Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Dragonfly Ship - Primed

Here she is all grey in my spray booth - in the back garden propped up on boxes.
Like this stage as everything pulls together and has "weight".
Started this ship wih a Ma.K style livery to it but, as time went on and especially when i decided to add wings, i've changed tack and will go for a Chris Foss type paint scheme.
Rummiging through the spray cans i've come across a mettalic gold that i've used only once on my Sky1 so will be going with that.
And here's the wings - two 1/24th helicopter blades sat on a tank wheel for a spacer and an exhaust from the 1/24th Harrier on top.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Dragonfly Ship - moving forward

At last some progress here. Was in my local Modelzone yesterday and they're good in that they don't mind me having a nose through the Tamiya boxes as they aren't sealed down.
I was looking for a new 1/35th military kit by them as they're an excellent source for tiny detail and nifty shapes.
I'd been up the German 88mm gun for some time as there's all the barrel bits i could use and the stand looks like it has potential.
But then i saw the part that's for the gun's trailers wheel arches and body. It a lovely, curvy affair that looked like it'd straddle the neck of this ship quite nicely and be the basis for then building up a bit to then attach the wings.
Get it home and, joy!, it fits perfect.
You can see i've added two orange hemipsheres to the piece. That's a trick i picked up from Martin Bower - yo-yo's come in all sorts of sizes, are cheap, made of styrene and easily snap apart to provide two hemipsheres for a fraction of what they'd cost from EMA.
Ta Martin.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

German Satellite - progress

Okay, top shot you have the finished Communications Array. You can see i've stuck on some of my tried and trusted pinstripes. That's because a lot of the airholes are so fine and so numerous that i can't get into all the intricate areas to fill them, let alone sand them down. So by putting the stripes on i'm cheating by covering them up - and in the process adding extra panel detail i suppose. Trouble is, since i took this photo i've primed it and all those airholes thought i hoped were under the surface aren't. So more stipes then...
Next up isn't the rear of the craft. They might look like engine bells but this is actually the front and these are the weapon tubes.
And bottom we have a side view to show the tiny, intricate pieces that'll be glued all down the middle.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Staring at a Plastic Crack

And finally my friend The Bronze pulls his whatnot out and gets himself a Blog like this to record his modelling projects.
About blummin' time - he's got a vast collection of unmade kits - figures, craft, busts, everything - stored up in his attic but his modelling mojo left him quite a while ago, leaving them all to dust up.
Hopefully a Blog will spur him on and we'll see results quickly.
And, timing or what?, his first kit he brings down and unwraps is the Liberator:

