Saturday, 24 September 2011

THE CAR #7: Dashboard

Ok, so the steering wheel has been built and now it needs somewhere to sit inside the car... and beyond that a wheel section, car body and 4 wheels, but I won't get ahead of myself.  First of all it needs a new home, in the dashboard:

The main dashboard piece and an air vent switch.
Showing the top details.

So these pieces arrived first, with issue 24, and as you can see there's actually nothing to build at this point.  But again I was surprised at the size of this and can't wait for all these separate sections to come together over the whole car.  With the next issue the dashboard was set aside and another part was the first bit to be put together:

Left air vent unit, left air vent cover, left air vent switch and the big dashboard mount.

That big bit above is to mount that little tiny air vet inside the car as it can't be connected directly to the dashboard if it's to be accurate.  Maybe it connected to some other thing inside the car that it'd be impossible to replicate inside a model, but this also gives a solid backing to the dashboard, which you'll see down this post, and involves some electronics.  First though, to build the air vent:

Putting the first air vent together.

First thing is simply to place the air vent switch inside the vent itself.  This doesn't attach in any way so it's free to slide up and down, but the backing (to the right of the picture above) clips on to secure it in place so wherever you slide it to it'll stay in place and not fall back to the bottom.

Completed air vent #1.  Dinky.

Now this just needs screwed and mounted... Hmm, I really should plan what I'm going to write in advance... I'll try that again...

Now this just needs screwed into the dashboard mount to get it ready for the main dash, and as you can see below there's wires coming out of the back of this.  The two circular pieces on the front, I'm guessing, are the lights for dials behind the steering wheel, which will be switched on by a button on the front of the dash which you'll also see further down.  But here's how the vent and mount look so far:

The vent fastened into place, and the first of many, many wires you'll be seeing over the dashboard construction.
Front of the air vent, with moveable "switch" and what could be two very small lights (those two circular pieces on the main mount.

With the next issue we got the bits for the air vent switch that came with the main dashboard up at the top, along with the below:

The bits'n'bobs for the other air vent, those small bits at the front-left are a light switch and lighter, then we've got the control front plate and three small dials.

Not going to bother taking more photos of this air vent as that'd just bore you a little too much and let's face it I'm worried this blog is doing enough of that as it is!  So here's the simple little bits of construction from this issue below, starting off with something that'll please my friends Emma and Clare, making sure the car has a lighter, haha:

In she goes.

As you can see it's made in such a way that it'll only go in one way, which means it doesn't need a screw (or glue!) to hold it in place.

Ready for Bond's expensive cigarettes.

The clock was already part of the dash, and that's the lighter in place, so now on to the main part of any dashboard, the dials and switches for the driver:

The rear of the control front plate (it'll make more sense soon).

The three small dials on the right are simply placed in the front of the plate and clip in nice and tight, and look really cool already.  The light switch, the bigger one on the left in the picture above, slides in the back as it needs to click back and forth when this is fastened into the dashboard and it'll turn on the lights in the readouts!  It's sad I'm excited about that.  But I am, so tough:

Completed front plate.

Right, on to the next issue and we've got more for the dials section.  In fact, we've got the readouts themselves.  Here's the next bundle of goodies:

At the back is the see-thru clear control plate, and from left to right we've also got the ignition switch unit, glove compartment lid, bonnet release handle and two ignition keys.

First up, a closer look at all those little dials, and can you spot something?

Might not look like much more than a bit of plastic with stickers now, but wait until it's placed in the dash!

Yeah, it looks like the creators of this model, as superb as it is and as talented as they are, forgot in the 60's the metric system hadn't taken over the UK yet.  If you look real, real close you'll see the speedometer is actual is kilometres per hour instead of miles.  Oopsie.  Haha, oh well, never mind eh?

I'll admit I was a mite disappointed the glove compartment only comprises of a fake lid, like those top drawers under your kitchen sink, but once in place it looks cool and would probably be too awkward to open and close anyway... and what would be the point?

Told ya it still looked great!  We'll just pretend it's permanently locked.

Very simple matter of slotting the lid into place and screwing it together in the back.  Even though it doesn't open, and it's a very basic part of the real DB5, it's just like all the other small bits of detail in that it adds a great deal to the finished product.  They could easily have just made it already moulded to the dash after all, but it looks much better this way.

Okay, so on to the ignition, and yes this is actually electronic too:

The ignition switch.

I'm assuming here, as I still refuse to go back to #1 and read of all the gadgets and electronics still to come, that when the ignition key is inserted the engine with start in the model - well the noise of it anyway.  The ignition switch doesn't rotate - so neither does the key - but we'll find out eventually.  So for now the switch simply slots tightly into the dashboard from the rear like this, with the slot for the key being the only part visible from the inside of the car:

Ignition switch in place, hidden in the depths of the car.
How it looks from the front.  That's it wires too.

For safe keeping one of the keys is inserted now, which you'll see in the completed dash below. Next up the control plate and its cover get snapped together as so:

They simply slot together.
Lovin' it!

