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  #1  
Old 02-02-2009, 06:35 PM
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Default How-to: Make your own hardbody

Okay kids, here's a step by step how-to.

Start by buying this stuff:

foam
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXLDD2&P=7

2-3 bottles of this:
foam-safe CA
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXKAV8&P=ML
foam-safe accelerator
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXK297&P=M
epoxy
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXK302&P=ML

Be sure to use the foam-safe CA. They call it that for a reason.

You'll want some auto-body filler, too. I like UCF Icing, but any polyester-based putty will do. They don't sell it at Tower because it's auto-body stuff, not hobby stuff (even if you use it in your hobby).

Don't forget lots of fresh X-Acto blades and a Sharpie.

Start by cutting out the shape of the side panels. Place them on the axles to see how wide the body needs to be, then cut hood, roof and tailgate panels.



Glue the panels together with the foam-safe CA and accelerator.

The foam can be layered. If your body has lots of contours or character lines, simply cut a new layer and glue it onto the flat panels:



Notice the hood has its proper character lines now. The roof and sides also have two layers.

Sand the body to shape now, it's a lot easier to sand foam than epoxy.

Next step is to cover the body with epoxy. Don't get greedy and try to do the whole thing. Cover one side at a time and let it sit overnight. The left (driver's) side is done in this pic, the rest of the foam is untreated.



Notice the grille panel has been marked but not carved out yet.

Now's the time to decide how strong you want it to be. 3/4-ounce fiberglass cloth will reinforce the body sufficiently. Spray it with 3M Super 77 and attach it to the inside, then epoxy over it. If your body doesn't have a lot of contours, you can add a lightweight cloth layer to the outside as well, but you might sand into it later.



Once the epoxy goes on, it'll have enough gloss for you to see how the light plays off the surface, and you'll see the bumps and ripples that need work. If there's any areas that need building up, do it now and add another layer of epoxy. Doing it this way will make sanding more uniform.



Check the reflection down the side. The grille is carved by hand, epoxied, and glued in place. Add what you can before paint. A light "guide coat" of paint will show you where the high and low spots are while you're sanding. It's hard to see them when it's all white.



Prime and paint (in this case they're one and the same). While the paint is wet you'll see how straight the body is. Or isn't.



Glass is .040 Lexan, carefully trimmed and glued in place. Use styrene strips to simulate window trim, gaskets, etc.



Then put it on a chassis and go beat on it


For extensive carving projects, pick up a sheet of pink home-insulation foam at Home Depot. A 4x8x2-inch sheet will last you quite a while.
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2009, 06:46 PM
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You might want to pick up a palm sander, too. Makes the finishing go a whole lot faster, and smoother. I figured that out after doing seven of these things
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Old 02-02-2009, 07:09 PM
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Well its about time you posted a how too! you know, after i have the current builds finished/drivable, i might give this a shot!!
I've seen you do it so many times, but i had that many questions i didnt want to bother you with them.
I think its an ideal way to get me a Suzuki SJ in 1:10 scale.

Thanks Stu
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Old 02-02-2009, 07:58 PM
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The truck is amazing Stu I've always been inpressed with this build and you have some crazy creative skills man.
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Old 03-31-2009, 04:33 PM
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How well do the bodys hold up?
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Old 03-31-2009, 05:30 PM
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It's had quite a few rollovers and gotten some trail rash. Had a big whoops in Montana and cracked it pretty good, but it's repaired now. They hold up about like any hardbody.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:16 PM
flmudder flmudder is offline
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sweet work man
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:50 PM
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this is a great informative thread!
thanx guys!
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Old 04-01-2009, 06:12 PM
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I am glad about the durability. I would hate to put that much time and effort into it for a shelf queen.
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  #10  
Old 04-05-2009, 06:08 AM
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thnx for great info stu.
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:26 PM
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that roll over would styrene take that or would it be wasted?
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Old 04-14-2009, 05:59 PM
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It wouldn't kill a styrene body, but it might have cracked it.

This one's lasted about 3 years, and it's getting some trail rash:



You can see the dent in the nose next to the left headlight.

The worst injury happened at the Scale Nats in Montana:



Bad rollover, but it wasn't hard to repair.
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Old 04-15-2009, 06:00 AM
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Excellent Write-Up! Always loved this rig! (If you guys are nice, Stu will reveal his Vaseline secret to you.) You can tell you don't waste time on trifles like cleaning your workbench! Chris
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:53 PM
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Just a quick note from a newbee to say killer job on the bod.
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:57 PM
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owch
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