Top Five Craft - #2

Ooooo, these last two have been real difficult to sort out which comes where. Have ummed and ahhed and second place goes to this beauty - a classic, original ship, once seen never forgotten.
But the way it came into being was almost as unique...
In an unusual move, designer Roger Murray-Leach was given the assignment of coming up with both the Liberator's exterior and interior. This was flying right in the face of tradition and seems wasn't a popular move with the Special Effects department, who would normally be given the task of coming up with any spacecraft appearance.
Ian Scoones, who supervised all the effects for the first series and a lot of the SFX designs (DO hope the upcoming book gives itself over to a nice chunk for him) had already come up with his own Liberator, only to be told that Roger's version had already been approved.
As far as i know (again, hopefully the new book might shed light) no image of Ian's version exists but it seems it was far more functional than the final version, being remarkably similar to Series 4's Scorpio.
So, Ian had a design that wasn't his but he had to use. In a interview, Ian said that he felt the Liberator was "terribly Eastern, architecturally... you can tell a set designer has designed it rather than somebody into spaceships!" He made one small change though and that was to change the oval rear to a more practical sphere. He then passed the actual building of the ship over to Space Models (already well experienced in SF craft building, having built models for UFO and Space 1999).
Upon taking delivery of the completed ship, Ian then passed it on to Martin Bower, who set about detailing it as the surfaces were pretty bland, giving no sense of scale. Having only two days, Martin did a sterling job, putting the sort of incredibly fine detail onto the surfaces he would become quite rightly regarded for only a couple of years later on "Alien" and then "Outland".
He was also responsible for adding the four red oxide blocks around the nose area and the white stripes on the green sphere - i guess to stop folk thinking (as he and Ian did at first) that the ball was the actual cockpit and the ship was only meant to be about 10 feet long.
Shooting began and it soon became apparent that the model was far too heavy to be flown on wires. Ian again: "There are many ways of flying a model so you don't see the wires, and the Liberator was just a damn difficult thing to fly, whether it was on wires, poles or whatever else." So, Martin built a second smaller version, replicating all the lovely detail in the new scale. There was also a 20 inch version built for long shots using EMA tubing and Perspex.
Another, repetitive problem was the light source in the sphere being left on and melting the ball - needing complete replacement.
Most of series one's effects budget was spent on the first three episodes at Bray Studios (and boy does that show in the later episodes). Ian also filmed several "beauty shots" of the Liberator that were used as stock footage including the above of the ship very moodily lit flying past two planets and a sun.
Many more sequences were filmed at Bray but were never used. Some of the shows directors insisted on using footage they had shot themselves rather this library of existing, never before seen shots, so that "their" episodes were all filmed by them. This resulted in really rather poor scenes, made by BBC folk who had no idea how to light or photograph models properly. The also often made the mistake of using the smaller Liberators that just didn't have the detail of the 3 footer and couldn't bear up to close examination.
When not being used, the 3 footer could be taken apart and stored away. That proved to be time consuming to do and therefore was used less and less as the show progressed -again meaning lesser quality shots being obtained.
You'd think then that, as we went into multiple seasons, that the effects would suffer more and move further away from the excellent, distinctive sequences shot at Bray way back at the start.
Its comes as a suprise then that the definitive Liberator effects shot for me was in "Ultraworld" from Series 3.
They're using the 3 foot model, lit and shot properly, and in a model setting that both complements it and fits right in.
Oh, for the rest of the modelwork in the show to be like this.
And that for me is how i like to remember her - she sailed off into the galaxy, never flew through that glop, never corroded, never blew up and the 3 foot model still exists in pristine condition with fans able to marvel at the design and craftmanship of her at conventions. (typed along to Abba's "I Have A Dream")

Friday, 18 June 2010

German Satellite - Communications Array

Okay, off we go. Here's the three parts that make up the Communications Array that sits up top.
The two smaller pieces were no prob at all - just a small amount of flash to remove and no airholes. You can also see i've drilled the holes for the front probe-thingies, which will made from some of the brass rod.
The bigger piece is the worst for casting in the whole kit, with this whacking great pouring lug being the main culprit, along with numerous airholes dotted about. Some seem to be open and some seem to be just below the surface. And i won't know which for sure until i put paint on. So best to assume they'll all show up and deal with them now.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Mad Max - the Toecutters helmet

Just stumbled upon this amazing shot of the prosthetic head and bulging eyes of the Toecutter from Mad Max. Its used with permission of, who's links below.
Even though the shot in the film was a matter of few frames, it always bugged me how unreal it looked (much like the clearly painted slab of hardboard stuck to the front of the lorry at the end of Mad Max 2).
But seeing it here out of context, it actually looks really good doesn't it?
That's the original helmet too - complete with nifty Kali statue.
Pleased to see both are safe and being cared for.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

German Satellite - radar dish

Thought i might have a problem here with the crapness of the actual radar dish and aerial - but it turns out i need to drill out the elongated piece and insert the brass tube. Seems the resin tube was just a pouring a lug.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Space Shuttle External Tank - an appreciation

Just bought 2 of the Airfix Space Shuttle and Boosters kits for an upcoming project (will announce that when i've a few more parts and know its a viable venture).
Built the bigger Shuttle before but never the one with the Boosters so its the first time i've seen this, which i need for that maybe project, the External Tank.
Just built like this, there's something about its dimensions and the detail that's just so cool.
Can see why its a staple of a lot of SF builds, no more so than here it is here, in probably the most extreme form, the Engine Room from "Alien".

