Tuesday, April 30, 2013

UN Combined Fleet in Space Battleship Yamato 2199, and the Bandai kits

Disclaimer: My knowledge of the Japanese language is pretty meager, but I keep learning.

I was surprised to find that in Episode 11 of Space Battleship Yamato 2199, a flashback to Daisuke's childhood shows his dad as captain of Murasame, which is subsequently destroyed in the first contact with the Gamilas. I thought Murasame was destroyed by the Gamilas in Episode 1, in the battle off Pluto.

I was mistaken. CAS-707 Murasame (written as むらさめ on the hull) evidently isn't shown or mentioned in Episode 1 as I was led to believe by its inclusion in Bandai's Combined Fleet kit and the fact that the first cruiser lost in the battle off Pluto has the same color scheme. (It doesn't make sense to me that any two ships should share a color scheme. The only reason I can think of for the colorful markings is visual identification at great distance.) BTW, Murasame was the name of several real destroyers.
CAS-253 Yūgiri right before destruction.

The first ship lost in the battle off Pluto is CAS-253 Yūgiri, which shares her name with a real cruiser. I may be misreading it, but the hiragana on the hull appear to say "Yuragiri" (ゆらぎり). I found a picture of Yūgiri's namesake from 1930-1943, and the side of its hull bears the katakana inscription (read fore-to-aft) ユフギリ "Yufugiri." I fail to understand why the inscription would not be ゆうぎり or ギリ ("Yu-u-gi-ri" or "Yū-gi-ri").

Episode 1 mentions cruiser Abukuma and destroyers Shimakaze and Isokaze (the latter lead ship of her class), all of which share names with real warships. Then Amaterasu and Uzume are mentioned. Even though the Combined Fleet's mission is a diversion to keep the Gamilas from noticing the recovery of the ship from Iscandar, it wasn't at all clear to me from the subtitles that Amaterasu and Uzume are the respective code words for the Iscandarian ship and the Mars recovery team. Thanks to Ithekro for clearing that up.

With of course Kirishima and Yukikaze, those are all the ships mentioned in Episode 1. (BTW, Yukikaze was a WWII destroyer that is still renowned for leading a charmed life and surviving the war.) Maybe you can make more out if you freeze-frame the Bluray disc. 

There are quite a few choices for ships represented on the decal sheet in Bandai's Combined Cosmo Fleet Set #1. In addition to BBS-555 Kirishima, CAS-707 Murasame, and DDS-117 Yukikaze, it also includes markings for the cruisers CAS-253 Yūgiri, CAS-266 Atago, and CAS-229 Abukuma, battleships BBS-551 Kongō and BBS-552 Haruna, and destroyers DDS-172 Shimakaze, DDS-103 Ayanami, and DDS-106 Shikinami. All of these have namesakes in the real world IJN (JMSDF as well in some cases).

Bandai's Combined Cosmo Fleet Set #2 came out earlier this year and besides what's expected, includes a Mini Mecha Collection Cosmo Zero and some decals that were missing from the SBY2199 1/1000 Yamato release. The expected items are two Murasame class cruisers and two Isokaze class destroyers. Markings are supplied for the following cruisers: CAS-702 Nachi, CAS-718 Murakumo, CAS-741 Ibuki, CAS-777 Tsurugi, CAS-854 Kurama, and CAS-890 Yakumo. Here are the destroyers: DDS-101 Isokaze, DDS-119 Ayase, DDS-144 Shiranui (uncertain--the decals are very small and appear to say either "Shiranui" or "Shiranei." Shiranui are a rare atmospheric light phenomenon, hence an appropriate destroyer name. "Shiranei" means nothing, but a real JMSDF destroyer has the similar name Shirane), DDS-147 Fuyusuki, DDS-148 MinazukiDDS-149 HatsushimaDDS-164 Kagerō and DDS-216 Tachikaze.

A complete list of ships at the battle off Pluto follows, according to this source. Note that not all the ships on the decal sheets above are listed here. Kirishima was the only battleship, so her sisters Kongō and Haruna were presumably lost before the battle, perhaps at first contact. (I need to rewatch Episode 11.) Murasame was also lost at first contact. Amaterasu and Uzume are also omitted. And it is curious that the decal sheet for Set #2 includes a DDS-144 apparently named Shiranui but the list includes a DDS-114 Shiranui. Which is right? One asterisk follows ships on the decal sheet for Set #1 and two for Set #2.

