Sunday, July 8, 2012

One Day Build: Star Blazers Mini No. 8--Finished in Eight Days

This isn't how Scotty would recommend getting a reputation as a miracle worker. Originally to be done in 24 hours (see previous post), this kit is finally done a week past the deadline. It's probably nicer than it would have been. I worked on it almost every day for an hour or two, and had time to think about what I wanted to do. Once the deadline was blown, I decided to replace the flight deck sticker with a homemade decal. As it turns out, this didn't take long at all. I scanned the sticker and imported the raster image into AutoCAD and traced a vector image over it, which I printed out on my Alps printer on decal paper. Here's a picture of the decal (right) next to the sticker.
I wrecked the decal putting it on and printed another, no problem. I didn't use any setting solution, just painted the flight deck with Future before decaling and PollyScale clear flat afterwards. The decal also needed a tiny bit of touchup with black paint before the dull coat. Here's the result, on the left. The Comet Empire twin-deck carrier at right is one I built in the '90s, shown for comparison.

I wanted the look of the two ships to be compatible. Both have custom mixed green paint. The paint I had mixed was still usable, but I added to it to stretch it and make it lighter and greener. Both have hand painted compound eye scanner things. In the earlier effort, each yellow dot has a droplet of Micro Krystal Kleer on it to form a lens. I was going to do this on the new ship, but my bottle of Krystal Kleer had reached the end of its shelf life, so I put a droplet of Future on each yellow dot. The flight deck decal on the newer ship is a difference: the older ship has flight deck markings done in pen (ultra fine point Sharpie, if memory serves), though in both cases I discarded the stickers.

I painted the new one by a method not too far from dry brushing. I had primered it, and proceeded to put a minimum amount of paint on a nice soft Windsor & Newton brush that I used to scrub on the color, eliminating brush marks as I added layers. This is something I do on small models when I don't feel like airbrushing, and it works well with certain paints, such as PollyScale acrylics. Weathering is PollyScale Oily Black, and panel lines are darkened with Tamiya Flat Black. Both bases are Tamiya Flat Medium Blue with white lettering.

I had no idea what that big exhaust on the back of the new ship was supposed to look like. I did look for images, but found none from the rear. I'm guessing it should glow, so I painted it fluorescent red over a white base coat. There are intake grills shown, and I merely hand painted these in green or yellow, according to the box art.

I'm not totally satisfied with the results. So I could align the decal, I had to print lines on it for the left and right edges of the flight deck, and due to the thin carrier film, these lines at the edge of the decal flaked off in places. Even so, I didn't get it perfectly aligned. Some of the weathering is a little crude for my taste as well, though I drybrushed green over it to subdue it and blend it in better. The handpainted grills are cruder than I'd like, too. I'd prefer to hollow out the intake and scratchbuild the grills, but that takes a lot more time. But it's nice to finish a model, and I can show it off without too much embarrassment.

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