Thursday, April 5, 2018

Revell 1/125 Günther Prien U-47 Commission Build

My brother's 6th grade teacher had the Revell 1/125 U-47 with interior, but felt he was too old to build models anymore. He commissioned me to build it, but he wanted it closed up. Closing up those hull openings was going to be quite a task. Revell's U-99 uses the same molds mostly but is closed up with no interior, so I bought one on ebay for about $12 with shipping. Most of what you see is this kit, though I used some bits from the U-47 kit, such as decals. One of these shows the tonnage claimed on the sixth patrol, so I decided to model U-47 at this date, 6 July 1940. By this time, the 20mm flak had been moved up to the conning tower. The U-99 kit has this feature, which the U-47 kit lacks, which makes the former kit a better starting point. The U-99 kit also has deck railings that differ from those on U-47, so I used the U-47 ones. I printed my own flag and tonnage pennants, added fishing line for rigging and fabricated insulators from styrene, filled a few holes that weren't on U-47, and weathered it, making a point of showing the diesel exhaust stains near the stern and the "grass-weeds line," the green band that forms below the waterline. had a lot of useful photos that made my job easier, but sharp-eyed U-boat experts will notice inaccuracies that I didn't bother to fix. I did surgery on a few of the figures to make a variety of poses. The German inscriptions I painted on the base read, "Kiel, July 6, 1940" and "at the end of the 6th Patrol."

Once I was done modifying the figures, I painted them and superglued them in place. Hopefully I took enough photos, since I may never see this model again after I drop it off tomorrow.
I like figures for adding some story interest to a model. Captain Prien his XO stand together looking three or four points off the starboard bow. In the "Wintergarten" ("greenhouse," the nickname for the flak platform with its wide railing), two others who are happy to come home are waving to someone off the starboard beam. Meanwhile, another officer with his hand on the hatch looks down at someone climbing the ladder dressed in engineer's overalls.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Fantastic Plastic Con-Am Shuttle from Outland (Part 2)

Resuming from my last post, which had a really high resolution photograph of the Con-Am shuttle from Outland taken about the time it was used in the movie...

Here's the box art. The kit can be purchased from Fantastic Plastic. Below are more photographs of the original filming miniature. I could not have designed this kit without them, since supposedly there were never any drawings made. The lack of any drawings made it very challenging to design an accurate kit. Working from photos, I drew 3D shapes that I revised repeatedly until perspective views of them matched all the photos perfectly (or close enough that I was no longer able to spot the differences).
Here's another photo of the miniature at the time the effects shots were being filmed, in this case with the late John Stears demonstrating the docking gantry.
This is the "right" side of the shuttle (I call the end with the antennas the "front"). I think this was taken just after Martin Bower finished restoring the model in 2000. The next image shows the model in the condition he found it at Pinetree Studios.

Just above is a beauty shot of the restored model after Arnaud Grunberg bought it from Martin Bower for his Science Fiction Archive. It's currently in a warehouse in France but could go on display any time Grunberg decides to show it or someone contracts to put it on display. Notice the dish antenna is missing from the top in this picture.
Above and below are some images of the shuttle during construction. You may recognize some of the greeblies, and maybe spot some things that changed before the model was completed. For instance, the next picture shows a grey dome that was later removed and replaced with a laser turret from the MPC Millennium Falcon. Bill Pearson (with the moustache) and Martin Bower show up in these pictures quite a lot.

Notice in the next photo of Bill and Martin with the shuttle, that the dish antenna (modified from the MPC Millennium Falcon part) isn't on top of the shuttle. Instead, there's a mast with a bunch of antennas on top of the small rectangular superstructure. Later, this mast is removed. The dome that was replaced by the MPC Millennium Falcon laser turret is still on the model at this point, too.

Next is the photo that was in Martin Bower's article in Starlog 47 about the special effects in Outland. As in a lot of photos of the model, the engine pods are missing, probably because they needed to be separate for the plumbing for the CO2 system used to create the rocket exhaust effect in the movie.
 Speaking of which, here's a beauty shot of the CO2 system in operation. You can also see the undersides of the landing feet have rollers. The struts are 10 degrees from vertical, causing the feet move inward as the struts compress, so without the rollers the feet would drag across the landing pad.
Here are a bunch more shots of the model without its engines, taken before the model was used for the effects shots. Aside from the missing engines, the changes noted above, and markings that were added, the model is substantially the same as in the movie.

 Here's Martin Bower in 2000 looking justifiably proud of his restoration work.
And here are some screencaps from the movie.


Sorry I couldn't share all my photos with you, but some are marked "Copyright Martin Bower" and others he shared with me on the condition I wouldn't share them. You can access his copyrighted photos at the Wayback Machine: