Improve your model display for just pennies
Large models in your collection with removable bodywork can stand out from the rest with a pair of 1/18th scale body stands. They can be made from square plastic rod and glued together. Perch the bodywork on the stands and now they become part of the model exhibit and not some part that’s cast off to the side as somewhat unimportant.
Bodywork is the skin that clothes the mechanical mayhem that’s under the skin of every car and truck. Bodywork is also the way we identify a vehicle and often times receive an advertising message. So to shove that skin with a message off to the side denigrates the importance of that skin.
Body stands are the solution.
Problem: There are none available commercially
Tameo makes a nice set of photoetched body stands in 1/43 scale. You are out of luck if you want to purchase some in 1/18th. Follow along here and you can make your own quickly and simply.
You’ll need some 1/8″ square plastic rod. I used white rod from Evergreen. I also cut 1/4″ wide plastic strips from .030 Plastruct styrene sheet for the bottom brace. You can also use K&S brass tubing, rod and/or sheet if you feel like soldering the assembly together.
I used plastic rod and sheet because I already have it. That’s always a very good reason….
Let’s get started
The lower leg braces differ in width so the bottom width of the “A” is the same for both size of 1/18th scale body stands. You should make the height and width of your stands as needed for the bodywork they will hold up.
To make the taller and wider (orange) example in the shot at the top, cut these pieces:
(4) legs from 1/8″ square rod 1 9/16″ long
(2) lower leg braces from 1/8″ square rod 9/16″ long
(1) top horizontal brace from 1/8″ square rod 2 1/2″ long
(1) lower horizontal brace from .030 flat sheet 1/4″ wide x 2 1/2″ long
To make the shorter, narrower (yellow) example in the shot at top, cut these pieces:
(4) legs from 1/8″ square rod 1 1/8″ long
(2) lower leg braces from 1/8″ square rod 1/2″ long
(1) top horizontal brace from 1/8″ square rod 2 3/8″ long
(1) lower horizontal brace from .030 flat sheet 1/4″ wide x 2 3/8″ long
Time to assemble
I used 5 minute epoxy to assemble the stands. Use the adhesive of your choice or solder in the case of brass rod/tubing.
If you have a cutting board with measured increments printed on it assembly will be somewhat easier. The grids will help you align the pieces correctly. This kind of cutting board is also useful for “aligning” all four corners of a formula car when gluing up the wheels and tires to the hubs.
Assemble the “A” legs first by lining up the pieces as shown. I marked the centerline of the leg braces 1/4″ up from the bottom of the legs. You’ll need to chamfer the edges to match the angle of the legs. Just eyeball the angle and slice straight down on the rod with a sharp X-Acto blade. Get the angle as precise as you can but any gaps can be filled in with epoxy later on before you paint the stands. I added the epoxy on the underside of each joint for a better final appearance but in the end these stands will be under bodywork, so anal retentive fitting is nice but unnecessary.
After assembling the legs, add the lower horizontal brace. I used two flat-sided thinner bottles to hold the legs perfectly upright and in alignment with the brace. The grid on the cutting board also helped with the overall alignment of the assembled pieces.
After the glue dries, add the top horizontal brace. You can lay it flat as shown or turn it to nestle in the “V” at the top of the legs. Either way looks good.
When those pieces were assembled, I added some extra epoxy to the bottom of all joints for extra strength in case of heavy metal bodywork.
Make them pretty!
I primered and painted the stands using Tamiya spray paint. You can use the color of your choice of course. Black is always good but Ferrari stands would look better in Ferrari red. As mine were holding up some Benetton-sponsored Toleman bodywork, I used colors as seen in the paint swashes.
Construction of these 1/8th scale body stands was fairly simple and inexpensive to make. They are an enhancement to any model display and worthy additions to your model collection.
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