"We're off to Outer Spaaaaaaace..."
A post on theminiaturespage.com by fellow Australian Starblazers fan, Derek Fulton, reminded me that I detailed up some of the classic Space Cruiser Yamato kits last year - but promptly forgot about them before I could wave a camera it them! Its all IQ-9's fault - I'm forever wasting time having to rescue poor Nova from him...
As a teenager, I only ever watched Starblazers for the existentialist angst...
Anyway, here's a few shots of the start of my Earth Defence Force fleet - All from the late '90's reissue of the original kits. When I heard these were available, I threw a month's worth of spending cash after them. As a result, I can field EDF, Gammilon and Comet Empire fleets with about 20 vessels to each force. Or, to be absolutely accurate, I will be able to field 20-odd ships per force... One day, I'll actually finish the so-and-so's! This space cadet ought to pull his finger out!
Unbridled nostalgic over-indulgence!
These are unmodified plastic kits, and given that the original molds for these were tooled in the late 1970's they have stood up to the tests of time rather well. The detail from kit to kit is variable, however; the little Gearing class Destroyer is packed with nice, engraved panel lines, while the big Borodino class Battleship is, well, rather smooth-sided, to say the least.
The Borodino Class BB Wagram
My technique for improving these otherwise fine models was to simply add some panel lines using a very sharp 4B pencil. (If you know your drawin' graphite, you'll know that we don't commonly use 'sharp' and 4B in the same paragraph, kids.) Reaching back into my traditional training as a graphic designer, I found a couple of very thin steel erasing shields, which provided ideal templates for panels. Being flexible, the shield can be bent and held to the curve of a ship's hull, allowing for a tight, clean line. Once the lines are all in place, a couple of coats of Mr. Hobby Spray UV Cut Super Clear Gloss stop them from smudging, and it removes the metallic sheen of the graphite.
An erasing shield. Defend yourself from erasers!
I also added some variety into the shades of grey I painted the vessels with; one single coat of Generic Battlewagon Bland looked awful on the Hood, so I added some variety with a couple of Citadel colours from the Foundation range, which added some visual excitement to what are, otherwise, straightforward, grey shapes.
Gearing and Hood Classes departing
A rummage through my decal box unearthed a mass of suitable, small-scale decals. Wherever possible, I try to use non-historical decals on my Sci-Fi subjects, as it takes something away from the suspension of disbelief if the Starship Enterprise is wearing the nose art of the Memphis Belle...
Yamato? We don' need no steenkin' Yamato!
A shot of Testor's Dullcote to kill the shine, and all is good!
Time to fight out the battle of Saturn and die in a futile effort to hold back the Comet Empire!