Thursday, May 31, 2012

MattMobile Gas Cap Recess Installation

Bo has been working like a mad man on the chassis and suspension, but I've been staying busy too. When not bothering him with lame questions or filming video.

The main thing I've been working on is the installation of the gas cap recesses. There are two on the car, one on each side. As with the nose cone, these struck me as great opportunities to test out techniques and materials to see how they work.

The first part of the process was filing down the edges of the recess part so that it fit snugly into the cut out on the body. I did this with a set of metal files and my dremel tool. After that, I used a five minute epoxy to anchor the piece in place. I only put four TINY beads of epoxy on the edges. It was just meant to hold it in place so it wouldn't shift while I was laying in fiberglass resin.

I don't have a picture of it, but I clayed up the edges from behind. The thought was that this way, the resin won't just drop straight through when I brush it into the cracks. Though this proved effective, it was a bit of a hassle getting the clay removed once it was done, and it also left an oily residue I had to reckon with.

However, after a little bit of work, this is what the top side looked like:

Once that had cured, I removed the clay and went underneath the car to brush on some more resin, and then lay in some matting. I need to do another layer of this, but this will help to bond the cap recess to the body.

After some work with the sanding block, it looked like this:

I did another pass with the fiberglass resin to fill in the deep cracks. After that was sanded, I hit it with a pass of short strand kitty hair.

For the second side, rather than use clay, I lined the inside with duct tape after filing the recess down to size. At the time of this writing, the first layer of resin has been brushed into the cracks, and is now curing.

With the extra resin I had mixed up, I brushed it into some of the deeper cracks along the seam lines on the body. When the body was made, the mold pieces were not registered perfectly, and left some gaps here and there. Rather than fill those with putty, I decided to brush in a little resin. Not only will this fill the gap, but it will also add strength to the seam.

DareDevil Cowl Arrives

Shawn Reeves once again hits it out of the park with this beautiful custom sculpt of the iconic DareDevil cowl. Though not sculpted for me personally, this thing fits PERFECTLY. Honestly, I cannot imagine something fitting better than this cowl. An excellent piece of good luck. This really finishes off the DD costume, which means it will for sure be ready for SDCC. If I get really bored, I may even wear it to AX, but I'm not sure.

I still want to get some billy clubs, but worst case I can just saw a couple dowel rods to length and paint them.

If you'd like a cowl of your own, please check out Shawns website, and drop him a line.

Friday, May 25, 2012

ZF-1 Kitbash Parts Work

A lot of work has been done recently on the ZF-1, namely prepping kit bash parts for molding. For the parts that are freestanding, the plan is to excise them from the model kit, then prep them so they can be molded properly and easily. This may include claying them up, or building sytrene dams onto the piece.

here's the bottom half of the ship, which has a large section of it that is used in the bottom front of the ZF-1, and a couple little pieces that sit right above it.

After cutting

And here's the top half of the main hull. The center spine of this needs to be removed and is used in the scope cup. One of the vents to the back of the hull is also used in the scope cup.

Here are the desired pieces removed. They still need to be cleaned up and trimmed, but you get the idea.

I need to take some pictures of the prep work that has been done, and the mold boxes. The scope cup is finished being assembled, though with the recent acquisition of the remaining model kit, I have two new parts to add on. Getting much closer to being done now!

Nosecone Primering Finished

After a lot of hassle, the nosecone primer work is finally done. This turned out to be a really good exercise, as I had hoped it would be, as it forced me to familiarize myself with the materials and tools used in this process. I have a lot of time logged with the new short strand putty I'm going to be using on the body, and a few tried with the PCL high fill primer, which is really fantastic stuff. I also discovered that I need a new spray gun.

ALSO, my nosecone is now finished! I still need to paint it, but since I haven't purchased the final paint yet, I suppose that's no surprise. This will also give me an opportunity to try out the paint I have in mind to see if it's going to give me the look I want for the entire car. Overall, I'm completely convinced that investing a lot of time into this nosecone as a test bed was worthwhile.

First Sponsor To The MattMobile Project

I'm really pleased to announce that the MattMobile project now has its first official sponsor! Energy Suspension, in San Clemente California, will be providing bushings and engine mounts for the car. Please stroll over to their website to check out all of their products.

I have put up a swanky new banner in my garage to proudly fly the Energy Suspension colors, and look forward to providing feedback on how their products work in the car.

Here's their bushings loaded into some recently stripped and painted arms.

And here's a close up. I don't really know much about bushings, but I do know that the ones in the caprice were rubber, whereas these are polyurethane. I'm not really sure what the difference will be in terms of handling or longevity but we shall see.

