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Hatching an Eagle

11526 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 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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Nah, EM- you are the focus of my jealous thoughts still. It's the endless cunning of your wheel reproduction scheme that got to me!
The MRRC shell is really a waste of time in the end- as you say, it's all out of scale and designed to accomodate the motor, so all that beautiful sculptural shape in the body sides of the original is completely lost- the MRRC car looks more like a tank than a shark, but I thought I'd made the best I could of a bad job.
I might yet tap you for some of that mesh, since my email to Messers Crew has just been bounced back! I'll try again....
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 (Ecurie Martini @ 16 Apr 2004, 21:07)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")

EM - What about using these from Maxi-Models?

Also you asked earlier in the thread about a Lotus 49 shell. When I built mine I used the Classic Lotus 49B fibreglass shell, cut the engine and cowl off at the back of the monocoque and grafted on the Classic Lotus 72 engine. I then removed the oil tank and cooler and built a ZF gearbox out of plastic sheet. The only other change was to smooth off the raised front wing mounting moulding to revert to the 49 nosecone.

Hi David

The link doesn't work for me. Are you referring to these wheels?

Could work!

Kind regards,

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Thank you Russell, they are the ones I meant. Not sure what happened to the link.

Beardog has mini-motors, and gears and complete chassis for these cars,
but boy does that eagle chassis look neat.

Over on the Honda thread, David Lawson wrote:-

"EM - I plan doing the Monaco 1968 Eagle rather than the 67 Spa winner for no reason other than I like the sponsors logos and drivers name logo Dan had in that race - it also had the mesh intake cover for a bit of super detailing. Your body shell making process sounds excellent but a bit beyond me."

How about this one, David?

Kind regards

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Anyone modelling that car would be arrested immediately. Sawing the nose off an Eagle contravenes article 12 subsection 14 paras 8-15 of the Laws of Scratchbuilding; aesthetics and morality.
And that one is now officially entered into the Ugly Car competition, alongside the similarly truncated Cooper-Maserati.
No more warnings, Russell....
Well I thought it really looked nice!...

I might try one of those with possibly a Beardog Motor, if I can sort out the pinion size problem.


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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The chassis looks tremendous EM, superb workmanship!

Larry did a very nice job on the Sonic gear. For future projects, BSlotcar Performance has 80DP inside boss 38t contrate gears, about 13mm in diameter, and only 5mm wide from the face of the boss to the back of the gear. Sonic make 1.5mm bore 80DP pinions, as does Ilpe.

In terms of the detail differences between the cars, bear in mind that Eagle-Weslake's first Grand Prix was the Italian GP at Monza in September 1966 (DNF, Dan Gurney, AAR-102), and it ended its career where it started, at Monza in September 1968 (DNF, Dan Gurney AAR-104). I've no doubt that a lot of modifications were carried out over the two year period. If you scroll up to the pictures of the car that I'm building, you may notice that I used 'ferrules' from paintbrushes to simulate the 'megaphone' exhaust pipes.

Probably the most photographed is AAR-104, the #36 1967 Belgian GP winner, followed by the same car wearing #9 (Gurney at Le Mans, Silverstone and the Nurburgring in 1967).

Kind regards

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EM - I am in awe of your chassis work it will be a superb slot car when you finish it.

Regarding the detailing, all the race photographs I've seen from both 1967 and 68 have straight exhausts. The 67 car had a simple mesh that covered the intakes and the 68 car had the upward curving (dished) intake cover as part of the aero package of front and rear wings. The roll bar didn't have rearward bracing in it's racing career but the car that appears at todays meetings has one fitted to comply with current safety standards.

These plans are from Model Cars magazine. I'm guessing that it's the 1968 version that David referred to:-

Kind regards

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This is a picture of the Eagle at Monaco in 1967 which is in Doug Nye's superb book, History of the Grand Prix Car 1966-91

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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.

EM, please could we see a picture of the finished car before you leave for 'Vegas? It would be a tremendous disappointment if the car were to get damaged before we saw it.

With kind regards

I promise, if EM doesn't get a picture before we leave, I'll take several on the plane, before he gets a chance to get it near the king!

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