Kit-bashed speeder bike, novel design, 1/35 scale


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I've been out of the modeling mode for several months now due to my work schedule getting dramatically worse recently. This has been a major diversion from my main project, a 1:72 scale replica of the HMS Pegasus 1776.

With a very small window of opportunity several weeks ago, I thought I could knock out a VERY quick and brief scratch-built, kit-based speeder bike inspired by those in the Star Wars universe, but a bit more in the style of Ian McQue, but less utilitarian and more....built for speed. Like a racing speeder bike. However, what was originally intended to be a weekend "throw-away" excuse just to get to fool around in my shop on a rainy Sunday afternoon has now developed into a bit of a things of this nature do.

What inspired me? This clipper guard that came with some beard trimmers:
I just thought, Man - that would be the most awesome grill on the engine of some kind of speeder bike.

So I dove into a bunch of old models I bought from an antique store for $5 each and found the makings of a the body of my speeder bike in a model plane - the type with the super fat but short fuselage. After attaching a couple of the components with a literal piece of sprue, I could see what I wanted this thing to be:

On to building an engine. It started with a contact lens enzymatic cleaner kit - the type with cages that hold your contacts as you immerse the entire thing in a peroxide bath to de-calcify them...
I wanted this to be 1/35 scale as that would match some other Ian McQue kit builds I'm working on. Plus, I have a couple of 1/35 scale WWII German motorcycle kits from which I could pull a rider and maybe the chassis of a vintage bike to use. But back to the engine. I started adding on parts...

A chunk of plastic laying around my shop from God knows what. I hope I don't figure out what this is used for a year from now and realize I actually need it back.
More of that airplane's parts:
And then a part I printed on my 3D printer that I thought looked cool.
Bashed together with some other parts from another WWII German bomber kit, and I've got the start of my engine.
And after a bit of primer on the engine block and the assembled body frame that the engine will fit in:
Next up: Assembling and weathering the the front half of the speeder.
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More Engine Work...

So, after hitting both the body and the engine with some grey primer, I weather the engine with a very dilute mixture of black and sap green acryclic paint - an oily appearing wash. I applied this quite heavily. After drying, I followed up with a silver dry brush over all the parts which brought out the metallic look.

I then slid this engine into the front end of the body, which had been previously assembled from the plane model parts, plus the beard clipper guard and painted with the grey primer. It was pretty slick to slide it in place, with the engine components being revealed in and around the body.

As you can see, there is a lot of real estate on the side of the engine cowling for some nose art. I've got several ideas of what I want to put up there. I considered some WWII era pin-up girls, but that is almost a bit too obvious, and wouldn't have a super graphic feel of what I'm looking for for this racing speeder - but more on that later...

Next up: Working on the back half.


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On to the back half:

At this point, I started to get a bit excited about the prospects of this little build. It was coming together better than I anticipated, so I wanted to design something slick for the back half of the speeder. I started with the frame of the WWII motorcycle kit I had - which is 1/35 scale. Mounting the handle bars, frame, front fork to a piece of plastic tubing along with some other parts was where I started.
The outer diameter of this white piece of plastic tube just so happened to match the inner diameter of the back half of my engine, so would form a really strong connection point between the two elements when it came time to merge them. But having them separate made it super easy to model and work on the back half. I continue to add parts from various model kits...
Realizing I needed a nose cone for the engine, I also found a little inspiration in the dial that lives at the bottom of an Old Spice deodorant dispenser - I had previously disassembled one of these after finishing the stick of deodorant and popped the dial off, thinking it might be good for something, and man am I chuffed with how it looks.
I was so excited, in fact, that instead of grabbing one, I grabbed a second one as well, although now I cant' use my stick of deodorant and am a bit stinky. But one should suffer for one's art...even if that means one's wife should suffer as well.

Rummaging through my model kits, I found a couple of sweet torpedoes that were just begging to be paired with these deodorant dials.
After mating those elements together, I tied them to one another with a piece of foam core.
I mounted this assembly to the bottom of the motorcycle frame assembly and then just started adding pieces where they seemed to logically fit.
Making sure not to forget about adding lots of greeblies to the underside, as well.
For anyone curious, those amazing looking white heat shields came from plastic surgical suction tips - something called a Poole suction tip. What an incredible shape.

And here's a view of the business end. I had to cut a small piece of styrene to mount some greeblies to the back as well, to give it a more solid structural look.
At this point, the back assembly was ready for the primer.
Next up: Merging the halves.


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Bringing it together

So, time to bring the front and rear together and see how it all is going to look.
I added some additional elements to help "merge" the two base components together, one of which was a control panel that would fit up under the windshield.
And some additional views...

The overhead shot...
From underneath...
You can note here that I've also sawed off the rounded noses of the two torpedoes to make it look like big air intakes.

The rear view:
And then it was time to do more painting and weathering to get the oily metallic effect on the back half and synch it with the front half stylistically.
At this point, those body panels are just screaming out for a paint job to really make this thing pop. So - lot's of obsession over what color scheme to go with....That'll be coming up next...

Up Next: What Colors to Go With?


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I considered a lot of different color combinations. I knew I wanted a racing stripe so needed to go with two colors that would really compliment one another but would also have a lot of contrast. I was thinking crimson and white, yellow and black, red and black, green and many possibilities. This lead me down a thought train of building a bunch of these with all different color combos and assembling them in some kind of race situation diorama...(I wonder what it's like to be able to just focus on one simple task without always feeling the need to blow this thing into something much larger????)

Anyway - I've always loved the retro Gulf race team colorway:
So, after some google searches and much drooling over these old Porsches, I knew this was what it had to be. Much masking and spray painting and detailing later, this is what I ended up with.
I also pilfered some number decals from another kit, and laid down some wooden planks for the rear equipment deck...
You can also note the rear seat painted to look like leather. The front seat will be under the driver, not yet placed.
What's next? I'm currently designing a couple of fins that will be mounted to the back half. They won't be large - but will definitely bring in some nice accents. These are most certainly Ian McQue-inspired additions. Also, I'm still searching for some ultra-graphic nose art. I've got an idea that is inspired by an amazing graphic novel illustrator, but I'm going to leave that as a surprise until I work out whether or not it's going to work. So stay tuned if you feel so inclined.

Next up: Adding some bling.
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I really admire your build. I admire your talent for putting odd and ends parts together. Instead of a speeder bike to me your build feels more like a pod racer missing the two big engines out front.


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So many great ideas for sourcing parts from everyday parts!
Makes me want to take apart my deodorant bottle right now :)
And the result is amazing, I love the design and the color scheme.
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