U-Gears Heavy Boy Truck VM-03
It's completed and it's AWSOME!
This is only the second UGears model I've ever built. The first was the VM-03 Roadster, painted green and included in pictures at the very end of this article. You may have seen some of my previous posts on the progress of this build:
Quick update on the U-Gears VM-03 truck cabin
This is a UGears wooden model kit and can be purchased HERE for $76.90. It's made completely of plywood and goes together without any glue, only toothpicks, and pegs fitted into slots and holes. Also, it's rubber band powered!! Check out the below YouTube video for all of the functions and to see it in action!
With this build, my boy wanted it to look like Optimus Prime so I did my best to make his wish come true. I also added a bonus feature of in-cabin lighting!
Here's the front end with the lights on inside the cabin!
Without the cabin lights on.
Front 3/4 View. I just used silver metallic paint for all of the external surfaces that should be chromed.
Driver Side complete with access door to the sleeping area
I purposely left the gaps of the wood visible on the exterior so that you would still know it was wood. I only used putty if there was a chip in the wood not to make this model look like something it wasn't.
Rear 3/4 View
Everything is open for all to see!
Here's the fake engine that you can watch move if you put the truck in neutral first.
The aero cover lifts up to reveal the winding wheel and the battery box for the interior lights.
Interior complete with Autobots badge
It's kind of difficult to see inside after all the body sides are assembled.
As you can see, I fully detailed this model inside and out. For areas that move, I used Sharpie markers. But let me warn you, only black and metallic Sharpies adequately cover the burned edges of the wood. I used wood stain for the floor of the cabin and the interior walls. Portions of the model that can be thickened like the entire outside, I used flat acrylic paint and then several coats of gloss on top.
I did spend a considerable amount of time detailing the interior only to realize once the model is assembled it's VERY difficult to see inside. I'm very glad I took lots of pics during assembly. That means that you probably don't have to be as meticulous as me since it won't be visible. I did add a fabric and pillow and bedding to the bed and, as already mentioned above, lights in the interior to help you see in there a little bit better.
The detailed dash is obscured behind the steering wheel so here it is during the build.
Installing the lights in the living area
Here's a good picture to show you the layout of the cabin. All the gear changing takes place between the floor of the cockpit and above the lower chassis (shown in black).
The engine room (rubber bands) are located in an area of the cab that is fully sealed off once the model is fully assembled.
This model was really a genius in engineering and packaging. All of the gearing to change direction is in-between the chassis and the cabin floor. The rubber band engine is hidden away inside the the passenger side back corner and is not visible after assembly, see the pic above that was taken during assembly.
The driveshaft to the left is to the fake engine. The long drive shaft to the right if to the rear wheels.
The only visible portion of the drivetrain is shown in the picture above, all the other gears that change direction are on the other side of the chassis.
Tips if you buy this kit or any other from UGears:
-Liberally wax ALL parts that interact with each other, not just where the instructions show
-ALL parts that rub against each other should be almost polished before applying the wax with a fine sandpaper
-Make sure you test out moving gears and levers as you install them to ensure as much friction as possible is eliminated and nothing is hanging up. For this model in particular, there was really no good way to disassemble the drivetrain after you test it out since the wheels really need to be installed to do a real test. This is because, the wheels go on near the end of this build and you don't want to be shocked when you go to wind it up and it doesn't move! All of the complex gear shifting is completed much earlier in the build.
-Pay close attention to the orientation and order of assembly so that you don't need to disassemble anything
-Don't be afraid to sand things so that it's not as difficult to press them together, it's better to use a little glue if needed than break a part
-The trailer hitch mechanism should be retracted while working on the model. This was the only part I broke while working on the next step, since this is a LARGE lever arm and sticks waaaay out!
-The wheel locking nuts are the most difficult part to assemble and you should use some wax, sand a bit if they are super tight and lastly, don't forget to support the axle when installing
-As you can see, these models CAN be painted but be careful to only paint areas that won't be moving as this adds thickness to the part
Comments on the Instructions:
Compared to the Roadster model, the truck had surprisingly, LOTS of things left out of the instructions and some blatant errors too. Maybe this one was made a lot earlier, I'm not too sure. Also, I was quite shocked that at the end of the of the booklet, where they show the functions, there was no mention of the hood opening with latch, how the trailer hitch worked, or how that there was a high and low speed, never mind how to change between the two! I guess you're just supposed to know or figure it out?
Here are the truck and roadster together for size comparison
For one of my upcoming UGears builds, I am going to try and finish it to a higher standard by filling in all the gaps between the pieces of wood on the body, wish me luck😉