Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Blade Runner Spinner has landed

Lovely big box has just arrived from Japan and here we hace one of my favourite craft from my all-time favourite film.
Its lovely and big, being 1/24th scale and that scale should mean making a diorama for it be kinda easy.
But... I'm torn.
I want to crack on and build it. But it'd look great with the light bars all lit up. Maybe flashing even. And somone sitting in it would be great.
I don't want to build it and then, a coupla months down the line, find there's pilot and light accessories to buy for it.
As i say, am torn.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Star Wars Bounty Hunters - even more colour

Quite a bit of progress here.
From left to right:
Bossk has his flight suit dirtied down with a brown wash, his bib affair and straps are blocked in with Vallejo "Ivory" and i've basecoated his eyes with GW "Skull White".
Fett has had his green armour pieces dirtied down a tad, his forearm thingy based in Vallejo "Flat Red" and his shoulder pad and what will be his red bit of the helmet based in the "Skull White".
Zuckuss has had dark washes of brown applied to his/her coat, some of the whatever the hell they are tendril things picked out in a different brown and washed, her/his belly plate based in GW "Bleached Bone", i've rebuilt his/her damaged left hand in Milliput and i've picked out the glass sections of the vial thingy in white with a wee bit of brown ink in the bottom half. Reason being, i'll come to in due course.

AB36 Wrecker Droid - progress

Been rather neglecting this poor chap of late, but here he is with head on and i've just started to add some cabling up from his legs to the torso.
I'm umming and ahhing as whether to add tanks etc to the legs but i'm thinking i won't - reckon by having the arms and legs spindly will contrast with the bulky, solid head/torso affair.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Under The Influence - 5

Being an occasional series while the paint is drying, the glue is hardening or waiting for enthusiasm to come back, where i have a waffle on the things, films, books and whatnot that had a direct influence on me, getting me into this hobby or the whole SF/fantasy malarky.
With the demise of the actual Bowerhouse magazine, thought it fitting to mention Martin.
He is, without any doubt at all, THE singular influence on me as both a modeller and a fan of SF hardware.
And what's odd about that is that i was a fan of his work for a long time without even knowing his name.
Not being able to remember whether i actually saw his appearance on "Blue Peter", i guess the first time i saw his work was on "Space 1999" and, boy, what an introduction - here i was seeing all those lovely detailed ships of the likes of the paperback books i was reading, given a spin and there on the telly. Couldn't give a stuff about the plot or the characters, just let me see the next effect please. I could illustrate the point with any (large) number of his designs, but i've gone with this here gun, which is an excellent example of Martin's ability to take a recognisible object (in this case the Flying Sub kit from "Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea") and change it into something totally unique:

Around the same time, i was also seeing his work on "The Tomorrow People" but, of course, with that shows cheaper production values, things weren't as effective:

It was with the Starlord comic that i first came across Martin's name, as he did the classic run of back page illustrations:

Guess it was with "Alien" and the slew of publications on it that it finally registered though just who Martin was. Again, tons of obvious examples i could go for, but i've chosen the Airlock from Kane's burial as its a textbook example of brilliant modelling on a small scale, weathered just right:

And, at the same time, he was making iconic craft for tellys "Blakes 7":

SO hard to try and illustrate my point with just five photos, but i've tried. Martin, you're a genius and my hero.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

My model collection circa 1978

Hmmmm... what to make of this?
Well, that's my bedroom around about 1978 and, covering up that hideous wallpaper, quite a valuable now collection of Star Wars publications have been butchered to form a photo wall (i can pin it down to '78 as the other long wall was covered in similarly hacked about Galactica products).
And in front, a lovely unit housing my then collection of SF hardware.
Lets take a look shalll we?

