Monday, July 24, 2006

Comic-Con = inspiration.

Comic-Con was great. I spent most of my time at the MR booth looking at the studio scale Falcon replica they had on display. It looks very nice. They certainly captured the studio look with this replica. If all the production copies sold to consumers match the accuracy of the paint work, this will surely be their most impressive offering (so far).

In my quest to complete the upper hull, I have decided to cut out the notches where the front plating meets the mandibles. I've also taken an x-acto razor saw blade and created a small undercut like the real model. It's subtle and this angle doesn't show it off. I'll take another one after I spray the primer.
I wasn't happy with the detail level of that large damage scar on the lower hull. So, I went back and re-worked it. It wasn't quite long enough, not wide enough at the center, the edges didn't have the right look, and the trench was too smooth.
I went around the lower gun turret taper with small sheet styrene details. They are pretty close from what little reference I have. I will admit that they are not 100% correct.
Minor side note: After seeing their engine glow of the MR Falcon in person, I am debating my LED color choice. I think I will order up some cool white LEDs and test those as well.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Are we there yet?

I haven't had much time this week to devote to the Falcon. This weekend Rob and I did manage to get some things wrapped up. He has his upper and lower hull together and the sidewall pieces glued into place. We both finished the greeblies in front of the lower hull gun turret. Below you can see I've got the last two brackets on as well as my taper completed.
I just need to recreate the square-like details on the turret sidewall and I can call my lower hull complete. Here's a look at the bottom:
Saturday will probably be the first chance I get to sit down with the kit again (possible update that evening) On Sunday, I'm heading down to San Diego for Comic-Con. I'm pretty much going just to check out the Master Replicas studio scale prototype on display. I'll be taking a lot of reference photos so that I can do a final check on my ship before I begin painting. Should be a fun day.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Low blow

I'm almost done with the lower hull. The damage is done. I used a dremel with a small triangular shaped grinding bit to get the big gash started. I used the heated ball-end tool technique described in my first damage post to finesse the scar. It should look great when painted.
I also took on the tedious task of completing all the mandible pit pipes on the lower hull last night. This morning I went back and did some filling and sanding to clean them up a bit.In front of the gun turret sidewall, I noticed some pipes were missing connecting the greeblies to the jawbox. A few bends in a simple 1/32" brass rod completed the look. Also missing here (but not pictured) are some pipe-like brackets going from the turret taper to the jawbox. I have to taper the turret sidewall before that can happen.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Unlearn what you have learned.

Fine Molds tried to pull a fast one on us. I actually realized this had to be corrected right after I did it, but I put it off until now. The instructions have you add little flap-like pieces to complete the ones on the outside edge of the hull. Below is an example (upper hull pictured):
The studio 32" model did not have these. There was just a nice smooth ledge all the way around. So I had to pop all of them off. Now this wasn't easy as some of them were really melted on from the plastic weld glue. Once they were off, two holes per flap needed to be filled. Finally, after some sanding and a shot of primer, it should look like this (lower hull pictured):
I also completed the piping on the rear engine deck. You can see I added the 'V' shaped pipes to the left and right of the pipes completed in the previous update. There are actually a couple more tiny pipes I'll add but they lean up on the exhaust port housings, so I need to wait until those are glued down.
Both sides of the rear deck also have these little boxes next to the part that looks like a subwoofer. I made these with some thick sheet styrene. It's difficult to see, but I beveled the upper edges a tiny bit with sand paper.
Work has finally shifted to the lower hull to get that wrapped up. I need to get this kit ready for paint soon or I will lose my mind.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Late night, little progress.

I got home from work late last night and didn't have much energy left in me. I figured I could at least fabricate the missing piping I mentioned in my previous update.
I used 1/32" brass rod to create these two details on either side of the center exhaust port in the rear row. The outer end touches the hull while the inner is glued to that long 'U' shaped pipe with the 'Y' split ends in front of the exhaust port. Rob tipped me off to the idea that Fine Molds had put half of what may be a separate piece and molded it to the 'U' part.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hit the deck.

Once again I have to admit that I must have some form of O.C.D. because I can't stop finding and fixing some tiny details. There are about 20 little raised oval shapes missing on the rear deck around the engine exhausts. I took a quick mold of a part on the side of the jawbox that had the same scale ovals and pumped out some copies.
In addition, there are some small raised rivets (though they look square to me) on some of the plates in this same area. So I whipped those up too. Here's a look at the overall effect when completed:
To complete the upper hull details, I will be scratch building some missing piping/brackets in this same region. I also need to drill out all the engine exhaust housings to install my PE grills from the underside. I can't wait to get that out of the way.

For my next magnet trick...

I finally got around to installing the magnets on the inside of the escape pods. I used a tiny bit of 2-part epoxy to fix the magnets to the inside of the pods (two magnets are used on each). Inside the hull, I fabricated two small stainless steel brackets that the magnets would pull toward. Installing them at the right depth is crucial so that the pods sit completely flush when in place. I drilled a tiny hole on the bracket surface mounted to the hull This increased the surface area the glue would grab. They work perfectly.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Missing pieces.

It seems as though Fine Molds simply left out some details. For instance, there is a pretty small but interesting set of pieces used on one side of the jawbox. I will admit that making these tiny bits was difficult due ot their size. But when I looked at this area it seemed a little empty compared to the 32" studio miniature. To finish this area, I still have to notch the hull plate edges where they meet the mandibles. There are three pipes running into the side of the jawbox (seen in the upper right corner of the photo above). One of them runs up the sidewall of the jawbox on each side. Yet another missing detail...

Monday, July 03, 2006

Tapering the turret sidewalls: Part II

Sunday morning I packed up the falcon and headed over to meet Rob. We were both at the point where recreating the greeblies on the sidewall of the newly tapered turret was on our list of to-do's. I have to say that this was some tedious work. I went through many failed scratch built parts trying to match our reference photos. These details are tiny. Pictured below is my completed taper with the details added. You might notice that I recreated the dents and dings in the putty surface like the ILM model. Insanity!
With that out of the way and the t-track for the upper hull completed, it was finally time to spray some primer. I really look forward to this step because it brings all the parts together. I've started detailing the upper turret plate with missing styrene squares. That's why it wasn't primed and little white blocks are starting to appear.
It's also good to take a few steps back and see how the modifications work with the rest of the ship as a whole. Yes, things are starting to look more correct now.