Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The art of Star Wars The Force Awakens book

Picked up the Art Of book for The Force Awakens yesterday and i highly recommend it - beautifully produced, large format and with some stunning artwork.
Unlike the Prequels and Lord Of The Rings art of books, there's barely any case of "awww, that early version is MUCH better than the one they finally used", but there's plenty of insperational designs and themes to latch on to.
Go buy it!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Star Wars The Force Awakens

Spoiler free this, so don't worry - its just i saw The Force Awakens yesterday and the reason i mention it here is, though the effects are excellent i was a bit miffed that JJ Abrahms chose to do what he did in the two Star Trek's with the ships and craft - shoot them at unusual angles.
That's fine when you're shooting the Enterprise, everyone knows what that looks like, but here the model maker in me is screaming inside "let me see, pull back, let me see the whole of the bloody ship!".
Tad annoying i have to go online to see them in their entirety.

Friday, 18 December 2015

The USS Austin - done

Started in 1977, finished in 2015, the USS Austin is DONE!

Monday, 14 December 2015

A potential War Of The Worlds project

I've been having another look at the Alvim Correa illustrations he did for the 1906 French edition he did for "War Of The Worlds", in particular this one of a ruined Handling Machine.
I really like the angle of how its fallen, the debris and Red Weed its amongst and the circling birds.
Then it struck me that its not too difficult a design to build a version of - just find a container that has a suitable top to diamteter ratio, the "articulated claws" should be easy enough to sculpt, and i don't have to worry about the symmetry of its legs if its broken.
So, a potential upcoming project methinks.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Sneak peek at a future project

Though i'm busy finishing things up on some projects, i'm always looking to the next.
I'd stumbled on a little piece on one of the background ships in Battlestar Galactica, which apparently was based on a craft in a comic strip by the brilliant Moebius.
I really like the quirkiness of the design so thought i'd have a go at my own riff on the design too.
At first i'd considered using some of my spare Saturn V parts for the lower section but changed my mind as (A) it'd be far too big, (B) the tubular part isn't really a tube, more a squashed one.
So i had a look around the house and realised that a conditioner bottle, if i cut it down, is pretty close.
So, getting a large piece of paper i drew 'round the bottle then roughly sketched out the rest of it.
That gave me a size for the cockpit ball, so off i went to the shops - Christmas time is great for picking up plastic balls and the like - and found this one which had the advantage of being able to open (its to put a photo into), so i can easily put the cockpit into it.
That's what i'll be turning to soon - just waiting for the conditioner to be all used up!

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

The return of the Plump ship.

Was having a sort out in the attic and came across my Plump Ship, a craft that i started a few years back initially as my original design Pod Racer, which then mutated into a 70's SF paperback cover ship, with its odd shape and garish colour scheme.
I realised i'd never put up a finished shot, so here's one now, along with a shot of it in mid build, showing its donor origins:

Salad container for the main shape,
some nozzles from who knows where for the engine bells,
they're joined to a Bionicles lid, which is attached to the main shape,
into the top hole of that i've stuck a tupperware pot, which fitted just right,
and on to that, a clear hempisphere.
Over it all is a bunch of kit bits, Plasticard, Go-Fasta stripes and sticky jewels. The silver sticky jewels at the very front i was going to remove after painting, figuring the now bare clear plastic could be cockpit windows. But, with a coat of primer on i quite liked it as is - a sort of studded detail.
So that's what i did, going with a green with yellow detailing as a nod to Thunderbird 2, as the small wings facing forward reminded me a lot of that ship.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Blake's bounty hunter gun - all done

With the chrome and black tape applied, this gun is done :)
Had a great time putting this together and i've got even more respect now for Bill Pearson, who not only had just a day to come up with the original, but also had to put in the explosive charge plus buttons in the grip to fire it, as you can see in the top pic.

Monday, 23 November 2015

The USS Austin - ready for weathering

So that's the USS Austin all basecoated, decaled and ready for weathering.
I've kept to a black/orange/white colour scheme, partly in homage to the Space:1999 Hawks, and the odd bit of gunmetals.
Looking forward to the next bit :)

Friday, 20 November 2015

Blake's bounty hunter gun - nearly there now

That's Blake's bounty hunter gun primed.
Or should that be "Gauda Primed"? (Ho ho)

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Blake's bounty hunter gun - ready for priming