ZF-1 Kit Bash Parts Arrive

For those of you who know me, the ZF-1 is something I have been working on on and off for a number of years. It's a very dormant project, that has really grown in fits and starts over the years. Though it has always been something of interest for many years, it didn't really start to seem realistic until I obtained a casting of the pod a number of years ago. At that point, I realized it was possible. Parts got identified slowly over the years, but I always believed most of the good bits were custom machined. The next really big break came a couple of years ago when a couple of dudes on the RPF decided to do a run of ALL the metal parts, now that really great reference material finally came to light.

Along the way, a number of model kits were discovered that contributed parts to the gun. I own two of them, and the third finally showed up today. It's the Kazon ship from Voyager. Interesting enough, this model kit was also the foundation for a few hand props seen in Voyager and later on Enterprise. The Hirojin hand phaser was created using this kit, which was later modified into the Vulcan pistol used in Enterprise. Craziness!

Here you can see the two pieces that are used on the ZF-1. They are sort of like covers for hose entry points into the scope cup.

And with the arrival of this kit, I now have everything I need to make the scope cup. I'm almost done assembling it, and will be molding it and offering castings. Drop me a line if you are interested in a set.

Stripping and Painting

This week has been really productive on the MattMobile front! Not only has Bo been working like a man possessed on the suspension, but I too have been contributing in my own little ways.

With the suspension being pulled apart not only to put in the airbags, but also to switch out the bushings, Bo took the opportunity to sand blast a few parts and paint them. I must confess, they looked really amazing. Though I was originally TOTALLY against doing work that would not directly contribute to the drivability of the car, Bo has convinced me that there's some wisdom to doing some cosmetic work to the internals of the car. With those arms and bushings looking so nice, I want the other parts to match. To that end, I've taken to cleaning off all of the collected gunk on parts of the frame, and painting it over.

Bo has recommended a product by Krylon, their BBQ paint. Not only is it designed to withstand high temperatures, but it also dries very quickly, and leaves a nice matte finish. Granted, this is not a show quality paint or anything like that. The main purpose really is to just do an above amature clean up of the frame. A lot of builders use a POR product on their frame, but because I am so lacking in rust, I figured that would be overkill.

Here's the stuff I picked up today to get this operation underway. Some Krylon paint from ACE Hardware, a wire brush attachment for my grinder, and some brake cleaning spray, to blast off those tenacious greasy bits.

This is the first piece I decided to tackle. I used a couple wire brush bits for my drill, and knocked off all of the dirt and grime. Bo tells me that there's no need to scrape it down to the metal, the point is just to clean it up a little.

Once painted with the BBQ spray, it looks just great!

I was very inspired by the great results I got from the bar, so I set my sights on something a little more complicated, the back side of the rear support wall thingie. Because it's not entirely flat, and is a little hard to get at in a few places, this went much more slowly. I did get a chance to finally use my new DeWalt grinder, which made EXTREMELY short work of the gunk. I was pretty impressed!

In other news, my neighbor dropped off a few bottles of Tequila. If you have a grocery store near you, see if you can find some of this stuff. It's super reasonably priced, and according to everyone has tasted it at my party, it is a very nice tequila. They are not a sponsor of this project or anything, but I wanted to give them a shout out here as it is darn good stuff.

Tomorrow I won't be doing any MattMobile work, as I am helping some friends out on a shoot. More on that later, but for now, I will let you know that I think it'll be a great learning experience for me, and I plan on picking up a bunch of tips that I can use on my own videos.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Episode 21 of ROTMM Is Now Up!

Two episodes in two days? What will they think of next???

New Rise of The MattMobile Episode

Episode 20 is now up! Tire installation, and engine removal. And a great ending gag by Bo The Welder!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

MattMobile Plug on Half Fast Radio

Check out episode 13 of this awesome podcast.

Whoohoo! I'm bigger than Jesus!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

DareDevil Belt Buckle Replacement

Today I had some free time and finally got around to upgrading the belt buckle on my UD Replicas DareDevil suit.

For reference, I already have a couple of blog posts about this topic.

DareDevil Replacement Belt Buckle Arrives
DareDevil Belt Buckle Ordered

I started out by drilling out the rivets that were already on the belt.

Here's the first strap with the rivets removed. I used needle nosed pliers to crimp the rivet stem smaller so that it would slip through the hole easier.

I'm using this rivet kit from Tandy. Honestly, I'm not a fan of Tandy products. I feel that they are really geared towards the hobbyist, or home "crafter" type person. Kind of on the same level as Michael's. But hey, that's just like, my opinion, man. As the Dude would say.

And here's a little shot of what comes in the kit.

Here's everything all put into place and lined up. Then it's just a matter of hitting it with a hammer in the right place. If I was doing this pro style, I would have found an arbor press or something so that I could apply pressure smoothly and evenly. But I don't have that, so it was hammer time.

And here's what it looks like all done. Of course, I still need to paint the rivets, but that's the least of my worries.

That's pretty much it!

