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.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Screen Cap References of the Black Pearl and Flying Dutchman from Pirates of the Caribbean

The good news is that I have found a supplier that may get me a Zvezda's 1/72 scale Black Pearl. Bad news is that I hear she's going to be expensive and may take a while before I actually have her in my hands. So I'll work on the assumption I'll have her before the end of this year, hence I'm putting up whatever reference images I have on the Black Pearl, as well as the Flying Dutrchman.

You can actually see quite a few differences of the Black Pearl between the first and the second and third movies. Do take note that only the first three movies will be highlighted here since we don't see much of the Black Pearl on the fourth, and none of the Flying Dutchman at all.

Lot of screen caps after the jump.

The Flying Dutchman from Pirates of the Caribbean

Since we're on the topic of Pirates of the Caribbean, another cool ship that I do believe may be near impossible to replicate as a kit would be the dreaded Flying Dutchman. A cursed vessel that is out to collect lost souls at sea, and cursed again by Calypso to the captain for breaking her heart, he and his crew are forsaken to take on ghastly mutations until the curse gets broken.

To impose that cursed look on screen, the producers had the Flying Dutchman fitted with a morbid deck and hull, successfully capturing the essence of a forsaken ship and crew dreaded by sailors of that time.

And would you believe an actual mock up was created of her? Here's an image of the Flying Dutchman being towed for filming.

More images of the Flying Dutchman mock up after the jump.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Zvezda's 1/72 Black Pearl from "Pirates of the Caribbean"

For such a popular ship to be made into a kit, and to have that kit remain as mysterious as the ship itself in the movies, that must have been some kind of feat. I have been waiting on news of her and believe it or not, I didn't find out that the kit is already out until I found out by chance. For your information, Zvezda is an up and coming Russian brand that is slowly but surely breaking into the world of fine scale modeling.

The problem is that all my favourite shops did not have her in stock, nor were some of them aware she was even released. I managed to find a few sites that sold her online but because I have never bought anything from them let alone hear of them, I decided to put word out if any of my favourite hobby stores would carry her. I'll let you all know of the outcome later.

As far as I know, most scale modelers who successfully got this kit got them from eBay from a seller from Moscow. Feed backs suggest the seller is reliable. Or you can try to get her from Hobbyterra.com or Scale-model-kits.com but don't ask me how these shop are as I have never shopped with them before.

So how does this kit actually look like? Well, according to the articles I've read, the Zvezda's Black Pearl is as good as any wooden panel model ship kits that is available out there. Looking at the sprues layout, this kit does hold a lot of promises besides looking challenging and good - I'm referring to all that rigging and rag tag sails you're going to need to emulate. Here are some images of a preliminary build up of her.

Another point to take note about the Black Pearl, this ship technically does not exist in the real world. In the first movie, the "Black Pearl" was build over a barge using camera angles and CGI to cover up revealing areas, while a miniature model unit was used for the overall scenic shots. In the second and third movie, the "Black Pearl" was build over an existing sailing ship. We didn't see much of the Black Pearl in the fourth movie as the ship was captured within a bottle, trapped on a perpetual angry sea by Blackbeard.

Here are some behind the scenes images of the Black Pearl. If you look carefully, you can see remnants of a Barge at the stern of the ship (that means the rear). Look for them after the jump.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Moebius Black Widow in 1/8 Scale, and the Avengers Version

Introduced in Iron Man 2 as a prelude to the coming Avengers movie in 2012, Scarlett Johanssen did a remarkable job portraying the Black Widow. She certainly has the looks for it, and I'm not just talking about her body. And her appearance in Iron Man 2 did make an impact for the movie. So it was truly good news when I heard Moebius was coming out with a 1/8 scale kit of Black Widow based on the movie.

It wasn't what I had expected as I had remembered Black Widow in the comics to be somewhat simpler, and her suit showing off every single contours of her body. Well, the character had to sell, right?

I'm not complaining about the new version. In fact, they had made her more realistic, and by having Scarlett portray her with that sultry look, the character really comes to focus. So how does the kit look like? Well, I don't have pictures of the kit's parts yet, but here is what you can expect.

More images after the jump.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Spinner from Blade Runner

If you were to ask me a movie that best suits a Sci Fi Theme, the first answer off my head would definitely be Blade Runner. I admit I only went to see the movie being an ardent Harrison Ford fan, but I left appreciating the Sci Fi genre even more. When I found out the show was based on the a novel by Phillip K. Dick called "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep", I went looking for it and believe me, it was just as good.

Little did I know then that James Edward Olmos was also in that movie (found out much later after the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series). Blade Runner influenced me in a few things, for one ... short hair. Since I saw the movie, I kept my hair really short (except during my college days), and still love it this way to this day. Second was the soundtrack from Vangelis. Dark, eerie and somewhat Gothic. I like.

And lastly, the Spinners. Then I thought those would make awesome police vehicles. I never thought model kits would be made of this and am I glad to be proven wrong. Here are some excerpts from the movie with the Spinners

Nostalgia yar? That was a great movie, and I hear they're going to remake it. I sure hope they don't overkill that movie. It was already perfect in its own way. So, back to the Spinner, here's a couple of image how they moved that thing behind the scene. Would you believe the chassis is that of a car? I didn't really knew that until I researched her.

The Spinner was the creation of Syd Mead, and you can read all about it HERE.

Now onto the kits. Since I only recently started researching her, I'm not really sure what was available in the previously, except for the new kits coming out. One is styrene plastic from Fujimi, and the other, well, you can expect details galore from this one, will be from Randy Cooper.

More about the Spinner kits after the jump.