About this Blog

This is about the combination of two interests, Radio Control vehicles and Science Fiction models. Its also about vehicle design. The models have to satisfy two main precepts.

1. The vehicles have to work, ie be driveable, but not nescessarily win any races or rock crawling competitions.

2. The main thing is that they have to look cool.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Explorer part 4

Some progress has been made on the detailing of the Explorer hull.

The black bits are 1mm styrene sheet. the corner triangles are 2mm styrene and the struts are pvc foam 3mm thickness. You can also see a communications dish made from the dome of a battery led push lamp from the hardware store as well as some 1/48th aircraft carrier service equipment kit parts among others. The probe is made from bits of brass. I think the end was turned up for a model boat navigation lamp. Its been sitting in a box of brass bits for years.

The bottom is a piece of grey pvc secured with a screw to a disc of 2mm styrene which is glued to a pvc tube cut at an angle to match the slope of the hull. This tube is then press fit on to a smaller piece of pvc tube glued to the base made from the upper hull of a Tamiya 1/35 Panzer Kampfwagen II kit.
It can be manually rotated into a new position but is not motorised. It is easily removable to prevent damage while still working on the model. The bright orange stalk is a piece of an air restrictor out of a Nerf blaster... no styrene is wasted.

The rear of the dome is a cast part from a set of molds I made back in 1988. Way back then I stuck a whole pile of  kit parts to some perspex blanks to use up some old silicon mold material thinking they may come in handy one day. The molds have sat in a plastic bag collecting dirt for the last 24 years. I got myself some Barnes Easy Cast which is a 2 part urethane casting material which is a clear, water thin, liquid when mixed and sets in 10 minutes into a white solid which is easily sanded. It is really terrific stuff. Unfortunately the quality of the molds is not the greatest and the silicon is now slightly more brittle than it was 24 years ago, but it does the job. There is a layer of dirt stuck in the surface of the initial batch of parts but the primer should cover that. The second pull comes out clean.

I have also completed wiring in the lighting. There are 2 pairs of $2.00  led torches at the front with 4 10mm  clear white leds. At the rear are 2 pairs of the 10mm leds dipped with 2 coats of Tamiya red clear paint. The head lights are accessable through removable hatches at the top. 

Each pair of torches are wired in series. They originally used 3 AAA batteries. 3 X 1.2 volts is 3.6 volts so the pair require 7.2 volts. The 10mm leds are nominally 3.5 volts each so they too are wired as pairs in series. The lighting is then powered via its own dedicated UBEC from HobbyKing. It puts out 7.2 volts at 3 amps which is more than enough. The Ubec connects into the main dual 7.2 volt 2s batteries which connect in series to make a 4s battery. I made a little deans plug adapter that the UBEC is soldered to from a male and female Deans connector joined together back to back. This is then shrouded with some heat shrink. The adapter plugs between the battery lead and the speed controller.
I also am powering the cpu fan on top of the hull from this UBEC. As you cant really see it spinning and it makes a noise I may disconnect it.

I have also filled in the wheel wells with some 1mm styrene sheet.

Other areas have also recieved some further detailing.

Situated across the other side from the dish is another com package with a whip aerial. The aerial is made from a piece of bicycle brake cable. It should bounce realistically when the vehicle is in motion. The top end has a bit of heat shrink to prevent it unravelling and the bottom has a small fishing swage crimped on. The aerial just press fits in so it can be removed while still working on the model.

The red pipes are made from some single core copper pvc sheathed electrical wire. It is easy to bend, holds its shape and glues easily with a dab of thin super glue, plus it's cheap.

A bit more detailing to go and then some more primer can go on. Plus the cockpit interior has to be built. More soon...

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.


  1. Really inspiring stuff once again!

    I use that Easycast stuff too, I've noticed it did go a little brittle, but also it leached an oily residue from the cured resin after a year or so. I just washed it off in soapy water, I only hope it doesn't continue to do this over it's life. Is this something that you've come across?

    That single core wire is really great to use too.

    I noticed an old Telstra modem case there, I've got one in my bits box :)

    I can't get over the level of detail you achieve on the empty spaces. Are they all created by individual cuts & additions of tiny pieces? Or have you got a massive supply of old model kits that already have that detail on them? My kitbashing attempts look mediocre in that detail department.

    Look forward to seeing your next progress report.


  2. I have only just started to use EasyCast so I havent noticed any oozing residue as yet. I do get pretty anxious that it is thouroughly mixed before pouring as it starts to thicken pretty quickly particularly in volume, in the mixing cup. As to detailing, it is a combination of choosing good kit parts ( and I will use big chunks if it looks right) and cutting up lots of small pieces. The parts have to be layed out so they look like they always belonged together and actually serve a purpose, that they are there for a reason. The primer paint will then really tie it all together.


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