STAGE 121

 Return to the BUILD


“In this stage, you finally combine the top and bottom sections of your Ecto-1 model, as well as fitting some exterior details.”

Don’t let the title fool you – this will be a long and complex stage as we will finally ‘marry’ the Chassis to the Body. As both assemblies are quite heavy, take your time and ask for help from another person if necessary.

Contents


Parts

Materials: All of the parts in this stage are plastic.

Build


Wing Mirrors, Brackets & Tubing

Preparing the Model for Assembly

NOTE: I have changed the order of these steps from the magazine to make the process a bit easier to follow.

Step 01-1

Retrieve your Chassis assembly and carefully place it on its side. Temporarily detach the Front Left Chassis Part and Front Right Chassis Part by removing the EM screws.

Replacement EM screws are included with this stage, so these removed screws do not need to be saved:

Step 01-2

Next, set the Chassis right side up and disconnect the plugs of the following wiring from the left rear of the Chassis:

  • 65F – Federal 19 Propello-Ray (red/grey wires, marked ‘J’)
  • 65G – Whelen HRDF-200 Strobe (white/grey wires, marked ‘K’)
  • 65H – Front Deck Lights (grey/black wires, marked ‘L’)
  • 65I – Rear Deck Lights (grey/black wires, marked ‘m’)
  • 65J – Code 3 Force 4 XL (white/red wires, marked ‘N’)

Step 01-3

Then, temporarily detach the Left Rear Wheel by removing the Hub Cab and unscrewing the LM screw.

While a spare Center Cap is supplied in this stage, take care not to damage the surrounding Hub Cap during the removal as a replacement is not included. Instead of using a flat head screwdriver or tip of a hobby knife here, try gluing a toothpick or similar ‘stick’ to the Cap and pulling it out that way. I am using the Magnetic Wheel Caps from Mike Lane, so mine easily popped right out:

You can now set the Chassis aside for the moment as we prepare the Blue Tubing parts.

Preparing the Blue Tubing
Step 02-1

Feed the small female plugs of the following wiring through one of the Blue Tubing parts.

  • 65F – Federal 19 Propello-Ray (red/grey wires, marked ‘J’)
  • 65G – Whelen HRDF-200 Strobe (white/grey wires, marked ‘K’)
  • 65H – Front Deck Lights (grey/black wires, marked ‘L’)

These plugs should be inserted into the Blue Tubing through the end with shorter straight section, as shown. I staggered the plugs to make it easier to insert them (insert one, then another, etc.). Rolling the tube between your fingers as you push the wires through may simplify the process:

I realized that the wire labels will be very useful if they are visible at this end of the Tubing. Therefore, I pulled these wires back out of the Tubing, slid a label for each one down the wire to this end and re-inserted them through:

Step 02-2

Feed the small female plugs of the following wiring through the second Blue Tubing part.

  • 65I – Rear Deck Lights (grey/black wires, marked ‘m’)
  • 65J – Code 3 Force 4 XL (white/red wires, marked ‘N’)

Again, these plugs should be inserted into the Blue Tubing through the end with shorter straight section, as shown:

My Rear Deck Lights cable (marked ‘m’) only had one label, so I left it alone. As the only wires without a label, I knew which one it was:

Securing the Blue Tubing
Step 03-1

Retrieve your Body assembly and set it upright with the left side facing you. Fit the Retaining Bracket Upper into the matching recesses at this location of the roof.

The two Retaining Bracket are not the same. The one with the flatter mounting surface is the Bracket Upper:

When fitting this Bracket Upper, check how it fits to the Body. It will only sit flush if oriented the proper way, as shown:

Secure the Retaining Bracket Upper to the Body with two (2) VM screws.

These screws are installed pointing straight down towards the ground. This is also your friendly reminder to try using 3-in-One Oil on all screws going into metal:

Step 03-2

In the same way, secure the Retaining Bracket Lower to the Left Rear Fender with two (2) more VM screws.

Again, make sure the mounting surface matches the curvature of the Body:

Step 03-3

Feed the plugs at the long straight end of a Blue Tubing through one of these large holes on the outside of the Left Rear Fender, and then pass the end of each Tubing into the respective hole.

It doesn’t really matter which Tubing goes into which Fender hole, but I did fit the one with the Front Deck Lights (marked ‘L’) into the forward hole:

Repeat this process to insert the long straight end of the second Blue Tubing into the next hole, as shown.

The inserted ends of these Blue Tubing parts will be secured in a later step:

Step 03-4

Raise the free ends of the two Blue Tubing vertical against the side of the Body.

