Moon Bug RC vehicle

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My last project was the Moon Bus and before I completed the painting process on that project I started another RC vehicle project.

After some weeks of closure the charity stores had finally re-opened so I paid them a visit.
I found some more acrylic wine glasses which will be good for the engine bells for a future project and I came a cross a large acrylic pot that I thought might be useful for a rainy day.
It so happened that a rainy day did come ( its winter here in South Western Australia when we get most of our yearly rain).
I had an idea of what to do with this acrylic pot shape.
Once I get an idea everything else is instantly dropped and I feel compelled to follow it up.
This is what I call the experimental phase of a project.
I'm trying to see whether an idea has legs or wheels in this case.
Sometimes the this phase comes to nothing, things don't work out as hoped and the idea is dropped and it never becomes a fully fledged and documented project.

After a rough thumbnail on some scrap paper at work while waiting for a CNC cycle to finish I came up with this tiny germ of an idea for an RC chassis I have on hand.

Initial rough thumbnail.

I had a scrounge through my boxes of shapes and came up with a the dome from a Crayola colour explosion toy.
This is the third one of these I have picked up from charity shops.
It had a matching diameter to the big acrylic pot. I also found a small acrylic bowl which matched the other end of the pot.
A few days later I did some more extremely rough thumbnails with the found shapes in mind.


About a year ago I picked up a chassis of a Kyosho Mad Crusher because it was relatively cheap and I always liked the big solid axles of that particular design.
This old chassis design has been updated over the years and it now has a 5 link suspension system.
The chassis I got didn't have any tyres or wheels or electronics but I had some Imex Jumbo max tyres and wheels from an abandoned project sitting in a box which I figured would fit the bill.


It turned out the old 14mm hex wheels didn't fit and fouled the axles even with the correct Kyosho 14mm adapters so I had to find a set of Hobao 17mm monster pirate wheels which unfortunately have been discontinued.
Lucky for me I think I may have picked up one of the last remaining sets from Taiwan where they were originally made and they fitted perfectly.
This chassis had been sitting around for about a year and I did a number of designs for it but none of them got past the initial idea.

The big acrylic pot find was the catalyst to kick this project into go.

The Mad crusher is pretty wide especially with the wide wheels and tyres I have on it, so the body needs to be wide to suit.
The first thing to do was to cut the shapes in half accurately.
I marked out the centre line with masking tape and carefully cut along the edge with a zona saw.
I bit of sanding on a flat sanding board and the edge is ready to be glued with methylene chloride to the flat 2mm styrene sides of the centre section of the hull.
The bottom of the pot was about 10mm thick so I chain drilled it out and cleaned it up on the belt sander.
Chain drilling is where you drill a series of holes closely spaced and then follow up with a larger size drill which hopefully breaks through the web between each hole thus freeing the section you want to cut out.
Removing the thick portion at the bottom was a vain attempt to reduce some weight of the body always necessary using an off the shelf RC vehicle which is only designed to hold up a lightweight Lexan shell.

acrylic pot cut in half.


Removing the thick bottom by chain drilling.


All the acrylic to styrene joints were reinforced with some baking soda ( sodium bicarbonate) and thin superglue.


All the styrene joints were reinforced with a narrow strip or doubler.


I made some grills or vents to go inside the little acrylic bowl from 1mm styrene strips sandwiched together with a small evergreen strip spacer between the strips.


Here is the rear section on the just sitting on the chassis.


I took this photo into photoshop to try and come up with a cabin section but didn't have any inspiration so I went back to the shapes box for a further rummage.
I tried out a few things, one of which was a hamster ball but ended up with another couple of small acrylic bowls and decided that arranging them in Princess Leia hairstyle like arrangement was the go.
A couple of Bruder figures at 1/16 scale are placed in their eventual location in the cab.
As seems to be my custom there is a central access to the rear of the vehicle.
Here I would usually put a door but decided in this case on steps down to a short hallway behind which I will put a baffle or wall that suggests you can go either left or right just to add a bit more interest.


The last photo I took into photoshop to try out some glazing ideas.
I settled on a relatively simple glasshouse idea shown below.


On the model I have added a couple of recesses underneath at the front for some LED torch headlights and am starting to work on the curved glass house.
I plan to use some thin sheet lexan for this if I can get it to curve without springing back.
I want to be able to remove the front glass while for access to detailing and eventually painting the cabin.
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Progressing on with the glass house cabin.
It has been fiddly to get the side mullions straight as they have to be curved to fit the curved bowl and end up looking straight.
The method to achieve this is to place some masking tape on the curved surface and then draw a line outlining the shape you want.
When you peel of the tape and place it on some flat sheet you will hopefully have all the curvature in the right place so that it becomes straight again once cut out and glued back onto the curved surface.
The 2mm thick styrene has to be massaged (carefully bent) into the required curve by hand first before cementing into position.
The other thing is to try and not get any cement onto the clear glass areas and fog them up.
If any small bits of solvent do mar the clear areas you can usually polish it out with a plastic polishing compound.