With the "pixie hat" shapes on, last thing to do is sort out the very end of the barrel.
The gun has two distinct things going on with that - there's how it appears in the forest scenes, with a closed off end and a small spigot thing going on.
When Blake is inside the base though, the ends been cut off to allow for the explosive charge to be fitted, making a large bore barrel affair.
I decided to go with the first version as it meant i didn't have to go to the trouble of cutting the end off.
But what to use for the spigot?
Thanks to top bloke Phil Stevens i now know its a shape that was inside the rear tube of the gun that held the D batteries in place.
Trouble is, the newer release of the gun, which i have, diesn't use D batteries in the main part but one 9 volt one in the grip.
So, no shape.
Instead, i've gone for an approximation, cutting down one of our daughters felt tip pins, which looks to be about the right diameter, and has a bit of detail at the end.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Blake's bounty hunter gun - almost there

Adding the strips of square rod to the rear of Blake's bounty hunter gun is where i slavishly follow what Bill Pearson did and move into conjecture as to just what was used.
First case in point, what's been called the "pixie hat" that sits in the blank area just above the trigger. Its called that for want of a better name as no-one has ever been able to figure out what was used - doorbell buttons, "Frustration" playing pieces have been put forward, but been discounted.
I've got some plumbing piping that was the correct 14mm diameter, so cut two pieces the correct 9mm height, filled them with P38, sanded the tops flat then glued both to washers to give the rim around the bottom.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Blake's bounty hunter gun - bits added

With Blake's bounty hunter gun assembled, its time to add the details.
Photo 2 is i'm guessing part of the sight mount and is made from EMA's "Structural Flange".
Photo 3 is the ribbed detail on the underside, made from four of EMA's "Beam Splices" laid in a row.
Photo 4 is the rear of the gun, made from a disc of ABS. This is the first time working with the material, and i found it a bit of a bind - very tough to cut and shape, but pretty easy to sand. Its detailed with a couple of EMA's "Ladder Supports" cut down.
Photo 5 - Directly in front of the rear disc is a row of square rods, ended by a curved shape just above the rigger. That has to be the 3.3mm of the square rod and the rear disc.
So i cut out one from the ABS and then tried to heat it to make it bend to match the curve of the gun.
Nope, wasn't having it.
So then i tried multiple layers of Plasticard until i got my 3.3mm, heated up and bent.
Nope, wasn't having it.
But then i realised the off-cut of 40mm piping i was using as a former to bend the shapes on looked to be about the thickness i was after. So crudely cut a bit off and, sure enough, it lay on the gun no rpobs.
So off i go to B&Q to buy a 40mm joing pice for the price of £1.08 and cut me a ring from it 2cm wide.
Photo 6 is the cut down ring now attached.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Blake's bounty hunter gun - assembled

With the EMA parts landing on my doorstep this morning, its time to get Blake's bounty hunter gun ready for them.
So, with all the lettering sanded off, the open area where the scope mount was covered up, the last thing to do was stick what was formerly the rear end on the front to make the barrel.

Monday, 9 November 2015

SF Plague Doctor

There we go, a Plague Doctor mask done in a Cursed Earth style

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Blake's bounty hunter gun - rubbing down

With the rubbing down of the lettering on the side of the Star wars blaster, i then copied what bill Pearson did - covered up the top where the scope used to be with Plasticard, along with the side panel that had the slots to allow the sound to come out.
I've used Go-Fasta stripes for the panels on top of that for ease.
Though i want to try and replicate as far as possible what Bill did, i've a bit of a head scratcher when it comes to the area just above the "safety catch".
At first i took it to be a case of Bill putting a piece of Plasticard, with a slot cut out as detail, over the lettering i'd just sanded off - after all, he had just a day to come up with the gun and maybe didn't have time for sanding.
But, look at the original.
If he DID add the slotted panel, then he's cut off the safety catch and then perfectly glued it back onto the new panel.
Would he have time to do that, i wonder?
So thinking its an original detail, lost when the blaster was reissued.
But, it looks like there's something going on under that slot, as if it is indeed covering up a lower layer.
So what's going on?
No idea.
Just have a quandry now - do i leave it as is? Cut off the safety catch, put in the new panel then bung it back on? Or put on a new panel that's made to go around the safety catch?

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Blakes 7 - Blake's bounty hunter gun.

