Planet Creeper 6x6 RC sci-fi vehicle

mung

Sr Member
I started building the chassis for this RC 6x6 vehicle in 2011.

Here is the Venom Creeper as it is supposed to be, a rock crawling RC vehicle supposedly to compete at the time with the Axial Rock crawlers.
Being not particularly successful it was discontinued and for a little while back in 2011 they could be had new quite cheaply.
I got a couple of the kits thinking I could attempt to make a 6X6 chassis.
Others had already done this reasonably successfully so I had a go.
One thing I particularly liked was the anodised aluminium beadlock rings which are very sci fi in design.
The other aspect to the Creeper axles that i liked is they have a switchable diff lock, which means you can either have a working diff for tight cornering or a locked diff for better traction on rough terrain.
As I have little regard to the "crawling performance" of these vehicles I thought they would suit my application just fine.


Crawler%2BRED%2BBODY.jpg

I started by designing the chassis framework on a CAD program.
CreeperChassis.jpg

This design was then printed out onto paper twice and spray glued to some 1.6mm thick lengths of aluminium angle.
All the radii were then drilled out, after center popping them, using the radius centers marked on the printout.
Then using a scroll saw and a lot of blades really designed for wood I cut out the rest of the material that made up the holes in the truss structure.
Much careful filing later I had a pair of frames that the rest of the venom assemblies could bolt to.


P7280652.jpg


What you see here in these pictures is circa 2011.
I eventually swapped out the shocks and their mounting positions many times over until I had a suspension system that could hold the weight of the top heavy body without flopping to the side.
The added on rear axle is connected to a creeper frame cut in half, with many spacers made from 6mm aluminium rod on my tiny Unimat 3 lathe which since then I have sold and replaced with a much larger mini lathe.

P7280653.jpg


P7280654.jpg


I then turned my attention to the body design and did a number of rough thumbnail sketches.
After choosing the one I liked I a rough low poly model to get a sense of the volumes and proportions.


Creeper_v002.jpg



Creeper_v001.jpg



6X6Persp.jpg


I then built a wood and plywood frame as a basis to start skinning it with some 2mm styrene.
However I ended up not really liking what I had done and it sat around till 2015 when I did another thumbnail sketch that got me enthused enough to start cutting plastic.

To be continued...
 

mung

Sr Member
In 2015 I came up with this thumbnail that showed some promise and got me enthused to continue on with the project.


Creeper_6X6.jpg



The thumbnail was scanned in and used as a reference image to draw up some CAD.


Creeper_6X6_drawing.jpg




Over a couple of weekends and in a spurt of enthusiasm, some white 2mm styrene (HIPS), black 1mm styrene and a small amount of 1.6mm ABS was cut and glued together.

P1011280.jpg


P1011281.jpg


I decided, in the end, that this body didn't really look right on this chassis, it was too tall and proportionally too short.
(I have since come up with an idea that will employ this abandoned construction so it wasn't completely wasted effort.)

I also found that I had not captured the essence of the thumbnail in styrene, particularly with respect to the cabin area which suggests an expansive area of glass. The one I ended up making has a small constricted windscreen which was not what the thumbnail originally suggested.

Here is the old version 2 body on the chassis, showing to me at least, it just does not seem to fit.


IMG_20170504_202212938.jpg



The project then stalled once again.
Then in 2017 I had another crack at it and attempted a new design, making it the third and definitely final attempt at a body that suits this chassis.
In fact it is similar in proportion to the first version but in my mind much better realised.

And here is the version 3 thumbnail;
creeper_V3.jpg

I further reduced the height of the body when doing a rough CG model.


Creeper_V3_side.jpg


Creeper_V3_TopJPG.jpg


Creeper_V3_Front.jpg


I then cut up the CG model into thin strips at the points I wanted to make bulkheads and deleted the rest of the geometry. A screen captured front view is then used as a tracing guide for a 2d Cad drawing that is then printed out and stuck on 6mm foamed PVC sheet and cut out making frames and bulkheads for the real model.
Bulkheads_v3_Front.jpg

Bulkheads_half.jpg


Side_dimensioned.jpg


Here are some pics of the frame construction which is then skinned in styrene sheet.

