Project V/15

Sienar Fleet Systems TIE Interceptor

It's quite probable that I'll be blabbering endlessly how the TIE Interceptor is one of my favourite scifi ships ever. In the Star Wars universe it's in the hottest top with Star Destroyers, Lambda-class shuttles, Nebulon-B Frigates and the classic TIE/ln fighters.

Ancient memories

Closer to two decades ago I built a T/I model, back in the day when I was still painting with Revell enamels. It was a very nice model, I recall, even though the pilot figure the kit had looked more like Yuri Gagarin with his spacesuit and I didn't know how or dare to customize it. Therefore I didn't add the pilot to ruin my model.

The only photo I had in my archives

A pocket model

Let's cut the nonsense and get back to the modern times. This Revell kit would most likely not be as neat, but we'd find it out soon enough.

"Easykit pocket" is what the packet says and it claims that no painting or such would be needed. All I could do was laugh. The box revealed a small pair of wings, two spruefuls of prepainted pieces, two difficult-to-mask windows and a most likely pretty useless instruction sheet.

But the pilot figure, that one amazed me. It actually looked a bit like a Pilot of the Imperial Navy! I didn't check those tubes too closely, so maybe I'll end up redoing them. The chest box itself looked a bit underdone or half-done. Some light customization was waiting for me, hooray!



It's the time to mumble about another achieved milestone, the previous one was two years ago. Hence we can calculate the age of the 'mumblings: 5 years. I'm actually quite surprised about the fact that I've kept this thing alive and up to date (content-wise).

Five years of mumblings

The result of these last two years has been a pile of gamestuff, a car, a Mentats box, just one sad tank, some lego, 'Mech tuning, a huge submarine and a scary number of planes. Apparently I haven't been myself at all or I've just spent that much time outside my comfort zone. Which is not a bad thing :)

Here's a sample of the finished projects since the last time:
[MiG-29 | Ju-87 | M-B A | Mentats | Panther G | U XXIII | N/AWA-10 | AT-AT | F-16A]

So yeah, I've got stuff done but what's still incomplete? My pygame project has been lying untouched since this February, when I decided that I'd need to change the scope quite a bit in order to finish it at some point. I just haven't had the mood for removing all the now excessive stuff and I've played other people's games instead.

The layout is still in the same state it was after my initial adjustments. One of these days I've got to sit down to gimp a favicon if nothing else. Being lazy I want to use one for the Finnish version and this one. Luckily both Projektimutinaa and Project mumblings can nicely use something like a "PM" or such.


At the moment I'm writing this the 'mumblings postlist says it contains 298 posts. Two of these are drafts (this one and another that's waiting for a few photos and a couple of explanatory paragraphs), five have been scheduled for the next mid-Wednesdays and the remaining 291 are already out for everyone to enjoy. I've managed to maintain my goal of producing 'content' once a week, no matter what I think of its quality.

During this year I've been doing more and more so that I've worked intensely and shared the reporting over a number of postings, in more or less sense-making subunits. This has allowed me to avoid the potential kilometer-long posts and I've managed to set up a buffer to protect me from a couple of weeks of "no can do" time. And sometimes I just haven't felt like working on anything or I haven't had the time to do a thing, so this buffer has fulfilled my self-imposed "once a week"-minimum limit.

According to the Blogger stats page the Project mumblings have been read 11k+ times, with very little promoting (mostly I've just shared a link in g+). The most popular posts have been the Model Expo posts, some Fallout stuff, the Imperial X-Wing prototype, MAD IIC and the recent single-session build post about the F-16. The trend is still rising and I've got no clue how or why :p


Finished: Project IV/15

The flying green man in his mysterious plane

Project time: 3h

So there, the flying thingie without any national markings got finished. I guess you couldn't not notice those numbers hiding inside the square brackets. With ease they were supposed to be recognized as an accumulating minute counter, the last one ending at 180. No, I didn't check the time spent with a stopwatch, but got a believable estimate of active time spent.

Why did I start fooling around with something like this? Because that's what gets asked surprisingly often: "How long does it take to do one of these?". My default answer has been "A handful of hours actively but months if you look at the calendar, depends on the model and who knows what else". This one, as I clearly stated in the assembly post, I slapped together like a rabid beast and it went pretty quickly, if you look at the minute counter. All the nonsense in June-July ruined my original speedbuild idea.

Of course one can tell with their eyes closed that I didn't do things, especially some details as carefully as they would've deserved. Just look at those drop tanks. I guess there are some gaps in the airframe itself as well, if looked at very carefully. Some puttying and sanding would've been enough to make the result that much better and I don't think it'd increased the completion time much, not even an hour.

Almost OOB but not quite

This Fighting Falcon could've ended looking ok without the rocket pods, but a totally toothless (the M61A1 doesn't count) would just have been very boring and wouldn't have fit the theme at all. I did think of adding two more pods, but when I looked at the pylons, to me they looked like the missiles only -kind, so I let it be, so that the ones who actually know something about semimodern planes wouldn't laugh themselves silly ;)

64th Aggressor

One thing I really have to improve is my photography. Or at least the backgrounds. I tried to achieve the same position and look where the MiG-29 looked really cool to me (and apparently some others). Maybe I should've taken a look at my older stuff instead of always trying to reinvent the wheel.