Top shelf, left to right we have:
(1) One of the wings of Vaders fighter, with a cockpit put where the body would've joined it and an engine on the back. Always liked this and may do one again.
(2) The squat, almost Thunderbird 2 thing started as an Action Man jetpack
(3) An oddly not orange Hawk
(4) An Angel
(5) A Viper
Bottom shelf:
(1) An Orion which, for some reason, i'd beat right up. Weathering in those days was just to slop some Humbrol Black around
(2) That's the rear of an Eagle and i've used a couple of the naturally occuring squares on the foreward facing side to be windows, just painting them black. Really like what i did there - almost has a Silent Running Drone look to it.
(3) There's something behind that but can't make out what it is.
(4) That's the ship i stumbled across again a few years back. Will have to dig it out again as a couple of lines won't describe it.
(5) Really liked this one. Its the hull of a 1/35th tank turned upside down to start off and it had X Wing weapons prongs as, er, prongs at the front.
(6) That's the other half of the Eagle, including the beak. I'd painted each panel red for some reason.
(7) Behind that is the stand for the Viper, whcih i'd turned into a ship. Again, something i'll recreate one day
(8) Lastly, the other Vader wing, this time turned up the other way, with a bubble cockpit up top.
And that was what i was building in '78.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Star Wars Bounty Hunters - more colour

Right, here i've put a wash of the base colours on Bossk and Fessk mixed with black to darken all the recesses.
And on Zuckuss i've put on a sloppy wash of dark brown, making sure it pools in places to try and break up all those smooth surfaces.
I may or may not leave it like that as, in some pics he/she has quite light skin. Will wait and see what i think once the coat is done.

And here i've added more colours and, them being just solid colours, everything now looks quite toy-like.
Fett's armour is GW "Goblin Green" and Bossk's flight suit is Vallejo "Flat Yellow". I'm surprised its that colour. Its obviously the same UK flight suit that the Rebel pilots wear but yellow instead of orange. I've seen the orange one loads of times in flight musuems but never a yellow one. Hand coloured for the film then?

I'm also in the middle here of drybrushing Bossk's skin and, again, i've got to decide just how light it should go, as it varies from shot to shot.
Something else i've got to decide on is what to do with Zuckuss' legs. They're not on show in the film, the coat hanging down to the ground, so are they bare legs or trousers?

Monday, 21 November 2011

Wells' Martian - the eyes have it.

With his eyes, done that's him finished. As anyone who's read the book will know, Wells is at his vaguest when describing the eyes.
First up, we have:
"... two luminous discs - like eyes". From that we get they have a couple of discs. Not eyes, but discs that could be called eyes. And they glow or are internally lit. Or something.
Then we have:
"Two large dark-coloured eyes". Oh, so now they ARE eyes. And are dark. No luminsosity at all.
Okay, how to do that then?
I've ummed and ahhed all over this build on that very point and, in the end, decided to go with this compromise here - have them large with a very dark brown and black iris centre, but ring it with a bright yellow to try and convey the luminous, disc description.
And i've deliberately made the eyes wonky - not only to make the fella look more odd, but i feared having them correct would make him cute.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Star Wars Bounty Hunters - blocking in colours

After a good wash and a prime in White (the statue that is), i can start to block things in.
Like all the figure kits i do, i go in the order of getting dressed: flesh first, then the layers from there outwards.
Bossk has what appears to be a real olive drab sort of colouring, so i've started here with Games Workshops "Gretchin Green."
Fett of course doesn't have an inch of flesh on show, so next layer up is his fetching boilersuit. Researching that, be it film stills or folks recreations, the colour of it can vary wildly, anything from Egg Blue up through seemingly every shade of Light Grey. As a compromise i've gone with Vallejo's "Light Green Blue", which is a nice light grey with a nod to the blue in it.
Zuckess is a bit more of a problem, as film stills can have his/her skin as being anything from a tan to normal flesh to almost as brown as his/her coat thingy. So i've decided to start with Games Workshops "Bleached Bone" and go from there.

Gateway 20 - starting

Okay, here we go then. As i say, i want to keep to the Overlander look of having quite a flat, low slung body so i've decided not to go any higher than the existing cabin roof.
Well, a little bit anyway - i've stuck this piece to fill the huge gap that was sitting at the back of the cabin and i'm guessing most of you will recognise it as one of the side bits from the MPC Millenium Falcon.
The cabin tips up and i'm keeping this feature as i'll be doing that once everythings done and painted so i can put in the windows from the inside - a lot easier than trying to mask up the outside.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Star Wars Bounty Hunters

Having finished my Dianoga, i had a hankering to have a go at another not very obvious Star Wars character and, after a good ponder, decided maybe to do a Bossk as he's always been one of my favourite Bounty Hunters in "Empire", coming across as a Star Trek Gorn in Luke's X Wing fatigues with a vocal style just like mine when i've had a few bevvies:

