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.

Saturday, 25 July 2020

Moon Bug part 3

I have finished detailing the top surface and built a communications dish.
Just for a change I truncated the dish from the full circle. It is made as per usual from a small LED push light dome. The support arms are from a broken transformers toy. The signal sensor on the dish is also a transformers part.

The green sensor dome is from a baby's toy.
The black shape with the slot in the top is from the cover of the laser head from inside a CD Walkman.
The other black shape I think was out of a ink jet printer.

I also made an opening hatch which was pretty pointless as there is no hole underneath. I'll probably end up gluing it shut. The hatch dome was a cut down dial from an old washing machine.

The rest is the usual assortment of kit parts and styrene sheet panels.

I also added some half round ABS extrusions around the purple acrylic pot halves in the valleys. This gives the subtle impression of an underlying inflated shape which I quite like.

Thanks for looking.

More soon...

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Moon Bug part 2

I have been progressing on with the glass house cabin.
It has been fiddly to get the side mullions straight as they have to be curved to fit the curved bowl and end up looking straight.
The method to achieve this is to place some masking tape on the curved surface and then draw a line outlining the shape you want. When you peel of the tape and place it on some flat sheet you will hopefully have all the curvature in the right place so that it becomes straight again once cut out and glued back onto the curved surface.
The 2mm thick styrene has to be massaged into the required curve by hand first before cementing into position.
The other thing is to try and not get any cement onto the clear glass areas and fog them up. If any small bits of solvent do mar the clear areas you can usually polish it out with a plastic polishing compound.

All the power supply wiring has been installed and tested. I have a ubec providing 12 volts from the 14.4 volts delivered from two 7.2 volt Lipo batteries in series which power the vehicle.  12 volts is being provided to the cabin lighting and the two 10mm led tail lights which each have the required resistor to work with 12 volts. The head lights are two cheap LED torches which are supposed to run on 4.5 volts from three 1.5 volt dry cells. I found a small cheap DC to DC converter board which has an adjustable output voltage so I am down converting the 12 volt supply and providing 4 volts to run the headlights. I found the torches started to draw a lot more current at 4.5 volts so I dropped it to 4 volts which was about half the current and more or less the same brightness. Getting the torches to work took some fiddling about until I found the DC to DC down converter board and I burnt out a couple of torches in my attempts. Luckily they only cost a couple of dollars.

The is a tiny board stuck to the top of the UBEC in the picture below is a Pololu rc switch with small low side mosfet. It takes a signal from the third channel on the transmitter and switches the lighting on and off remotely. I believe you can find a similar thing on HobbyKing.com already wired up.

10mm Led tail Lights

Converter board providing 4 volts to the headlights.

I am using twin old school brushed motors in this vehicle which are more than capable of pushing this heavy beast around at a decent if not frightening speed given that this is a heavy custom made one off body shell. The electronic speed controller is a Hobbywing Quicrun WP 880 for dual brushed motors. This setup is also I might add considerably cheaper than a brushless system.

Thanks for looking.

More soon...

Friday, 17 July 2020

Moon Bus part 9 completed.

I had a bit of a disaster in the painting process which is something I always dread.
The big problem was the paint, top coat and primer just came straight off the black styrene as soon as any masking tape even low-tack got anywhere near it. It flaked off in sheets. It was very depressing.

It all had to be scraped off where the masking was eventually going to be placed, to be re-primed and top coated.  Strangely the dodgy primer stuck much better to the parts made from white styrene like the evergreen textured sheet, though small bits were still pulled off with any masking tape application. In these areas I did what I usually do and applied some hair dryer heat to the masking tape as I removed it which aids in softening the gum and preventing small chips coming off.

I did a bit of research to try and figure out why this occurred as it has happened to me randomly in the past. Sometimes the primer is absolutely perfectly fine and very occasionally I find it comes away with the masking. I found a very useful bit of information on you tube about the types of primer I usually use, namely car primer in an aerosol can.

Turns out there are two types available to me locally one good and one bad and I had three cans with both types represented. I sprayed the three different cans I had in sections over some black styrene and after it had dried applied some masking tape. Pulling the masking tape away was extremely revealing. The primer I had used came completely off and the other two had remained intact. The picture below shows the three cans I tested.

 The can on the left was the one I used on this model which failed miserably. The other two behaved as one would hope, they stayed on the surface. It turns out the cans that say Multi Surface work very well on plastic, they even state they work on fibreglass on the back. The one that is labelled acrylic primer appears to be absolutely useless on plastic and therefore I will not use it ever again.

Before this all happened I had decided on a predominantly white finish with some sort of red stripes to match the red on the chassis. Below is the model with the base colour applied which I took into photoshop and tried out a number of various versions of red accents finally deciding on the colour rough shown in the second picture which helped to highlight the shape left between the panels that flow around the windows.

This red motif was then masked up extremely gingerly and sprayed with a small can of Ford Blaze red. The white was actually a warm off white called Antarctic white. Once that was done I re-evaluated the front end and decided that maybe the front panel needed some colour as well. So back to photoshop just to check and the colour rough that resulted shown in the second photo below was more to my liking.

My old weathering technique using a mix of Tamiya flat black and ethanol ( methylated spirits) as a dirty wash was employed. The surface is then cleaned off using a rag damp with ethanol leaving the grunge in the crevices. Dry brushing with a light grey students acrylic followed. Detailed scrapes were painted with acrylic hobby paints, a light grey surround with a dark grey core.

Another of the painting tasks was to paint the occupant figures, something I am pretty terrible at. In an attempt to try and improve in this area I watched a lot of You tube videos on figure painting in acrylics. Below is the result, still pretty poor but a lot better than my previous attempts.

The figures were superglued into their seats and the front panel screwed into position. To hide the screw heads I found a piece of red self adhesive vinyl and punched out some small circles that were pretty much the same diameter as the screw holes. The colour is not an exact match but I think it will do the job. I also used a few pieces of the red vinyl in other places on the model.

The solar panel cells on top were picked out with random squares in three shades of grey.

Finally here is the completed model.


Part 1 of this project was way back in October 2014. Part 2, 3 and 4 was a year later in October 2015. Then nothing until 2020. This project has been spread over nearly 6 years so it is satisfying to finally bring it to completion. It's also the third completed model for 2020 which as we all know has been and continues to be a very unusual and challenging year.

Thanks for looking.
More soon...

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