At the Kuat shipyards

Assembling the spaceship

I started the assembly from the four-piece command tower and then progressed to the engine department. Those bridge bits didn't quite sit as flushly as I had expected. I also had to work a bit on the studs of the engine nozzles, but that's nothing you'd see from the outside.

The hull itself consisted of four pieces. To the bottom half I glued the Solar Ionization Reactor's dome and the engine bit. Then the top half of the hull was glued on and I just squeezed the halves tightly together to make them fit nicely.

There wasn't much more to do anymore but to glue on the command tower and the piece that came between it and the hull. Oh and the two-piece stand that I decided not to glue into the hull, just to make everything easier to paint nicely.

It ended up being quite pretty. Pretty but not big, from the top of my head I'd say that my Metal Earth Models ISD was a bit smaller than this one. And considering the time this took about half an hour, including the cleaning up and whatnot.


Project VI/17

Revell's ISD

This 1:12300 scale Imperial-class Star Destroyer was, as I have mentioned earlier, a yule gift for the Project Assistant. I hadn't even primed her Ka-50 when she came to ask me to build this. Her idea was to paint this one either brown or pink. Despite these threats of iconoclasty I took this one to be worked on. And yes, my reports have been somewhat off from the real world lately, can't help it :D

The instructions

As somehow expected, the instructions were ultrasimple. I really couldn't think why this kit was marked at difficulty 3 out of 5. Maybe there was some kind of deep wisdom that I just couldn't see.

I was really amused when I found the decal sheet. With one decal. And that one was to be slapped onto the front of the display stand.

The bits

All the pieces for this model fit in two small sprues. The pieces were decently sized and at least at a first glance they looked nicely detailed, especially the main hull pieces. Now if someone made a modern version of the MPC/ERTL kit...


Finished: Project V/17

Last minute mumblings

Yeah, well. The spring went, as I think I said at some point, a bit differently than how I had thought. My scale modeling time was also quite a bit more limited as time just went somewhere. For that same reason this post, that I had scheduled for the second to last week of May, was incomplete and therefore didn't get published. Still, here it is now.

My only mentionable deviation from my previous posts under this same topic was that I repainted the launch pad again with Dunkelgelb (Tamiya XF-60) because the dirtiness on the weird bits just didn't feel right to me. Now you can see them "clean" in the final photos. Oh and I just took the last photos three evenings ago, even though the model itself had been finished for weeks (or could it be months already at this point?), thanks to my overcautious preparations which proved to be less cautious than what I'd needed. But you can't control life events :)

The background story according to the instructions

Here's the letter-by-letter copy of the instruction sheet's text with its formatting and all. Curious stuff, all in all.

"At the end of 1944 the Germans started to occupy themselves with the possibility of a rocket attack against the territory of the USA.

Initially the possibility of launching A-4 rockets with the help of class XXI submarines was considered but the development was in January 1945 interrupted and based on the requirement of the forces the development of a double stage so called "American Rocket" started.

The A-9 rocket had to be lifted to an altitude of 160km by the A-10 booster rocket and then it was able to cover up to 5000 km in 45 minutes. Before reaching the target the pilot had to catapult from A-9. During the flight th epilot had to be guided by submarines on the surface of the Atlantic ocean. Before the end of the war tests of the A-9 rocket itself without the A-10 stage were carried out.

Flying weight of the A-9 itself 16 260kg. Max. speed 2800m/sec. Engine EMW with 25 400kg thrust."

And those photos


Switching jobs

Yesterday, the second of June, was my last day of work at my longest-lasting job so far. I did get to be there for almost nine years (I ended up leaving three months before that milestone). Then I'll enter the doors of the next workplace on Monday already.

After the boss-part of the ceremony and after my own few stupid words my coworker Hannis wanted to say something too and ended that by dropping a largeish plastic bag on me "we wanted to give you something for you to remember us by". I got a Star Wars hat and two scale models. That rendered me speechless, as I didn't think of preparing for anything like that.

The models were chosen by Iiro, the dictator of Presaleztan. His idea with the T-35 was that it was a huge tank, there was plenty to do and it was a vehicle that I wasn't too likely to buy myself. So it'd remind me of them that much easier.

The German rocket launcher was an obvious choice, I was told. Its wooden bits and the hugeness of the rockets themselves initiated a lively discussion among those of us who are interested in this sort of stuff, while the rest weren't too involved. No surprises there.