Trouble is, kits of the fella are VERY far and few between so that'd be a problem. But then i remembered this nifty statue made by Applause in the 90's that featured him, Fett and Zuckuss:

I've always liked it for the nice posing and especially that Boba seems to be the Cam Kennedy comic book version with the nice long neck making the helmet even more distinctive.
And that you get Zuckuss, an unfairly over-looked by Fett/IG88/Bossk, chappie:

The statue has always been way out of my price range, but i've been keeping an eye out on the 'Bay and just got this one for only a tenner. Surprised to see its a Limited Edition and mine's 4627/5000.
At the price i paid for it, figure i can do what i like with it so i'm going to repaint the whole thing, making each character hopefully screen accurate.
It should work ok. I thought the detail might be a bit soft, being a one-piece casting, but its not too bad:

Way i see it, there's two challenges: painting three figures together that are stuck on the base, and to repair Zuckess' left hand, which has a large section missing:

Should be fun though.

Cylon Raider - a coupla stages along.

Okay, i picked out some panels and stuff in a Dark Grey. Again, there seems to be quite a variation in just what is picked out like this from model to model, so i went with the most common one's.
Then it was on with a coat of Gloss Varnish and then decal time:

This went a lot easier than i thought it would as its a pretty old model now and decals tend to become incredibly brittle with age, and i wasn't looking forward to putting these whacking great big upper stripes on such a long, detailed surface. But, they went on fine with no probs.
Next it was a coat of Matt Varnish and here you can see i've started with the pastelling:

You never see a Raider close up in the original show, so i've no idea how beat up they'd be, but figure a robot race wouldn't spend a vast amount of cleaning would they? Although that doesn't explain who keeps buffing up their chrome...

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The many faces of a Wampa

I love the Net - you go off looking for info for one thing and come across something you weren't looking for, but were glad you did, even though you don't really need to know it.
Case in point here.
I've always thought there were two Wampa's in "Empire" - the rather Yeti-like one who roars up and attacks Luke:

And the much more feral, mean one seen in the Special Edition:

Two, right?

Pretty stunned to find this *ahem* "unusual" version of the fella and kinda dismissed it as one of the whole bunch of maquettes and mock ups made prior to shooting, one of those wildly in variance designs that were chucked out for George's perusal, much like the blue Yoda and the Santa Yoda.
Doubly stunned then to find that not only was it made by Stuart Freeborn, the genius who sculpted Yoda (and who quite wisely keeps this guy off his CV)but it was actually used on-screen:

NOW i know why it runs at Luke playing peekaboo...
I had a final stunned moment to find that there was actually a fourth one, who mercifully didn't make it up there:

Nurgle Titan - all finished

Here she all done then - and currently on sale on eBay.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Gateway 20

Earlier this year, the last ever Dronearama - the bi-annual modelling convention for the Film & TV Modelling Club - was held up in Nottingham.
Talking with Andrew, the originator of the club and editor of its excellent "Drone" magazine, he was saying how next year the club and mag would be 20-years old and how it'd be a shame not to mark the occasion in some way.
Over the weekend, the idea of a one day meet for folk to get together in Nottingham to celebrate was proposed and was met enthusiastically.
Out of that grew the idea of not having a model show like past events, but what if folk got a quarter inch thick piece of MDF, either 2'X2' or 1'X2' and on it build a section of a space base.
As long as one side met the edge, the idea is they could all be put together to form a large display.
And, as long as the base coat was Halfords Grey Primer to try and convey a unity of it being built all at the same time, it could then be adapted in any way the builder likes - sort of a Mos Eisley affair.
And whether you build a fuel dump, landing pad, buildings, would be up to you.
And it would be called "Gateway 20" as we stay at the Gateway hotel and its a 20 year celebration.
Initially i had the idea of using half of the saucer hull from the old "Star Trek The Motion Picture" Enterprise turned upside-down and stuck on a pole for a raised landing platform.
But i was recently at a boot fair and got a big Matchbox space playset for a quid, which offered by these choice pieces:

So i'm now going for a vertical launch pad, kind of like the Lunar Modules one in "UFO", with a carrier craft alongside it.
Here you see them close up. As the launch pad will be mainly grey, i'm going to have the ship a nice bright colour for contrast.

