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!


  1. What a beautiful looking model!

  2. That's a fantastic build. Off to find some plastic wine glasses.

    1. Glad you like it!

      ...the glasses should be empty...

  3. WOW! Colonel you are modeling genius! Beautiful model.

    1. Jay, my friend, you are too kind - as always! Thank you.

  4. Utterly gorgeous. The colour choice is genius!

    1. Thanks Legatus - the colour got there in the end!

  5. Wow, fantastic!

    I've had some of these glasses in my project drawer for ages, but I'd have never built anything so stunning as this!

    1. Edwin, my friend, thank you very much!

      Get 'em out and stick some glue on 'em! Who knows what will happen?

      (My motto for life, by the way...)

    2. Brilliant looking ship that even Professor Cavor would appreciate. Ps; I took your 'Motto for life' advice and now have a court appearance.

  6. Jolly good stuff, what? I think the paint scheme works nicely, with that blend of copper and green. Red makes a good undercoat for copper, and I use it in most applications now.

    I remember the Trigan Empire from the old Look and Learn magazine of my tender youth. I liked that juxtaposition of different tech levels. Chaps in Roman armour crewing WW1 era battleships alongside modern fighter jets? What's not to like. =)

    1. A J!

      Thanks for the red tip... Hmmm...

      I loved the Trigan Empire as a kid - also gleaned from the pages of Look and Learn. Anything and everything could happen! I've been playing with the idea of resurrecting it for wargaming for a while now. Maybe I will.

  7. Another triumph Colonel - Bravo!

  8. That is absolutely Mint!!

    1. Thank you, Russ!

      But only the green bits are mint. The rest of it is sort of coppery.

  9. I miss your posts. They have always bee entertaining and inspirational. I do hope you have had a chance to enjoy your hobby even if you have not been able to make progress on the walking domicile.

    1. Thank you Elderac, old chap! And sorry for the extremely slow response!
      I am still around, and getting back into things after a somewhat extended break!

  10. Just discovered this, very late to the party I know.
    It’s bloody brilliant & will be shamelessly nicking it 😁😎