Monday, 28 January 2013

In the Frame

My production line of seats is taking far longer than I anticipated.  I now have one complete, or nearly complete crew seat and am working on the other 6 but progress is slow.

So, to progress, and since the update on my last post, I've butchered the floor former for the cabin.  That's involved removing the sides and front with the lock tabs for the cabin floor.  I've also cut new pieces to fit and secure the lowered floor.  Next stage is the reconstructive surgery to fit the new parts.

I've also made the first seat frame which will I think be for the crew seat on the port side at the rear of the cabin.  The two forward posts fit through the seats and are 3.2mm tube.  The tops are 4.0mm alloy tube and the side braces are 2.4mm brass.  I've used the RNLI plans for the frame size rather than the instructions.  All that's left is to finish the shock absorber on the centre seat back.

Here's a pic of the (nearly) finished seat.

Friday, 11 January 2013

If You're Sitting Comfortably ...

So this post is about the wheelhouse seats.  Since buying the kit, I've always thought the vac form seats were a little one dimensional (in the metaphoric sense) or simplistic if you prefer.   The windows in the Tamar are also bigger than the Trent so I reckon the seats would be quite visible.  I looked at various model car websites in search of racing car seats as replacements but they were pricey and not particularly like the boat seats.  So on to plan B.

Looking at my reference photos, the seats have a headrest not on the kit parts, the support frame runs through the seat back and there are armrests.  Also, the seat belts are blue Sabelt ones which I wanted to add.

Hopefully the photos show what I did but here's an explanation;

First, I cut holes in the seat base for the supports which I decided would be better in 3.2mm tube (not 4mm as in the kit).  Next, I glued a small piece of 4.8mm (inside diameter 3.2mm) tube at the top of the seats for the support tubes to run through.  Then I used 1/8" (3.2mm) balsa strip in 1/2" and 1/4" widths for the seat cushions.  Plasticard was then glued to the back of the balsa on the headrest and arm rest supports - this has two functions: to fit flush to the vac form seat and; stop the balsa splintering when I drill the holes for the seat belts.  I used Bostik Serious Glue to bond the balsa to the vac form and the plasticard to the balsa.  This I had from another project - it's not that cheap and is horrible if you get it on your hands like I did; it won't come off until dry after about 30mins and sticks to anything you touch in the meantime, but it did the job really well.

Then I roughly shaped the balsa using abrasive paper and files.  Large aps were then filled with Squadron filler as my usual filler of choice Humbrol wouldn't bond to the balsa, though it did work in other places.

Next I sanded the cushions to shape and drilled the openingd for theseatbelt holes.

There are 2 more significant parts to add to the seats themselves before moving to the frames and bases.  First, the central support will be added from 4.8mm tube and faired into the seatback with filler.  I believe this is the shock absorber as there's a spring at the base which I'll be making later.

Secondly, I'll be making the armrests, hopefully with the integrated SIMS controls and throttle & steering controls at the appropriate stations.  Also, I'll be making the support frames.  As the full size seats are carbon fibre, I've yet to decide whether to just paint them black or whether to add carbon fibre decals.

This has become a lesson in the law of unintended consequences!  I had checked the modified seats would still fit using the plans.  However, I forgot that the plans aren't all to scale so it turns out there's not enough room!  So, what to do - it's major surgery time!  Not entirely sure how to do it but I'll need to lower the cabin floor and chop down part of the coaming on the deck moulding.  At least this will bring the wheelhouse floor to the same level as the deck which is the level shown on the RNLI plans.