Homemade Scale Accessories

“It’s all in the details.” We’ve all heard that saying before. As such, scale accessories and RC scalers go hand and hand (yes, sometimes to a fault). Many scale enthusiasts spend hours looking for gear for their rig. And, there are a lot of great accessories offered from companies such as Axial and Pro-Line. Besides finding and buying scale accessories, you get crafty amd can make your own. Best of all, making scale accessories is inexpensive and easy.

SLEEPING BAG
Camping is a common activity to do with a 4X4, so a sleeping bag is a realistic scale accessory. An easy way to make a convincing sleeping bag is to use craft felt. Simply cut the the felt into a 3- or 4-inch square (it doesn’t have to be perfect), fold it in half and roll it up. After you have it neatly rolled, trim it as needed and secure it with two small hair elastics. Best part–besides being very easy? Craft felt comes in a variety of colors and costs less than 50-cents a sheet. The hair elastics are easy to find in places such pharmacies and grocery stores and finding brown and black bands (or any other color) is no problem. Go for the bands that look like they’d have to stretch a bit to fit over your finger.

 

An alternative or additional version is to use thin craft foam to create a bedroll. A realistic bedroll can be made with a 3″ x 1″ strip rolled up and secured, again, with hair elastics. When finished, a rolled up bedroll should be about half the size of a rolled sleeping bag.

TOW STRAP
Every off-road vehicle should be equipped with a tow strap or snatch strap. Same goes for RC. As such, many RC scale enthusiasts make them out of shoe strings which, believe it or not, are plenty strong and work surprisingly like the real deal (they have just the right amount of stretch). To make your own you’ll need a wide flat style shoe string–a lace. Common strap colors in the full-size world are yellow (most common), red, orange and even white. A scale strap between 24″ and 36″ will be both useful and appropriate in length. Cut the ends off the shoelace and fold each end over to create loops. If you plan on subjecting your straps to some serious abuse, the loops can be sewed. The sewing doesn’t have to be pretty (it will get covered) and odds are that finding a needle and thread will be the hardest part of the process. My wife does all sorts of crafty things like knitting and it still took me a day and a half to find what I needed.

 

Knowing that everyone may not want to sew, I tested an alternative method using two-part epoxy. I’ve heard of some people using CA or traditional “Super Glue,” but this type of adhesive will wick into the fabric of the lace and make it rigid. CA is also brittle and will breakdown in this type of use. The two-part epoxy I tested proved to make an extremely strong bond.

Hooks are also an option. If hooks are desired, they can be found at hardware stores. Smaller is more scale, but larger hooks will work better.

The last step in making your own tow straps is to cover the joint of the loops with heat shrink tubing. While this is slightly less scale (though some full-size straps such as ARB’s do have this part covered), it does a great job of creating a neat final product and prevents the cut ends of the lace from fraying.

ROLL CAGE PADDING
Lots of full-size trucks–as well as RC scale crawlers–have  roll cages, and many of the full-size cages are outfitted with padding near the head area to protect passengers. Some full-size competition sanctioning bodies even require the padding. You can make perfectly realistic miniature bar pads with craft foam. Get the color of choice and cut it to size. That’s the easy part (the process is actually easy).

 

Secure the padding with electrical tape cut in thin strips. The easiest way to cut the electrical tape into thin strips (you’ll love this tip) is to place a section of tape on the backing from a sticker sheet. Remove the entire sticker sheet from its backing and place the tape on that because it won’t stick permanently. Cut your strips and remove. An alternative method is to use craft wire (available at the same place you found the craft foam).

 


OTHER SCALE IDEAS
If you don’t mind getting a little crafty, you’re really only limited by your imagination and creativity.
> Bungee Cords. Use hair elastics and paper clips for the hooks.
> Winch Hook Strap. Cut and glue a folded-over piece of red craft felt to your winch hook.
> Whip Antenna. Thin music wire makes a great whip antenna. Make sure you bend over the tip, so no one loses an eye.
> Spare Tire carrier. The A-arms from trucks like the Traxxas Revo can be used as swing tire carriers.

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Filed Under: FeaturedRock Crawlers and ScaleTech

Matt Higgins About the Author: Matt has over 25 years of experience in RC and has worked professionally in media for over a decade. Matt enjoys everything from racing to rock crawling to bashing, and he believes RC should be all about having fun. Matt is as at home covering a world championship in an exotic country as he is showing a new hobbyist how to set gear mesh. His desire to share the hobby with as many people as possible inspired him to create RC Truck Stop and RCTruckStop.com.

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  1. Matthew Lane says:

    Matt, This is a FANTASTIC article!!!!! I have made the bed rolls,tow straps and bungie cords!!! They are fun and add an unique realism to ANY rig!!! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. Thanks, the Left Coast R/C group!!!!!

  2. Duso says:

    I’m inspired. Thanks!

  3. pete's rc corner says:

    I used an old beer cooler foam (stubby holder)for roll bar padding, worked a treat :)

    • Matt Higgins Matt Higgins says:

      Great idea. Thanks for posting

      • Another great thing i figured out was if you have a scale cooler such as the one from the proline accessory pack that the lid comes off of, I took a couple silica gel packs (like the ones that come in electronics and other things) and i cut a couple of those open and poured them into the cooler, Looks just like ice! Just please make sure children and animal can’t get into it. Note: the beads like what’s in a hacky sack or a beany baby toy if they’re clear could also work and those most likely aren’t dangerous.

  4. John Tougas says:

    What a great article. The tips are awesome asnd easy to follow. I’ll be rocking some of those items on my rig !!

  5. Paul Fassio says:

    Great article and love this site. I am decking out my Dingo with these tips

  6. Bill Noon says:

    Want a neat crate?

    A small block of white pine sanded smooth, including the ends, can be marked with a hard pencil and looks bang on in the back of a truck.

    Use a stick from an ice from the chill cabinet as a marker/spacer…

    (sorry dont know what ‘ice lolly’ should be in the USA!)

  7. adam says:

    Thanks Matt i have made all of the things on this list and had list if fun doing so keep up the good work!

  8. Spencer says:

    Thanks Matt. I’m thinking about getting a scale crawler, this makes me want one that much more. Any requests on a rig? I would like to stay near a 350$ budget I mean after all I’m only 11.

    • Bandanaman13 says:

      spencer you might like axial rc they are a great scale rc company in fact for 379.99 us $ u can buy a grey rc 2012 jeep wrangler rubicon unlimited that is super cool or for $355 us u can buy the trail honcho ( flatbed toyota tacoma that has front and rear lights both go 12 mph so 12 times 10 since there 1/10 scale is 120 mph and the jeep has conured 15 miles of the rubicon trail so its trail proven there not water proof thouh but ya know

  9. pepe poggio says:

    Nice ideas guys i work in a hobby shop here in texas and i really aprecciate any more ideas for my summit thanks in advanced

  10. sammy zimmerman says:

    can someone link me to these hair elastics

  11. sammy zimmerman says:

    okay thx if you know about knots is there a way i can post a pic and ask you what kind of knot it is i want to use it for paracord.

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