SciFi Model Action

Members Current Projects (WIP) => Members Current Projects (WIP) => Topic started by: AlW on May 15, 2018, 11:28:38 am

Title: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on May 15, 2018, 11:28:38 am
Hi Everyone,

My new build is the Maquis Raider from Monogram, which Scalemates pegs as a 1995 kit and a scale of 1/323.  A couple SFMA members have built it before, and so my build will resemble Lewilsons build a few years ago.

My build plan is roughly the following:
*  Install DLM's resin lighting parts
*  Light all engines, crew cabin, marker lights, navs and a single strobe with a variety of LEDs/SMDs, strip lights and some fiber optics.  I'll also be installing SMDs into the forward photon torpedos but probably won't light the phaser arrays.  There's plenty of engine lighting on the sides and it will be busy enough the way it is!
*  Affix crew member graphics to the back of kit-supplied clear cabin windows.  Lewilsons also did this excellent results.
*  My paint scheme will follow what others have done regarding the hull details but I think I'll be using a mix of Vallejo Metal Colors to add a darker and more of a dull-metallic finish to paneling
*  Lastly, I'm thinking of incorporating the ship into a vignette -- nothing too elaborate but something that mounts the ship in a threatening way with torpedos firing!

Many thanks to Stan K. at Starling Technologies for help customizing a lighting kit for this ship.  He adapted the Defiant kit he sells off the shelf with blinking navs and two photon torpedos, in addition to the strobe.  He also made a software change where the firing sequence can put in a demo mode where the torpedos will fire randomly until the mode is interrupted.  This will be great for exhibiting the finished model, maybe at an IPMS show?

I've already completed the basics of washing and light blocking the hull and other parts.  I also used a Dremel to remove styrene where the DLM clear parts are inserted.  A lot of material needs to be removed and it's several hours of work.  If you go this route, keep in mind that some of the parts mount from the outside, so it's important to leave a small lip around the cutouts to mount these part to.  The DLM resin parts cleaned up nicely and I shouldn't have any problems mating them to the ship.  Thanks to Don for still supplying them:)

Let's get busy, and thanks for coming along!

Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: Tankton on May 15, 2018, 03:53:04 pm
Don's parts are excellent. I'll have to post some pics of mine for you. I have a build log buried deep here somewhere.
I hope you got my last email I sent to you. Keep me posted.
Looking forward to following along.
Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: MSgtUSAFRet on May 16, 2018, 07:00:42 am
Allllllriiiiiight!  ;D ;D

Dis gon' be gud!!

Can't wait to see what you're going to do with this, Al!

Good luck!


Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: Quarky on May 18, 2018, 02:00:30 pm
Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on May 18, 2018, 05:21:18 pm
Hi Everyone,

I started prepping the lighting components and playing around with how to handle the cockpit windows. 

I got the bright white LED strip lights wired for the engines, the 0805 warm white strip light wired to illuminate the crew compartment, and a pair of 603 SMDs installed in the front photon torpedo bay area.  I also wired up red and green 3mm LEDs with a pair of 1mm fibers attached for top and bottom hull navs.  The three 0805 SMD strip for the cockpit is glued around a water bottle cap which will be hot glued into the front of the ship to hopefully light up the two windows on either side and the forward facing doublet.  Marker and strobe lights will be just glued into the model directly.

I also downloaded some screen caps of the crew cabin of the Maquis fighter/raider and the Runabout cockpit.  After scaling them, I printed them out on my inkjet printer, applied Testors Dullcoat spray and then my plan is to glue them to the inside of the kit-supplied clear windows with MicroChystalClear.  If it doesn't look that great, I'll try decals instead, but I'm thinking decals will be too transparent for this application.

Photos follow...