1 Kongō type battleship
Kirishima (BBS-555) *

8 Murasame type cruisers
Atago (CAS-226) *
Abukuma (CAS-229) *
Yugiri (CAS-253) *
Nachi (CAS-702) **
Murakumo (CAS-718) **
Ibuki (CAS-741) **
Tsurugi (CAS-777) **
Yakumo (CAS-890) **

12 Isokaze type destroyers
Isokaze (DDS-101) **
Ayanami (DDS-103) *
Shikinami (DDS-106) *
Shiranui (DDS-114) ? (or DDS-144**)
Yukikaze (DDS-117) *
Ayase (DDS-119) **
Fuyusuki (DDS-147) **
Minazuki (DDS-148) **
Hatsushima (DDS-149) **
Kagerō (DDS-164) **
Shimakaze (DDS-172) *
Tachikaze (DDS-216) **

Sunday, April 28, 2013

KBoP Part 18

Last Sunday was Model Day with Jim Pugliese and Eric Longstreet of the Collective at Jim's house. Got a little done on it up to that point and that day, though most of it since last post has been electrical work and not much to look at. I've got the command pod closed up now, and no light leaks so far. The wires to supply electricity to the model come in through the two objects on the starboard side. See the second pic--hard to see because that part is in shadow, but if you know the Klingon Bird of Prey, then you know what I'm talking about. They seem like a likely function is power couplings when on the ground.

Unfortunately, after last Sunday I realized how close Wonderfest is--it's the weekend of May 18-19! Yikes! Between freaking out over that sudden realization and the fact that I had a gazillion other things to do, I got absolutely nothing done on it till this evening. And what I got done was ungluing the lower part of the command pod, which wasn't fitting right, reattaching it, and puttying the seam. But the closing up of the hull has commenced.

Also stopped by Steve Neill's hangout. This evening was the first time the hangout was in operation, and I guess it's a work in progress for everyone to figure out how this technology works. I participated as best I could with no mic or webcam, which is to say little at all, though I shared one of these pics. We'll see more of how it works on coming Sundays.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

KBoP Part 17

Studio model of Klingon Bird of Prey
Another mini-update.

Like I said, there needed to be more detail in other more visible parts of the ship, and one area that needed help was the shallow opening full of wiring or plumbing on the top rear of the command pod. At right, you see what I'm talking about on the real thing. I didn't attempt to recreate the studio model, but by the end you'll see what I did do to improve the detail on this area of the kit.

The kit detail is skimpy here, so I decided to cut it out and back up the hole with an insert loaded with detail.Cutting out the hole was pretty easy. As easy as Cortez burning his ships. No turning back now!

The plastic is pretty thick for the scale so I hogged out the surrounding area to make it look like a thin shell. I slopped on black paint in order to...

...transfer the impression of the opening to this sheet styrene backing. Actually, it's two layers cemented together. I held it in place to make it conform to the shape of the inside of the hull, and when it came out it was permanently formed into about the right shape.

Here's the blank styrene backing held in the opening.

I added wire, solder, and styrene shapes to fill in the area of the backing that would fit in the opening, painted it red-brown with a grimy black wash and dark yellow drybrushing.

Then installed it with 1-minute epoxy.

And here's the prize in the box. It's jazzed up with a bit of fiber optic lighting.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

KBoP Part 16

Another mini-update. The airlock chamber that exits through the top hatch in the forward hull is now installed. And populated. Er, Klingonated. There are two Klingons in there. In the first picture, there's a Klingon climbing the ladder. In the second, you can see another Klingon standing just inside the inner hatch. These are Tamiya 1/350 sailors (well, figures; the only thing that makes them sailors is that they are made to go with 1/350 ship models). I painted them to look like Klingons, which didn''t take much as they are two tenths of an inch tall, or 5mm. The guy on the ladder needed to be bent up a bit to get him to be in about the right pose.

