ZF1 build thread

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by discombobulate, May 5, 2012.

  1. discombobulate

    discombobulate Member

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    There's something about The Fifth Element that always resonated with me. I'd liked a lot of Luc Besson's films, but this would have to be my favourite (and easily one of my favourite movies of all time).
    It's an epic story, with a great cast (esp. Gary Oldman), great costumes and my wife and I drop random lines from the movie into our conversations on a regular basis. (Aziz! LIGHT! being a favourite).
    So when the opportunity presented itself to get my hands on a kit for the ZF1, I knew I had to do it.

    So a few weeks ago, I pulled the trigger and ordered the Superkrates ZF1 kit (with a metal frame for extra durability) and an electronic kit to get the flashing lights on the scope working properly.

    The kit arrived the other day. I've just now had a chance to unpack everything. While I knew it was a complicated kit, I wasn't really ready for how complicated a kit it would be.

    [​IMG]

    In all honesty, I think it looks daunting at the moment, but in reality it's just a case of taking things slowly. One thing I learned on the Portal gun build was patience. I'm pretty sure that as I progress I'm going to want to tear my hair out on more than one occassion, but that it will all work out OK in the end.

    Planned activity this long weekend - get the frame assembled
     
  2. discombobulate

    discombobulate Member

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    I spent a few hours this morning playing with the kit and playing with the frame.

    I plan to do a 'dry run' and see how everything fits together first (aside from the top and bottom shells)

    one thing that has struck me is that it doesn't seem too complicated now that I've had a play.

    (famous last words, I know)

    I think the complexity lies in all the little bits - the flamethrower/ice cube system etc etc. but again, I think once I was to put all of them together it should just fall into place.

    (Actually, the electronics, and cutting the ABS shell cleanly are probably going to be my least favourite parts of the process.

    So here are some progress pics.


    Chassis assembled

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    grip added

    (I later learned that the bolt goes all the way through to the bottom plate. this has been rectified)

    [​IMG]
     
  3. ThrowingChicken

    ThrowingChicken Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  4. cavx

    cavx Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Subscribed because this is very cool.
    Somehow I don't think yours will break down into 4 parts and be undetectable by X-Ray :)
     
  5. Droidboy

    Droidboy Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Looks great. Kurt did such a phenomenal job with this kit. It looks like he's made it incredibly user friendly to assemble.
     
  6. discombobulate

    discombobulate Member

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    this is very true.

    I've been using the Studio Creations site for the build instructions. It's showing the Mk2 kit, while I have the Mk3.

    The number of steps that have been removed -particularly the upper scope assembly frame, and simplification of the grip mount (which admitedly I stuffed up first time round :D ) is very helpful.

    My next process will be to cut out the upper scope from the ABS shell. I'm honestly not looking forward to this as the potential for stuffing it up is high :D

    I'm considering using a coping saw and taking it slow. However some google results have shown that a Dremel rotozip bit might work, or a plastic cut-off wheel.

    any suggestions would be appreciated
     
  7. Superkrates

    Superkrates Active Member

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    Congratulations on starting your Mk3 kit.

    Scope Cover cutting: Use a dremel cutting wheel across the rear where it is straight. This will allow you to insert a coping saw into the slot and cut your way around to the front in each direction. I cradle the pod in my lap and grip both, the scope cover and the pod, just behind the saw blade to minimize binding and work with slow steady strokes - never forcing the blade, as this will cause it to veer off course.
     
  8. discombobulate

    discombobulate Member

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    A fairly productive long weekend.

    To start, I inserted the barrel and drilled it into position. It was initially secured with 2 screws, allowing it to move up and down. This problem is overcome with the addition of the pneumatic arms that are mounted on either side of the barrel on the top.

    [​IMG]

    The barrel still has some work to be done - namely the addition of the ring (that the pneumatic arms attach to) and to add the 'plug' to the end to make it look less like a PVC pipe


    The next step was to cut out the upper scope plate from the top body plate. This was one of the steps I was least looking forward to. Stuffing this one up would mean an attempted repair job, or ordering another shell from the US

    A combination of Dremel cut off wheels and coping saws did the job here. I'll be honest - it was pretty untidy when I was first done, but filing/sanding the edges down gave me a fairly even, straight line that I'm actually pretty happy with.

