Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why is it so hard to get the Zvezda's 1/72 Black Pearl? And her English Instructions.

This is definitely one kit I want. But wanting it and getting it .. well, she's proving to be as elusive as she was with Captain Jack Sparrow whenever he keeps loosing her. Rumour has it that Disney pulled the licensing from Zvezda, hence the company can't sell the Black Pearl kit in the open. I'm not sure how true this rumour is, but it is certainly hard to get this baby. My own Local Hobby Store has been waiting on my order and its coming 2 months now. In fact, I'm not really sure if he can get her at all - both hands with fingers crossed here.

So I decided to take the plunge and order her via eBay, sold by a Russian Seller whom so far have received very good reviews. I'll let you know if she's a good seller when I receive her. Be prepared as the shipping is the real killer. The kit cost USD110 and if you want the kit to come with the original box, then be prepared to pay another whopping USD120 (that's USD230 total). Otherwise do what I did, I went for the Standard Airmail option which will set me back only USD40, so that makes the kit more affordable, but you don't get that nice fancy box. Don't ask me how the kit is going to be packed as I myself am curious.

So while waiting, I realised that the instructions was going to be in Russian (says so at that eBay page). Wait a minute, I don't speak or read Russian, so this is going to be a problem. Thanks to the Internet, and to, he had posted the English instructions but they are in PDF files. I have taken the liberty to save them as bitmap so those who don't have Adobe reader can also access them.

Zvezda's 1/72 Black Pearl English Instructions

Well, I may not have the kit with me yet, but at least by looking at the instructions, I have a pretty good idea on how I'm going to build her ..... when I get her. Which brings me to another point of interest. Who exactly is currently building her?

See what others have done after the jump

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Work In Progress 1:196 Revell USS Constitution

It has been a while since I posted anything on this blog ... erm .. ahem ... I can explain. You see, at first I had issues again with blogger, then when that was solved, I was too tired to post anything (too early to work, too late when I come home), then I was midway on this project, see, then ... then .. Awww Hell, ok, they're but a bunch of excuses. So here I am before i go back to my workroom.

As you can see from my recent postings, the flavour for this season is period ships. Yeah, I got too hung on the Zvezda's 1:72 Black Pearl (which I am still waiting on my LHS to deliver - coming 2 months waiting now), that I decided to practise on other period ships first. Well, you have to understand this is totally unchartered territory for me since I have never ever worked on a ship before (out of box 1:700 scale unpainted kit not counted). I did some extensive research on this and figured the rigging was going to be the most problematic area. Of course I had to try building one first to substantiate that claim.

So off I went to purchase a few kits on this topic and wouldn't you know it, I had one in my stash all along collecting dust. So now I have like a few period ships in my collection, and suddenly they have become "precious", as in, let me test my skills on the older kit first before I work on the new ones.

What I had was a very old 1:196 USS Constitution "Old Ironside" I had bought before the Millenium, that was partially assembled and painted and haphazardly kept. I didn't take any pictures prior to today as initially I was trying this and that, testing my skills on her to discover new "challenges". And knowing my knack for details, accuracy (well, not too much on this lest I go crazy) and realism, I ended up spending two weeks on her.

First I had to take stock of the parts that was scattered all over the box, and until now, I've only managed to segregate them according to hull parts, mast, cannons and sail.

Then I started working on the deck and hull itself. There was already copper painted on the hull of the Constitution, and there were some parts glued unto the deck which I had to remove (didn't do a good job on that since they broke apart on me). Here are some image montage on my progress so far .. not much but coming along slowly.

More to come when ... erm .. there's more to show.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Which is the Ultimate "Black Pearl" Scale Model kit?

While anxiously waiting for my Zvezda's 1/72 scale Black Pearl from Pirates of the Caribbean to arrive, I decided to see if I could get more images of her off the net (and its looking like I'm going to need to screen capture images of her upper and lower decks). Its a little confusing as in some images, I can't tell if those images are that of the Black Pearl, or another sailing vessel.

But I did find something very interesting. And what I found instead nearly blew my mind away.

Yup, I found me another kit of the Black Pearl, abet this one has laser cut wooden parts and metal pieces, and the details on her ... WOOT! Mind staggering! And so's the price. I do believe she is about the most accurate kit of the Black Pearl that's out there.

And here's the surprise, its made by a China based company called Z.H.L from Wuhan Poseidon Technology Co., Ltd (WPT).

I don't know anything about this company as this is the first time I have heard of them, nor have I ever seen the kit nor her parts. But if they are anything like what I see on their site, Z.H.L's Black Pearl (she's listed as 1/43 scale - that's huge) then that would make her the ultimate wooden kit for the Black Pearl, and of course I am talking about those that you need to assemble and paint. According to the product list, she's a double plank on frame construction kit.

