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Scratch built 1/18 scale Choppers/Customs, not RM 1/12 (finally finished: updated 11-13-07)

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  • Member since
    May, 2008
Scratch built 1/18 scale Choppers/Customs, not RM 1/12 (finally finished: updated 11-13-07)
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 26, 2004 11:29 AM
I know that we have a forum already established for custom choppers, but wanted to see if anyone else out there has been toying (no pun intended) with the 1/18 scale genre? I started (again, no pun intended) toying with the 1/18 toy bikes back in '00, where I had taken the (I forget the manufacturer) ones that you could dress as regular, or custom.

I built my own frames from styrene and a product that Car World offered called plastistruct (can't find it any longer as Car World went out of business: although Modeler's out of Japan has a similar product, although not as good). However, I've recently caught the soldering bug, and have started making parts (handle bars, foot controls, jockey shift, etc.) out of brass, using solder. Since I do have a mill and lathe, I've made many machined parts as well.

The fenders are vacuum-formed and the seats are started with a sheet of paper as the seat-pan, and then a generous portion of putty to start carving and whittling my way to the desired results.

The reason that I chose the 1/18 scale, is that it was easier to find the big tires that most of the customs sport today (before Muscle Machine came out with their Jesse James' bikes, I would use the tires off of the sports bikes in the same scale...now, you have a lot more options: Muscle Machine and the soon-to-be-rleased, OCC bikes).

Here are a few pictures of the bikes I currently have in process (and will probably have in process for a while as my two and three year old kids keep me really busy).

http://public.fotki.com/ScrappyJ/choppercustom_bikes/

Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you thinkSmile.

ScrappyJ

UPDATE as of 8-26-05
When I first posted this topic, I didn't have the technical apttitude to post the pictures directly to the topic. Since then, I've figured it ou so here goes:






Anyone know what is wrong with that picture? Had me stumped for a few seconds, then it hit meSmile.

Too much heat/light.
Both bikes have been modified a little since I took these pics., but I haven't taken any updated pics. I have a third that is away being resin casted. It is more on the lines of a Billy Lane (but not as ornate).

Hope some of you newer guys who haven't seen them like them.

Here they are finally done. More pics. in my fotki.




  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Foothills of Colorado
Posted by Hoser on Monday, January 26, 2004 12:24 PM
Beautiful work, Scrappy!! Bow Bow Have to go to the local Hobby Lobby today, might have to look into those bikes.
BTW, what kind of lathe and mill do you have?
"Trust no one; even those people you know and trust." - Jack S. Margolis
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 26, 2004 12:44 PM
Thanks Hoser. I have the Sherline Mill and Lathe. I've had them for about ten-years and they have been worth evey penny that I invested in them (and more).

There are other set-ups out there (some cheaper), so its just a matter of doing the research. I haven't had the opportunity to see or use any other brands, but do know that you can get good results as long as you put your mind to it. I'm not a machinist (by any stretch of the imagination: I'm actually a banker), but I received the best words of advice from some of the more notable guys in the hobby.

The advise, was to just get going and don't be affraid to make mistakes. Interestingly enough, I rarely try to make mistakes. Not because I'm that good, but because macnining can be very labor intensive and a pain in the you know whatSmile.

If you ever decide to get one, shoot me an e-mail and I'll tell you what you can start with that should make you very happy.

Check out the bikes that are out now. They're pretty coolSmile!
  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Arroyo Grande, CA
Posted by MojoDoctor on Monday, January 26, 2004 3:10 PM
Beautiful work ScrappyJ!
I haven't tried working with the 1/18 bikes, but I'm trying to build a 1/8 custom using those Revell kits. After these group builds that I'm working on end, I will devote all of my time to a bike.
Thanks for the inspiration. You do very good work!

Matt Good judgement is the result of experience, Experience is the result of poor judgement. Mark Twain

  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 26, 2004 3:45 PM
Thanks Mojo Man!

If I can ever get to doing some work on the projects and finish them, I thought about doing one i 1/12 scale as I should be able to scavenge some tires from the 1/12 bikes (Like the Busa: a little costly, but would probably work).

I've seen a lot of discussions on where to find parts for the plastics that aren't readily available or doesn't exist, so I try to be creative and improvise. For instance, Muscle Machines just came out with the El Diable, Jesse James' bike in 1/10 scale. That would be a good platform to redo the bike (if you so desire as I'm sure it is a nice piece in the box), or to use it as a basis to create one's own radical idea and revamp the whole thing.


I plan on purchasing, at least two, of each of the OCC bikes when they come out. Obviously one will be for collectibility and the other for parts, etc.

As for the kits, I love them too. One project that I would like to do, is a chromed-out Busa, with a trick paint job and stretched-out swing-arm. Unfortunately, I'm not as good with the in-the-box kits as you guys are (if it has instructions, I tend to mess it up as I'm always trying to do more than I should: force of habit).

