Fujimi Blade Runner Police Spinner (yes, another one!). Pic heavy!

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wayouteast

Well-Known Member
I finally got around to building that most iconic of movie vehicles, the Blade Runner Police Spinner. I've wanted to build this for years but have always held off as I really wanted to do it justice; Blade Runner is my favourite film, and the Spinner is such an amazing piece of design. I knew I wanted to light it and to add Gaff and Deckard, and the incredible builds that have been posted here and elsewhere over the years have always slightly terrified me if I was honest!

Anyway, I finally acquired the 1/24 Fujimi kit and conquered my trepidation. Whether I did it justice I'll leave up to other people, but I had a great time building this, though not without some scary and frustrating moments! As well as the Fujimi base kit I also used the wonderful Paragrafix photoetch detailing set.

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I started by working out how I was going to do the lighting, which for me was definitely going to be the hardest and most complicated part of the build, given the small scale and the sheer number of lights. The roofracks were a particular worry as they are so tiny and contain so many individual lights. I was planning on approximating the pattern of flashes the real vehicle had rather than imitating it exactly, but even so it would need each lamp to be wired individually to three separate flasher units (it would probably have been easier to have used a programmable unit like an Arduino, but I'm afraid my skills weren't up to that! Instead I bought a couple of standard variable-speed 'zig-zag' circuit boards off eBay and another small 5-channel circuit board from a company in Germany which simulated emergency vehicle patterns with 2x single flash outputs, 2x double flash and a single 'turn signal' blink. I thought the combination of those three boards would give me all the timings that I'd need to get the effect I was after, not just for the roofroacks but also the under-car flashers and the other beacons on the vehicle.

Then I started drilling and carefully wiring in the required white, blue, red and amber nano-SMDs before adding the various coloured lenses. I decided to use the kit's red lenses, even though I think one or more of the actual lights are amber. There's one white lamp, though, which I made a lens for from clear styrene sheet. For the roofrack lights, after I'd carefully labelled all the wires so that I knew which ones needed to connect to which output on the circuit boards, I twisted them together into a single strand, one on each side. This was intended to eventually travel along the underside of each roof bar and down into the back of the car through a small hole drilled into the roof on each side. I elected to keep the kit's roofracks rather than the more accurate Paragrafix ones, as this would make hiding the wires much easier.

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After a considerable amount of swearing and eye-strain, and the addition of the 'dome' lights, which had to have their own 'stalks' made out of thin styrene tube, a a quick 'twist-test' (no solder yet!) reassured me that the effect I wanted was possible (the dome lights in this video haven't got their final, more random pattern).

 

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wayouteast

Well-Known Member
Roof-racks set aside, I started on the interior detailing and lighting. All the interior and exterior lighting was going to be achieved with a combination of strip LEDs and single nano-SMDs where space required.

I superdetailed the panels on each side of the seats as suggested in the Paragrafix instructions, by bending guitar strings around the edges and securing them with superglue. The Paragrafix photoetch made installing the accurate footwells and rear bulkhead really easy. I also detailed the underside of the dash as this would be vaguely visible through the windows in the floor of the Spinner.

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The Paragrafix set also made the detailing of the various consoles and instrument panels much easier than drilling all those individual holes by hand would have been! Each panel was backed by a sheet of double sided clear tape. This meant I could then colour each of the individual lights and indicators by placing tiny scraps of coloured gel over each hole. The larger displays used the same technique but with the Paragrafix graphics behind them. Then a piece of plastic diffusion sheet was cut to size and placed in each console above the LED strip to avoid hotspots.

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To light the seat panels I cut pieces of the diffusion sheet to size and embedded nano-SMDs in each one so that all the small indicator lights would be lit consistently. It looked pretty good once light-blocked and painted.

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The glowing 'line' details visible at the front of the cockpit, two yellow on the main driver's console and a blue on the centre of the dash, were achieved by cutting the plastic kit parts apart at those locations and inserting sanded clear plastic sheet the right thickness for the edge of the sheet to create the lit feature. These were lit with yellow and blue nano-SND's mounted in place at the 'opposite' edge. I also added another SMD in the floor to the right of the centre console to light whatever that cylinder thing is there; this was created from clear plastic rod, masked and painted I couldn't tell whether the large white panel on the dash on the driver's side is illuminated or not; in the end I decided not to light it, as getting an even light distibution in such a narrow space would have been a nightmare... and anyway I was running out of room as will become apparent! The various LED strips were laid in placed and wired. Time for a test of the various components. I was very happy at this point (note - the second pic below was taken later in the process after the Spinner had been painted).

