About this Blog

This is about the combination of two interests, Radio Control vehicles and Science Fiction models. This blog documents my science fiction spaceship and radio controlled vehicle projects.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

The gestation of a project.

The following is a an example of how a project of mine starts from a random idea to a possible physical reality. I do a lot of these preliminary processes on project ideas and there are many factors that determine whether the idea becomes an actual project and I start posting about them.

I find I have to really be surprised by how a project is coming together for me to push through to completion. It has to start looking as good or preferably better than what I imagined when I started for me to ignore the many distractions along the way. As soon as a project doesn't quite measure up to the image I held in my mind's eye at the very start, my devotion starts to slip away. If I then find I don't really like what I have done I lose interest and the project sits abandoned.
In the case with this body it still has something I like about it and I realised that I had not followed my own thumbnail closely enough. Somewhere along the way I had lost what it was I liked about it in the first place. The main problem was the front and those side windows which originallywent all the way down. After I made the front window I filled in the lower part because it didn't fit with the narrower aspect of the front window. This is due to the fact I never roughed out the front in a sketch. When I look at the thumbnail now I can see that I meant the front window to be as expansive as the side windows. In fact I imagined it going up over the roof stopping inline with the angled back of the side window. Narrowing  the front window had ruined the proportions.  I also constructed a much larger bevel along the top edge than suggested by the thumbnail. It no longer had the character that appealed to me to start with.

Sometimes with the passage of time a project can be re-evaluated and a spark of an idea to rescue it from abandonment surfaces.

I have been looking at possibilities over a long period for the rejected body for the creeper 6X6 project which is just lying around.
The picture below shows it on that Creeper 6x6 chassis and I just didn't like the way it sat, for me the proportions were all wrong, the wheels were too small and the chassis too long.

I have tried it on a few different  four wheeled chassis with various sized wheels and it just never seems to look right.
The the other day I got the idea that maybe it would sit better on an alternative to tyres.
A quick photoshop session then ensued to rough out the concept and see if it had legs, or more specifically tracks.

Now to my eye that's much more like it, I think it sits well on those tracks which are from a M113 APC. I also changed the nose slightly  to hint at a larger area of glass to the front which is a big improvement. It was time to move to an experimental phase as there was a big technical question to be answered.

Can I find some tracks that would do the job. I considered various Heng Long Tank chassis and tracks at 1/16 scale but they are too small to look right. Can I get a larger scale set of tracks? I found the very thing on Ebay, metal 1/8th scale tracks with drive sprockets to fit... but they cost way more than I can afford.
The next obvious question is can I make my own tracks that will be strong and work?
It was time to try an experiment. The first step was look at various tank track links and determine the simplest solution to engineer with my meager resources. Most of them are very complicated castings but I remembered the Tamiya Leopard metal tracks and how they easily go together from simple parts and decided to upscale that concept.
Next step was to rough something out in CAD which I did and decided it was too big so I drew up a smaller version you can see below.

The material I chose was grey PVC sheet. It is a material I am familiar with and more importantly I had some in 6mm which actually measured out to 5.6mm thick which is better for me. Sliced up some strips on the circular saw and chopped them off on a mini docking saw. Drilled holes and inserted brass brazing rod pins.

The pins are 2.4mm in diameter so the track pads were drilled 2.5mm for clearance. The cleats on the end of the pins which tie them together were drilled 2.2mm so the pins are a press fit and hopefully wont come off, a drop of thin superglue should do the trick if they look like loosening up.


The test showed that it would be possible to make them provided that the drilling was precisely spaced and square. To achieve this a jig would be required to make the job easily repeatable and accurate. It would be a tedious job as I estimate I would need around 124 links to make two tracks. There are 5 parts and two pins per link making 868 parts with 1240 holes needing to be drilled.
I was also thinking of adding a rubberpad to each of the track pads, superglue would do the trick here as it works very well on both rubber and PVC.

While I think it wouldn't be too difficult to make the idlers and the road wheels and even the suspension arms, there is the question of making the drive sprockets which would be another story in itself.

Will this idea proceed? There is a chance it will as I am enthused by the concept but I have a few other projects requiring attention at the moment so we will see.