Againk, Thanks for all of the compliments, and I look forward to seeing your rad. bikes!
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 26, 2004 5:37 PM
Nice stuff Scrappy!
  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Foothills of Colorado
Posted by Hoser on Monday, January 26, 2004 5:41 PM
Scrappy,

I was wondering what set-up you have as I have an old Unimat I got about 3-4 yrs ago off eBay. I use it to turn air cleaners, breathers, pulleys, etc.
I checked out those bikes at Hobby Lobby - pretty cool, altough they didn't have a big selection. One of the clerks told me they will be getting some more in soon.
"Trust no one; even those people you know and trust." - Jack S. Margolis
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 26, 2004 5:55 PM
Hoser,

I've heard of the unimat and understand that it is a good unit. I would stick with that if you are getting good results on your turning. The next thing would be to get a mill set-up. If you do, make sure that you save enough to get the rotary table with it. The table allows you so much more versatility. Sherline has some pretty good accessories with their mill units.

As for the bikes, take a look at www.1stopdiecast.com. These guys have it all (a little pricy, but if supplies are short, which they usually are, they have it all). Let me know what you think after you've been to their site. They even have the OCC as a pre-order.
  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Foothills of Colorado
Posted by Hoser on Monday, January 26, 2004 6:33 PM
Scrappy,

The Unimat does have a milling attachment. You can remove the headstock / motor assy. and mount it to a vertical adjustable post that installs where the headstock attaches to the lathe bed. You can check it out here -

http://www.unimat.homestead.com/index.html

As for the rotary table, I've got an 'indexer' for it; a geared wheel inside a housing with 48 stops. This bolts to the cross-slide and the chucks mount to that.

Cool diecast site!! I'm not much into DC, but the injected 'Vette and Anglia look awesome!
"Trust no one; even those people you know and trust." - Jack S. Margolis
  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Canada
Posted by kevlar86 on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 9:49 AM
Amazing work scrappy Thumbs UpBowThumbs Up. Thanks for the inspiration. Smile
Kevin check out My photoalbum http://photobucket.com/albums/v648/kevlar86/
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 28, 2004 9:42 PM
Very nice work scrappy. I also built some 1/18 custom bikes too, just need to finish them.
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, January 29, 2004 3:13 PM
Thanks, Phats!

Maybe we can swap ideas.

As I was saying in my earlier post, I went the way of creating new frames, tanks (oil and gas), fenders, etc. What has been your approach?. I've even thought about using the frames off of the muscle machines, stripping the paint, soldering them together and then grinding down the solder (it would take some work, but I think that it would work and be very sanitary if done properly).

From there, one would only need to add their own tank (carved from wood or styrene) then wire and plum the bike. Oh...some trick handle bars could be made from soldering BrassSmile.
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, February 02, 2004 7:36 AM
Scrappy,

Very nice work indeed. I have two old 1:18 or 1:19 scale 1966 Yamaha Catalina kits that I plan to convert to the 1966 Batcycle one day.

I might be emailing you with some questions!

Thanks for the inspiration.

Andy
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, February 02, 2004 3:51 PM
No problem Andy. Always willing to help where I canSmile!
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 6:47 PM
Wooo Nice job Scrappy, I repainted the Ness bike (you look at my post). I have wanted to do something like yours! Thanks for the inspiration.
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, March 25, 2004 10:41 AM
Thanks RatfinkSmile! I just wish that there were more guys looking into the 1/18 scale. Don't get me wrong, I love bikes period. However, it doesn't seem like there are many guys interested in the 1/18 scale. I guess I chose the 1/18 because it is a lot closer to the 1/24 (which is the scale that I mostly build in) and it allows that size to add extra details. I've always believed the opposit of most that larger is easier to detail (obvioulsy you've figured it out).

As a side note; I e-mailed the folks at RC2 and Muscle Machine to get them to think about doing 1/24 of OCC and Jesse's bikes, for those folks that swear by the 1/24. I guess we'll see if they're interested. BTW, Muscle Machines has come out with a 1/31 scale of Jesse's bikes. Has anyone seen them yet? If not, you can go to http://www.1stopdiecast.com/ and you'll be able to see them.
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, March 25, 2004 3:37 PM
All I can say is WOW!

I love your long and low bikes. I've got a chop project underway too. I just got machine tools so I'm making lots of duplicate parts (a.k.a. "mistakes" Wink )

I picked up a 1/6 Arlen Ness chop at Wal-Mart for 19 bucks. I got it for the tires, fenders, and fuel tank. The rest isn't detailed enough. The engine detail is too soft for me......but it's hard to compain for 18 bucks. With some TLC, it would make an awesome chop. I'll be making a new frame for it though.

My chop has a brass frame. It has been a pain putting it together. I held the pieces in alignment using a vise. I bought a slab of aluminum off Ebay to use as a frame jig. I'll take it to a machine shop to have slots cut in it. (too big for my Sherline mill) I'll fab some aluminum blocks to hold frame pieces together while soldering.

