Mercedes 500K - Sport Roaster
Wow. Now we know what has been going on during those long winter nights in Canada. Even these photographs themselves glow with careful workmanship. It would be a very rare model builder who cannot learn something from closely examining Doug Clavette’s photographs of his Mercedes roadster. The images of his model in the workshop are enough to make some of us hang our heads in shame. Even the under dashboard photograph has a well-lighted glow and shows off meticulous workmanship, not the least of which is the wiring for the light bulbs. If model building were a competitive sport, Clavette‘s work would send most of us back to the bench.
So what is it that makes this model so successful? Meticulous workmanship is the first thing to notice. A glance at the plumbing reveals that applying the principles of the full-size car to a model rarely fails to make an impression. Note the consistent use of fittings, the neatly routed lines, and the remarkable use of color. A feast for the eye.
The careful fit and finish of the model is the result of such careful work. The paintwork is an excellent example of what can be achieved with the application of patience and technique. Pity the poor beginner who stumbles onto these photographs. Yikes. This finish may not have been accomplished with a spray can. The gloss and surface of the paint is amazing. But this can also be said of all the finishes.
Attention to detail is also apparent. The hidden surfaces of the model are as flawless as the tops of the body panels. There appears to be no plumbing fittings omitted, no button, snap, or bolt head unaccounted for.
The goal for this model appears to have been the same as the goal for the early days of the Pebble Beach Concours— perfection at all costs. The pursuit of perfection did not do much to advance the usability of classic cars, but it surely made them into memorable eye candy. Models have no utility, so they can be a perfect subject for the beautification approach. Surely Doug Clavette’s Mercedes roadster is among the prettiest models ever built. The splendid wood trim, neat leather, and colorful engine are, again, a feast for the eye.
Which brings us to the last category of a successful model, perhaps the most important category, which is that all great models are the result of the builder having a plan and sticking to it. From the first pipe fitting to the final polish, Clavette clearly had beauty as his goal. The potted plants are proof.