From their product range, I could see several versions of the Black Pearl kit with each successive new kit coming in with more upgrades. The interesting part about this company is that the old kits are also made available for sale. Here's an image of the very first Black Pearl offered to the mass market:

Now note that in the above images, there are no lifeboats, the entrance to Capt Jack Sparrow's cabin is different and lacking details, and the cupboard and barrel is missing in front of the Ship's huge Steering Wheel. Other differences lies with the details on the bow of the ship. The below images are from the 2010 version which has incorporated more upgrades, including three lifeboats and more refined parts.

OK, here's the curious thing. Where can you buy her? Apparently if you were to google "Model Black Pearl", and followed through some of the links given, you'll find a lot of these offered in something like eBay called "aliexpress", and some sites have even listed her as much as USD$500 plus plus. When I went direct to the main site, the ship is only listed only at USD$258 and that is for the most recent version which is still available (They call it "Black Pearl 2"). Looking at the history of the kit, she just keeps getting better and better.

More images of the parts after the jump

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tackling Period Ships Scale Modeling for the First Time

I have always believed that those who undertake Modern Naval Scale Modeling will always be a cut above the rest. I still do. Its not easy working on ships. They have the most intricate PE sets made available and all those minute parts ... the level of patience they possess must equal that of a Jedi Master.

For general scale modelers worldwide, the epitome of their scale modeling experience is when they finally decide OK, I'm going to build me a ship. Not just a ship but one where rivet counters can be proud of. Yup, extensive detailing with bucko aftermarket parts, weathering ..... and finally, the rigging.

That's why I think I'm crazy. I'm going straight for periodical ships aka Old Sailing Ships. No, not the wooden ones, that'll be really asking for it. Since I placed my order for the Black Pearl from Zvezda at 1/100 scale, I've been obsessed about the tool requirements to build that baby ... and then it hit me, what about the rigging? I know nuts about knots and more knots, let alone sailor or ship jargon. And I do have a long list of projects still pending completion (which I am disciplining myself to complete).

Don't get me wrong. I'm not doing this as a challenge or anything. I really do have a fondness for ships, hence my love for Starships and all things Sci Fi. I have always been meaning to complete a few ships and the only thing I'm staying away from are tanks .... for now.

So I decided if I was going to do this, practise makes perfect, right? Oh boy, why do I feel like I'm taking in more than I can chew. To prepare my .. ahem .... journey into periodical sailing ships, I will be procuring Zvezda's 1/100 scale "Nina" Expedition ship as well as the San Gabriel. Practise will be on the Nina while I think I can modify the San Gabriel to look more like the Flying Dutchman from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Well, the Black Pearl is also from Zvezda, so it kind of make sense to work on other Zvezda kit. Of course this means I'm going to need try to master the art of rigging just so I can (hopefully) achieve the following:

I know it won't be easy. I know its going to be challenging as hell, treading into something many (I hear) had given up on. And I also think I may be crazy. I spoke to a few experienced Periodical Scale Modelers who have 6 - 14 years experience, and when I asked them if I could complete a comprehensive kit with all that rigging within two months, they laughed ......... and they're still laughing ....... and that was like a few hours ago.

OK, OK, I need to be realistic. To get a ship that detailed could take as long as 8 months to 2 years, depending on the time spent on her. According to my plans, I want to finish off my DC10-30 Malaysian Airlines first, then work on my Reimagined BSG Hangar Bay Dio, and I was kinda' hoping I could work on two kits simultaneously - the Hangar Bay, and the Nina's rigging. Well, that's the plan anyway, and my DC10-30 is really coming along painfully slow (I'm reworking the cockpit .... again. Put too much details until the fuselage won't close properly now). So I guess progress report on my scale model ship endeavour may not be forthcoming.

So with some recommendations from friends, I managed to get these two books (that scale military figure conversion is more for my BSG diorama later on). They make for easy reading for now and from my research, "Ship Modeling from Stern to Stern" may not be accurate but they are a great start for a beginner like me.

And yeah, I was told on an actual Sail Ship, there are miles and miles of lines on board with hundreds of knots all over, and they are all replicated faithfully - hence the need for this book - Rigging Period Ship

Other books currently under consideration. Well, I don't plan to me a Naval Maverick, just need to know enough to get me started.

Interesting development there, and I am hoping things don't get too difficult later on. I had always loved challenges, and well, if this project takes me 3 years, then 3 years it shall be.