Sunday, May 17, 2009

Continuing my Hotshot build: Part 3, Lexan body work

Had some time today, so I started the last part of the build, the Lexan body. RC bodies are usually made of Lexan (polycarbonate) because they have good impact resistance and are cheap to replace. Lexan bodies generally cost from $30-$60, while styrene bodies are usually over $100. Styrene bodies are also not as impact resistant, they form cracks when under stress which leads to fracture sooner or later.

Lexan bodies are vacuum molded so you get the whole piece of Lexan product instead of just the body part, like the following. The actualy body have to be cut from the entire piece. There are specially made scissors for Lexan to make the process smoother, I have a pair, but I couldn't find them today so I had to do it the hard way with an Exacto knife.

Lexan scissors come in form of straight blade and curved blade. Curved blades are mostly used because of the 3-D structure of the bodies. The blades are also very sharp on the Lexan scissors. Regular scissors are usually insufficient to cut through Lexan bodies.

Here's the buggy's wing cut out.

One thing about Lexan bodies that many newcomers do not know about is that the paint goes on the inside of the body. Unlike styrene bodies, where (obviously) the paint goes on the outside surface of the body; painting is done on the under surface of the Lexan bodies. This is to ensure that the paint won't get scratched off during collisions. Another thing is Lexan bodies have to be painted with paint made for polycarbonate, paint for plastic modeling will just chip off on Lexan bodies. Decals can go on the outside or inside. Factory decals (decals included in kits) usually go on the outside. But you can get internal decals that goes on the inside of the body before the paint is applied.

Tamiya Lexan bodies are thicker and most detailed in the industry. Their Lexan bodies are also the most expensive compared to aftermarket bodies. Their price are usually around $60, while most aftermarket bodies range from $30-$40. For this Hotshot model, there is only one body for it because of its unique styling.

Here's the main body after 1 hour of cutting, trimming, and a lot of cuts on my thumb.

Will be painting it tomorrow if it's not too windy outside!

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