Steyr 1500/A Radio Command Car: Initial construction

//Steyr 1500/A Radio Command Car: Initial construction

Steyr 1500/A Radio Command Car: Initial construction

(Originally posted on

This is my first build log, so be gentle…  I’ve been working on converting a Tamiya Steyr 1500 to a Radio Command Car version. I’ve also been adding details with two other detail kits. Here’s the full list of sets to be used:

Tamiya Steyr 1500A

Verlinden Steyr Radio & Command (1409)

Hauler PEparts for Steyr 1500

CMK Steyr 1500 Engine Kit

Aber Additional set with parts for engine and suspension to german Steyr Type 1500 A/01

Yes, that’s a lot of kits, but each one had something I wanted that others didn’t. Plus, this was my first superdetail project and I honestly wasn’t sure what I was getting into 

Getting started

I learned a great deal along the way on this build. I’ll be posting some of my “superdetailing for newbies” thoughts shortly, but suffice to say that I touched on a number of different areas from using CA with a piece of wire, to first time PE soldering, to figuring out ways to recreate tiny parts that have flown off into the ether.

I’ll post a link in this thread to my tips for newbies post. Stay tuned.

The biggest challenge for me was that as a first time project, using five different kits at once was a logistical headache. I had to really set aside time in the beginning to plan the work. I made sure to write notes on each of the 5 instructions sets to remember where in the sequence of events I should be pausing on one kit to work in elements from another kit.

Final build

Here’s the final build. As you can see, I’ve left out much of the interior details for ease of painting. I almost messed this up until I read another build log talking about the difficulty of airbrushing around detail parts that were already glued in. Whew. Thanks, online modeling community!

(Note, these photos are pretty rough, lighting wise. I am using the very cool and very helpful software Helicon Focus (and Helicon Remote) to create “focus stacked” images that ensure that the model is in focus from front to back…something that macro photos suffer from. More on this in this thread: link)


(You can see some putty that I had to float into the tarp/cover to mask the gap between the tarp and the support arms. Fortunately the right side fit like a glove, so I didn’t have to do it on both sides. I also had to do some scraping on the underside of the tarp to get it to sit flat against the vehicle. Make sure to test fit the heck out of this thing!)


Lots of work on the engine bay. I made the mistake of putting the PE wheel well replacements in before I put the engine in… the engine (as one full assembled piece) won’t fit after the fact. Fortunately I had to get an engine kit replacement from CMK because of bad casting quality. So this time around, I used the plastic kit part for the bottom manifold piece and will use the resin for the rest.

This is actually an area worth noting: the bottom/manifold part of the engine is a tricky thing. The plastic piece fits great against the frame, but is not the same size as the same resin part. But the resin part won’t fit properly based on how the instructions tell you to remove plastic. Test fit this engine like crazy before you commit to anything. The other problem in the engine bay is that the transmission case (?) behind the engine block is visible with the hood opened, but it’s not a solid molded piece in the original kit. It requires filling to make it look like the real thing. Quite a bummer that it’s not “just right” from the start, but now all is good.


In retrospect, I wish I’d left the doors open. I would have had to either detail the trunk to look realistic or hidden the lack of detail with some stowage, but there’s something cool about all the PE parts on those rear doors that I think would have come across more strikingly if the doors were open. Oh well, there’s always the next one …

The other thing you may be able to (sorta) see in this photo is that I added a pin and chain to the tow hitch. Doing this like the reference photos showed meant drilling a hole through the hitch, cutting the chain from the pin on one side (it’s all one connected piece of PE), gluing the pin in the hole, then working the chain (slowly and carefully) to make it look like it was naturally hanging there.


In retrospect, I’m not sure if the (extreme amount of) time and/or expense was warranted on the Aber suspension updates, considering nobody execpt me is probably going to notice any of them. The longest part of the process was working on getting the replacement springs right. That was surprisingly difficult for my newbie skills, especially considering that was one of the first things I did. After further research, I realize I was probably doing it wrong…. I should have bent a curve into shape on each piece, put a wire through the hole in each part of the spring, soldered on either end, and then put in place. Superglue on this kind of subassembly didn’t work so well. Live and learn. The Aber set was great for the engine compartment pieces though. Lots of good stuff there.


A few of the other subassemblies waiting to get painted separately. The Verlinden parts fit like a glove (with the except of the oversized wire reel…it was too big to fit properly in its place). Of all the aftermarket kits, the Verlinden instructions were BY FAR the best, even if I could have used some more detail on wiring diagrams.


The part that’s given me the most guff in this process is the handmade wire seating frames shown in copper in the photo above. Verlinden gives you a resin jig (a flat piece of resin with a channel carved into it) to create these new frames. The idea is you take the piece of copper wire they supply, squish it into the jig, and viola! new parts! The problem was that they’d given me the wrong gauge of wire. It was too big to fit into the channel, and didn’t bend very easily. After several hours of struggling, I gave up on this particular piece of wire and grabbed the one out of the other Verlinden Radio kit I have. I had to laugh when I saw that in the other kit, the wire was a smaller, softer gauge and I was up and running in minutes. The trick withe these parts, and I’m not sure I got it right at all, is that the jig works OK to create the basic shape, but I had to do a lot of work to try to get the bends sharper, to get the full part to lay flat, and to generally make the part look like the real thing. I may try to do these a different way for the next one of these conversions I do.

Other notes

The grills for the engine area was a HUGE challenge when I used the ones from the Hauler AM set. I can’t strongly recommend skipping these and using the Verlinden ones instead. The Verlinden ones look perfect and fit even better. The Hauler version simply did not fit and left huge gaps around the edges. Plus, they seem to be too small to be right in scale, at least to my eye.

I was surprised at how many times I started building a PE version of a plastic part, from any of the AM sets, and realized that I actually thought the plastic part would look better/more real once the paint was on. It took me a while to get OK with the fact that PE wasn’t always better than plastic.

Next steps

Last night I sprayed the model and the separate subassemblies with Windex, let it sit a few minutes, then sprayed with distilled water. I repeated this process twice overall, then set aside to dry. I have family in town this weekend, but Monday night I plan on spraying the primer and starting to paint.

Wish me luck!

By | 2016-10-29T19:09:35-05:00 August 7th, 2013|Build Logs|3 Comments


  1. Brent Sauer August 16, 2013 at 5:43 am - Reply

    Great blog so far. I started this same project many years ago when I was taking care of my mother before she passed. Finishing the project has some sentimental value for me. I will follow this closely to see what challenges you run into. Keep up the great work.

    • Jake August 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Brent! Now the real work begins… regular posting 🙂

      I’m sorry to hear about your mom. I’ll take a look at your site over the weekend!

  2. […] small and lacked detail, the small part build was incredibly hard (said the guy who’s been working on tons of photoetch), and the design of parts that small makes the building process a bit more “routine” […]

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