Scooby Doo Mystery Machine
Polar Lights (kit #814)
Other Cartoon & Anime Models
Who Framed Roger... Benny (Review)
Flintstones Family Car
Chop Socky Chooks Cars (Review)
Paprika Aston Martin DB7
Thundercats Thundertank (Review)
Cars Lightning McQueen
Jimmy Neutron Rocket
Lupin III Mercedes-Benz SSK (Review)
Danger Mouse Mk III
Battle Force 5 Saber (Review)
Other Classic TV Models
Knight Rider KITT
Beverly Hillbillies Truck
Dukes of Hazzard General Lee
Birds of Prey Hummer
Man from U.N.C.L.E. Piranha
Dark Shadows Vampire Van
Blue S.W.A.T. Striker EX (Review)
Highway Patrol Buick
Danger Mouse Mk III
Riptide 1960 Corvette
Mannix Oldsmobile Toronado
As I have noted elsewhere, I will occasionally revisit a kit if my first build was unsatisfactory. One of the kits near the top of that list was the Mystery Machine: my first version of it was OK, but I knew I could do better.
My biggest problem with it was the green areas: the original Polar Lights stickers were not quite accurate, and suffered from being printed on thick, inflexible paper with fragile ink that wore off easily. My own custom paint was a good match color-wise, but was thicker than I wanted. Unrelated to these problems, my color choices inside the body were too dark, and I wanted to fix that as well. Finally, the time came when I pulled the finished model off the shelf to give it a full rebuild.
First, the kit was almost completely disassembled. The chassis/wheels/tires assembly had already been upgraded during my first build (kudos once again to whoever at Polar Lights made sure that the Mystery Machine could use standard 1/24 scale parts), so I left that alone. Everything else was broken down to the individual parts, and the body, dash pad, roof rails, and bumpers were sanded down to raw plastic.
I was still happy with how the front seat turned out, and didn't want to lose that during this rebuild. So I masked it off before repainting the cargo floor. I also masked off the dash face so that I could paint just the pad. Krylon has discontinued the Teal that I used the first time, but fortunately I still had plenty to repaint the body. Once the teal was dry, the inside of the van was painted a medium gray.
I worked with the folks at Reprolabels to create a better, more accurate set of markings for the van. It took a few tries, but eventually we were able to arrive at a good set that should also work for other customs (should someone want to build a Pinewood Derby Mystery Machine or convert a Ford/Dodge/VW diecast van into a Mystery Machine). They're printed on stock with a little give to it, and the ink is pretty indestructible, so they do a good job adhering to the bulbous van body. The set was also designed to have as few breaks as possible: a single cut at each corner with an X-Acto or a pair of scissors is all that is required.
Now that the interior and body were done, the only thing left was the trim. First, I reshaped the rear bumper bracket to accept a proper 1/24 scale license plate. Then it was time for paint. Bright chrome seemed a little out of place on what was supposed to be a kids' van - most "cheap" trucks and vans at the time had painted bumpers, mirror housings, etc. - so I was going to go with a light color for these parts instead. I painted the bumpers and roof rack Flat Gull Gray as a primer, but ended up liking the look so much that I stopped there. The components were then reassembled, and I had a much better looking Mystery Machine in my collection.