Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Little things make a big difference.

The 3 day weekend was nice and I made some good progress. I feel like I've got a good workflow now and things are progressing faster. I'm still focusing on steps where the parts are from similar sprue trees and where modifications for accuracy/lighting may not be necessary...yet.
You can see what used to be a bare upper hull is now transforming into the hunk of junk we all know and love. There are so many little parts on there. Photographs just can't relate how impressive the level of detail is in 3D.Rob mentioned (on the RPF) that he also had difficulty removing some of the smaller parts from the trees. The right tools will definately make working on this kit easier. So here's a quick overview of what I consider some of the most important ones:
Xuron sprue snips for removing parts from their trees. Plastruct Plastic Weld is the adhesive I mentioned in a previous post. It is low viscocity and evaporates very quickly. A Hi-Liter helps track progress within a given step. There are so many tiny parts and numbers flying around each step that it helps to cross them off as you go. An X-acto knife with lots of sharp new blades. Finally, some tweezers for holding parts that your fingers just cannot handle.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Day 1

Rob and I got together Saturday at his house for some BBQ and bird watching. OK, so we did actually do some bird building. But, first we grabbed our trusty digital cameras and captured the pivotal moment I would like to call "the reveal". As we pulled the kits from their cardboard cage a smile came accross my face.
Before we got underway, I thought no buildup of a Fine Molds Falcon would be complete without a comparison to the ERTL kit. Luckily Rob had one that he had finished about 10 years ago. Here they side by side:

We were ready to get started gluing tiny pieces of plastic together at last. First stop, a nice bath in warm water and mild dish soap to get rid of any mold release or oils on the parts.
I decided to start with step 7. One of the reasons I skipped the first steps is that they involved some decision making that I didn't wanted to waste time on now. For example, step 1 is assembling the cockpit. I know I want to illuminate the cockpit as well as the instrument panels which means some of the parts may need to be recreated in clear plastic. Since I just wanted to jump in and get something on the ship finished, I decided to target some simple sub-assemblies. Rob worked on his dish and the cockpit while I focused on the escape pods.

This is where I got my first taste of how insane the Fine Molds pattern makers are and just how difficult this kit is going to be. I snapped two little pieces (I repaired them) in the process of attaching them to larger pieces. The key is to be patient and careful. Using Plastruct brand "Plastic Weld" glue is a challenge. It is definately the right stuff for the job as it lightly melts the styrene together on contact. However, it evaporates so quickly that you must really get a feel for how much to apply and when to join the pieces. At the end of the day, I didn't have much done, but the escape pods look beautiful.

Friday, May 26, 2006

They're heeeere!

Two birds landed on my front doorstep this morning. But wait you say...two birds? Yes. That's right. My good friend Rob (PHArchivist for those of you familiar with the RPF) and I will be building these simultaneously. I will feature his buildup here as well. The shipping box is huge. I was surprised that they came in what appears to be an original Fine Molds cardboard box with their logo and some Japanese on the side:

Sadly, I did not open the box yet. I ushered it inside an scurried off to work.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

You have to start somewhere.

I thought it over in my little brain and came up with a brilliant idea. I'll build a Millennium Falcon. Ok, so I'm not going to build a real spaceship...but I could if I wanted to. It just so happens that I don't need a real one at the time of this post so a small scale model will do. I pulled the trigger on a Japanese kit made by Fine Molds. It's 1/72 scale and contains over 800 pieces. This is going to be a challenge.