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Saturday, 20 June 2015

To Infinite Tea... And Biscuits!

Hi, All!

Bringing the Empire to the stars!

Has it ever occurred to you how much a plastic wine glass looks like half of a steam-powered rocket ship?

Me too!

With this in mind, I recently decided to prove the resemblance...

Wine goblets with removable stems - this feature proved very handy in handling the model as it took shape.

My junk projects usually evolve from useful/interesting looking bits I've spotted. Howver, in this case I actually went out looking for plastic wine glasses of the right proportions. And as luck would have it, I found them - on special! Cheap is good.

The goblets are glued end-to-end and strips of card are added as the first details.

I had been wanting to make a somewhat Flash Gordon/Trigan Empire-esque rocket ship for a long time, but since this is a mostly VSF blog, I felt I should endeavour to produce something in keeping with the rest of my creations.

Hence the rivets.

And chimneys.

A mock-up fin is made from card to fit the curve of the rocket, before using it as a template for three plastic ones. Note the spotlight reflector used to create the thruster.

The fins are stamped with holes to create a Victorian iron-work look, then lined with plastic strips to add bulk.

This was actually a very simple build, although curves can be a bit of a challenge. All the usual O'Truth techniques came in handy - decorative hole punches, thin strips of card lined with rivets, portholes punched out of plastic - I've talked about all of these before, so I won't bore you.

Slovenly Bob loiters by the rocket as rivets are gradually added.

"So why did it take you so long to finish, Colonel?" I hear you mutter. Well, stop muttering please. It's rude.

In fact, the most testing part of this build was actually the painting. And it was all my fault.

A hatch is detailed from little scraps of plastic.

Beads and styrene plastic tubes form the rocket's chimney-style exhausts.

I made a number of mistakes which just ended up taking ages to correct:
  • I undercoated in a light grey. This meant that the copper I wanted to use looked really watery and thin, even after three coats. In the end, I had to paint all of it out with brown paint and do it again. Should have known better!
  • I tried doing the main green with ink. This just doesn't work for Victorian machinery, whereas paint gives a nice solid feel - and so I had to repaint the whole thing. Also should have known better!
  • I kept buggering up the red and white on the Union Jack bas-relief motif. Just because I was getting frustrated by now. 'Nuff said.
A Union Jack is fashioned in bas-relief from 0.5mm plastic board. This is then bent into shape to fit the curve of the rocket.

Scraps of card and offcut plastic form interestin extra panels to break up the smooth lines of the rocket a little. lots of rivets are added. I also finally settled for a bead, half a ball-point pen and a cocktail stick to create the nose-spike.

Anyway, frustrations aside, I am very happy with the final result, and I can tick off another design idea that's been rattling around in my noggin for ages.

UGLY ink... At this point, I was getting a little grumpy.

Oh, yes... I suppose I should report that the Rivet Count is 881 !

Not bad...

The finished rocket (finally!) lands among alien ruins somewhere in the deep reaches of the Empire.

Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe leads his intrepid shok troopers into the unknown!

So there you go. I'll be back to work on Lord Smudgington Smythely Smythe's Hydraulically-Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile soon, but in the meantime I have a rather nice card table I need to recondition (adding a chess board for good measure), a rock album to release and a few games of skittles to enjoy on the skittle board I built last week...

"What do you mean, they've never seen the Union Jack before?!"

Thanks for bearing with me, folks!

Anyone for skittles?

All the Best!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Hangin' Out Around The Back

Hi, All!

Finally! A nice, safe balcony!

I've finally got around to finishing a few more of the bits of Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically-Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile that I've been putting off.

There are gaps! Gaps, I tell you!

For some time now, the unfinished rear wall of the engine room has been bothering me. Because of the way I constructed it, with the engine protruding out of the back, closing everything in neatly and making it all straight and tidy was going to be a bit fiddly.

So I did other stuff for a bit. Well, over a year, actually!

Brass rod is detailed to anchor the wall against the engine.

