White overspray


I had finally reached the stage of this renovation project where the look of the vehicle was going to change visibly from the previous iteration. Last night I remembered that I had bought ages ago some off-white for national insignia painting (mostly for Balkenkreuzen, and I still hadn't gotten to try out the sets of stencils I bought many years ago now!) and such. I thought that maybe I'd try it out and in the end, if I felt like it, blast a tiny bit of plain white from above, very gently. Maybe it couldn't even be noticed at all, maybe it'd add a bit to the result, but we'd find out in good time.

This was in line with the "shade by shade towards the final colour" method. The first and potentially only white was Insignia White (VMA 71279), that got its first appearance in the 'Mumblings now, and not on a German blocky cross, as I had stupidly assumed.

The cockpit submodule

Regarding the cockpit I decided that of this bit only the swanhead-like part was going to end up white. The neck - or the part that joined it to the hull (whatever this airlock / corridor was called in the specs) was going to remain grey. Maybe the look I was going for would work in real life, at least as an idea it sounded good, because the iconic features would be highlighted natually and the visual support surfaces and areas would also bring some depth to the entirety. Besides, if it was all the same colour, the shuttle would end up looking much more boring.

The spaceframe and wings

This time I started with the hull itself. The edges I painted by blasting from the center towards the outer edges, to protect the front and back ends from silly and unnecessary overspraying.

Next I pointed my attention and my Badger towards the wings, starting from the freshly-greebled areas with a gentle touch. I didn't want to drown the greebled trenches with paint, ruining the depth effect, I did as gentle a touchup I managed.

The wings themselves were pretty straightforward. Again I had either mixed my paint badly or it was a tiny bit drier than necessary, as the airbrush spat some flakes pretty much constantly. Perhaps a part of the reason was the high temperature at that moment, but these excuses didn't really help much with my irritation.

Again I left a small patch uncovered on the top wing for my own safety. Just like I said the last time, a 100% flat factory-like application of paint was not my goal (splotchless, yes, but...) and the fluffy cloud effect gave it a more used look.

Continuation ponderings

On the next session I'd cover up the handhold area and I'd wrap up the other surfaces of the rotating wings. After that I was going to be thinking with my head glowing red in which order I'd approach what detail and subtask.

The current plan was that I'd mask off certain rectangles for various greys. Maybe all of them weren't going to be dark grey, the middle grey could work on most, then I could use a different light grey on symmetrically located bits just for variety. Maybe I'd do that to one per wing surface, but at this point I knew I'd pretty much make up my mind on the spot, when I got that far and the compressor was already purring.

Some sort of an application of a light wash was looming in the horizon one. I was also thinking that I could apply some rain streaks on the shuttle sitting somewhere in its landing configuration. The engine exhaust ports were their own still shrouded mystery, as I don't think I was going to leave them as they used to be, glowing white.

Dry-fitting to check the effect

Now I wanted to check how my chosen look worked, because it was still decently easy to change direction. I felt it looked nice in white and the dark, totally untouched cockpit looked great already. The contrast was good and I couldn't really but wonder why in the Empire was I so fixated to flat grey over a decade ago.


Rainy grey but in space

A brief return to the previous look

What else is the 'Mumblings but doing the same thing all over again endlessly? Now I made the Imperial Shuttle via a layer of white primer to a dark grey basecoat and then to just about the same shade of grey it had worn for over a decade. Just by my visual comparison this grey (VMA 71120 USAF Medium Grey) was pretty close if not exactly the same as the old Revell enamel paint. This was not planned, nor was it important, as it was just a step between dark and light. I just found it somehow amusing.

The nose part

This phase got started from the most critical part, the nose. I protected the insides with a post-it piece and thus minimized the repainting needed on the inside. It had to be said, it did look pretty nice this way already, but somehow I managed to keep my natural laziness leashed - at this stage at least.

The main body

Painting the hull and wings went amazingly quickly, with this paint being fresher / runnier. The first round was actually very enjoyable, especially when compared to the last three evenings of slow grinding.

I begun with the insides of the folding wings, then proceeded to the hull and as I still had time on my hands, I got to the top wing as well. The last two of this photoset showed how I left the rear end of the stationary wing unpainted to give myself a handhold for twisting, turning and rotating the model. I made a concious choice to let the paintjob look a bit "cloudlike" instead of aiming for a 100% flatness, but I also didn't go for a strong preshading effect anywhere.

No, I had not forgotten that the wings had those more or less rectangular shapes that needed to be darker. I had planned on doing those after taking care of the white layer, making the masking much simpler.

The real world threw some extras on my way for about a week, before I got to proceed with this greyness-increasing process. At this point the underbelly of the Ondiv was waiting for the project to get to the stage where the rotating wings could be glued permanently to the landing config.


