Friday, November 23, 2012

KBoP Part 9

Previously on Klingon Bird of Prey...

Here's a little update since I got back to work after a couple weeks away from it. The glowing engine part will have the separation between the upper and lower halves, so here it's being cut in half using a razor saw.
Here's a view of into the engine area on the studio model. (For a higher resolution version of this and other pictures of the KBoP studio model, check out Modelers Miniatures and Magic  and enter "Klingon Bird of Prey studio model" in the search box.) As you can see, the band of dentil molding (what else should I call it?) between the upper and lower hull also extends into the engine area. Notice too, this determines the vertical positions of the glowing engine parts.
Here's the band of dentil molding I made to fit into the engine recess. It's Evergreen styrene: 3/16" channel with strips of corrugated siding.* Not a perfect match but close. To create the opening for the band, I cut the part flush using a router. This separation band will create a bit of a problem: modelers who modify the clear part to add the separation invariably end up with the separation too high and the gap too narrow. My modification will have to compromise elsewhere so the gap comes out in the right place. Part of the problem is the lower hull on the kit isn't deep enough in the first place.

*I had tried to cast a copy of the kit detail by pressing part 3 or 4 into modeling clay and pouring polyurethane resin in there, but it came out foamy and was thus unusable. Maybe my resin is past its shelf life.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cthulhu Bas Relief in Soapstone

Not my usual thing, but I've had a hankering to carve a Cthulhu figure in soapstone ever since I found myself with some extra bits of soapstone. I needed a birthday present for my friend Brian Seidel, which gave me the impetus to carve it. Actual size is about 6.5" X 5". It's loosely based on the clay tablet included in "The Angell  Box," a set of prop replicas from The Call of Cthulhu available from the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society. Aside from the general layout (bordered rectangle with profile of Cthulhu occupying the right half looking to the left at waves and the sunken city of R'lyeh, rising again) the two are not terribly alike except for the border inscription. I reversed the direction of the waves, thinking Cthulhu might drive the waves before him. R'lyeh's horrifyingly non-Euclidean geometry is represented differently, too. (Why Lovecraft found non-Euclidean geometry so horrifying is anyone's guess. Most math students are plenty horrified by Euclidean geometry.) The big guy's appearance bears little resemblance to the horror in the clay, in large part due to the medium. About which, since it's soapstone, it stands to reason that it was carved by Esquimaux Cthulhu worshippers.

Bandai 1:1000 Combined Cosmo Fleet from Space Battleship Yamato 2199

Here's a video peek in the box of the new Bandai 1:1000 Combined Cosmo Fleet. It's a kit of the Earth ships in the first episode of Space Battleship Yamato 2199 (宇宙戦艦ヤマト2199), from the scene showing the Battle of Pluto where Mamoru Kodai loses his life fighting the Gamilas, along with Yukikaze and every other ship in the fleet but Kirishima.

I preordered this as soon as it was available. I bought it from AmiAmi (they had the best price--about 10% less than HLJ) and since I knew I'd have other irons in the fire, I elected to save money with the slow shipping via SAL. It took exactly 3 weeks from the date it was shipped until it arrived.

This kit is fantastic! The detail is really crisp, and you get all sorts of extras. For one thing, they included decals not included with their 1:1000 Yamato kit released earlier this year. There's also a Type 100 Scout Plane of the sort flown by Susumu Kodai, and a docking port for it on Kirishima. (Sorry, no skis on the scout plane.) Another extra is a tree of purple parts, which took me a while to identify. It doesn't show up anywhere in the instructions, but what it is, is Kit No. 18 from the Mini Mecha collection, the triple-deck Gamilas carrier. The molding on this is excellent as well. I don't have this particular mini, but judging by the molding it appears to be a refinement of the original. Another clue: the tree could be broken down into three parts, but only 2 of the 3 would fit in the box used for the mini mecha collection. The molding is really crisp, though: better than those minis from 30+ years ago, not that they weren't good. Those were excellent, but this is up to today's standards. Unfortunately, there are no instructions to go with it, so much test fitting is in order. Correction: I do have Mini Mecha Collection No. 18 in my stash, and this is the same. (The part of the tree that looks too big to fit in the mini box will just barely fit.) I took a look at it and the mold is showing its age. However, on the kit included in the Combined Cosmo Fleet, the mold has been cleaned up, so surfaces that should be smooth are really smooth, and panel lines are sharper.