Honda RA300 Progress

I’m about 3 weeks or so into the mission at this point and, while looking at the last image might make it seem like I’m nearly finished, there’s the the engine, transaxle, and rear suspension left to draw (among a host of other details) so it’s just a tad premature to call it “almost there”. I’m figuring the drive train by itself will take the best part of next week, the rear suspension, a solid day, and the rest of the details including balancing all of the layer opacities, another 2-3 days. So, let’s call it about mid-January until I can start running test prints.

What follows is a bit of a mash up of my Facebook progress reports. Thought it might be nice to consolidate them all in one place for easier reading. I know better than to promise to update this post as the drawing progresses as I’ve gone out on that limb before only to saw it off whilst standing on the wrong side of the cut.

December 24Have been working on the RA 300 for about 5 days at this point. 

The 1967 Honda RA 300 holds a unique place in Formula One history as the only car to win its only race by leading only one lap – the last one. John Surtees piloted the RA 300 to its one and only win at the Italian Grand Prix held at the Monza track in 1967.

I’m just at the bare beginning of the Honda but have the background, wheels, tires, and brakes pretty well where they will be when things are finished. Other elements like the steering wheel and windscreen are just there for position. The cyan outline is my starting sketch and helps me fix the relative position of the major elements.

The background motif comes straight from the 1967 race poster and program cover, though I repositioned the elements to suit my purpose. And, for those out there counting the rivets (and you know who you are), my reference is the car as it’s currently displayed by Honda Racing and, yes, I counted the rivets.

December 26It’s amazing how much I can get done when this is all I’m working on!

Honda RA300 progress—Have just about completed the hull except for the fuel port, rear strut housing, and some shading and highlight details. If you look closely at the [first] two images you’ll see the differences in some of the finer details like the opacity changes in the rivets so the ones in shadow are less present or the body shadows which put the light source to the top and right of the car. I know, seems pretty insignificant when taken alone but, if you add up all of these little changes, they’re what make the illustration come to life.

It’s interesting to see how each of the chassis designers from this year used what amounted to the same components—trailing arms, radius rods, coil over shocks, etc.—but applied them in totally different ways. Never paid much attention to the engineering details until I started drawing this series of F1 cars. Pretty amazing stuff considering they did all of this without a computer, relying on their instincts and accumulated knowledge…and the brave men who drove their creations.

Next up will be to begin placing some of the common components—steering gear, font suspension bits, radiator, and oil tank.

December 28Things get serious with the addition of a number of critical components.

Work continues on the Honda RA300. In this installment, I’ve added the fuel port, rear suspension truss, radiator, hydraulic fluid reservoirs, Shell decal, inner windscreen, transistor boxes for the ignition, instrument cluster, coils and heat shields and begun work on balancing the front tire and wheel opacities to render them translucent. More to be done in that area but these first adjustments are “ballpark” settings. I’ve also placed a Hewland 300DG gearbox in position so I could get a sense of the relative dimensions of the Honda unit. There’s also been some fine tuning in other areas but I’ll let you compare the images and figure out what I’ve done.

If you didn’t catch it in my reply to one of the Facebook comments, the chassis designer on the RA300 was Eric Broadley of Lola fame and the car was somewhat unflatteringly known as the “Hondola” in F1 circles. No matter, Eric’s excellent chassis mated to the prodigious power of the Honda V-12 proved a potent, if somewhat uncompetitive, combination though John Surtees did pull out the win at Monza in 1967.

The image progression should give you a sense of how I work. In the first progress shot, I’ve set the wheel based and penned in the basic dimensions so I have some reference for where things go in relation to each other. In the second progress image, I’m beginning to fill in the basic hull shape and already starting to make adjustments to previously drawn elements based on new bits being added. In the last image I’m starting to work on the transparent effect, dialing in the shadow and light source as well as placing the components I need to give a reference for the engine and gearbox.

To all who are following my Honda RA300 exploits, thanks for tuning in. More to come in another couple of days.

January 2Steady progress

At this point, I’m beginning to fill ins some of the engine components that are going to help establish relative positions of other bits. The exhaust headers (a half a day’s effort) and the velocity stacks have to line up with each other and the in turn provide reference for the injector bungs and from those to the lower valve cover (which you should be able to make  out in an orange outline). Once I’ve can establish that I have the headers, stacks, injectors, and valve correctly in correct reference to each other, I can position the cams and valves and from there to the rest of the rotating assembly. Then it will be on to the various gears that drive the oil and water pumps along with the cams and distributors.

The whole business at the front—oil reservoir, front suspension, steering rack, front hubs, shock, several water pipes and connectors—has been completed. I’ve also made numerous minor, though significant adjustments along the way including adding a shadow below the front lower strut, adjusting the rivet pattern, some subtle changes to the shape and position of the nose openings, and the like. This is not so much a process of drawing in each component as it is making numerous micro-adjustments as each bit is added, giving me a more complete picture of how things should look. Kind of a “two ends towards the middle” sort of thing.

I have to move on to some other projects for the next few days but feel free to check in any time to see how the RA300 is coming along. Here’s a media gallery showing the progress from slide 1 through slide 4.



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