Type 98 Special Command Vehicle

I always liked Patlabor, not because of the main character, Noa and the rest of the SV Team but it was because of the design of the mecha. It was designed by the Headgear group and they looked as if the technology is possible in the next decade to come.

Apart from the Labors, one special design which I wished to have was the Special Command Vehicle. Bandai did come out with the 1/60, 1//35 and 1/24 scale versions which at that time, was either a bit of a wallet killer, or I kinda missed out. This time, I am making sure I do not miss out, taking almost the last of the two units left at CKTan.

And now, it is Aoshima’s turn but at 1/43 scale. Although the price (RM136.00) is maybe around the same as the Bandai EX’s 1/35, Aoshima was very generous in giving you TWO Vehicles, three drivers and some well, three BEL-1999 enemy crab robots.


The following would be just images after images. So, this YouTube video might be a better alternative if you want to see how the model was built.

Type 98 Special Command Vehicle
Patlabor Type98 001
When I saw this boxart on the Internet for the very first time, I had to assume that it contained only ONE Vehicle and that’s it.
It comes with two Vehicles, three Bel-1999 drones
Patlabor Type98 002
Further images piqued my interest as it showed TWO vehicles!
The box also gives you a set of three different drivers, not two sets of three different drivers
Patlabor Type98 003
Aoshima also gives you three drivers, namely, Asuma Shinohara, Kanuka Clancy and Takeo Kumagai.
Extensive water-slide decals
Patlabor Type98 004
Runners of the two upper halves of the Type98 SCVs
Patlabor Type98 005
Looking at the top side of the SCV, they are snap-fit, which is great when you need to change drivers. Not only that, you can build the doors open or closed. But yea, for people like me, I would also want to cut open that rectangular slot in the windows for more realism.
The chassis and wheels of the SCVs.
Patlabor Type98 006
Well, if I want to light up the car, there is a little problem in mounting a battery system in there. I am sure the 1/24 scale version would not be much of an issue (although I have not seen it) but for the 1/43, there is not much space to conceal them if you wish to have all the doors and hatches opened.
The runners of the three different drivers
Patlabor Type98 007
The three drivers; Asuma Shinohara, Kanuka Clancy and Takeo Kumagai
(Actually, I do not know who is who)
The paper decals
Patlabor Type98 008
The Water-slide decals
Patlabor Type98 009
At first I thought it was transfers but they are actually waterslides and there are enough for two different units.
The clear and plated parts
Patlabor Type98 010
Plated and Clear parts for the SCVs.
The runners  to make three Bel-1999 drones
Patlabor Type98 011
The BEL-1999 Cardia Guard Robots as seen in the Movie


In this segment, I am going to ‘explore’ a little on the model, to determine on how I can light it. It is going to be a challenge because if I am to keep all the hatch open, I am afraid the 8mm by 8mm space might not be enough. On the other hand, closing everything is another story as I then remove the interior, giving me a lot more space.

