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Thread: 1/25 scale SVT Lightning

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    28

    Default 1/25 scale SVT Lightning

    Hey gang!

    Time for me to attempt to make another small scale RC. Some background before I begin:

    I've built a "semi" scale 1/24 1980s Bronco in the past based on a Losi Micro Trail Trekker running gear and while that build turned out better than I thought it would, I wanted to make something better, more scale. I tried and stalled out on a few micro builds in making more scale trucks (and attempting a widebody Mustang, which failed) the past few years, but I think this time, I'm going for broke. In the past I was plagued by larger-than-scale parts that I could not make fit no matter what I tried doing to shave size and weight off them. I recently found someone who 3D prints some smaller scale parts I've been yearning for so this is the project I'm aiming to try them on, and if possible apply those to the other builds I've put on the back burner.


    Without further delay, allow me to introduce my latest endeavor: a 1/25 scale 1994 Ford F150 SVT Lightning.


    She's gonna be a 2wd show truck. I ordered a repop AMT Ford Lightning kit to be the base of the build. I've also ordered some of the super scale (I'm hoping) running gear I mentioned above from Make It RC, a guy who designs and 3D prints axles, control arms, steering knuckles, as well as other odds and ends for a few different scales. While I've got a somewhat plan going on, I'm shooting from the hip in most aspects so ideas, plans, and angles of attack will harbor the possibility of changing.

    As I'm still awaiting the running gear, here's some progress pictures of the body work.


    Initial mockup showing the fitment of the parts and some of the discrepencies of the model that don't belong in relation to the 1:1 truck. Three glaringly obvious issues is the chromed grille, the body side trim molding, and the wheel arch trim. Those will have to be removed to be accurate. Even though the real SVT Lightning was based off a XLT trim level, it never came with the XLT molding.


    Initial mockup showing the fitment of the rear parts. It looks like along with the trim removal, some body work needs to be done to fix that plastic shrinkage above the tail light. That tube bumper looks awesome, too!


    Starting work on removing some of the casting marks.


    And blended on this side.


    Driver's side de-trimmed!


    XLT trim removed from this side of the cab and front fender. The front wheel arch trim has also been removed.


    On to the passenger bed side.


    Driver's for comparison.


    Trim removal complete.


    Mock up of the interior.


    Dash view.


    Another discrepency found. The provided steering wheel is not from a 1994 model. It is from a '93 model year. Beginning in 1994, Ford installed driver's side airbags in the F150s and Broncos which used a different steering wheel to accomodate the bag. I'm not sure if I'm going to create a new steering wheel or pass this truck off as a 1993 :)


    De-chroming some of the chromed plated parts. The model chroming process tends to lose details and striping it away allows for better overall results once painted.


    That's all for the moment. I may hold off on the rest of the bodywork until I get the running gear figured out, especially the painting process just in case I have to modify the body some.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Duff Gardens
    Posts
    6,123

    Default

    I have a 94 Ford at work with the non airbag steering wheel. Then again the truck is made from a couple different retired trucks in the fleet.
    SBG Junior Vice President RC4WDCASTLEGCM

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    28

    Default

    I'm guessing that it's probably a F250, F350, or F Super Duty? Only the F150s and Broncos gained the driver's airbag in 94 which continued into 95 and 96 in both models. The F250 lineup (depending on what type you look at) gained both driver's and passenger airbags in 97 when the Light Duty model shared the same platform as the 97-03 body style F150. The heavier duty model didn't get airbags until the Super Duty lineup was release in the 1999 model year.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    28

    Default Progress update: 1/25 Lightning.

    I received my order from Make It RC. I love the quality and attention to detail on these parts!

    Right now I'm in the early stages of engineering the rear suspension. I'm using laser cut delrin leaves for the rear springs with custom made brass shackles. I used the AMT kit's axle and leaf assembly to get an idea of what I want the ride height to be.

    Some of the photos tossed in show some modified Losi Micro Crawler axles that are similar to ones I used in my last micro build. Some shots show the size comparison of these axles to the model kit's axle and the MA10 axle from Make It RC.

    Make It RC parts list.


    These axles are similar to the axles I used on the Bronco build.


    Mocked up on the Lightning. These aren't gonna be the axles I'm using for it. 1) They're not scale. 2) They are geared for torque not for speed. 3) This is gonna be a 2wd truck.


    You can almost hear Florida Georgia Line from here.


    Here's a bit more of a scale axle assembly. And more bits like a smaller servo, drive shaft parts, suspension parts, etc.


    Comparison of the "1/24 scale" big axle, the model kit axle, and the new axle.


    All assembled and ready for modification to be installed. This is set up for a 3 link coil spring car. As the maker hasn't made any for a leaf spring setup yet, I'll have to modify this for leaves.


    An assembled comparison to the static model axle.


    Kit axle in the the truck.


    This angle depicts what the ride height should be with the kit axle and will be referenced when the live axle is installed.


    Checking how the new axle looks in the truck.


    Leaf springs getting mounted and checking how the axle will sit. These are made of laser cut delrin.


    Nothing permanently mounted yet, still figuring out the geometry.


    Rectangular bras tube was cut, drilled, and shaped to form shackles for the leaf mounts.


    Shackles mounted to the springs and to the frame. Need to make some shackle mounts to have a solid and fluid connection to the frame. Going to be reworking the front mounts as well.


    Shackles mounted to the springs and to the frame. Need to make some shackle mounts to have a solid and fluid connection to the frame. Going to be reworking the front mounts as well.



