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Hatching an Eagle

11502 Views 68 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  David Lawson
After five years of wandering around before the inevitable '60s 1/32 F 1 race at Las Vegas, I vowed (in public) that I would have my own car this year. Despite having a drawer full of Ferrari, Cooper and BRM bodies, most of which would accomodate a more-or-less conventional motor/chassis set-up, I decided to tackle the Eagle body that I obtained several years ago (a Fitzpatrick glass body)

When I first metioned my concerns about the space inside on a DL some time back, Russell, ever helpful and generous as he is, sent me one of the rare K's motors advising that it was about the only thing that would fit.

Take motor in one hand, body in the other and push them together - hmmmm - not going! - and add some side plates to the motor to form a chassis and it gets worse!

Opened the motor drawer and here is what came out:


Left to right: a version of the currently popular Bear Dog mini-motor, the TMM (Taiwan mystery motor), K's, an (MRRC?) eBay find, and, for contrast, a standard Mabuchi can. Although the K's is 0.002" narrower than the TMM, by the time side plates of any reasonable thickness, say 0.032" are added, you are at 0.66" - a non-starter for this chassis. The MRRC is about as bad, even without the screw heads. The mini-motor and the TMM are the same cross section, the only difference being length. Since my friend Jim Butt has a wickedly fast Indy Turbine powered by one of the latter and since, like the mini-motor, an end-of-the-can mount can be done, it got the nod. Like the mini-motor, the shaft needs to be sleeved to accomdate a 2 mm bore pinion (more about gears later).

Looking at photos of the Eagle Weslake, I decided that, in addition to the distinctive body shape and paint scheme, several other things defined the "look" - the solid polished (titanium?) upswept front A-arms, the long rear suspension trailing arms and the very distinctive polished exhaust system. The model would need to incorporate these.

Next consideration - the guide: The front overhang on the Eagle is long but narrow. Both the Sakatsu (trailing) guide and the TSRF guide can be accomodated without extending past the tip of the nose. The TSRF guide is more easily adjusted for height and has the wires extending from the back of the braid mount rather than the front (in the case of the Sakatsu), an advantage with the narrow nose so the nod went to the TSRF.

Thanks to wheel and tire size info from Mr. P and wheelbase and track data ( 96.5", 61" F/R) from Prof. Fate, I was ready to start cutting metal. I decided on a wire sprung pivoting chassis ( and am not at all certain that my version of this type will have any handling advantage over, for example, an out-of-the-box MRRC brass Clubman). Working on this scale has its pitfalls - most of what you will see is second and third tries (but I keep telling myslef that I am learning with each mistake)

On the jig:


and right side up:


The rear assembly is machined from brass stock. The front section is 0.062" brass and the front axle carrier and origami-like upper A arms is 0.032" brass sheet. the pivot is 1/16" drill rod and the torsion springs are 0.047" music wire.

Here is the first trial assembly:


The wheels and tires are temporary but they are of the right diameter - 0.80" front, 0.85" rear.

Now, about gears - notice the little green crown gear above - it is the smallest (24T) Slot-It gear. I would have loved to have fitted a 64 DP crown with an internal (same side as the teeth) hub but to the best of my knowledge, no such animal exists and the width does not allow for the fitting of an external hub. I know that the Scaly etc. crowns are a bit smaller but I am not about to spend the time to build a scratch chassis and then fit a P.O.S. gear set! Here are the consequences of my choice:

Dr Jekyll:


Mr. Hyde:


And that amount of cutting does not allow for any body movement! I believe that I can accomdate a little body shake by skimming 1-2 mm off the diameter of the gear (they appear to survive much more powerful motors) and chamfering the outer edge. Beyond that, I plan to add a little built up detail of some lines, add rear suspension detail including the coil-over spring units, paint the gear silver or black and hope that those measures, along with the extension of the exhaust pipes, will mask the surgery.

An Eagle or an omlet? - we shall see.

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QUOTE only one pic showing EM

Don't know what happened - I looked earlier and a few pics were missing - now they seem to be back - maybe my host had a hiccup?

Thanks for your suggestion - that is along the lines of what I intend to do. I am also going to send inquiries to some of the gear houses to find out what it would cost to get some 24T 64 DP crowns with an internal hub - probably going to be a shocker but it's cheap to ask. 64 DP, in addition to being smaller, would also be convenient since these motors come with a perfectly good 64 DP pinion and other sizes with a 1.5 mm bore are available from HO sources.

