Sunday, January 11, 2015

My new Blog

Hey everyone, in case if you are still referring to my site for more updates, kindly take note that I ma migrating over to my New Blog. I just started it and it looks plain but bear with me for a while as I slowly rework the new page. You can choose to follow me there instead from now onwards as there will be no more updates here

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cockpit Aftermarket Parts for the Revell/Monogram 1/32 Scale Colonial Mark I Viper

This is one kit I need not go into much details on how you could build up your Colonial Mark I Viper as seen by the many beautiful and creative builds out there (just google "Mark I Colonial Viper" and you can see some of them) , but from my observation and based on feedback I had gathered, there are still many who are not aware of what is available to them. So this post's objective is just to let everyone know what is still accessible .... that is as of 3rd Sept 2012.

I have also noticed that previously when I had highlighted the direct links at my earlier post to those after market parts, through the course of time some of these became extinct .. ok, out of production, the links then became dead links. So what I am going to do now is just highlight them here and post where you can get them. If you can't find those items there, I suggest maybe writing to the shop owner first.

Alrighty, let's begin.

Cockpit Upgrade/Conversion

Why upgrade the cockpit for this kit when its hard to see the inside once she is build? You will probably hear this played over and over and you know what. it is really up to you. As a scale modeler, I'd rather have the best for my kit but others may just opt for a quick build. So if you are interested in working on the cockpit tub, read on.

First of all, if you happen to have the older issues, you know, the one without a cockpit and has that opaque canopy, and you want to build up the cockpit area, then you want to look into what Millennia Models International (MMI) has to offer.

A word about MMI. The company is actually managed by one man, and technically is still around despite what people may tell you (his business have closed down). He is still casting a few conversion and upgrade sets for the Revell/Monogram Viper. He is active at the Starship Modeler forum and his pseudonym there is Johnny Crash. You can try to look for him there if you need anything within his range of products.

Another thing I like about MMI, this company pride itself with the quality and accuracy of its range, so if you do decide to get his conversion or upgrade sets, you'd be building a kit closer to the actual studio model.

MMI offers two different variant of cockpits. The first is for the single seater version which I noticed is out of stock everywhere. Federation Models still has a section dedicated to this version despite it being not in stock, but you can try writing to Tracy Brownfield at this email address to see if he is getting any restock.

MMI Single Seater Viper Cocpit Set

And the second version is for the dual seater set, seen in "Galactica 80" TV series. This set is still available over at Starship Modeler Webstore if you want to build this variant.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Colonial Viper Mark I Available Plastic Model Kits

The earliest kit I remembered seeing of the Colonial Mark I Viper came from Monogram. At that time I was still a student hence I wasn't able to afford her. I remembered seeing her in a toys store drooling away like crazy along with the totally inaccurate Galactica kit. It wasn't until over 20 years I finally got my chance to own her. Now I have several of her in my stash awaiting an idea of a launch bay diorama to make their built a reality.

The kit is officially produced at 1/32 scale though I know a few of you out there seem to challenge this. But despite this little controversy, she builds up to a pretty fine and sturdy representation of the Colonial Mark I Viper as seen on TV. The kit comes with raised panel lines and mold-in details.

It is quite mystifying however that this kit came without landing gears and a cockpit, hence no pilot figure. The entire canopy was molded in the same plastic as with the rest of the kit. Fittings especially toward the fuselage body holding the wings was not very good, leaving large seams and gaps which required some putty filling and in difficult areas making it a little difficult to sand later.

Comparison between the old and the new. Image source from

You can see the opaque canopy clearly from this WIP 

Another area that was retooled was the thruster nozzles. The older kit came with an opaque piece but the reissue came hollowed out to allow lighting.

You can see the difference in thruster design clearly in this image.  Image source from

Revell bought over the license and reissued her with new parts. This time the kit came with a simplified cockpit, clear canopy and a pilot. But it was still lacking her landing gears. Clear parts also included the engine covers to distribute the lights for those planning to light up their kit. Besides the new parts and a new display stand, everything else about the kit remains the same.

Unfortunately this kit is now out of production and last I heard, Moebius have taken over the TOS Battlestar Galactica license, which is good looking at Moebius' quality control. They will be reissuing a totally new tooled version of the Mark I, and hopefully she comes with the landing gears, and a better cockpit tub.

The announcement was made at the 2012 iHobby event and only the TOS Cylon Raider in its correct 1/32 scale (big ship, bigger then the original sized kit) was highlighted.

