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 Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)

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KatsZenJammer
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PostSubject: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 1:37 am

DISCLAIMER: Very, very photo-heavy, long and involved WIP.

The story begins around 1981 or so when my father brought me a Tamiya 1/6 Harley Davidson FLH Classic kit back from Japan.  I built it OOB and quite quickly, being an impatient early-teen as I was.  It stayed that way until around 1994/95 when I got the urge to convert that kit into a street cruiser - wherein I removed the side and top cases, the fairing and re worked the saddle and exhaust.  That version got boxed sometime around the millennium.  Then in May 2013, having just completed a ship model rescue/rebuild, I was grasping for something to do.  My mental criteria for the project was that it would keep me occupied for a number of years, ridiculous in hindsight but I have never denied being ridiculous, lol.  So I opened the box with the street cruiser Harley and started daydreaming.

What follows is the chronicle of that adventure.  Though I 'culled' the existing photo archive there are still well over 750 photos to come before I've caught up to 'now' so please bear with me.  Also I will be adding comments about the process as best as I can recall but I will definitely be forgetting things along the way so any questions are welcome.  And this is going to take some time as I don't want to blast the forum (or its members) with a mass upload.  And though I used kit bash in the description there is also a whole lotta scratch building goin' on.  Having said all that ...


Herein Beginneth a Diary of a Madman

In the beginning there is a box.  This is the one I received (image taken from the Web) and the assembled kit pretty much resembles the box art, Tamiya is good that way.


The only existing photo I have of the 1990's Street Cruiser mod.  I do wish I had a better pic but you kind of get the idea from this


What I consider to be the first photo of this project - still a bunch of parts with no real plan, per se, but a lot of ideas.


Right off the bat I had chosen the course of springer-style front forks.  Here's the start of the modifications to the kit forks, which was to extend the posts which originally went into the much thicker fork housing.


Though I really like the 16 spoke Harley wheels I wanted something more steampunk-ish and to me that meant hex nuts.  To facilitate adding these and changing the look of the wheels I started by cutting out half the spoke from the front wheel to make it an 8 spoke version.




Did I mention I wanted to add a lot of hex nuts?  This was where a large part of the visual/mechanical aesthetic was set and working up the front wheel really helped in the visualization and short term planning.








The start of 'the look' for the machine.  I wasn't sure how this would turn out and I remember being quite relieved that it wasn't a pile of hot garbage.


Kit original part … not.  The discs for the brakes on the Harley kit were actual steel, thus difficult to modify as I don't have a laser cutter.  But my inner child is a hoarder and had held onto parts from a Tamiya 1/6 Yamaha XS 1100 Midnight Special kit (also from my teen years).  


And so it begins.  Coming up, many, many, many more posts ...


Last edited by KatsZenJammer on Tue 31 May 2016, 7:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 2:20 am

Continuing on with more hex nut detailing being prepared for the front wheel.  I chose to pre-set the nuts on strips not just to simplify placement but also to add that feeling of reinforcement to the mechanics, over-engineering adds detail more often than not.






The idea for the rear wheel started to gel, here's the beginnings of the mod to the rear wheel with the front for comparison.

Adding in the strips to the front wheel around the hub.  This might not make any sense in a real world application but at this time I was thinking more in terms of ornamentation than practical purpose.




The rear wheel cleaned up a touch followed by chrome and paint removal.




For this next part I cut templates out of a business card and used them to cut corresponding pieces from styrene sheet.  I drew up some design ideas and transferred them onto the pieces then carefully cut out the design.








Affixing the 'plates' into the wheel.  I don't recall where I saw this but someone out there already modded an actual motorcycle wheel in a similar fashion so I cribbed from their work.






The end result.  I knew when I started that this stuff would be mostly obscured by the brake disc on one side and the sprocket wheel on the other, but I went ahead anyway because part of the steampunk aesthetic I was, and still am, aspiring to is 'buried detail.'  I am always impressed when I see builds with extremely high levels of detail that also come in layers so I figured I'd have a go at it and see what happens.