IMG_20170514_123353772.jpg


IMG_20170514_123334097.jpg


I had attempted to make the frame as lightweight as possible by cutting and drilling holes everywhere.
It will still turned out to be pretty heavy once all the styrene skinning and the detail parts went on.
It was however a pretty strong structure.
The photo below shows how much better this body design sits on the chassis.

P1011955.jpg


To be continued...
 

mung

Sr Member
In 2017 I had also started on the roof detail and the detail on the rear.

P1011947.jpg


P1011948.jpg


Look carefully below and you may spot some keys from an old computer keyboard and some heat bent bits of green plastic knitting needles.

P1011949.jpg



P1011945.jpg



P1011950.jpg


I had also mostly done the cockpit.
In fact this was built way before all my recent completed RC vehicles and this cabin interior was the prototype for all those that followed.
The seat padding is made from bits of 3mm Foamed PVC sheet and the headrests from 6mm.
There is also a magnetic cupboard catch in there above the crew door holding a roof cabin access panel down.

P1011953.jpg


P1011951.jpg


P1011956.jpg


At the same time I was in the process of making a wooden former to heat shape some perspex sheet to make the large area of curved front and side windows that will go in the gaping hole that's visible in the photo above.

Below you can see the wooden buck I made to heat bend the perspex windscreen. The buck and the perspex piece is made over size to be trimmed back to fit after bending. The trick to heat bending perspex neatly is to only heat the area to be bent. I use bits of thin sheet metal and you could use aluminium foil to mask the hot air from the heat gun from the areas that are to remain flat.


P1011972.jpg


The first part of the process was to apply the gentle curve to the front face of the window area.
I heated the whole section masking off the sides until it was just slightly soft and used a cotton rag to press it down onto the former, the plastic is quite hot at this point.
Once cooled I re-arranged the sheet metal masking to reveal a roughly 6mm wide strip for the corner bend. That exposed strip was heated and then bent using a flat piece of wood to push the perspex against the side of the former. This was then repeated for the other side. Once cooled again it was trimmed to fit the front of the model and 2mm styrene pieces added.
The pictures below show the result.
Perspex sheet has a protective film which in this case was a thin plastic film. It was left on the underside through the bending process. If the perspex had the more traditional paper protective layer I would have removed it first as it does not stretch like the plastic film does.

P1011971.jpg


IMG_20211121_071642778.jpg


I was pretty confident I now had something that would go through to completion.
That confidence however was misplaced, as the project was left dormant in this promising state from 2017 until picking it up again for the push to completion now at the end of 2021.

To be continued...
 

mung

Sr Member
The following brings this project into 2021 with the work shown now current.

IMG_20211121_071024928.jpg


There is not much left to do to it other than wire up and install all the various light systems and complete all the surface paneling, and paint it and the figures etc etc.
Actually it seems there is still a fair bit to do and it always takes longer than I estimate.

In an attempt to lighten the very heavy body I hacked away at most of the interior bulkheads made from 6mm foamed PVC.
This actually did result in a reasonable weight saving.

When I made the chassis originally I had provided a 6v power supply for any future lighting but as I now prefer to run all the lighting at 12 volts I replaced the 6 volt UBEC with a Matek booster board which has an adjustable output voltage.
It takes a feed from the 7.2 volt LIPO battery for the vehicles brushed motor and ESC and boosts it to an adjustable voltage in this case adjusted to 12 volts.
In order to get a higher voltage than the source you must sacrifice some current but as I am only powering some LEDs which only use a small amount of current there is no problem.

8FEIlJnEDIalBWYx_oNFqlqXMEmqWPYKIqPiOLPw=w640-h360.jpg


The 12 volts from the Booster Board then goes through a Pololu switch that plugs into the third channel of the receiver to remotely switch the lighting on and off via the push button on the transmitter.

_yWILvOmA1yknnevJPNhy-87DKB62v82CAGi-vdA=w640-h360.jpg


kixuozxumLW8lx3cHJ4oQBeq_ipMd3MZl_Pq3L6g=w640-h360.jpg


In the photo above you can also see the sway bar arm on the middle axle. It is made from a length of solid brass on each side attached to the axle with a short linkage made from Traxxas rod ends. The bars at the other end are attached using a cap screw clamp to a length of piano wire with a flat ground on each end. A small aluminium spacer spaces the bar out from the chassis plates.

