login   |    register

Trumpeter JS-3: Making Parts (Part 1)

Making Your Own Aluminium Parts

When I opened the box I was very pleased with the level of detail in this new kit; however I wished to replace several parts with scratch built and more in scale parts of my own. This means making them from Aluminium foil, for those who have not tried this versatile material read on. Here is brief intro where to obtain it from and how to use it.

I use the foil dished that Chinese take away food is delivered in, you can use ready meals in a tray for cats or dogs and lastly an other source is pie dishes. All have to be cleaned by washing and allowing to dry. Then cut out the base with a craft knife and to smooth out the creases, place on your modelling mat or work surface and start in the middle and work towards the outside by rubbing with the back edge of your thumb nail. Safety tip never smooth work from the edge to the centre as it is razor sharp, you have been warned. It takes on average about 5 minutes to smooth all the creases out.

The reason for using different types of foil is the thickness, Chinese take away is about 4 thousands of an inch, dog or cat rays about 6 thousands and pie dishes 12 thousands, this gives you a good range to select from.

When you have got all the creases out, cut a piece bigger than the area to be covered by foil, place the detail you wish to replicate face down on the foil. Then bend the surplus over the part to be replicated and mark the edge by running a blunted cocktail stick along.

Remove the foil and cut tabs on the wrong side i.e. away from the detail you wish to replicate. By trail and error bend the tabs back over the original kit part and check the alignment of the foil to plastic. Only after you are satisfied do you go onto the next part, using a blunted wooden cocktail stick gently rub it onto the top of the foil and watch as the foil takes on the shape of the detail underneath. You may have to do this several times and in different directions to obtain all the relief detail from the kit part.

A tip to start you of , try this method on a flat panel , once you have mastered it; then you can work up to more complex replacement parts and end up giving it a try on compound curves i.e. wheel arches and some hub caps.

When you are satisfied with the result, remove the tabs at the rear and cut the foil to shape with scissors, then place the replacement part back on top of the original and check it fits correctly. You can now safely remove the original plastic part and replace with the ally foil one. You may have to leave a small tab of foil for gluing it in place, only experience will tell you how much to leave and where.

In the included scans you can see the development of the track guard’s replacement, No. 1 shows ally foil in this case from a cat food tray with the tabs on the underside of the kit track guards and No. 2 shows the relief as it is worked up with the final one cut out ready for gluing in place. Along side is a test piece for the side track guards, when I redo them I will remove the rivets along the top edge, this will allow a smooth edge to the top and rivets can then be replaced by my water filter method replacements.

Since I intend to do a lot more work on the hull top, the original kit fenders will stay in place.

This is going to be an on going project spread over about 9 months as each section or replacement part is developed into a tip, I will post them out so keep watching this space as they say. Give it a try you never know.

Project Photos

No. 1

No. 2


About the Author

About Ian Sadler (IanSadler)


Thanx for the tip
DEC 31, 2002 - 07:31 AM
Ian - Thanks for sharing your knowledge
JAN 03, 2003 - 03:17 PM
great help, I tried it out and found me an new way to copy those IDF M-113 exhaust pipe cover. Will juse it on my next M-113 insted of the Eduard sets. :-) :-)
FEB 28, 2003 - 05:47 AM