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Martian Excursion Vehicle

badsimmonds

Alphans
As I'm in between projects at the moment I thought you might like to see my first build in recent times. In 2008 after being in the wilderness for many years I decided to get back to making things and the first project was a full size K9. I chose this because it was a fairly simple shape and I wanted to see if I could still do it, after 12 weeks it was complete so I then went on to a full size dalek which was followed by R2D2. About this time I acquired a full size NSD dalek so as you can imagine the house was getting a bit cluttered and the wife told me no more. Fair enough so I returned to my childhood hobby of model making.
I chose to do the MEV as it was a basic shape and I had already built one in the early 80's as part of my six foot Zero X.
I made the basic construction out of perspex as I like working with the stuff.
Firstly I worked out the size and started constructing the top section, it looks a bit primitive but I had to re learn what skills I had as it had been years since my last model, which is why there was some wood used to strengthen it. When I use perspex I use every bit of scrap to add strength to joins and corners especially if that corner has to be curved.
For this model I only used single thickness perspex which was 4mm thick, these days I would at least double it up.
Once the top section had been glued up I started on the bottom section in much the same way. I wasn't too concerned about rough edges as there was a lot of sanding and filling ahead.
The front of the mev has curved corners so I made sure all corners and edges were doubled up, once dry I just used an electric sander to create the curves.
As you know perspex melts when sanded so you just take care and move to sandpaper for the finale effect.
I forgot to say the length of the model was 18".
 

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Clearly a great model....

Really interesting photographs, thanks for sharing. Never having worked with the stuff, what adhesive do you use to glue panels together? Once the adhesive's set, how easy is it to break the joined pieces apart accidentally - or are they really fixed for good?

Look forward to seeing more pictures when you have the time,

Kindest regards,

Patrick
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi Patrick
I use the same glue you use on plastic kits because it was easy to get and I had/have no experience of anything else. If someone can recommend another glue I'll be only too glad to try it.
This model was single skinned while these days I double it up to 8mm. I've had no problems using this method, in fact when I was building my Desert Jeep I dropped it onto a concrete floor and the only damage was a couple of chips in the corner which was rectified with good old p38.
You can break any glued join whatever the glue and materials so I always fix in plenty of internal supports and try to take care not to drop anything.
With the weather being like it is I haven't got the inclination to start my next project which is the A42 spectrum helicopter, I got as far as gluing some balsa together three months ago and that's as far as its got.

B.S.
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
As I said earlier the front section was double thickness as it required a lot of sanding to create the curves. This only takes a few minutes with an electric sander then find tuned with various sandpapers. You have to take care when sanding as the plastic heats up and starts to melt, but if you leave it for a minute it cools solid and any excess can be broken off.
I cut out a piece for the recessed front panel which also houses the headlights, after gluing it in place I filled any gaps with the usual filler. However I found it a complete nightmare to sand this down being recessed and it turned out so bad I had to take a hammer to smash the panel out. I cut out another panel, drilled the holes for the headlights and refitted however this time I did not use any filler and it looked a lot better.
The headlights were taken from a clockwork torch that only cost £2 and as they were working I was tempted to have them working on the model but I decided not to in the end.
 

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Heavy industry, indeed.....

Thanks for the information, badsimmonds, no intentions of using Perspex in the immediate future but it's always interesting to know more about how different materials work. Judging by the photos, the MEV is made of strong stuff - electric sander and a hammer, indeed - so it's obviously built to last. Will view your progress with interest: good luck!

