Sunday 2 June 2013

In Space, No One Can Count Your Rivets.

Hi, All!

Bud Weiser and Stella Artois ponder the mystery of the Puzzle of the Ancients...

This week I took a brief break from the immensity that is my huge walker project to play with some bits of rubbish.

Rubik's Cube, bead and bits of foam. A simple pallette.

I'd had a couple of silly ideas floating around my head for a while, and I decided to see just how quickly - and with how little effort - one could throw together a cool model. I set myself the challenge of using as little cutting and measuring as possible, by adopting what I like to think of as the 'playschool' technique... I'm sure you all fondly remember those happy days where you would glue toilet roll tubes, lollypop sticks and cotton bobbins to your fingers and proudly proclaim, "Look Mummy! It's a ephelant!"

Well, I remember, anyway...

A bead is attached to the cube, a little greenstuff creates a 'cuff' and a pin is inserted to anchor it to its plinth.

Steps and plinth are sketched on green foam, roughly carved out and detailed with a pencil. A small slab is added to the top to mount the cube.

I had the idea for the Puzzle of the Ancients at exactly the same instant that I threw my miniature Rubik's Cube across my office, shouting, "It's impossible! The damned thing must be broken!" Or words to that effect

The cube assembly is glued in place. the cube has been 'fixed' with superglue so that it doesn't turn and crack its paint.

The paint starts to go on.

Once this piece was built, the whole thing was painted as sandstone, then colours inked onto the cube's faces, which were further drybrushed as stone again, to make them look faded.

Deep in the wilderness, the Puzzle of the Ancients has confounded the finest minds for centuries...

Not bad. It's a very simple model, and took about half an hour to build and less than an hour to paint. But I think it works.

And so... On to the big one...

Junk: contact lens cases, old vinyl record, twink dispenser, beads, deodorant, sewing machine parts, miniature candlestick, reflector (wasn't used in the end.)

I've had a couple of old diffusers lying around for ages, and always intended to make some sort of flying saucer from them. So I grabbed a whole pile of bits and some really awesome glue and started sticking stuff together..

Top left: light diffusers. Top right: a diffuser is cut and glued. Bottom left: the 'hull' of the ship. Bottom right: a central lie is drawn across the diameter and masking tape is used as a guidelie to get the 'chimneys' straight (miniature candlesticks)

This was great fun. No cutting, no measuring, just sticking stuff down and watching the thing grow.

Left: twink dispensers form a wing, while the lid of a deodorant stick forms the bridge. Right: contact lens cases become windows.

Beads, superglue lids, plastic stoppers and the insides of pens (butchered for lanterns in the walker project) form a strange spine-like array. Two plastic cufflinks become sensors.

I also decided that there should be NO RIVETS AT ALL! After all, it wouldn't do for a crashed alien spacecraft to look like it could have been built by British engineers...

A sewing machine foot becomes a landing gear. Random offcuts and bits of junk are glued all over the model.

A veritable plethora of rubbish!

When the main structure was built, I set about sticking offcuts of plastic and card, bits of tube, beads and anything I could find in my bits box onto the hull. The trick here was to glue bits on top of bits on top of bits, to form complicated, odd and random shapes that didn't just look flat and uninteresting.

The model is painted dark grey, then highlighted with light grey.

This done, I sat back, looked at the clock, and was amazed to see that I had constructed the whole model in two hours!

Tones of orange and yellow are drybrushed over the grey. The windows can be scraped clean after, leaving really cool milky white domes that conrast beautifully with the paint.

Now it was time to add paint. I wanted something bright and colourful, but also solid looking. I decided to work from a dark grey undercoat and build up the colour with multiple heavy coats of drybrushed colours - this would be fast and easy, and require little drying time.

The finished colour scheme: A simple yellow-ish body with touched of green and copper.

Green ink was added to a few sticky-out bits, and copper paint added a nice contrast.

The ground is built up with green foam and DAS clay.

Grit is added to the whole base, then painted brown.

Now it was time to stick the ship to its record (opera! ugh!) and build up the ground of the 'crash site' around it. I used chunks of green foam, filled the gaps with DAS clay and coated the whole lot with grit. A quick coat of brown paint followed, which was then highlighted, and finally static grass was added.

The finished ship.

Hey, presto! A quick, easy and kind of cool spaceship!

British troops search for a way in...

I'd like to make this the objective of a game - British and Prussian troops race to seize the alien technology for the glory of their empires... or some such.

"A hatch, sir!"

The rear view.

Anyway, there you go. Now it's time to get back to work on Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile.

The Sergeant poses for a lithograph...

All the Best!


  1. The Puzzle of the Ancients was amazing, but the crashed Spaceship - oh my goodness me, simply outstanding!

    1. Michael, you are to kind!

      It was fun though...

  2. The crashed ship looks outstanding!

    1. Thanks! Actually, I have to admit, it turned out better than I expected.

  3. Delightfully daft! The best use for a Rubic's cube I ever saw. I love the spaceship. A great result all round.

    1. A J!

      Thanks! I like daft...

      Hope all is good in your ever-changing world, Sir!

  4. I want to come over and play with your toys! Beautiful and creative scratchbuilding!

    1. Next flight leaves in a few hours. If you're lucky, the wings will be well glued.

      Ta very much!

  5. Most excellent! The mini cubes aren't broken, they just change colors at night when we're asleep. It's part of their Master Plan to drive us even more crazy. It's working.
    The spaceship looks like a double-headed Truthian turtle climbing out of the ground to see what the commotion is all about. -d.

    1. I always suspected that! Sneaky stuff like that should be expected from such a distinctly Prussian-sounding name...

      Turtle? I was thinking crab...

  6. Excellent work!

    And that Rubik cube I think transcends from model-making into fine art. I bet an art gallery would be happy to display that as an 'installation', and art reviewers would go on about it "bringing the viewer face to face with their own preconceived hierarchy of cultural values and assumptions of artistic worth, whilst simultaneously pulling them backwards in a quest for the referent that underlines O'Truth's oeuvre."

    1. ..or not...

      Thanks, Roly!

      Feel free to drop by the next time you're in Hataitai, by the way...

  7. I cannot think of a better use of a cursed Rubik cube!
    The crashed ship looks the business too!

    1. Thanks Scott.

      Got those LEDs for your houses yet?

  8. The Rubik cube build is a great idea, looks really fitting. The crashed ship looks just outstanding! a really high quality looking finish to it.

    1. Smillie, my friend! Good to hear from you!

      It's amazing how popular these two items have been - there was very little thought or effort behind them, after all!

  9. Uncanny - over twenty years ago we played a CoC one-shot featuring the gentleman adventurer Albert 'Bud' Wiser and his fair companion Stella Artois too!!! As well as the Japanese mystic Asahi Sapporo to boot. Great minds....

    Love your pulp scenery! Inspired!!!

    1. Thank you, Mike.

      I also have Professor Heineken, Sergeant Tetley, Lieutenant Boddington and the Lost City of Ah-Puhl Sch'Napps... to name but a few.

      Mis-spent youth, anyone?

      Glad you like my stuff! Much appreciated.

  10. Very nice job, i like this strange spaceship !

  11. I love the spaceship, but also smiled at the Rubik's Cube.


    1. One should never smile at Rubik's Cubes, Tony - it might posess your brain!