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Gorby

Gorby's Leap into the Dark Unknown - Scratch-Building Extravaganza (no refunds) – NOW WITH ADDED SLEEPERSERVICE!

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At the scene of a potential disaster, it probably isn't right to apportion blame, but it's all @SleeperService fault. After I asked the question 'Why no injection moulded WWI tanks', some fool mentioned that as most of them were quite angular, scratch-building might be an option. Which lead an even bigger fool to start thinking….. :think:

 

The biggest problem with scratch-building tanks is their tracks, so my decision about which one to build was based on which WWI tanks had less prominent tracks. That's the main reason I chose the German A7V tank: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A7V

 

These scratch-building kits are a bit duff aren't they? Not even any panel lines!

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The instructions aren't much better:

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Using the internationally accepted unit of measure of one Swann-Morton, you can see that even in 1/48 it's quite a big beast:

 

I've done a bit of scratch-building before, even when I was a kid I built three aircraft from scratch but nothing to this level of complexity. I just love to scratch (apparently you can get stuff for it these days) I love the 'How the hell am I going to do that' moment, it gives my grey matter a bit of a work out and I think there may be quite a few of those moments in this build. I don't know if I will be able to complete it (regardless of time-frame) but I intend to give it my best shot.

 

The biggest problem, as I mentioned above, was the tracks, how the hell am I going to do those? As it was my biggest concern, I tackled them first. If I couldn't scratch the tracks there wouldn't be any point continuing, so time to experiment:

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My reasoning was that if 'Red bull give you wings', then Guinness might give me tracks, or at least the can might:

 

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Eeeerrrrr, okay'ish but too thin. Two more days of playing gave me something that I think looks better and it's a better scale thickness match:

 

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What a genius I hear you say, how on earth did you achieve that?

 

I marked the tread pattern out on 0.5mm strip of styrene, and using a candle to heat something suitable (the end of a pair of reverse tweezers) and formed the shape using a very simple wooden die.

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If you are deranged enough to try this, experiment first because if the tweezers or whatever you're using, is too hot, it will just go straight through the plastic. I found about five seconds in the flame when the metal was cold and from then on just three seconds per tread.

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I just shaped the tread where it would be visible because taking the tread pattern over the full width of the track just resulted in the strip falling apart more often than not. It might be possible if you vacformed it, but that would obviously take a lot more work on the pattern you would need to vacform. Incidentally the photo above is after quite a lot of tidying up and cutting the leading edge of each individual link. Remember that the track for the other side is a mirror image.

 

Here endeth the lesson.

 

Tune in next time for another thrilling episode.

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Interesting. I wouldn't mind seeing some more of this, so please go ahead. 

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Hmm.  My scratch building skills end with a brick wall from evergreen rods. Interesting to see what you will do.

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I'm glad you feel so confident Gorby Old chap. Solving the track issue is the key so a good start.

 

I'm a bit over committed on GBs at present but will wade in with a contribution myself later. Just to show I've not led you too far astray.

 

I hope it goes well and will follow with interest.

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8 hours ago, SleeperService said:

I'm glad you feel so confident Gorby Old chap.

Confident I'm not, stubborn I am. I won't lose anything by giving it a go (other than a bit of dignity and quite a lot of time) so nothing ventured….. I must admit that I've progressed a bit further than the first post would lead you to assume, although still a long way to go. I think that this might be doable. Although I know bugger all about tanks so it really is a leap into the unknown, but so far I'm enjoying it immensely, so thanks for giving me the idea.

 

Thanks @JeroenS and @Soeren for taking an interest and those who have had a look. :thumbsup:

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Welcome to the dark side Mark:devil:. If you're not satisfied with the results with the tracks, get hold of some pewter foil. It's very malleable and holds shape. There's no springiness such as you would get with the can metal. Good luck with the build.

 

John.

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2 hours ago, Bullbasket said:

Welcome to the dark side Mark:devil:. Good luck with the build.

Thanks John. I don't know why I'm suffering from this unfortunate affliction of wanting to build a target. Perhaps I'll feel better after this out of the way and I can get back to the proper stuff.

 

2 hours ago, Bullbasket said:

pewter foil

That's a good idea. I've progressed to the point that I'm committed to using the plastic tracks, but I'll bear that in mind if I do another target in the future. Incidentally, what glue do you use with the pewter foil?

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Admittedly it looks a bit duff so far, so the next step is the tracks need to take on a tanky like shape. The Meng instructions for their 1/35 A7V kit have been a great help in this build, but I'm having to simplify many of the parts, although having said that, the parts of a 1/48 kit would probably be as simple or even simpler than I'm doing. I have no idea what it's called, but the centre link part of the tracks I decided wouldn't be feasible to do as individual links.

 

I made a simple former as a guide and used that to cut out four shapes from 1mm plastic card for the bottom half of the tracks (as the top of the tracks aren't visible). Then I cut quite a few capsule shaped bits to make it look from the front that they were individual links. Fortunately I had a carving tool which I used to round the ends (this lot is just for one track).

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This is what they look like with all three layers together.

