Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Batman : Dead End Batarang

I had some extra energy left over today, and since I'm on a Batman kick, I busted out a resin kit that has been sitting in a box for about a year. This is the Batarang from the really awesome fan film "Batman: Dead End."

Here's how the kit looked as it came out of the box.

I started by sanding the back sides of each casting. The main purpose here is to smooth out the lumps so the halves will mate up properly.

Next up was to grab the 90 second epoxy. This stuff actually kicks a LITTLE too fast for my liking, but it was all I had on hand.

I glued the two halves in together, holding them in place with a bunch of clamps I got at Home Depot.

The first thing I did was putty over the seam line. I did two passes at the seam, using my dremel and sand paper in between to knock it into shape.

The faces of the castings were also pretty wonky, so I knocked them down with the mouse sander, and filled in some of the bigger gaps with putty.

I then hit it with a couple of coats of primer. This is really just to reveal where I need to do more puttying.

This is another one of those props that I'm not trying to make perfect. I just want to get it done, and for it to look pretty good. I'm still on the fence about how to paint it. I saw a really great example of a weathered rang online, and I think I may try to copy that.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Varon-T Disruptor Progress

A side project I'm working on right now is the infamous Varon-T Disruptor, as seen in the TNG episode "The Most Toys." Here is my current status:

And here's a few reference photos, in case you're curious about what I'm going for:

This pistol, and variants of it, were seen frequently in a number of trek shows and series. But this is the original version. This is how it looked when it first showed up on screen.

Stripped Bare.

Today the reciprocating saw got a good workout, as I managed to saw off the last of the floor pan. I sawed it up the middle, then across right below the firewall. So the firewall is still in tact.

But yes, I'm basically down to the frame now. The only thing that I really need to do prior to the stretch is remove those last few pieces that are attached to the frame, and then the engine will be ready to be lifted out. I'm hoping to do that entire process in one day, and I'll hire in a pro to do it. I figure even if he brings his own cherry picker, the engagement will pay for itself.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

500th Post! Floorpan and Firewall Disconnected.

I cannot really claim that the floor pan and firewall are removed, as they are still sitting on top of the car. But that last big piece of painted metal is just sitting on the frame at this point. It's too heavy for me to remove it myself, so I'm going to have to chop it up into smaller pieces, then lift them off from there.

But overall, very good progress for Saturday. I probably only spent 2 hours on the thing, which is less than I hoped, but I did get a ton of stuff done around the house, and that was important to me also.

Yay also for my five hundredth blog post! Quite a milestone!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Do You Recognize This Greeblie?

This is from a Star Trek: TNG kit I am going to build up. I'd like to replace that greeblie, as it is a little busted. Do you recognize it from anywhere? Maybe a model kit? If so, please let me know.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

MattMobile: The MIDDLE Part Is Gone Now

Today was a busy day for the reciprocating saw! After work, I took to the garage and decided the goal for the day was to remove the middle section of the floor pan. Somehow, the front is still attached by some magical screws that I cannot locate. Then again, I didn't really look. But I digress.

All of this took well under an hour. The hard part was the edges. I had to raise up the floor pan on jack stands so that it cleared the huge steel beam that runs the length of the car. That was a little precarious, but obviously it all worked out.

Here is the piece that was removed. I've OFFICIALLY decided that the plan is to call a junk hauler or remover once that last piece of the floor pan is out. It's just too much work sawing up those parts to fit into the trash bins, and I really want to minimize my exposure to the reciprocating saw.

Star Trek : TNG Horga'hn Is Done

I had some time the other day that I didn't want to spend getting all dirty in the garage, so I turned my attention to a resin kit I've had sitting in a box for a few years. This is a prop called The Horga'hn, and was first seen in an episode of TNG called "Captain's Holiday," if memory serves.

It was a decent casting, but had some really nasty seams. The overall registration was great, but the seams were a mess. I decided this is one of those props that I really just wanted to bang out quickly, and I did.