No longer just a piece of plastic with stickers on it, this looks absolutely lovely!  Such a simple concept and yet it works so brilliantly well!  Can't wait to see it lit up inside the car... as long as I don't muck it up between now and then of course.  Remember, out of those 4 dials that I added, the one on the bottom right of the picture above is the light switch for this.  From the back you can see the clear plastic control plate actually has a square hole in it for the hidden, flat part of the button to sit in:

Hidden hole for the button to move freely in.

This corresponds to the actual electronic switch on the dashboard itself, which you can see below:

The actual light switch.

By placing the control plate in its correct position, the dial I've built now acts as the actual switch to turn the lights of the dials on and off.  Below is the control plate in place, and below that the rear of the dashboard where you can see the wires for the above switch:

Note the key is in place now too hehe.
Hidden electronics for the lights.

We're almost there in what must seem like a lifetime since you started reading this post!  I've got a feeling future posts could be even longer so you may get used to it now!

Back to the air vent mount and the bonnet release handle is slotted into place thus:

Completed air vent mount ready to attach.

Leaving that aside for just one second, it's time to attach the steering wheel to the dashboard and, even more excitedly (not really) the first photos from the new house:

Steering wheel section now firmly in place.

If you look at the post about the construction of the steering wheel shaft you'll recognise the piece with the two screws in it above.  The bottom of the steering column slides into the tight square gap at the bottom of the dash and is fastened into place at the back with two screws.  Those screws were like a bad dream.  There'd been nothing in the magazine so far about fastening the wheel yet I knew this was when it should happen as subsequent issues have now moved on.  I went searching through their (rather brilliantly done) online instructions and realised I needed two "B" screws.  This resulted in me looking in my screw box and having none!  What had happened was I'd placed them mistakenly in with another very similar bunch of screws, but according to the online screw identification sheet there was only a 1mm difference between them!  So that was fun - trying to find those two amongst a bunch of others where the human eye could hardly tell them apart!

But they were found and the steering wheel placed into the dash. Then it was time to slot in the air vent mount behind this like so:

Getting rather busy with wires back there!

Now if the above paragraph did indeed sound like a bad dream, this part was a nightmare!  The mount clips into place but also needs one teeny, tiny little screw to keep it there... and guess where the screw hole is?...

A worse nightmare than sitting through Die Another Day.

You'll probably have to enlarge the picture (and make sure your brightness is up) to see the wee hole roughly from where that brown lead is coming from.  Yes the screws magnetise to the screwdrivers but for about a dozen attempts it fell off as I tried to negotiate it down through that tight gap and to the hole, which of course I couldn't see once I was trying to actually do this.  It may only have been a few centimetres but it was doing my head in by the time I finally made contact and could get it screwed in securely!

So there we have it folks, one completed dashboard for the Aston Martin DB5:

What a month!  I really enjoyed all of that and I think it really looks the part, don't you agree?  Now I just have to make sure it's kept nice and safe where the wires won't tangle and the small electronic connectors at their ends don't get trod on or squashed.  Wouldn't be like me.

Next update should appear by week's end, the next lot of building was great fun too, a nifty Bond gadget and then the next month's finished with a huge piece of the car built and a bit of complex "special effects" work.  I'll keep you guessing for now, and hope you'll join me back here soon.  I should be caught right up with the actual deliveries by the end of next week or so.


BadCrumble said...

Looks cool, just be careful with those wires - you don't want the interior light switch activating the ejector seat!

Didn`t figure out the metric thing - I guess you'd have to be a special kind of picky to be upset about it lol.

I`m actually occasionally partial to 'Die Another Day', "Read this, bitch!".

Nice to see part of the new digs, I guess showing too much more would be off-topic!

Fine cuticles too!

Radio Times? Is this mandated reading for work or is the Christmas issue out already?

Steven Flanagan said...

The number of wires is very impressive. I love the fact that you have chosen not to investigate the function of these wires and are leaving them to be a surprise!
Reminds me of my Technic Lego days. Building something mechanical or electrical is the business.

Phil Boyce said...

Col, there's ones on the Facebook page for the magazine that really are that kind of picky, it's unbelievable! I couldn't give a damn to be honest.

Oh no, not Die Another Day! No man no! It starts off so well (if you ignore Madonna's song) but once he gets an invisible car... oh dear... Dalton would never resort to that lol ;)

And yeah, Radio Times comes with the territory these days haha!

Steven, how's it going? I >>think<< I know the function of the wires I currently have, but I don't want to go back and read what all is yet to come in the electronics/gadgets of the car... I just wish they'd hurry up and send the right pieces so I could test the bits I have all work!

Steven Flanagan said...

I'm good thanks Phil.
After you construct more of the driver's panel and windscreen, you could do the following some fun photographs:

1. Play James Bond DVD and pause it when it is showing the exteria forward view of the Asten Martin driving.

2. Place your partially constructed drivers panel and windscreen on a table in front of the TV.

3. Place a camera on a tri-pod behind the table, positioned to fill the frame with the interior of your model car, with the TV image filling the view through the car windscreen!

I reckon you can get some cool photographs with this technique, and could even take a video sequence with the DVD playing.

Is that a crazy idea or what?!

Enjoy your construction,