Take these broken wings and learn to fly!

How DO they do that??

Take these broken wings and learn to fly!

Postby wixwacing » Wed 09 Jul, 2014 2:53 pm

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For some of us there is nothing more disheartening than to run a model in a race only to be caught up in a crash which may have been induced by others, and as a consequence lose a much loved wing from a favourite model. Needless to say it is an inevitability, and all of us must have had that sinking feeling at least once when a corner marshall, after reslotting a couple of models, shouts “who’s is this?” while brandishing a familiar piece of brightly coloured ABS in the form of your car’s rear (or sometimes front) wing!


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A replacement for the SCX Ferrari 360
hard to see but this is laminated


The problem starts when you think it is safe to come out of the woodwork and put one of your shelf queens on the track. Even on an empty track you can become over confident and loose it on an otherwise safe bend and connect with something exceedingly stationary and hard, and Bob’s your uncle, another model is about 2 grams lighter!!



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Some manufacturers have acknowledged this phenomena and some, Carrera in particular, make those vulnerable bits a little more durable for the cut and thrust of competition. To this day, most of their models have removable wings and door mirrors; this allows the proud owner to put their favourite model on the track “sans breakables”, and go their way in confidence knowing there is nothing left to snap off in a shunt!



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Some manufacturers, like Scalextric and SCX, have issued models with bendy flexible door mirrors to reduce the tear threshold. Another option is to remove these parts yourself and make them “pull out” or “fall out” in the event of an unforced error on the track. This I have done quite successfully using a 40 watt soldering iron.



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An Airfix – MRRC McLaren M23 !

This is achieved by removing the chassis to expose the heat welds of the vulnerable bits on the inside of the body. The hot soldering iron is held three to four millimetres below the fixing and a little effort is applied to the appendage from the outside. Once warm enough, the mounting post will soften and the door mirror or wing pylon will slide out of its body location.



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Good fit! Time to paint!

But inevitably we get caught out, but what can we do about it? In the past I have had several classic Scaley models that have been deprived of their aerodynamic parts either by racing or by not having them when I purchased them! In these cases I have developed and fine tuned the art of creating “replacement” wings. This is achieved by copying the lines of the broken or missing wings in polystyrene sheet material.


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A March 0-2-4
Also did the intake and a mock gearbox covering
the 4 X 4 rear wheel drive!


After some careful measuring it is a simple task to reconstruct a wing, piece by piece, to make it look as good as, and sometimes better than new! Spread throughout this text are some examples of my work. I suggest that for the most part they are quite effective and are indistinguishable apart from the real thing! I tend to determine the thickness of plastic required and then glue two thinner strips together. This is a type of laminating (a bit like plywood) which I feel gives the finished item more flexibility combined with strength, and less chance of breaking again.



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A solid brass wing for the Vectra tin top

Another dread I have is the immovable open-wheeler front wing. I’m sure there are a few people reading this who have a classic Scaley Williams or Brabham, or even a modern Indy car missing either one or both of its front wings. The solution here is not to break them off in the first place, big ask? probably; the solution is to brace them against potential harm. This is called risk management and some simple control measures will greatly minimise the chance of breakage.


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Williams FW08b



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With these models I drill six shallow 1/16th holes underneath the wings in question; don’t drill completely through the wing, but just shallow enough to create a key for the adhesive you are going to use. Next, cut a thin strip of reasonably thick brass and drill six 1/16th holes through it down its centre. Next, apply the adhesive (in my case, superglue) along the underside of the wing and place the metal strip onto this adhesive, then leave somewhere safe for 24 / 48 hours to harden and cure. Painting is optional!



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MRRC Brabham BT49

So that’s about it except to say that root cause analysis tells me not to put the models in harms way in the first place; this is readily achieved by having safety measures at all the hazard points around tracks. Remove or guard rigid impact areas and make sure models leave the track into run off zones when deslotting, preventing others running into a stationary model. Soft tyre walls are becoming ever popular but they need to be in front of real track hazards and not plonked down somewhere because they look good in that spot.



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The zones with the highest mortality rates are at the ends of long straights or on the second half of fast sweeper corners where extra speed multiplies the damage effects. This coupled with marshall lethargy can easily lead to you leaving the room with moistened eyes!! Talking of marshalls, one successful system I have raced with is the placing of the lane stickers under the model! This causes the marshall to have to lift the model clear of the track and overturn it to see the lane sticker!!



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Scaley Tyrell 007!

Normally marshalls dither and slide models across the track surface to reslot them; with the requirement of having to lift and turn the model over, marshalling incidents involving cars driving into cars being marshalled is greatly reduced. There were some complaints at first but the general consensus was that it was the better solution, and my reply (root cause analysis again) to those who persisted in complaining was to recommend they didn’t come off in the first place!!


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Et Voila!

So practice a few spoilers on some scrap models and when you think you have got it right you might like to start replacing the good wings with the dispensable ones and preserving the real ones for when the model is retired to shelf queen status!


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Dick Johnson Mustang

(Decals were invariably purchased from Patto’s over the years).
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When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
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Re: Take these broken wings and learn to fly!

