UFO Shadowmobile

Studio Scale 35cm long Shadowmobile

This was a job for a chap in New Zealand. This eventually made up into an impressive looking model, but it took a lot of effort due to some scruffy parts.

Could have done a lot more with this, like sattelite dish on the roof, but the customer requested a basic build job.

Things were looking fairly grim out of the box, with a significant number of broken or missing parts, bubbles and soft spots in the casting due to poor mixing.

There's a lot of heavy cutting to do, and for this you'll need a mini drill with razor saw blade and a respirator.

The first job was to work on the wheels as this would define the axle spacing, which in turn defines the chassis dimension, which in turn determines the chassis shape and mounting points.

Grinding the road wheels into something a circle was a bit of a job, as all three axes needed to be cleaned up, as well as the surface.

Some wheels had chuncks missing and had to be repaired by casting a good one, then fitting the broken one into the mould and making it up with resin.

To repeatably drill out for the axle, I made a jig for the pillar drill.

The tracks were a bit of an epic too, with lots of breakages needing moulding and re-casting, bubble faults, and lots of filling to get them to articulate.

Note the brass pin

Yeah - lots, and lots, and lots!

Here's a sample of what to expect. My mould is on the right.

Drilling out the articulation holes.

Soft spots on the hull weren't obvious and had to be dug out, cleaned and filled.

Surface undulations gave another problem - all the parts were warped enough to stick out like a sore thumb, so leveling and flattening was required as well as filling.

The corner radii were off - the model was too 'sharp' - so the corners were filled with resin and sanded down to meet it. This was checked with the witness tape in white, the digital camera, and a jig to ensure accurate replacement off the model between trips to the belt sander.


But don't worry - there were only 6 corners to fix, so it shouldn't take more then 0.5kg of resin, two respirator filters and half a douzen sanding belts!

The chassis parts. The red line denotes the (incorrect) kit parts. The red numbers written on it mark the axle points I worked out near the start.

The complete chassis. Nothing like the two strips that came with the kit!

A wheel and track fit.

The lower hull half needed a bulkhead to force it into a square, but this in turn needed something to pull it INTO a square in the first place - I'll come back to this. The pink blobs are resin anchors I added to form tapping points for fixing bolts later.

The cab, after an extensive tidy up which led to removal of the corner window frames which were beyond reasonable repair.

The new frames, made from 1/4 of a round styrene pipe, pinned at the back.

The cab is then fitted onto the upper hull, but can't be fixed and filled yet, as the upper hull has to be straightened, like the bottom hull.

Here's my solution. I drilled through the bottom hull and popped 3 bits of threaded rod through, and used nuts to stretch it into a square. Then I trimmed the bulkhead to match, and bonded it into place. By bonding locating tabs into the top hull half, who's sides were bent convexley, I was able to force the top to the right shape, by using the bottom hull half as a template.

Now that the top and bottom halves are square and mounted nice and flat, the gaps reveal what actually has to be filled. By just gluing the top to the bottom as it came out of the box, the thing would look as if it was made out of jelly. And, we can now fit the cab.

Here's some of the externsive filling required to fill those giant spaces.

Here's the whole thing bolted up. The cab lights were just two white l.e.d.'s mounted over the seats, and the headlights just another two stuck in styrene tube behind holes in the front plate. All bonded in and wired up before the cab get's sealed up, of course!

Just right.

Some detailing from the junk box and a panel scribe......

The end result.

The radiator grill was left silver with a mat black backdrop.

Panel weathering is easy on something this size.

I wish I had a bit more time to have made a wee set for this.....

....would have looked great at night!

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