Never being one to finish one project before starting another, and still on a Blakes 7 kick, minds turned to what i can do next.
And my eyes have fallen on the blaster Blake's armed with in the very final episode of Blakes 7, when we find him in the guise of bounty hunter.
It got my attention as:
(A) It seems a pretty simple conversion of a toy Star Wars blaster - a case of needs must as Bill Pearson only had ONE DAY to come up with a functioning weapon for the episode!
(B) The Star Wars blaster and me have a history, as i accurised one when i was making my Sandtrooper outfit.
Anyway, bought one quite cheap and first job was to saw off the barrel at a certain point, along with the rear at another certain point.
I then removed the sights and the trigger gurad. You can see that the removed rear part is moved round to become the barrel.
Next up, remove the ridging at what remains of the original barrel, get rid of the stickers, and sand off the raised writing on this side.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The USS Austin - basecoated

Back to the USS Austin and i've got to hurry up on this - know its been a good 35 years or so since i started the build and it could wait a while longer, but i've other projects on the go, with more just about to start, so i have to clear the decks.
So, he she is finished, primed and base coated in "Ford Diamond White."

Dan Dare has landed...

... and Bertie is one happy Biog to see himself in print.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Cursed Earth Plague Doctor

More work on my SF Plague Doctor - to get away from its medieval routes, i'm going for a yellow/black chevron colour scheme, so here's it being applied.
Next up, work on the metals and its done.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Blakes 7 Ore Carrier - getting there now

First part of the Ore Carrier done, and i've painted it up already as i'll be adding it at the very end when the rest of the ship is painted and weathered.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Blakes 7 Ore Carrier - what scale?

As i'm building the Ore Carrier, i'm thinking ahead not only the painting, but the weathering too.
Weathering of course is crucial to convey a sense of scale to a model and to stop it looking pristine and toy-like.
And i'm thinking something like an Ore Carrier would have a fair bit of weathering, dust/dirt etc wouldn't it?
But to guess how much to apply depends on the scale of the model.
So what's the scale of the Ore Carrier?
Watching "Star One", we get a brief glimpse of the ship as it collides with the Nova Queen.
And, eyeballing it, its almost the same length as the passenger ship.
So, how big is the Nova Queen?
A clue is the Captain of the ship stating "there's four thousand passengers on this ship."
To give me an idea of just what they means in terms of size of a vessel to accomodate so many people, i Google'd "largest cruise liners" and found that the Quantum Of The Seas can take 4,180 passengers and is 1,139 feet long.
Taking that as a guideline, and the Ore Carrier being slightly smaller, lets make the Ore Carrier 1,000 foot long.
Quite a size, and much bigger a ship than i'd have thought (unless its the same case as the notorious moment when a Pursuit Ship stops short of colliding with the supposed to be much bigger Liberator but they didn't have a smaller scale model of the ship, so it appears enormous).
My model, which is pretty much studio scale, measures 19 inches long, which makes it then a 1/632 scale model - so that means any weathering i do has got pretty tiny for a ship that huge.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Cursed Earth Plague Doctor

I really like making Plague Doctor masks and i thought i'd make one for a post-apocolyptic setting.
Went the usual way of being made from card covered in Duct Tape, with sink drainer eyeholes and sticky gems for rivet detail.
Going the SF route with the colour scheme i'll be using and a couple of greeblie details like on the side here.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

The USS Austin - almost done

Been quite a while since there's been an update on the USS Austin, so here we go.
The hull is done,
the engine area is pretty much finished,
i'm just adding detail to where the cockpit area will join on,
and i've plumped for a couple of tubes either side to break things up a bit. For them i'm using EMA tubing capped with dished heads rather than hemipshere's as i'm done with Saturn V-looking parts for the time being.
Just got to detail them up, bung them and the "head" on and then its prime-time.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Blakes 7 Ore Carrier - getting there.

Things are coming together nicely now on the Ore Carrier.
A big head-scratcher is the teeny engine it has - it looks to me like one of those old syphon capsules that were around in the 70's to make your drinks fizzy, but the chances of tracking down a vintage one to check was pretty slim.
So i've gone my own way by sticking an EMA hemisphere of the right diameter onto a tube i found in the plumbing section of B&Q, and then the Saturn V engine bell on top.
The tube is just right but, alas, that plastic that no glue can touch.
So i've stuck the hemisphere on with Hot Glue.
There also seems to be a panel or something on the original tube and i've suggested that with a Go-Fasta Stripe.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Blakes 7 Ore Carrier

Slowly pulling things together now on the Ore carrier.
It looks to me that Mat Irvine started with a blank plate of Plasticard to build the front underside detail onto, so i'm going the same way.
Figure it'll be a LONG wait to find out what goes on next to that section, so am going my own way.
It looks like some sort of engine detail etc making up a bit of a grid pattern, and i was going to go with some Baco Bricks.
Far too clunky though, so instead i'll be cutting down this much thinner car chassis for my basis.