Kindest regards

Patrick
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
With the main body structure complete it was time to start on the front section where the cockpits are.
If I was building this today I would do it differently but the method I chose at that time is probably old fashioned but it worked for me.
I'm going to build this section as a separate part as it will make it easier to paint and finish off later.
After cutting out the base and a couple of sides I cut strips of perspex about 10mm wide and just glued then across. The very front and top of this section are pretty flat so I just used the widest pieces I could get away with at the front and top to reduce the amount of curves I have to make. As this is going to have a lot of sanding I strengthened underneath the curve using up all my perspex off cuts.
Once dry I used my electric sander to create the curve, I spent ages on this as it needed loads of sanding and filling and will need constant fine tuning throughout the build.
While this was going on I started the endless filling and sanding of the main body. The last photo shows a dry fit of the sections.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Not a lot to show as the model has reached its sand and fill stage which seems to go on forever at times.
Most of this work was spent on the curved section as it had the most joins. You always think a model is getting there until you prime it which shows up all the defects so its back to square one again.
Eventually I started spraying the filler/primer which helps to get a nice smooth surface, though with this stuff I find I generally leave it for a day before sanding because if you sand to early it goes a bit 'funny', sorry for the non-technical description.
I really wish I had made this model smaller like the one for my six foot zero x, which I no longer have though I did keep the mev for many years before giving it to Simon Archer just before his death.
I wonder what became of it? All I have left is a few rubbishy photos from the 80's.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Continuing with the sanding and filling most of which was spent on the curved section, it took a while to get the right kind of curve.
I started to use the filler primer hence the yellow colour, this helps a lot in achieving a nice smooth surface.
As its getting near the final colour I reverted back to grey primer as this shows up defects clearly.
After a lot of thinking I finally decided the positions of the rear jets, when I built this there wasn't a lot of info about the rear bulkhead and what there was left a bit to be desired, eventually I compromised and made it an amalgamation of all the info I had. Only recently much better photos of the rear have emerged and I don't think I was too far out, my model is probably correct and wrong at the same time.
The top jets were made from 15mm copper reducers and the bottom jets from 15mm copper olives.
As you can see the curved section has had its final coat, I know you will all say WRONG colour, well more on that later.
 

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Don't feel blue......

badsimmonds, a couple of observations......that's great work, lovely curves, and it looks really robust - should stand up to a few fireballs, shouldn't it? And that colour - personally, I think it looks beautiful. Nobody will convince me that, after a few missions, the MEV wouldn't go back into the repair shop for panel replacement, full repaints and so on. Your MEV's just come out of the spraybooth, before flight testing, re-entry missions and any amount of flight time. Keep up the fantastic progress,

Kindest regards

Patrick
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi Slate

In answer to your question I won't be cutting out the windows due to the nature of the construction method. This model was the first for a long time and it was an experiment to see if I could produce something. If I was making this today it would be smaller and the curved section would be vacuum formed so having clear windows would not be a problem.

Patrick I'll go along with your way of thinking, you are probably right as the zero x was a re-usable craft it would get a refurb just like todays shuttles did.
Colour is always an issue with this craft and I'm sure everyone has their favourite colour.
I was advised by a very experienced modeller that Rover Kingfisher Blue was the way to go, however after buying some and testing it I absolutely hated the colour. In the end I chose Peugeot Aegean Metallic Blue, I don't know why I chose this colour but that's what I ended up with. I wish I could remember what colour I painted my original zero x in the eighties as that seemed a better colour I think.
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
With the main body almost done its time to concentrate on the tracks.
I decided on having tracks because I thought they looked pretty good when the mev was trundling around mars.
I used plastic tracks from Heng Long which had metal joins, this made the tracks very flexible.
For the actual wheels I had a load of mdf circles 5mm thick so I chose 50mm diameter for the outer parts of the wheels and 40mm for the internal part. As there are 12 wheels that's 36 pieces of mdf to be sanded and primed which took some time. The outside face of the wheels were covered in resin castings taken from a tank, I bought these from ebay and do look pretty good. To support the tracks I used blocks of wood which would be screwed to the bottom of the main body. I used 5mm threaded rod for the axles which were countersunk in the wood and the wheels were held in place with locking nuts.
The panels which cover the tracks when not in use were just perspex about 8mm thick, I had two covers for each track, the internal one was just fixed to the wood block while the outside one was glued to an angled strip of ally which was screwed to the wood. I also covered the top of the wood with green felt to prevent scratching the main body, its the same stuff on the bottom of lamps etc.
There wasn't a great deal of actual detail on these parts so I just used some bits from an airfix footbridge.
 

