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.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Supanova 2018 Sci fi model display

Supanova 2018 Perth Western Australia

Here's some pics from the show starting with my stuff.

Then a sample of models from other modellers starting with some fantastic kitbashed vehicles all at 1/16th scale,

A flawlessly painted resin kit of the Gunstar. This model had a lot of interest from people who fondly remembered the film, The Last Starfighter.

Next up is some terrific studio scale Space 1999 resin kits.

And followed up by Star wars models. The Falcon is a modified Hasbro toy, the Darth Vader Tie Fighter is studio scale as is the Slave One.

The studio scale gun turret was fully motorised with gun traverse and elevation as well as recoil effects all synced to led flashes and sound effects and triggered by remote control. This was a definite crowd pleaser.

A resin kit Blockade runner, another crowd pleaser due to the detailed and lit interior with scale figures.

Studio scale X wing and Y wing.

Studio scale Snow Speeder has arduino controlled flaps.

Medical Frigate.

A work in progress three meter long Star destroyer was another "big" attention getter.

One thing I learned about my own models is the general public generally likes something they recognise, the models from existing franchises get the most attention. Many look at my models and rightly struggle to guess what show they are from, being a little surprised when advised that I just made them up from my own imagination. There were also a small number of people that appreciated the original nature of my designs and that was very gratifying.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Reverse Trike Part 4 Finished

The Reverse Trike project is the third model in this latest push that has now been completed and just in time for the setting up the Supanova display tomorrow (Friday 22 June 2018).

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

It wasn't easy going either, the low tack masking was lifting the top colour from the primer which meant I had to do repairs on the paint job which was a real nuisance. I solved the problem by using a hair dryer to heat the masking tape as I slowly peeled it off after spraying the decorative markings. I'm not sure what caused the top coat to be so fragile in the first place, probably putting on one thick coat in the first place instead of lot of light coats. The trouble being that I was in a hurry to get it done in time.

I took all the photos of the finished vehicle and then decided to test out the radio control aspects, which all worked fine. After the test outside in the driveway I returned it to the bench and then stupidly turned off the transmitter first (which you should never do). It sat there quietly while I went to do something else and then suddenly when into full throttle, flew of the bench, bounced off some saw horses and hit the ground snapping off part of the right fender where the headlight is attached. Much groaning ensued and then I had to set to and do a hasty repair and repaint of the damaged area. It doesn't quite look as good as new but it is going to have to suffice.

Here are the photos of the completed project taken before the damage.

Three projects brought to completion in 2 weeks, that's got to be a record for me. I'm actually a bit knackered but I do enjoy being in the shed.
Posts will probably get back to being more infrequent again as my holidays are nearly over and I dont have the Supanova display deadline looming any more.
My priority is to continue finalising old projects with one of the oldest vehicle projects in much the same state of completion as the Explorer was. I may also then return to one of the spaceship projects as I haven't finished one of those in a while.

Thanks for looking.
More soon...

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Explorer part 6

Finally after over 5 years this project is finished. Most of that time it was just sitting there, the last time I did any major work on it was 2014. All it needed was a cockpit and a paint job and finally it has both bringing it to a better late than never conclusion.

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

I had always planned for it to have a predominantly NASA white colour scheme and I ended up going for a cream off white colour which was then heavily weathered in the usual way with one exception. This time  after the poo juice and white dry brushing I brushed clay powder over it, getting it to gather on horizontal crevices and then spraying it with iso-propyl alcohol to set it in place. I suspect it could be easily wiped off again but for now it is doing the job imparting a realistic dusty appearance.


The lighting is working better than I expected, particularly the cabin interior light coming from the control console. It really lights up the occupants well. I also took some photos at night with all the room lighting out so the figures are just lit from the model's own light.

If you have followed along with this project from the start the main issue has been the weight of the scratch built body. I used a lot of plywood in the structure. Now five years on I would do it differently, choosing foamed pvc sheet or even high impact styrene which can be built a lot lighter and it's easier to prime as there is no grain. The weight gain at the front once the cockpit was added meant I had to add a second extension spring to each side of the suspension arms to hold it up without sagging.

