and which turned out to last for 6 days-in fact, for 6 nights because I was busy during the day! So, on we go to the construction story...
The pics have to start not from the very beginning. I had already taken some way along when I remembered that I had a camera...I decided to use the inner roof for the roof. I cut a mating piece of styrene for the gap in the middle of the panel. The front part of the roof was cut off, and a styrene piece was tailored for the front of the roof. For the roof reinforcements, strips of styrene were cut and glued at their ends. That catches up with the pic!!!
The strips were glued on the roof and held in place by rubber bands.
Only the driver's seat was used from the kit. The rest of the seats were built by glueing layers of sheet styrene, and sanding them smooth.
The legs for the rightmost seat of the middle row was made from paper clip wire.
The roof was traeted with polyester putty

....and sanded smooth as how it should be.

The cloth pattern was created on the computer and printed on a sheet of paper. But how I came to this point? My first trials for duplicating the pattern was painting the seats flat white and drawing the pattern with a felt tip pen. I definitely did not like (which means did not succeed) the job. Then I tried to cover the seats with paper, and seeing that it would be OK, I drew the pattern on the computer. It took some trial and error time to match the real tones.
Here's the driver's seat covered with printed paper.

The bottom was just done and painted as per box-stock instructions.

The seats looked like a garden bench, so I thought of a way to make them look like real seats. I folded tissue paper for cushion effect and made a try to cover it with the printed pattern paper....

.....and VOILA!!!!!!  Liked the looks and went on.

This is the first seat completed that looks like a seat.

Unfortunate for duplicating was the rims. The real vehicle had no chromed covers; but the kit's rims had them molded as one piece, so I had no chances of manufacturing the rims without the caps (at least for the time ahead) so I covered the caps with Bare Metal Foil and painted the rims aluminum as in the real case.

The rolling chassis.

I installed the seats in place. They look good now...

Another view of the mid and rear seats.

I painted the body white first, then masked and painted the yellow tone.

The internal roof lining was tailored from styrene sheet. I overlooked the fact that it was looking flat white; but I would regret it after installation, when I saw that the sheet was reflecting images!

I drilled a hole for the radio antenna and fixed an aluminum piece of wire with CA glue.

Now a bit detailing...The front grille emblem was treated with Bare Metal Foil, and the mirrors were given a BMF treatment, then painted flat black.
On the roof lining, I drilled holes for hanging cables for dome lights. I imitated the cables as per the real case and glued them in place with CA glue.

I put BMF under the rear lamp lenses and then fixed them in place. The BMF really makes a difference in the looks of the lenses.

Now for the "wide-angle mirror inserts" on the rear view mirrors. I covered the end of a styrene rod with BMF and painted the circumference flat black, as in the first pic. Then I cut the rod at an angle and glued the final part on the mirror with Testors window maker.