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rob Lyttle

Car kit steering, or lack of

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I have just gone off on one on my WIP thread for the old Merit kit of the Talbot Lago T26 GP racer. 

And I thought I ought to post it here to see if there is anyone else bothered by the subject addressed, or is it just me. 

🤪

Blah blah... And then I start, 

IMG_20200821_224424

But I've started into another car, just to see how things worked out..... You know how it is.... 

Well, it's this 'un, 

IMG_20200713_231701

And it's going OK 

Bit of a contrast with the ancient Merit product. And so there should be!

60 years of plastic kit evolution and technical developments separate the two. 

Loads of parts and details including a complete tubular framework inside a 2 part body. Many details that will never be seen again and more decals than you could shake a stick at. 

 

BUT .......... 

 

Here's the thing that's bugging me..... 

 

For all the glitz and glamour of the modern kit, the nice fancy wheels and vinyl tyres fit on straight through axles! 

Front as well...... No attempt to replicate the structure or steering. 

I looked through several reviews and builds, videos as well....... And NOBODY even mentions this! 

I'm not a car kit boffin so I may be in a twist about something that nobody else cares about. 

But that's pretty elementary, isn't it ⁉️

That's the single most basic function of a car, isn't it? 

That's the equivalent of a plane propeller that spins! 

I know these are static models, but as you can see, it bugs me 

I did the Revell MERCEDES AMG Gullwing SLS and that's the same. Every detail of the dashboard and a complete engine and gearbox that can never be seen again, but some half-baked glue-on stub axle assembly! 

I was pleased to get the Merit T26 front wheels to steer, and I'm pleased to say my Heller kit has steering. I think all of the Heller cars do, no matter how old they are. 

 

I'm going to see if I can scratch something together to give this one a steering makeover, but really..... 

I can't be the only one who is peeved about this..... am I ⁉️😶

 

Rant over 

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An older, open-wheeled car takes on a new life when wheels are steered because the whole front suspension is usually visible. Your Talbot makes a very nice display as is.

A Ford GT and many modern supercars are all about space-age bodywork and looks - the look of speed. They also don't have very much steering lock anyway. The tight aerodynamic body work hugs the tires and conceals any movement.

Your choice but where kit manufacturers can cut costs - they will.

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Fair point @Codger. There's not a lot of room in around there for things to function.

Just sometimes the kit solution is a bit crass and bears no relation to the subject. 

This Ford kit has steel axles supplied, and the rear one is OK I guess. 

But to fit the front wheels like that, like a farm cart..... To me it has wrongness all over it. 

Hacking is in hand, and I'm going to settle for a compromise. I can visualise a functional steering setup but the practicalities are pretty daunting for, as you say, fairly meagre results. 

So I'm trying for a fix with the wheels turned and set in position. And the cart axle disposed of. 

 

I think the problem is mine. I like functioning things. Or at least look like they can function. With planes I want to get some deflected elevators or ailerons, or deployed flaps or something, try to get the airframe to reflect what the full size plane does. 

 

So yes, I think it's me! 

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3 minutes ago, rob Lyttle said:

So yes, I think it's me! 

Hi Rob,

 

You are not alone!
I have an old Pyro Bentley that just has a very visible rod for the front axle.
I wasn't planning on making the wheels steer, but I have started to modify it so at least there is no prominent 'non-existent' axle 'rod thingy' visible.

I share your grief.

 

Cheers,

Alan.

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44 minutes ago, Alan R said:

I have an old Pyro Bentley

Nice!! 

 

46 minutes ago, Alan R said:


I share your grief.

Maybe we need to set up a self-help group for a bit of counselling 😀

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On the newer cars there's a lot of aerodynamic plates underneath (especially on supercars, race cars) so you won't get to see any of the beautiful suspension, steering, transmission etc. It's a shame, but I guess the engineers have a set price tag for the model so they're forced to choose: good details on what you see and price cutting on the invisible stuff or poor details all around but more stuff in the bags. Also Revell has an idiotic way of doing things sometimes: I have the i8 kit and had a look at the parts. They bothered to put engines, transmission and you won't see any of it, and they couldn't be bothered to do proper wheels on it.

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I've already replied to the post on the WIP thread but I'm with you that I like to see front wheels that can be posed in position, at least once you get up to 1:24/5 scale.  I accept that all models are necessarily compromised in some way, trying to balance robustness, scale fidelity and production cost but unless you are dealing with a heavy model then the solid metal axle feels like a compromise too far.

 

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This is Fujimi's solution, it's pretty basic but it works.  However, the underside of the car is a complete mess with no fidelity to the real thing and I wonder if it was adapted from another model?  Still, it's better than sticking the wheels on the end of a solid metal rod.

 

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It's quite satisfying being able to pose the wheels correctly for the car being at full lock, even on a simple mock-up.

 

Working steering isn't a deal breaker but it is certainly something that I like to see even on a kerbside model.