QimK7AiPvlLoUM_cKOTYFGFK3-qbMnhhpoX5efMA=w640-h360.jpg



The control console is made from a 1/35 tank hull part with a perspex screen covered in a piece of black 0.5mm styrene with two video screen holes cut into it as well as a series of 1mm holes to look like buttons or indicator lights.
Buried inside are 4 bright white leds in series, each dropping 3 volts making 12 volts in total.
The occupants of the cabin are a couple of Bruder 1/16 scale figures.

IMG_20211121_071438513.jpg


IMG_20211121_071427939.jpg


The photo below with a view down through the removable access hatch in the cabin roof shows the console in position.

IMG_20211121_081251611.jpg


All the lighting in the following photos are coming from the LEDS inside the console. The glowing edge is the raw edge of the perspex screen. I kinda like its effect so I may not paint over it.

IMG_20211120_183626002.jpg


IMG_20211120_183635241.jpg


IMG_20211120_183648484.jpg


IMG_20211120_183759922.jpg


I had an idea to make some sort of glowing revolving tech in a circular area on top of the roof that was yet to be detailed. I had a bunch of cheap LED linear sequencing kits from another project and thought I might be able to adapt one to make leds sequence in a circle making a sort of rotating effect. The leds are white but there are some portholes painted with Tamiya clear blue which I added to the the Pilgrim Explorer kit part I used which happily matches the diameter of the existing round shape on the roof.

IMG_20211121_071149156.jpg


IMG_20211121_071217828.jpg


IMG_20211121_071245814.jpg


IMG_20211120_161400766.jpg


The snag with this system is that it runs on 5 volts and not the 12volts I have for the rest of the lighting. I may have to re-employ that UBEC switched to 5v to power this device or use another board to drop the 12 volts down to 5 on the body. That may not be the most efficient way to do it, I'll have to experiment to see if that will work.

You can see the rotating effect in the short video below.



I also made a communications array from some kit parts. The horizontal scanner is a part I was given some years ago. I think it is probably a Millennium Falcon engine part from one of those tiny Bandai kits. It also has the end of a disposable razor, a component I like to add to model somewhere, if at all possible.

IMG_20211121_071343690.jpg


The next task is to add some rear lights and then to complete paneling the surface.

Thanks for looking.

More soon...
 
Last edited:

wayouteast

Sr Member
Absolutely amazing work. It’s a great looking and realistic vehicle, and beautifully constructed and detailed. I can't wait to see it painted and finished!
 

joberg

Master Member
The following brings this project into 2021 with the work shown now current.

View attachment 1514491

There is not much left to do to it other than wire up and install all the various light systems and complete all the surface paneling, and paint it and the figures etc etc.
Actually it seems there is still a fair bit to do and it always takes longer than I estimate.

In an attempt to lighten the very heavy body I hacked away at most of the interior bulkheads made from 6mm foamed PVC.
This actually did result in a reasonable weight saving.

When I made the chassis originally I had provided a 6v power supply for any future lighting but as I now prefer to run all the lighting at 12 volts I replaced the 6 volt UBEC with a Matek booster board which has an adjustable output voltage.
It takes a feed from the 7.2 volt LIPO battery for the vehicles brushed motor and ESC and boosts it to an adjustable voltage in this case adjusted to 12 volts.
In order to get a higher voltage than the source you must sacrifice some current but as I am only powering some LEDs which only use a small amount of current there is no problem.

The control console is made from a 1/35 tank hull part with a perspex screen covered in a piece of black 0.5mm styrene with two video screen holes cut into it as well as a series of 1mm holes to look like buttons or indicator lights.
Buried inside are 4 bright white leds in series, each dropping 3 volts making 12 volts in total.
The occupants of the cabin are a couple of Bruder 1/16 scale figures.

View attachment 1514492

View attachment 1514493

The photo below with a view down through the removable access hatch in the cabin roof shows the console in position.

View attachment 1514494

All the lighting in the following photos are coming from the LEDS inside the console. The glowing edge is the raw edge of the perspex screen. I kinda like its effect so I may not paint over it.