While the body issue is incubating, I am pondering the wheel insert question. The Eagle wheel is quite distinctive. Maxi-Models makes an Eagle insert but it is too small for this model. There is a BWA insert that is quite close but it is 5 spoke, not 6. At the moment, my inclination is to use the latter until I can get around to making a pattern and casting some of my own.

A note on the motor: First time around, I managed to make a mess of one. I soldered on the sleeve and then tried to use a Slot-It press-fit pinion. I realized too late that the shaft does not extend through the end bell and, in applying pressure, I locked the motor. There was nothing to do but scrap it so I opened it up to see what the guts were like. I was pleasantly surprized to find a nice set of proper carbon brushes and a well-made commutator. The can is heavy gauge and the fit between the magnets and the armature is close. (Now I bore the pinion out to a sliding fit and solder it on)

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This is called giving with one hand and taking away with the other - to wit:

QUOTE That chassis is seriously excellent craftsmanship, EM!

Coming from you, I take that as high praise, indeed - many thanks -

and then:

QUOTE As I recall, Mark Manion entered a superbly detailed MRRC Eagle in the 2001 Marconi Proxy race. Unfortunately, this is the only photo I could find of it -- but it gives a glimpse of the standard that needs to be achieved!:-

One look and I was ready to go down to the shop and consign my efforts to the dustbin! - seriously - that is a beatiful piece of work. These stubby fingers won't ever match that but we shall do our best.

My intent on the inserts (probably not to be accomplished in the next three weeks) is to make a pattern to fit a BWA wheel (0.45")

My plan goes like this (and I earnestly invite comments from those more experienced at this than I)

I.Face off a piece of aluminum bar stock

2. drill 6 small holes equally spaced around a circle sized to represent the wheel hub, the space between the holes to represent the thickness of the spoke base

3. Drill 6 larger holes (size to be determined) on the same radii centered on a circle equivalent to the final diameter of the insert. Again, the spacing between them will be the width of the spoke at the rim

4. Machine the OD to the final diameter

5. Turn the inward taper of the spokes

6. Cut off the part

7. File and grind away the material between the outer and inner hole edges to leave 6 tapering spokes

8. Mold & cast from resin

I am also looking into using machinable wax, often used to test CNC set-ups, as an easier to use alternative to aluminum

Assuming I am successful, I will either make them available myself or offer the pattern to BWA to include in his line (Assuming he's not already 90% of the way there as is often the case!)

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QUOTE One way round the gearing problem for these sort of cars is to use Taylormade gears or there more modern counterparts, heres a picture of the chassis using these sort of gears,

They remind me very much of the "Eldi" gears that were in common use in the late 50's I consumed them at a fair rate but then, of course, I was fitting them to Pittman motors in heavy (Merit bodied) 1/24 cars. I probably still have some around - need to rummage through the "old parts" cabinet and see. I assumed, but never explicitly knew, that "Eldi" was derived from the initials of D.J. Laidlaw-Dickson, the editor of Model Maker.

The rear suspension work on the Lotus is beautiful. I may try to adopt some of the approach to the Eagle. I can't do it with the trailing arms, though. The Eagle ones are very long and intersect the body well forward of the end of the body work. My thinking at the moment is to reinforce the body from the inside just forward of the slot cut for the rear suspension and form up the trailing arms as slightly cranked "L s" as I did on the BRM but I am not to that stage yet.

Is the motor a casting or a fabrication?

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QUOTE I cannot get EM's pics to display but all the others do


If it won't work for you, let me know and I'll e-mail the pics. they are JPEGs - about 50K each

QUOTE Dash it all, EM. Beautiful work, raising the stakes once more!

I'd love to bask in the comment but as I read down the post, it's clear that you're referring to Mark Mannion's car, not mine!

QUOTE The mesh covering the inlet trumpets is neat- I shall start poking around in the cutlery drawer for an old tea strainer... unless anyone can suggest better sources?

I have some 150 and 200 mesh SS coming from Small Parts Inc. in Florida. If you are unsuccessful is finding something, I'd be happy to snip off a piece and slip it into an envelope - let me know.

And Russell - thanks very much for the references - they are far beyond anything that I had (Google didn't find them) and will be very useful in rebuilding the rear end.