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And a closer view.

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The tracks were clamped and glued to the snakie thing.

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Resulting in this:

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Now just the simple job of building a tank to go in the middle (glup). How hard can it be?

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1 hour ago, Gorby said:

Incidentally, what glue do you use with the pewter foil?

CA or if you want a longer curing time, two part epoxy.

 

John. 

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2 hours ago, Gorby said:

Admittedly it looks a bit duff so far, so the next step is the tracks need to take on a tanky like shape. The Meng instructions for their 1/35 A7V kit have been a great help in this build, but I'm having to simplify many of the parts, although having said that, the parts of a 1/48 kit would probably be as simple or even simpler than I'm doing. I have no idea what it's called, but the centre link part of the tracks I decided wouldn't be feasible to do as individual links.

 

I made a simple former as a guide and used that to cut out four shapes from 1mm plastic card for the bottom half of the tracks (as the top of the tracks aren't visible). Then I cut quite a few capsule shaped bits to make it look from the front that they were individual links. Fortunately I had a carving tool which I used to round the ends (this lot is just for one track).

 

This is what they look like with all three layers together.

 

 

And a closer view.

 

 

The tracks were clamped and glued to the snakie thing.

 

 

Resulting in this:

ko9rExCxGn8emGznpzi8Rx95gzN_5G6YwgCzy006

 

 

Now just the simple job of building a tank to go in the middle (glup). How hard can it be?

If you carry on using common sense as shown above you'll be fine. Adding invisible detail is time consuming and utterly pointless. They certainly look the business from here. While you can I'd advise putting some detail on the inside at each end where the track curves up in the picture above. If it could end up being visible you'll kick yourself later. Been there, done it, taken the blood pressure tablets.

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One of the reason that I've never built a tank is the thought of doing all those road wheels, and the next step in the build is to make twelve of the bloody things. This tank had thirty road wheels in total, but fortunately only twelve are visible. The biggest problem is that the wheels each have six spokes – how the hell am I going to do that?

 

I'm not normally one to buy myself out of trouble (there isn't enough money in existence to do that) but I couldn't find anything the correct diameter, why make life even more complicated than it already is, so I ordered some 6mm plastic tube.

 

Now to the spoke problem. The internal diameter of the tube is 5mm so I punched fifteen discs (I often build more than I need and then just choose the best ones). Recently I bought a leather punch set (1mm to 5mm) and while they aren't great quality, they have been invaluable on this build so far. To mark the spokes out I divided a masking tape guide into six sections (probably the first time I've used pi since leaving school).

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Then used a curved scalpel to make snow and mini trivial-pursuit cheese wedges. They are far from perfect, but only part of each wheel will be visible, so I'll just choose the best part when I fit them.

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Having experimented previously I found that fitting the spokes into the tube was fraught with the possibility of the spokes breaking off and even when they didn't, the end result looked insubstantial – not like a tank wheel at all. To counter this I punched thirty 3mm disks – one for each side. As well as this I also punched a 1.5mm disk for each wheel. This won't be visible when fitted, but I used it as a spacer, so that all the spokes would sit the same distance from the front in all the wheels.

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The finished wheels together with an enormous coin to make them look even smaller than they really are. Don't they look duff blown-up to this scale?

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I won't test your patience with a blow by blow account of doing the side bits only to add that smaller blobs, I wanted to look like bolt heads. I bought some 0.8mm hexagonal rod, but with the naked eye you can't see that they are hexagonal.

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Even up close it looks like the tiny amount of glue used to fit them has melted most of the detail. :sad:

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Thanks for having a look and for any likes or comments.

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Nice work Mark, but I can't help but hear Napoleon XlV singing quietly in the background.

 

John.

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1 minute ago, Bullbasket said:

I can't help but hear Napoleon XlV singing quietly in the background.

I had to Googlify that, but you're not far off. 

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21 hours ago, Gorby said:

I just shaped the tread where it would be visible because taking the tread pattern over the full width of the track just resulted in the strip falling apart more often than not. It might be possible if you vacformed it, but that would obviously take a lot more work on the pattern you would need to vacform. Incidentally the photo above is after quite a lot of tidying up and cutting the leading edge of each individual link. Remember that the track for the other side is a mirror image.

 

Here endeth the lesson.

Freakin' brilliant.

Please, sir...may we have some more?

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19 minutes ago, Gorby said:

I had to Googlify that, but you're not far off. 

I am of an age where I didn't even have to pause to recall....

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5 hours ago, Gorby said:

I won't test your patience with a blow by blow account of doing the side bits only to add that smaller blobs, I wanted to look like bolt heads. I bought some 0.8mm hexagonal rod, but with the naked eye you can't see that they are hexagonal.

I didn't think you'd get to this yet. OK next Top Tip for rivets, bolts and such. When you mark out the locations for these parts drill or pierce a hole through the main part. Put the liquid glue into the hole and put the detail part on top. Capillary action will do the rest but not draw up so much that it melts the detail. When a main part is done brush more liquid glue over the back and leave to set on a non-absorbent surface, I use an old steel rule.