Happy to answer any questions and thanks for looking:)
Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on May 20, 2018, 05:03:49 pm
Installed much of the lighting today.  Also glued in the windows showing crew members sitting at their stations, and the warm white SMDs for the cockpit.  The crew looks pretty good from the outside!  There's a good size seam around the top of the cockpit which required additional light blocking, so here I used Woodland Scenics light blocking putty to fill the gap.

Next up will be to install the LEDs and 1mm fiber for driving the navs, and also installing the photon torpedos in the very front of the ship.

Photos follow.  Happy to answer any questions and thanks for following along.

Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: MSgtUSAFRet on May 21, 2018, 07:10:15 am
Hey, Al!

This is looking good! Love the lighting solutions! (Bottle Cap = Brilliant!)

About the characters in the windows - while the pic above looks good and, unless something goes wrong wouldn't I change it, I have read where a gent here on the forum printed the pics on overhead projector transparencies and achieved a very clean effect. He may have used a laser printer, too.

Now that you have the windows glued in, are you going to mask them somehow for the painting? If so, what material do you plan to use? Masking liquid? Tape? Something else?

Another question - I am full of them :) - are you gonna use a weathering technique on this ship? If so, take pics! I need to learn as I have a couple of Cylon Basestars that are screaming for the stuff! ;)

Carry on, Sir!

Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on May 21, 2018, 12:56:12 pm
Hey, no kidding, that bottle cap was carefully selected;)

Good tip on the windows.  You may be right in that you need a laser printer to print on acetate so it doesn't smear.  I hope mine hold up through all the handling, masking, painting, etc.  I'll just be using Tamiya masking tape to cover them for the next month or so while the paint goes on.  My luck, I'll push the windows in during the final reveal!

Weathering?  There's some good panel detail on the hull so I'll probably use Tamiya black panel line paint for that.  I have some interesting washes and filters, so I'm thinking that depending on how all the detailed painting goes, I may use an Ammo/MIG blue filter to help unify the variety of colors all over the hull.  If it needs to be more dramatic, I'll use a black wash strongly diluted and apply in light coats until the desired effect is achieved.  Still a ways off before I have to commit to anything.

Thanks for the questions and following along.
Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on May 24, 2018, 05:10:14 pm
Just a short update...

Got all the lighting components installed and secured, including the front photon torpedo LEDs.  After firing up the two 0603 SMDs that I epoxied into this part, however, they just didn't look fearsome enough!  Especially when you contrast these brief flashes with the red, blue and white lighting all around the ship.  The Cardassians would've just gone "meh".  So, I hogged out the small torpedo housing and the SMDs and epoxied in new 3mm LEDs.  They look much better;)

Before buttoning up the halves of the hull, I need to secure the mounting rod hardware to the inside but was stuck on what to use.  Since I'm wanting that menacing look, I'm going with a gooseneck support rod so I can position the ship in a downward slant, with the gooseneck attached to the rear.  You can see the 5/8" hole in the back end for this mount.  The gooseneck I selected is actually a mic support, so I'm hoping it will be rigid enough to support the ship without drooping!  It's fairly heavy for its size.  We'll see!

It'll be at least a week until the gooseneck arrives and I can button up the Raider.  Until then, here's a couple pics of the completed interior.  Thanks for looking!
Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: MSgtUSAFRet on May 30, 2018, 03:48:07 pm
The lighting scheme looks awesome. Do you have a test shot of the lights on?

I was just wondering if the gooseneck (Talk to me, Goose!) arrived yet? Does it come with a collar and "nut" to secure it to the hull?

Keep us informed! (And by "us" I mean "me"!) ;)


Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on June 05, 2018, 06:11:36 am
Back on the bench again with some good news and not so good news.

Steve, yes, the gooseneck arrived from  Sweetwater is a music equipment store and has a good selection of mic stands and extensions.  So the one I got is 13" long and I got it with a flange mount for installing it to the base.  I bought a couple knurled nuts to lock in the model on the other end.  I had some concern the gooseneck would be too flexible and droop with the model attached but it's pretty firm and solid.  All that for about $11.  Like you did with the "C", I epoxied a nut inside the ship so I can attach the gooseneck later, after painting.