The unpainted brass assembly is tried in place - the wall straightens out nicely!

As you can see, the wall needed to be straightened, anchored against the engine, balconies attached, and a capping placed along the top. The capping serves to disguise the still slightly wiggly wall, and also provides a straight edge for the removable barrel vault roof to line up against.

The painted anchor pieces fit beautifully! Now for the rest...

In order to anchor the wall to the engine, I needed something strong and rigid, so I decided to use square brass tube, to which I added plastic details, shaped to fit against the engine details.

And gaps on the inside, too!
Simple strips of plastic are dotted with rivets and fixed in place to hide the gaps. Note that these do not match - my engine is a whole millimeter off-centre!

Once the wall sections were nicely (mostly) straightened out, the capping was added, and the balconies were constructed. This was all pretty simple stuff really, if a little time-consuming.

The capping (unpainted) in place above the wood-effect balcony. The wood grain is visible from below as well as above.

The capping runs the full width of the engine room. Both balcony floors are now in place.

The balconies were 'floored' with plastic rather than the balsa I've used for the other deck areas. This enabled me to keep the floors thin, without losing strength or making them fragile. The wood grain effect was achieved by dragging coarse-grade sandpaper in one direction only along the plastic. Planks were then outlined by scoring with the side of a sharp knife.

Edges are constructed and detailed to fit around the balcony floors.

With the edges in place, the hand rail is built. Note the now painted capping, complete with rivets!

Once the flooring was in place, edge pieces were build and painted separately before gluing them in place - ensuring that the distinction between wood and iron remained nice and clean. A hand rail was then added as with so many other parts of the model!

This stage of the model required a few rivets to be removed, but overall the count increased by 198...

Bringing today's Rivet Count to...


Not bad, if I say so myself.

So there you go. The engine section is very nearly done - just a few ladders and bits and bobs to add before I move on to the chassis for the entire machine! Exciting!

Stay tuned, folks, as I shall also soon be bringing you a steam powered rocket ship!

My rear end. A sight to make my mother proud!

All the Best!


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Steaming Up Me Cranium!

Hi, All!

The Nefarious Doktor Nefarious with his Battle Tri-Skull...

Yes... I know I said I'd do more on Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically-Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile in time for this post, and I have... But it's not particularly exciting stuff to talk about as yet, and I wanted to mess about with my skull for a while.

A perfectly ordinary skull.

I picked up this resin skull as part of a ghoulish tic-tac-toe set being sold off cheap, and immediately recognised its potential as yet another Nefarious Machination of the Nefarious Doktor Nefarious!
Well, it's obvious. Innit?

(Left) The components are selected. (Right) A wooden bead is split in half to become the front wheel. Styrene discs punched out during other projects are glued to buttons to create wheels. Tubing is used to shape a chimney atop a pink 'boiler' bead.

Racing home with an enthusiasm to put the finest of pigeons to shame, I set about a-rummaging. And in moments I had a useful pile of beads, buttons, bits and bobs before me.

The holes in the buttons are filled and sliced clean before an axle is added, followed by square-cut tubing and finally beads as cylinders and boiler.

As you can probably tell, this project was a quick one. I usually intend my side projects to be fast builds, but often get carried away. It was nice to see something come to completion with so little effort.

The brass nut from a guitar string makes a pretty creepy mechanical eye.

1.2mm round rod and a slice of 3.2mm tubing are used to create a Gatling gun.

The Gatling gun is added, as is thechimney - and the model is almost complete.

Of course, rivets had to be added - fifty of them. "Fifty, Colonel?" I hear you exclaim, "Piffle! A mere trifle!" Well, yes... but I'll make up for it, I promise.

The finished Tri-Skull. Scary, huh?

Finally, I opted for a nice rusty-looking ink finish, contrasting with gunmetal and brass...

...But then...

Junior Skull, Senior Skull and General Skull-Duggery. (sorry!)

I thought I ought to do a few more...

...With Officers...