You might also notice the floor texture in the top photo, and the light green color of the floor beyond the inner hatch in the lower photo. The texture is fine mesh superglued to a disk of styrene, and I chose the light color simply because otherwise you couldn't see a darn thing in there. Now it needs the hatch on top, the rest of the lighting installed, and the upper and lower hull halves to be glued together--with wires sticking out to connect to an external power supply.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

KBoP Part 15

Just a quick update. I had an hour before bed to do some stuff I thought about to the airlock chamber under the hatch. It made sense for the interior door to have the same sort of control panel as the one at the top of the boarding ramp. So I made another one with 0.25mm fiber optic threaded through a tiny styrene polygon with holes drilled with a #80 bit. The control panel will connect to the same red, yellow, and green blinking LEDs as the other one. I also drilled out holes for lighting fixtures near the top of the chamber and threaded fiber optic through those, which will connect to warm white LEDs in the forward hull. I put it all together with 1-minute epoxy, plus a bit of styrene tubing to keep the control panel from wobbling. Then a bit of paint. It is going to be a pain to put this all together with fiber optic connecting parts in the top and bottom hull halves, but I will manage somehow.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

KBoP Part 14

Previously on Klingon Bird of Prey...

Did I say next time I'd finish the lighting and close her up? If I did, I lied again. Instead I've been ensuring that this project will go on longer than I hoped, by incorporating more detail that I had planned on.

I decided with all the detail packed into other areas of the ship, the forward hull needed some more attention. There's a hatch on top, which is used in ST:IV, and although the movie set is a poor match for the filming miniature (there is no way to reconcile the differences), there is a hatch on it too. At the size stated by Nilo Rodis, the hatch on the filming miniature is a lot bigger, but of course the set was built smaller. This is nothing unusual, since movie audiences aren't equipped to make precise size comparisons. Fans figure this stuff out later with screen grabs and CAD software and such.

The hatch is about a scale six feet in diameter on this model, pretty generous! The series of pictures at right shows how my approach to adding an open hatch and some interior detail evolved along the way. My first thought was to score around the inside of the raised ring to remove the hatch, in hopes of using it. I've tried this kind of thing before and it generally doesn't work, especially removing such a small part. At worst, it's good practice at precise cutting.

Here's the opened hatch, and as you can see, the raised ring was damaged by the cutting.

My first thought was to re-establish the raised ring, and build up a round airlock, using this vinyl hex tubing. Where'd I get it? It's the rod that you twist to operate miniblinds.

I wasn't too happy with how that was going so I made a replacement ring from brass tubing. To do this, I jury-rigged a lathe. I chucked the brass tubing in my drill press and ran it down into a hole of matching diameter I drilled in a wood block clamped to the table. I ran the tubing into the hole a distance equal to the width I wanted for the ring. This way the wood block provided a steady support so I could use the tip of a #10 blade as a parting tool. I turned on the drill press, a neat little curlicue of brass came off, and into the hole dropped this neat little brass ring. Well, not perfectly neat: I deburred it with a sharp #11 blade.

I also made a replacement for the hatch, shown here on my fingertip with the original. I used the same diameter brass tubing to punch out a disc of sheet styrene. The original hatch also has a small disk-shaped projection near the edge. I reproduced this with a thin slice of styrene rod, which I glued in place over a hole I drilled, which helped with locating the little disc properly and will provide an attachment point for the hatch. I recall Panther tanks had a hatch that went up a little on a vertical shaft near the edge and then rotated out of the way. This hatch will open that way.

I forgot to mention, there's another ring of brass tubing inside the aforementioned one. It gives more detail and provides a ledge to support the hatch when it's closed. At right is the hatch in the closed position. I just wanted to verify it would fit; it was pretty tight.

Here's how I ended up using the bit from the miniblind. I hollowed out a hatch using my drill press as a crude milling machine and scribed a slot around this opening for a sliding door which won't be needed as the door will be shown open. Then I cut the piece to length and shaped the top to the inside curve of the forward hull where it will go, filed out a slot for a photoetched ladder, which I folded and superglued in place, and primered the whole thing.

Next time: I'll finish up with the hatch and maybe one or two other detailing goodies on the forward hull, then get all the lighting installed and close this baby up. I hope.