What I'm not happy about is the overall lighting effect.  I've got way too many LED hot spots behind the red and blue lenses, and since the transparency of the red and blue isn't the same either, it looks terrible.  Just like Steve did with his DLM parts on his "C", I'm going to install some diffusers, and then maybe more LEDs to get the brightness back up in some areas.  For example, the crew member "decals" that I installed behind the bridge windows look good, but in ambient lighting there's just not enough back-lighting to make them pop.

Lastly, the fit of some of the DLM parts is going to be problematic, especially the rear engine inserts where the split halves of the hull come together around the part.  This isn't so much an issue with the red DLM part as much as it is a problem with the fit of the hull at the rear.  I'm thinking I may need to backfill some of the red and blue clear parts with colored epoxy to fill in the gaps, or aluminum tape to light-block the seam.  We'll see.

So, just when I thought I'd be buttoning up this ship, I'll be re-working the lighting over the next several days.  A few photos follow.

Thanks for following along!
Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: MSgtUSAFRet on June 05, 2018, 12:34:04 pm
Eh, with your skills, Al, I know this won't take you long to get it ship shape!

Press on!

Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on June 06, 2018, 05:28:00 pm
Steve, you're right about one thing -- I couldn't wait to get on with redoing the lighting!

There were two things I needed to improve upon:  First, I needed more consistent lighting and second, the lighting source needs to be less visible.  The LED strip lights that I installed in the top half of the hull were definitely less visible than those installed in the bottom half where you're looking down and into the ship and see the "bare bulbs" of the LEDs.  So, with that in mind, I decided to move all the lighting into the top half of the hull.  I also added 6 three inch LED strip lights for a total of 18 more LEDs and another 3 inch strip of 0603 SMDs to the crew compartment.  Once all that was done, the lighting tests looked pretty good!  Photos follow.

The work plan for the next few days will be to tidy up the wiring, frost the DLM parts a bit, and prepare the seams for bonding.  Because the fit is pretty bad and there's some warping, I'm thinking of using 30 minute epoxy for bond strength and longer working time.  More to come.

Thanks for looking and happy to answer any questions.

Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: MSgtUSAFRet on June 08, 2018, 06:03:01 am
Hey Al,

This is looking better! I didn't see the diffusers for the DLM parts, but the parts look even in the pics. Nice job!

You said you were going to

...frost the DLM parts a bit...

What, exactly, do you mean?! Are you gonna use a spray applied frosting paint or something different altogether?

How are you gonna paint it? Weathering and or a wash of some kind?

Steady as she goes!

Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on June 08, 2018, 03:57:46 pm
Steve, the blue DLM parts, in particular when lit, looked too "plasticky".  So, I diffused the back sides with a couple coats of Krylon Glass Frosting.  See photos.  They look much better and you can't tell they've been painted from the front.  It's a good solution.

I buttoned up the ship this morning and for all but a couple of seams along the rear, it went okay.  I'll let you know for sure when the clamps come off!

Still working out the paint scheme -- I'll be following what Lewilsons used on this model for the various colored panels (intermediate blue, mustard, tan) but I'm thinking of adding more contrast with some panels and vents in duraluminum or steel or both.  For those I'm tempted to break out the Alclad lacquers or may just stick with Vallejo's new acrylic metal colors.  The big decision right now though is what to choose for the base color.  I've always been a fan of MM Light Ghost Gray for starships, so maybe a mix of that with Neutral Gray will be what I'm looking for here.  Some experimentation ahead!

Thanks for following along.
Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on June 13, 2018, 04:59:52 am
Hi there!

