Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Part 4 - How to spruce up your 1/32nd Revell/Monogram Colonial Viper

Part 4 of the Revell/Monogram 1/32nd TOS Mark I Colonial Viper build will touch more on the front nozzle and fuselage details.

See Part 1 for this kit's introduction, and aftermarket parts
Part 2 highlights works on the engine section
Part 3 highlights scribing the panel lines and the cockpit

The function of the front nozzle of the Mark I Viper is rather sketchy at best, since nothing official was ever mentioned for its purpose. We can only assume the design was done that way for autistic reasons. This has caused much debate on the net but many believes it houses the radar for its Dradis system.  The Mark II however had something that looked like a "radiator" and again nothing official was mentioned for its function.

Whether its functional or not, its on the studio model, hence we'll try to emulate this simple part to fit what was seen on TV.

If you were to compare the actual studio model above, and the parts on the spruce below, first thing you'll notice is that there are panel lines at the bottom section, and the nose cone is smooth and thin.

By comparison, the 1:1 mock up model has a smooth undercarriage at the bottom tip. Confusing huh. So technically there is no wrong or right way of doing it. Its entirely up to you how you want your kit to look like.

That piece on the spruce however is a little rough at the edges and Trastoman did the right thing. He corrected his by filing the inner surface and sanding down the oval shape's inner cone to achieve a smoother look.


The end result when fitted unto the fuselage. Notice its smoothness similarity to a baby's butt?

Details on the Mark I Viper's Fuselage

If you were to test fit together the Monogram / Revell starboard and port fuselage, first thing you'll notice is that the surface is almost entirely barren with some small raised block highlights here and there. And then there is those raised panel lines. Again this is the basic kit design. Its lacking some details as seen on the studio kit, as well as some imagination if you wish to incorporate the Mark II's aft and forward thrusters.

Bottom view already reveals .... you need to scratchbuild some of the panels. That circular hole at the bottom mid section is to hold the pole that balances the model for filming

Over here, you can see Trastoman's effort in emulating the studio model, as well as incorporating those thrusters (you see those cute little holes at the forward bottom tip?). All these can be achieved with pieces of styrene sheets cut to size, and a motor drill with a round head. The raised lines are sanded off, and new panel lines are scribed in. Even without primer or paint, his kit is already loooking very good there.


A scene from the TV series revealing the need to add a strip of styrene at the mid top section of the fuselage

Don't feel overwhelmed with all the detailed parts. Not everything cab be emulated correctly. The idea is to get as close to the filming model as possible if that is your goal. Just go with what makes you feel good. Here's what others had done on their kits, and despite the many differences, they are all superbly build.

Yours could even end up in someone's gallery one day, an achievement worth savoring since no one wants to be associated with a badly done up kit. But to get there, you need to just get started with yours first.

Coming up - Part 5. How to correct the laser canons and modifying the engine thrusters.


  1. Bruce, I have a new piece I think you might like:

    I took great pains to get the Viper absolutely perfect.


  2. Wow Chris, that looks fantastic, esp how you gave an angled perception to your diorama. I have to highlight this build up in a separate blog. Its too good to pass through like this. Thanks

  3. Bruce, do you need anything other than what you can get from Photobucket? I can send you attachments or something. BTW, my email is chrisisall@gmail.com
    & once again, your site was a big help!

  4. Hey Bruce, wow, I was trying to purchase another 30th Anniversary Viper model online & the market has seemed to totally dry up! Even sites that still advertise it tell me they're out of stock! Even Ebay has nothing!
    I still have one I haven't opened, but I think my next will be from scratch as I don't want to make the LAST REVELL COLONIAL VIPER MODEL IN EXISTENCE until they issue more, if ever!
    As Khan said, "They TASK me. They task me and I shall HAVE them!"
    A new Viper will emerge from me, no thanks to the lack of Revell styrene!!!

    Sorry, I was waxing dramatic just then...:)

  5. Hi Chris. Its funny when these were in stock and some shope were complaining bad sales. Fed Models still have an earlier reissue (no cockpit version) but other than that, yeah, really can't find these anywhere now.

  6. Hey Bruce, I just won one on Ebay- a 1997 Viper w/no cockpit. I have bids on others both with & without!
    I'll probably score at least one more! YEAH, baybee!


  7. Yo! Viper models are all over Ebay!