Lunar Models
Time Machine
modifications

by

Ed Turner

The Generator Housing

Contact Ed Turner

The Generator Housing
The generator housing I found to be an interesting piece of the Machine. It is, after all, supposed to be where the main time travel "guts" are mainly located. As mentioned several times before in previous articles, the Lunar kit is based on the refurbished original prop, owned by Bob Burns, and is altered to some degree from how the prop looked originally for the movie. Another case in point is the rear of the generator housing. The prop originally had some vents carved into the upper two rows of squares mounted in the back.
Pic. 1 Shows Chris Perrotta's drawing of the rear of the generator as it should be, where you're able to see the squares mounted on the back. Originally on the prop, the squares were narrower, and there was one more row of them than is on the Lunar kit. I decided to leave the number of squares on the kit the way they were, and just enhance their appearence. I also decided against carving the ventalation holes, which, on the original prop, were there for the spinning dish and all the rows of dowels on the dish to help vent any heat build-up from the motor and lights inside the housing.
Pic. 2 & 3 show the raw casting of the generator. Some obvious cleaning up of flashing and excess resin is needed. The placement of the six cones are wrong and somewhat misshapen as well, but these will be ground off entirely, and I will replace them with new ones carved from brass later on.
 
Pic. 4 The six cones and all the rivets are ground off and sanded. First I would grind the six cones away, then proceeded to drill small holes directly through the molded rivets and on through the housing. What's left of the rivets after drilling is simply filed or sanded away, leaving the housing smooth. The reason for drilling the holes while the rivets are still in place, is so you know exactly where to drill the holes.
Pic. 5 You can see where I've drilled a row of seven holes in the rear of the housing. As seen in the drawings, there is supposed to be a row of rivits along the back that Lunar didn't take into account.
Pic. 6 I've drilled all the way through the housing, from the top, down through the bottom. This is where the wiring for the rear light will run, and later, for the lamp-stand assembly to be mounted into. Wires from lights that will be mounted within the pods will also run through the hole, leading out of the bottom of the generator, and through a hole in the base, to the power source.
Pic. 7 Shows the front of the generator with holes drilled where the molded rivets were.
Pic. 8 Shows the housing after being painted and rivets in place. Once the housing was sanded smooth, and all holes were drilled, I sprayed a thin coat of primer. The primer helps to reveal any imperfections in the surface that may need either sanding or filling with body filler. Any further light coats of primer will continue to show anything that needs attending to. I went with a "Hunters Green" spray paint for the generator. I thought it was a nice deep rich green that is supposed to be the housing's color.
One thing I did differently with this finish was that I wanted to give the generator a suggestion of weight. Instead of leaving a shiney, smooth gloss finish, I sprayed the entire housing from a distance of about 3 to 4 feet ABOVE, allowing the spray to start to dry on it's way to settling onto the generator surface. This enabled the semi-dried particles of paint to settle and stick to the glossy surface, leaving it, when dried completely, with a slightly rough texture. I thought this method gave an impression that the generator housing had more mass. You can see the slight texturing in some of the shots where light is reflecting off of it. I picked up a box of straight pins from the super market, snipped the heads off just less than 1/4 of an inch down from the pin head with wire cutters, and placed the shortened pins into all the drilled holes along the surface of the housing. The pin heads remain on the surface. Tiny dabs of epoxy are added from the inside of the housing to set the pins in place.
Pic. 9 Shows the pins mounted in the rear. The heads of straight pins were a perfect size for the replacement of the molded rivets. They can also be buffed and polished to a nice shine. After finishing the generator housing, I found out that all the rivets on the Machine are supposed to be GOLD! For anyone following these procedures, GOLD straight pins can be found in some arts and craft stores. This little mistake will be corrected on my next Time Machine kit. It is already taken into account for the rivets on the control console of the model, as will be seen in future articles.
Pic. 10 Shows another angle of the generator from the side. With the light reflecting off of it, you can see a bit more of the texture on the surface.
Pic. 11 & 12 Instead of simply painting the squares on the rear of the generator gold, I decided to make them seem more finished. I took a strip of brass (found in most hobby stores, in almost any width you need), and with a miniature hobby miter box and saw, cut 15 squares from the strip. I chose a strip of brass that was just slightly wider than the molded squares on the rear of the housing, so they would slightly over-lap the molded squares. I sanded and smoothed all the edges of each brass square. Then I applied each square with epoxy to each of the squares on the rear. You can now get epoxy with varying setting times; I chose one with a setting time of about 3 to 4 minutes. This enabled me to play with the squares a bit in order to get them placed just right before the epoxy set up. I did a dry run first, to make sure they all looked equally placed.

Pic. 13 The finished generator housing! Once the epoxy for the brass plates was dry, I used a buffing attachment on the moto tool, and with some buffing compound, polished the brass plates to a shiny, lusterous finish! The end result is quite impressive, even with the rivets being silver instead of gold!

Next time: The Base!

 

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