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Mars Insight Lander Options
Plymouth57
#1 Posted : 01 February 2024 22:22:12

Rank: Elite

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Joined: 03/10/2012
Posts: 2,060
Points: 6,175
Location: Plympton
The Metal Earth Insight Mars Lander 1:40 scale.

At the moment I am sort of working on a number of modelling projects! I’m still sorting out the final base arrangement for the Ferrari 312 and I’m also re-starting a little diorama, which was already just under way when I won the Ferrari competition and suddenly pushed that project to the back burner!Blink On top of that the poor old Victory has actually had a little more done but a little too little to be able to do an update just yet. There are also a couple of paper-card model conversions into plasticard and resin which are also bubbling away on that same back burner – BUT – just for a change I thought I’d try something entirely new (although the Ferrari wasn’t exactly familiar ground I can tell you!)BigGrin
I thought I’d try one of those really clever looking Metal Earth models, I specially liked the look of the Mars Rover model with the intention of having it mounted on a Martian looking scenic base but as I was scouring through the ebay suppliers looking for that kit I first came across a completely unknown model which I hadn’t seen before! It’s still a Mars related subject but instead of a rover, it’s a lander!Cool
Photo 1 shows the cardboard envelope that the model comes in, to get a good idea of what the finished model (should) look like go to www.metalearth.com/360/mms193 this is ‘highly recommended…before assembling your own’ on page 1 of the instruction! The entire model comes on two steel cut out sprues as shown in Photo 2; sprue A at the top and sprue B below. The plans come on two double sided A3 sheets so there are 7 pages of actual instructions, page 1 being a list of icons describing the engraved or colour side of the pieces and the un-engraved or blank side, the type of bend to employ on the tiny tabs – either 90 degree flat or twist and a list of useful tools (basically wire cutters, tweezers and needle nosed pliers).
Unlike some parts identification in some kits, the Metal Earth plans go out of their way to make that easy – Photo 3 illustrates the first two pages of the instructions with half of the coloured section seen at the bottom left enlarged in Photo 4. This is Sprue A, showing where on the sheet each piece can be found and its number. The parts are also colour coded so for instance Part 37 which is part of the landing struts actually has three identical pieces, one for each leg and all numbered 37.
As for those tools, most of them I already had in my workroom but after ordering the kit I also sent off for a couple of extras. Photo 5 illustrates the collection so far – minus one which comes in the following instalment which I was sure I’d need from the start but so far haven’t Blushing but which I think will come into its own when I get to the leg struts later on! Tool a) is a nice flat jawed pair of pliers, useful for 90 degree bends on longer parts (but not long enough for those struts), b) is a fairly recent pair of very thin long nosed pliers which I got during the Ferrari build (when little screws kept falling out in the most awkward places), c) are a couple of small drill bits, not for drilling but to press down on the little tabs to flatten them in hard to reach places, d) is one of the two new acquisitions, a little set of formers to help curl or curve rounded sections (the two cone ended ones will come in useful when forming the tiny rocket motor nozzles), e) is another fairly new one which I got for the Ferrari – this is a pair of ring pliers used for forming metal wire into well, rings! I’ve found this one really handy for forming the ‘in situ’ parts of complicated pieces as you can grip the part in the pliers without bending the rest of the part and then simply hand form the curved bit around the suitably sized cylinder on the pliers ( a blow up of the jaws is shown in e1). Finally for these tools is f) – a really useful set of tweezers used for bending the smaller sections to 90 degrees, a blow up of one of the tips is shown in f1), the set cost less than a fiver on ebay – it’s a set of eyebrow tweezers from the health and beauty section!BigGrin
The tool not shown here is the one I hope will be useful further down the line – a photo etch bender but this one is slightly different to the VERY expensive versions on sale online – it’s a DIY gizmo built for about a fiver again. More on that next time!

Until then, Happy Modelling to you All!

Robin.

Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
Insight Lander pic 1.JPG
Insight Lander pic 2.JPG
Insight Lander pic 3.JPG
Insight Lander pic 4 Tools.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
Plymouth57
#2 Posted : 21 February 2024 22:25:48

Rank: Elite

Publisher Medal: Featured Build of the MonthActive Service Medal: 500 post active service MedalPurple Medal: Super active service medal for 1000 postsTurquoise Medal: Turquoise Medal for model making know-how contributionOutstanding Build: An award for an outstanding buildBuild-Diary Medal: Build-Diary Medal of HonourRed Medal: Red Medal
Groups: Registered

Joined: 03/10/2012
Posts: 2,060
Points: 6,175
Location: Plympton
The first thing to admit about this photo etch bender is that it is NOT my idea or design! I came across this one on Youtube a few months ago and it was put together by a very clever modeller from (I think) Czechoslovakia, called David who goes under the name of PLASMO. You can find his ten minute video of how he put it together on youtube.com/watch?v=JbMH5Audl-k (or just put ‘diy photo etch bender’ into the search box and it should come up.
The basis of the bender is a steel ruler as shown in Photo 1, in this case, as in the video, a twelve inch ruler cut in half. Although this is a money saving exercise, I did actually spend quite a bit in seeing it through!Blink When trying to drill the holes through the stainless steel for the bolts and springs coming later, the first two of my HSS drill bits were worn down completely flat before they got anywhere near going through. So I took the opportunity of getting something I’d been thinking about for a long time since first coming across them on the Ideal World TV shopping channel. That ‘something’ is shown in Photo 2 – a set of “Drill All” Cobalt drill bits. They start at 3mm and go up to 10mm in 0.5mm stages. At the top left is a very useful countersink bit for good measure. In the TV demo, a drill bit is put through a layered block of wood, ceramic, steel, brick and concrete all in one go!Cool They are not cheap – this set cost all but £50 but the bits are guaranteed not to blunt, bend or break for ten years with free replacements if they do! I’ve only tried them on wood and stainless steel at the moment but that ruler which flattened two HSS bits was drilled right through in about five seconds flat (and not the drill bit this time!)BigGrin
The first task however was to grind out the right half of the top ruler with a series of notches under which the PE brass would be clamped for bending. I must admit, in David’s video, his dremel thingy cuts through the stainless steel a heck of a lot easier than mine did! I did however notice a slight flexing in his ruler as he was holding it – mine won’t flex anywhere so either mine is a thicker ruler to begin with or I have a different grade of stainless steel! I bought my ruler down the local DIY store – made by amtech and £1.99 for a pair of rulers, one twelve inch and one six. I also sent off before that for one on ebay which arrived just after I got the local ones and was definitely much thinner and more flexible!
As you can see in Photo 3, the two rulers are ground and drilled, the last indent is rounded as once I got those drill bits, adding a large cut out with the drill and cutting wheel was a lot easier! The indented ruler at the bottom has 5mm holes to take an M5 bolt whereas the straight ruler at the top has 7mm holes to allow for an M5 compression spring to sit into the wooden base (the spring is 5mm diameter on the INSIDE)!
Photo 4 illustrates the wooden base for the bender, in my case, not a beech door step but a pine plank off cut. The reason there are four holes and not just two is that the first pair were, ‘ahem, not as aligned as I thought they were!Blushing The underside of the base is shown in Photo 5 with the end of the M5 bolt countersunk down into the base. Back to the topside in Photo 6 with the M5 bolt coming up through the base and the compression spring sitting in the 7mm countersunk hole (about 5mm deep). In David’s video he used spring washers to secure the bolts in the wood, in mine the hole drilled through the pine for the bolts was tight enough that the bolts cut their own thread as they were screwed in so no extra securing was needed. In Photo 7, the bottom ruler is placed over the bolts and springs and then glued down onto the base. To hold the steel in place whilst the glue dries, simply add the wing nuts to the bolts and tighten them up locking the ruler down tight.
The indented half of the ruler is then placed over the bolts as shown in Photo 8, as the drilled holes are only wide enough for the bolts to pass through, the top ruler sits on top of the springs as seen here. The bolts, wingnuts and springs are shown in Photo 9, not shown are the M5 washers which fit beneath the wingnuts (I got them down the same DIY store I bought the rulers from after this photo was taken – I thought I had a pack already but they turned out to be M3’s!)
The last three photos were also taken before I got those washers – Photo 10 is the bender essentially completed with the top ruler screwed down tight to the bottom. Photo 11 has the addition of a 1mm strip of black plasticard which lifted the working surface up to the level of the bottom ruler (so I couldn’t accidently add an unwanted kink to any parts being bent if they overshot the ruler width). Unfortunately a couple of days after gluing that card down with a contact adhesive it developed a ‘hump’ in the middle which was strange as I didn’t think the contact glue would affect the plastic. Anyway, I removed the plasticard (fairly easily which wasn't a good sign) and replaced it with a strip of 1mm thick black self adhesive neoprene as seen in Photo 12, (left over from lining the inside of the DIY dew shield I’d just made for my new telescope). Note that I stretched this photo to fit the space – the actual dimensions are as in the two pics above!
So that’s the perfectly workable etched brass bender. So far as I mentioned, I’ve found the pliers and tweezers perfectly adequate for the small parts on the lander, this gizmo will I hope come into it’s own on the longer spindly bits like the crane jib arms and landing gear coming later on. Many thanks to PLASMO or David for that design and video and in the next instalment we get down to the start of the build itself (coming together well at the moment with just one unfortunate ‘error’ so far!Blink

