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

orthofox

Well-Known Member
Wow - thanks to all who responded to this thread! This forum is just the absolute best. To answer some questions: Yep, this is going to be made into a diorama. I want it to be something unexpected. I have an idea in mind for this, but it will be something very unconventional. I don't want to spoil the surprise, though, so stay tuned. But I'm really anxious to see this thing off the ground and hauling A$$....
 

orthofox

Well-Known Member
Rear Rudders (fins)

Just a few photos of the design and construction of some rear rudders for the speeder bike. My inspiration for these was really the external rudders and fins that concept artist Ian McQue adorns his flying tugs and boats with. I've included a link to one of my other projects that features the construction of a couple models based on an Ian McQue painting of the Waldo and Remora with fins / rudders for anyone that is interested:


With this, as of yet unnamed speeder, I had left two spots on the tail end of the speeder to add some rudders. I wanted these rudders to exist on the end of some struts and have the appearance that they were controllable to provide some sort of steering function of the bike. What complicated this, however, was that my model is not perfectly symmetrical. In other words, the mounting surface upon which the rudders were to be attached was at a different angle with respect to horizontal / vertical. To overcome this, I started by placing some hemispherical domes to the surface where the the rudders would be attached. This would allow the attachment point to act as sort of a ball-joint and permit infinite versatility in how I could position them.

https://flic.kr/p/2gbgZwW
Then on to the construction of the rudders which were kit-bashed and scratch built from some model parts and styrene.

https://flic.kr/p/2gbhcsM
https://flic.kr/p/2gbhwtr
After grey primer:

https://flic.kr/p/2gbhcnS
After mounting them: I purposely placed them at a bit of angle to give the appearance that the bike is banking to the left, which will come in to play in the context of the diorama (I hope).

https://flic.kr/p/2gbhcqn
https://flic.kr/p/2gbhwr2
https://flic.kr/p/2gbgZug
https://flic.kr/p/2gbhcoP
Next up: Drivers and Details
 

orthofox

Well-Known Member
Inspirations...

Well, they say the devil is in the details. And that is certainly proving to be true here. Time to give this little speeder a driver and some details. I am perpetually inspired by things I see and read and thought I'd provide some of my references for this little project.

The driver. The only thing I had to work with was a 1/35 scale German motorcyclist who is sitting bolt upright. Fortunately, the cheapo kit I bought has his figure broken into separate arms, body, torso and legs. Thus I completely changed his posture from sitting upright to leaning way forward in a much more aggressive pose. This required gluing the various components together at weird angles and filling in the gaps with putty and sanding it back to try to make it look natural. His helmet was completely remodeled as well. That last thing I wanted the driver to to look like was a damn Nazi. As far as color schemes, I really wanted to go for a look I saw in a photo of Steve McQueen racing Triumphs back in the day wearing a wicked cool waxed canvas Barbour coat.

https://flic.kr/p/2gbTYGd
Nose art. I've been struggling a bit with this one. At first I REALLY wanted to have a WWII era bomber pin-up girl. But it just almost seemed too obvious. Like OF COURSE the nose would have a pin-up girl on it. So I sought inspiration elsewhere. I began looking through the artwork of Simon Stalenhag. If you've never heard of him, carve out the next 8 hours of your life, Google him immediately, and then buy all of his books. Here's a sampler:

https://flic.kr/p/2gbTDCn
You're welcome.

In doing my research I stumbled upon this avatar he uses on his Facebook page:

https://flic.kr/p/2gbTYFb
That was it. That's what I wanted on my speeder. I ended up hand painting this (twice - in mirror images for each side) on some super thin paper, and then transferring that to the nose with a watered down mixture of white PVA glue and water. I did the same for some big racing numbers. Then I dug through my old model kits for some various decals that might work. After all of that, I added some wear and weathering to make it all hopefully come together. And here is the current status of things:

https://flic.kr/p/2gbTYP2
https://flic.kr/p/2gbTYL6
https://flic.kr/p/2gbTDEb
https://flic.kr/p/2gbTDF8
https://flic.kr/p/2gbTYJT
https://flic.kr/p/2gbTsnz
https://flic.kr/p/2gbTspD
https://flic.kr/p/2gbTDKm
https://flic.kr/p/2gbTss4

Next up: Starting the diorama!
 
