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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been looking for something to build and think I have found it; the 1938 Auto Union Type D. (plans from VSRN)

The thing is, I want to build the body too from scratch. But where to begin? What type of wood to carve? What are the dimensions of a 1/32 scale car?

Would someone be willing to share or impart some knowledge on a new but enthusiastic beginner?

Thanks, in advance!

~Greg
Kingston, WA
 

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Graham Windle
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Balsa wood is easy to carve ,obechi is good to but probably a little harder to find these days,
Trace the shape on the wood from the plan and cut the profile out with a band saw or a coping saw .If the plan is an old "model cars " plan there will be sectional templates included ,trace these on to card board and cut them out this will help get the cross section right .
hope this helps you get started
 

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A good system also is to start by making up a small box out of plasticard, that gives you roughly the inside dimensions of the shell- what you need to fit over the chassis in other words. Then laminate some sheet wood over it and carve. That saves the tickly job of hollowing the thing out afterwards. And also, if you're crafty with the laminations, you can eliminate the problem of end-grain, which is tricky to work and detail. I'd recommend you find some obechi or gelutong from a craft supply- they're easy woods to carve and have less porous grain than balsa, which takes a lot of filling and smoothing. Also Balsa is sooo soft, it's easy to make a big mistake.
Good luck- it's easier than it sounds!
 

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Welcome to SlotForum fluffy


QUOTE What are the dimensions of a 1/32 scale car?
Those MC&T D-type plans are
but you will need to print them out to the right size to get the most out of them.

In 1/32 scale, 1ft will measure 3/8". So, to make your drawing dimensionally correct you will need to print out the plan so that the "feet" divisions (notice the scale marked in feet and metres on the corner of the plan) each measure 3/8". Many PC paint packages such as Paint Shop Pro have a print scaling function that will help you to do this.

Hope this helps too. Good luck
 

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I've been using balsa because it is all that seems to be available in my area. Make more than my share of mistakes too but I just start over again after gluing a small slab of balsa over the offending area. I also like to brush on Tamiya grey putty thinned with methyl hydrate as filler. It fills and sands very easily. A coat of primer gives it a slightly harder finish although the body won't withstand too many crashes.


As far as tools go, I just use small box cutters and bits of sandpaper to shape the body. There is one rule of thumb: If I can do it...a monkey can do it.


Bob S.
 

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Hi

Cheap tricks:

You dont need to do a block. Buy 1/8th sheet and approximate the shape. You can actualy RACE the balsa if you do it right! It also works to do the box directly in styrene if you like. Usually .060 is about right.

Make lots of photocopies of the plans in scale. They are cheap. An easy way to transfer the shape is to use thinner to make a "contact print". Simply(buterate thinner works best) wet the balsa with the thinner and then take a cut out of, say, the side view and press it onto the balsa. This will make a nice mirror image contact print for you to cut to!

When you are done cutting and sanding and all, you need to seal the balsa. As a model airplane flyer/builder, I usualy use aero Buterate or Nitrate "Dope" but there are kinder alternatives such as Krylon acrylics. Fill and sand until smooth.
Another option, but I havent done this in 40 years, is to take nylon salvaged from pantyhose, very fine mesh, and laminate this onto the balsa. The buterate dope MELTS the stuff into a solid. Very strong.
If you dont do the nylon outside, certainly do it inside. Inside, you can use anyting, instant glue, anything, to reinforce the balsa.
You can get a lot of nylon cheap this way. Frankly, I use the stuff when doing shelf model conversions as well. Cyanoacrylate soaked nylon on the inside of that Dodge HOLDS the bumpers on.

Fate
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for your responses! This should give me a good start...

The only question I have is regarding laminating: Which direction does the sheets of balsa, obechi, etc. lie, or does it stand on edge and run the length of the car?

That's it for now....again, thanks!

~Greg
 

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Russell Sheldon
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I must confess that I have never tried to carve a body myself, but was wondering if anyone has had experience carving bodies using Balsa-Foam, which is apparently much easier to work with than balsa wood?

Balsa-Foam is labelled as "a plastic foam that carves like butter and paints like wood" and is supposedly ideal for sculpting and model making.

Michael Paschal did a superb job of carving this 1939 Maserati 4CL "Streamliner" in Balsa-Foam, which he entered in the 2001 Marconi Proxy Race:-





Michael used standard Balsa-Foam and unfortunately the front of the body broke off in a heavy crash. For slot car bodies it would be best to use either Balsa-Foam II, which has a 12 lb per cubic foot density, or Balsa-Foam III (20lb. pcf.).

They do blocks that measure 3" × 4½" × 5" for $6.49, which should be suitable for most 1/32nd scale bodies.

Has anyone else carved bodies from Balsa-Foam?

Kind regards

Russell
 

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Al Schwartz
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I have used balsa foam - If I dig far enough back in the debris in my shop to find the data sheet, I'll be able to identify the grade - It is, indeed, easy to carve because it has no grain and cuts equally well in any direction - sort of like carving soap (come to think of it, has anyone tried.....?)

A Google search for "balsa foam" will yield a lot of information. One issue I do recall is that one of tthe compositions (the more rigid of the two, thus more suited for pattern making when fine detail is required), is chemically aggressive and will corrode any tools used to carve it if they are not carefully cleaned.

The strength was not an issue for me as my purpose was pattern making. With all of the craft material commonly available today, it is no great trick to pour a rubber mold over the finished body. The mold can then be used to slosh cast a resin body or lay up laminate one.

