Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shipbuilding 101: Another Highwind, part 1

Here I was, all set to cobble together a second Hive Tyrant, and a commission drops in my lap. Not just any commission, either; the guy wanted AIRSHIPS.

As in, the kind I built from Crimson Skies planes. The Highwind and Hilda Garde III, to be exact. The Hilda Garde I wasn't (and still am not) sure about due to the availability of specialty parts, but the Highwind I was pretty damn sure I could whip up. Plus, I've always wanted to improve on that decade-old+ model with better parts and modern techniques. 

So, what the hell. 4 kits from 3 eBay sellers later, I started up the works. 

Inspired by the fantastic step-by-step articles over at DEI GRECI, I decided to photodocument as I went. Here's how it went down, starting with the Kestrel:

Ugh, what an ugly plane. Let's dismember the fucking thing:

Next, came the Metroliner:

Nice little helicopter, aint he? He gets the chop too:

Man, that was a lot of sawing. Later on I realized I needed the fuselage and sawed off his little tail, too. On to the Ground Hog. In my frenzy, I forgot a before picture, but here's the eBay picture:

After he was chopped,  I set to drilling and putting together the subassemblies. The Phalanx still hadn't arrived in the mail yet;

I drilled into the nose and inserted a heavy-guage coat hanger rod for the pusher prop. I also sawed apart those big engines with a jeweller's saw (this took a while, as they're thick), capped the propellor halves with Tau shoulders, and let the rear half be. Those little winglet with guns became the basis for the Highwind's over-complicated tail. I made it with 3 rudders instead of four, so A) it wouldn't be over-wide and B) so I could center the metal bit and drill a pin hole:

At this point, I turned my attention back to the Kestrel parts, and drilled the pinholes for both this tail assembly: 

Oh yeah, we also have Groundhog bits to manage. This required more pinning, drilling and fitting, using the tried-and-true method of inserting pins in one part, marking their destination in the other using them and some ink, and then more drilling and glueing:

And while I was at it, I got a jump on the crew section with some more cutting and drilling:

That second rod goes all the way up through one part and into the Kestrel fuselage. The forward window section is supposed to be offset, so you can go out on deck and talk to whatever party member was hanging out on deck (I think it used to be Yuffie, barfing over the side). No there aren't bits small enough to make the little railing. It's just too small. The bit on the front is from an old Sazabi-ripoff Mekton mini that went to a better place, years ago.  At this point, I stopped for the day and worked on other things, mostly because there was, as I said, no Phalanx model to hack up. 

Till the next day came and it arrived:

Oh look! My work is half done. Let's get rid of that other wing and saw the front dome off that fucker. An half-hour later (god-DAMN it took FOREVER to saw through) I fit everything together, then it still wasn't long enough, so I had to further hack apart the Metroliner, as previously mentioned. Luckily, all that sawing makes for nice, smooth surfaces for Super Jet (tm) CYA glue to adhere together like rock. I also used a bit of sprue, drilled through and pinned, to anchor the rear strut-- oh hell, just look:

I used a bit of plastruct i-beam (I swear those i-beams have a 1,000 uses)  to square off the top, and also to use as a mounting point for the engine nacelles. Being wider than the Metroliner, we'll fill it with green stuff after assembly. I also made the clamshell half for the rear thruster that pops out when the thing transforms on disc 4. We're pretty much ready to drill into the fuselage and mount the engine nacelles now, so then you end up with this:

Now she looks more familiar, doesn't she? We'll do something about those ugly parts on the side in a minute. How about from the back:

That SM clamshell will get added after we greenstuff the hell out of it. I added a couple of  space marine shoulder pads to round off the nacelles, and then some plastic missile halves (from the same 1/35 scale Tamiya set the mk. 1's bits came from, in fact) to bulk out the fuselage of the upper section. I also used the weensy center bit from the Kestrel for the little hull section on top of the main fuselage, giving us this:

Next went a lot green stuff to smooth out angles and fill in big gaps. The underside of the upper fuselage section, where the Metroliner bit was, needed this especially. I also green-stuffed it to the base(s) and anchored them in place so it wouldn't topple while it cured overnight. In case you're wondering, I didn't buy the Citadel green stuff; A while ago I bought a much larger, much cheaper tube off the internet. 

Yes, that's the good old Highwind mk. 1 in the background, envying her younger sister's more true-to-form modelling and metal hull bits. 

Tomorrow, the big finish!


AbusePuppy said...

I love your airships.

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