New methods


All the camo-painted surfaces I washed with Vallejo's Model Wash for grey & dark vehicles (76516). The remaining grey parts I then washed with their Model Wash for light colors (76513). Previously I had already applied a bit of my beyond ancient (bought in the very late '90s) Citadel's Blue Glaze, which is still alive and working. The effect is very subtle, if even noticeable. Then again, you could say the same about the tips of the rockets in this scale, so I didn't bother worrying about it.



The trickery department's tip of the Project was as follows: first the clearcoat, then the decals, finally the dullcoat. This was supposed to eliminate the ever so annoying silvering effect completely and help with who knows what else. If I did my weatherings more variedly than what I do, there'd be multiple coatings between each step.

Big boys have been yelling around the world that "this is the only way to do things, you hear?", I thought I'll give it a shot. First I applied a clearcoat (Vallejo Gloss Varnish (70510)) on the model, so it and the washes would be protected from the water, if nothing else. This would've been a good idea with the proto-hog already.

First thing in the next morning I took a look at how my model looked like and I was a bit disturbed with the glossiness. In the best case everything would be different the next morning, but still. Well, someone had to be the guinea pig and the wheel of misfortune stopped on the Falcon.

Oh myyy...

I still hate decals

My preparation for the decal part of the project was traditional. I threw all hope from the window and assumed that the model would follow very soon after. I decided to trust the mumblings in the net that claimed that the silvering would indeed not be a problem, so I didn't cut them off as paranoidly as I have previously done. Otherwise you couldn't - maybe - tell the difference between this method and my traditional approach.

Awesome. The second decal (between the canopy and the refueling slot signs) got bent and slightly tangled thanks to its annoying zigzag-shape. With a bit of swearing and frustration I got it straightened up somehow and soldiered on.

None of the other "NO STEP" signs gave me no problems, as long as we ignore that I put one of them (the rear one of the right wing) facing the wrong direction. Of course noticed way too late to fix it. There was nothing going on to the bottom, except a strange four-part red line behind the extra wing-thingies. Then the drop tanks got two red dots and two markings I assumed to be for some "lift here" info. Of those I ruined both of the ones going to the middle of the drop tank, they just went all spaghetti on me and I just couldn't salvage them no matter what.

This decal sheet had no 'murican roundels, just a couple of Belgian ones. I had no use for them, so I let it be with this thought "it's a make-believe enemy, so it'll be a flying green man".



Applying Vallejo Matt Varnish (70520) was my last item on the list. Before that I dabbed the model carefully with a cloth to remove any potential water residue. Then I started brushing on the coating. I started on the bottom, from the rear of the plane, going from the center outwards. This way I could hold onto the tail fin and keep the model nicely supported while working on it and the weird angles.

When done, I flipped the model around on its tyres and kept applying, still holding onto the fin for support. Now my brushing approach was the opposite: from nose to tail, from outer edges inward (to make sure that the tail fin was the last one to be processed).

In the middle of all this I noticed that the varnish had started to dry on the forward areas and I got really excited because the plane started to look just like the interwebs folks had claimed! It's almost shocking that there's some forum stuff that actually is true.

I took a couple of photos the next morning to see how things were going. It wasn't looking bad at all. The trickery department didn't fail but was actually useful. Yay! I could even go as far as declaring that the 'mumblings approve of this method.



The gunnery dept

An enemy plane should look like an enemy, to make it more believable in the war games, I guess. There were a couple of really fun-looking bombs in the AtG box, that I assume to have recognized as GBU-8 bombs with the friendly assistance of Google. Somehow they didn't feel like this Falcon for me, but more like the Hog. I decided to leave them in the box for the time being. Good old iron bombs also didn't have the feel, but rocket pods...


The nineteen-rocket capacity LAU-3 was something that I liked an awful lot in the OFP's helicopters. I built two pods to begin with and pondered if I wanted a double amount just because of the attitude. My main problem with these (and every other modern aircraft weapon) was the compability of the weapon and the plane's hardpoints and pylons. In the end I decided to leave my fancy plans and stick to two of these and the double drop tanks. And if I really needed to, I'd be able to set up two more pods pretty quickly.

The pieces were primed along some other stuff and later on I painted them light grey just like everything else on the bottom side of the plane. The faces and the rocket tips I painted metallic and later on I applied a bluish wash on the rocket tips (assuming that they don't play their war games with live ordnance).


The weapons platform

At this point I tore the canopy masks off. There had been a bit of leakage in a couple of places, but I scratched the thin sandy coloured mess off without any issues.

There were some comments about the pylons in the Finnish version. I did check the instructions and I had been wrong with my memory. The innermost pylons were for the fuel tanks and the middle ones for something else. I assume that the LAU-3 pods are ok to install on those and if not, tough cookies. The unexcusable sand-coloured mess I painted over just afterr taking the photo.

Paintjob finished

The last part to be painted was the engine nozzle. That I simply painted with Gunmetal Grey (VMC 70863) to the best of my understanding. I decided that this was it, all I needed to do anymore was to attach the tools under the wings. Next I'd move on to the washes, clearcoat, swearing with the decals and finally dullcoating the whole setup. At least that's what I had thought in my sick mind.