Interior cabin assembly is very straight forward
Patlabor Type98 012
Here are some shots from the 8-page assembly manual.
The SCV model is very simple snap-fit. The chassis (CV2 13) holds the front headlights (CV2 8) and also the Seat (CV2 11). The latter also will be one of the two components which also helps to secure both the chassis and the upper body.
For 1/43 it is quite compact
Patlabor Type98 013
The model is roughly 2.5 inches long. The chassis (CV2 13) completed with the driver’s seat (CV2 11), dashboard (CV2 7) and front grills mounted (CV2 8).
Lighting up the headlights is quite a challenge
Patlabor Type98 014
Inserting headlight onto the front grill is possible (CV2 8). I would need to use one of those rare OSRAM SMD white LEDs.
There is nothing to hide the LEDs and wiring as the bumper is a single plastic piece.
Patlabor Type98 015
The OSRAM LED is thin enough to fit into the grill (CV2 7) and then solder the thin wiring back into the chassis. Of course, I would need to make some 0.8mm holes as well.
This roof detail will have to be drilled out.
Patlabor Type98 016
The next challenge is the flashing beacon. It is quite small and the initial idea to insert a 0805 SMD flashing red led might be the only possible way. The LED has a wide angle.
It also still have to support the pieces #5 and #1
Patlabor Type98 017
Of course I would like two 0805 LEDs facing each of the light bars but this is not possible for this scale without compromising the clear red part. They would need to be broken into two and fixed with clear UV glue and most possibly being too fragile. Plus, there is the worry that both SMD LEDs might not flash in sync.
The piece is 5mm, enough to squeeze in a 3mm LED.
Patlabor Type98 018
I wonder of I can destroy the internals and then insert a 3mm LED since I cannot find a 2mmx3mmx4mm LED.
This  version does not have a passenger seat detail compared to the Bandai 1/24
Patlabor Type98 019
The next question is on how to power the model. AS you can see, with the doors and front hatch open, you can see through the interior and right into the rear of the vehicle.
Because of this, you can either pose with the door opened or closed.
Patlabor Type98 020
This is Aoshima’s way of attaching the doors. You can only fix it either in open or closed position.
Just like what the instruction says
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There is quite some at the back of the vehicle
Patlabor Type98 022
If I were to put in the electronics, this area is about 8mm tall x 8mm wide. As for the depth, well, all I can say is that it is very cramped.
Wireless charging plan
Patlabor Type98 023
A month has passed, and most of the components has arrived. My plan is to install a wireless charging system to the model. I am using the smallest wireless charging system (20mm, 5v@1A), the smallest LiPo (30mAH) and,
the smallest charger on the market.

To give you a sense of scale, each square on the background is 5mm x 5mm.
Wireless receiver will have to be at the bottom, as close to the 'ground' as possible.
Patlabor Type98 024
Under the chassis, there is a small rectangular hollow area which is ideal for the receiver. I will place the receiver face up where the components would use the hollow area. The wire look quite thick but it is actually less than 1mm in diameter. The receiver would be hold up with thin double-sided tape for short term but I might want to use a little bit of epoxy for long-term solution. At this dry-fitting stage, I started off by drilling a pair of 1mm holes.
Wires from the wireless receiver
Patlabor Type98 025
With the wiring now done, I can start to test the circuit.
It is very cramped in there and if I had a bigger version, say, a 1/24, the concept would still be the same except that I would insert a switch and a USB port for charging instead of Wireless power transfer. Inserting a switch in this model is a possibility but this would be a last minute modification since I am worried about the interior space.
The LED never went to red despite the zero gap between the wireless transmitter and receiver.
Patlabor Type98 026
Basically, this is how the circuit works. Right now, this is to test the charging system and it worked up to a maximum gap of 4mm. Right now, this is the only idea I have to power up the small model. Wireless charging is all the rage right now, but it is not very efficient.
I have placed a sheet of paper between the transmitter and receiver to test the wireless charging concept. It has been charging the battery since 6 hours and I am afraid, it would take ages to reach full capacity. The green LED on the charger module was lit the whole afternoon.
Just like Mr. Clive, I might want to power the transmitter with 9 volts instead of the normal 5volts.
Yep, it is till not red even I waited for hours
Patlabor Type98 027
Let’s do some maths. The two White LEDs are for its front headlight and only uses 30ohms and even at 17mA, it is quite bright. I will be using a 100ohm resistor for the red LED, giving it a 17mA current as well. The model uses three LEDs, which, with the current limiting resistors, they are all running at 51mA in total. The small 3.7v LiPo battery is rated at 30mAH and so, the LEDs would go off after 35 minutes. But it is still running for hours. And I did not add a microcontroller to use PWM to make it last longer.