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orthofox

Well-Known Member
Building a world...

After nearing completion of the speeder, I immediately started contemplating an environment in which to place it: a diorama. In my mind, I had two general options: either something mechanized and industrial, or something very natural and bucolic. There has always been something that has really appealed to me about mixing sci-fi elements with nature. My inspirations were undoubtedly the Star Wars universe considering the environs of Tatooine, Hoth, Dagobah, Endor, etc. But I've also been increasingly inspired by some of the amazing artwork of Simon Stalenhag (previously mentioned) and Jakub Rozalski.

https://flic.kr/p/2gfGKbo
https://flic.kr/p/2gfGhBC
I love the contrast that these paintings achieve between the hyper-industrial, advanced technology and an older, almost pastoral lifestyle. This is what I want to achieve with my speeder diorama. I want to see this thing flying across a a grassy field, maybe in Ireland or Scotland. To that end, I embarked on building a slice of a little green-field world this weekend.

First step - cutting a piece of 1/8" masonite to 16" X 24" dimensions upon which to layer 3/4" foam to build some topography.

https://flic.kr/p/2gfGBT7
Then, it was off to a nearby creek where I scavenged some rocks, which I hammered into some smaller pieces. From these pieces I started to construct a low stone wall.

https://flic.kr/p/2gfGBNT
Next up, I got a swatch of fake fur from a local fabric store from which I hope to make some long grass.

https://flic.kr/p/2gfGfX5 (My wife came down to my shop at this point and saw this on the workbench and asked me if I killed something in the back yard. I told her yes, the neighbors' cat. She walked away non-amused.)

The fake fur was then died green using a 10:1 dilution of forest green acyrlic paint in water, allowed to dry, and then brushed out using my dog's brush. The final result was then put on the foam adjacent to the small portion of stone wall constructed to see if looked OK enough to continue on.

https://flic.kr/p/2gfGfVw
Satisfied for now, I decided to to carry on. I glued the grass down permanently to one corner, trimmed the edges a bit and combed it once again.

https://flic.kr/p/2gfGBCs
Then it was back to the rock wall which is what I'm still working on now, with a long way to go.

https://flic.kr/p/2gfG7Em
And this seems to be a perfect moment to talk about glue - as I fought like crazy to figure out how to glue rocks to styrofoam, rocks to rocks and fabric to styrofoam. So here is your public service announcement. Using super glue on foam will melt it like Alien acid blood going through the hull of the Sulaco. And it will give off poison gas that will kill you, again - just like Alien acid blood.

https://flic.kr/p/2gfPN9T
I know you know this already. But I didn't. Now I do.

So - here were the glues I used:

https://flic.kr/p/2gfGBEm
Fake fur fabric to styrofoam: 3M 77 adhesive spray. Spray both surfaces, wait 30 seconds. Stick on. Amazing.
Stone to styrofoam: Clear Gorilla glue gel. Takes about an hour to set up initially - but doesn't melt the foam and creates a strong bond.
Stone to stone: Gorilla Super Glue. Super fast, super easy.

Next up - More Stone, More Grass.
 

Analyzer

Sr Member
Cool idea for the base!

You may or may not know it, but going off the ca on foam fiasco, beware spraying primer directly on foam, most spray paints will eat it away just like with the superglue. You have to coat it first with gesso or even just brush paint it with acrylics. I found that out the hard way
 

orthofox

Well-Known Member
Cool idea for the base!

You may or may not know it, but going off the ca on foam fiasco, beware spraying primer directly on foam, most spray paints will eat it away just like with the superglue. You have to coat it first with gesso or even just brush paint it with acrylics. I found that out the hard way
Thanks so much. And thanks also for the tip regarding primer on foam, I absolutely did NOT know this.
 

korben44

Sr Member
Looks great! I did not know that about foam and superglue, but that would work great for an Alien diorama! They say you learn something new every day... Today I learned more than two things.
 

newmagrathea

Sr Member
I'm loving this build. You really gave it some personality with the graphics and weathering. You should build a second different one so you can have them racing neck to neck.
 

