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Space Cruiser


As it stood.

A kitbash pure and simple.

This is the first project on my workbench to occupy my newly rekindled model making attentions.  I put this one together out of some of the parts I had laying around from my other kits.  Just which parts, some of you can probably guess.  Here's a picture detailing them.  In April of '02 I decided to revisit this model of mine that I had first put together some twenty odd year previously.  I figured it was a good place to start.  The model is small, simple, and would be a good way for me to practice my long out of date model making skills.

Of course, things had to change.  With a model this simple that meant a pretty simple change as well, even if it was a change that significantly altered the model appearance.  I didn't like the way I had placed the "engines" so I removed them.  Carefully.  I plan on reattaching them at right angles to the main hull.  This, as opposed to the distinct anhedral they were formerly at.

Once I had them removed I began to shape their attachment points to a better fit with the hull.  I started off using files to do this but that soon proved problematic.  The radius of the hull's curve didn't match any of the files I had.  I kept at this for a bit, filing some, testing the fit, filing some more, testing the fit some more, before realizing that there was a better way.

My objective was to shape the attachment point to the correct contour of the hull.  Well, I had the hull right in front of me so why not use it to shape the attachment point directly?  The hull was already smooth enough and was of a constant section so all this really helped.  I simply wrapped a small piece of sandpaper around the hull and used that as the sanding surface.  Now the engine nacelles could be shaped directly in contact with their attachment points.  Pretty simple, pretty accurate, and pretty effective.

The only problem I encountered was in holding both the engines and the hull at the correct angle to each other as I did the sanding.  I think I'm going to have to work up some sort of jig to hold things in place in order to get the right fit I need.

In any event I soon had them shaped well enough to try my hand at the hull itself.  I sanded it down some more and removed some of the more lumpy applications of putty I originally put on it some twenty years ago.  When I had the thing sanded as smooth as I thought I could get it, I then applied new putty to what pits, scratches, and seems I found.  I waited for that to set overnight.  Then the next night I sanded that putty job down.

At this point I did something new for me - I used some primer.  I never used to do this back when last I was making models.  But then, I also used to put the paint on using a brush - and it was one of those ubiquitous Testor's brushes at that!  Well, times have changed and I'm also aware of the advantages of putting on a light coat of primer to help see what areas still needed attention.

So, I broke out my can of Tamiya gray primer and had at it.

Long ago I had started using an airbrush to paint my models.  I still probably do have that airbrush around somewhere but I have since bought a new one and will use that for now.  For the primer I used a can of it instead of unlimbering my new airbrush.  I had forgotten what a stink that stuff makes.

I had opened one of the windows in the room and had also made sure to close the closet door (which is right next to my workbench) so that none of the spray cloud got deposited on my jackets and such.  With the stink and all, I also closed the door to the room itself (which is right next to my workbench on its other side.)  I propped up the parts and called it a night.  This also caused me to rethink the way I went about securing these parts so that I could spray them.  I'm going to have to come up with something better than what I have so far.

The next morning I examined what I had wrought.  Sure enough, despite my best sanding and filling efforts there were still some pits and scratches left to tend to.  That evening I did just that.

More putty, more sanding, more primer, more sanding, more putty...

I will say that my little model looked vastly different in a uniform coat of neutral gray then it did in its raw molded plastic.  Not good enough though to leave as is.  So, out came more putty, then more sanding, then more putty.

One problem area that I found was the engines.  I had taken the heads off of two disposable razors because I liked their shape.  Then I had applied a rather thick layer of putty to cover the face of the razor head and make it look "right."   Getting the right angles on the edges though, proved to be more difficult than I had thought.

Untrue and rough edges

After a couple of go 'rounds with this I think I'm getting the hang of it.  One thing that helps is that I have a nice flat and smooth workbench surface.  So, I'm simply laying out a piece of sandpaper on that and then working the piece on top of it.  Eventually, I'll get the right angles for the edges that I'm looking for.

On the back end of this "space cruiser" I set up a "landing bay."  For this I used the spare engine cowling that came with a 1/72nd scale Zero kit.

Landing Bay

Nowadays this would have to be previously detailed if not also illuminated with fiber optics.  Of course.  However, I've already spent too much time filling in and smoothing the seam on this so I don't think I'll be cutting it apart just yet.  What I may do here though is make some detailed and colored paper cutouts to insert in place.  We'll see.

Once I got everything sanded back down as smoothly as I could again, it was time for another round of primering.  Here are the bits all set up for their painting.

Ready for more primer

As I said, I've got to come up with a better way of securing things than that which I have so far.  The landing bay does provide a good point to hold the hull from the inside with but even as I stuff it with that Kleenex it still wobbles a bit.  However, if I take a care it holds things tight enough to do the job.

