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Modern Russian Antennae
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Wisconsin, United States
Joined: April 18, 2005
KitMaker: 259 posts
Armorama: 198 posts
Posted: Friday, May 05, 2017 - 08:39 PM UTC
This is admittedly not really specific to armored cars, but since the worst "example" I've encountered so far is the Panda kit of the Bumerang, I figured this might be the best place to ask.

Has anybody come up with a good and, more importantly, affordable way of reproducing modern Russian vehicle antennae? Most specifically the fairly long ones that appear t have either insulators or some other sheaths at various points along their lengths. I'm aware of the "ready-made" variety from Magic Models, who appear to offer three different types (two variations on the long antenna and the less common "stumpy" thicker antenna).

I've bought those for a couple of kits that needed just one or two, paying $17 or so per antenna for a vehicle that sports a small forest of them (like the Bumerang or Meng's recent BMR-3M) is just financially prohibitive - it was the latter that really prompted this, when I realized the aftermarket antennae would cost more than the kit, and looking at images of the Bumerang, it's even worse. I guess the main question is reproducing the thicker sections - for thin, constant diameter whip antennae I've long used Nitinol wire (which can be bought easily online). It's thin enough to be to scale and it has the useful property that it will bend rather than break and absolutely will not crimp under any circumstances. However, the stuff gets expensive at anything other than very narrow gauges, and producing the thicker sections would be a problem.

The two things that I've thought of trying are getting hold of hypodermic tubing with an interior diameter comparable to the antenna thickness (and relying on thin CA to fox the "sheath" in place) and relying on masking and painting. That is, paint the sections that are to be thicker with something that can actually dry to have a noticeable thickness (several coats of a n acrylic perhaps) then giving the entire antenna a coat of the final color.

Problems I foresee are that using hypodermic will reduce/remove the antenna's invulnerability (one of the two problems with kit supplied plastic antenna - they're too thick and they break very easily), at least in the areas with the sheath, or that the paint approach will result in antennae that, if they get accidentally bent, have big chunks fall off of them.

I'd ordinarily have experimented with this myself a bit, rather than asking if anybody else has tried, but my modeling bench is out of order right now. However, the pricing of the aftermarket parts - the BMR-3M would cost over $60 to equip with antennae, 50% more than the cost of the kit, while the Bumerang looks as though it'll cost something like twice the price of the kit to equip with all the antennae.

Any thoughts, anybody?
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Illinois, United States
Joined: March 24, 2006
KitMaker: 1,681 posts
Armorama: 1,272 posts
Posted: Saturday, May 06, 2017 - 11:45 PM UTC

Although your question is fine here, I definitely recommend you post it in the regular Armor forum as well. That way you can reach more viewers.