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Old 02-12-2012, 01:59 PM   #1
ScratchBuilt
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1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

Hello everyone,

For my next project, I'm moving forward to 1978 and the 935/78 'Moby Dick'. Again, this will be 1/8 scale and scratch-built from styrene, fibreglass, and - no doubt - all sorts of other bits and pieces. Why this car? Well, for a start it looks great:



...and although it's based on a conventional 911 chassis (heavily modified, of course), it's more tube-frame than monocoque. Porsche really went to town with the rule-book on this one, using every regulation they could to their advantage - the end result was some 750bhp from a new version of the 911's turbo engine, and over 220mph at Le Mans. Moby Dick's official works competition history amounts to only four races, but it certainly left a mark.

My primary reference for this project is the fantastic range of photos on the Freisinger Motorsport website, covering the rebuild of the second 935/78 chassis. There's a line drawing showing the external views, and the Tamiya 1/24 kit, of course, but other than this it's a question of pulling together various articles in books and magazines.

As there are quite a few unknowns about this car, my plan was to start by drawing-up a set of 1/8 scale outlines for the bodywork as a master reference. Onto this I would add chassis details by overlaying sheets of draughting film - I know it would be easier to do this using CAD, but I'm a pencil and paper kind of guy!

To get a better understanding of the chassis layout, and how it would interact with what was left of the original 911's body structure, the next step would be to make a mk1 version of the tube frame. I could use this to design the moulds for the fibreglass panels, and also to work out how to improve the structure's strength. The mk2 chassis would incorporate all these developments and be used for the final build.

Sounds simple enough, but I still expect this to be another long one...

So, I started working on the drawings back in November, and continued through Christmas and into January:







I know - that's a regular 935, not the 78 car! It's the only drawing of it's type I could find, but once it's magnified to a useful size most of the detail is lost. Still, it has given me an idea of the relative positions of the engine, gearbox, etc, and will act as a starting point for some of the other components.

Earlier this month I was ready to start cutting tube; normally I would start by laying out the centre cockpit section, but this was one of the big unknowns - so this time I began with the rear bulkhead:







I'm using an old cupboard door as a baseplate, and the Lego is getting another outing to make the jigs. It's useful stuff for doing this sort of thing, and although it's taking time now to set things up for the mk1 frame, it should make life easier when it comes to the mk2.

Most of the tubes here are 4mm, but there's a few sections of 4.8mm around and the black roll-hoop is 6mm fire-extinguisher piping. When I've got the bodyshell sorted out, this might be re-made in ali or brass for the mk2, but for now the flxible piping is perfect. I've pinned as many of the joints as I can for strength, but the mk2 frame will benefit from a re-design of some of the tube intersections.

I haven't included every single tube - for the mk1 frame it's unnecessary. Suspension pick-ups, etc, won't be required until the mk2, and some of the joints are not as tidy as they could be! On the mk2 I'll be adding greenstuff weld details again, as on the 908.

With the rear well underway, I made a start on the front end:









Lack of a proper frame drawing makes some of this an exercise in educated guesswork, but the important thing is to create a chassis which works. With this project I'm not too concerned right now about how I'm making the engine, gearbox, suspension, etc - these will all be similar-but-different to what I've done on other cars. If I can make a frame and fit the core body structure around it, we'll be in business! There's still plenty of questions to be answered - for example, the front wishbone pick-ups are a bit vague, and it looks like they ran the water and oil through the tubes, so that complicates matters too.

Here's the front and rear ends together:



...and with the windscreen support frame in place:



The windscreen frame is probably a little too wide right now, so I'll have to take maybe 1/4" or so out. The lower mounting points are a little 'fluid' right now, so the exact size might not be clear until I've made some of the bodywork...

I wanted to get a feel for how the body would fit around the frame, so I set-to with the cereal packets and tape to create a few sample panels:





Starting to look like a 911 already! It's going to be a challenge working out how to actually mould all these parts, but I think the results will be worthwhile. The hardest part will probably be the roof and pillars...good job I've still got plenty of my blue insulating foam available! I suspect I won't be able to include all the detail I want into a fibreglass part, but I can always add styrene detailing where necessary. We'll see...

Finally, with the front and rear sections taking shape, it was now a good time to add the sides to connect the two ends. These are buried within the steel road-car sills and so are not visible in any of my photos. I've made mine as a two-layer structure - what's left of the original 911 body can't add much strength to the car, so everything has to depend on the tube-frame. I can't believe Porsche designed it as a single layer of tubes, and there's enough clues in the Freisinger photos to make me think they did something along these lines. I'll probably re-work this area for the mk2 to increase the strength - although my models are mainly plastic, they still weigh quite a bit when complete!



