Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Battlestar Galactica - Colonial Viper MkII

 It has been quite some time since I built a Sci-Fi scale model.  What with kids and work and other activities around the house it's been difficult to find the time.  But finally I found some time to start assembling and detailing Moebius Models' Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper MkII.

The box describes this as been 1:32 scale and suitable for ages 15 and above (Skill Level 3).  The parts are all white plastic except for the pilot who is a mustard yellow colour.  There is a choice of configuration as well, the model can be built with landing gear up or down.  I chose to hide the landing gear and mount the model on the clear stand provided in the kit.

There are detailed instructions and a comprehensive set of decals to apply.  The ship can be configured as belonging to either Apollo or Starbuck so there is a choice of graphics and serial numbers accordingly. Some model builders might like to paint the red stripes by had rather than using the decals provided and thoughtfully the manufacturer has taken this into account by providing separate badges and logos to apply over the paint.

First things first, I set about detailing the pilot and the cockpit.  There are lots of decals to apply here including different shoulder patches for the pilot (Apollo or Starbuck).  The cockpit cover is quite large and transparent so I though it was important to detail the pilot to a high level.

There are a few parts to glue together to make up the cockpit and the pilot himself is in two parts (the joystick arm is separate from the rest of the pilot making it easy to install I assume).

The rest of the assembly was fairly simple.  With the landing gear in the up position there isn't that much to the model.  The quality of the parts is good, they came away from the moulded trees easily and didn't need much filing down.  The whole model was painted with a slightly off white enamel paint requiring two coats in places.

A little forward planning is required when it comes to painting, some of the engine components and the laser guns might be a little difficult to access when glued to the body so they were painted before assembly.

Everything fits nicely and the instructions are very good in explaining which pieces need to glued in position firstly before attaching other pieces.  This is quite important when attaching the wings and engine components as they all interlock with the rear of the body. 

The decals are very fiddly and this is what perhaps elevates this particular model to Level 3 Skill.  I found the decals over the rear of the model's engines and over the tail to be the most testing.  They seemed to be slightly oversize and have a clear border which overhangs the final intended location.

It was not a problem as I used a scalpel to trim them once they had dried and I want rough edges anyway to simulate wear and tear.  This might be a problem if the ship was been built to look like it had just rolled off the production line.

In a couple of places I used red paint where I didn't think I could get the decals to adhere which once again adds to the weathered look of the model.

I have done a little weathering, basically using a 'dry brush' technique, that is applying a little paint to a brush, drying most of it off and then lightly brushing the model.

All in all this is an excellent model, it is a great size and the parts all seem to be off good quality.  I highly recommend it to anyone looking to bring a little Battlestar Galactica into their lives!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Star Wars - A-Wing

This is one of the rebellion's most awesome weapons, fast enough to give even a Tie Interceptor a good run for it money and equipped with both lasers and torpedo's, it has the fire power to worry all but the largest of the Empires capital ships. But resources are scarce and this particular model bears the scars of battle and shows the wear and tare of constantly relocating from base to base. Pilots have to be prepared to fly these vehicles on the seat of their pants as the A-Wing can be most unkind to more timid pilots. However, it is the spirit of the men and women who maintain ships like this who are the real heroes, without them, these machines would still be on the drawing board somewhere, and the Empire would be even closer to victory.

This is another one of those little 'SNAP' models from a few years ago. I used no filler at all mainly because all the parts fit together so well, but this was before I started using filler. I used to just pipe extra glue between the cracks and paint over it when the glue was dry. This is okay until a few years later when the glue starts to discolour and the joins show through the paint again.

I practised on this model with various weathering techniques, some better than others. I think this has had half a dozen washes and paint smeared here and there to try and give the model a really well worn look.

I could do lots more with it including detailing the cockpit and pilot but you have got to decide when to stop fiddling sooner or later am trying a new photographic technique, instead of using a neutral background I am using a book with space images as a backdrop. This save on a lot of post production but with varying results.

(c) 1999 David Pagett - Birmingham, England

DLP Guitars - Handmade in Birmingham, England

Star Wars - Y-Wing Bomber

This is another of the little SNAP models I have built. There is loads of weathering to make it look really well used and maintained on a low budget as is true of most rebel ships. After finishing the model I used enamel paints to pick out the details and then used various shades of black and brown water colour paints to add wear and tear. Using this technique the water colour paints would not spread evenly but eventually dried giving the patchy, flaked paint effect.

As you can see from the un-touched photos, the Y-Wing has its landing gear down. I had to erase these for the final picture to give the illusion of space flight.

I quickly photographed the model on my window ledge with no other lighting other than daylight and the flash of the camera. This meant I had some balancing to do once the image was in the PC. I airbrushed the join from the back of the cockpit as this model was built before I discovered the art of filling, and I had to copy and paste one of the rear exhaust struts because it was over exposed by the flash. Then I added the engine glow and Blaster glow and overlaid it on a picture of the moon I found on the internet.

I would like to say this model is complete but it needs a coat of matt varnish just to seal all the different textures and finishes, the yellow decals are too shiny for starters.
(c) 1999 David Pagett - Birmingham, England

Thursday, June 03, 2010


This is the USS Defiant as featured in Star Trek DS9. I completed the model some time ago and the basic construction was very simple, however the paint job was a different kettle of fish altogether.

I think this was one of the first models I used filler to any effect. The basic construction was quick but left a few joins around the edge so I used a ready mixed filler that dries when exposed to the air. Most model makers seem to favour car filler so I might look at this in the future. The problem was the details on the model surface got sanded away which made painting difficult.

When I came to painting the Defiant I first sprayed it grey to give a good surface for the rest of the details, then I started to pick out the other colours, but as I said, most of the boundaries had been sanded away so I used masking tape to try and recreate them. It soon came apparent that I could not be as accurate as the original lines so I decided on a new tactic.

I decided to go for a really dirty looking ship which meant the lines did not have to be perfect. I just imagined the Defiant had visited a particularly inhospitable planet and had to take the ship down to the surface and landed in a swamp. Of course they haven't found a Spaceship wash yet!
Bottoms Up !This is the Bottom of the Defiant with some of the white windows just about visible. I used gloss white enamel on these so they would stand out more against the matt weathered look of the rest of the ship.

Once I had decided on this approach I could then be a bit more careless with the blue and yellow panels knowing I could hide the lines with dirty washes later.

This was a great project for learning new techniques but I think I would like another crack at it just to make a 'cleaner' Defiant that Sisko would be proud of ! The decals were quite difficult on this model because the was a lot of long, red lines which have to be kept straight.

I like the finished result but I love the shape of this ship more than it's paint job. I am sure this would be how the Millennium Falcon would look if it was designed in the nineties, it's got that 'Hot Rod' look about it.

DLP Guitars - Handmade in Birmingham, England

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Star Wars - Tie Interceptor

This is a ETRL/MPC model I made quite a few years ago. I photographed it with an old 35mm camera and scanned the image when the film was developed. (which was what prompted me to buy my first digital camera!) I then cut out the shape of the ship using Adobe Photoshop and adjusted the color balance slightly. You can see the yellow glow of my bedside lamp in the cockpit window. I then found an image of the awsome comet Hale-Bopp and merged the two in Photoshop to create the final image.

As you can see from the original photo the join in the cockpit was very pronounced. Nowadays I would fill these in but I used to have very little patience.

The comet is Hale-Bopp but it could be a Rebel Cruiser burning up in the planets atmosphere! This Tie Interceptor must also be modified to operate in the planets atmosphere as well as space!

(c)2009 David Pagett