All told, I probably spent about five hours on this, and this was my second pass at it after it languished in storage for years. I used my dremel tool to clean the seam really quickly, and made about five passes at it with putty and primer. I had to recreate some of the texture around the seams, and overall it turned out very nicely.

It's got a base coat of a dark brown, then was misted with a satin terra-cotta like color and flat black. Then I mixed the dark brown with some tan and went in with a dry brush over the whole thing. It's a very fast and dirty painting technique, but I felt it was appropriate for this prop, seeing as how it's supposed to look like aged wood.

Honestly, it could probably use a little more attention on the paint, but I think I will do that when I get back from Dragon*Con, as I expect it might take some damage there.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oh Noes! I Sawed My Car In Half!

Though today is Tuesday, which is not a regularly scheduled MattMobile work day, my lunch break found me with nothing to do. My original plan was to go out into the garage and just unbolt the remaining connectors between the chassis and the frame.

It took all of ten minutes to get the last six bolts removed, but then I got kind of pumped about sawing the thing in half. I used the floor jack to lift the chassis up, and found a clean path that I could saw through. Five minutes later, this:

And in fantastic news, there's like ZERO rust on the thing. This is clearly a west coast car that has lived a pretty comfy life. I'm very excited by this, especially since I saw a fellow builder discover POST tear down that his frame was too rusted to use.

Here's the piece I removed:

A very productive little lunch break! I even managed to bang out this blog entry before the hour was up!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Gas Tank Removal - Aug 22

Today was a really fun day of tear down, and was kind of the perfect evening of building. My initial intention was only to spend about 15 minutes working on the car, as I was EXTREMELY tired, but I ended up really building momentum, and spent about two and a half hours working on the beast. I like it when that stuff happens.

When I came out into the garage, my only goal was to remove these to guys from the rear end. Granted, in this picture, they are already removed, but you get the idea.

Here's what the rear end looks like when them removed.

Once I removed those posts, I started looking around under the car to find out where the mounting posts were for the body to the chassis. I found four of them, and unscrewed them. Then I realize that I don't want to do any more saw work on the rear end until I've removed the gas tank. You know, cuz it's in the way. I started poking around, trying to figure out what would be involved in removing it. After a few minutes, I figured I would go ahead and give it a shot.

Here's the chasm:

Here is the gas tank, sitting on my garage floor.

With that removed, and a few other things taken out underneath, the path is clear for me to saw off the back half off the body. Which will be totally cool!!!!

MattMobile Aug 20 Progress Recap

I had originally earmarked Saturday as a very productive day on car tear down. However, when I went out into the garage, something dawned on me: it was a total mess. And I don't just mean it was cluttered, it was filthy. With the recent draining of various fluids from the engine, and all kinds of road dust falling onto the floor during the process, the garage had taken on a very grimy sheen. I can't hang with that. Yes, it may be a never ending battle, trying to stem the tide of filth in an auto work area... but I'm going to fight that fight. I guess it's just the clean freak in me.

To that end, Saturday ended up being clean up day.

My main accomplishment was to box up all the removed parts, hoses, cables and whatnot and put them onto a shelf dedicated to car stuff. Clearing off that shelf was another matter, and involved moving a lot of stuff around, consolidating some items, and also throwing a few things away. I've also got a bunch of stuff for sale on the RPF right now, which has helped a lot. I emptied a couple of white boxes which were filled with toys that I no longer have interest in. Things like the 20th anniversary Tron figures from Neca, and some Justice League figures. Yeah, stuff I just don't have interest in any more, and it got me a few bucks to kick around.

The car itself had also become something of a storage unit. As parts were coming off, I was just lumping them into the car. There was all kinds of sheet metal that I had removed with the reciprocating saw, hoses, and some other junk. All of that is gone now, save for one piece that you can see in this picture.

Here's a pretty good shot of the rear of the car that shows the current state of the tail end.

That rug on the floor was absolutely filthy. I scrubbed it using that same degreaser that I used on the concrete floor, and it cleaned it right up. That is one resilient little rug. You can see that the garage overall is a lot more organized, and the floor has been mopped.

Last photo, you can see where I cleaned up the floor under the engine. It's all nice and clean!