A dark basecoat


As anyone reading through this silly blog of mine has noticed, painting anything white has not been a recurring theme here. Thinking of it, the only examples I could quickly come up with were the sillily translated Pesterers and a Lanceful of ComGuards 3rd Army BattleMechs.

Always based on what I'd read on the various forums and such I painted my white targets starting from a dark paint and going gradually towards the light. That has served me decently well in the past, so I decided to stay on the course. I didn't feel that black or my beloved black grey would have been needed as the basecoat this time and I chose a shade lighter dark grey (VMA 71123 USAF Dark Grey) to start with.

The distinctive nose

The only area that was going to remain very dark was the cockpit interior, so I started with that. I blasted it very thoroughly from all the angles to get the coverage at maximum. Then I proceeded to paint the upper outside and then leave it to air dry for a while. Later on I returned to complete the lower half.

At this point the nose was finished for the time being, but I wasn't gluing it onto the spaceframe in a good while yet. This way I'd get to paint the insides much more easily, not to mention that painting the next layers on the outside would end up being much easier as well. The protruding cockpit wouldn't also suffer from overspray - nor would it be causing issues with shadowing other parts either. This was my assumption at least.

Spaceframe, the

The Ondiv required quite a bit of spinning around, rotation and its own very peculiar painting plan. I had to start with the spaceframe, the main wing and the flight mode - time outward facing wing surfaces first so I'd avoid making extra messes anywhere and doing unnecessary masking.

Wow. The pic above ended up being a bit strange... While airbrushing around I noticed a new problem had raised its ugly head: my paint was too thick or it just dried a bit too quickly inside the airbrush. One of the best advantages of the airbrush was that it allowed quick, even and light coating of large surfaces when all the settings were at their widest - while allowing for precise and small cone of spraying with tighter settings in skilled hands. Now the flow ended up being quickly at a pencil's width and a very basic overspraying turned into a constantly more annoying and physically bothersome colouring in.

That did not end up being a massive issue. For my last session I mixed in some thinner and got the final wing surfaces done while only going halfway mad. A very concious decision was made when I left the bottom of the shuttle untouched, to wait for the duration of a few project steps.


My new airbrush cleaning jar

A multifunctional jar

In the turn of '18/19 the Yule Goat or his henchfolk brought me a jar for cleaning up my airbrush. The 3-in-1 on the box meant that in addition to the self explanatory part the pot also had an airbrush holder that was handier than keeping the damn thing between my teeth while taking a rushed photo or refilling the paint container a tiny bit more. And the third feature? The lid had a three-compartment bottom molded in, which could be used for mixing paints, when the lid was set upside down. That's something I didn't try out so I couldn't comment on its usefulness.

That black thing on top was the airbrush holder. In front of it (to the right) one could maybe notice a hole, that was an exhaust opening (a round filter apparently of cotton was inserted on the inside of it). For the cleaning up process about 3cm of water was to be added into the container itself.

Testing, testing

When priming the Lambda-class shuttle I tried out 66,666...% of the features offered by the cleaning jar, as I guess I somehow said already. The holder was handy and sturdier than I had thought originally. Cleaning up the airbrush was much cleaner, considering the surroundings, and also less smelly than without this thingamagick.

Perhaps the wonderfulness of the cleaning pot would be much more apparent on a different building/painting process or its phase, where I was using small, quick batches of numerous different paints. I'd know better after doing that myself, so maybe I'd remember to comment on that later on in the future.



Pointless or not

It was more or less based on a coin toss if it made any sense to reprime this huge model white before going repainting in shades of everlightening greys. Still I decided to do it because I had found so much unpainted surface to begin with, added more with my greeblies and sandings. That made it more appealing than laziness. Besides, painting over white would show much more clearly what I'd done and what I had not.

Round one

All in all this fresh coat of primer took three sessions over three evenings. The pics show some work in progress moments from different angles. I wasn't aiming for a perfect coating, mostly because my airbrush nozzle was not designed for vast surfaces (especially over time, but I guess I could've used some retardant to make that a bit easier). For that sort of stuff I'd need a different nozzle altogether. Anyway, I had to admit that the shuttle looked better white than grey.


Preparing for the repriming

Cockpit work

There wasn't much to do but to clean some corners around viewport. Most likely no one would notice anything, as I didn't really say anything based on the photos afterwards...

At this point I just cut off tiny bits of masking tape and covered the installation points of the two seats. Just to allow for easier gluing later on.

The landing gear

Obviously I had no recollection how the landing gear bay doors were installed, where the attachment points were not to mention how tightly I had glued them on. Luckily already a tiny bit of poking with the point of the hobby knife revealed the weak points and the hatches came off very easily and cleanly.