    [​IMG]


    If we place the shell on top of the chassis, it's starting to look a bit more recognisable

    [​IMG]

    and now with the scope cover - this will obviously have the scope attached in the final build

    [​IMG]
     
  9. AGxM

    AGxM Well-Known Member

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    Very nice start.....will watch this with much interest.
     
  10. discombobulate

    discombobulate Member

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    So, it's been a fairly productive few days.

    I'm pretty much done with the dry-run build - with the exception of attaching the top and bottom shells - which is something that I'm going to take a bit of time on to get right.

    So here's what's been accomplished over the last week or so.

    Attach the barrel ring and arms (no pics)

    Cut out holes in the scope cover for my power switch, the front circuit board and the rear-positioned LEDS and the metal cable

    (Since base-coated black)

    [​IMG]

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    Rocket vents attached:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. discombobulate

    discombobulate Member

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    Freeze unit assembled:

    [​IMG]

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    Flamer assembled:

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    Support arms assembled:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. discombobulate

    discombobulate Member

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    And a few progress shots:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    next step: wiring it up!
     
  13. Droidboy

    Droidboy Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Looks really good!
     
  14. Superkrates

    Superkrates Active Member

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    Excellent progress. The rails that run along the outside of the ordnance package look to be a little low on the back side (optical illusion?) - it should be parallel to the horizontal frame. If adjustments are needed it is easily accomplished by shaving the excess from the top of the rear rail bracket where it meets the horizontal frame.
     
  15. discombobulate

    discombobulate Member

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    So it's been a while between updates, and while i haven't been super-productive, I haven't been slacking off either.

    I attempted to paint the shell of the ZF1 a few weeks ago with my existing airbrush. It was a 0.2mm needle size gravity fed job from China obtained from ebay for about $24 - so while it's fine for detail work, and will do basecoats reasonably well, it's not ideal for a project of this size.

    So i ended up shopping around and grabbed an Iwata Revolution HP CR. This is a 0.5mm needle size - giving pretty decent coverage and also meaning more limited clogs. (the 0.2 would last maybe 5-10 minutes before I needed to clean it)

    It is also gravity-fed (which seems to be the best option) with a 7ml cup.

    The airbrush arrived the other day, and I was keen to test it out - so I grabbed some Vallejo Model Air Radome Tan as my base coat and went to work. I'm not used to how quickly the VMA gets used up (on what it admitedly a large surface area) so I ran out of paint. A trip to my local hobby store and I grabbed another 2 bottles, which was enough to get the job done (3 coats) with a bottle and a half to spare.

    [​IMG]

    the colour looks a bit washed out due to the flouro lights, but it's a pretty good match to the real thing.

    I also grabbed some chrome-effect spray paint from the local hardware store. I've never used it before, and was a bit skeptical about it, but was pleasantly surprised at how nicely it turned out. The shooty end is coated in Tamiya gloss black.

    [​IMG]

    the join will be covered by a ring, which should disguise my slightly uneven masking

    I also got the other resin parts undercoated ready for further painting.

    [​IMG]

    My next step will be to complete the painting of the shell. I have the stencil for the camo pattern ready cut out, and the paints ready to go.
     
  16. Fishbowl

    Fishbowl Well-Known Member

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    This might only be a suprise to me, but do I see a section of Voyager hull as the scope cover?
     
  17. StudioCreations

    StudioCreations Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    YES it is!

    Also, the bottom of the scope has parts of a 'Trek' Maquis Ship model, and the sides of the scope have smooth parts from a 'Trek' Kazon Ship model. The 5E Propmakers working on the movie must've loved their Star Trek models. :)

    (kudos go to 'Zombie Killer' and 'LDR' for identifying those model parts oh-so-many years ago)
     
  18. Fishbowl

    Fishbowl Well-Known Member

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    I'm just suprised I identified it! :lol

    Anyway back on topic, nice build. I love the film, but it's never been one of those props that's particularly interested me, until I watched the Adam Savage video on the Tested site. Now i'm all "ooh, shiney!"
     