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Slate Mcleod

Alphans
Hi Slate

In answer to your question I won't be cutting out the windows due to the nature of the construction method. This model was the first for a long time and it was an experiment to see if I could produce something. If I was making this today it would be smaller and the curved section would be vacuum formed so having clear windows would not be a problem.

Patrick I'll go along with your way of thinking, you are probably right as the zero x was a re-usable craft it would get a refurb just like todays shuttles did.
Colour is always an issue with this craft and I'm sure everyone has their favourite colour.
I was advised by a very experienced modeller that Rover Kingfisher Blue was the way to go, however after buying some and testing it I absolutely hated the colour. In the end I chose Peugeot Aegean Metallic Blue, I don't know why I chose this colour but that's what I ended up with. I wish I could remember what colour I painted my original zero x in the eighties as that seemed a better colour I think.

Your call as always and I think so far you have done a fantastic job. I'm sure it will turn out just great based on what I know you are capable of. By the way Kingfisher Blue was only Mr B's chosen colour...don't mean it's right. Go with gut instinct I think it should be more washed out than that. You can totally nail this.

Can't wait to see your completed images !

Slate
 
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On the right track.....

My goodness - how swiftly this is all going together. Everything, from the MDF discs, to the tank wheel casts glued on the outer disc, to the strips of alloy for the open panels, is just fascinating. I have nothing but respect for anybody who posts pictures of his or her own work on this Forum, for all to see, and I've watched experts put together the most beautifully finished resin / garage / modified kits - almost works of art.

However, when I see something like this, I just have to take my hat off to the builder - Badsimmonds, you're a star. May your MEV trundle forever across the Martian wastes on its sturdy undercarriage, and may your images of it take us back to those heady days of the first manned flight to the Red Planet.

Kindest regards

Patrick
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi again
Yes I think the colour should be more washed out, my original eighties mev was less blue and perhaps more correct? I just wish I could remember what colour I used for that model.
With the tracks done its time to put the final colour on the main body. As for the curved section I'm using Peugeot Aegean met blue which actually makes the model look like its made from plastic if you know what I mean. Some of you will hate this colour but just think of it as a later edition of the Zero X spacecraft used in future trips to mars and possibly beyond.
Once the paint was dry I drew on panel lines using a pen and a piece of thin plasti card.
The curved cockpit section is still a separate section as it will be easier to put the final details on it, especially the wide white band up the middle.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
The painting and the panel lines are now complete. I used pen for this model though sometimes I use pencil to create the lines, with pencil you can rub them out but you have to be extra careful when using pen.
The coloured bands were self adhesive vinyl lines for cars bought from ebay.
The wide red band is insulation tape as it was lying around and the white band on the cockpit was from that old favourite sticky back plastic, the windows were cut from insulation tape.
The headlights were taken from a cheap torch and fitted into pre-drilled holes.
The cockpit was finally glued into place completing the main body.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi Mike Glad you liked the build, this is now the final part on this model.
Its just a matter of screwing the two track sections onto the main body, at the very beginning of this build I had fitted some chunks of wood for this very purpose.
I haven't put much detail on them as I couldn't really see much from the film, I know some people do put on a lot more detail but I'll just stick to what I could see.
I've also included some final photos taken on a not very convincing diorama, sorry about that but it will give you a bit of an idea of the finished model.
To be truthful I'm not 100% happy with it but it was an experiment to see if I could still do it after working on full size projects. I was much more pleased with my later projects and I'm always learning things and I really do need to get more experience.
Thanks to all who took the time to have a look.

BS
 

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Back on track.....

Simply great, badsimmonds, simply great. Now you've got "back on the bike" let's see more examples of your handiwork. The MEV is that perfect blend of individually-sourced materials, an understanding of how they all go together and an obvious love of the subject. It's a fine vehicle, and a great revisting of a a much-loved classic. Well done!

Kindest regards,

Patrick
 
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