I cleaned the injector marks from the hatches where I had left them so many years ago. Dry-fitting the doors made me think if they'd like some tiny cables running around, but most likely I wasn't going to do anything of the sort. They'd only be visible if one took the model in their hands and made an effort to see everything everywhere.

My largest foreseeable headache in this change I had decided to make were the landing gear feet, that I had practically just torn off with some violence. Maybe a couple of bits of paperclips as "bones" bones would improve the structural integrity so that the damn thing wouldn't just fall on its belly after a random delay.


More greeblies

Remaking up my mind

Of course I could not leave the folding wings as they were, now that my main wing was all-over filled with junk. I jumped back to my thousand boxes (this may be exaggerating a bit, they should be called hundred boxes at best at this stage still) and chose the longest and narrowest bits I could find (I'd been again very happy to use KwK halves if they only fit), as long as they were again doubled, for maintaining symmetricality.

Again my apologies for forgetting to take WIP photos in my excitement of crafting something. Mostly my filler greeblies ended up being parts of tow cables and something I guessed to be the hanging structure of some armored skirts (Schürzen). These last bits would've been so much more interesting, had I not had to cut off their attachment bits (you know those bandaid-like things to hold pipes on some flat surfaces), but as the space real estate was limited, I just had to go all hacky.

In the end the side wings did not end up being full 1:1 copies of each other but they had a couple of tiny differences between them. Maybe that'd add some to the general interestingness of the model. I just was pretty bugged because I really couldn't hide some silly pieces there that could've been fun to see if anyone noticed or recognized them. Well, I did at least one, but a couple more couldn't have hurt.




And what did I find from one of my spare pieces box, buried under ancient and dried up superglue tubes and who knows what else? The original landing gear of the Shuttle I thought I had thrown away!

Back in the day I finalized the Shuttle in the flight mode, because in my opinion it was infinitely cooler and more stylish that way. I still hold this belief. Since that I have lost the original stand and also I've lost the space I could've once had for displaying a model of this size. In a way it'd maybe make more sense to cut off the closed landing gear bay doors, reinstall these and then glue the wings into the "landed mode" as well, because they could not fold down anymore anyway.

On top of the shelf she's been sitting with her wings folded up anyway for so long, and as said, it would never fit anywhere even with a new stand/base. And my offspring would not let her be, either.




In regard this topic I decided to boldly assume that whoever ended up reading this post would be well aware of what greebling was, why and where it more or less originated.

Extra cables

My model already had some haphazardly laid out cables and their friends modeled onto the external front-bottom part of the cockpit. That wasn't quite three-dimensional enough for my state of mind, so I cut short pieces of excess multithread towcable from a tank model I had built many a year ago. I just tried to lay them out somehow, so that they'd bring some depth but still show the old detailings in the gaps.

I considered twisting one of those so that a loop of it would hang down slightly visibly, but it was a bit too messy for Imperial tech crews, I felt, and I surely wasn't going to turn this beauty into a space terrorist shuttle! There are lines that aren't to be crossed ;)

Fired up by kitbash-greebling

At long last I had a justification for hamstering the old sprues and other random extra pieces! Though in all honesty, this was the second time, as I did use some of these in my TIE/I stand a couple of years* ago.

*) wow, it was almost four full years already...

The main wing

What I started with was choosing a random assortment of long and narrow pieces, such as those sets of sticks that were used to (I assumed) calibrate tank cannons, pieces of gun barrel cleaning rods and such. Also included were individual pipes and odd rods and I'd been more than excited to hide parts of torsion bar suspension systems, tank jacks, gun barrel travel locks and who knows what else I had, but the vast majority of interesting and generic-enough bits were just way too big to fit between the wing plates. And that was a crying shame.

I think I filled the last, low front corner of the main wing with a section of a long crowbar.

Folding wings

I really didn't put that much effort on the folding wings as on the main wing, because I wanted them to be symmetrical and also less interesting, in a way. This limit obviously narrowed my options down quite a bit, as my thousand boxes didn't contain an unlimited amount of small pieces, even fewer  identical twins. That made me decide I'd only greeblefill the front parts of the side wings, unless I just stumbled upon something cool enough. The reverse sides of the wings I decided to ignore with the same excuse.

Most of this greeblage was brought to you, maybe slightly surprisingly, a part of a tow cable of a German tank, without its strenghtened attachment loops. Taken out of context and painted "wrong" they might not even be recognizeable.

The next evening: over and around

I got hungrier while eating, so now I suddendly wanted to fill up the main wing all around. The top part was mostly filled and more by a single piece, that I had the insight to cut into and then bend to cover the rear edge and a bit of the top-back part of the wing. What remained I filled with random junk, eg. two pivoting handles that I glued together. I really didn't even remember what in the Empire they were originally representing.