I promised (or should I say threatened?) to show the results whenever I was done. We also thought that it'd be silly or amusing to paint the company logo or name or something like it on the tank itself. Maybe I'd do that, because why not? :p


MP-02 Soundwave

Masterpiece Soundwave

"Behind his impassive expression, Soundwave is as cold and ruthless as they come. He cares nothing for right or wrong or the welfare of his fellow Decepticons. All he cares about is wielding the power of information to emerge victorious from battle. He spies on everyone, from the lowliest Autobot scout up to Megatron himself. He hoards information the way a miser hoards gold, sharing it sparingly, if at all. No noe knows what the true purpose behind his obsessive data collection is, but all fear him for the secrets he keeps."

That exact same, or a very, very similar, text was also in the good old Transformers comics, in the character pages (and damn, were they cool or what?). Sadly I didn't have any magazines in my hands anymore, so I couldn't go check but that's what my impression was.


Strength      **********
Intelligence  ********** 
Speed         ********** 
Endurance     ********** 
Rank          ********** 
Courage       ********** 
Fireblast     ********** 
Skill         **********

Whatever the hell is going on in here?

Perhaps I should open this post a bit to explain so all this might make a bit more sense. In the early March I ordered, after a ludicrously long and iterative back-and-forth decision making process, a Transformers toy. I had somehow encountered these Hasbro's Masterpiece series toys (or collectable display pieces, whatever you feel like telling yourselves), naturally via lord Megatron himself, of course. If money, space and reason itself weren't on the way even as speed bumps, I'd bought quite a few of them at a time. My queue contains - at the time of writing this - at least the following: Megatron, Starscream (why not also Thundercracker and Skywarp to round up the original Seekers) and maybe even Optimus Prime, as Prime is just cool.

After less than two weeks later the box had ended up in the uncaring hands of the Finnish Postal services and after yet another week I received a note from them telling me that I had to do a customs declaration. I really wasn't in the mood of paying a sick sum of money to them (and losing a few more extra days) so I did that myself in about five minutes while saving almost 60€, because my own work is always free... Surprisingly and astonishingly, even, Posti carried my packet to our front door the very next morning at eight, instead of dropping their typical "we claim that we tried to deliver something to you even though the deliverable has been sitting on a shelf but how could you know and prove us wrong so come pick it up whenever it's convenient for us" paper slip.

Open it already!

The postal box was enormous. The real box inside it was also somewhat insane and I was told I grinned like an idiot while fondling it. And I din't doubt it for a second!


The first thing to catch my eye in the box was this small extra-looking cardboard box. It just didnt' feel like it belonged to the normal contents, so I checked it first.

Hah, it was one of these collector's bonuses. A metallic, small Soundwave in his cassette-player form. Cool, but I could've lived without it as well.

But now to the core of the business. Aaaah! Soundwave, five cassettes, Megatron in his gun form, an empty Energon cute, a arm-cannon tip (from the movie) and then the piledrivers for Frenzy and Rumble. These were just great for wasting away some time. Of course my Project Assistant tried to "borrow" them from me but for a change I stayed firm (though I have to say I'm happy she's into these cool things still :P )

About half an hour later...

Yes. My first "let's transform Soundwave" took almost half an hour. The original G1 toys were both sillily simple to transform and also much blockier. Now the price of posability, amazing articulation and great details was that the transformation process was also much more complicated. But my, he was awesome!

The cassettes

Of course the next thing was to pla... I mean test out how the different cassettes transformed. I had had a G1 Frenzy back in the day (bought from Italy, on the same trip where I got Blitzwing) and that one had been many classes beneath this one in its flimsiness. Now the first three cassettes/minions seen in the cartoon (Rumble and Buzzsaw are, as everyone knows, just different coloured variations of Frenzy and Laserbeak).


The first of Soundwave's minions we saw  was Laserbeak, a robotic bird. I guess it was called a condor or a vulture, most typically. The toy itself was amazing, just like real! That hatch on the forehead was horribly difficult to open, by the way.


I admit that I was lost with the names/faces of Frenzy and Rumble. The aforementioned souvenir Frenzy was blue but in the cartoon (More Than Meets the Eye part 1) the blue dude was called Rumble. I decided that I'd go along the cartoon, because why not?

Both of these little guys had their own piledrivers that they could use to make earthquakes. The instructions told to turn the arms upwards for the piledrivers but that led to a bit of a silly pose you can see here in the photo. They looked much better and made more sense - not to mention true to the cartoon - when the arms were turned downwards.


Soundwave's third minion / pet / friend (still in More Than Meets The Eye Part 1) was the robotic jaguar, Ravage. Ravage was the strangest of the three models to transform, but after a couple of iterations it made more sense. He was nicely poseable, too.

Test poses

Of course I had to spin and fool around with them. And to check out a few poses.