Maybe I connected the charger wrongly. Maybe the circuit is using the batter’s residual charge and slowly being charged by while at the same time, the three LEDs are consuming some of the power. Once I have the time to come back to this, I might want to disconnect the LEDs and test how long the charging is. Or if it is even charging at all.
The 3mm flashing red LEDs and it does not need any special voltages
Patlabor Type98 028
These are 3mm flashing LEDs and nowadays, they usually comes with a variety of colours. However, for this Project, I chose the red LED with diffused (or milky) lens. The lens will help to spread the light more compared to a clear lens which projects the light forward. The LED flashes at about 1.5Hz and is idea for a single point of light use. One good thing about this LED is that it keeps to the specs of a normal red LED which is 1.8v~2.0v, 20mA.
If you powered a bunch these LEDs and switch them on at the same time, they will never flash in sync most of the time.
Patlabor Type98 029
This image is very important. I have placed three of the flashing LEDs together and powered them simultaneously. In the first few seconds, they do flash in unison but after that, all three will go out of sync and flash independently. After a few seconds more, they will flash in unison. This is despite the fact they are manufactured as the same batch and most probably from the same factory. The same argument can be seen when you switch on the turn indicators of a few cars, even of the same make.
So, if you need the LEDs to flash at the same time, you will definitely need external circuitry or a microcontroller to do this.
Hollowing out the clear part detail for the red LED to 'fit; even more
Patlabor Type98 030
In preparing the roof’s flashing beacon, I have shortened the white plastic spike and also, drilled a little into the brittle clear red plastic. I want the red LED to protrude into the roof as much as possible.
The testing of the flashing LED is a success
Patlabor Type98 031
Just a test and from the image, you can see that there is a lot of light leaks which needs to be eliminated.
Time to paint the chassis and wheels. I use Modo MK-08 for the hub caps and Mr. Finishing Surfacer Black for the priming.
Patlabor Type98 032
I am using MODO MK-8 Super Real Silver for the inner wheel insert and Mr. Surfacing Surface 1500 Black for the chassis and tyres. I like to use this Black Primer as the first step to light blocking and also, for the chassis. They are also great for black-basing which I love so much. But for this model, just like in real life, the people would take good care of their resources and not leave them under the Sun for too long.
Anyway, the MODO paint does give a nice silver shine but it stinks up the whole room, even to the next day.
The details for the Bandai 1/24 is astounding. The back of the vehicle is holed up.
Patlabor Type98 033
While I was looking for the correct shade for the front and rear bumpers, as I did not believe metallic black could have such a lighter shade (as if it was gun metal). I came across the Bandai’s 1/24 version of the model’s assembly manual courtesy of HobbySearch. The interior of this bigger version is so full of details such as a roll cage, foldable passenger seat and even, side safety bars.

And then that is when I saw it; the back wall. There is a back wall which blocks the rear of the vehicle and the line starts from the Driver’s seat!
So I decided to follow as well. This also hides the electronics and the battery from sight.
Patlabor Type98 034
Using some Evergreen styrene strips, I did a quick wall for this 1/43 version too.
The interior of the SCV is now completed. At the later stage, it would need some paint detailing.
Patlabor Type98 035
And with the Mr. Surfacing Surface 1500 Black sprayed on, the back wall now looks like part of the vehicle.
It's more than half a day and there is no red light
Patlabor Type98 036
Coming back to this wireless charging circuit, it has been charging for more than half a day and the charging board’s red LED is still not lit up. I think I might just have to use a switch and an external charger instead. I did not measure the current from my meter but I do know that is is not enough although the voltage was about 4 volts.
The test of the 30mAH battery lasts about 35 minutes. The circuit needs 2x white 3mm LEDs and 1x red 3mm flashing LED.
Patlabor Type98 037
Disconnecting the wireless charger, I decided to test the 30mAH battery. I calculated that the three LEDs would last about 35 minutes. After the 35 minute mark, the white LEDs started to get dim and also, dips a little whenever the red LED blinks on. This means the voltage is maybe nearing the 3.2volts.
When only the red is still working, the LiPo battery has fallen below 3votls.
Patlabor Type98 038
When it passed slightly after the 1 hour mark, the white LEDs are turned off, white the red LED is still blinking. This means the voltage has dropped maybe around the 3 volt mark.
Enough to light the red LED but too weak for the white LEDs.
Let's drill out for a slide switch
Patlabor Type98 039
It just occurred to me that the connectors which never came was because I have forgotten to order it. So, for the time being, I am installing the slide switch. It is a very small switch, measuring about 3.8mm x 8.5mm with e a 5mm handle.
From inside the model, I slightly scratched the flooring with the switch’s handle to mark it. Then I used a 2mm drill bit to drill out the pair of holes.

The Wireless receiver is faulty more or less
Patlabor Type98 040
I have decided not to use the wireless coil as it was not working. After some testing, I suspect the receiver was actually faulty,
This is the layout of roughly how I will place the components, but it might change once the connector arrives.