Monday, March 8, 2010

The Rodian Runabout (In Progress)

Here's the Rodian Runabout, the latest of my custom landspeeders.  This one was a complicated model, and it has given me quite a few headaches.

It is based on an old 1:43 diecast toy car called a Bertone Runabout, a funky little sports-car from the 1970's.  The toy had a neat retro vibe, which I felt fit in nicely with the design aesthetic of the original Star Wars film.  You can see a picture of one of these toys HERE.  So, a couple years ago I bought a beat-up used car for about $3 on ebay, and my headaches began.

The first thing I did was to take the whole thing apart.  This guy wasn't held together with easily-removable screws like the Batmobile toys I used for some of the other speeders.  This meant drilling out the 2 rivets used to hold the thing together with a large bit power drill.  Once apart, I trimmed off the bits of scrap metal around the holes, and gave the metal parts of the car a bath in PineSol.  After a few days, the paint was ready to come off with the help of a brass brush.

The rest of these photos are of the model before it was painted -- you can see where I had to fill in the body with brown or green epoxy putty.  The front wheels had to have their fenders ground out, and then the holes were filled and filed smooth.

The engine pods are from my bits-box (they were actually the internal engines from the Bat-submersible toy -- let nothing go to waste!)  They were secured into place with a flat piece of brass, then I filled in around it with putty.  At last, the model was taking shape!


The glass canopy of the Speeder was made by making a solid form, which was used in a vaccu-former to make the clear plastic dome.  This took a few tries to get right.  A big thanks to my pal Brian and his vaccu-former for making this part possible!  The 'Buck Rogers' style bubble-canopy is really my favorite part of the speeder, and it will keep the sand of Tatooine out of our driver's eyes!


Did I mention that this one caused me some headaches?  It crossed the line from being 'fun' to 'frustrating', and I very nearly threw it into the trash a few times.

I showed the finished model to the good folks at Armorcast, and they offered to try to cast the thing in resin.  It was something of a problem for them to cast, though, as it was not really designed for production.  Kudos to Armocast... the model shown in the first 3 photos is a casting of the original!  This last process actually went pretty smoothly, and I ended up with a few extras for the other racers in our gaming group to paint.  I may revisit this speeder at some point in the future to make it easier to produce -- probably replacing the engine pods with something much simpler, like those on Luke's speeder.

I'm still not quite happy with the finished figure, it still needs a Rodian crew (in progress), and further painting and weathering.  But I've decided to set it aside for a while for my sanity!

1 comment:

  1. very cool speeders, bro...
    good to see you have a blog goin'...
    i'll be keepin' an eye on this page...