EM
 

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Brian Ferguson
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QUOTE sort of like carving soap (come to think of it, has anyone tried.....?)

Almost, EM! I carved a McLaren M8A out of a block of paraffin wax back in the mid 70s. Easy to carve, and mistakes were repaired with a little molten wax. Two plaster casts later (the first one destructive) and I had a buck for a vac-formed version. Worked pretty well, but I don't think I want to carve any more bodies - took me ages!
 

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Graham Windle
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I ususaly use modeling clay when making a mold start with a 2.5" wide block car away ,when it goes a bit soft stick it in the fridge fore 1/2hr have a brew tak it out carve some more , then plaster cast and make a rsesin master to which you can engrave the final details
 

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I thank Russell for posting pics of my car, but to set the record straight, the '39 Maserati Streamliner pictured was carved out of conventional balsa wood, which, as others have mentioned, is difficult to cut cleanly because of its softness. I think Russell is remembering the sequel, a '55 Maserati Streamliner. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of it, but it was indeed fragile, and was destroyed at a subsequent Marconi race. I still have the pieces though, and have plans to eventually reassemble it for a resin casting. Copied below is a posting on the old Slots DL describing the trials and tribulations I encountered while building the car. One very important caveat about Balsa Foam: aside from its demonstrated fragility, it also is corrosive to most metals!! After a few weeks the chassis looked in worse shape than the body.

[Oct. 2001]

Well, after seeing some of the competition on the Marconi site, I figure it would be better to offer my excuses in advance, rather than after the race.

I thought I would try carving another body this year (just masochistic I guess), and decided on doing the '55 Maserati streamliner raced by Jean Behra at Monza. Although the car never won a race, I was drawn to its sleek shape -- especially the rear fins (hey, I grew up with Plymouths and DeSotos in the 50s). There are no plans available that I am aware of so I used standard F250 specs for the wheelbase and track. The balsawood I used for last year's car was a real pain to carve because it was too mushy and tended to depress rather than slice cleanly. I decided to try a phenolic resin foam product appropriately called "Balsa-Foam" that is easy to carve and doesn't have any "memory" or bounce back. It is available in 7, 12 or 20 pound densities so I decided to use the medium weight. I couldn't find appropriate sizes at the retail dealers, and the manufacturer had a $100 minimum order, so I decided to glue up two 1" slabs to form the block. I did this with real balsa last year without problems and I also like having a built in center line as a reference. Problem #1, the glue line was much harder than the foam itself and difficult to sand down evenly. Problem #2, the foam is corrosive, requiring care in cleaning edge tools (I found out the hard way). I'm hoping it will not have the same effect on the car's running gear. Problem #3, since it is foam, it is a fairly coarse material and full of little air bubbles -- some of them larger than others -- and required lots of filler to achieve a smooth surface. Problem #4, I tried using thinned down "lightweight" spackle as filler, but it stayed gummy. When sanded it tended to roll up into little balls, which played havoc with the already very delicate foam material. I eventually applied full-strength spackle with my fingers over the entire surface of the car, let it dry to plaster hardness, and then sanded it all down again. Problem #5, when cutting a recess on the inside for the nose screen (made from an old electric shaver foil) I managed to poke my knife all the way through the nose -- aarrgh! more putty. Finally got the body more or less shaped and primered -- on to the chassis.

I wanted to keep it as simple as possible so decided to use a brass pan configuration. The hardest part was bending and drilling the axle bracket. I needed some nice wire wheels and Nincos seemed to be the best choice, but I didn't like the press-fit. I decided to do as Rocky suggested and tapped them for 5-40 threaded axles. Problem #6, all well and good, except the wheels were not round. I trued them as best I could but they still hop a bit under hard acceleration. Since I still do not have a chassis jig, much of my assembly methods are done "free-hand" using clamps and vise grip pliers to hold everything together. Problem #7, have you ever soldered a front axle tube with the wheels and axle still inserted to check clearance? Have you ever done it with nylon wheels? It is not a pretty sight. Okay, finally got the chassis rolling after stealing and tapping the wheels off another Ninco car. Tried fitting the body but needed to trim out most of the backing material behind the rear wheels. Problem #8, I dropped the body on the chassis to check clearance, noise etc. Couldn't resist doing a lap around the track when CARAMBA!?!?!, something jammed and the whole tail end snapped off! It looked like a lost Mickey Thompson car! After letting my heart calm down and fortifying myself with liquid restorative, I mustered up enough courage to examine the damage. Fortunately the break was clean so I CYAed it back together, touched up the crack with spackle, resanded, primered, etc. Problem #9, when fitting body to chassis and drilling holes for the mounting screws I applied too much pressure and again managed to snap the f*&%#ing tail off. By this time I was beginning to think the car was not meant to be. Decided to try one last time with Titebond glue (aliphatic, phenolic -- sounded close enough to me), again followed by the spackle, sand, primer routine. This seemed to be stronger and the rest of the car was finished without incident, although trying to paint a checkerboard pattern on Jean's helmet while holding the driver and magnifying glass in one hand and the pen in another was pretty damn awkward.

The car uses a Lil Ripper motor and is probably overpowered and ill-matched with the 45ohm controller, but I will leave it to the driving pros to sort out. Was building the car worth the gray hairs? I think so, especially since it is a car not available elsewhere. Being able to say you built the car your self provides a great deal of satisfaction, and I highly recommend trying it to everyone. Will I do it again next year? You must be kidding. How many more streamliners are there anyway?

mp
 
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