German Satellite has landed

Got this today, opened the box, and... VERY nice.
Detail is lovely and fine, spread all over the main part and the pieces that make up the conning tower affair.
There's a lot of panels to add even more detail to it and, a very nice touch, two jewel boxes that contain the very small parts.
There's also the brass rod needed for the bits and bobs, good decals, a four page instruction sheet with lots of pics, and a nifty, clear studio photo for reference (athough that's really not needed as the instructions are very concise and clear).
All in all you get a feeling its a kit for SF modellers made by SF modellers.
Only niggle is the quite widespread airholes (some tiny, some obscuring detail) and an 'orrible pouring mistake on one of the tower parts.
eager to crack on with this, so off to the supermarket in a mo' to get a bowl and cheap toothbrush to give everything a scrub.

Plague Ogryn - done.

Here you go with the beastie then.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

War Of The Worlds tat

Can't bear to type this twice, fearing i'll either cry or puke.
So, follow this link - and wave goodbye to common sense:

Monday, 7 June 2010

A Predator Build Blog

My good friend Ian - or the Bronze as he's known in this Blogoverse - has just started up his own Blog to chronicle the build of a truely awesome Predator kit. Gonna watch it with interest - but hoping it doesn't give me the urge to get one meself...

Friday, 4 June 2010

Dragonfly Ship - a bit more

Still only the one "eye" on and still not found anything suitable for the unit that'll hold the wings, but slowly adding a part here, a panel there.

Got me Cybermen

Picked up this 3 action figure box set on the 'Bay and very pleased i am too. The sculpts are excellent - the cloth face of the "Tenth Planet" one is very accurate, the balls-with-holes-in that were such a staple of gym in junior school are there on the "Tomb Of The Cyberman" and the "Revenge Of The Cybermen" is patently wearing the wetsuit-sprayed-silver clobber.
Not apparent from this pic is the lovely detail under the clear surfaces of the control panels. And the joins aren't that noticible.
Only downside is that you don't get the 3 seperate parts of the Cyber Controller. Mind you, to finish him i'd need an "Earthshock" version - and i'd rather not thank you.

Off The Shelf - 7 - B7 Pursuit Ship

Don't think i built this after i'd set up this here Blog, so here she is dusted off for you.
It was a real nice build and still love the design. The original was mainly EMA and Harrier parts so am toying with maybe - maybe - having a go a studio scale recreation...

Thursday, 3 June 2010

ABOUT FLAMIN' TIME! - BBC effects book on the way

Top Five Craft - #3

Derek Meddings and his crew make this ship my Number Three. A stunning example of minimilist design - what is there but two domes, some teardrop shapes and a few vanes? - which to my mind isn't just the best craft ever created for an Anderson series but also a textbook example of the modelwork blending perfectly with soundeffects.
If you were born anytime up to about 1970, i defy you to listen to it and not get a shiver.
That's my Number 3.

Zygon - done.

So, came up with a compromise between promo shots and the actual colour they appear on screen. Its a really nice, accurate figure, with the pot belly and the leaning forward posture. And the joints were nice and easy to cover up - unlike some of the other figures *cough" Morbius.
Just wish it was bigger.

Louie - starting on the base

Just blocking in the grass right now. Did consider using railway scenic static grass but i'm not a fan of mixing mediums to produce a final effect and would rather have everything have the same surface apperrance. So, no fake grass on landscapes and no fake hair on figures.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Plague Ogryn - poxed up

Hade great fun doing the icky stuff, which was pretty widespread - this is one sick boyo. All that's left now is to do the one boot and the scrap of clotning.
Which consists of a trouser leg and gusset.
Its odd. Games Workshop/Forge World don't have a problem depicting rot and gore - but shy away from nadgers and feel the need to cover them up.
Mind you, painting poxy plumbing ain't my idea of fun, so maybe that's a good thing.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Anyone got spare fuel tanks?

Hi folks.
Am planning a new project and the basis of it needs two external fuel tanks from the 1/44th Space Shuttle kit (company doesn't matter).
Only need the tanks and don't want to be saddled with a load of parts that i don't need so was wondering:
anyone got one (or two) of the tanks they'd consider selling?