All wrapped up!
I was itching to get some real progress done on some of the commission work on my bench so I started with this one. It’s the Allegiance-class Heavy Star Destroyer first seen in the background in the Dark Empire comic series. (See here and here). My client asked for it in 12″ scale, but since this build will utilize parts I pre-fabricated for a different project, it will end up being closer to 13″ or 14″. The math works out to be somewhere around 1/7200. I’ll also be designing a blueprint-style laser cut plaque for the base. Detail wise, the majority of the plans are derived from FractalSponge’s rendering (see here). Some details, such as the domes, conning tower, turbo-laser turrets and ion cannons will be 3D printed.
Onto the parts! I printed off the orthographic images in scale with the parts and began trimming and assembling. Many of the super-structure and raised surface panels are similar to standard ISDs so minimal re-cutting/shaping was necessary to fit the build. I started numbering them in order to keep track of where they will be placed when the time comes.
Drawing the outlines of the main shapes on the hull pieces helps keep the final form in mind. And for anyone reading this who hasn’t seen any of my previous Imperial cruiser work, the pieces I use are laser-etched and cut and have a very high level of panel line detail.
One of the more fundamental parts of an Imperial style build is making sure that the hull lines are nice, sharp and straight. This is accomplished by utilizing steel and brass rods. In this case, I used four per hull plane in order to maintain rigidity. During this stage of the process I also added rare-earth magnets which will serve as mounting points for the eventual support rods. Also, in preparation for the next stage (and equally fundamental step for maintaining a clean form) was constructing a jig to make sure the triangular angles of the hull are consistent.
Here are the hulls joined at the proper angles. Now she’s starting to look like a Star Destroyer! In the past I’ve added additional supports as crossbeams, or bulkheads. This time I decided to put strengthening strips across the center line to create a horizontal ribbing. So far it feels more secure than the older method, mostly because there’s more surface area connecting the two hull halves. Last little step in this update was cutting out the insets on the side trench lips. They are arranged differently than the pattern that was laser-etched, but weren’t difficult to cut out. Much of the bare-detail areas where the original cut outs are will be covered up by edge detailing soon.
Decals done, base assembly has begun finally. There’s still a bit more paint work I’d like to do on the K’tinga but the Federation ships are pretty much done. I’m not super pumped about how they are turning out, what with the thick + brittle decals and inaccurate shaping in some cases. If I went slower maybe but I’m remembering why I haven’t worked in this scale for a while….
That’s right it’s done!! She’s all detailed up, sealed and ready for casting. This ship, seen in the Star Wars: Battlefront games is close to 6″ long and in scale with TONS of other 1/4222 ships!! This will be produced by Tom of Utar Models so keep an eye out!
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Matte white then Pearl white. Brass engine details, silver bridge details and some medium blue details. Decals are thick and brittle. :( Will be slow going. Also a few shots of the putty process.
Last one for the day!
Simple ship. Still needs detailing though.
THIS one is a beast! It’s also the toughest one to clean up because of all the inset areas of details. Good thing I finally picked up some dental picks!
Simple kit! Needs more detailing but very clean prints!
I’m going to keep pouring these out today! This is the Action VI made popular by the Heir to the Empire comic series. Again, a bit more work with sanding and rescribing the lines, but overall the prints came out nice.
Another great set of prints from PCS! A bit more work to do on these parts to get them all to line up, but pretty much all the details are there. This will end up being a multi-media kit because it will need different gauges of wires and rods for all the antennas and mass driver barrels. It’s a beast!
Prints came in and they turned out great! After some fair amount of sanding I added a coat of primer. There’s still a small amount of detailing to add, a little bit more sanding and then it’s ready!
Picked up a little set of ships to work on over vacation. Easy to build but a lot of seam filling and sanding. Like, A LOT. Turning out pretty well, though. Each one will have it’s own little dome base. :D
Finished up the base and started on the detailing and weathering phase.
Almost done. Did a few good rounds of weathering: MiG dark wash, Tamiya soot pigments and then a whole swath of AK’s products from the prize package!! Just need to seal the canopy and re-add the antenna wire. Turns out that neato elastic cord does not like clear coat!
90%!!!!!!!!! Now I just need to clean up the tail pieces, rescale, repair and we’re good to print!
Decals! Tonight I’ll seal them and apply a wash. :D
While I was painting the 109 I figured I’d apply a similar scheme to the Falke! A little bit more of a challenge since it’s so much smaller, but I like where it’s headed. There’s still some detail work to pick out and decals to apply, but I think she’ll turn out nice, too.