Don’t worry about the curvature of this Tubing just yet. The Retaining Bracket Clamps we are about to install are easily removable and we will be able to adjust the shape of the Tubing at any point, even after we complete the model. The lower clamp was installed here to take this picture:

Align the two Blue Tubing parts into the matching recesses of the Retaining Bracket Lower, cover them with a Retaining Bracket Clamp, and secure it into place with one (1) AP screw:

Step 03-5

Similarly, align the two Blue Tubing parts into the matching recesses of the Retaining Bracket Upper, cover them with a Retaining Bracket Clamp, and secure it into place with one (1) AP screw:

This is what my Blue Tubing looks like installed. If you find the ‘accordion’ ribbing has popped open at the lower bend and looks weird, try to think of these as being the bendy part of a flexible straw. Try temporarily loosening the Clamp screws and feeding more of the Tubing down towards the bend until you can make the bend with minimal ‘wide’ gaps in the ribbing. It make take a few attempts, but it is possible. We don’t need a lot of the Tubing at the top of the car anyway – any excess Tubing up there is going to be tucked under the roof rack:

To keep everything together, I reconnected all of the roof wiring to the plugs at the tops of the Blue Tubing and then taped them down:

Plugging in the Electronics (Marrying the Body and Chassis)
Step 06-1

Carefully turn the Body upside down on a soft surface. Use the Stickers to secure the Front Right Door Switch (66I) cable along the bottom of the Windshield, with the plug ending up near the left front wheel well opening as shown:

Remember, take special precautions to protect the Deck Lights on the roof of the Body!

I collected all of the wires at the left front wheel well and taped them up to make the next steps easier:

Just a heads-up, if you plan on installing the Magnetic Die-Cast License Plates from Mike Lane like I do, this is your last chance to detach the stock License Plates before we won’t be able to access these areas. Simply remove their screws and put the plates in storage:

Step 06-2

Align the Body and Chassis next to each other. Connect the following plugs together between the Body and the Chassis.

TIP: While the method I describe below may not work for everyone, it was the best for me as I was working alone.

NOTE: If you have not removed these ‘shipping stiffener bars’ yet, now is the time to do so. Remove both bars and discard them (and their screws):

With the Body still upside down and pointing to the right, carefully lift the Chassis onto its right side (also pointing to the right) so the wiring of the two assemblies is near each other. Then at the rear, connect the following plugs together between the Body and the Chassis:

  • 65F – Federal 19 Propello-Ray (red/grey wires, marked ‘J’)
  • 65G – Whelen HRDF-200 Strobe (white/grey wires, marked ‘K’)
  • 65H – Front Deck Lights (grey/black wires, marked ‘L’)
  • 65I – Rear Deck Lights (grey/black wires, marked ‘m’)
  • 65J – Code 3 Force 4 XL (white/red wires, marked ‘N’)
  • 66C – Left Tail Light LED (white/black wires, marked ‘Q’)
  • 66D – Right Tail Light LED (white/black wires, marked ‘R’)
  • 66F – Rear Door Switch (red/red wires, marked ‘T’)
  • 66H – Rear Left Door Switch (red/red wires, marked ‘V’)
  • 66J – Rear Right Door Switch (red/red wires, marked ‘X’)

A closer view of this area:

For the wires that head towards the rear of the car inside the Right Rear Fender, try to keep them between this screw and the Fender Crown as shown:

At the front, connect the following plugs together between the Body and the Chassis:

  • 66A – Left Headlight LED (green/white wires, marked ‘O’)
  • 66B – Right Headlight LED (green/white wires, marked ‘P’)
  • 66G – Front Left Door Switch (red/red wires, marked ‘U’)
  • 66E – Ceiling Light LED (blue/black wires, marked ‘S’)
  • 66I – Front Right Door Switch (red/red wires, marked ‘W’)

Step 06-3

Take a moment to test all of the electronics. Refer to Stage 66 and Stage 67 for details. The only difference since that first test will be that the Ceiling Light LEDs should only turn on when a door is opened.

WHOOPS! I did try to complete this test and quickly realized I had made a terrible mistake. I accidentally hooked up my Ecto-1 to a 9VDC power source when it uses 4.5VDC! A few lights worked for a moment, the speaker squawked a terrible death noise, and then the main PCB quit altogether. Thanks to a good friend who had a spare Stage 65, I was able to tear the interior down and replace the PCB. My electronics test then went perfectly!

Combining the Upper and Lower Sections
Step 07-1

IMPORTANT: Open all five of the Doors on your Body assembly, and tilt the Front Seats forward on your Chassis assembly.

Making sure none of the wiring will be trapped or pinched, lower the front end of the Chassis into the front of the Body, as shown.

On my model, I lifted the Chassis up and flipped it over above the Body making sure I did not disconnect any wires. Then, the forward end of the Chassis was lowered in behind the Front Bumper. With the rear Chassis still raised above the Body, I tucked all the wiring down into the Fender at the rear and behind the Dashboard/Wheel Well at the front.