It appears from some of the comments that one of the issues here is that the MRRC shell is somewhat wider than the Classic - I tried a standard "S" can up against the Classic shell and it is definitely a non-starter. The S can is roughly 20 mm wide and the outside dimension of the Classic shell is 24.4 mm wide at its widest point - pretty tight and then one must contend with the inward curvature of the lower part of the body. This curvature is often "fudged" a bit on injection molded bodies for mold ejection considerations.
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You're making me blush - somewhat unseemly for an old man!

I flipped though the images in the references that Russell provided and learned something - they are images of at least two different cars, the most obvious difference being the shape of the exhaust pipes - one flaring and the other straight! I believe that the MRRC part models the flared ones. Since my extensions will be made up of tubing (the Classic shell leaves off at the end of the manifolds), I am very grateful for the straight prototype - there are other differences too like the colors of the big cylindrical gubbins (magnetos? pumps?) sticking off the back of the gearcase - one polished alloy, the other in black) In any event, there seems to be enough strutting and piping all over the back end so that a reasonable mask of the gear clearance surgery should be achievable.

Off the topic a bit but related - I was chatting (SCI chat room) with Al Penrose of BWA wheel fame last night about my approach to using these small motors. He suggested an approach for even more restricted cars -take the motor and set it on its side! This would make the crown gear the defining item for the width at the rear. A Slot-It crown will fit nicely in a 10mm (inside width) bracket. For these motors, I would be comfortable using 1.25 mm steel bracket material bringing the whole assembly to 12.5 mm vs the 15.5 of the current set up - 3 mm may not seem like a lot but when you are scatching for every tenth, anything helps. (I hope Al doesn't mind me passing this on) And - if an even narrower gear set up can be found, it gets even better.

I'll be on the road the latter part of this week but the screen will be here when I get back - let me know if you need some

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QUOTE if I can sort out the pinion size problem.

The pinion is easy - Use an HO pinion (1.5 mm bore) and a 64 dp crown gear or sleeve the saft to 2mm with a piece of 1.5 mm i.d. 2 mm o.d. tubing. I have a 3' length and could certainly spare a bit if you needed it!

Progress has been slow - more pics later today.

The chassis is done (almost -read on) -


The wheel inserts are Maxi-Models. After declaring, in an earlier note, that the Maxi-Model inserts were too small, I looked again at Russell's post and went back and measured again - this time pulling one out of the pack instead of just eyeballing it through the plastic - perfect fit - just cut a small recess about 1 mm deep in the rim and they fall into place! So I machined all the wheels, decided on graphite metallizer to cover the inner part of the wheel and the edges of the spokes and pulled the rest of the inserts out to trim and paint them - disaster! It turns out that Maxi-Models makes two different sets of Eagle inserts - one for the GP and Indy cars (this is the set pictured in Russell's post) and a second set, for their "McLeagle" model which has very different front and rear wheel sizes and, as luck would have it, I had the latter, so I had two perfectly good inserts and two about 2/3rds size. When I managed to scrape myself off the rafters, my first thought was an old limerick:

There was a young man from Devizes
Whose ears were of two different sizes
One was small,
And of no use at all
The other won numerous prizes.

(Yes, I am aware of the variants on the above, but we shan't go there)

My solution is pictured above - and, while awaiting a new set of inserts, no photographs of the right side will be allowed.

Lower suspension arm and coil-over units were added to the rear:



Comparing the results to the pictures, were I to do it again (easy enough, the bits are simply soft soldered into holes in the bracket) the top of the coil units should be higher and they should be more vertical

The trailing arms and upper suspension arms will be carried by the body.

Also note the new gearing. MY good friend, Larry LS opined in an e-mail that he though he could machine the center out of a sonic crown, fabricate a new hub and insert it from the tooth side - not only did he offer the opinion, he did the job and had it in the mail to me the same day. The gear is a useful 0.8 mm smaller that the smallest Slot-It and, combined with a 7 T 64 dp pinion, is very smooth.

The body is in the paint shop so - while waiting for it to dry (will this car be ready by Thursday?) , I need some help from the Eagle experts out there.

While I am sure that thereare many details separting the different cars and even the same car at different times, I have noted three very obvious characteristics:

1. Some cars carried straight exhaust pipes, others show megaphones (I'm going straight - enough problems already)

2. The images that Russell referenced above show one version with a "Y" shaped support running from the roll bar to the rear.