Coming up, yet more … and more ...
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 3:26 am

And yet more hex nuts.  These are for the rear wheel plates near the hub.




And these little guys are for the rear wheel plates out at the rim.




Adding little strips between the nuts to create a frame of sorts outlining the plate.




Part of the process includes working on different parts at the same time.  Here's a shot of a worked up hub cover for the front wheel


The front brake disc was being worked on as well.  The original idea of using the Yamaha brake disc was scrapped due to the size difference.  Shown here are the Yamaha discs, one of which I had started modding, the kit original steel disc and the scratch built disc ring I cut out of sheet styrene.


I decided to go with the inner hub of the Yamaha disc for the new discs so technically this qualifies as a kit bash.  You can see the outline for the connecting pieces on the business card and the test piece cut from card stock.


Cut the pieces from sheet styrene and then start refining the shapes.


The previously shown front wheel hub cover with even more added detail.


Front disc with connecting pieces affixed and some added detail to the hub


All the pieces in place with more added detail … did I mention there were going to be a lot of hex nuts?


I'm surprised at the level of memory recall I'm getting off of reviewing these photos.  No wonder I'm feeling a bit afraid  
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 3:34 am


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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 4:05 am

Awesome detail work! You had me at steam punk! Really creative subject.
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 5:20 am

Curt & Max - Thanks for looking in and for the kind words and support.

Both the rear and front tires have reached the point where it's all about the little hex nuts and brackets.  








A quick view of the little bracket and hex nut assembly line.




And then adding all those little bits.






And even more little bits.




And added bits.  If I remember correctly this was about where I figured I was reaching critical mass on both wheels - looking at the rear wheel as pictured I cannot argue with that assessment.


A shot of the rear brake disc in process and to the left a shot of the original try at the front axle brackets for the springier fork assembly.  These bits went by the wayside but I like having the record of the mis-steps along the way, or to paraphrase Edison, one of the ways to not do something.


The beginnings of the front axle and the kit original for reference.
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 5:36 am

The evolution of the axle mounts.  To achieve the proper thickness I cut initial pieces from sheet styrene then glued them onto more sheet styrene and kept on cutting.  Easier than trying to cut thick sheets, something I learned in the past.


The next part of the process was cutting a bunch of holes in various places and of various sizes.






The parts and a test assembly.  Here I felt great relief that they fit properly.






Working on the rear brake disc, pretty much the same process as the front disc but with slightly different shapes for the connectors.










The secondary forks now enter the picture.  I followed convention and made them a smaller gauge than the main forks.  The overall looks seemed about right so I went with these instead of trying other gauges.






The date of creation on that last photo is July 17, 2014 so the build is barely 2 months old at this point.  That means there is a whole lot more to come yet ...
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 6:59 am

I remember seeing this a long time ago. Looks very fiddly and eye straining.

Very artistic though
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 10:21 am

Man Kats, you have really gone to a lot of trouble to post all of these photos PLUS text and I really do appreciate it.

As per escale..... I just ran out of superlatives!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 11:07 am

I need a thisoris and a dictionary as I too am running out superlatives, oh and the ability to actually spell would be a bonus.

that seems to work.

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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 6:23 pm

Ash, Al & Curt - Thanks so much for your very kind words and support.  With such a long project this sort of feedback is essential to help combat the procrastination blues.

Al - As for the re-posting of this WIP - I went through a similar thing a few years ago on the Model Ship site.  They moved to a new host and there was supposed to be a data transfer but then came a catastrophic hard drive issue and all the info was lost, so a whole slew of us had to re-post our Build Logs.  Having gone through it once makes doing it again not so daunting.  Plus, the timing of this is also apropos - I'm coming up on the 2nd Birthday of the Steamcycle build and having to review all that has come before is helpful for me on many levels not least of which is the reminder of how much has already been completed.  It makes the remainder seem less insurmountable.

I should mention now that the main reason this is taking so long is the fact that I am mostly a weekend builder.  Oh, I manage to get in bits of time here and there but a lot of times I'm too mashed from work to be able to concentrate on fiddly little bits.  Throw in the odd burst of productivity to help speed things along and you still get a marathon of slow progress ...

