I have a friend in Holland and he is a diecast restorer and builder. He has done this project of the Octopussy Range Rover with Horse trailer and the Acrostar aeroplane hidden inside. Here is his post from another site. I have full permission from him to post and edit this article.
Ideas and text and Photos belong to the author, Keesie25.
The Octopussy Acrostar opening scene
In the opening scene of Octopussy, James Bond and his partner Bianca drive somewhere in Cuba, in an open Range Rover, pulling an enormous horsebox. In it the smallest plane ever, a Bede-Acrostar, which unfolds its wings coming out of the fake-horsebox. With the Acrostar James completes his mission to destroy a big military hangar.
It is one of my favorite opening-scenes, although the horsebox is far too big to be left unnoticed by the ever present military......
Because Corgi Toys made a lot of James Bond vehicles, I always wished they would have done this one, but the company went down in 1983, the same year Octopussy appeared. Corgi did make a small 1:64 version, but the ‘real’ 1:43 never showed up.
During the years there always was a lot of speculation on James Bond forums if the Range Rover-horsebox-Acrostar would ever see the light of day. I even had a discussion once in which I said a 1:43 model DID exist......
Only recently the Universal hobbies company made the Range Rover, and surprise, the Acrostar. Those models are always ‘fixed’, and there are no gadgets actually ‘moving’. So the wings of the Acrostar are folded upwards and do not move.
Well, if it isn’t for sale, I will make it myself........not available in Holland, I managed to get a Range Rover and two Acrostars from someone in GB. (thanks Giz)
THE RANGE ROVER
Only part of the base plate had to go, otherwise the towing-eye of the horsebox would not fit. 75 pictures are attached
I decided to do the Acrostar before the horsebox, because the whole project would succeed or fail if the plane could be done or not. Also when the plane was ready, I could then use it to determine the size of the horsebox, which was better than making the box first of course!
In real life the wings of an Acrostar do not fold up.......
The model could be unscrewed into two shells. The upper part is metal, the lower part with the wings a hard sort of plastic. I bought the smallest hinges I could find, and even then I had to shorten them. The wings were sawn of (I did not risk the dremel), and underneath I took out enough material for the hinges to be embedded.
The wheels are on small stands, which could be unscrewed from the base. Therefore I could just take some material off those stands, adjusted one side of the hinge, and fitted it right in between the base and the wheel-stands.
The wings were glued to the hinges, and further filled up with alabastine, after which they were painted.
The hinges could only be put on in one way: with the central pin ‘up’. With the pin ‘down’ the angle to lift the wings completely up could not be made.
The horsebox as seen in the movie is actually rather silly and boring. When you only see the speedy scene once, you will probably not notice it, but it is just a flat black box, only one centre axle, and in fact far too big. It is obvious there is no horse in there!
Being a Corgi-fan, I had to include a Corgi horsebox! Now the plane was ready, I fitted it in an early No. 102 black-red horse trailer, to find I could not use the early type, because it is too narrow. The later blue-white version is wider, although the plane is still a tight fit.
It was very convenient that a lot of boxes of this type were sold, and therefore the model is very cheap and common. I had at least six of them to try and compose a box to fit the plane, and indeed I used all six! First the roof had to come off, which was done on the blue and white line.
The only option was to lengthen the model to the rear. This meant using an extra base-part, and therefore it would be nice to include FOUR axles. The hinge parts inside were taken out, otherwise the wheels of the plane would be stuck. The two bases were attached by drilling holes in the two base-parts, using a plastic filling piece. The inside had to be a fraction wider than it was, otherwise the wings would still touch. When trying this out constantly I packed the wings in masking tape, to prevent damage to the paint. A widening piece was put in, and then the base had to become longer. Doing something to the front part was no option, because it narrows, and it is impossible to use that space for the plane. Also that front part is very characteristic for this box, with its opening side-door, so I left this part as it is. Only later on in the project I got the idea to use this extra space. The mudguards were cut off, and attached to one another by aluminum sheets which were formed to shape. Putting the mudguards on also made that the two base plates were extra secure.
The plane then almost fit in. Only the rear wings were still touching the inside walls. Widening he walls on the low parts could not be done, because the base plate is too narrow, and the sides are attached to that base. I made a stud in the front end of the box, which widened the sidewalls slightly. Lifting the rear of the plane now, the box was just wide enough to let the wings through. The horizontal stud also functions as a stopper for the plane. Then I made two rails inside that lowered towards the tailgate. That way the rear wings are higher up, to let them pass along the walls without touching them. I had to be careful though not to make the rails too high, otherwise the front wings would touch the ceiling. Then the inside was painted black, the floor and inner ramp made silver.
