Sunday, October 10, 2010

Part 2 - How to spruce up your 1/32nd Revell/Monogram Colonial Viper

Part 2 of this highlight will showcase what others have done to their Vipers, and in some cases, show how they did it.

This of course doesn't mean you have to do everything stated here to achieve your ultimate build. Use whatever that is highlighted as a guide cause its very dependent on a few factors, like your skill levels, and how brave you are. And remember, not everyone has a steady hand and sharp eyesight, or patient enough to follow through. Access to aftermarket parts and raw materials may be another issue, and then there is the cost. Creativity limitations can be overcome with proper planning. And take your time building, since you're doing this for yourself. Its only for you (unless of course you're building this for someone else or a contest)

Another amazing build using aftermarket display stand

There will be a few builds that I will highlight, and some of these I don't have a link to nor do I know who build them. If you happen to know, please drop me a note and I will give them the proper credit and link back. Among these that I will highlight, I will focus more on a Spanish Modeller with the nick "Trastoman" from Resin Illuminati. His real name is Ignacio Cocero, and his effort to make the TOS Viper Mark I to look as though the Viper is a real space fighter are truly remarkable. In a way, I'm glad mine is still at the "going to be assembled" stage cause I still have time to emulate him

He has given his Viper a more pragmatic outlook by upgrading the parts using whatever materials he had access to. The upgrades he had done really do stand apart from the other Vipers. We will use his build as the centre of this topic, but first, a little more about assembly before you start building this kit - specially for the beginners.
  1. You can use my blog highlight on the Mark I studio model as a reference.
  2. Please use the correct tools for the correct job. Get a spruce cutter for heaven sake, don't use nail clippers or pliers to cut parts off the spruce. You might damage the parts or hurt yourself. These things are easily available in any model kit shop (Gundam specialty shops too)
  3. Study the instruction manual carefully, test fit the parts and plan out what you want done to them BEFORE you apply glue.
  4. Yes, you'll need to putty the gaps and sand down those areas if you want a smooth surface.
  5. Safety comes first. Wear protective glasses when dealing with intricate small parts and sharp blades.

Working on the Engine Cowling Covers

The first thing that'll catch your attention with this kit are the port and starboard fuselage, and then the engine cowlings covers. Observe how simple the engines' covers look with their molds. Here's the studio model for reference

You will notice that actual pipes were used along with some other odd pieces to add a sense of functionality to the studio kit. The thin short pieces that sticks out at the side are bigger and longer in the picture than on the kit. Also the kit has them pipes "fused" together to the body of the molds. This is done for 2 reasons, to provide strength to that part so it won't break easily, and also to save on the cost of production. As such, it creates a "fake" look to it. Some modellers expertly paint over them, while others like Trastoman decides to take the detailed route. He upgraded them.

Originally from the kit, the molded in pipes

Sections were cut apart

Measured sheet styrenes put in place at the Air Intake section, held together with the engine blade pieces at the centre of all 3 air intakes

Test fit reveals a cylinder shape best fits the pieces together. Right now at this preliminary stage, the upgraded pieces looks naked as the details are yet to be added in

There are a few ways to remove these parts. First, you could use a scriber to scribe the lines over the area you wish to cut, then a sharp blade or a modeller's saw to go over them until the parts give way. Or you could use a Dremel Motor Drill (or any hobbyist drill - I use Bosch) - fast and efficient, but leaves no room for mistakes. Whichever method you use, remember, safety first. Wear your protective glasses or goggles.

Styrene sticks of various sizes were used to emulate the greebles. Another styrene sheet was cut to fit the mid panel

Styrene rods were used to emulate pipes. By doing this, the kit now looks to have actual piping inserted into the engine section. You will also notice the exhaust vents located at the mid section has also been drilled and filed out

Other Methods of upgrading that darn Exposed Engine Section

Other method of upgrades involves putting in brass "pipes' into the existing kit. In the below images you will note that the details originally there had been sanded off. Please note that you can use copper wires to simulate brass pipes at that scale. (Please let me know if you know whose built the below picture belongs to). Styrene pieces are also added to reflect that functionality look.

Or you could even try these simpler methods. Using wires of paperclips can solve a lot of problem. Or, just drill off and remove the unneeded plastic sections

Simple steps but they make a lot difference to the finished results. All it takes are steady hands and sharp eyesight. Its also more affordable.

Working on the After Burners (Thrusters) tail section

The tail section of the Mark I Viper kit reveals a series of molded in parts that again shows a "fake" look to the kit. It gives it a "model kit" feel. Trastoman eliminated this by reworking on the existing pipings and adding in extra greebles to raise other highlights using sheets styrene and other kit parts. The end result looks remarkable, even before painting

Now the rear engine section looks like a real rear engine section

Fitting the thruster exhaust nozzle can be a challenge. My test fit on my own kit shows some gaps which I will need to work on myself. Trastoman decided on a new method - to remove the imbalance fit, he removed the groove on the body assembly, and did his own attached to the inner end on the exhaust nozzle piece.

The end result looks fantastic as the pieces slides in together. Look out for part 3 where I touch on the panel lines and cockpit

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