Now back to the regularly scheduled programming, lol.  Here's the start of developing the detail for the ends of the forks. I wanted to square them off a bit to make them look more chunky.


Working on the main drive sprocket - at this time I was still thinking in terms of chain drive.  In the Now of it I am definitely going to modding this to a belt drive.  However, I wanted to create a solid sprocket disc so I went about removing the chrome then cutting out bits to fill the holes.






Developing the ends of the main forks, a before and after shot of the shaping of the box ends.


Jumping back to the sprocket which is now filled.


And jumping back to the forks.  I'm keeping the sequence of the original WIP postings so this gives you an idea of the stuff I had going on at the same time.  I've refined my process a touch since this period but it's still fun to try and follow the bouncing ball, so to speak.  This view is of the main fork ends shaped and detailed a bit.


The secondary fork ends get similar treatment as the mains.


And a test fit.  Testing the fit is always important when assembling parts but it becomes of supreme importance when scratch building because no matter how many times you measure there is nothing like seeing the bits come together to bring light to the glaring flaws.  Thankfully there weren't gigantic issues at this point.




Getting back to the main forks, I wanted them thicker.  After a bit of thought and playing around the 'easiest' way I figured to do this was to add thin strips which would be easy to shape and refine once in place.  I tried creating a 'sleeve' of thin sheet but that was really finicky and troublesome.


The upper portion of the forks needed to be way thicker so instead of strips I used lengths of plastic rod.  This saved me from having to lay down multiple layers and this method makes shaping easier as well.




And another test fit just to check the look.  I laughed when I saw this as I had forgotten that I was using a Q-Tip to hold the forks to the frame.  Any port in a storm, as they say ...




Just keep swimming ...
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 6:43 pm

Time to cap off the secondary forks and develop the crossmember.  Start with piece of thicker sheet styrene and drill holes for the forks.




Developing the details, in this case the larger hex nut mounting points.




Crossmember reinforcement piece goes in place.




The mains get more attention.  Filling and shaping the added thickness bits and adding more crossmember parts for the various aspects of the springer assembly.




Testing the fit.


Developing the posts for the springs for the secondary forks.  One of the reasons I went with springer forks was the dual spring style of shock absorber, where the bottom has compression springs and above them are expansion springs.


Making little right angle reinforcement brackets for the secondary forks where they seat into the crossmember.


The spring posts start looking more like they should.  The different gauges of post are for the top and bottom spring sets.


Starting the guide plate for the secondary forks.  This will end up affixed to the main fork crossmember and the secondary fork spring posts go through it.  This also serves to separate the springs.


Reinforcement brackets for the secondary forks in place.


And adding more hex nuts to the secondary fork crossmember.




"Climb every mountain …"
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 8:14 pm

Fantastic to see this again,was just thinking about rubber...back then the tyres were a whitish colour..
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sat 21 May 2016, 11:59 pm

Thanks for looking in Nigel!  I've been thinking about the tires, or tyres if I'm going to be Steampunk, and that had occurred to me when I was wondering how to remove all the modern labels and info moulded into the rubber.  Right now I'm going the sanding route, perhaps a little knife work if needed but I want to wind up with a rougher surface than a modern tire.  I'm also thinking of painting or staining them as well, to give them that aged and used look.  That way if I make a lot of mistakes getting the labelling off I can disguise it as 'wear'.

The guide/separator plate for the secondary forks takes shape.  I did it in two pieces to vary the thicknesses in order to create a lip for attaching it to the fork crossmember.


Test fitting the plate (I'm sure it has an actual name but I'm seat-of-the-pants'ing it right now).


And a view of the forks with the reworked ends and all that.


The overall look. checking the stance as it were.


Now comes the front brake callipers which qualify as a kit bash because the black parts are kit originals.  The white discs are the layers of a cylinder.


Checking to see how it will sit on the disc.