After buttoning up the Raider and taking care of some seam issues, it's time to select the color pallet for the myriad of panels, vents and covers.  After studying photos of the studio model, work done on SFMA by Lewilsons, on Starship Modeler by Carlos Zangrando, and elsewhere by Warren Zoell, I'm convinced there's no one way or right way to paint this ship.  It's probably because it had limited screen appearances and even then, there are at least two painted and lighted versions of the same ship!

This creates a lot of space for determining the look you want to achieve.  The screen caps and box art have the ship darker, dirtier and more sinister looking than the kit paint guide would seem to produce.  Zangrando's version has multiple dark washes, while Zoell's is more pristine and...colorful!

I'm settling on a paint pallet that is darker with more saturated colors.  After a primer coat of Tamiya gray surface primer, I'll use a mix of MM Light Ghost Gray and Neutral Gray at a 3:1 ratio for the base coat.  I like the slightly bluish tone of GG but reduced by the neutral gray.  The next predominant color is applied to the trapezoidal panels that ring the front of the ship, the trailing edges of the wings and elsewhere.  For those I'm going with Tamiya Duraluminum.  It's not a bright metallic and should look good against the gray mixture.  Other colors are as indicated on the test sheets below which have been applied over the primer color.  The only one I'm not quite satisfied with is the Desert Tan, which I think is a bit too bright for the large grills on wings.  May still work on this one.

Thanks for following along.
Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: MSgtUSAFRet on June 14, 2018, 07:14:02 am
Al, your color pallets remind me of my girls while they were in Art School; we had these things sitting around the house forever! :)

Love the process, though. I, too, have been working on shade selection for my C and I'll post about it in a minute. I should have done what you did rather than what I did; too much work. :)

I'm glad you settled on your own color scheme. This will indeed make it your's!

Can't wait to see what you do with this!

Post when you can; I'll be watching!

Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on June 20, 2018, 06:20:41 am
Hey, Steve, I can't help myself with the color pallet!  For me there's always three sorts of plans before beginning a kit -- a lighting plan, paint scheme and assembly sequence.  If I don't map it out, I'll most probably leave something out;)

The updates for the next few weeks will just hours of masking followed by minutes of airbrushing!  With all the details provided on the hull, there's a lot of opportunities to bring them out with contrast painting.  The kit and studio model provide only the basics for what you can do if you're willing to take creative license with the Voyager "script".

In the photos that follow you can see I've painted the major vents in Vallejo German Gray.  It's a great color, not flat black but with a hint of gray and a good contrast to the neutral gray/ghost gray base color.  I've also masked all the areas that will get Vallejo's blue gray acrylic next -- somewhere around four to five hours of mask work!

Thanks for looking.

Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on June 23, 2018, 08:44:26 am
Hi there!

Spent a good couple hours every day this week, masking, painting and repeating the process for the major colors on the ship.  It's coming along pretty well, and I'm generally pleased with the colors and the way the paints are behaving.  Since I'm using a combination of Tamiya, ModelMasters and Vallejo paints, I have to keep in mind they don't all have the same thinning ratios or even use the same thinner!

Having said that, the only paint I'm questioning using is the Vallejo Metal Color Duraluminum.  Right now I've only applied this paint to the wings, but it has extensive application to the hull for the "plated" surfaces, or what resembles Aztecs.   The problem is that it seems to scuff easily.  With all the masking that has to be done for the variety of colors I'm using, it just seems to be a bit fragile.  If it was dull coated, I'm sure it wouldn't be problem, but I won't be dull coating till the very end.  It's a great color and airbrushes extremely well for a metallic however.

Anyway, I'm going to experiment with Tamiya's Metallic Gray which should be more durable, if not exactly the right color I was looking for.

The following photos are WIP painting pics.  I figure I have the major areas covered but still have to do all the plating and a number of greebles to bring out more texture and highlights.

Thanks for the comments and happy to answer any questions.

Thanks for looking:)
Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: MSgtUSAFRet on June 29, 2018, 09:11:19 am

Your paint work is phenomenal! It is so clean, precise, exactly in place! Absolutely awesome!

