Have you ever asked yourself how is the process of 1/18 scale development and production? If yes, you are at the right place.
Please have a look at the example we took from our Award winning 1/18 Bond Bug from Reliant Company.
Knowing that we would focus on cars which have not yet been reproduced at scales and given that we have a taste for unusual cars, it was obvious for us to choose the strange but beautiful Bond Bug.
This 3-wheeled British Micro car, two seats with canopy entry was built from 1970 to 1974. Made of polyester, this light weight vehicle had a typical 70’s design.
Except some advertisement cars, all Bond Bug were offered in Tangerine Orange as it was the only color offered by the manufacturer. All of them came with right hand drive wheel, then it was planned for the inland market exclusively.
The iconic Bond Bug was produced at 2268 units in total.
Below you can see some images coming from our 3D engineering program before approval. This software combine many different processes and technologies to allow us to reduce a real scale 3D imagery to any scale we would like to reproduce. In our example we will show you a 1/18 scale model car.
When we speak about approval, it means that we are working closely with each car manufacturer or its licensing agency to ensure we reproduce an accurate scale model and avoid making mistakes. As a scale model producer and passionate about cars in general, we try to add as many details as possible to our model cars. However it may happen that some very tiny detail cannot be reduced to scale.
This operation takes around two months until we have a final and approved result. As you can see there are between 80 to 120 (or more) different parts in a high end resin 1/18 scale model. Let’s have a look at the Bond Bug development.
Prototype and mold making
After approval of all shapes and details on 3D, we can now proceed to develop the molds and tooling for the 1/18 scale Bond Bug model. Developing tooling can also take up to two months, then it includes a long process of checking every single piece needs to fit perfectly into its socket or body part.
The prototype you can see below is the very first physical render of all pieces developed on the 3D imagery of the previous development stage. We have a very skilled engineer to assemble this prototype, then in case one or some part do not fit, the 3D needs to be amended.
Once the prototype and all the parts are perfectly matching either the 3D imagery but also the real car, we can proceed to make the tooling.
Resin tooling are made of silicone material, which is quite soft and allows to reproduce very tiny and accurate shapes, such as doors’ shuttlines. This is what you can see below.
Out of these molds will come a grey master. It also serve to make sure all shapes and proportions are complying with the approved 3D at the previous development step. Also all pieces are carefully checked and it takes around fifteen days to get a perfect master. This step is of high importance, then once approved, we give the go to develop the molds which can hardly be changed or at least not without additional costs.
First decorated sample
Once we are happy with the shapes and separated parts and their finishing and assembly, we prepare the decorated sample (called deco sample in the industry). It is made by only one highly skilled engineer who is able to assemble and disassemble all parts in case of mistakes without us to notice it. He will then individually check and assemble one complete sample for our approval. From day one to the finished sample it takes almost two months.
However the first step is to paint all parts by the paint master. In order to get the best paint job and scale model to offer to collectors we apply three layers of paint. One is light grey and is the first layer, then the color we choose for the model on the second layer. At the end of the process and after drying the parts during several hours or days, we finish with a varnish layer which protects the color from scratches.
Only after all parts are perfect and dry we can proceed with the assembly of one deco sample.
Production start and assembly line
Once this deco sample is approved we decide to launch its production, which takes another two months in average.
Check below pictures on the assembly line.
Delivery and unboxing
When you open your parcel at home, this is what you will experience.
Thanks a lot for reading and in order to laugh we found a nice video of Jeremy Clarkson and his team trying to sail inside a modified Bond Bug. Check this video