All the power supply wiring has been installed and tested. I have a ubec providing 12 volts from the 14.4 volts delivered from two 7.2 volt Lipo batteries in series which power the vehicle.
12 volts is being provided to the cabin lighting and the two 10mm led tail lights which each have the required resistor to work with 12 volts.
The head lights are two cheap LED torches which are supposed to run on 4.5 volts from three 1.5 volt dry cells.
I found a small cheap DC to DC converter board which has an adjustable output voltage so I am down converting the 12 volt supply and providing 4 volts to run the headlights.
I found the torches started to draw a lot more current at 4.5 volts so I dropped it to 4 volts which was about half the current and more or less the same brightness.
Getting the torches to work took some fiddling about until I found the DC to DC down converter board and I burnt out a couple of torches in my attempts. Luckily they only cost a couple of dollars.

The is a tiny board stuck to the top of the UBEC in the picture below is a Pololu rc switch with small low side mosfet.
It takes a signal from the third channel on the transmitter and switches the lighting on and off remotely. I believe you can find a similar thing on already wired up.
I have since discovered that the BEC in the speed controller puts out 6 volts and the logic part of the Polulu Low side mosfet switch has a maximum of 5.5 volts.
I will have to substitute the next size up switch which is the medium side Mosfet switch which will easily take the 6 volts supplied to power it.


10mm Led tail Lights


Converter board providing 4 volts to the headlights.


I am using twin old school brushed motors in this vehicle which are more than capable of pushing this heavy beast around at a decent if not frightening speed given that this is a heavy custom made one off body shell. The electronic speed controller is a Hobbywing Quicrun WP 880 for dual brushed motors. This setup is also I might add considerably cheaper than a brushless system.


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Continuing on, I finished detailing the top surface and built a communications dish.
Just for a change I truncated the dish from the full circle. It is made as per usual from a small LED push light dome.
The support arms are from a broken transformers toy. The signal sensor on the dish is also a transformers part.

The green sensor dome is from a baby's toy.
The black shape with the slot in the top is from the cover of the laser head from inside a CD Walkman.
The other black shape I think was out of a ink jet printer.

I also made an opening hatch which was pretty pointless as there is no hole underneath ( there is now ).

I'll probably end up gluing it shut. The hatch dome was a cut down dial from an old washing machine.

The rest is the usual assortment of kit parts and styrene sheet panels.

I also added some half round ABS extrusions around the purple acrylic pot halves in the valleys. This gives the subtle impression of an underlying inflated shape which I quite like.




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Next up was building a rear door and finishing up the external detailing as well as starting the interior of the cabin.

Rear Door.


Right side.

Left side.


The picture above shows the louvre arrangement of the roof over the rear door.

I also added a second smaller grey blister to each side.
These blisters are made from plastic measuring spoons with the handle sawn off.
The nub of the handle was then sanded back to the contour matching the oval shape.

Some detailing has been added to the underneath of the hull front where it meets the chassis. I also added a few bits of detail underneath along the sides to fill in some gaps that could be seen through the chassis.


I have some small tanks (not shown) made from PVC pipe end caps which will be affixed to the chassis after they are painted.
The cabin interior still needs some control consoles to be made up with some backlit screens and some arm rests for the seats.
The Bruder figures seem happy with their new seats.
The padding for the seats is made up from half round ABS strips.


Through the door in the middle and down two steps is a back wall that will look like a transverse corridor to the interior of the vehicle.
The back wall has been detailed with a recessed section.
There is some 12 volt strip lighting in this corridor which hopefully will be brighter than the cabin interior which I plan to light from the as yet unmade console screens.


I have also made some detailed inserts for the cockpit sides with kit parts mostly from the Tamiya 88mm Flak kit..


I am a bit concerned that perhaps the detail is a little too fine scaled for the vehicle and looks out of place compared to the rather chunky detailing elsewhere.


I will reserve judgement for now and wait till some primer goes on to see if some alternative inserts need making.

This model is getting close to completion of the build phase.
There is still a bit of piping to do, the cabin sides to think about and the consoles to sort out.


Thanks for looking.

More soon...


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Well-Known Member
I believe I have finished up the construction phase of the Moon Bug project with the completion of the Cabin interior.

I made a central console out of a 1/35 scale tank hull front and part of the casing of an old radio control transmitter, the bit that the telescopic aerial was mounted in.