I also carted away a car load of metal, and took it to the dump. It freed up a lot of room, and will no doubt save me from countless cuts on my legs, which are looking pretty torn up right now.

New MattMobile Episode Is Up!!! #6!

Here's the latest episode.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Date With Mr. Sawzall and Mrs. Crow Bar

Today was PURE demolition. I didn't even pick up a wrench today. It was all just the reciprocating saw and the crow bar. The goal of today was to remove a few more sheets of steel from the rear end, and boy oh boy did I accomplish it. It's amazing what you can do in an hour with a few powerful tools.

Here's how it looked after I took off what was left of the rear passenger side. Pretty nice. I'm really getting a feel for how the saw works best. It definitely takes some finessing, but once you get the hang of it, the saw really does all of the work.

Note that I also chopped off what used to be the back upper back seat, and the horizontal panel below the rear window.

But I was not satisfied with just the passenger side, so I took the axe to the drivers side too.

I did sustain a minor injury today at the hands of the saw. Though it's not what you might think. I didn't cut myself. I burned myself! After doing a lengthy cut up the fender well, I pulled the saw out to look at the blade to see how it was doing. Seeing as how I'm five years old, I look with my hands, not my eyes. Even though I was wearing gloves, the heat passed straight through them and gave a little burn to my index finger. There's no visible blistering or anything, just a little bit pink and irritated. I'm sure it will be gone tomorrow.

Good safety lesson though. Had I not been wearing the gloves, I'm sure I would have pretty badly burned my index finger. In fact, I'm sure of it. I also ALWAYS wear my safety glasses. There was one time when I picked up the saw, and my glasses were on the other side of the garage, and I was thinking "well, it's just one cut... what could go wrong." And as you all know, it's that ONE cut that always goes wrong. Even though it was inconvenient and bothersome, I put down the saw and went and fetched my glasses. I also make it a point to unplug the saw any time I put it down. The only time it's plugged in is when it's in my hands.

That's it for today. Very productive, and a lot to show for my one hour of effort!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday Tear Down Progress

Today was a very productive day out in the garage. Lots of little things taken care of, and some big advances.

As of now, the interior is totally stripped out. Today I removed the steering column. This was actually much easier than I suspected. I also took out the airbag module, and the brake pedal.

Speaking of brake pedal, I also removed the master break cylinder from the engine compartment.

And then, me and my friend Mr. Reciprocating Saw had a get together with Mr. Crow Bar, and tore off one of the rear fenders. It was fun! Popping spot welds is my new favorite past time.

Here's an overview shot of the current state of the car.

Good stuff! I spent a total of two hours on the car today, which is double what I had planned.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Here I Reveal My Lack of Automotive Knowledge

Honestly, I'm aware of Google. I know how it works. But I just can't get the answers i want from it. I've tried searching for schematics and diagrams, but nothing. Can you help me identify the following three parts, attached to the engine block? Black circle, yellow circle, white circle. Hook a brother up!

Also, I spent about 2 hours tonight pulling things off the engine block. The photo below shows the current state of the union.

I'm weary to remove any more parts until I get the names of those above marked components down, as that will allow me to label the parts I'm removing. Very important to me, as I plan on putting it all back together some day.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Garage Floor Clean Up.

I think I might try to get into the habit of making Monday my clean up day. The garage floor was getting pretty nasty, what with all of the spilled fluids and the grime falling off the engine parts as they are removed.

On my way home from some errands today, I stopped by Kragen and picked up this stuff, which came highly recommended by a guy who worked there:

And I must confess, the stuff is good. You basically just pour it on, let it sit for a minute or two, then wipe it off. Because I have the epoxy coated floor, it doesn't take long at all to work. But man, does it work well. Here you can see I've cleaned off the left hand side of the garage, and started to work on the area by the parts on the lower right hand side.

Great stuff! Tomorrow I will continue to remove some parts from the engine.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Smallville Jacket

I just got this yesterday. I believe this to be accurate to the first and second seasons of Smallville. You know, the one Clark wore.