How I Modeled The Knight Bus from Harry Potter and The Prisoner Of Azkeban

Using Wood Carving, Vacuum Forming, Plastic Shaping, Painting, Special Building Jigs, Model‑Making and Custom Appliques

making the knight bus

Chapter 5: The Driver's Indentation

From the previous chapter:
I described the creation of a plastic pattern that I will place over the original wood pattern to vacuum form a shape with more details than the wooden pattern alone.

making the knight bus

Now, the problem of the driver’s indentation. I created a tool in the shape of the indentation out of epoxy putty. I would use this tool to poke into the indentation during the crucial seconds the plastic is forming.

This particular putty is very useful stuff! It's made by Oatey and available at Lowe’s and Home Depot in the plumbing section. At 4 ounces for about $5 it is relatively cheap. Do not be mislead by the “15 minute” working time claim — it is more like 5 minutes! But within that time you can get a lot of quickee shapes done and water-smooth them too. (Immediate wash-up is a must!)

I used a short piece of brass as a handle. The epoxy is very sticky so during the creation of this tool I used a small piece of “Saran Wrap”-like material to act as a barrier between the epoxy and the indentation pattern. When the epoxy hardened, the Saran Wrap just peeled right off.

making the knight bus

While vacuum forming I work with oven mitts. That is because the oven that heats the plastic is hot, the heated plastic is hot and the metal frame that holds the plastic is hot. And, because I had to work quickly, I needed to hold the vacuum forming tool in my mitted hand while I was moving the plastic from the oven to the vacuum forming table.

The “UP” is printed on the tool because I did not want to waste even a second stuffing that forming tool in as the plastic was forming... it took a bit of thinking to get it, but, as you can see, it worked.

Next — Chapter 6: Vacuum Forming the Fleet

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