Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Moon Buggy

My new HEEV (Hostile Environment Exploration Vehicle) nears competion...

This started off as a Matchbox "Battering Ram" Police vehicle. It is supposedly 1:86 scale, but parts of it seem more like 1:200 judging by the size of hatches and windows! I could see that with a little modification to re-scale it to closer to 15mm, it would make a great exploration vehicle for travelling through moonscapes.

After drilling out the rivets and disassembling the parts, I discarded the battering ram into my bits box, along with the turret (not right for this, but could come in useful on another project if I replace the gun barrel...) Next, I attacked the out-of-scale upper cabin section with a pair of side cutters, removing all the window frames. A hacksaw was needed to cut through the solid rear section, and a large file smoothed all the cut areas flat. A new plasticard roof covered up this gaping hole, superglued in place. The cut-off top of the cabin featured a nice vent, so rather than throwing it away, I filed the underside flat and superglued it to the new plasticard roof. The remaining flat areas of plasticard were dressed with a plasticard hatch, vent and a couple of bits of guitar string to represent hinges and help hide joints.

A washer helped cover the hole where the turret used to fit, and a plasticard scrap glued underneath it blocked off the hole in the middle. Into this I added a couple of tiny watch parts, with a few more arranged around the turret mount to fill up some of the empty space. A couple of extra plasticard rectangles were added to the rear of the superstructure, one of which had a small piece of mesh glued on to make it look a little more interesting.

Although the rear of the vehicle featured a couple of small hatches, I decided that something larger was needed - after all, the occupants could be entering the vehicle wearing bulky EVA suits which certainly wouldn't squeeze through! I filed away the existing hatches and replaced them with a large plasticard hatch, suitably embellished with some old watch parts, guitar string hinges etc.
There was a large hole in the front of the vehicle which had housed the battering ram shaft. This was filled with epoxy putty and filed smooth when set. A small watch cog finished it nicely, perhaps some sort of equipment attachment point or power connection?

As it's supposed to be surveying airless worlds, I decided that jerrycans, wooden crates, bedding rolls and other stowage probably weren't appropriate on this occasion! The one thing I did add was a pair of ranging rods made from brass rod, the end of one being filed into a point.

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