Chop on, brother!
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, March 25, 2004 4:01 PM
Thanks Lee! Send some pictures of yours when you get a chance.

My frames are plastic for now as it works okay for 1/18 (the stress isn't too much at that scale). Have you thought about doing 1/18? It just seems that all the diecast bashables are mostly in 1/18 (although 1/10 is gaining its popluarlity).

I alos thought about setting-up a jig made from a slab of aluminum with grooves and then have perdendicular slots accross to hold down. I haven't gotten that far yet as I'm still working on these projects. One of the problems that I would see with the soldering is close joints. However, there is a product out that you can buy (called mud) you can paste it over welded joints and theheat from joints close buy don't effect it. I also thought about resistance soldering, but haven't looked into it that much either.

Thanks again for the compliments, and hope to see some of your work soon.
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, March 25, 2004 4:17 PM
Scrappy-
For joints that are close together, I will make custom heat sinks from scrap aluminum. I'll use a ball mill to make a groove that matches tube diameter and bolt two pieces together.

Resistance soldering: I found a power unit on Ebay for 36 bucks!! It's made by American Beauty. I contacted the manufacturer and got the connector plugs. I then went to radio Shack and got a cheapie soldering iron. I pulled all the wiring out, drilled out the tip, and put a carbon rod inside. I soldered wire onto the copper-coated rod. Voila! El-cheapo resistance soldering outfit. I bet I don't have more than 80 bucks in the whole outfit. When I tested it, it made an orange sparl at the point of contact. It's a cool tool, but working in the bigger scales, I think I'll stick with a torch.

My chop project is in this forum. I have a thread about my KZ1000 Chopper. The pics show a mockup with YZF-R1 wheels but a ZX-12R kit showed up and I;ll be using its wheels and tires.

Lee
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 26, 2004 8:25 AM
AshamedI did see that awesome project...can't wait to see it completed.

Micro Mark also has a cheaper version of a resistance soldering set-up for approximately $159.00. I thought abou this route, but it does seem a little expensive. I too am relegated to the torch for now with the hopes of one day graduating to resistance soldering.

In doing by handle bars, foot pegs, etc., I've used the old pin process. I try to make a male and female on all of the parts, which helps with the positioning of the parts (particularly the smaller ones not having a jig). Have you tried this approach?
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, March 26, 2004 10:32 AM
BTW...for anyone that is itnerested...on the 1/18 scale scene, Toyzone came out with outlaws (Arlen Ness). The tires are fat (although a little taller than the MM Jesse James bikes). I took one apart and found that the tires were not all that great (the front tire in particular loses its shape once off of the rim). However, the gas tank is nice, and it has the only drive belt I've been able to locate on the market (the 1/9 scale version has them too).
  • Member since
    February, 2004
Posted by JayVee on Thursday, April 29, 2004 9:11 PM
ScrappyJ, your work is fantastic! Vacuum forming and scratchbuilding stuff like that is most impressive. BowBowBow
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, April 30, 2004 12:55 PM
Thanks, JayVee! I've actually started work on a new bike project and will try to get some pictures posted soon (why? I don't know as I still need to comlete the two that I already have going, but got a little tired of the two).

Again, thanks for your kind words!!!
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, May 03, 2004 2:30 PM
Hey DirkJoseph,
That bike is coming along beautifully!! Thumbs UpThumbs UpThumbs Up
I really dig the "Coupie Build" too!!!! Great Stuff!!!!
Keep It up as much as possible because the rugrats are an
expensive handful!!!! Wink Either way you'll be having a ball!!Eight Ball
Take Care!!! Cool
Kelley EvilKisses
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, May 04, 2004 11:34 AM
Thanks for the kind words, Kelley!

Yeah those kids are a handful, but worth every momentSmile.
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, May 06, 2004 10:25 PM
too sweet thanks for showing this wonderfil peace of art .my boys want me to build one for them .Censored where do i start ? idont nooooo ! but good job man
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, May 07, 2004 9:46 AM
Thanks, KenSmile! If you ever need any ideas on how I approach my projects, let me know. My way is not the best, but I do have funBig Smile!
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 26, 2005 1:21 PM
I'm into the 1/10 - 1/12 scale bikes, and its hard to find anything aftermarket. I normally have to buy a diecast and a model kit to get the parts I need. Sometimes I buy a diecast just to get the rear wheel assembly. Then, its not truly a model, and not really a scratch build. It just satisfies my own need to construct something my way. It would be nice to have kits available in contemporary styling (chopper), instead of only 1970's Harley (which I love, but need a change).

Colonel
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, April 29, 2005 1:15 PM
You would think that with all the hype on the customs that some of the kit manufacturers would consider doing a few of them (like a biker-build-off series). I guess, however, they figure the diecasts would sell easier and in more quantity.
  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, June 06, 2005 10:29 PM
hey scrappyj................I see your from orlando,fl. Wondering if you ever attend the Phils Hobbies Fathers Day show in St. Pete? Im going this year, would be great to see your builds in person!

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