orthofox

Well-Known Member
Looks great! I did not know that about foam and superglue, but that would work great for an Alien diorama! They say you learn something new every day... Today I learned more than two things.
Well this is very small payback for all that I've learned from you amazing threads, my friend -
 

orthofox

Well-Known Member
I'm loving this build. You really gave it some personality with the graphics and weathering. You should build a second different one so you can have them racing neck to neck.
Well thank you! And yeah, you sort of read my mind. I was holding the speeder over the diorama as I was working more on the rock wall last night and had the same thought: What if there was a second one and they were having a match race? And here's a spoiler - I'm already working on some non-conventional spectators who will be in the field watching the whole thing - so why not have them watch two? Thanks again for your suggestion!
 

orthofox

Well-Known Member
More grass

I thought I'd share a few more photos of the grass-making process for those interested. The first steps, which I did not photograph, were simply to roughly cut out a swatch of the fake fur material that will fit in the designated area - in this case, the largest rhomboid-shaped area below the stone wall. Next up, I trimmed the fur in a non-uniform and patchy fashion to create some varied lengths to the 'grass'. It's important when you do this to do the very opposite of what you would do when trimming your or your dog's hair. Don't cut straight across, but rather down at an angle in smaller snips - again - so it doesn't look like the bowl cut treatment my mother used to give my bangs in 1978.

Next up is the really messy bit - and it is a pain in the a$$ - dying the fur. Again, I used about a 1:10 dilution of Hooker's green acrylic in water. Then I used an old brush and just started working it into the fabric. I'm blown away by how thick the fake fur is - it even seems to have an undercoat - so you REALLY have to soak it and work the dye in deep to make sure it is dyed all the way down to the backing. When you're done, it looks like you've just painted your dog green - it's a cold, wet, matted mess.

https://flic.kr/p/2gjoyAP
https://flic.kr/p/2gjoyzM
Take a deep breath and trust the process.

While this was drying (which takes about 24 hours) I prepped the stone wall. First up, I painted all the white cut stone surfaces (where the stones fractured when I broke them from larger sizes to smaller sizes) a warm grey. Then I applied a dilute black wash to the whole thing, to age it a bit. Finally, I painted the foam around the wall a rich dirt brown color to hide any white foam that might appear if the new grass fabric doesn't fit tightly up against the wall.

https://flic.kr/p/2gjooar
Back to the wet green fur.

Once it was dry, I took the dog brush and brushed it out, really working through any mats and bringing up any loose fibers. I also trimmed any stray or haggard bits off

https://flic.kr/p/2gjoob8
Next, I sprayed both the foam and the back of the fabric with 3M 77 adhesive, waited about 3-4 minutes and then slowly transferred it over, making sure to press firmly along the base of the wall and edges of the diorama. I brushed again and then snipped out some bare patches to glue down some errant stone that have tumbled from the wall down into the field. I will place a lot more of these over time, to really bring both the stone and grass elements together.

https://flic.kr/p/2gjoSV3
Then, another good brushing to give the grass some directionality as if the wind was blowing through it.

Next, I experimented with some flat-head sewing pins, whose head was painted white, to hopefully look like flowers. I just placed a few to see if I like the effect. I think I'll try it more extensively after the rest of the grass is placed.

https://flic.kr/p/2gjoyvy
Next up: More grass, some flowers and some spectators!
 

orthofox

Well-Known Member
At the very least, the flat pins can be mushrooms... Great work, so far!
I thought the same thing! They definitely look like mushrooms when there just a few of them and I take a magnified photo. I'm hopeful when I get a bunch more added in, from a distance, they'll take on more of the appearance of clusters of wild flowers. If I hate them, they'll be easy to remove since I'm literally just sticking the pins down through the fabric backing of the fur and into the underlying styrofoam.
 

orthofox

Well-Known Member
Thank you for not only sharing a fantastically detailed build, but also taking the time to explain the individual processes you’re undertaking with it. It’s much appreciated.

Ged
Agreed! I find the process just as fascinating to read about as seeing the end results
Thanks so much for your guys' interest and comments. I'm sort of making this up as I go along - which I realize isn't everyone's cup of tea on this forum, which is completely understandable. But maybe there could be other opportunities for using some of these techniques related to some known Sci-Fi genres....like the opening of Rogue One on the planet of Lah'mu. This would be such a cool diorama...

https://flic.kr/p/2gjtVJK
 
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