About this Blog

This is about the combination of two interests, Radio Control vehicles and Science Fiction models. This blog documents my science fiction spaceship and radio controlled vehicle projects.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Stretched Sabre Spaceship part 5

The Stretched Sabre Spaceship project has now been completed.

The first task was to design a colour scheme.

I had a number of suggestions from commenters on various sci-fi modeling Facebook groups which I thought were worthy of some investigation so a grey primer photo was taken into photoshop and ideas were roughed out until I had something I liked. 

One of the suggestions was to use an orange and silver scheme like the hero vehicles in Gerry Anderson's Terrahawks. Given that I had recently seen a number of the original screen used models from that show I thought it was a good idea.

Another suggestion was to look at Korean war aircraft markings for inspiration, so I did some google image searching for examples.

Another suggestion was to use colour changing paints which I thought would be ideal for the hexagon wing panels to enhance the future tech look I was after.

Below is the final colour rough from photoshop.

 All the areas still in primer grey above were planned to be bare metal on the finished model.

I usually stear clear of bare metal finishes as I have had mixed success in the past trying to achieve a good result. Since the previous failed attempts many years ago there has been a lot of new paints come on the market which appear to give good results. I decided to have a crack at it and purchased some of the AK interactive Xtreme Metals colours which are enamels along with some of the the thinner and a bottle of their clear Gauzy gloss coat which is water based.

For the hex panels I got two of the Green Stuff World acrylic colour changing paints. I chose two colours which were similar hues so there could be a bit of variation in the panel colours.

The main colour base coats were matt black and Tango orange car acrylic lacquer paints in a spray can.

Where all the bare metal was going to go I sprayed a base layer of gloss black also from a car paint spray can. Before using the spray cans I dropped them in a bucket of hot water for a bit to warm up the contents which makes the paint spray finer due to a lowering of the viscosity of the paint and slightly increasing the pressure of the propellant. The hot water method is a very safe technique as if you forget about the spray can it just gradually cools down with no ill effects. I came across this idea on a forum quite recently and it was a genius idea. Previously I had been heating up the spray cans with a hairdryer which I would not now recommend.

I had some issues with the Xtreme metal paints early on where the masking tape gum stuck to the paint and marred the finish. However cleaning it off resulted in a nice weathered effect on the affected panels. Later masking didn't have this effects so maybe it just wasn't dry enough when I first did it. All the bare metal paint was sealed with a coat of the clear Gauzy.

The logo design is just two different fonts of the letter Z combined. One of the fonts is scaled up massively as I just wanted the dot shapes and the tail end of the Z which is the middle line on the design. This was then recreated in Inkscape and scaled up to the correct size for printing out on clear decal paper. The white circle and diagonal stripe are white car primer also sprayed from a can. Before applying the decal I sprayed a layer of the Gauzy so there would be a gloss surface to better adhere to. The same Gauzy was then sprayed to seal the decals for the weathering pass.

Some random panels of black were sprayed with Tamiya Nato Black and some orange panels with lifecolor matt orange for a bit of variation.

Weathering was predominantly a wash of Burnt Umber and black oil paint heavily diluted with artists odourless turpentine. It left a muddy brown sort of colour which worked well in the panel lines across all the colours even the black.

Hand painted chipping was applied to the removable panels using a lighter shade of what ever colour was being chipped with a grey core using acrylic paints from Lifecolor.

All my projects are slightly experimental in the colour finishing stages but this one I tried out a number of processes and products I have not used before. It is always a bit of a leap of faith when the model is mostly covered in masking and you have no real idea of how it will come out and what potential disasters may be lurking underneath all that tape. The benefit of sci-fi modeling is most finish disasters can be turned into interesting weathering or panel damage which makes for a more interesting model.

Finally here is the finished craft.


Thanks for looking.

More soon...


Monday, 7 June 2021

Stretched Sabre Spaceship part 4

The Stretched Sabre spaceship project has finally reached the primer stage.

I completed the second wing and added some detailing in a few spots where there were holes that needed covering.

The other additions were two stubby winglets which are the conning towers from the submarine kits being used in the Space Barge project.

The model was then masked up and sprayed with multi surface primer ( which hopefully wont come off) and the pilot figure was painted, not very well, but good enough.


It looks to me like the back wall of the intake may need some sort of grill detail as its just a plain flat surface at the moment.

Next job is to come up with a suitable colour scheme.

I also came across a picture of the book that the Fred Gambino cover artwork adorns. this artwork was the original inspiration for this project.


Thanks for looking.

More soon...

Friday, 4 June 2021

Science Vessel AKA Old Unfinished Spaceship Part 2

 I last worked on this old model from the 1990's in September 2019. I never liked the original front and at some stage I made a modification the front and didn't like that either so the project sat around neglected for decades. In  2019 I hacked off the front end and started building a new one making a third version. Inevitably I didn't like that one any better and so the project lay dormant once again.

Below is the model with the third attempt at a command section in 2019. Everything in grey primer dates from the mid 1990's. See the part 1 for the 2019 work done on this project and this historical introduction of the model as it originally was.


Just recently I had another idea of what to do with it, combining a cockpit from an amphibious vehicle kit I have had saved away for a future project. Why I hadn't thought of using this kit cockpit for this project before I can't fathom. I had been thinking about a project I could use the cockpit shape for and in a sudden flash of inspiration I thought of this old spaceship project.

First thing was to draw up some rough thumbnails to firm up the concept in my head.

 The first concept was the middle and bottom sketches which show a flat panelled shape rather like a large sized Y-wing. Given that the rest of the ship uses predominantly widened cylindrical forms I thought the front should echo this and so drew the top sketch. This scribble consolidated the idea particularly as I already had a plastic shape in my stash that would fit the bill.

Below is the result still a work in progress. The idea is that this is a science vessel liberally festooned with a multitude of sensors for planetary survey.

The sides of the command section are made from a plastic (acrylic) cocktail shaker as usual a charity shop find.  It was cut in half and separated by a 2mm styrene structure.

The black curved shape at the very front of the clear cocktail shaker is a knob from a kitchen timer also cut in half.

The cocktail shaker is lightly scribed with lines to aid in aligning panels still to come. 

The new front end is attached to the 2019 mid section which I have started to detail.

The sensors are made from an assortment of kit parts and a number of bits from old transformer toys. The front panel detailing has been completed.

The detailing on the under surface is mostly completed.

There is another sensor mounted underneath.

The mid section features the ubiquitous Panzer hull. The red part is the case from a servo tester which I managed to fry with a faulty servo.

The cockpit well is removable until I complete the wiring for the interior lighting. You can see the PVC tubing which acts as the spine that all the section are mounted on. Each section is removable for ease of working. Eventually I will glue the whole lot together permanently.

I have made a start on the interior but need to get some 1/48 scale pilot figures in order to figure out the rest. The original kit the cockpit is from was 1/35 scale but I am upping the  relative size to 1/48 as I want it to be roomier inside.

 So far I am happy with this the fourth iteration of the command section for this project. It has a certain brutalist esthetic which I quite like. There is a very good chance this is the final version and I will take this model through to completion.

Thanks for looking.

More soon...

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