  19. discombobulate

    discombobulate Member

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    another productive update:

    I've managed to get a lot of painting done of the component parts. Superkrates kindly supplied me with a list of paints that he used - however they are all krylon brand paints that are unavailable in Australia. So I've had to make do with that I can.

    To start: the freeze unit:

    I'm really happy with how this turned out. The kit called for an anodized-effect paint. THe closest that I could find was a paint that was used for giving an anodized effect to metal engine parts. I tried this over the chrome-effect paint that i used on the gun barrell - and the effect was less than stellar. I'm assuming it would look ok over actual metal.

    So i grabbed my trusty pot of Cidadel Enchanted Blue (the old hex pots) and sprayed about 2-3 coats over the black-coated resin. The actual pot itself is a beautiful, rich metallic blue, but the paint itself is closer to a light silvery-blue when applied. Multiple coats didn't really give me the finish I wanted. I grabbed some Privateer Press P3 brand blue ink, watered it down slightly, and applied multiple coats. The ink make the colour pop wonderfully. I finished it off by weathering it with gunmetal and then silver paint at 'wear' points.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Main barrell support arms:

    A combination of Vallejo Model Air for the struts, Chrome effect paint for the end and thick strut and a mixture of Vallejo Bronze and Aliteri Bronze.

    [​IMG]

    Main barrell with ring attached:

    [​IMG]

    and now the biggest part - the main shell.

    I used a few different templates here. Starting with a light brown, then the dark brown, then the yellow. Finally I did a 'stipple' or 'dust' with a redish brown.

    The yellow was a pain in the * - very hard to get good coverage, and I had some issues with some dripping. I'm going to correct it shortly.

    The only other thing I'd consider changing is perhaps adding 2-3 more 'stencils' to block out some of the base coat. I don't want to overdo it, but there are a few spots that seem too sparse. The base plate especially suffers from this - but at the same time it probably won't be visible so i could skip it. I think I will do it, since it will probably bug the hell out of me if I don't.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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  20. Mpashuk

    Mpashuk Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    WOW! That kit and build is awesome. It looks great. How does one get a hokd of a kit like this?
     
  21. discombobulate

    discombobulate Member

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    cheers

    Go to the junkyard and do a search for "ZF1" - look for the topic by Superkrates
     
  22. Superkrates

    Superkrates Active Member

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    Or, because you may not have 20 posts and can't get into the Junkyard yet, give me a shout at superkrates@gmail. :)
     
  23. discombobulate

    discombobulate Member

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    A pretty good weekend for construction of the ZF1

    An electrical engineer friend was incredibly kind and helped me wire up the ZF1. And when I say 'helped me' I mean I stood around and watched while he engaged in the black arts that is soldering.

    After an hour or so, I had a beautifully wired ZF1 scope - with screen accurate LED sequences. The yellow and red buttons are also nicely illuminated.

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]

    The wiring work completed, I could now focus on the re-assembly and adding the few final parts that haven't been seen until now.

    Part of this is the metal tubing. The kit came with split plastic tube, which probably would have done in a pinch - but the finish was a bit too bright. I found a supplier of convoluted steel tube, and had them send me a touch over a metre. one piece looped through the base of the scope and into the sides of the scope. the other 2 were drilled into the base of the scope. When I get the body shell mounted, I'll have a play with how they sit. The sneaky part is that one of these tubes carries the wires that power the red and yellow lights.

    [​IMG]

    The bottom shell was next. I'd pre-drilled the holes for the mounting struts and done a test-fit. I disassembled the main grip, so I could get the mesh that covers the bottom shell into place.

    I also attached the base plate to the shell. With the bottom shell in place, I can now easily rest the ZF1 on the bookshelf.

    The final thing that I accomplished was to attach the barrel.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. predatorRanger

    predatorRanger New Member

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    looks good,, im gonna get one of these kits and take all the small resin parts to a machine shop and see if I can get them made in metal alloy !!!
     
  25. cadilovr

    cadilovr Member

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    good idea about the machine shop metal for resin. I think buying a small metal lathe would be a better investment. Why not learn on something like the zf1. That is my future attempt. After countless other projects and being lazy at home..
     

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