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mikey builder

Making antenna for Afghan vehicles

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Hi, I've completed a Coyote and a Jackal, now have got the landrover twin pack (all Airfix operation Herrick 1/48) in progress.

None of the kits have any antenna/aerials included, so I've made a few by heating old sprues and stretching them, had some success using black, but just cannot get the length I need 😲

I've several other kits on the go (12 actually) and would like to be able to add my own parts, such as the above, plus wires and rope type bits, just to make the kits as realistic as possible.

Is there anywhere that sells black plastic rods that I can heat and draw out? My 'best' so far is 0.25mm and 40mm long, but its rather hit & miss as to when the rod snaps!

Thanks, Mike

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You could try a guitar string - the top 'E' string is the thinnest. In 008 gauge (the thinnest commonly used) that works out at a fraction over 0.2mm, equivalent to 9.7 mm in real life at 1:48.

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Yes, wire rather than stretched sprue.  Antennas don't taper very much if at all these days, hardly noticeable in 1/48.  You can get plain and pre-colored wire in various diameters in craft shops.  Even 5A fuse wire if you can still get it.  I got a roll of black wire in the flower arranging section of my local Hobbycraft.  Roll it under a steel rule on a flat surface to straighten it.  Blob of PVA on the top for the top cap.  Many antennas had 500ml water bottles taped on near the top with lightsticks inside for night station keeping.

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I use carbon fibre rod - Initially I used to buy it from Accurate Armour in cut lengths, then I realised I could get it a lot cheaper directly off eBay or from specific shops the name of which escapes me right now.  It's good because it's flexible, you can cut it to length, but you really have to watch yourself, as you really don't want to poke yourself in the eye with a carbon rod :owww:

 

I'd also urge caution if you ever get into carbon rods in general, as cutting, sanding etc. generates nasty dust that can do you a mischief if you don't use a mask :yes:

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Thanks for the replies guys: I should have thought of guitar strings, I'm learning to play one! I replaced the strings on mine, and I use bits of the old ones to clean out motorbike carb jets, hence have a supply already. 

I do like the taper I'm getting from plastic though, as it makes a realistic base for the antenna itself, and is easy to fix in place, but I'll look into your suggestions.

I'm just starting a 1:350 Tirpitz, and would love to add all the radio aerials, would fishing line work, and what size would be best? 😁

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in 1/350, the finest you can get away with.  There was some rigging for signal flags too, IIRC, plus cranes and davits.  There might already be something in the model ship world, but fine nylon would work.  Have a look at some of the biplane rigging products.  E-Z Line rings a bell: I believe it has a slight stretch to it.

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have you got access to a cat?   a discarded whisker makes a good whip antenna!  I don't suggest harvesting them directly from the source as the moggie may take offence and indulge in some sort of feline revenge.....

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Dragon Plate is a source of carbon reinforced rod.  The smallest diameter available in their product line works well for 1/35 and 1/48 scale models.

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