Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
I guess this best fits here because even though it's HO scale the methods really apply to any scale.

I have a few plastic model cars which I want to modify so they look like they they've been in a car crash. Let's say for this exercise that I want to crash a car against a tree. How would I go by doing this so it looks at least somewhat believable (i.e. so the bonnet and front is partially wrapped against the vehicle)?

I've thought about softening up the plastic with the aid of a hot air gun and then pushing it against a metal rod with the same diameter as the tree I want to crash it against but I don't know if that would work.

Other than that I'm at a loss how I would achieve what I want, so I thought I'd turn to you guys and see if you have any ideas how to achieve the proper crumpling required before I ruin a car in trying.

Thanks!

[edit] oh yeah, if it bears any significance, these are the cars I'm going to try to modify: http://www.herpa.de/collect/(S(2qj0mp2od1x...s=1&thumb=1
 

·
Chief mouser
Joined
·
11,775 Posts
There is no easy way - broken plastic will always look like broken plastic. We have modeeled a car crash on St Laurent, but this is only a minor one using a car which has plastic panels in real life.

Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess I'm going to have to experiment a bit then and hope for the best.

I know from experience that broken plastic don't always look like broken plastic though, it depends largely on how you paint it afterwards. Weathering of the surface can do miracles in making the unbelievable look believable


However, I haven't had any experience in actually crumpling plastic like this, I've only bent, broken, cut and so forth before. Experimenting here I come
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
QUOTE (MrPumpernickel @ 1 Jul 2008, 22:18) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I guess I'm going to have to experiment a bit then and hope for the best.

I know from experience that broken plastic don't always look like broken plastic though, it depends largely on how you paint it afterwards. Weathering of the surface can do miracles in making the unbelievable look believable


However, I haven't had any experience in actually crumpling plastic like this, I've only bent, broken, cut and so forth before. Experimenting here I come


***Experiment with heat, but I'd think a soldering iron tip and body will give a better result than a heat gun.... you could aslo gingerly heat various metal things to use to distort the shape on a stove element or gas flame to make the damage.... while still soft, use a scalpel blade etc to further distort things after the initial shaping, then thin the visible edges as much as you can before painting... Try to find photo's to work to if U can - it helps to have a target to aim at!

Richard
DCCconcepts
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Wrap some scrunched up tin foil around the rod, heat the rod (obviously wearing thick gloves) and push into the car bonnet. The tin foil should leave marks like dented metal on the bonnet.

paul
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Way ahead of you on that one, though I'm not doing the aluminium foil route but I'm going to paint the dents and cracks with metallic paint and a whole lot of careful drybrushing instead. Gives me better control of the end result I think.

Well well, I'll try it as soon as I get the tree I ordered home so I know the correct diameter. I'll be sure to keep you guys updated on everything
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
I think Paul was meaning that by using tin foil (scrunched up) around the soldering iron that rather than having smooth dent that you would get a jagged dent rather than a smooth one.

I don't think he was suggesting sticking the tinfoil to the plastic.

Or have I got it wrong?

John

Not to many car crashes in southern Germany in the 1920's, so no need to model them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Oh, I thought more that the aluminium itself would leave marks on the plastic, sort of rub off. If I got it wrong then it's actually a pretty great idea as you explain it


I might actually go both routes, first soften up the plastic a bit with a hot air gun and then use the hot metal rod with aluminium foil over it. That way I should get not only what looks like impact damage but actually a fair amount of warping of the whole front of the car, which is what would happen in a real car crash (at least one with considerable speed which is what I'm going after).

Some model-maker should really specialize in things like this, crashed cars, injured people, criminals, accident sites and so forth. I bet there's a niche for it.
 

·
Just another modeller
Joined
·
9,983 Posts
QUOTE (MrPumpernickel @ 2 Jul 2008, 19:06) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I might actually go both routes, first soften up the plastic a bit with a hot air gun and then use the hot metal rod with aluminium foil over it. That way I should get not only what looks like impact damage but actually a fair amount of warping of the whole front of the car, which is what would happen in a real car crash (at least one with considerable speed which is what I'm going after).

***When a car hits an immovable object like a large tree it wraps soft parts aroung things BUT mainly it (the car) folds at sharpish angles along structural lines... I really think that an overall softened plastic car folding like a wet noodle will look like.... well.... a plastic car folded like a wet noodle!

I'd think a couple of judicious cuts helped with a hot knife and a hot shaping bar will get you much closer to reality - with the texture added by thinning it by sanding, filing and later by finally using the scrunched up ali foil to add final detail to the shapes....or replacing things like the bonnet with heavy ali foil entirely.

Good luck with the project - its an interesting one and I hope it goes well.

regards

Richard
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Yeah, I would definitely not make it so soft that it's like a wet noodle, but more like stiff rubber or something so it warps somewhat but not so unbelievably much. Replacing the bonnet by heavy foil is an interesting prospect though.

These cars are cheap enough so I can afford a couple of ruined experiments, so we'll see how it goes. Definitely looking at references though to get a semi-realistic result at least.

Here's a pretty alright image for reference what I'm going for, though probably a little less action on the bonnet so I can lay a person on top of it halfway through the window as well :: http://law.earnit2.com/car%20crash%20in%20tree.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,342 Posts
I Ran Over an old ladies car with my truck once (she was not hurt)

She decided to pull out from a side street across my path
would have been a fatal error if I hadn't manage to swerve a bit.

She had a near new Toyota lots of plastic components

I ran over the whole front of the car with my passenger side front wheel ,everything plastic shattered into small pieces
Both front wheels (front wheel drive) were lying horizontally on the road The motor and other bit were squashed together on the road
Front windscreen was intact and her drivers door could open and close as before
My point of impact was her front wheel

Hardly any damage to the truck (5 tonne) had to replace the bumper which had folded back

That car looked like a heat gun had got to the front of it! aprt from all the broken glass and plastic everywhere!

Regards Zmil
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top