This was somewhat slow work, but surprisingly fun to do. I surprised myself completely by actually starting down this path because my very original vision did not really include anything like this, just a simple repainting (with mandatory pre-cleanup).


Fixing some issues

Adding some installation space for the main viewport

My restauration process started officially when I filed excess material off the area where the windshield was to be installed. It did not end up sitting in perfectly, but the situation was greatly improved. The future repainting of the cockpit interior was facilitated somewhat when I accidentally knocked off the two benches.


For a long while in the real world I worked on everything but my model, for whatever reason. Maybe the end of winter / almost beginning of spring just didn't get my muses singing. One random day I went and dug out my tools and related paraphernalia.

I applied Tamiya's white tube-putty pretty damn liberally around the places I wanted to even out. One thing I found out just before starting was the panel in the main wing, which made me a bit cautious about fixing it, thanks to its prominent location. Despite myself I decided to go for it anyway, in hopes of good results.

What had annoyed me the most over these years were the insane gaps in the sides of the air/spaceframe, which I had partially made worse myself over a decade ago, while carving up the openings so that the wings could be articulated as designed. Some things I had apparently tried to clean up back in the day, with apparently abysmal success rate.

The final essential fixable area was where the frame and the rear piece with the engine outlets joined. I had left both gaps and unpainted surfaces there. This time I'd make it glorious.

And some sanding with a bit of filing

After a good night's sleep and a day's work I sat down with sanding paper and started with my biggest worry, the main wing. I didn't really sand it so heavily that all the paint disappeared, as I was worried about losing the protruding surface shapes (had I got the tools and the experience, I'd turned carved the panel lines out instead of having these bumplines).

Then came the sides of the Shuttle. I grinded away a good amount of the putty lumps but again didn't go as far as removing all the paint in the region. Maybe I was a bit paranoid when I just wanted to clean up my mess without delusions of master modeler grandeur.

Worst of the worst were located in the lower rear part that I also attacked with a file, those things being sturdier and better-shaped. Maybe it'd look like a donkey's butt after getting painted, or more likely it'd be better than my original attempt. What the final photo showed might still get some touching up later on.


The starting point and some comments about it

A disaster zone

We could try to claim that this shuttle landed a bit too roughly into a difficult landing zone, maybe via a couple of sturdy trees. No, it didn't really look like that, as the detached pieces had all fallen off very cleanly without taking any damage.

As I mentioned before, the cockpit module had become detached, just like the shoulder cannons with their protective armour plates and the double-barreled laser cannon from the rear of the craft. The canopy glass had never been glued on in the first place, so nothing strange there. Except that... yeah, it didn't fit in perfectly.


I had painted some little details by hand, back in the day. The reason for the cockpit interior being the same grey as the outside was, if my memory was to be trusted, because I only had very few shades of Humbrol's enamel paints. Lack of options, that is. I had apparently drybrushed some darker grey here and there on the outside.

[0]: sand more space for the transparent piece so it'd be flush against the airframe
[1]: repainting the cockpit interior

While documenting the underside of the cockpit part I was pondering if I should go down the sick path that I exposed myself to earlier, while searching for reference images with something like "Lambda class shuttle cockpit interior". The way I encountered those optical fiber cable setups with Arduino/RasPi setups and the Emperor alone knew what other awesome and time-consuming modifications... My sick mind was slowly churning some thoughts about adding some light greebling in some tactical places, like adding some cabling or somesuch into that front bin.

[2]: adding some three-dimensionality to the moulded details

The open-closeable ramp left a tiny opening between the cockpit and the main compartment, but still, maybe that area, from where Darth Vader disembarked in the Return of the Jedi, should be repainted too? Of course one couldn't see that without a flashlight in any case, and if it was going to be a dark one, what'd be the point? Of course the point would be that it would be done Properly, what else?

[3]: repainting the airlock-like chamber

This next photo showed the best in this series, how awfully the rotating twin laser cannons on the wings were: twisted and bent. If I was madder than what I am, I could've considered redoing them somehow, but that didn't sound too likely at this point in this model's life.

In my opinion the wings and the vast majority of the airframe were ok, my old paintjob just wasn't quite on the level I thought I expected from myself nowadays. Some of the next photos revealed that I had managed to skip some bits with my paintbrush altogether. Mostly these photos would also show how large the model was.

Here, for example, you could see unpainted plastic in the rear. Just like those hinges of the wings were just beyond description in the original model, so when I attacked them way over a decade ago with much less experience and much worse tools just to get the damn things installed - not to mention making them rotatable. The result of my craftsmanship was just that, foul. Maybe now I should do some puttying and sanding, wherever needed.

[4]: fixing the seams

This next photo would show clearly how the leading edge of the top wing was incredibly badly painted. I really couldn't remember how I did that. One of the restoration projects I ogled at had filled this gap with greeblies, too.

[5]: general repainting