I've got one more model I would like to complete before Supanova, the Reverse Trike. I'm not sure I'm going to make it as I am having some difficulty with the low-tack masking tape ripping the top coat off the primer, which is a new one for me, usually if the tape is going to lift the paint it takes the top coat and primer leaving the bare plastic surface. The other problem is the wet winter weather here at the moment is not conducive to painting at all.

Thanks to all the readers who have stayed with this project from the beginning, its been a marathon.
Thanks for looking, more soon...

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Explorer part 5

The previous post on this project was in October 2014 and this model has basically not progressed since then.

I am joining some other sci-fi modellers and we are exhibiting our models at the Perth Supanova 2018 event starting on the evening of Friday 22nd June. I decided to take some holidays (two weeks) to give me time to try and finish some models for the display. Its remarkable what a deadline will do for motivation, the first model completed was the Kong head Toybash 6x6 project and then I decided to tackle the Explorer that had been sitting around for years nearly complete and actually finish it.

The first thing to tackle was re-wiring the lighting. I discovered that the big 10mm LEDs I had installed already had a resistor inline to run at 12 volts. This meant I needed to change the wiring power supply to 12volts and not the 7.2 volts I had already installed. I wondered why they seemed so dim. The Leds needed to be wired up in parallel instead of the the series format they were in, and I added some extra white leds for a cockpit control console in the cockpit, 8 in total. The white leds I used had a forward voltage drop of 3 volts so 4 in series makes 12 volts. I then wired the two sets of 4 in parallel. I tested the led torches which I had wired up two in series, by gradually increasing the voltage up to 12 volts and they seem to be OK at that voltage. I suspect there is some electronics inside that regulate the power they receive.

Here's some pics of the console lit up. This will throw light up into the cabin interior and onto the faces of the occupants.

Before I built the console I started on a cabin interior and seats. Two 1/12 scale Star trek figures,  John Cho and Simon Pegg to be precise, (though the Simon Pegg face does not really resemble him at all) will occupy the chairs as planned 4 years ago. The seats are made from Foamed PVC sheet, 10mm and 3mm thickness. I hacked away at the figures thighs to get them to sit properly and drilled a hole through their torsos so they can be securely screwed to the chairs under their silicon jumpers.

The rear of the cabin was made to fit the space left between the hull and the RC chassis. It was kit part detailed and piped in the usual fashion., shown below after spraying with primer.

And here it is after the usual application of poo juice and white dry brushed acrylic and with figures in seats added.

The next step was the roof of the cabin which attaches with a couple of kitchen cupboard magnetic catches. It was detailed and then primered and weathered the same way, only this time I took some photos of the steps in my weathering process.

First up is the grey automotive primer.

Next is the addition of Poo juice ( mix of Tamiya flat black heavily diluted with methylated spirits or ethanol), here slathered on with a soft wide flat brush and still wet.

After drying, (it doesn't take long).

Then wiped off with a rag wet with methylated spirits on all the surfaces and raised detail . You have to keep moving to a clean bit of rag as it gets dirtier. You want to leave the dark in the grooves and around the edges of all the parts.

Then apply cheap white acrylic paint and dry brush it on. I use a stiff oil painting brush and a bit of MDF. I add a small dollop of paint and then get a tiny amount on the brush and scrub it back and forward on the MDF to remove most of it.

 Then apply to the model scrubbing across the raised detail and all the edges. Add more paint to the brush and gradually build it up to a pleasing effect.

Thats it, job done. It works really well on most surfaces, but the paint underneath cannot have as its solvent alcohol, such as water based acrylic paints like Tamiya colour.

The rest of the model has been painted and weathered. I still have to fit the console to the cabin after the windows have been glued in and then it should be finished after more than 5 years.
Pictures of the completed model will come in the next post.. coming soon.

If you happen to be going to Perth Supanova on the weekend drop by and check out all the other cool sci-fi models that will be on display. I will try and get some photos and post them up after the show.

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

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