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While I agree that having posable steering is a good thing, I tend to view that as I nice-to-have rather than something essential. Looking at the 12 cars I've finished since returning to the hobby, only 5 of them have posable steering, although the 961 I'm doing at the moment is the first one with a solid front axle. Generally, I'll only find it annoying if it's noticeable, if it's completly hidden then I can live with it,

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This is something that annoys me too, as IMHO they look more realistic posed with some steering lock applied, especially when setting up for taking photos.  I would usually have the front wheels set so that the face of the wheel is more towards the camera.  I find it brings things more to life.  However, what's much worse is when the stub axles can steer, but there is no tie rod connecting them, so nothing keeping them aligned to each other :rolleyes:

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On 22/08/2020 at 18:30, johnlambert said:

This is Fujimi's solution, it's pretty basic but it works. 

Well, they've had a go at it, John, but yes it's quite rudimentary isn't it? 

I can see that the pivot position is too inboard on those, which results in the wheel and tyre swinging to and fro across the wheel arch. 

But there's something to work on. 

I have finally decided to go the whole works on the Ford. An issue like this is a red rag to me! 

IMG_20200823_223931

The kingpins are getting lined up with the modified wishbone ends, and crucially I've got a method for attaching the wheel/tyre assembly on to the hub bearing. 

Steering arms and adjustable trackrod is just about done too, and I can fit all this and work on the mechanism before I fit the wheels. 

 

I'm Happy now.... 😀😇🧙‍♂️‼️

I'll be a pleasure to look at the car when it's done. 

That would have irritated me to do the kit method 

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Well, things didn't fall into place just as easily as I was thinking there, but I've done it. 

IMG_20200905_234446

New top wishbones were fabricated as they take most of the car's weight. 

In the end the trackrod was positioned in front of the wheels, made of 2 Ali tube pieces and a length of wire so it is adjustable for length. 

IMG_20200905_232944

 

The arms on the hubs have to be at that rakish angle because the wheels are so deep, and that doesn't give perfect equal movement, but it's STILL better than a big steel cart axle. 

Finally to fix the wheels, I made a pair of these pins which slide into the wheel stub from the inside and a dot of glue on the shaft for the final fit. 

IMG_20200905_233055

IMG_20200905_232810

 

 

It's been a fun challenge and something I needed to do for my own satisfaction. 

I have a recollection of doing a Revell Porche Jagermeister gt type a good while ago now. The floor pan had 4 stumps moulded on to take the wheels. I built it, but never really looked at it again, basically because of that rubbish feature. 

So yes, it's me! I can't cope with rigid front-wheel assembly 😎

Edited by rob Lyttle
Pic

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Good workaround, especially getting the pivot points far enough outboard.   I've seen too many models with "posed" steering where they've used the kit's suspension as-is, instead of thinking about where the kingpin/ball joint is on the real thing.

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1 hour ago, Six97s said:

Good workaround, especially getting the pivot points far enough outboard.  

Thanks for that. Sometimes you set yourself up with a challenge! 

I've had some practice with a few Heller car kits and they're usually pretty good for steering, so I can see how they do it. 

I've got their Talbot Lago T26 racer kit and I'm looking forward to doing it in the upcoming Heller Group Build. 

But the yellow race car at the very top of the thread is the Mistercraft issue of the ancient Merit kit. I have given that one a steering makeover and it worked, so I applied some of the same principles to the Ford GT. 

IMG_20200724_232751

 

IMG_20200728_234807

Like Codger says, it's a lot more prominent and on-show with a little racer like this. 

All good practice for me, though 😎 Can't beat a bit of tinkering!! 

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Just to complete the journey, here's the latest steering scratch build. 

It's the little Airfix 1.32 Fiesta Rally car. The kit supplies disc brakes and square assembly lugs to glue the wheels on!? 

I was thinking seriously about making a slot car out of this one, but in the end I decided against and sorted the back axle and the steering. 

IMG_20200913_224555

 

IMG_20200913_224710

 

IMG_20200913_224848

I have since just about completed the decal application on the bodywork. That was some challenge!! But remarkably they all fit and line up! 

And she steers 😍

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Rob, that's even more impressive on a 1:32 scale kit. It sounds like the same method of wheel attachment on the Airfix Aston Martin DBR9 I'm building. 

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1 hour ago, johnlambert said:

It sounds like the same method of wheel attachment on the Airfix Aston Martin

What, you mean the square lugs?! 

Well, if you fancy a bit of cutting and drilling and fiddling around....? . 😎

 

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51 minutes ago, rob Lyttle said:

What, you mean the square lugs?! 

Well, if you fancy a bit of cutting and drilling and fiddling around....? . 😎

 

Yes, I've never seen anything like the square lugs before.  I'm having enough of a time trying to paint the tyres and wheels, never mind re-engineer the thing to steer as well! ;) 

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Those square lugs also appear on a number of Airfix 1/48 military stuff as well...

 

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35 minutes ago, Alan R said:

Those square lugs also appear on a number of Airfix 1/48 military stuff as well...

 

Sounds like we'll have to get used to it. 

"Going forward, in these unprecedented times, this is the new normal..... Square pegs in round holes !!" 

😇

I just had an MOT fail on the trackrod ends. If only they were made of plastic, I'd have them sorted in no time. 😎

No welding though. Remember back then, every year was a welding festival? 

Annual nightmare. 

Don't know about the rest of them, but Citroën have definitely made that a thing of the past 🇫🇷

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