Zap's Fallout Radiation King Radio

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zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
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(The image above is a 3D Rendering)

Okay, this project has been on my mind for years now (Even before the Pip-Boy). Every once and awhile I dig around to see what others have done, and how I might go about the project. As with all my projects, I want something very authentic. A functional radio with all the controls working and real speakers.

The radio will share some circuitry with my Pip-Boy project, so it could become an easy build once I have those circuits working.

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Today, I re-read some of the projects folks have already done:

Today I noticed that Mach posted that the front of the radio is based on a 1938 Zenith 5-2-319 radio. Once you see it, you realize the original game art designer lifted bits and pieces from it and a few other radios.

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This radio is well documented online, and so I set about 3D modeling the front bezel on that radio as accurately as possible, omitting only the extra knobs and screws not visible on the Fallout radio. To get the scale of the bezel correct, I looked up a few old eBay listings. I found one that listed the dimensions of the whole radio. (13Wx9Hx7D).

If I scale the Fallout radio to match the bezel dimensions, then the Fallout radio ends up 21.7"x14"x13.7" Not huge, but not as small as I expected. Seeing it next to my other Fallout prop designs makes me want to scale it down to about 14" wide. I may do some printouts and paper mocks up to find a scale that feels correct.

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A few years ago I made a vector art version of the control dial. So I had that ready to go.

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I 3D modeled all of this today. The front has proper louver style vents, and will have two speakers behind the front.
On the Zenith radio, the five black dots were actually for a radio station label to sit, it was one of the first radios with presets. I plan on keeping that function. But the bottom edge of each finger will be flexible and have a tactile button behind it, so it can keep that function without changing the look.

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I love this image, I overlaid my rendering over a in-game screenshot.

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My plan it to laser-cut plywood for the chassis. Either with a veneer on the outside, or using the age old technique of feathering the back of the plywood to get the curve. The front bezel and knobs would be 3D printed, smoothed and painted. The rear would be real sheet metal. I would use real hardware where possible.

Electrically I plan on using a amplifier kit I have laying around, but the Radio circuit would be all custom. Using a Raspberry pi to control a real radio IC, and provide the ability to play digital files/streams.

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As usual with me, this is a long term project. I just got to get my ideas logged. I don't know when I will work on this next.
 

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Mach

Active Member
Very cool Zap. Let me know if you want to try a cast aluminum bezel. On the back cover, on the actual radios it was usually plywood, pressed paper or masonite with all sorts of fun printed details. Like "This receiver is certified to comply with radiation requirements of the Federal Communications Commission". Metal would have gotten very hot and been an electrocution risk. Arguably, not a likely concern from a company called Radiation King. The 539 actually had an asbestos sheet across the top to protect the wood.

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zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I don't know that the louvers would come out well with casting. they would have to be cast closed, and dremeled open. I want them to be the speaker openings, rather than put them in the back as others have done. In my mind that front panel would have been formed from cheap stamped steel and then painted, it would have to look of an ac vent. After all these radios were mass manufactured.

The back in-game is a galvanized steel panel. But most radios of the time had masonite as you noted.

I am debating how much to make this game-accurate overall, versus something closer to what one would actually look like in real life.
For now I will just provide minimum cutouts on the rear for a power cord and antenna connections.

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As far as scale, I actually have the camera seen on the desk in the above in-game shot. I found it as a converted lamp at a local craft show.

The camera measures 3.25" wide. If I scale up the in-game photo that makes the radio 11" wide. I know that Fallout games have the scale all over the place so I have to settle on some number. I guess I will stick to just 12" wide.

Also, if your wondering what that MSA thing is behind the camera, it is a 1950's Carbon Monoxide detector kit from the Mine Safety Appliances company. (They are still in business too). I felt it sort of looked a lot like a stealth boy (granted those had canvas cases)
 

EmmaInCandyland

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This is my radio, can give away dimensions if you want :) The original radio I got was from the 50's too, if I remember correctly!

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zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Man, where did you find a old radio with the pre curved sides? I have been to dozens of antique shops without success finding anything even close. Is that the radio you posted in the other thread, modified?

Please do give the dimensions of yours, compared to the camera it is a bit smaller than I imagine making mine. For the front did you use SLS 3D printing? (Shapeways)
 

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EmmaInCandyland

Master Member
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Hey!

Sorry, I haven't seen you had replied to this! Feel free to tag me, as I don't always re check threads rapidly haha!

The radio I had found was a Philco. However, they appear to be fairly rare, even when I bought mine, there was only one on ebay at the time.

This was the shell of it, when I removed everything and before cleaning it up :

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I believe it also had the right size for it: 11" x 6.5" and 5.5"deep!
 

zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
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EmmaInCandyland: Holy cow! Philco made a lot of different models of Radio. But I dug through the whole list. It looks like its a Model 42-PT96, or 46-201 They do appear the be rare. Also, some later Philco radios had louvered openings, this one even has a trapezoid shape too. The Radiation King has a subtle trapezoid shape in the area where it recesses into the radio, I haven't seen anyone catch that small detail yet.

That Philco radio may have been the reference for the in-game enclosure. The back panel of that radio has the same shaped cutouts as the Fallout radio.

So many props in Fallout (and other games) are kit bashed from real-world items. For example, in Metro Exodus, I recognized that one of the parts on the upgraded pneumatic gun was the aftermarket fuel pump on a 1939 Ford Tudor. I only noticed because I had just recently helped my Dad fix that exact item on his friend's old car.
 

zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This showed up on eBay: A 1942 Philco 42-PT-96. I had to get it.

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It has all its guts. No idea if it is functional or not, I need to do some research and cleanup inside before I plug it in. Seller claims it does light up and produce static. I won't be restoring it. Instead, I will modify it to put modern electronics hidden inside. If the tube glow on the A/C power, and the wattage isn't horrible, I will probably let them run, otherwise some amber LEDs can help illuminate them.

For now it will set on the shelf, I have to get some other projects done first.
 

zapwizard

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
It is wood, but the surface texture appears to be a transfer print. The knobs and guage are bakelite. The rear panel is masonite. I'll take more photos when I take it apart.
 

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