The tank really reminds me of the Overlander from "Terrahawks", possibly the last superb model from the Gerry Anderson shows:

and is a real nifty item considering its a toy. I quite like its orange and white colouring and will be keeping it methinks.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

R.I.P Bowerhouse magazine

Shame to have to type this, but i'm afraid the printed version of Bowerhouse is no more.
Martin has taken the decision to move into electronic publishing for the title and, of course, i wish him all the very best with it.
Personally, i'm gutted the physical copy has ended as it was the frustration of buying a magazine solely for an article with Martin, only to feel cheated that the paltry few pages given over to him would only roughly go into the model making processes he used for certain projects.
And it was that frustration, and a desire to see the magazine i always wanted, that gave me the initial idea of Bowerhouse and started the ball rolling.
There's no room for any of us original bods in this new incarnation the publication is taking, so i wave me hanky as it sets sail for new territories.
All the best Bowerhouse.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Cylon Raider - ready for paint

Nice bit of progress here.
I've covered the holes at the front where the rockets used to go with a couple of engine nozzles from, i think, a 1/72nd Tornado:

And i've covered up the gappy engine area. I blanked it off with Plasticard and then had to decide what to do with those rather daft looking engines just sitting there. Looking on the Net, a lot of folk seem to prefer to put in a baffle arrangement, so i've done the same, cutting down a cable tie for each side. Used them rather than more Plasticard as i figure the ribbing will give a bit more detail:

And here you can see i've put extra pieces down in that trench affair between the two wings parts and added those tiny clear red pieces. The two together there are to try and get across a similar feature that's on the studio model.

Finally, here she is in Halfords Grey Primer. I've been umming and ahhing over what the top caot will be as, looking around, folk seem to do them anything from dark grey, through all the shades of grey, up almost to cream.
I was planning on going with Tamiya JA Grey meself, figuring the Primer would be far too dark.
But, quite like it as is.
So i'm staying with it.

Incidently, there's a gap as you can see at the rear of the canopy. That's because i've only Blu Tac'd it in place as, hopefully, one day i can get a clear canopy and cockpit set.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Under The Influence - 4

Being born in '62, guess i was just the right age for when Irwin Allen's output was first released.
Loved The Time Tunnel - though that was more down to a prepubescent crush on Lee Merriwether.
Ditto Land Of The Giants and Heather Young.
Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea i was interested in only if it had monsters in it - you could keep all your Cold War boringness.
But Lost In Space was my favourite because, well, it was in space. Every week. With monsters.
Looking at it now (and i can only bear the occasional Season 2 episode), its pretty duff stuff, with duff plots, duffer acting and even duffer makeup effects.
Except for these two, and the reason for the shows inclusion here.
Up until this point, it'd never occured to me that anything on the telly could be scary.
But these two were, and still get a reaction out of me now.
First up, "The Golden Man". Watch the episode and its pretty bad. But this guys lop-sided face and, especially the wonky eyes, was like nothing i'd ever seen before:

And then we have "The Cyclops", a truely scary creation which, unlike pretty much ever other monster on the show, was lit and photographed well:

So popular was he that he spawned this kit which, alas, i've never owned, rather just pined for it over the ads in DC comics:

Thought you might like to see a shot of the guy who played him, Lamar Lundy:

Monday, 7 November 2011

From the back of the cabinet - ID Monster

Bought this lovely clear red monster from the fabulously brilliant, easily in my Top Ten Films, Forbidden Planet years back.
They did a real good job and translating what, in the film, was basically outline into a physical model.
Its not apparent in the shot above that he actually lights up to try and convey how he appears in the film.
Decided to do that while playing around with him, holding him up to the light:

So, made up a base from an old picture frame and,when he's on it, there's two super bright LED's shining up through holes where his feet go.
Its not that effective unless the room is VERY dark:

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Cylon Raider - gaps

The ship arrived safe and sound and its just as i remembered it - nice and big and quite well detailed.
Having said that, there are areas that are more detailed than others and the lacking parts could do with a few greeblies put on.
So that's what i'll do.
I've also got to cover up the holes in the front where the missles fired out (this kit didn't come with them, so makes it the later re-release).
And i have to address the bad gaps that i remembered.
This one's not too bad, being a small gap at the top of the cowls:

But this is the worst culprit:

The engine parts are just these two squares just sat there, with nothing behind them, meaning you can see right to the other end of the ship.
So, will be putting some blanking plates in with a bunch of detail to convey the inner workings.