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wayouteast

Well-Known Member
Some solder and copper wire, and some greeblies from the spares box, were used to add some more detail to the rear cockpit bulhead and either side of the seats. I also added mesh to a couple of the underside grills.

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I really wanted the illuminated 'stripes' on either side of the Spinner, and the matching horizontal insert in the 'fin' on top of the vehicle to be lit consistently with the lit panels in the wheel-covers. In the kit the wheel cover inserts are clear plastic, while the wheel cover centres and the stripes are the same opaque white plastic as the rest of the kit. So I discarded the clear pieces and carefully cut out the areas of opaque plastic wherever needed to be lit. I cut pieces of diffusion sheet to match the excised areas, curved them where necessary by using a hairdryer, and glued them in place. Some filling and sanding blended them in nicely. I did have to slightly butcher the rear wheels of the Spinner to ensure that the fairly thick diffusion sheet fitted, and that I could get the LED strip that would light it in place. The strips and the 'fin' panel were lit with LED strip (with a green and red nano SMD at the bottom of the stripes) and the wheel covers were lit with nano-SMDs. (Some of the pictures below were taken at a later stage after the Spinner was painted).

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In fact, there's an inaccuracy that I built in at this point that annoys me even now. For some reason I got it into my head that the illumination on the fin stooped short at the back, rather than wrapping round the whole unit. I think it was because the engraved panel lines of the kit don't meet up. So I spent ages carefully removing a 'chunk' and leaving the rear edge intact. In fact I should have just sandwiched a layer of diffusion sheet in! Oh well... a reminder to double check your references! I somewhat 'fixed' the issue in the painting by extending the lit panel with white paint. It looks fine when the car isn't lit, and the error only becomes apparent when the lights go on.

The LED strips were attached, light-blocked and wired in place and tested. Success! The wires to the wheel covers were left deliberately long to allow enough slack for the covers to be manually positioned in 'road' or 'flight' modes. Small magnets in strategic places ensured that they stayed in position in each of the modes, and the wires are (mostly) hidden behind the covers.
 

wayouteast

Well-Known Member
Before I could go any further I needed to mask and paint all the parts, so that was the next task. I used a medium grey for the interior. I've seen various blues used for the exterior ranging from pale sky blue to a dark indigo. Even in the movie exact colour of the Spinner is a bit elusiv. I'm sure somewhere out there there's an exact match. But I like the darker look myself. So I went with a custome mix of blues to create a dark blue basecoat which was then lightened with an overspray of lighter pearl blue to give a nice, mid-range, slightly metallic final look. I really like this colour, even it may not be exactly canon!

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The rest of the smaller details were painted. Real mirrors were added to the wing mirrors. Later I also airbrushed transparent yellow (and green and red) onto the stripes to give them the correct colour in the unilluminated state.

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More lights were added and wired in - the rear light cluster and the undercar flashers. I also went with a detail that I think the original concept had but which is never seen in the film - which is the four exhaust vents at the bottom edge of the car, two on each side, should be illuminated. I went with an orange glow for those.

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The roofracks and flashers were attached and their wires fed through the roof and secured in place. All those carefully labelled wires were then soldered to their respective outputs on the effects boards. Hmm. That's... er... quite a lot of stuff to fit into the small spaces inside the car! I started to wish I was building a Tardis rather than a Spinner at this point!

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wayouteast

Well-Known Member
Much swearing, re-wiring, fitting, squashing, swearing, re-positioning, re-wiring, swearing and swearing later... everything was in there. Somehow.

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The windows were added (all but the bottom driver's side one - see below), and I thought I was ready for closure. This was a big moment! All the wiring was tucked in place and the lighting was double checked to make sure everything worked. I used epoxy cement for gluing the two halves together as it was the only thing strong enough to hold against the pressure of all that crap wiring trying to burst out! :D I clamped the two halves, checked the seams were nice and clean, checked all the lighting worked again, and went to bed, leaving it to cure overnight.