Sorry I haven't been commenting on your posts. RL has me running in circles so much so that I haven't had the time to post. But I have been lurking! (Does that count?!)

Seriously, if my masking turns out half as well as yours, I'll be happy!

Keep going! Steady as she goes!

Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on July 04, 2018, 04:14:51 pm
Hey Steve, thanks for the kind words.  Lots of masking, that's for sure -- been thru two rolls each of 6mm and 18mm Tamiya tape and I'm guessing I'm about 3/4 finished!  What's that, at least a couple hundred feet of tape?

I changed from using the Duraluminum for the paneling/Azteks to the Tamiya Gray Metallic.  It's a lot more forgiving and because it's not as bright, it seems to go better with the intensity of the other colors I've selected.

I'm declaring victory on painting the bottom of the hull!  Famous last words, I know, but until the rest of the ship comes together I hesitate adding more color or more accent painting.  If I go with a filter or a wash or both, that should be enough to both unify the colors and accentuate the grid lines, vents and covers.

So, attached are photos of the hull bottom and the wings with struts now attached.

Thanks for following along.
Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on July 07, 2018, 06:54:06 am
Hi Everyone,

After completing the detailed painting of the bottom hull, I decided to take a break before beginning the top hull plating, and begin thinking about the way I want to display the Maquis ship.

For those of you who have seen my other builds, you know I like the base to be consistent with the overall look of the ship.  Since I'm painting the ship in more saturated colors with overall gray tones and washes, I've chosen a bare galvanized metal box as the base.  In keeping with my original intention of posing the ship in a downward attack angle, I'll be using the gooseneck shown previously to attach ship and base.  Since the ship still has some top hull details to be painted and it would be cumbersome to orient it right now, I'm using a cardboard cutout for staging and to get an idea for where various components need to be placed.

After a lot of fooling around with it, I decided to mount the gooseneck to the center rear but have the ship angled down and to the right to create some action and drama.  The front photon torpedos will be firing randomly, so it's important that they be clearly visible as well.  The power jack is mounted to the rear left side, and two illuminated switches will go in the left front lower corner, one for powering up all the lights and one for putting the torpedos in a demo mode.  The Starling card will go in the base behind the power jack.  I'm thinking of a large Maquis emblem decal for the front of the box but that's still TBD.  Hopefully, when it all comes together, it will have a slightly industrial grunge look.

About the time I got it all assembled with the cardboard "ship" to where you see it below in the photos, my wife entered my shop and said "I thought you were going to light it!"  What a great laugh we had!  Enjoy the photos and thanks for looking.
Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: MSgtUSAFRet on July 09, 2018, 07:44:25 am
Al, your paint job is precise, beautiful and enviable! Nicely done!

I agree with your wife - where are the lights?! ;) I can almost see the outline of the ship, too!

This is indeed awesome!

Steady as she goes!

Title: Re: Monogram Maquis Ship
Post by: AlW on July 11, 2018, 04:24:48 pm
Hey Steve, thanks for the kind words:)  That's all you need is a few hundred feet of masking tape in 2mm, 6mm and 18mm widths and anyone can do it!

I put my cardboard toys away and got back to masking for the top hull plating Azteks.  So, after two days of masking and five minutes of airbrushing, I think I'm finished with the painting.  I'm tempted to keep going with all the detail, but I'm afraid it can quickly become "cartoonish".  I think a good black/brown wash will integrate the colors I have nicely and further accentuate the details.

Next up will be to put a satin clear coat over the ship before applying the wash.  I also want to make a couple small decals of the Maquis symbols (~10mm) to apply to the rear fins.  The wash would come after that.  Then wiring up the base, the Starling cards, switches, etc.

Still some work ahead but the end is in sight!

Photos of the top hull Aztecs painted in Tamiya Gray Mettalic are attached.  Thanks for looking.