This is truly the one kit I know many Sci-Fi enthusiast and fans are keeping in their stash by the numbers. It can be built out of the box (OOB) or it can be modified in many ways. The end result is only limited by one's creativity.

Unfortunately since she is out of production, the only way one can get her now is either through eBay, or the sales thread in a forum or if you're lucky, through a friend who has a few he or she is willing to part with.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

"Galactica 80" Dual Seater Mark I Viper Reference

This is of course in reference to the follow up series that was created for the original Battlestar Galactica. The crew and the rag tag fleet has finally reached Earth, but they are unable to land in fear the Cylons would follow suit and attack. So they sent scouts down and hence the adventures of the Colonial Warriors in those funky cyles. The series didn't fare very well and about the only recurring actor that came back for his role was Lorne Greene (Commander Adama).

Many fans would choose to forget this series ever existed and to die hard BSG fans, its merely an extension to the saga. Personally I didn't like it either, but I did dig that dual seater Vipers introduced in that series.

Of course the introduction of a cloaking device for the Vipers didn't really work well with me. Those fighter crafts should be seen in action, not hidden, something I suspect was developed by the studio to reduce special effect costs so the story can be focused more on Earth. Its no wonder the show fell flat.

Mark I Colonial Viper - 1.1 Scale Studio Mock Up Part 2

Here are the reference images of the 1.1 Studio Mock up of the Viper's Mark I external structures.

Mark I Colonial Viper - 1.1 Scale Studio Mock Up Part 1

The Colonial Viper Mark I Reference

Here's a fighter craft with a design that has lasted through the ages, even making a cameo in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica Mini Series. It is designated as the Mark I or 1 Colonial Viper, a single seater fighter that is the mainstream of the fighter group for the twelve colonies.

The original Battlestar Galactica TV series came about to ride on the success of Star Wars in 1978. I was a kid then and I was very fascinated with Star Wars, but it took Battlestar Galactica to make me go Sci Fi crazy.

The story takes place in a galaxy far far away (where else?) when the Cylons broke a "Memorandum of Understanding" of non aggression and attacked the convoy of Battlestars that was enroute to the Cylon homeworld to seal the treaty. The Galactica was the only Battlestar that managed to escape, only to discover their colonies had been attacked by the Cylons. Collecting anyone else that was left and using whatever ships they could muster, the Galactica leads a pack of rag tag fleet in search of Earth and a new beginning.

The famous poster that made it to the paperback book
The original cast

And not forgetting those lovely ladies then making up the some of the cast

The design of the Mark I Viper (at that time, it was only known as the Colonial Viper) went through several evolution. Here's a little trivia some may not know about. The craft you see was not the original intended Viper design. It was one done up earlier, got rejected and was reused later in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, as the Starfighter. You can see why she was called a "Viper" - those two pointy tips for the thruster assembly represented a Viper's fangs.

And just as in Star Wars, the scene I loved about the original Battlestar series was the vast number of Vipers sent out to destroy the Cylon fighter group. Of course then the special effects aren't as great as what we see today. Here are some images of the studio model Viper.

Officially Restarting my Blog - A new Begining.

When I started my blog, it was originally to rant against Facebook for deleting my first account. I was banned as I had made too many friend's request, which I had felt was unfair. At that time, I was playing a few Zynga games there, and found out the more friends you had, the more power you have in those games. So it was a catch 22, damn if I do, damned if I don't.

But I could only write so much about FB, hence I focused my energy on writing and sharing what I love best - scale modeling. My blog was deemed quite successful judging from the amount of page views and feedback I had. Then I did something very careless. I installed the blogger's Apps into my HTC Desire Android phone.

When the motherboard for that phone malfunctioned, I was told all the software within the phone was wiped clean. I lost everything, from images stored to all my contacts. A day later I discovered it had also wiped out all my images in this blog. After weeks of trying to get some help, I was told this problem was irrecoverable. And worse, no one was able to help me uninstall the Apps. I am now using the Samsung Galaxy SII, and found that whenever I use bloggers' image application, the picture shows up in my new phone's image gallery. And worse, it also took out a chunk of my phone's memory. I needed to use an external image hosting site to avoid this. And its taking me a while to upload all my images into photobucket. Biggest problem now is the fact that I can only direct link the images from Photobucket into blogger, and I can only do one image at a time. Its going to be a loooong process. But I do plan to remake my blog into something better, something more focused on the subject matter. 

