How to Make Realistic Shock Absorbers

Materials and Tools Needed:



To make realistic shocks for your next project, you will need the following: some sheet styrene, a round file (or other suitable diameter rod, like a brush handle or bamboo skewer), model knife, pin vise, tweezers, cutters, some CA glue, different diameter aluminum tubing (that fits almost flush into each other), and finally some thin steel wire or appropriate color (or you can paint it, but that adds one more step to the process).



Depending on the shock absorber, see what part of the plastic part you would like to keep. In this case all I needed was that little thing at the bottom.



Glue smaller diameter aluminum tubing into a bigger tube. This will be a body of the new shock absorber.



Cut the tubes so they are the same length as the plastic kit part.



Use round file, or other suitable diameter rod (I used brush handle in this case) and wind some of that thin wire on it. Try to maintain even gaps between each coil.



When you done, you should have a spring that looks similar to the one on the picture.



Now, from the sheet styrene, cut 4 small circles of slightly larger diameter than brush handle that you used to make the spring. Drill a hole in the middle of each circle. Note that two circles must fit lower part of the shock, and two upper part, so the diameter of the holes will be different.



Finally, glue one of the circles to the lower part of the shock, slide the spring over it, and slide second plastic circle over the spring. Secure the second circle with some CA glue, and smooth the edges with a sanding stick. Now attach that small part from the plastic shock and you are done. Paint according to kit instructions. Repeat for other shocks.



Exactly same enhancement could be done to almost any shock absorber. It is even easier to perform this operation with newer style shocks, since they already have those small circles molded in, and you can eliminate this step. Just cut the plastic spring, substitute the shock with the aluminum tubes, plastic spring with wire, and assemble the shock.



Paint the shocks according to instructions before assembly. Here you see a set of very realistic-looking shock absorbers for Tamiya Ferrari 360 Modena kit.



Properly painted, this shock absorber looks far superior to the kit part, and dramatically enhances your model. Give it a try!

Happy modeling!



Copyright 2003 Alex Kustov. No copying or reproduction in any shape or form without written permission of the author.