I then got the idea to place a control centre in the narrow front part. A panel, monitors, wiring and chair were put in. Metal sheets of another donor horsebox were glued to the outside walls, between the upper and lower parts. Therefore the connection between the two components is strong enough. The height of the supporting parts is seven ‘layers’ of ‘wood’. The upper roof parts were painted black on the inside, and glued into the lower parts. To close the small gaps and splits alabastine was used. Then the whole structure was primed and sprayed black. The side door was made out of 1 ½ original doors, and just needed an inside support strip to cover the whole length of both parts.
The tyres I first put on were 17 mm. Rotating them they touch one another though, so I had to use 15 mm tyres.
I watched the original film clip closely, to find out there was no way to make the gadget of the flipping out horseback like in the film. There just wasn’t enough space on the inside, to make a folding out arm which would push the horseback out. There should be an inside axle though, which had to be high up towards the very end of the walls, because if too low the plane would touch it. The horseback however, had to be not so high up, which would look weird. The horseback should come out of the box entirely, which could not be done with just an inside axle. So I made an angle in the axle, which not only lowered the horseback in a more normal position, but also it would come out entirely, even going over the top of the roof like it should! The axle was formed out of steel suspension wire. The holes in the wall were made with the smallest drill I ever used (“N”). The horseback was cut out of a plastic horse, legs and most of the tail removed. A thin cut was made, so the axle could be pressed in. The tail was made out of an old paintbrush.
It took me hours to find a way to lift up the horseback when the rear door would be opened.
I looked at the 1:64 toy on You Tube, where the plane is catapulted out by a spring. No way could that be done, because this plane is far too fragile. First I wanted to make a rail with an inside pulling wire, which had to go over the roof. This caused too many problems, for instance, how to lead the wire through, and what to do when the wire for some reason would come out of the rail when not secured?
Then I got it. I took some very small springs, and managed to attach them with one end to the bent axle. First with some wire, but that did not work. Then I used the thin outer plastic hose of an electrical wire, took all the thin electric brass wire out, and managed to shove a small piece on the axle. I placed it on the desired spot, made an opening with a needle, and managed to put the end of the spring in. I did this on both sides of the axle.
As I tried to put the device in the model, the ends of the springs touching the roof moved along the inside of the roof, not only causing some paint damage, but also causing irregular suspension. I had to secure those spring ends, and there it was, the old plastic unit of the Cortina I repaired a while ago. I saw half of it off, and drilled some fine holes into the small standing up ridges. I tried the complete unit in the model, finding it stayed in a steady position, and there wasn’t even need to glue the Cortina part in. I tried to put the plane in and out, and there was only just sufficient space for the wings.
FITTING THE PLANE IN THE HORSEBOX
The rear door was made out of several pieces. The final piece could only be glued onto the rest, when I fitted it in the rear hinges. And therefore the door and the final piece had to be sprayed black separately, before joining the parts together. Placing the plane in the horsebox it fits, but the front needle was sticking out. Therefore I had to drill a small hole through the rear door. It happened that the exact spot for the hole was where originally the logo was in the front part of the horsebox! So in closed position you can see the tip of the needle sticking out!
THE INNER AND OUTER BOX
This time I could not rely on anyone to make me a box. To be honest, because there was always someone in the past who made me a box from my design, I was sort of lazy, and never tried one myself. But this model needs a box, and so I started experimenting with the program Paint Shop Pro myself. I had this program on my computer for years, only using it for ‘simple’ things. Only now I found out I could use it for more complicated things, similar to Photoshop. All sides of the inner and outer box were apart from one another, so that I could manipulate them as separate pictures. When I thought it was ready I had the boxes printed.....to find out they were to narrow for the model......this is how it looks:
Because it turned out wrong, I had the
chance to do it again, this time not only with the right measurements, but also
The background part is composed out of four different pictures. Once all was done, I took the material to the local printing shop, where the parts were connected. However, they can print as big as A3, and a box like this has to be printed on several A3 sheets. At home I had to cut the parts, fold the lines and glue the parts together.
As I said, talking about it to others brought me to this idea. I was bound to do all the parts in a certain order, to make it a success. While working on it, I found the model could be better than in the movie, (with more detailing, more wheels and a control centre), which was more satisfactory. Another model which could be placed in the Corgi book in the section “what might have been”. Finally it materialized!
I hope you all enjoyed the build of a model that should have been produced in 1:43 scale as you see here. Unfortunately it was only produced in 1:64 and the plane had fixed wings and they never did a horse box to fit it. Just the Range Rover and the Acrostar plane.
Published by Jim Noble (nobleco)