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Old 10-09-2014, 04:12 PM   #1
Captain Sci-Fi
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Default Thunderbird 4 Studio Scale Model

Hi Guys,

During my absence I had long periods of idle activity and to stave off boredom I started to doodle a blueprint for my favourite Thunderbird and have decided to take the plunge and build it.

I managed to find the original blueprint used at Master models that was published in Century 21 Magazine (it has also been published online). There were several other good images available of the model I liked best while it was still at Master Models prior to delivery to the studio and of course the screen grabs I had made during my research over the last 10 years or so.

Because there were at least 2 models I liked and they were quite different in contour, I decided to make the most screen used model mostly seen during surface and close up shots. This model is 20" (508mm) long and I felt was about right for display and adding RC equipment.


A nice image of the model I am hoping to recreate.


Another view of this favourite Thunderbird


On Set with TB4


A colour screen grab there are plenty of kit parts from this sequence to help scaling.


Fortunately some of the Studio Model reference shots are also online


Finally the original Blueprint from Century 21 Magazine

Armed with this I made several Cad Drawings partly drawn directly from the images but with adjustments made to include some details from other models and the large puppet set details. This is an amalgam of features that I wanted to include if possible. Lastly this will be produced as a fibre glass and epoxy body with a view to following the great Mamas (RCNut) down to the lake for a duck chase if possible.

I wanted to make the model in sections for ease of production with some vac forms for the canopy, side/top pods and scoop. The fin was planned as a fast cast part with ABS and aluminium parts to finish.

I wanted to try a shape forming technique similar to the layer construction others had used by with some tweaks of my own. I drew some profiles, Laser cut them and made up skeletal parts as with this body frame.


A set of bulk heads on a plate with a longeron to hold everything square.


Plate drawings

I infilled the gaps prior to surfacing with body filler using Oasis foam it's really easy to shape, dirt cheap and if you skin it in fibreglass and epoxy. It is very tough, here are the the two different pods (Top and Side) made using this technique. I want to vac form over them so they may seem taller than is required


Once the profiles are setup the foam is rammed in and struck off with a bread knife, it is so soft it cuts like butter and it's actually quite fun to use.



I use West System Epoxy as I have developed a dislike of the smell from Polyurethane resins like David's glass fibre yellow and avoid them wherever possible. Some parts like the rear bulkhead are made from filler directly. I rub down all the parts in water using Permagrit blocks (expensive to buy but cheaper over time than wet or dry paper especially when used wet) with sponge foam sanding pads for scratch removal and final surface improvement. I can't recommend rubbing down filler wet enough as the dust is pretty nasty and well as very messy. Using water helps keep the abrading surface clean and cutting at it's best so speeds up the shaping process greatly.

Once I am happy with the shape by following the ribs and formers, I apply a coat of neat Epoxy and cure. If I wanted to I could polish this to make a glass like finish. For vac forming a surface finish at 320 grit as I have found it's best allowing air to be released from under the styrene sheet so keeping irregularities to a minimum.


The engine body tubes and intakes were from an experiment when testing the materials but are almost the right size. I would be using this but wanted to show what the foam looked like once covered in epoxy and glass cloth. I was much encouraged by these results.

I am pretty happy with progress so far but still have a ways to go.

Bernie
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:57 PM   #2
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Old 10-09-2014, 11:49 PM   #3
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If you finish this and get the parts in some rubber I will buy !!! Looking great so far !! I always wanted a decent studio scale TB4 !!
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Old 11-09-2014, 07:41 AM   #4
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Hi Slate,

When you see finished cast parts in this article you will know it's ready. Glad you are joining me for this, wanted one since 1966 but could never afford the wonderful JR21 toy

I am planning to add some aqua jets and at least make a boat version, Mamas has really inspired me with his SKYDIVER build and RC installation. If I can spare the time I will make a diving version too using a WTC of my own design.

These Japanese modellers are the bomb, take a look around 26 secs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnH3tLhBUkg

This one from the same group features a once Stingray too at around 47 secs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7A1DPE74jtw

Enjoy!
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Old 11-09-2014, 09:05 AM   #5
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Wow ! I've seen the second video before but not the first. It's amazing how they can get these subs to actually work under water.
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Old 11-09-2014, 09:34 AM   #6
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Amazing stuff!,crack on with it Bernie.
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Old 11-09-2014, 06:44 PM   #7
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Nice one Bernie. Shelved my TB4 after just not getting any time to do it. Watching this one with interest.
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Old 12-09-2014, 04:29 PM   #8
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Default Dive, dive, dive.....

.....likewise, always like to see how curved surfaces, pods and other components are planned, built up and finished. Never tire of watching Thunderbirds being built - please keep us posted with further developments.

Kindest regards

Patrick
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Old 14-09-2014, 11:13 AM   #9
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"Stand-by for under water thunderbird-4 action" great work Bernie!
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Old 15-09-2014, 02:50 PM   #10
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Default 15 Sept Update

Hi Guys,

I thought I would concentrate on the art of using foam and filler to create the main part of the hull for TB4. I wanted to explain the process from start to finish for anyone who wanted to follow along perhaps with a build of their own.



Pushing the foam block between the ribs
The flower foam from Oasis is soft enough to just press the block into all the ribs in one go and then slice flush with a bread knife. It is really easy to bulk up and conform the majority of the block like this, with care it can be quite accurate. Try to get this right if you can and you will save a lot of filling and sanding later


I use a serrated bread knife but any long blade will work.