Until then, Happy Modelling to you All!

Robin.
Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
PE Bender pic 1.JPG
PE Bender pic 2.JPG
PE Bender pic 3.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
Plymouth57
#3 Posted : 24 March 2024 23:21:57

Rank: Elite

Publisher Medal: Featured Build of the MonthActive Service Medal: 500 post active service MedalPurple Medal: Super active service medal for 1000 postsTurquoise Medal: Turquoise Medal for model making know-how contributionOutstanding Build: An award for an outstanding buildBuild-Diary Medal: Build-Diary Medal of HonourRed Medal: Red Medal
Groups: Registered

Joined: 03/10/2012
Posts: 2,060
Points: 6,175
Location: Plympton
Sorry for the delay (again) it's a combination of kitchen re-working (God, those worktops are heavy), IBS flareups (probably caused by those worktops again and various muscle strains (guess what caused those!) Anyway...

And so it begins! The first piece to work on is part A1 from (obviously) the A fret! This is shown in Photo 1 and comprises of the main top deck of the lander. As you can see in this shot, the deck is fringed by a series of yellow strips and all of these have to be bent through ninety degrees to point straight down. Doing this will also point the various struts and other gubbins down as well; as shown in Photo 2. Virtually all the bending was accomplished with the flat nosed pliers shown earlier. Next comes a little box fixed to the edge of the deck which starts off as a T shaped bit hanging off the side as shown in Photo 3. The sides and bottom panels were bent into place using the flat ended tweezers from the cosmetic set giving the shape seen from below in Photo 4 and from the side in Photo 5.
Next we have to construct three tiny boxes from Part A2 (x3) as illustrated during construction in Photo 6. Again that flat edged tweezer was employed (and is in fact the most used tool so far). At this point I met the first problem – not with the construction – although I suppose it was sort of – after making up two of the boxes and attaching them to the deck, number three pinged out of the tweezers and vanished from sight! I spent about half an hour looking for the flaming thing to no avail and then decided to make up a fake plasticard replacement which you can see stuck to the wood on a piece of double sided tape for painting in Photo 7. Beside it you can also see that long sought for missing original! The saviour is shown in Photo 8 – my very strong fishing magnet (which still hasn’t actually been used for magnet fishing)!Blink Unlike photo etched brass, the Metal Earth models are made from steel – magnetic steel!BigGrin A slow dangle around the carpet black hole and the escapee shot out of the event horizon and was found securely stuck to the bottom of the magnet (and I mean securely!) As you can see the last box was three quarters done and pinged away whilst being held by one of the small sides. The last side with the locating tab was bent over (very carefully) and then the final box was safely attached. Needless to say, that magnet is sitting beside the workbench for the duration of this build! (Stop Press! Successful seek and finds now standing at 2!)
The final piece for this instalment is a cylinder formed from Part A3 as shown in Photo 9. The pre-scored cylinder was formed around a suitable drill bit shaft and then gripped in the long nosed pliers for the ‘lid’ to be bent over as seen in Photo 10 and then finally attached to the deck beside the three boxes as shown in Photo 11.
In the next instalment another of the many science instruments takes shape and if I can find out what the heck it is I’ll let you know!Blink
Until then Happy Modelling to you All!

Robin.
Plymouth57 attached the following image(s):
Build pic 1.JPG
Build pic 2.JPG
First wooden ship: The Grimsby 12 Gun 'Frigate' by Constructo Second: Bounty DelPrado Part Works Third: HMS Victory DelPrado Part Works 1/100 scale
Diorama of the Battle of the Brandywine from the American Revolutionary War Diorama of the Battle of New Falkland (unfinished sci-fi), Great War Centenary Diorama of the Messines Ridge Assault
Index for the Victory diary is on page 1
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