Monday 12 August 2013

When Fish Ruled The Skies...

Hi, All!

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the hydrothermicopter...

Okay, okay, I'm sorry! Yes. I know that seven weeks between posts is unacceptable... I was just a little bit distracted by other things...

Anyway, here I am. Stop complaining.

Despite the allure of the ancient and noble arts of quaffing ale, playing loud music and womanising, I have done some hobby-type stuff in the last few weeks: I've hung out with the legendary Perry Twins again, stuck spiky stuff on a tortoise and invented a flying shark. And continued work on Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile.

Read on...

Rivetted and ready for painting... Masking the panes was somewhat time consuming.

Firstly: Lord Smudgington Smythely-Smythe's Hydraulically Motorvated Sextupedal Land-Traversing Vacational Domicile.

Masked, painted and washed. Just a highlight remains...

As you will recall, I was working on the gigantic barrel-vault roof of the engine room. Having completed the structure, it was time to embark upon an epic rivetting session, before masking all the panes of acetate and painting the structure. I can assure you all that there was absolutely nothing about this that wasn't amazingly tedious...

...and when the masking came off, there remained some beautiful staining to remove...

Black marks remain on the panes. Irritating!

The ink wash got into the creases in the masking tape and left straight lines on the acetate. "Gosh!" quoth I. "How annoying!" And indeed it was. But it will clean up...

A bit of paint in the corners and a lot of staining, but it's going to look great eventually...

Which brings me to the Rivet Count...

So far, I have added to the almost-finished barrel-vault a further 909 rivets, bringing the total for this machine so far to:

10,217 !

Now where was I? Oh yes... flying sharks.

Sharks and pterasaurs. Obvious, innit?

Having sketched a sharky-wingy-combination, I set about making a simple wire armature.

One morning while enjoying an omelette, I made the inevitable logical connection between breakfast and gigantic flying carnivores. Haven't we all at some time? Anyway, I have often wondered why evolution never cross-bred pterasaurs and great white sharks. I mean, if I was in charge of evolution...

The armature is glued to brass foil and the shape of the creature is cut out. At this point, I have included back legs. These were sacrificed later.

The body is gradually sculpted from white miliput. I don't like this gunk at all, but I was running low on greenstuff.

So I started doing creative stuff.

By sketching the creature from a combination of pterasaur and shark pictures, it was relatively easy to piece together a new monster. The challenge was really presented by how these things would get around on the ground. Initially, I decided that they should have back legs, as well as walking on their 'elbows' - the generally accepted method according to clever blokes who know those kind of things. I decided to make a flying one and a grounded one.

Walky-shark, skeletal-style.

Walky shark and fly-shark taking shape. The back legs have been brutally hacked off. The tails will also change.

As the sharks took shape, the back legs just didn't look sharky enough - so I amputated them.

Hands, wing bones and head take shape.

I'm finally happy with the tail. A sort of aeroplane/shark crossbreed.
Walky-shark meets Cavey-man...

The dorsal fins (and others) were carved and sanded from plastic board, and the details of the wing bones and head of the flying shark were sculpted from greenstuff. At this point, I decided to finish the flying shark before continuing on the (slightly trickier) walking shark.

The finished shark, ready to paint.

Viewed from beneath... Scary enough?

The head details were gradually sculpted. I haven't done a lot of very detailed work with greenstuff before, so I was quite pleased with how this took shape. A few bits of painty-stuff later et voila! Big scary fish!

And that's all for now...

Cue ominous cello music...

Next post: more on the engine room and Giant Clockwork Tortoise Suicide Land Mines!

All the Best!


  1. Glad you're back and even gladder you've got inventive madness to share with us!

    I just love the sharks and I can't wait to see giant clockwork tortoise suicide land mines!

    1. Thanks, Edwin!

      The tortoises will be fun! Keep watching!

  2. Oh that flying shark is sheer brilliance, I love it!

    1. Thanks, Ferret!

      I'll be sorting out the walky-shark as soon as I can get my hands on more greenstuff...

  3. Thought you'd been quiet, nice to have you back!

    Fascinating wee beastie you have there, most impressive, well done!

    I must admit from the opening picture I thought you had converted a toy shark, but to see the whole thing scratch built, very clever!

    1. Thank you, Scott. I needed a holiday from hobbies...

      Glad you like the Pterashark - I'm rather pleased with him.

  4. Very inspired, and beautiful, work!

  5. It's definitely time for a Sharknado!

  6. Nothing for weeks and then a monster of a post! All I can say is that I'm delighted that you are not in charge of evolution - flying sharks, I think they might want a tad more than one of your chips!

    Brillent Sir, in an utterly barking mad way; just can't wait for the clockwork tortoise!

    1. Hello Michael - sorry for the silence.

      What's the point of creating a world if you're not prepared to populate it with deadly airborne predators? I ask you!

      The tortoises are fun - wait and see!

  7. Hi, Col. I see you have been eating lots of mushrooms lately! Keep it up!!

    1. Mushrooms?! You mean you can EAT them too?


  8. There was I thinking at first you'd merely converted a model into something brilliant. Then you go and show it's all scratch-built. Amazing, sir! I'm looking forward to the clockwork tortoises too. As soon as I read it, the idea became obvious. So much easier to guide those to a target than those cranky bicycle torpedoes.

    1. AJ, Old Fruit!

      Very glad you like the Pterasharks. I'll try to get the walky one done to your satisafction...

      As for the tortoises... wait and see!

  9. That shark is a thing of beauty, well done sir, well done.

    I thought it was a clever conversion, but to see it as a conversion raises it to a new level of brilliance. I think you've earned yourself a pint of porter with that work, possibly two.

  10. Hmmm, I actually meant to write "I thought it was a clever conversion, but to see it as a scratchbuild raises it to a new level of brilliance."

    You might be brilliant, it appears I'm not.

    1. There there, Tane. I knew what you meant...


  11. I forgot to mention that because of you my mother-in-law now saves her tomato puree tubes and the wife intends to build an airship...

  12. BRILLIANT!!! You are clearly a Darwinist!

    1. Thanks Paul!

      Darwinism.... Hmmm... "Survival of the Fishest"?