Using body filler is an art in itself so I thought I would give a few tricks and tips that might help. Firstly I hate waste, fillers at 10+ a tin is expensive stuff. Try to remember this when mixing and using this material, it is pointless to overfill a surface just to sand it all away so try to be as accurate as possible when applying then filler. It is rarely possible to apply enough filler to capture the surface shape and finish in one hit if you are not skilled in using these materials. Use a cardboard box cut into 4" (10cm) squares to mix filler, use the chicken egg an garden pea measure for filler to hardener as an approximation. Use clean spreaders at all times, remove any hardened filler stuck to the spreader by sticking it to the cardboard mixing palette and allowing to cure. Pop it off and it will be perfectly clean.



I use several spreaders and cycle them to keep them clean.



Here are the materials I am using but most brands work in the same way way

Don't throw out the an empty filler tins so you can use it to mix a special blend for yourself. This particular brand is very stiff and difficult to mix right from the tin. This is useful to build thick coats without it slumping too much however I want a thin final coat with no pin holes or bubbles that I can use a finer grit sand paper to abrade. One way to do this is to add a small amount of raw resin to the raw filler. Usefully Halfords sell a cheap and small tin of yellow resin that does the job. I am sure there are equivilents in the USA and elsewhere. one way to be sure these materials are compatible is look at the hardener, if they are similar then they will mix usually.

The consistency I am aiming for is runny thick cream of you look at the last image you can see it almost has a shiny coat.


The filler is remixed with raw resin to thin it letting it flow easily.

Later I will show you how to rub down with a guide coat to get a perfect flawless and dimensionally accurate finish. When you look at the body in the raw rib and foam stage imagine a Thunderbird Two Pod or a a Supercar body or an SPV body shell and you'll start to see why I am liking this way of doing things. The foam is soft enough so the knife blade with glide over the perspex rib without damaging them but will support the shape perfectly. This technique works perfectly for curvy surfaces (like Stingray) where there are large subtle radius curves or tubular type geometry, indeed even a combination or the two. If you follow the ribs carefully you pretty much guarantee an good symmetrical form accurate to the plans with the minimum of work.
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Old 15-09-2014, 07:59 PM   #11
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Default How many models?

How many models of TB 4 were used during the show? There were clearly two large ones but after that I get lost...
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Old 15-09-2014, 10:44 PM   #12
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I am not totally sure, I know there were at least three, funnily enough the first two can be seen in the pod launching sequence, the model that leaves the pod with it's engines thrusting is not the same as the one you see from under the water. I also think the model that cuts the engines from Fireflash is quite small about 8" or so I think. I am certain the models had quite a hard working life too under harsh hot lights, soaked through in some cases, burnt and blown up. There must have been quite a bit of patching up and repainting so the same model may have worn several different coats over it's working life. I am certain the bulldozer bucket was repaired a few times and then totally replaced with an altered design at least once.

Take a look at the first three images in post 1, when you see them next to each other the differences are very noticeable. The first and third show the launch model (long engine baffles) and the underwater shots model is in the first image and the first colour image (interesting with the modified bucket).

My overall favourite is the short engine baffle and short bonnet (hood) version used in most of the underwater shots, it is the closest to the hand drawn original blueprint Derek made. The more you look at the surfaces the more you see that almost every surface is curved. and there are sudden angle changes for example at the nose and side pods that add a graceful flow. The design looks very elegant from every angle and very exciting when diving and surfacing IMHO second only to Stingray. I even liked the sound of the engines a kind of reverberating whir so reminiscent of Stingray's rotor and later a similar version for Skydiver.

Yup, definitely the Thunderbird for me.
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Old 15-09-2014, 10:47 PM   #13
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Berni, looking great so far mate. I always go for the P38 Easy Sand, mostly because I am lazy - lol - but you are right, if you are careful with the mix and don't waste it you can get great results. Can't wait to see this one come to fruition ! And the Easy Sand is nearly twice the price !
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Old 15-09-2014, 11:40 PM   #14
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Default The importance of guides

To wrap up todays activities I wanted to show how I go about producing the final surface at the filler stage. I will be adding a layer of woven cloth and epoxy as the final step.

So how can you be confident that every wrinkle is smoothed out, all edges are uniform and every hole is filled? In this image I have sprayed a guide coat lightly over the filler, in this case the first dark colour(closest to hand happened to be GW Chaos Black), you really just need something to contrast well against the filler colour.


Guide coat in place and ready to rub down the filler to it's final shape

I have started to rub the filler with my Permagrit blocks, you must always use a block when using this technique. The light areas show where I have removed the high spots and the bands and puddles of dark colour shows the hollows, simply rub down in alternate directions until there are no more dark spots remaining. You will be amazed at the finish you can get, it is almost impossible to add a twist or alter the radius unduly.


You can be sure everything is even and all edges are uniform and curves symmetrical.

After a few mins you'll soon find out if any places need more skims of filler or you should keep rubbing down. Slight hollows are easily dealt with as you can see them clearly and give yourself every chance to make good decisions before making any errors. If you used a thinned final coat as I described you won't even need to fill any pinholes as they will have settled out naturally.

Next I'll be dealing with the side pods and rear bulkhead and hopefully we can get a glimpse at the main structures together, it's always exciting when you can assess the space the model will occupy.
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Old 16-09-2014, 10:08 PM   #15
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Great start Bernie.
Nice to see you back at the bench.
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Old 16-09-2014, 10:31 PM   #16
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DEAN..!!

Great to hear from you mate..

What are you working on these days?

Missed your creative talent, stick up a few photos and cheer me up.
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Old 17-09-2014, 05:47 PM   #17
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Here's one thing I've finished Bernie,

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Old 17-09-2014, 06:51 PM   #18
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Cor...!

Plastic porn of the first order...

That looks fantastic, is it a kit?
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Old 17-09-2014, 10:16 PM   #19
Slate Mcleod
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Neo, that is a thing of beauty please post more mate and a description.
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Old 20-09-2014, 01:12 PM   #20
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Is that the Moebius kit?
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