Monday, November 28, 2011

Tholian Web Diorama (Planning Stage)

I like tangerines. Probably you do, too. They're sweet and delicious.

But one thing you may never have noticed about them is that the plastic mesh on one of those little crates of tangerines looks exactly like the Tholian Web! The spacing in the mesh is about a quarter inch, which makes it about right for those game-scale Star Trek ships (1/3788 scale).

Here are some glimpses of the mesh, along with my handpainted NCC-1701. As you can see, the idea was pretty much unavoidable.

So I started drawing up plans for the diorama. Here's what I've got so far.

I took a couple of extra beauty shots of this miniature, which are posted over at my other blog.[Link disabled for now.]

Check back soon for more progress.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Star Blazers

Here are some photos of my Star Blazers mini ships. Bandai released these box-scale kits in 1979, and they were widely available in the US in the ‘eighties. (Read more about them here:

The spaceship designs, especially the capital ships, are ‘way cool, and Bandai did a really nice job molding them. My only criticism is the peel-off stickers they had instead of decals. I threw them away and painted on whatever markings they were supposed to have, trying to be reasonably faithful to the original, while using light weathering techniques to give the surfaces some visual interest.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Here's some photos of the AMT Klingon Bird of Prey that I built sometime in the mid '90s. It's straight out of the box except for opened windows and lighting modifications. Current is supplied for three circuits from the homemade base via the brass tube. One circuit is for a Christmas tree bulb in the forward hull (with an access hatch for bulb replacement) and tiny miniature navigation lights and headlights in the leading edge of the wing roots. A second circuit with a push button is for a red LED photon torpedo launcher. The third is for an automotive bulb for engine glow. This once had a circuit board I designed and built to supply a slowly oscillating voltage to the engine light to make it pulsate. None of these are in operation in the following photos--this gives me something to do in the future.

Naturally if I were lighting this kit nowadays, I'd probably use only LEDs. Painting is pretty much by memory, supplemented by imagination, from having watched ST:III and IV; the decals left something to be desired and I left them off.


Some Robotech mecha, 1/144 scale, straight out of the box builds from the early ‘nineties. I'm no expert and my memory isn't reliable, but I believe these are all Bandai molds that were repackaged by Testors. Revell also repackeged them: I have one unbuilt Revell 2-in-1 kit. I recall they're held together with a screw, which I puttied over.

I wasn't interested in reproducing the mecha in the Macross sage. Frankly, since Star Blazers back in the '70s, I haven't followed any anime series too closely. I did however enjoy playing Battletech in the 'eighties, and painted these accordingly.

I did one in desert camo, one in urban camo, another in something like USAF air superiority gray, and the rest are in nice bright flying circus colors. Used some Metallizer and fluorescent colors in addition to the usual acrylics and/or enamels.

(I originally posted this stuff at my other blog, but those image files were a bit large. I resampled them so they're a quarter the linear size and about 15% the file size. The images are just as good. As I mentioned in the previous post, it seems the Samsung PL20 produces images with so much noise that the 14 Mp resolution only have about 1Mp of picture information.)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Starting with Ultraman

I've been wanting to open a second blog, the first being Bellerophon's Scale Modeling Blog.

So here it is. There are features on Blogger I really like that aren't supported by (namely any widget that uses scripts). What'll I do with two blogs? Either put my main posts here, with the overflow on the other (like extra pictures), or divide up posts according to content. Or else keep one and let the other wither.

So here's some pictures of my Bandai Ultraman model, done up with aluminum and engine red enamels. I've also got an unbuilt Baltan Seijin (the lobster monster), which will have to accompany Ultraman at some unspecified future date.
Ultraman, right profile.

I took the above photo back in June with a new Samsung PL20. I don't think I had discovered the macro feature yet, or the features governing autofocus, so he's not looking as sharp as he might.

Below are two photos I took yesterday, having gotten a bit more experience with this camera. In addition to finding out how to use the shooting features, I also discovered some of the compromises Samsung made in designing a $100 camera. These don't make much difference for sort of pictures people mostly take, but they do show up in model photographs. One problem: you can't control compression, so the image looks colorized, but by someone who couldn't color inside the lines. The CCD has some misbehaving pixels, too, which show up as random spots of color, usually faint and spread out due to compression. But the first function of a model photograph is documentary, and it is possible to take a reasonably good documentary photo a model with this camera.

I also resampled and compressed the photos with Corel Photo-Paint 12. The resampling cut the number of pixels to one-sixteenth, and I don't see that any real image data was lost. The camera boasts 14 megapixels, but it seems 13 million of them are just recording the same thing as their neighbors, plus noise.
Ultraman, front

Ultraman, left three-quarters view.