Revamped my painting area this weekend and had a first go using my new Iwata airbrush!! It was a little tricky finding the right position for the needle but after some practice I found a good balance of line and flow. Only the topsides, tail and blue separation under the exhausts were masked. The spinner was hand painted and the “chipping” (yes I know it’s a little sloppy) was applied before the under-decal coat of future was applied. Next up will be decals! I’ll use the kit decals and cut apart the “8” to make a “3”.
Almost done working on the seams between the engines and body halves!!
Started working on the McQuarrie conversion. The recessed section on the nose and belly had to be filled. Since the McQ version is a little more flat, I’ll have some major sanding/filing to do to get the seams flush.
More progress on Sputnik XII. All the electronics were wired up, including the stand. Turns out the mass of the build is a little on the heavy side for the stand joint, so I reinforced it with a slight angle. The side bulges had a square hole filed to fit the nav markers so they peek out just a bit. I also routed the orange LEDs to the engines, which are Stephan’s handiwork. 3 for the big one, 1 for each little one. The 6 “fins” were also finished out with a fiber optic strand running the length so the tips will flash. I’ll probably also add a beacon on the top and bottom of the main sphere, too. Still plenty of building to do!
Totally forgot to share this one, too!
Totally forgot to post the final pics and link to the full gallery!!
and here are some shots:
Action VI clocking in at 12.5cm!!!
AAAAAAAAAAND Corellian Gunship DP-20c!!!
Digging through parts bins can be somewhat of an inspiration. I came up with a bunch of stuff for a scratch build that could end up as a Sputnik (let’s say XII) or a MaK satellite. Thinking recon, autonomous, signal interceptor….light gray/white with chrome accents and access stencils. Maybe some red stars. Oh, and LED engines and navigation strobes. I have a lot of this thought out already. The main hangup is the engine block section. I’m also still unsure about the side bulges and whether or not they should have the “sensor” fins or whatever.
FINALLY took the drill and router to the frame to add the switch and jack. Easy as pie.
Another master to revisit and clear off the bench! Utar is getting this one to produce as part of his 1/4222 line! It’ll be a single hunk of resin packed with tons of detailing! Still have a bit of trench and lip detailing, super structure detailing and some random surface paneling. Maybe more, we’ll see. Here’s where she stands now.
My third Gozanti build and another quick one! She’ll also be a test bed for my new airbrush. :D This is the later edition with the styrene dishes. I put some photo etch on the belly cage instead of the kit part, too.
My first MaK! Robb Merrill hooked me up with this little guy a few years back and after seeing the cool Falke’s at Wonderfest I thought this would be fun. I added some extra detailing, like the antennas, bombs, some plumbing and some tubes. The base will eventually have a nice little grass/field kind of thing. Not sure what scheme to go with but I’m thinking something similar to what will go on the Emil.
These Tamiya kits sure do build up quickly. The most time consuming parts were painting the pilot and masking the canopy! My plan is to use this more as a test bed for my new Iwata HP-BH airbrush. The hose adaptor is still in the mail so it might be a couple weeks until I’m able to finish it. But here it is right now!
Got a bit more sanding and detailing done over the weekend.
Another commission has begun! It’s lucky I had a couple of these A-Wings from RB26 in my stash still. They’re amazingly detailed kit for the scale. This particular build will be 2 fighters flying in formation. One of them will be the classic Return of the Jedi on screen scheme and the second will the the Ralph McQuarrie concept sketch scheme.
The base will house all the electronics with options for a wall plug or on-board 9v. I dug up some cool rocker switches, too, so that will be integrated into the side of the base. WHICH will be the Death Star tiles fit into a slim tall black picture frame. Each fighter will be supported by 2 brass rods, each with a shielded wire running through it terminating at the pins. Each fighter will have a socket on the belly that will allow for them to be removed or positions swapped.
The kits themselves are pretty chopped up from when I first got them. There was a day where I thought to just prep every resin kit I had for lighting. Maybe 6 or 7 kits were drilled out before I thought I had inhaled enough resin dust….j/k I ALWAYS were a mask and goggles!!! But still, I really gutted these and wasn’t as careful as I should’ve been. There will be some fix up areas but nothing too severe. Parts were carefully selected for each version, with the cleanest and most intact pieces going to the standard scheme and the slice-n-dice pieces heading to the McQ. Looking at the McQ version, there are a lot of things to work out to make the conversion. Some of them include filling out the bottom “vent”, rebuilding the engines (tubes and fins!), squaring off the nose and filling, new cannons, tapering off the sides more, routing out some details along the spine AND repaneling. The level of modification will be determined by the client but I’m fairly confident I’ll be able to achieve a nice blend of the 2 designs.
These are part of the MC-80 and Dreadnaught commission pool.
3D done and off to the printers! @ 1/2256 she’ll be 7″ long, 8″ tall and 7″ wide…ish. But she’ll also be a multi-media kit with piping for the antennas and mass driver cannons. Oh yeah. And hollow for lighting.
Working our way down the scales lines, here’s the 1/72. You can get a sense of the parts breakdown…it’s kind of like a jigsaw puzzle and I need to work on the parts so they fit together seamlessly. There must have been some shrinking with the material since I had the parts printed. No prob. Workable.
And the 1/144, which is ready for casting.
And the 1/270 and 1/350’s. These need a little more cleanup before they are ready.
Wow. I haven’t worked on this guy since DECEMBER!!! Well, it feels good to make a little bit of progress.
Now that WF is over I’ve been able to refocus on this guy!!! I need to be more careful here to keep the weathering subtle and in scale…. I did a round of paint touch up and then detail painting. After that it was the flat coat and future. THEN decals!
OH, and there was some weird stuff happening with the red on the belly so I went back in and added some variations by hand.
Another trick I read somewhere was that the HGW rivets respond really well to a light sanding. So I carefully went about that…I think the result looks pretty darn good on the wings. Didn’t work so well on the belly or the sides mainly because the paint was a little thicker, but that’s ok. Just another reason I should stick with the rivet tool…
I do kind of like the weathered effect the light sanding brought about…
And in between those steps I had to make a new whip antenna from stretched sprue. The photo etch one just kept bending and wasn’t thick enough. The stand also got a nice coat of med/dark green with a gloss coat. It also features the name plaque from the PE set and the profile decal from the sheet on it.
All wrapped up and all!!!!
Check out the full gallery HERE>
Weathering + decals (oof I mean dry transfers!). Weathering was nice and easy. I used some MiG and AK washes very carefully in some of the mechanical areas, Tamiya’s oil stain pigment smears here and there and then some silver dry brushing to top it off. The DRY TRANSFERS (have I mentioned how much I love them??) were from a mixed bag of Verlinden and Jolly Rogers F/A-18 stencils, hence the skull and crossbones. The matte coat turned the whole thing a shade darker than I’d like, but hey, I’ve already deviated from the “studio” version enough so it doesn’t bother me. Final shots will go up later today.
Canopy work! I did go through all 3 levels of polishing on the clear plastic. Still didn’t get it perfect but it came pretty close. To cut the proper shapes I “traced” the opening in the frame onto vinyl, applied those cutouts to the plastic and trimmed away! They fit almost perfectly into the openings. There were only a couple of edges that needed further trimming but man, glazing looks good on the pit.
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PAAAAAAAAAINT!!!!!!!! Well, before that happened I had to clean up the engine cap and add the canopy cowling. Then mask the cockpit and engine LEDs. THEN prime. THEN preshade. The painting process was a bit of fun. It’s the first time I’ve ever decanted a rattle can, thinned down and used through my airbrush (I used Tamiya’s Haze Gray of course). I now see the appeal of spraying enamels with an airbrush. It goes down thin and like butter. So clean and even….But hark! While the Haze Gray has the cool blue tone we all love on the Bomber, it was too dark for my taste. I went over and highlighted each panel with a light spraying of Tamiya’s Sky Gray (XF-19). It was thin to not cover up too much of the Haze Gray. The overall effect I think is a perfect blend because that blue undertone is still there AND it shows off the pre- and post-shading nicely. This one will barely need any weathering!! ((sorry if the coloration isn’t clear enough in this pics, I was rushed this morning and didn’t want to setup the photo booth))
Some of the last touches before priming: wing panels painted and masked and the dome stand installed. The model-side socket is glued in place and makes a decent extra detail. The dome base is painted with Light Gunmetal and got a heavy clear coat. She looks pretty good so far!!
Now comes the time for some extra detailing. Something about the spirit of studio scale building hit me and I added some bits and pieces to the exterior (including some leftover Fine Molds X-Wing parts!!). The interior cockpit panel was also a combination of scratch parts and a modified AMT TIE Interceptor panel. Looks about right. :D
Electronics!!! So I ran an overnight test of battery life and found that with 8 red LEDs the batteries drained in about 8 hours. I also realized that I didn’t need FOUR in the cockpit so I just used one as a floodlight on the ceiling. The power should stay brighter longer now. The holes for the engine LED leads also had the potential to create a short so I put some plastic splints in there to make sure there’s no accidental contact. The AAA battery box will also be accessible via the pilot pod engine cap, held in place via magnets. The drill went a little overboard so a touch of putty was needed on the back end.