Sunday, March 17, 2013

KBoP Part 13

Previously on Klingon Bird of Prey...

Here are some progress pics of the Klingon Bird of Prey. I did take a bit of a break from it--I never completely stopped but the work slowed down for a while. I'm nearly ready to close up the hull, stick on the wings, and do the finish work on it that you do after you already see the light at the end of the tunnel. Speaking of light, here's the red and amber lighting for the torpedo emitter (and navigational deflector?). Paint needs some touch-up.

 Here's the wiring for that lighting. I was originally going to add nine small red LEDs to light up the ring around the torpedo emitter, and had them all soldered up, but try as I might could not fit them in. So there are three ultra-bright red LEDs, plus the amber one in the middle. Plus limiting resistors so it can run on 9VDC. All packed in epoxy.

I used the technique promoted most famously by Don Matthys of Don's Light and Magic to glaze the windows in the lower front command hull, but used 5 minute epoxy, which is pretty viscous, so it didn't fill the windows completely. His method is to tape over the outside of the opening and pour in clear resin. Here I tried a variation on the technique: I cut out holes in the tape, painted in there (to repair damage to the paint job and to seal the tape better). Then I smeared in clear epoxy from the outside. It worked better but the result wasn't perfect.

I couldn't resist: The detail along the trailing edge of the wing sticks out on the kit, but on the filming model it's recessed. So I hogged out the detail and replaced it with strips of Evergreen corrugated siding. You can see the LEDs and fiber optic in there, too. The LEDs are those Christmas lights I mentioned before that consist of warm white SMTs on lacquered wire with a blob of clear resin on each one. I drilled out a hole in the resin for the 1mm fiber optic and inserted it with epoxy. Then sealed the light in for better transmission with repeated coats of Metallizer alumiinum plate and Future.

Here's the new trailing edge. Sorry about the focus. You get the idea.

Lastly, here's a lighting test. What are those things, headlights? Navigational deflectors? I don't know; maybe I'll have to get the owner's manual now that it's out.

Next time: maybe I'll get the last of the lighting installed and close it up.

SRS Prototyping Figure: Mirror Universe Col. Green

Scott Spicer of SRS Prototyping has his Mirror Universe Col. Green figure out now. You may remember the character from the TOS episode "The Savage Curtain" (and the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Demons"). The story is he's the emperor of Earth around the mid 21st century, but in the Mirror Universe. He's a genius--he invented the shield generator he's wearing on his back--and he's still evil. I'd expect his alternative actions gave rise to the mirror universe.

The figure stands 4.25" tall, which is about 1/18 scale if we allow Col. Green is over six feet tall, which seems probable since he's genetically superior. (I'm over six feet tall myself, so I should know!) He's molded with a separate head, which can be posed, and right arm holding a space helmet, which cannot. His Imperial dagger and officer's sword are also molded separately, and a base is provided with the Imperial logo laser etched by Laserfire Creations. The whole thing is $16 plus shipping.

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Goofiest Model

Maybe there is someone out there who built this model and puttied and sanded it and gave it a slick glossy paint job. Maybe he even used aftermarket parts. If so, I think he missed the point.

This is the Polar Lights model of "The Homer," a snap-together kit from 2003 of the car designed by Homer in the episode "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"

This is the last kit I slapped together as soon as I got it home. Instead of decals, it's got stickers. The fit isn't too good, so I was forced to use glue in spots to get it to stay together somewhat, but no sanding or painting or anything. In short, I used all the modeling skills I had as a six-year-old. Well, not quite all.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Track assembly fixture

OK, here's the track assembly fixture. It's just a piece of scrapwood with popsicle sticks glued to it. It might be better to show it in action, but here's how it works. The space between the popsicle sticks is wide enough for the guide horns on 1/35 PzKfw III/IV track links. You cut two strips of tape (I used blue painters' tape) and lay them sticky side up on top of the popsicle sticks, fastened with thumb tacks at the ends. Then you put the track links in one at a time with the guide horns between the popsicle sticks. The tape holds them all together on the inner face. Now you can wrap the length of track around the wheels of your AFV and apply liquid cement.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

DML 1/35 Sturmgeschütz III F/8

These are some shots of my recently completed DML 1:35 Sturmgeschütz III F/8. I hadn't done an armor kit since 2006, and did it to participate in a group build called The Sturmgeschütz Brigade Build on Armorama.  This is the Imperial Series kit, not the later Smart Kit, and has been sitting in my stash since the mid '90s. The Imperial Series were originally Gunze kits, I am informed. Never had a Gunze kit, so I can't confirm that. It's a better quality kit than 1970s Tamiya armor, but not up to today's standards. It does have individual link tracks, as opposed to those vinyl "rubber bands" or the intermediate option, which I really hate, "link-and-length." It also has some really nicely detailed parts (the roadwheels are especially fine), but there's a downside, too. Fortunately, most of the downside is easy to fix or hard to see.

The intake covers are molded solid. They couldn't take in much air that way! These were easy to replace with parts I made from scratch. Newer kits include photoetch replacements for these. The trailing arms for the roadwheels are molded onto the lower hull in a funky way: they extend under the hull. Solution: don't let anyone look underneath!

This was also my first use of the hairspray technique. (Short description: over the base coat, apply hairspray, which is water-soluble. When it's dry, paint over that with acrylic. Let this dry--not too long--then wet it and rub off loose paint.) It's a pretty handy way to show chipped paint, but it's easy to overdo it. It's also an easy way to knock off delicate parts! The whitewash is applied even to the rubber parts--I figure no crew cared to mask off the tires--but as rubber doesn't hold paint well, most of it has come off, except for the spare roadwheels on the back of the engine deck..
The individual link tracks were kind of a pain. I did the right-side run by hand, and it only took 91 links as opposed to the 93 of the real thing. It seemed track assembly would go easier with a mechanical aid, so I built a fixture and assembled the left-hand run on it. It only took 90 links, and sags even more. Why? Damfino!

The whitewash is Pollyscale flat white, applied both with brush and airbrush, and generally rubbed off with a toothbrush. In photographs, one often sees Winterketten (the extra-wide tracks) are often supplemented with some regular links. On my model, one of the winterketten links on each track has been modified to be a regular track link, as has the length of extra track mounted on the rear. I thought this would serve to explain the tracks. The painting of the tracks is pretty simple: I spray painted them Krylon camo brown, then misted with Krylon red primer. The tracks on the suspension then got drybrushed with acrylic gunmetal and washed with cheapo craft-store acrylic brown to muddy them up.