I checked to make sure the wiring had not dropped down into the Cargo Area or between the Dashboard and the Windshield. Then, I lowered the rear of the Chassis into the Body. You may have to slight spread apart the rear sides of the Body (yellow arrows below) and the Chassis should drop into place:

Other than wrestling with gently tucking all the wiring away, this marriage went surprisingly well. The block you see holding the hood up in the picture below is a bottle of paint thinner with some napkins on top – I used this to keep the Body level while I worked:

Step 07-2

Retrieve your Left Rear Wheel Cover from Stage 113. Fit this Cover into place inside the Left Rear Fender, hooking it under the RM screw we installed in the previous stage and onto the pins on either side of the opening.

The small slot at the lower right of this Wheel Cover is what captures the long straight ends of the Blue Tubing and holds them in place:

Step 07-3

Then, fit and secure the Left Rear Wheel back onto the end of the Rear Axle.

This is where I about lost my mind. See, you have to lift the rear of the Chassis away from the Body to get the Wheel back on. However, as soon as I did this on my model, the Blue Tubing pushed the Left Rear Wheel Cover out of place and towards the center of the car. I tried many different ways to get the Cover back in there with the Wheel in place and finally had to give up. Ultimately, I chose not to install my Left Rear Wheel Cover at all. I figured it is not in an area easy to see, my wiring is tucked up in there nicely, and I was about to run out of patience:

Other than the Wheel Cover fiasco, the Left Rear Wheel went back into place just fine. You may find that your Brake Drum came away from the Axle a bit and will need to be rotated back into its keyed position as you reinstall the Wheel:

Secure the Wheel back into place with one (1) LM screw.

Contrary to the instructions, there is no problem re-securing the wheel right now with one (1) LM screw (a new LM screw is provided):

Step 07-3

Begin to secure the Chassis to the Body at the rear end with two (2) AAM screws.

As you install the next eight screws, you may have to slightly adjust the Chassis within the Body to align the mounting holes:

Secure the rest of the Chassis to the Body with six (6) ZM screws.

There are three screw points along each side, starting in front of the rear wheels and moving forward:

Two more are located behind the front wheels:

And finally, there are two at the Front Bumper:

Step 07-4

Reattach the Front Left Chassis Part and Front Right Chassis Part to the Chassis with two (2) new EM screws – one on each side.

Slide the rounded end of these Chassis Parts down in front of the Front Wheels and then into the Bumper:

Step 07-5

Very carefully turn the entire model over and set it gently on its wheels. Then, install the Center Cap into the Hub Cap of the Left Rear Wheel.

The instructions say to install the Center Cap now (a replacement is provided), but I still recommend waiting until the very end of the build to protect them. As I am using the Magnetic Wheel Caps, I was able to install that one here. If needed, you can lift the Body up a bit to access this opening:

Fitting the Wing Mirrors
Step 08-1

NOTE: From this point on, you might want to consider resting the model on the four Chassis Supports we received back in Stage 66. This can help prevent damaging any of the wheels/suspension components while work continues on the exterior of the car:

At the Left Front Door, fit a Wing Mirror Cup to the post of the Rear View Mirror Support as shown:

Secure the Cup into place with one (1) RP screw.

Note the orientation of this Cup, it should look like a famous Disney logo. This is a VERY delicate connection, so do not use a lot of force here:

Gently press the two pins of a Wing Mirror Glass into the matching interior holes of the Cup, as shown.

The pins and holes are different sizes, so this only fits correctly one way. Again, be very gentle here as this entire Mirror Cup assembly is delicate:

Step 08-2

At the Front Right Fender, fit the second Wing Mirror Cup to the post of the Right Rear View Mirror Base in the same way, and then secure it into place with one (1) RP screw:

Again, gently press the two pins of the other Wing Mirror Glass into the matching interior holes of the Cup, as shown:

Installing the Unity S6 Spotlight
Step 09-1

Retrieve your Unity S6 Spotlight assembly from Stage 75. Fit the Spotlight Base into the matching recess of the Front Left Fender and align the two screw holes.

As I fit this Spotlight on my model, I realized it was pointing off to the left of the car and I was not a fan of how that looked. Therefore, I decided I would modify it to point forward. First, I removed the two screws holding the Spotlight assembly together:

Next, I located this small tab on the Spotlight Bracket that keyed into a slot in the bottom of the Spotlight Cup:

Then, I simply snipped off this plastic tab with my sprue cutters. The Spotlight can then be reassembled normally.

With that small modification, I can turn my Unity S6 to point in any direction I want. Now pointing forward, I fit the assembly to the Fender:

Secure the Spotlight Base into place with two (2) AM screws:

Here is a fun beauty shot I took after the completion of this stage:

Thoughts


Well, we made it through what I consider one of the toughest stages of the entire build! The winner for the worst part is that Left Rear Wheel Cover – I did not like that thing at all. Still, the end result of our entire Ecto-1 as a single assembly is shockingly beautiful and I am very happy. And thankfully, this was the last time we will ever need to turn the model upside down. It is one heavy beast!

Next Up


Stage 122 – Kick Plates

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