Adding all the cockpit diagonals will eat-up my stocks of styrene tube, but I'm going to have to put a few of them in to give it some strength. I made sure to have plenty available when I started! Again, I'll probably add some brass or ali tubes into the mk2, especially in the sills or for the roof-rails.

So, that's about where I am with this right now. I'll continue adding a few more tubes to the cockpit during the week, and by next weeked it should hopefully look like a complete chassis. Then the hard work will really begin.

As usual, thanks for having a look, and I hope you stick around to the end!

Have a good week,

SB
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:31 PM   #2
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

No rest time from your 908 project?
Nice to see, another - iconic for sure, build from you...
I wish you good luck until the end and hope we all enjoy another mastepiece...
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:33 PM   #3
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

and i thought you were going to use the lego parts to make the kit itself, it was just as a jig. LOL!

anyway, this is shaping up to be a great build (no pun intended). i'm definitely subscribed to this
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:34 PM   #4
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

being your big fan, I am already sitted down here, in the corner, taking notes of this new masterpiece coming up ...
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:35 PM   #5
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

Looks like another masterpiece in the making with a great start to it.
Got me subscribed!
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:52 PM   #6
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

ScratchBuilt, I'm setting myself up to follow another great build.
The start is allready very impressive.
So first things first I got myself subscribed to this new thread of yours.

Mark
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:34 PM   #7
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

Wow, great project! Cant wait to see more of this!
Ive heard of others who have made a 1:12 Moby dick using the Tamiya 1:12 Martini 935 & the 1:12 RC body they did way back in the 70s, but those would be very rare to find these days!!
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:56 PM   #8
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

Hehehe. Another insane project. Love it.

Using Lego block for frame construction is a brilliant idea. But how accurate is this method to achieve proper height and width? It must be difficult to do minute adjustment.
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Old 02-12-2012, 06:10 PM   #9
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

YES!!! Already started another one! Can't wait for more updates!
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:42 AM   #10
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

Looking very good already SB!

You'll need two rear screens, (I think!). I'm sure I once read Porsche fitted the second screen to aid aerodynamics - but left the original in place to get round Le Mans rules...genius!!!
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:59 AM   #11
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

Looking good.
It will be nice to follow right from the start.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:50 AM   #12
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

nother seriously ill person who forgot his medicines.
Your child must be sad to have no more his(her) Lgo to play.

I am comfortably going to settle down to follow this insane construction

Eric
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:19 AM   #13
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

I'm here seeing you, in the first line of the forum!!
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:58 PM   #14
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

Yay, the 935 is underway already! I'm jumping on the bandwagon right at the get-go this time. Looking forward to 2015! ;-)

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Old 02-13-2012, 02:28 PM   #15
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Re: 1/8 Porsche 935/78 'Moby Dick'

Good to have you all along for the ride, guys!

It's funny, but once I'd finished the 908 I had three or four weeks when I didn't do any modelling, other than working on the drawings for the 935 - it felt odd! Okay, it gave me more time for other things - Forza4, for example - but it's nice to get back into the routine.

Regarding the lego...ummm, it's all mine! It's been a part of my life since I was at least four years old - long before I started playing with model kits and glue. You might have seen the Merc Unimog kit they released last year? Well, guess what was under the Christmas tree for me...

Anyway, I've found it incredibly useful for building the tube-frames - you'll notice that I use a mixture of regular bricks and the old-style Technic bricks (with the holes) - these seem to be tighter than the regular bricks, so with a bit of planning you can create an accurate and rigid frame. As I don't have a proper frame drawing to work with there is a certain amount of freedom to 'adjust' tube positions to better fit the jigging - but it has surprised me how little I've had to do this so far. It's no problem to pack out the frame with small bits of sytrene strip, etc, to get the tubes exactly where I want them.

Two rear screens: oh yes - the Group 5 regulations stated that the tail had to be an addition to the existing bodywork, not a replacement. This is why they based the 78 car on the 911SC, not the Turbo - the normal whale-tail spolier would have caused more problems! So, as well as the outer bodywork I'll have to fit a regular bootlid and rear screen underneath, plus what's left of the normal 911 bumpers, etc. As Paul Frere said in one of his books, the Group 5 regulations allowed you to create a car as wild-looking and non-standard as the Moby Dick, but if you took a perfectly regular 911 and removed the guttering from across the roof, it would be illegal!

Right, I'm off now to add some more tubes to the floor pan!

See you soon,

SB
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