The interior has 4 LEDs wired up inside, two white in the centre and two red on the outer edges.
They are wired up to the 12 volt supply with a suitable resistor on the positive side and held in place with blobs of hot glue.

A piece of opal perspex is added to the front as a screen and light diffuser along with a surround of 0.5 styrene.
Various tiny kit parts complete the detailing.




The seats have had arm rests and control panels added with a rudimentary joystick.



Detailing of the side tanks has also been completed. These will be adhered to the chassis once painted.


Once the interior is painted I can glue the cabin side bowls in position.
They may need some further detailing but I will wait and see after the primer has gone on.


Actually, looking at the photo above, it occurs to me that the front window struts on the interior could do with some detailing as well.

Thanks for looking.
More soon...

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Well-Known Member
Got some primer on the Moon Bug.














I definitely need stiffer springs and more than likely sway bars on the chassis to hold up this heavy body.
The next step is to paint the figures and install them in the cabin and also come up with a suitable paint scheme.

Thanks for looking.
More soon...

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Well-Known Member
The greeblies on the side look very familiar
Muzza, That's probably because they are dis-assembled parts from that box of broken transformer toys you gave me.
Unless you mean the round detail insert on the side of the cabin. Most of the nurnies on that are from the Tamiya 88mm kit.


Sr Member
Muzza, That's probably because they are dis-assembled parts from that box of broken transformer toys you gave me.
Unless you mean the round detail insert on the side of the cabin. Most of the nurnies on that are from the Tamiya 88mm kit.
Yes the 88mm kit, I have used lots of them on the SD. Transformer parts that is my sons specialty.


Well-Known Member
Its been 5 months since the last post on the Moon bug and I have not been able to do any modeling for some time but I have finally managed to finish the Moon Bug project.

Last time the model was at the primer stage, so the first job was to devise a paint scheme. As is my process these days I took a grey primer photo into photoshop and fiddled about until I came up with something I liked.As the vehicle has a whimsical comic book outline I wanted to do a colorful paint job to go with it. This is what I came up with.


I then decided to design up and make some decals to add to the graphic nature of the finish. These i designed in Inkscape which is a free open source vector graphic editing program. I have always liked the graphic elements that Chriss Foss would apply to his gouache painted spacecraft book covers of the 1970s'. Referring to my Chriss Foss art book I availed myself of some of his genius and some of the decals do bear a very strong resemblance to his work. Here is the decal sheet.


One of the problems with DIY decals is that inkjet printers can't print white so if you want white in your decal you have to use white decal paper. That then means the carrier is white and you have to carefully cut around each decal to remove the extraneous white around the edges. Of course you can use clear decal paper which means you don't have to be as precise when cutting out the decal as the borders will be clear and will not be visible once applied but any white areas on your design will come out clear. If it is a big decal you can paint a white area where you want the white bit to be but for small decals I think it would be too hard to get the white painted areas that accurate.

I printed onto white decal paper and once cutting out the decals and applying them with much setting solution found that little white edges showed up which wasn't exactly what I wanted. I have since found some online tips for using white decal paper, where the edges of the decal should be coloured with a permanent marker to get rid of any white bleed once applied. Too late for me but a good idea for any future project that needs custom decals.

Paint was car paint from touch up spray cans with varying shades mixed up once decanted into airbrush jars and airbrushed on. Weathering was my usual method of a wash of Tamiya flat back diluted in much methylated spirits, wiped off with a metho soaked rag in the direction of the required streaks and drybrushing with white students acrylic. I then also added some oil paint colour modulation and a dirty brown pin wash.

One of the things I tried out on this model was painted panels lined out with a fine permanent marker pen. Models from Terrahawks recently came up for auction with accompanying photos and they had a surface that used a similar technique to very good effect.

My conclusion is that I prefer to have panels that are in the very least scribed into the surface if not actually separate from the underlying surface and glued on individually. I prefer the way light hits an actual edge with both a highlight on one side and a shadow on the other.

One thing I added to the model was a couple of dummy whip aerials on the top blisters at the rear. They are made from bicycle gear cable with a couple of plastic kits parts for a mount and a termination at the top. They should wave about fairly realistically when the vehicle is in motion.

Finally here is the finished model.



















The next project up for completion is going to be a spaceship. In fact it will be one I started way back in 2013 and haven't touched since. Here is the first part of the project from 2013 - New Spaceship Model part 1.

In fact I need to come up with a better name for this spaceship as New Spaceship Model is pretty lame and considering it was started in 2013 it isn't all that new any more. If you have any suggestions for a decent name for the project please leave a comment.

Thanks for looking...

More soon...

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Wow! That's amazing work! All the more impressive because it's on a working RC chassis.

It looks like the Red Dwarf crew should be driving it around. :) It would be really bad-ass to make a Starbug variant with a hold and ramp for it.

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