You know the rest and everybody loves the scene where the top turret rotates and drops to the back. The APC from the film Aliens doesn't appear often enough and it's a shame we don't get to see the vehicle's weapons in action. This is a project I'd been trying to do for years and this was my second attempt. It was originally intended for a model in a month idea, but life had other ideas so I had to put it on hold. It was built over 4 months in 2003, during which time I lost my workshop and had to settle for a kitchen instead!
Like most scratchbuilds certain parts dictate the scale of the model and for this it was the wheels, which I obtained whilst in a hardware store in Norway. The scale became roughly 1/11 and it really suits the vehicle, not too small and just right for turning into a radio-controlled toy. I'd already bought the 1/35 Halcyon version and used that as my template, along with drawings and photos obtained from the film and the internet.
The majority of the vehicle is made from scrap wood, but plenty of wall filler was also used. The covers on the wheels come from CDs and the grill mesh I found in a hobby store in the embroidery section! Virtually everything has been tailor-made, including the front Gatling guns and the muzzles of the main turret. It was surprisingly quick to build the main structure, but the fine detailing like the rivets on the door and windshield took a while. Simon.
Step 1: Research!
Step 2: Building the Shell
The shell was surprisingly easy to build, even with a fairly basic scroll saw (the ones used to make jigsaws etc) and was cut from MDF (medium density fibre board). It's very easy to work with and seals well for painting purposes later on. The 1/35 model gives you a nice scale comparison.
A rolling chassis was essential, even though at this stage it was a very crude one.
Step 3: Filling in the Blanks
More complex structures like the top turret can be made up using layers of MDF and once the basic shape is right, can be filled.
Step 4: Primed
Step 5: Extras and CD Wheels
Step 6: Black Top, Green Top
The paint issues I mentioned in an earlier step were to do with the paint cracking and peeling up wherever it covered the wall filler I had used. Once sanded back and resprayed it actually helped to make the vehicle look a bit more worn.
Step 7: Super Detailing
The clear missile canopies were made from CD cases, as was the windshield and the rivets were sewing pin heads. The turrett carrier was a mix of MDF, CD cases and architectural plastics, while the muzzles were cut down plastic water pipes.
The camera surveillance system and guard rail were built from scratch using plastic and the tips of two felt tip pens - sacrificed for a good cause!
Step 8: Steering and Gear Boxes
The transmission was made up of a robust cordless 18v drill motor and a cut down hand drill. It's not the most efficient system, but it's durable and works. All of the wheel mounts were designed to be quick release, using split pins.
Step 9: Internals
Shots of the working front suspension in place along with the rear transmission. The rear also had limited suspension travel, as it was placed on a long flat board and acted like a springboard. The power supply came from the 18v cordless drill, which simplified charging too and the motor was controlled using an Electonize unit.
Step 10: The Finished Article
I have to admit that out of all of the models I've ever made, this is the one that makes me smile the most. It came out really well and with a decent weathering job will look even better. In the attached pics it does look a bit factory new!
I will add some video of it in action, but it is a heavy model and only really likes running on smooth surfaces. The servo for the front wheels had to be substantially beefed up too.