View attachment 1514495

View attachment 1514496

View attachment 1514497

View attachment 1514498

I had an idea to make some sort of glowing revolving tech in a circular area on top of the roof that was yet to be detailed. I had a bunch of cheap LED linear sequencing kits from another project and thought I might be able to adapt one to make leds sequence in a circle making a sort of rotating effect. The leds are white but there are some portholes painted with Tamiya clear blue which I added to the the Pilgrim Explorer kit part I used which happily matches the diameter of the existing round shape on the roof.

View attachment 1514499

View attachment 1514500

View attachment 1514501

View attachment 1514502

The snag with this system is that it runs on 5 volts and not the 12volts I have for the rest of the lighting. I may have to re-employ that UBEC switched to 5v to power this device or use another board to drop the 12 volts down to 5 on the body. That may not be the most efficient way to do it, I'll have to experiment to see if that will work.

You can see the rotating effect in the short video below.



I also made a communications array from some kit parts. The horizontal scanner is a part I was given some years ago. I think it is probably a Millennium Falcon engine part from one of those tiny Bandai kits. It also has the end of a disposable razor, a component I like to add to model somewhere, if at all possible.

View attachment 1514503

The next task is to add some rear lights and then to complete paneling the surface.

Thanks for looking.

More soon...
Great job once again and use of everyday items...like the disposable razor. Love the Gillette with the small pin in the middle.
I like to, also, remove the "rivets" and get the plastic greeblies holding the blades together(y)(y)
 

mung

Sr Member
I have finally completed the installation of all the lighting, painted the figures and finished up the cockpit interior of the creeper 6X6 project.
The headlights are a couple of short LED strips, cut down to the minimum 3 surface mount leds per side running on 12 volts.
The rear lights are just three red leds in series with a resistor to run on 12 volts per side.


bT5ErwcKxVd_38TPmo5E0uyLTUdVYlcIBtbzxBJA=w640-h360.jpg


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AlpjMwzbEUMM-tTF37i6EYzz2mhtKe7rrOAnEIgw=w640-h360.jpg


The next task is to finish all the exterior surface paneling. I am still debating whether to scribe panel lines or stick on panels.

Thanks for looking.
More soon...
 

Searun

Active Member
You are a modeling wizard. Many skills and mastering each. Interesting how you put a project aside and then return to beautifully complete it.
 

mung

Sr Member
In the end I decided to scribe panel lines and not apply panels reasoning that this is a vehicle not a large spaceship and smooth surfaces are fine. I feel that in this case the scribed lines busy up the surface sufficiently and tie all the details together. Speaking of details I added a few recessed and flat round shapes here and there to represent access panels, water filling and dumping ports and recharging points.

Finally the model has reached the grey primer stage.

JlJsLuKfwzxUI6uoqAUXd0c21yTdiF1X40u22wRg=w640-h360.jpg


4_HDljas5UrqtYqfXsK4gcIc1rRFFAiwI3RZwzUQ=w640-h360.jpg


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HiZtW_NI_OlYQ1WuO1EByxjijYs2DTZ3Z3g1or-A=w640-h360.jpg


At this point the plan for the colour scheme is to be predominantly NASA white with grey detail sections and red markings very much like the science vessel project. The idea is that this is a well maintained and efficient vehicle not as beaten up and weathered as some of my past vehicle projects.

That will be heavily influenced by how well the painting process transpires. The more mistakes and painting mishaps I encounter will result in a more heavily weathered result to hide all those problems.
 

joberg

Master Member
Make sense not to greeblie-to-death;) I was wondering if you're going to paint some of the wires/undercarriage?
 

mung

Sr Member
I was wondering if you're going to paint some of the wires/undercarriage?
The red anodised suspension links I will leave as they are as I am a sucker for red anodising. The chassis side plates I have already painted flat black. There are a few bits and pieces that will need to be painted flat black particularly the big orange Blue Bird servo for the steering on the front axle.
I like to think that the entire undercarriage will pick up a natural layer of dirt and dust from driving the model about. Problem is I hardly ever drive the vehicles because building is the thing for me and I am already on to the next project or three.
 

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