I even carried the whole set to work, because I knew my coworker Kimmo would definitely know how to appreciate this stuff. That was truer than I had even guessed, as he started pondering that "Damn, now I feel like getting one of those for myself... Hey, the S&H is relatively cheaper if you buy more than one at a time!"


A change in plans - again

I changed my mind yet again in the middle of a project. Surprise of all surprises. Anyway, I decided to use a couple of the decals from the set so I applied a layer of gloss varnish (Vallejo 70510) just about all around, just skipping the tail ends of the wings.


I actually ended up using all the decals, but somehow one of the bottom Balkenkreuz got partially ruined (the tips pointing towards the hull). Don't ask me how that happened. Other than that the damn things went on decently, even the two-piece swastikas.


As you may have noticed, I had left some details unpainted, maybe a bit sillily. I just hadn't remembered to do those before I went applying the gloss varnish. So I painted the wingtips red (VMA 71085 Ferrari Red) and then used that to the rocket's nozzle as the instructions dictated. Then I painted the steering vanes black (VMA 71073 Black).  Then I deviated to my own direction by painting the edges of the rocket's nozzle metallic (VMC 70863 Gunmetal Grey) because they looked better - or made more sense to me - that way.

With a matt coat

I took a few photos after the matt varnish layer (Vallejo 70520) had dried, from various angles. I thought that I should've washed it at some point, but as I hadn't thought of it then it clearly wasn't that important.

Finally I set the missile on its launch pad to pose a bit. As a whole I thought it was a bit underwhelming compared to something hefty, a heavy launching facility or something (the Meillerwagen would've given a nicer base for this). Or maybe my image came from the flat backgroudn of the cutting mat that really didn't work as a substitute for a forest clearing or something.


Camouflaging an early IRBM

Choosing the camo colours

I decided to use the RLM colours that the instructions suggested but the pattern I pulled from my own hat. I checked my paints and picked two that looked just like what was needed: grey, grey violet and Dunkelgelb for the launch pad.

The first draft: top surface

I started by airbrushing the grey violet (VMA 71128 Grey Violet (~RLM75)) liberally around the model in nicely wide bands, on the top half of the missile. Then I switched to the lighter grey paint (VMA 71103 (~RLM84)) and filled the gaps and redefined some lines to look a bit more pleasing to my own unartistic eye. As a whole it looked pretty functional.

While observing my own work I thought that the fuzzy lines just didn't sit well with me. So I decided to take another go at the pattern and for that I'd mask the edges to get some nicely sharp, clear borders. If that one didn't look good I could always revert my changes with little effort.

Securing some lines and refining them

The next evening I sat down to cut strips of masking tape and did what looked good to me.

Then I airbrushed the edges with the grey violet. After the paint had dried enough I tore off the masking tape and observed the results. Somehow this splinter pattern did look better to me.

Then the base with the same idea

To speed the process up a bit I started by airbrushing the whole bottom half with the lighter of the two paints. This way I'd also avoid getting any silly strips of primer showing between badly or stupidly laid masks.


I guessed what sort of shrapnel shapes would be nice and then applied the masking tape strips semirandomly all around. I tried to make the splinters a bit more irregular on this side but still to keep to the main lines of the top half.  All this was very quickly done, I just laid tape here and there at weird angles and without paying too much attention to any of that. Of course, in my rush I forgot to take any photos of that stage.

And then the rest

Then I charged my airbrush and painted over the uncovered surfaces. Pretty quick and simple stuff.

As soon as the paint had dried I tore the masking tape strips off to see the results. I also removed the canopy masks to avoid any unnecessary stickings. It looked amusing.

The launch pad

While doing everything else I painted the launch pad with the suggested dark yellow (VMA 71025 Tank Dark Yellow) that had a pretty clogged up nozzle. I squeezed it a bit too strongly and guess if the top rocketed into the paint cup and then splashed paint all around, including my face and hands. Funnily and luckily enough I didn't make a mess in the house (wall, floors or furniture) because I could've ended up getting some displeased feedback.

Thanks to my nonsense the first application came up a bit short. But  no worries, I was just doing this by hand while the airbrushed bits were drying. I really didn't think I'd gotten this flimsy setup masked and done without spending a mindbending amount of time and effort.

At this point I realized I had ran out of Vallejo's Dunkelgelb. After a bit of digging I found a jarful of somehow different, in my opinion much sandier-coloured Tamiya's paint (XF-15 Dark Yellow). I didn't feel like fighting with that and the airbrush so I repainted the whole launch pad by hand.

Then I painted some bits (those suggested by the instructions) black. I deviated with some other models I saw in the net and used more Dunkelgelb and less black. Those support bits I also messified up a bit with black but for a proper sootage I would have to look elsewhere.