3. The inlet mesh is flat in some shots, curved into a shallow inverted dish in others

My other primary reference - Motorsport Feb 2000, shows a car, carrying # 14, with straight pipes, no brace from the roll bar and the dished cover.

Any combination that I should watch out for so as not to rewrite history?

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Great shot! - I particulary like the "Indy-style" nerf bar at the rear - but I don't think that i have time to add that before tomorrow! - maybe for the Marconi - assuming that the car runs well - it has only been run on the test bench so far.

Ha! (borrowing from Prof. Fate) I spit in your crankcase - or would if you had one!

Actually, knowing Jim, and particulary our comparative driving skills, he's probaby right

Gaunlets, hell - my fingers are so worn down from all the wire work in this car (about a grand piano's worth) that only mittens are suitable.

Well the paint is temporary (little masking problem) as are the decals (couldn't find the right type face guess I'd better learn how to use that Alps) but - we're off to the races!


watch your mirror, Subdude...


Wave nicely...


After the race, I'll let you get this close...


Clean up, lube and polish when we get to the track.

Time to go - leaving for the airport in less than 5 hours and the cars still are not all packed!

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Don't understand the "user posted image bit so I'll try again:


I give up
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QUOTE but keep that testosterone under control. Don't go crashing that honey.

Well, in this instance it was not a question of my control but someone else's - the Eagle got its wings clipped.

Lesson one - don't go out for practice on the Blue King when others are running missles - a 1/24 missle de-slotted in the "deadman's" corner and carried the Eagle at high speed into the wall - decapitating the driver and removing 3 of the 4 exhaust pipes! - but the chassis survived unscathed - I shall not post any pictures!

QUOTE Do let us know how it performed, EM!

Undismayed (more or less) I prepared the car for the "60"s" F 1 race. I had already determined that the different tracks at Rad trax required different tires. The Blue King, which was the race venue, had a fair amount of glue on the surface and called for the harder of the two sets of tires that I had brought. I wish that I could report that despite its earlier misfortunes, the Eagle carried the day but it was not to be - due, primarily, to my failings as a driver (which may have, in part, derived from being upbraided via my cell phone for the home fronts inability to program the VCR - Lesson two - turn off cell phone one half hour before race). The crash and burn format of the race put a very heavy penalty on de-slotting early in a heat and, unfortunately, I did this in 3 of the eight heats. While it was running, however, the car ran beautifully. The little Tiawan Mystery Motor had plenty of speed and torque, equalling anything else on the track for speed and out-accelerating most. the handling was very smooth and forgiving although it lacked the ultimate grip of some of the cars with wider tires and lower, vac-formed bodies.

I have decided to do a new body rather than repair the exisiting one for several reasons: In the crash, the pipes were not only carried away but a fair amount of the glass that they were attached to was lost as well and, with the new gearing, I don't need as much of the rear cut away as before - finally, I was not happy with the paint and decal work.

To that end, I seem to recall that somewhere on this forum, someone mentioned a hobbly shop that could source the Classic bodies. This would be easier that going through the exercise of getting bank drafts etc. Can anyone recall this?


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Thanks for the references to ABS - Andy replied to my inquiry very promptly and the new body will be ordered today (as well as a few other bits that I found on the site) I'm going to make a few changes in the next iteration - the exhaust supports are an obvious "must-do" and I'm going to try either AluClad or Bare Metal Foil for the exhaust headers to get a better match to the pipes.

It will probably be a while before the project is started - there are a few things in the line:

1. Clean and re-organize the shop! I spent nearly 30% of my building time in the " Where did I put that #@%&&*@# ..........." mode.

2. Build the new routed track - Russell is very successful at going directly from bench to starting line but I am not.

3. The P 68 thread is very interesting and I still have one or two of those kits on the shelf?

4. And finally - a "maybe"project - I also have a pretty complete woodworking shop and I've been thinking about a slot box - not really ideal for air travel but it would be fun to have.

But I promise - the Eagle will fly again.

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QUOTE Nice to make your acquaintance, Jim! Congratulations on your beautiful work.

Having had the good fortune to see Jim's work "up close and personal" I can only say that it is indeed exquisite - the photos don't do it justice - and, as the results show, the cars are not only beautiful but they are fast as well ( as is the driver!)

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