This time I took all this stuff outside to spray on the primer.  It still stunk but that stink was outside and not in my house.  With everything painted I took them in and secured them on my workbench.

Drying in the rack




Of course, this still needs more puttying and sanding.  I'm closer though.  I'm going to be looking at how best to shape the engine attachments such that I get the angle I want as well as each one being equal in position and such.  That will present a problem as they were unequal in length to start with.
 
 

04/20/02 

More sanding and more puttying.  In the process of this I discovered that I had sanded down the rear portion of the hull so much that it was now too thin.  I am using the spare cowling from an old Japanese Zero kit to form the landing bay at the rear of the ship.  The diameter of the cowling and of the pontoon, which forms the hull, are about the same.  About but not exactly.  So, sanding and puttying have been the order of the day.  That has worked until this point.  Now I find the bottom portion where the two join has become paper thin.  Too thin.  It is now cracking an peeling.  Can't have that.  So, I used a bit of the thin plastic strip that came as a stiffener in a packaged shirt I bought, to be a "form."  I welded that in to place and then smeared putty up along its sides using the plastic strip as a guide.  This has worked rather well.  Of course, it also meant more sanding and puttying too.


 
04/22/02

This weekend saw a lot of effort here.  I got the addition to the hull fully puttied and smoothed.  Then I attacked the fit of the two nacelles.  I puttied in the hole that was molded in to the handle of the razors who's heads make up the nacelles.  I also did more puttying of the little nicks and voids on both of the nacelles and on the hull as well.  Sunday saw me finally through in the towel when it came to trying to sand the joint of the nacelles in to the proper depth and angel.  Instead, I decided to make an armature and "hang" the nacelles off of that.
 

A bit of the ol' clotheshanger
Unfortunately, the putty which I had put in to the central hole had not cured all the way through.  So, when I tried hand drilling through it, it came loose.  That wouldn't do.  So, I took both nacelles out to my garage and set up my drill press.  That drills holes that are very true and also has sufficient control over the drill bit that it would not wander along the path of least resistance.  This was important as the hole I wished to drill was not centered where the molded hole was.  Hand drilling would not have worked without the hardened putty filling that void.  The drill press, though, went in fine.  Too fine actually.  It went clean through the other side on one of the nacelles.  Oh well, that's what putty is for!
Things hung together nicely with the wire supporting them.  The only problem would be gluing them in place nicely too.  During my run out to the hobby store on Saturday, I had made a purchase anticipating this.  I bought a bottle of "Zap A Gap" gap filling superglue.  Once I had my pieces in place I carefully applied a few drops of the glue to the joints.  I expected to have to wait for this goop to set up and solidify.  I didn't have long to wait.  No more than a few seconds past and, presto!  I had a rock solid bond.

I love it when a plan all comes together

Doing all this settled whether I would attach them first or paint the whole thing first.  Now though I'm in something of a jam as it is very difficult to adequately shape the joint areas.  I've tried to do what I can as far as puttying goes but getting in there to smooth down the putty is proving difficult.

A close quarter join

This shot above here is much bigger than life!  The space between the inner edge of the nacelle there on the left and the hull tube in the center is no more than half an inch.  More detailed work here!

Another thing I am working on is how best to provide some surface detailing.  I'm going to have to work up the scale of this model and then that will direct the size of that detailing.  I don't think my hand/ eye coordination is good enough to do much drawing of panels and doors on the hull and nor do I want to tack on a bunch of greeblies just for the sake of breaking things up.

One thing I've thought of doing is using some adhesive film.  If it is thin enough, I could draw my panels, doors, windows, hatches, etc., on that, cut them out on that, and then apply it all to the surface of the model.  I'm thinking that this would provide an appropriately scale level of detail to the otherwise very smooth surface.  Another thing I'll be investigating.

So, that's where things stand for now.  I'll be puttering along with this for some time to come but this is something I intend on having finished in the near term.

If you have any comments or suggestions about this then please drop me a line.

Thanks,

Madoc

 


If you would like to know more about me, then ask me directly.  Just click on my email address here:
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In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed your "stay" at this site.  Check back again to see what new images I have added.  Until then, stay well, play hard, play safe, and have fun!

Madoc

This page was last updated on: 27 February 2003  


Unless otherwise noted, all photographs and images on this page are copyright protected property of Madoc Pope.  If you would like to use any of my images you must contact me first before you do so.

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In the meantime, I hope you have enjoyed your "stay" at this site.  Check back again to see what new images I have added.  Until then, stay well, play hard, play safe, and have fun!

Madoc