Another air car build weekend has just gone by. This one was considerably warmer and sunnier than our other meet ups – it was a nice change to be working in daylight without danger of losing extremities to frost bite!
We continued the seemingly endless job of stripping paint from the interior of the lower half. Most of the paint and remains of the foam is gone now, and we think we can work around what’s left. Doing this in the warm was quite confusing, as our experience thus far has been that the longer you leave the paint stripper on, the better it works – ideally 8 hours or more. So when, just a couple of hours after the first coat was applied, we noticed it drying out and cracking, we had a small panic trying to remove the dried paint stripper! Application of water seemed to help loosen it up, and we decided a second coat – this time leaving the air car in the shade, rather than full sunshine! – would be the best way to deal with the rest. Remarkably that almost dried on us, too, despite not leaving it very long at all, so we went in with more water, kitchen scourers and fairy liquid, which seemed to be doing the job. It looks like the application of further elbow grease and kitchen scourers will bring it up quite nice. Then we can paint it all over again…
In between layers of gunk we worked a little on the interior structure, adding the basics of a dash board to the central column we constructed last time. Whoever decided to make this thing spherical has a lot to answer for, quite frankly – round things are not easy to cut at the best of times, especially when we don’t have a jigsaw, and are working with a circular saw (which, despite their name, don’t like cutting circles at all….). Still, we’re quite pleased at how it’s coming along, and have a plan for the raised section of dash board – we couldn’t move on to building that, though, as we could only work on the interior when the lower half of the air car was free from gunk. Turns out the two halves aren’t quite the same size (thanks, BBC!) so we can’t build inside the top half while cleaning the bottom half, then transfer it over, as per our original plan, as it won’t fit!
To occupy ourselves the rest of the time we went on a scrapheap challenge, scavenging bits of pipe, an old tire, and even a defunked Christmas tree stand, with which to make a docking station / leg thing. After some consideration we made a ply base which sits snugly inside the top of the tyre, attached the Christmas tree stand to the ply base with some wooden bracing, then attached the pipe to the christmas tree stand with expanding foam. Once we’ve added some cut foam for shape & detail, then sprayed and painted it, we think it’s a pretty good approximation for what you see in the series.
Overall we were quite pleased with ourselves, given that on this occasion there were only 3 of us and we only had 1 day, so we celebrated as it got dark with a very pleasant bonfire, where Dave got to indulge his pyromaniac tendencies….
We only have a couple more weekends to go working on the air car before the con, so we need to get our skates on if it’s going to be ready in time!