Here's some links if you want to play along:
Belt Buckle
Rivet Kit

Fifth Element ZF-1 Parts Rundown

What follows is a collection of pictures of all of the parts I have collected to date for the ZF-1. I have not included pics of the shell, and after reviewing these, I fear there may be a box of hardware that was not included in this post.

Let's start with the most recognizable piece on the entire weapon, the little red button. Pictured here are two buttons, along with one of the mounting rings. After watching a video recently, I believe this is the wrong button.

This first few pictures are pieces of the frame. All of the machined parts shown here that were not off the shelf parts come to the community courtesy of the combined efforts of RPF users MarsAttacks, ZombieKiller, and LDR. I cannot say for certain what their individual contributions were, as I do not know. However, without these guys, their reference material, and access to a screen used piece, we would not have all of these awesome parts today. A huge debt of gratitude also goes to ArtAndrews, who meticulously photographed said screen used piece at San Diego Comic Con in 2011. Stephen Lane of Propstore of London was the one who graciously allowed us to play with it and photograph it. Thanks also to Adam Savage for not only providing the very genesis of this project so many years ago, but also for bringing so much public attention to the build through is passion for the piece.

This is a nozzle that goes on the tip of the gold barrel. This was identified by my pal Jon/B25364, who is a fellow Kiwi.

This is the piece that the above nozzle fits into.

This is sort of the piece that started it all. This was the piece that Adam Savage identified years and years ago. Oddly enough, it was because of this little nozzle that Adam and I first got to know each other. Man that was a long time ago.

Here's a great video that was recently released where Adam talks about his build up, and specifically calls out the nozzle pictured above.

This is the support rod for the nozzle pictured above.

Ends to the primary barrel, and a support ring.

These are some stencils I made for the shapes that are painted onto the pod. These are made from tracings taken directly from a screen used piece.

This is another element of the gun that I believe Shawn Morgan was the first to identify. It's the handle from a mangalore rifle. The same handle was used on the ZF1. As luck would have it, I was at one time the owner of the studio made mold for the Mangalore rifle, so I ended up with a first generation casting of the handle.

Main barrel.

I believe this was my most significant discovery on the project, and probably my most significant contribution to the entire effort. After staring at screen captures for a long time, I noticed a familiar texture on the underside of the scope. It looked a whole lot like the hull of a ship from the Star Trek universe. After purchasing a few different kits, I finally figured out that it was the secondary hull of the ship used in Voyager. It looks like the folks who built the ZF1 were fans of kitbashing, a technique commonly used in building props and miniatures.

Shortly after that, some astute eyes noticed that a few other pieces on the gun came from model kits, and the first place that was checked was other model kits from the Voyager series. As luck would have it, a few significant pieces came from the Maquis ship, which can still be found on ebay for under twenty bucks.

For reference, we have positively identified three voyager model kits that were used on the ZF1:
Kazon Ship #3606
Maquis Ship #3605
Voyager #3604

Gas jet and mount.

I believe this is the mount for the illuminated yellow button that sits on the opposite side of the red button.

This is a mounting piece for a few other pieces.

Rocket Fins.

Mounting bracket for the mag lights, the mag lights, and the mag light tips. I think it was Adam Savage that identified the mag lights.

Misc hardware for assembly.

Side rings.

The infamous ten turn knob. This piece was also seen on the Mangalore grenade. It has actually not been confirmed as existing on the ZF1, though a few blurry screen captures hint at it. This piece was originally identified by Jeff Heath/DarcJedi many years ago when some good reference pics of the grenade came out. Jeff searched tirelessly for this piece, and it was a huge win when he found it. It was this find that made possible the run of replica Mangalore grenades that was done a while back.

I forget what this piece is called, and I forget who identified it. It's an off the shelf part that is used to hold together the front ordinance cluster. Clappard valve, maybe?

A VERY nice electronics package for the scope, offered by superkrates, who really pioneered a lot of the ZF1 build. He was really the first guy to bring a finished ZF1 to the table.

Pistons for the main barrel.

Housings for the red and yellow switches. These are different than the ones pictured previously.

Misc hardware for the frame.

Detail piece for the pod. I've always believed the master for this was made from fishing weights, the rubber kind that you use to practice casting. I've found some pictures that are the exact same shape as the ones seen here.

Mounting hardware for the side rails.

These are part of the side rail system.

Side rails.

Main barrel pistons.

This is another one of those pieces that sort of holds together the entire ordinance cluster. This is like the tree trunk for the entire assembly.

Rocket body.

Rocket nozzle. I have forgotten who identified this, but it's an off the shelf Estes Rocket. The bull pup, if memory serves. The stickers for this rocket are also used on the ZF1 and the mangalore rocket.

* March 27, 2013 update.

A few parts were not documented here, so I'm adding them now.

Misc hardware.

Some L-Brackets, which I assume are for attaching things to each other. Not sure where though. I'll get to that later.

I believe these attach to pistons somewhere.