Thanks for looking.
More soon...

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Push Lights AKA eliptical vessel heads

I have mentioned these push lights many times in a few project build posts but never shown a picture of one. Well a question on the RPF forum prompted a little further explanation of what exactly they are.

I get them from my local Hardware store, in this case in Western Australia the store is a Bunnings.
They come in two sizes the larger shown below in the packaging is 115mm across the dome part not including the outer rim. The smaller one comes two to a packet and are 80mm across the dome.

They are molded from a hard styrene and you can see that to use them as a communications dish there is a side that needs to be cut away. They can be easily disassembled by removing some screws on the back.

I have used the surrounds as well as the dome part on a few models. In fact the top of the Resilient has one of the small sized surrounds in front of the antennae array. You can see the round shape to the left of the light blue piece on the top spine below.

 I have used one of the larger domes and their surround cut in half on the back of the as yet unfinished Moon Bus project.

And once again a smaller dome was used for the communications dish.

They are relatively cheap to buy and provide some useful shapes. I have even used the led lights that are contained within them on a model.

Be wary though of a cheaper and nastier version made of poly propylene a type of plastic that cannot be glued painted or sanded so is of no value to a modeller. These tend to have a black surround.

Thanks for looking.
More soon...

Friday, 3 January 2020

Resilient Cruiser Part 10

I think I have completed the detailing of the sides.
In order to conveniently work on the side surfaces I built a cradle to support the model at an appropriate angle from some scrap plywood and pine.
The cradle allowed me to arrange the major detail parts without them sliding about and falling off.
Once the layout of the parts formed a pleasing composition I was then able to commit to gluing them in place.

The angled front and rear side sections on the main hull are for the most part symmetrical whereas the two sides are different from each other. You can only make symmetrical sides if you have enough parts that have a mirror image twin. I find mirrored parts are usually less common in my stash so where possible I will make non symetrical detail and in the case of the left and right sides where they can never be seen at the same time it really doesn't matter and its more fun to do.

Most of the pipework was my usual single core Pvc sheathed electrical wire with the largest diameter piping using Hobby King solid ABS rod heat bent to shape with a hot air gun. A lot of the big detail chunks were from the hoard of broken Transformer toys I was given. The rest of the detail is the usual mix of kit parts, various thicknesses of styrene sheet and evergreen strips and textured sheet.

There is just the hammer head section to go along with a small amount to add to the engines and that should bring the construction phase to an end. I wont know for sure until the primer goes on and reveals if any further work is required.

Thanks for looking.
More soon...

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Resilient cruiser part 9

The top surface of the Resilient is now pretty much done as far as detailing goes.

 I sprayed some grey primer to see how its looking. I feel it is not as tight as the detailing on the bottom  surfaces but the top retains a lot of the earliest work done on this project which is many many years old.

Still have to finalise the front end and then make a start on the sides of the main hull.

Thanks for looking.
More soon...

Friday, 13 December 2019

Resilient cruiser part 8

I have been working on the cockpit interior of the Resilient project.
I made up a floor and console complete with a couple of 1/48 scale jet pilot figures and their seats.
Added to that are a couple of side panels and a back wall insert.
All were detailed with kit parts from my tiny parts box and then sprayed with a light coat of primer grey.
The detailing doesn't have to be too fussy here as it will be very difficult to see once the model is buttoned up.
I just want an interesting tech panel texture in there to catch the light.
The idea is that the pilots will mostly just be silhouettes when seen through the windows.

The removable roof interior was also tackled and includes a pelmet that diffuses the direct light from the leds mounted at the back, one white in the middle and a red led each side. Each of the leds has the appropriate resistor soldered to the positive lead to run off 12 volts dc.


The pelmet is made from a piece of 3mm thick opal perspex with some rectangular and small round frame shaped kit parts. Paint was used to block the light except through the frames and the pelmet positioned to allow some light to spill down the back wall. The photos show the effect.




I have still got to do a little painting to the pilot figures and a bit of weathering to the panels before gluing them in permanently.

Thanks for looking.
More soon...

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