 

EDIT TO ADD: Do any scribing detail work before doing the fasteners :D

Good work on the wheels well thought out. It needs to be good enough not perfect.

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10 hours ago, Gorby said:

Even up close it looks like the tiny amount of glue used to fit them has melted most of the detail. :sad:



Great work here gorby, really impressed with it so far. Dont worry to much about that detail, weathering is your friend here. I here the WW1 Battlefields could get a bit muddy from time to time. 

 

Dennis  

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12 hours ago, SleeperService said:

I didn't think you'd get to this yet. OK next Top Tip for rivets, bolts and such. When you mark out the locations for these parts drill or pierce a hole through the main part. Put the liquid glue into the hole and put the detail part on top. Capillary action will do the rest but not draw up so much that it melts the detail. When a main part is done brush more liquid glue over the back and leave to set on a non-absorbent surface, I use an old steel rule.

Thanks for the tip, any ideas and suggestions are always very welcome. I was hoping not to have to drill for each and every rivet or bolt – this thing is covered in them, literally thousands. At some of the seams there is four rows of closely space rivets. If I were to drill or pierce each one at this scale, there wouldn't be much left of the edge in some places. I have been experimenting with quick and simple rivets (I don't want to spend the rest of my life on this) but haven't found the ideal solution yet. I did consider using a spot punch at the rear of each rivet, but unfortunately it deforms the edge of the plastic.

 

7 hours ago, Corsairfoxfouruncle said:

weathering is your friend here. I here the WW1 Battlefields could get a bit muddy from time to time. 

That's an idea Dennis, although this being my first tank I'm a bit wary of overdoing the weathering.

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16 minutes ago, Gorby said:

I was hoping not to have to drill for each and every rivet or bolt – this thing is covered in them, literally thousands

What about rivet transfers? The Archer range comes with all kinds of spacing, and they’re proper bumpy things. Might provide an answer. 

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2 minutes ago, Heather Kay said:

What about rivet transfers? The Archer range comes with all kinds of spacing, and they’re proper bumpy things. Might provide an answer. 

Aaarrhh! I didn't think of that. Thanks Heather, I think this is a problem that I might need to buy my way out of.

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19 hours ago, thorfinn said:

I am of an age where I didn't even have to pause to recall....

scary, isn't it?

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4 hours ago, s.e.charles said:

scary, isn't it?

No....

Scary would be being of that same age, and unable to recall....

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Just a quick update as I was away for most of the weekend and since my last update I've been a little obsessed with how I was going to make suitable rivets- on the cheap of course.

 

Someone from a different site showed me the solution to my problem.

This is just a test piece:

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Ignore the non-rivet like blobs at the bottom, I was experimenting with poky things and that was a failure (it was a 1mm drill bit). The bradawl also failed as it was too sharp and pierced the plastic. The round rat-tail file was the best, poking out the rivet pattern from behind. It did deform the 0.25mm plastic a little, but gluing it to a thicker sheet straightened it all out. I think it will be easier if I do the sides panel by panel.

 

So as not to squash the rivets when I glued it to the panel, I used a spongy nail file thingy, which worked perfectly.

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Thanks to everyone who has taken an interest and particularly those who have suggested possible solutions.

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I was away for most of the weekend so not much done – except for continually mulling over how to do the next steps. I seem to be getting a little obsessed with this. Rather than the usual food, tea, and porn, my first thought when I wake up in the morning is 'tank'. Worrying. :worry:

 

I've got quite a bit done in the the last three days though.

The tank had four drive wheels, but as only half of each is visible (in fact, less than half), I only need to do two – yay! And even better than that, only a few teeth will be visible, so not all of them need to be perfect – double yay! Having said that, this is the second attempt for both of them:

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The coin is a 1917 farthing - the date the first A7V's were built.

 

I've also been busy on….. on….. whatever these things are called.

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The spring bits are very slightly oversized, but I was using stuff I had to hand rather than buy more bits. The core of the spring is 2mm brass tube and the outside is 1mm aluminium wire which is very easy to bend, which another reason I used it.

 

I was having problems cutting the bolt heads to a consistent size, so I made a thing.

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I've given a lot of thought to the name of the thing for when I patent it and release onto the market. The 'Bolt Cutter Thingy' will retail at £89.47p - which should make me a millionaire by next Tuesday. Line up, you won't want to miss out! I'll remember my friends when I'm rich. I'll remember how we never really got on and all the money is all MINE!

Anyway, back to planet earth. I ended up cutting the heads longer than they should be as any shorter would just be taking the pee of my lack of dexterity. As it is, you could load a couple of dozen into a hollow grain of rice. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to get hollow rice at Waitrose.

 

After a coat of black undercoat/primer:

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Someone thinks I've got my priorities a little confused.

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She's too lazy to want to go for another walk, so it must be food time. This dogs stomach is more accurate than an atomic clock.

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Excellent work Gorby, £89.47 is a bit steep for me so i think i will have to pass. 😉 Keep up the work its fun to follow and learn. 

 

Dennis

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