Senior Skull - His spikes are the ends of toothpicks, mounted in pieces of narrow plastic tube. A multi-facetted bead is used for his eye.

The fearsome General Skull-Duggery! I used greenstuff to sculpt the tusks, a piece of guitar string for the conduit, bits of plastic rod and tube for the bolts, half a small plastic press-stud for the monocle and beads and plastic tube for the blaster.

...After all, ten heads are better than one!

General Skull-Duggery, The Nefarious Doktor Nefarious and Slovenly Bob inspect the troops.

I can't wait to watch these wreak havoc on the battlefield!

Tri-Skulls... Chaaarge!

So that's it for this little quicky. More on Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically-Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile soon! I promise!

...and there's another side project on the way...

All the Best!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

I Spy With My Beady Eye...

Hi, All!

The Nefarious Doktor Nefarious surveys the ruins of Ah-Pul-Sh'Napps with his towering automated bodyguard.

Coming from a long and proud military heritage as I possibly do, I often find it impossible to resist the urge to rummage through boxes of brightly coloured plastic beads.

If any of you are Sandhurst men, I'm sure you understand...

Beads, Sir. Dozens of 'em.

Anyway, I was cheerfully rummaging away the other day, intermittently humming 'Rule Britannia' and having a delightful conversation with myself about the shocking price of cheese these days (as one does) when I gasped in astonishment!

"Gasp! I'm astonished!" I gasped astonishedly, "That there pink beady-thingy looks exactly like the torso of one of those late nineteenth-century steam-driven self-motorvating legionnaries what gave our lads such a hard time!"

And of course, I was right. Keep reading - I can prove it.

The 'torso' beads are trimmed into shape to create a neck line, and abdomen and hip beads are attached. Neck pins are shoved into heads...

And so, I present to you another of The Nefarious Machinations of the Nefarious Doktor Nefarious...

The Legion of Steam-Driven War-tomata!

(not to be confused with your salad.)

3.2mm square tube is cut to create leg sections, jointed with tiny round beads.

This little gang was a nice distraction from Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically-Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile (more on that very soon) and were also super cheap to create.

Trangular sections are cut from square tube to create the feet. The squad is glued to washers, with packing under some feet to support action poses.

As you can see, I used little round beads for all of the joints. By so doing, I gave myself limitless options for poses. I wanted the unit to look dynamic and active - not your typical rigid robot-soldier poses.

Rivets and rods are added to 'flesh out' the legs. The same detailing will be added to the arms. The hips are armoured with plastic tube.

Arms are added, and shoulder armour is cut from round plastic tube.

These were fast and fun to build, although making ten of them for the sake of fielding a full squad was almost a drag at times.The lengths of plastic rod lining the arms and legs were the trickiest and most time-consuming part but they really bulk up the models.

Ray guns are put together from 1mm plastic rod, diamond-shaped beads and tiny rouns ones. Model-making doesn't get simpler than this!

'Hands' in place. The models are almost finished.

I wondered about hands, and decided to go for a simple claw on one arm and ray gun on the other. After all, these are supposed to be Victorianised Retro-Robots... Whatever those might be!

A finished War-tomaton, ready for painting. The crest on his head is a slice of plastic tube, cut open and stretched into place.

Centurion (note ribbed shoulder and diamond-emblem on his head); NCO (round emblem on head); and Legionary. The chimneys (and boilers) were made from plastic tube and a tubular bead.

I think these do rather well as 1960s-style robots with a VSF twist anyway.

The Centurion.

NCO (left) and Legionary (right)

The finished unit was given a simple paint job of copper with gold details, green eyes and red ray guns. Easy!

The completed unit, ready to smash all who stand in their way!

So there you go: Fast, Cheap, Simple and Dangerous!

The Nefarious Doktor Nefarious leads his warriors to assured victory.

Next post: More on Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically-Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile (... I'm really getting bored of typing that...) and TWO more super-duper-secret side projects coming soon!

All the Best!