Postby wixwacing » Tue 12 Aug, 2014 12:57 pm

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Just to follow on from the article I wrote recently on spoiler replacement, I had an opportunity to do the same again for a friend’s battle scarred Carrera BMW. Because the article was retrospective there were no construction pictures to illustrate parts of the narrative. This time I have been able to include some pictures which will make the narrative a bit more understandable.


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The model in question has had more then a couple of years hard racing and there are several parts already missing from it; but, no matter how many light lenses, door mirrors and antennae are missing, nothing looks worse than a race car with a missing wing! It is the wing that tells us ‘this is a race car’; so it is my mission in life to restore all broken models to their former glory by creating a prosthesis which will once again allow them to hold their heads up high at the start line!


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First up are the raw materials, these are in the form of brass strips available from the local hobby/RC store. Dimensions depend on the size of the wing to be built, but the first note I would make here is not to make parts too ‘clunky’, because they will look too beefy on the model. There is plenty of strength in flat brass for the task ahead, and the fact that the main part of the wing (blade) has a curve in it adds strength to the structure. For this wing I have used K&S brass, the blade being 0.5 m.m. thick and the pylons 1.5 m.m.


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The first task is to measure the original wing or a pattern for it, and to mark and cut out all the individual pieces. This I did with a junior hack saw, leaving the fine cutting and final shaping to a Dremel type tool with some thick cutting disks. Offer each piece up to the original pattern frequently so’s not to overcut the piece and render it scrap. Once all the bits are looking good I test placed the pylons in the body slots and adjusted the angle where the pylon base meets the body. Because the material is thicker than the original wing, the slot had to be carefully taken out by hand with a small needle file. The tops of the pylons also had to be shaped to allow the blade contour to sit relatively seamlessly on them.


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This is where it starts to get tricky; the one issue we have before commencing soldering is to assemble the wing in the right order, and to avoid an already soldered part dropping off while soldering another part on next to it! First up we need a soldering iron in the 30 to 40 watt range, or possibly even lower; and check the heat range of the solder; we aren’t looking for something ultra strong so a softer solder with a lower melting point can be used. All set to go? We need to place the parts on a large heat sink. Just by a stroke of luck I happen to have a couple of alloy square section tubes from a previous workplace.


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First up is to clean everything. When soldering, fluxed solder will not flow evenly if there is oxidization on the surfaces to be soldered. All pieces will get the 1200 wet and dry treatment before turning the iron on! Lightly clamping the blade on the block, the finial is placed at one end, held in place by a lolly stick, and lightly clamped. Hopefully, if the cutting has been accurate the end will be vertical. Lightly solder by applying heat to the outside of the finial and applying the solder to the butt face inside. Once hot enough, the solder will flow freely and a small fillet of solder will appear in the join. Turn the wing round and repeat at the other end.


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To fix the pylons the same technique is used, but because they are inside the wing ends I fabricated a small block of alloy and used this and two smaller clamps as a clamping jig to hold the pylons at 90º to the blade ( sorry, I didn’t photo this!). The blade had been pre-marked to ensure the pylons would line up with the existing holes in the body.


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All going well and if you have been diligent you should now be admiring a soldered brass wing. Next step is to remove surplus solder from the more visible parts, especially on the top surfaces. Because of the thinness of some of the soldered joints it is beneficial to actually leave the fillets of solder on the undersides of the joints; this will add strength where it could be vulnerable. Last job is to use a round needle file to smooth the fillets if they need it and to tidy up in general!


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Once cleaned up and final adjustments have been made to the wing angle and general fit in the body, it is time to put a coat of paint on it. As always, I have applied a coat of flat pale grey. This helps to pick out any defects in the surface of the material to be painted.


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Next is the finish coat. On this one I gave it a coat of satin black and finished off with a coat of clear gloss enamel. Normally I would have sourced some decals to help show it off a bit, but knowing the model’s history and treatment it will get I decided a decorated wing would be academic, so the wing stays in plain black!


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Not too hard a job, but it does take a little bit of skill, especially with the soldering iron. The good news is that using very similar techniques you can create an identical wing using polystyrene sheeting of various thicknesses and some liquid styrene cement. Only thing is if you are a crash and burn merchant, it may well be as short lived as the original?


As always, give it a go, plastic or brass, and surprise yourself (and your race mates) !
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When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
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Re: Take these broken wings and learn to fly!

Postby wixwacing » Thu 09 Mar, 2017 6:02 pm

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Another model which has recently become the victim of some hard driving is the Scalextric Tans Am Mustang. This lost its rear spoiler in an altercation on the track and the option was to superglue, or make something more resilient. The pictures should speak for themselves but the end result is a spoiler which should take more than the odd knock. This one I have fixed in place with aeromodeller's canopy cement, hopefully it will have more 'give' in it on impact.

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When I'm not racing slotcars,
I'm out in the back yard, burning food!!

When I win, it's because of my talent, not my car or my controller!
User avatar
wixwacing
Marshal!!!
 
Posts: 1903
Joined: Thu 10 Jul, 2008 8:22 pm


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