Things break on RC cars and Micro RC cars are no different to their bigger brothers despite their lower speeds and lighter weight (meaning less energy to deal with when hitting something). In testing a layout of my modular, micro RC race track I managed to break one of the Lexan tie rods on my Losi Micro Desert Truck.
I toyed with the idea of making some replacements out of zip ties or steel from a feeler gauge. That was going to take some time that I really don’t have so the better option was to buy some. I picked up three sets of Delrin tie rods (neutral, toe-in and toe-out) from The Toyz for under US$8 plus shipping to Australia and they arrived here in about a week. This is how you install them:
It’s time to approach making some terrain for my micro RC track. I have been thinking about how I want to go about this and the types of terrain modelling techniques and media that could be used. The ideas I have are:
Paper Mache – When I was young I made my own play sets with terrain for my Micro Machines. I made paper mache using wallpaper paster to do this. There are other techniques for making paper mache glue as well such as flour and water. Paper mache will also paint quite well with water based paint but enamels will also work.
Plaster – Using Plaster of Paris terrain could be molded, cast or sculpted. It is fairly robust once it is finished and can be painted easily with cheap water based paints.
Epoxy Putty – Two-part, kneadable putty is common in hobby model making with brands such as Milliput and Tamiya readily available (I think I have some of both lying around the house unused). It is also available from the hardware store in various brands. It is paintable but I am assuming you need oil based paints.
Builders Putty – This type of putty, unlike the two-part epoxy, is an oil based air curing putty used in joinery and glazing to fill gaps. I am not sure just how well it will work but it is quite cheap so it is worth trying. I think this will also require oil based paints.
Packaging Foam – A cheap and easy foam to source is packaging foam or expanded poly styrene foam. I always seem have some lying around the house and it is easily sculpted but I will have to look in to techniques for strengthening and finishing it. It can also be used as filler for other modelling techniques.
Modelling Foam – The other foam option is modelling foam or ‘blue foam’ which is extruded polystyrene foam (and not always blue). The extruded foam is more durable than expanded foam and used by many types of model makers. It is also considerably more expensive.
Builders Polyurethane – Here is Australia this is most commonly known as ‘liquid nails’ and typically comes in a caulking gun pack from the hardware store. They also sell a sausage pack at the hardware store. Using this will be somewhat experimental and I am thinking of forming it into rough shapes and carving it to the final shape when cured.
Cast Polyurethane – This is a quite intensive technique as a mold would need to be made to cast from. I would only use this if I create a piece of terrain from another method that I want to replicate many times.
Wood – Some of my brainstorming included making jumps and a quarter pipe. Wood is a logical choice for some of these larger terrain features. Plywood techniques such as egg crating and countour building could be combined with other modelling techniques to make interesting terrain. Wood dowels on their side could also be used to make little logs to drive over.
Cardboard – Making terrain from cardboard will not be robust in the long term but for trying out concepts before making them with wood. Cardboard can also be used to make egg crate and countour models.
There are so many other potential methods too. Let me know if you have any ideas for making terrain in the comments section below.
Progress on my track has been slow the last couple of weeks and my Losi Micro Desert Truck has also been out of action due to a broken steering tie rod. So while you’re waiting for the next update on my track, here is one of the benchmark tracks I have looked to for some inspiration in developing my own indoor micro RC race track.
The track includes a 6 foot triple and is overall a lot bigger than anything I can fit in my living room. The car running is a Losi Micro DT like mine but it has some modification including running a Li-Po battery which will make it faster than my standard Micro DT.
Whilst I do not intend on doing any modifications that increase the speed of my vehicle the YouTube user who made the video, DonRCjunky, also indicated that he has upgraded the shock absorbers and gearbox which might be good modifications to consider.