Working up the other side of the callipers and added detail to the side which will face out.  The white half tube is the beginning of the hydraulic set up I envisioned.  This part is pure fantasy, although I try to keep things appearing in a 'realistic' way the whole Steampunk theme allows me to take liberties with mechanical reality.


Adding detail to the guide plate.  Plus it serves the real purpose of reinforcing the join line of the other two pieces.


Back to the callipers - adding detail and joining the halves and adding details.








The idea starts to become more focused.  This doesn't look like what I first envisioned, something that happens all the time in this build, but it was good enough to develop further rather than try again.


The guide plate with, what else, hex nuts added.


And so on, and so on …  
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sun 22 May 2016, 4:48 am

The brake callipers get some plumbing.  Working with the concept of the fantasy hydraulics I wanted to connect things in a way that would at least seem to make some sense.  The following was what I came up with.








Two test bits for the compression springs.  I went with the larger gauge annealed steel wire as it seemed more in scale.


What I thought would be the wire gauge for the expansion springs, turned out it was a bit too thick so I switched it up to thinner gauge copper wire.




The seating rings for the expansion springs in place followed by a view of the piece in place (test fit test fit test fit)




Detailing the Brake callipers a bit more.  The copper bands were thin strips cut from a roll of adhesive backed copper foil.


And what would any part of this build be without some hex nuts?




Well, that was a good run of mass posting.  I might be able to do a lot more this weekend (Victoria Day long weekend in Canada means an extra day off for moi) but I might also be dragged off to enjoy some festivities, darn, lol.  Plus I've been getting in time at the workbench … all these concurrent things to do … and my cat demands my attention  
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sun 22 May 2016, 10:22 am

Kats

So glad you've found your way on here!! I posted on Facebook for my Canadian friends to share that I was trying to find you to get Al to invite you to join. Looking forward to more of this amazing build.

Welcome on board my friend.

G
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sun 22 May 2016, 1:54 pm

Amazing? YES! Also obsessive, creative and weird.
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sun 22 May 2016, 6:20 pm

Gary & Harron - Thanks very much for the kind words!

Gary - and another thanks for thinking of me with everything that's been going on.  Luckily my battered and well used brain managed to recall this place from a few mentions back on eScale.  I wish it worked that well for everything, lol.

Trying to get as much up this weekend as I can, sneaking in posts in between dealing with daily chores and demands on my time.  This first photo is a view of how I fabricate thin rings - basically use styrene strips and wind them around something of the proper diameter, apply glue and tape to hold it while it sets.  Repeated failure is something one has to get used to with this method but eventually I manage to produce what I need,.


Once the rings are in place then I can tweak them.  On the left is the ring as made on the drill bit and on the right I have added some thickness to make it more proportionate.


The base rings at the correct size and ready for test fitting.  The lower springs being made of annealed steel wire were already black but the copper ones I made for the uppers I blackened in Jax solution - I use 40 to 50 to 1 dilution because the stuff is basically an oxidizer and too strong a solution just creates a sort of slag dust coating.




Quick shot of the front brake calliper with the 'hydraulic' line also blackened.


I had to think about this one to remember that I adjusted the rings on the bottom for the springs to seat in.  Basically adjusting for a better fit.




The brake calliper develops details across the top.


Here begins the mods to the front fender.  This first photo is of the kit fender with slight mods from the 1990's but basically the same.


Finding the natural 'edge' by lightly flat sanding it.


The first cuts.  Done with the Dremel and a small carving tip.


Detail work done on the brake callipers to dig out the 'divots' for the (what else) hex nuts which cap the ends of the cross pieces.




The first pages of this WIP are sure gonna be chunky, lol.  
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sun 22 May 2016, 6:46 pm

And.............relax.....normal service is resumed. I am relieved that I haven't lost the privilege of
watching this come together Kats. Brave work on the mudguard!!
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sun 22 May 2016, 6:51 pm

That calliper...if it was in Northern Ireland it would be fitted with a 'disrupter'
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sun 22 May 2016, 6:56 pm

*Edit* Gary & Nigel, I missed your posts initially - thanks for looking in and for the kind words. As for the disruptor … does it look anything like a lunch box?