It is an opportunity rather than a problem.

And here is how I'm going to do it.

As my interest has expanded to other genres since I started this blog, there will be a wider scope of things I will be covering. Besides Science Fiction, I will also be dwelling into planes, helicopters, ships, tanks and anything else that tickles my fancies. It will be progressive. I am still keeping my old blog posts for reference as to areas I may have missed, but I will be deleting the older posts once I have covered them. I will also be touching on new tools and techniques that comes my way, with the hope that some of you may find those useful.

Another thing I will be doing is sharing images shared by other esteemed scale modelers at Facebook. I understand not everyone chooses to have an account with this social network so I will be sharing them here, linking the post to their FB pages. 

It may take some time but it will get done. For those waiting eagerly for their request to be fulfilled, I ask that you give me some time to get to them. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hasegawa's 1:350 scale Soya Antarctica 1st Corp

Hasegawa is among the few manufacturers that produces very nice quality ships in my book. The others are Tamiya, Trumpeteer, Heller, Revell, Lindberg, Zvezda, Airfix, Italeri ... oh hell, OK, there are quite a few manufacturers out there that produces nice quality ships. However, very few of them had been able to produce one that requires very minimal corrections and out of that few, I can think of only one brand, Hasegawa. Of course I am speaking in terms of non-military ships since I am no pro there.

Lets look at its 1:350 scale Soya Antarctica 1st Corp.

I saw this kit at a local toy store a long time ago before I picked back up my scale modeling hobby. She caught my eyes and I remembered studying her pictures for the longest time before deciding to buy her. For one, she wasn't military, and second, the amount of details on her was mind boggling. So I was sold on her.

The Observation Ship Soya is truly a remarkable ship to have made so many journeys to and back from Antarctica, survived World War II and today, resides as a Museum Ship in Japan. Not many ships are able to share this kind of achievements, as seen with the Antarctic Cruise Ship "The Explorer" that sunk presumably after striking an iceberg. She literally lived through countless dangerous situations and lived to tell the tale.

According to Wikipedia, the ice breaker Soya was originally named "Volochaevets", a real mouthful to pronounce there. It was ordered from the Matsuo Shipyard Koyagi Island in Nagasaki, Japan back in 1963 by the Soviet Union as part of a three ice-strengthened cargo ships but due to growing tensions between the two countries, she was never handed over but rather served as the ice-breaking cargo freighter for Tatsunan Kisen Co. Today she has been renamed the Chiryo Maru.

The Soya is also the very same ship that made famous those two Huskies that were abandoned along with their pack during a severe snow storm and were the only two survivors a few months later. The two dogs, Taro and Jiro, were eventually brought back to Japan where they lived their life as celebrities until their demise.

The ship was also intriguing since she was the ship used in the movie "Nankyoku Monogatari" or "South Pole" as she was released in the US, with its soundtrack "Antarctica" composed and conducted by Vangelis. She was also used in Disney's movie adaptation in the film "Eight Below".

In Nov 1939, the Imperial Japanese Navy requisitioned her and in Feb 1940 she was given the name "Varyag" and assigned duties as an auxiliary ammunition ship/survey vessel. She survived torpedo attacks in 1943 from the USS Greenling, and 10 crew members were killed in 1944 near Truk when a squadron of TF58s aircraft swooped down to attack her, which led her to be temporarily grounded.

In 1956, she was modified and overhauled to make her ready for her Antarctica  Research Expedition. This involved putting in a new diesel engine and the installation of a helicopter deck. She successfully made trips to the Antarctica over the period of 1956 - 1962, with her most notable career on her second trip in 1958 where she rescued explorers stranded from the first expedition at the Syowa Research Station.

During my own research, I came across her upgrade set in the form of photo-etch, and decided to get that one too, but unfortunately I had to back order her since it was out of stock. That was way back in 2007. Would you believe I finally got that set late last year, 2011? I had even forgotten I had pre-ordered her. And at that time, I thought that this was such a set back as I couldn't start on her until I had that PE set, hence that kit had laid among my stash for so long. I also found out then that Hasegawa had produced the 2nd and 3rd Corp Soya Antarctica, refitted for specific missions to the bottom of the world. Well, naturally I got all of them plus whatever upgrade sets that was available. Here's the 1st Corp range of Soya Antarctica under Hasegawa at 1:350 scale.