Building away

C is for cockpit

Again, following the neverending traditions of airplane modeling I started with the cockpit. The ejection seat was amazingly detailed, it even had some container-like cylinder shapes beneath it and it was made out of five individual pieces. Nice touch, I say, but no one can see them if and when the plane's built the "normal" way.

Where the explosives live

As I got carried away with the build I forgot to take pics of the first stages. Do try to survive.
I was to build three bomb bays, of which the centermost was the largest one and issueless to assemble. The side bays, on the other hand... Well, they took a bit more work and they didn't sit in as nicely as I would've thought. I trust that if they suck, I can somehow camouflage them - if by nothing else, I'll glue their doors shut to keep my hideous secrets safe.

The engine intakes got some very funnily shaped vanes (inside the airframe). I had to turn and turn them in my hands and on the model quite a few times because I just wasn't sure how they were supposed to go on. Despite being installed just the way the instructions (vaguely) say, there were insane gaps but I guess they'll be somehow masked or hidden later on.

Both main landing gear bays were just big boxes. They fell in just nicely. I'd like many more pieces to work like that.

A drum magazine engine

Well, the engine nozzles looked like a combat shotgun's drum magazine to me... I also didn't really know if the vanes were absolutely correctly set. The instructions weren't too clear on that again so I decided that they could be dynamic or something. That's what my excuse is going to be if someone wonders.

At this part I, obediently following the instructions, glued the airframe halves together and tightened the most critical-looking points with masking tape. I finished up that evening but gluing on a couple of sensors and then left the setup to cure. [70]

The next evening I attacked the rear wings eagerly. They were nicely problem-free to assemble and attach in place. Into the bomb bays (in the photo the main bay was done and the side bays untouched) I glued the pylons but left the bombs and missiles for much later. I decided that I'd paint the plane in this state and glue all the hatches, doors, wheels and the nose landing gear after everything else was done.

Working this way I'd ensure that the painting of large surfaces would be as problem-free, quick and as simple as possible. At least the last time the landing gear bay doors were a bit on the way while airbrushing. Trial and error is the way I find these things out.

This looks quite sci-fi -esque
Now that I had decided my working order I primed the plane. Next I'd paint the cockpit with its canopy and then start painting for real. Because boringness the scheme's going to consist of greys... sigh. [110]


Call of the Shadows


Despite the oh-so-funny title I'm not mumbling about Apogee's '94 vertical shoot'em up running on Dosbox. Maybe I should but I'll leave that for a later date. Besides, I always liked Tyrian so much more, but on to the topic at hand...

The box

I dug out the box to be opened and wondered how large it was compared to the previous two jets. My expectations were in line with what the N/AW A-10A and the F-16A models had shown: a couple of pieces with a two-page instruction sheet without any armaments. Not that it bothered me, I had thought of going stealthily with all doors closed.

The contents

That instruction sheet was the first surprise. It was more like what I'm used to. And if the images weren't lying there could be some bombs in this kit. The decals looked like decals and that's all I can say about them.

There were four spruefuls of pieces plus the transparents. Shockingly there were some bombs as well. What is this and why aren't all the kits the same? :p

Yes, I was very positively surprised after the previous two kits. The airframe looked enormous, again comparing to the previous two jets. At this point it looked neat but fear not, I'll mess something up as usual :p


Finished: Project V/15

Sienar Fleet Systems TIE Interceptor

According to my own markings I spent 203 minutes of efficient work time on this quick project. That's closer to 3,5h, imagine that. Especially the painting of the Pilot and the Interceptor took about two of those hours, general tinkering and assembling took just about nothing. The third hour was spent on the stand and whatnot. I guess it is a good ratio, especially as this was the first time I dared to scratchbuild anything.

181st Imperial Fighter Wing


A madman's support structure subproject

As the model itself was finished per se, I was bothered by the fact that it didn't have a place to stand. The planes have their landing gear, tanks their tracks, but having a TIE on its wings just didn't sound right. Therefore...

To the bitsbox!

I rummaged around my thousand-box and dry-fitted the TIE on various pieces. Then a Panzer's track sprue caught my eye. Its central ring-shape that actually fit under the pod like a chainsaw in my enemy's soft belly. I cut one off and kept fiddling with it.

Rather unsurprisingly a track shoe from the same sprue fit nicely into the injector residue part sticking out from the thin donut. Then I tried to sandwich that between two track shoes to make a "leg" of sorts. It felt like it could work. To play the part of the base I had found a part from the battery-operated Panther but attaching the track shoes straight on didn't quite look sturdy enough. So I cut off another donut-shaped ring from another sprue and decided to proceed with them.

Before I glued anything on anything, I cut off all but two of the guiding fins from the track shoes. Those or via them I could add some random greebles. This wasn't going to be anything like the Fine Model kits but something that'd be better than nothing at all. [155]


All that was left was to fill the thing up with random pieces. I had picked up some parts that looked like they'd work well for the theme and a roll of flower-binding wire for cables.

The jack's bottom plate would be a handy screen

I drilled holes into two parts (half an idler wheel and a random Panzer part) for the cables. Through those I inserted half a dozen pieces of wire each and superglued them in place. As a random spur of the moment decision I decreed that instead of individual power wires they'd be two major cable bunches. Things could've been fine the other way, but right now I was aiming for some sort of a docking station or something to that effect.

The hem

At this point I had to fill the bothersome openings on the plate, so I cut two pieces of polystyrene that fit decently. Below them I had glued on two strips for support (see third pic below) so that they'd rest on those and had more contact to the whole setup than just along the thin, irregularly shaped, edges.
I also cut four rectangular pieces to make a hem for the base. This way it'd look sturdier and have a proper shape to it. Of course it wasn't a perfect fit but that'd be fixed a tiny bit later.

All the insane gaps and dents I filled with Tamiya's putty that started drying in the final stages. Not that it was a problem, as I was going to sand the roughnesses away in any case.

Finishing touches

I added some more greebles to fill up the freshly filled holes and the newly liberated surface area. On the other "leg" of the support structure I attached some of the tool holding "hooks" and periscope shields from the Panzer kits. And on the other one I added in a moment of madness a part of the Panther's suspension, playing the part of a hydraulic piston-thing. Will this end up looking anything decent? We'll see when it's all painted up. [190]

The most comical part of all this is that this has taken an insane amount of time. Especially if you compared it to the time spent on the Interceptor. And I hadn't even planned on doing anything like this!


At this point I took a shortcut by skipping a 24h of waiting by first priming  (VSP 73601 Grey Primer) and pretty quickly after that I airbrushed the whole setup grey (VMA 71120 USAF Medium Grey). That shade just happened to be the exact same that I had used on the Interceptor, so the weathering was expected to bring a noticeable difference. [200]

Because time has been in short supply lately, mildly put, I got to finish this piece nearly two weeks after I had painted it. I applied the wash (the same VMW I used on the Interceptor itself) pretty heavily. After letting it dry I matt-varnished the stand and decided that it was done. [203]

I had been thinking of detailing for a long time and I had thought of doing some lamp-like effects and turning some things into screens and so on. Finally I reached a conclusion: they'd only served to steer the attention away from the model itself and that wasn't the point of the stand. Sometimes you just have to know when to quit ;)