Sneaking in another quick posting.

The initial cut to the front fender was still not quite what I wanted so I decided to cut it down further.


The new shape met my approval so off comes the old paint.




This is about where my initial concept veered into the realm of insanity.  I don't recall why I wanted to do 'scrolled iron work' as an embellishment to the fender but I went ahead and started with proof of concept tests.






The first try wasn't what I wanted so I modified the idea as seen here.


And the development proceeds.  Unintentional 'face' with this first step.


Test fit of how the fender will sit in relation to the wheel and forks.  You can't see the blobs of kneadable eraser I used as 'shims' to float the fender over the tyres.




Third hand clips and lots of fiddly adjustments and then torch and silver solder for the brass wire.  This stuff I learned during the ship build.


Making the 'caps' for the tops of the secondary forks.




Just keep swimming ...
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sun 22 May 2016, 7:10 pm

It might look like a lunch box...............BLOW IT UP..Hahahahahaha (continue mad laughter ad infinitum..)
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Sun 22 May 2016, 9:52 pm

Super job on this one. I am here for the duration. Not only is the build well thought out the scratch building is excellent. popcorn
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Mon 23 May 2016, 1:41 am

Nigel - hmm … blowing it up …  

Zbuckster - Thanks for looking in and for the kind words and support.

So eventually I had to run into a string of photos dealing with a single aspect of this build.  This part is more related to jewellery making than scale modelling but I can also call it metal work and thus have it qualify in the kit bash theme.  Basically, this is a progression of bits being added to the 'sleeve' for the front fender.






Here you can see the diamond shaped hole in the middle of the zone which I chose to 'fill' with a 'flourish.'  Please note that what I'm doing here is simple repetition of similar shapes and trying to keep it symmetrical.






Continuing the repetitive pattern towards the rear.






Aaaand … done for now.  A shot of the sleeve by itself and on the fender.  The toughest part here wasn't keeping it symmetrical or matching the curve of the fender but rather trying to keep the thing so it would slide on and off the fender.




Aaaand … done, once again, lol.  There was another diamond shaped hole in the back so I filled that with a flourish as well.


Finally some vanity shots of assembly roughly in place, floated on the tyre with chunks of kneadable eraser as before, you can see a glob of the stuff behind the tyre itself.  Also featured in this view is the front brake disc and calliper also roughly in place.






This was one of those benchmark points where I had to pause and think hard about things like how I was going to mount all this stuff to all the other stuff and so forth.  Also it was one of those points where I looked at myself in the mirror and asked, "What am I doing and why am I doing it?"  
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   Mon 23 May 2016, 2:05 am

"Nothing exceeds like excess."  I offer an apology for this posting-bomb but I figure once the back log is dealt with then I can get back to my previous weekly thing.  However, given that I have been given the time to do this, might as well keep going.

Mounting the front brake calliper was easy enough to figure out from a purely mechanical standpoint, so I was able to invest some effort into trying to make it look cool and stuff.




And I wasn't happy with the first try at the 'body' of the bracket so I tried a different tack.




Having achieved something I liked it was time to add, what else, hex nuts!


This is one of those detail tricks I picked up from a crazed model railroad site full of utter maniacs, I forget which one.  Using a large syringe I punched out little circles of copper foil, CA'd these onto the ends of the little strips then CA'd tiny little hex nuts.


A look at the mounting bracket with more detail added and the calliper getting ready to join the bracket.


All together now.


Test fit.




And the 'why' of why test fitting is so important comes out here.  The double tab style of clamp I built didn't work with the arrangement of the forks so I clipped off the offending bit and replaced it with a 'hinge.'


The stabilizer bar I worked up from brass tube because I figured anything made of plastic would be too prone to break or crack at the hinge points.


A couple views of the test fit.




The hinge point on the inner main fork.  I wanted this to look like it was clamped onto the fork, not drilled into it, hence the added details.


And so it goes ...
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PostSubject: Re: Steampunk Harley - Tamiya 1/6 HD FLH Classic 'extreme' kit bash (Very Photo Heavy)   

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