    While I think the leaves I'm using and the shackles I built would be plenty for this build, I've ordered some Pro-Line 1/25 Ambush leaf spring parts to test out and see if the suspension travel is better and softer.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    In The Shop!
    Posts
    1,823

    Default

    Wow, so small, some very cool fab work here!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Thanks, Joe!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    28

    Default Dechroming the Lightning

    A small update for those following my 1/25 Lightning build.

    While I'm waiting on some key suspension parts to arrive (slow shipping from one side of the country to the the other is a pain to wait for), I decided to have another go at removing the chrome from some pieces that aren't chrome on the 1:1 Lightning. Irritably, the provided grille/headlight trim and the mirrors were plated in chrome. On 1:1 XL, XLT, and Eddie Bauer F-Series and Broncos, these parts had chrome elements to them, however, the XLT Sport Broncos and XLT Lightning F150 had no chrome whatsoever. The grilles and bumpers were color-keyed to the the body while the mirrors and door handles were satin black. So while this kit shares many elements with other AMT F150s, it's not accurate to be chromed. Off it comes.

    The Formula 409 trick usually works on stripping chrome from plastic parts. Generally the chrome gets dissolved easily on many model kits. This was not the case in this instance as it only dissolved some patches.


    You can see that most of the outward facing chrome is still intact. This is because there is a lacquer that is applied to the plastic that helps the chrome plating adhere better. Unfortunately, this lacquer and the chrome result in some very thick coverage and a great loss of detail. Many modelers will dechrome parts only to rechrome them with a thinner plating or chrome paint to regain that detail. Something a bit stronger is needed to remove the chrome and the supporting lacquer, but not harm the plastic underneath.


    After a fair amount of trial and error involving soaking in Formula 409 and alternatively soaking in straight bleach as suggested by a fellow modeler, I started to research a bit more. Specifically removing the plating from AMT models. Lo and behold, I found a nice article (since have lost the link) stating that oven cleaner does the trick of removing both the chrome AND the underlying lacquer ESPECIALLY on AMT models. The best results the author had was with Walmart's Great Value brand oven cleaner.


    So to the store I went to grab some and in went some unneeded chromed parts for a test of this chemical bath. Unfortunately, I don't have any resulting photos of the test parts, but it proved to be just what the doctor ordered! The result of a few hours worth of bathing in the oven cleaner shows all of the chrome is gone and nearly all but some stubborn spots of lacquer is gone as well. These parts are almost ready for some paint!


    Hopefully more progress next week when the suspension parts show up!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    28

    Default More Suspension Work

    Hey all, sorry for the tardiness. Lots of stuff has been happening in the real world. I put some time aside to work on the Lightning and continue suspension work.

    As I said previously, the delrin leaves and brass shackles would have worked, I did order and receive the Proline Ambush leaves and accompanying hardware. Once I started playing with it, I immediately decided to switch to the metal springs. Here's some more progress followed by some more need to ponder.

    Leaf spring parts for the rear!


    Parts laid out with the axle and the chassis.


    Leaf assembly in progress. The leaf solid mounts to the frame with the bracket on the right. The shackle on the left also mounts directly to the frame as well, but has free articulation to allow suspension movement.


    "Mock up" of the assembled leaf units. A solution is needed to get the front mounts lower and the rear shackles mounted.


    A solution is achieved! Front and rear! I took the front spring mounts and cut the ears off of where the spring bolts through. I then flipped the mount so the flat spot mounts to the bottom of the bed along the frame rail. For the shackle, I used the cutoffs as mounts inline with the fronts to keep geometry correct.


    The suspension was tacked in place and the ride height mocked up. Clearly the springs are too tall and it needs to be lowered. I was going to try the "spring-under" axle mounting route, but I have a few ideas to get it lower. While this ride height would be perfect for a lifted pickup, it isn't in this particular case.


    A shot of the front spring mount.


    And a shot of the rear shackle and hanger.


    Springy goodness


    To lower the truck some more would take some chopping. The way this model kit goes together, the bed is in two parts. The bottom of the bed floor is molded into the chassis whereas the rest of the bed with the top side of the floor is it's own piece. The idea here is to cut out the lower portion of the bed where I had initially tacked the mounts and "sink' them in and attached them to the upper bed piece.

    I marked out the locations of the spring mounts at their centers. Then I removed the springs. I also marked the wheel center line in the wheel well as the truck's wheel openings are not a perfect semicircle but more of a sweeping arc.


    And cut out the material under the spring mounts. I believe I lost over 2mm in height.


    Checking the width of the springs with the axle. The original idea was to use the axle's original coil spring mounts to mount the leaves to it. Unfortunately, that will not work.


    Axle just set on top to get a rough idea of ride height and ponder how to mount it.


    I was thinking I could lop off the coil spring mounts and the shock/control arm mounts and fab up some flat leaf spring perches with pins to center the axle on and mount to. I also contacted the Make It RC to see if it was possible to get a modified version of this axle designed with leaf perches that have centering pins so when it's printed, they're a part of the axle housing.

    That's all for now. I want to wrap up the rear suspension work before I start on the front.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    Portland(ia)
    Posts
    219

    Default

    Nice work! I'm loving these 1/24-1/25 static model conversions. I have a growing collection of these kits, mostly from the '70s-80s (amazing how many are still out there new-in-box) and I have a feeling that these Make It RC parts will find their way into at least a couple of them eventually. Watching with interest to see how it goes!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Posts
    28

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by markbt73 View Post
    Nice work! I'm loving these 1/24-1/25 static model conversions. I have a growing collection of these kits, mostly from the '70s-80s (amazing how many are still out there new-in-box) and I have a feeling that these Make It RC parts will find their way into at least a couple of them eventually. Watching with interest to see how it goes!
    Thanks! I'm loving the Make It RC stuff!

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