Time For A Great Pumpkin!

Sorry Charlie Brown and Lucy, its not what you think! When I looked at the rear axle included in the AMT 1965 Galaxy 500 kit, it seemed a bit whimpy to me for this project, so I’m going to scratch build a whole new one…a heavy duty axle with a Great Pumpkin!

Starting with two different diameters of styrene tubing I cut the smaller to a length approximate to the width of the axle…but slightly longer for trimming later. Using a larger diameter piece cut to a length suitable in depth for the center of the axle housing (I used precision calculations to get this just right…TLAR or That Looks About Right).  I then drilled a hole through both sides of the larger tube section with progressively larger diameter drill bits, finishing off using a tapering bur to size the hole for a snug fit to the smaller diameter tube being used for the axle shaft housing. I cemented the two together using solvent, giving the two  a twist to create a bit of a welded seam look in the oozing plastic where the two piece join.

Now comes the challenge of giving the center section or pumpkin some shape. Here is where having a sizable spare parts stash comes in handy. I wanted a domed rear differential cover, so instead of laminating gradually smaller discs of styrene stacked upon each other then sanded to shape I just picked through the spares to find something suitable.

Three possible choices came about…A domed shaped cover from something or other; a domed window from an aircraft navigators station; or one could slice off the front of a bomb (shown), fuel tank, torpedo or cylinder. I’m going to use the tan dome piece for the rear cover and I’ll cut off and shape the front of the bomb to make the front center section of the differential. Its slightly smaller and will be ideal to mount off center with yet another piece of tubing to replicate the pinion shaft housing.

To reenforce the axle and/or create a similar looking housing like the one in the kit, you’ll need to add some styrene card (sheet) stock. Use a contour gauge to transfer the shape of the assembly to the card stock. (Note I am using a piece of scrap that came with an old cellphone.)

You can also do this with the kit axle to give it a beefier look too.

Transfer the marks to the card stock and file away what is not needed so you have a piece that you can cement to the axle. I’m just giving this top side of the axle a reenforcing gusset, the bottom half will have a little different shape to it. I’ve left the piece larger than needed to serve as a handle to hold the part while I continue on with the fabrication. Later I will cut and shape it to the desired finished dimensions/look.

Select a card stock in a thickness that best meets your needs or laminate several thin pieces to get the desired thickness. All of the pieces I am using for this project are scrap and odds and ends pieces.

To make the mounting brackets for the suspension, I take a piece of card stock and 1) drew a line on it using a Sharpie. 2) Using the same procedure I used to drill the hole through the larger tube for the axle shaft housing. 3) Made sure the open was snug but still allowed the tubing to pass easily through the hole. 4) I scored the line (cutting through the small end) snapped the card stock in half.

I’ll have to make several of these to fabricate mounts for the four link suspension, shocks and spring mounts.

So for now I’ll let you have a bit of time to catch up with me as you fabricate your own custom axle housing and Great Pumpkin! LOL

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