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The following morning. The clamps were removed and it all stayed together. No visible gaps at the seams. Everything lovely and clean. Lights all working. Beautiful! So I spent a happy morning adding all the decals and markings. God, it looked lovely!

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I dimmed the lights and hooked up a power supply to the lighting to enjoy the show.

Disaster. One half of the roofrack lighting remained dark, static and lightless. Noooooo!! The main feature of the model! I was bereft. I sat and tried to work out where the issue was... anything to put off what I knew was coming. Eventually, though tracing which lights were working and which weren't I had a pretty good idea of where the problem was. And it wasn't good news. It meant that a connection had failed on one of the circuit boards. You know, the ones that were buried deep in a mile and a half of wiring in the back of the epoxied, sealed, fully painted, decaled... all but FINISHED... car.

I got out my craft knife and a flat-headed scredriver and began the miserable task of prising apart that lovely clean join between the two halves of the Spinner, knowing that it would never go back together quite as perfectly again. Those of you who've faced a similar situation know that you really only get one shot at a perfect seam!

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:eek:
 

wayouteast

Well-Known Member
Anyway, suffice to say that the fault was what I thought it was, it was fixable, and the car did go back together eventually... but it's not perfect. They're disguised, but there are a couple of places where I know there are now gaps and visible glue residue and paint patching and damaged decals that weren't there before.

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OK. Spilled milk cried over I cheered myself up by adding the Paragrafix 'visor' console, which I thickened up a bit with styrene.

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Then I turned to the Spinner's occupants. I'd bought the 1/24 Fujimi 'Drivers' set to act as the base for Gaff and Deckard, so started some sculpting with Miliput. Earlier test fitting had shown that Gaff was going to be a bit of a problem since there wasn't really room to slide his legs under the installed console. But he needed legs as they'd be visible through the windows at the bottom of the Spinner if it was viewed from underneath. So he was installed in two parts, his torso from above and his legs from below through the lower window that I'd kept open for that purpose. I also added some control pedal for him at the same time. I gave Deckard his bowl of noodles, of course.

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Sculpting done, they were primed and painted. Gaff's legs were permanently installed behind glass(!) and his top half, along with Deckard just drop into place. Re-posed slightly from the original figures, they fit perfectly.

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wayouteast

Well-Known Member
I was almost done. All that remained was to make a section of Los Angeles tarmac for the Spinner to park on and dress it with some scratchbuilt accessories. I used styrene tubing, sheet and bits from the spares box to create a Blade Runner style street lamp, which has an SMD mounted in the lamp running off the same power supply as the Spinner itself. Some replicas of Deckard's newspaper were scaled down and printed on tissue paper to get the right look and then scattered on the street, along with some trash bags, empty bottles and drinks cans I couldn't resist adding a Futurama easter egg for those who can spot it!).

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And it was done. I think, despite the almost calamity of having to break it apart and re-glue it, it looks pretty cool, particularly with the lights on, and it was worth the quite considerable time and effort that went into it. Thanks for reading this far! Here are some pics (and a quick movie) of the final result! :)

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stussy

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
that is awesome!i love it.wish i had the skill and the patience to do something like that.well worth all the hard work you put into that build.awesome.(y)
 

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gedmac66

Sr Member
Simply stunning build mate !
Everything from the intricate lighting setup , added details and mods , through to the terrific figure/s modelling and the beautiful final diorama. :p
Bookmarked for future reference. Thanks for sharing !

Ged
 

wayouteast

Well-Known Member
Simply stunning build mate !
Everything from the intricate lighting setup , added details and mods , through to the terrific figure/s modelling and the beautiful final diorama. :p
Bookmarked for future reference. Thanks for sharing !

Ged
Thanks for the kind words! Glad you like it! :)
 

wayouteast

Well-Known Member
Fantastic!

That's probably the best build of one that I have seen.

That lighting mishap is the stuff of nightmares. That is always one the most stressful parts when closing something up
Thanks so much! So pleased you liked it. Yes, that moment was one of those when you stare at the thing almost in disbelief... :eek::rolleyes:
 

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wayouteast

Well-Known Member
This is everything. I'm currently working on a spinner myself, and I hope you don't mind if I "borrow" lots of your ideas. :D

Thank you! And feel free to borrow anything you like. And if there's anything that I might be able to help with, ask away and I'll do my best. I look forward to seeing your spinner - you can never have too many spinners! :)
 

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