3D Scanning ability helps to bring history back to life

PES engineers and colleagues from Physical Digital Ltd played a key part in bringing history back to life in a gallery for the Imperial War Museum.

The Museum were planning a new interactive display entitled ‘Extraordinary Heroes’, celebrating tales of heroic endeavour resulting in the awards of either the George Cross or Victoria Cross.

One such story was that of PC Tony Gledhill GC who pursued and eventually apprehended a gang of armed robbers, including the infamous John McVicar, in South East London in the 1960’s. During the chase PC Gledhill’s 1962 Wolseley 6/110 Mk II police car was damaged and it was decided to include an accurate model of the car within the display.

As the model would need to reflect the crash damage that had been sustained in the original crash it was key for the model makers to replicate the car as accurately as possible. After a suitable car had been sourced, the PES and Physical Digital engineers scanned the vehicle with a high-end mobile 3D scanner, which captured the car details to a tolerance of about 50 microns, or twice the width of a human hair.

This allowed the PES engineers to build a digital model of incredible detail, breaking the data down by components so that different processes could be applied to different parts of the car. For instance, hub caps were isolated from the wheel scan data so that the real hub cap model could be chrome plated without requiring the whole wheel to go through that process.


As it turned out in the end, the crash detail could not be applied digitally, and so the team of expert model makers worked in the bodywork deformation by hand around the front wing, grill and headlight using the period photographs for reference. The flashing police light was added and the suspension altered to account for a flat tyre on the driver’s side.

Ex PC Tony Gledhill GC has seen the model and by all accounts was thrilled with the result.



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