War of the Worlds

This was a hollow-cast kit from an old garage company - it contains just 2 parts - the hull and the ray gun. Step one, digitise the model and compare it to film footage to see where we are, then ttake castings of the nose and wing tip lights in silicone rubber.

I said hollow-cast - this is a bit misleading. The model a=was solid resin on the left hand side - it took me about 3 hours to clean it out with a high speed burr.

The stalk had a similar treatment on a smaller scale, with a grove for wires cut in it by a dremmel and an l.e.d. embedded in a hole gouged out with a burr. It was also a little assymetrical, but this was easy considering the work required on the rest of it.

Step 2 - cut the resin plugs off on a bandsaw! These were sanded smooth in preparation for resin moulding.

To make the resin inserts, some clear polyester resin was doped with white pigment - titanium dioxide. The wing had a grove cut to let air out as the resin was injected in.

Two green l.e.d.'s were stuck into the hole before filling, with supply wires run out of a hole that had been drilled in the base. Behind the l.e.d.'s, a plug of cotton wool was crammed in - this was glossed over with a bit of epoxy - this seals behind the l.e.d.'s, and also stops a lit of the light being transmitted backwards.

The front l.e.d. array was formed from sticking the l.e.d.'s in a strip of styrene bent into shape. Note the two sticks, used to maneuvre it into place, while it's tacked into position with a blob of epoxy. This does the same job as the cotton wool above - but the bigger hole let me do a better job.

The sticks are snapped off when the epoxy had set.

What you can't see here are the millions of little bubble holes that had to be filled, sanded and polished - took days!

Two welding rods are used as splints to grip the array while the epoxy is poured.

With the epoxy set, the silicone cast is replaced and secured. The volume of the mould has already been measured so I knew how much polyester resin to make.

Arranged like this, it will fill up from the bottom, expelling air as it goes.

The resin is injected through this syringe, via a hose, into the bottom of the cast. The last syringfull is just left to harden.

Through an air vent cut in the side, just as for the wing tips, air is continuously expelled as the resin rises, until the resin itself comes out the vent slot - time to stop injecting!

This took about 115ml, or 2 x 60ml syringfulls - I made 3 just in case.


Then, after a very, very long time sanding, filling and repeating, we got a smooth surface that could be masked and painted.

Dark copper (70% copper, 15% bronze, 10% titanium, 5% flat aluminium, all from Tamiya), is a good match for the 'real' thing - and you should see this thing at night!

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