Thursday, July 25, 2013

Time to tell of my goofs.  After all the effort at making sure the foundation plate for the upper superstructure was perfectly level, I flipped the model right-side up and added the canyon walls, so-to-speak, connecting the plate to the upper hull.  And I totally missed the fact that when the model was upright, the upper hull would SAG!
Fortunately, correcting that only required an hour or two.  The photo below shows how I cut the walls free at their top portions, flipped her upside down, then added some quarter-inch strips of styrene to maintain the proper gap once the upper hull was truly flat again.  I'd already added some detailing on those wall segments, and most of it wasn't affected by the increased spacing.  Also note the markings for where the lower hull will overlay the upper.  It helps with envisioning how far the detailing will have to go.

Detail section of an area below the beaver tail.  This is viewed up-side down from how it will be mounted.  An early effort at thinking INSIDE the box. It took some effort trying the keep the levels properly horizontal, but it was good practice.

These are a couple of segments for the arrowhead-shaped cutout on the ventral hull.  As I was working on them the detailing became more fine that what I'd already completed and glued in place for the waist.  It took a couple of days of comparing this with what I'd done before I resolved to re-do the waist.

So that's what this photo is; restarting the waist paneling.  This shows the five panels, each about 7 or 8 millimeters wide, with the detailing starting to grow.  As a product endorsement (for which I am not compensated,) the grid pad underneath is excellent for fine work like this. However, it reacts to standard liquid styrene glues, so pieces can get fixed to it if proper care is not taken.  Notice how the grid lines are almost gone in the upper left section?  That was due to a glue spill.

The waist paneling can be mind-numbing at times, so I decided to work on other areas too.  This is (what I call) superstructure section 3.  Sorry for putting it on white paper.  I'll find something to show better contrast next time.  Anyway, here it is with partial detailing.

And here it is assembled.  Detailing is about at 30%, I guess.

Same section, another view.  I've been able to find online some very nice photos of the original filming model to use for reference.  However, there's one area that I've not been able to find photos for, and that's the nose.  So this is a request for help; 
ANYONE who can find photos, please let me know the web page.  I'm not asking for views of other commercially available models, since there's too much variety.  Any photos of the nose, of the front 2 feet or so would be greatly appreciated.  I have nothing to offer as a reward.  I'm just asking for help.

As a final note, I've decided on a name for her.  It had to be something ominous, something with an edge, like how the British name their warships, so I decided to call her "Conquestor."
My daughter suggested "Baby-Muncher."  Maybe Palpatine would have liked that, you think? He was kinda freaky that way.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Shortly after the last blog about the 4th Corellian freighter I got caught up in other things and my interest waned over the months.  Even after a few attempts to return to it the freighter didn't get advanced much, and now it sits on a shelf, patiently awaiting its turn again.  A few months ago, however, my wife encouraged me to get back to modelling.  (How many of you can claim to having a spouse this understanding?  Congratulations to those who can.)  After some serious consideration of my skills and interests, I decided to duplicate another of the iconic Star Wars craft, the Executor-class super star destroyer.  The research alone took a couple of weeks.

First things first; I needed a set of reliable plans with the dorsal and ventral angles and measurements.  I was able to get a little useful info from official SW websites, but as with the Foray, most of the info came from generous folks who had photographed the real model when it was found on display.  I compared the photos with sketches, scratch-built efforts and a few commercially available models, and found that the commercial models were the least accurate.
So, anyway, I drew out several sets of plans until I came up with these...

On one website the modeler showed how he was building his model (I'm guessing it was about 7 feet long,) using a pair of tables / doors joined together at a slight angle to give the upper hull the needed support during the build.  I used his idea to build a table of my own.  I've looked for the website again but haven't been able to find it to give him credit.  When I do, I will.  It was a simple idea, and effective.
The rod down the center is to serve as a base for the open side of the hinge.  You can see some of the adjusting screws on each of the 4 main arms.  That's because some of the drawings I've seen of the Executor-class show the ventral and dorsal hull angles at midline to be a little different, with the ventral angle being more flat.  I'll keep checking that as I build, and if I decide that's accurate, I can adjust the screws to flatten the table when needed.

The completed table is below.  Notice that the dorsal angle isn't that sharp to begin with.

The upper hull cut out and flat.  It will be about 41.5 inches, which will give it a scale of 1:18,000

The upper hull in position, with a few of the waist panels in place.  Those black arrows indicate where I intend to have the support rods for suspending the model, much as I did with the Foray.

Here are the waist panels under construction.  I laid them out on a sheet of .02" styrene, 12" long, with each panel 7mm wide. They are scored to snap apart easily when this stage was done.  This also allowed me the option for drilling fiber optic holes before they would be glued to the hull itself.

A close-up of one end of the panels.  The scribed lines are visible.  The difficulty was in trying to establish a high enough level of detail in a limited area.  More on this later...

Another view of the upper hull and waist panels.

Here I've built a lattice structure to be used to ensure the base of the upper 'city' superstructure is perfectly level with the waist.

View from above

The superstructure foundation in place.  I didn't know it yet, but I'd already committed my second goof.  At least it wasn't as time-consuming to correct as the first one.  More details on those goofs in the next post.