This is the first time in probably fifteen years that I’ve built an actual model (i.e. not a prop kit) so I’m sure I’ve got a lot to learn when it comes to construction, but mostly painting and weathering.
So stay tuned. This promises to get interesting.
So while things have been pretty busy, I managed to steal a few minutes at my workbench today. I didn’t get a whole lot accomplished, but I did manage to unpack the model and take a quick inventory.
Overall, the model looks great. All the pieces are very crisp and finely detailed. The instructions, while written in Japanese, have excellent exploded drawings, clearly illustrating the model’s assembly. Also included is a large color print, which details the painting scheme and provides a comprehensive list of the various colors needed. ‘Looks like I’m going to need to pick up some supplies!
I paid a visit to my local hobby shop, Z&Z Hobbies, to pick up some supplies for the build. First and foremost, I needed paint! For the majority of props I’ve built, I tend to stick with automotive or household paints, but this model is going to require something better fit for small scale. Luckily, the incredibly detailed painting guide that comes with the model includes a comprehensive list of all the colors needed, along with equivalents of Gunze-Sangyo, Humbrol, and Tamiya paint codes. As I’ve worked with Tamiya in the past, I decided to go that route. All in all, I picked up about twenty bottles of acrylic paint, plus some clear coats and thinner.
I also scored a new sprue cutter, a bottle of Tamiya adhesive, and some Maskol masking fluid, which I figure I’ll need to achieve the complex paint patterns.
Next up, I hope to be doing some building!
Following the instructions, the first assembly to put together is the cockpit. The assembly is composed of three subassemblies: the pilot’s console, the passenger seats below, and the surrounding bulkheads. The entire thing went together very quickly and easily. ‘Just snapped the parts off the sprue using my sprue cutters, filed down the excess material, and glued everything together using Tamiya thin cement, which worked really well.
I’ve decided to tackle all the assembling before I dive into painting. Next up are the wings!
Next up are the wings. Each wing is comprised of three subassemblies: what I’ll call the outer wing, the strut, and the inner wing. There are a handful of parts for each subassembly, so progress was a little slower today, but I managed to get one wing assembled. Following the advice of this article at Starship Modeler, I decided to keep the three parts separated until after painting.
Today, I finished up the right wing subassemblies, which are basically a mirror image of the left side I completed earlier. Each wing has a rod that is to slide through the support strut into the third piece, which I’ll refer to as the wing mount. The wing is supposed to rotate freely through the support strut so that the wings can be displayed in either the horizontal or vertical positions. A quick test-fit showed the fit through the strut was a little tight, so I had to file down the rod and the inner diameter of the strut section to get a good fit.
After the wings were finished, I moved onto the fuselage. I separated the two halves from the sprue, and filed down the minor flash that was left over. Overall, the two pieces look pretty good, although the right half does have some rough spots around the upper canopy area that I’ll mostly likely need to putty over. This isn’t a huge deal as I plan on puttying over the seam that will run down the length of the fuselage once the two halves have been put together. I’ll leave that for next time though.
After a small hiatus, I’m back to Slave I. Today, I decide to join the two halves of the fuselage together. I first attempted to do so using the Tamiya Thin Cement, which I’ve been using throughout the build. However, the cement didn’t quite have the hold I needed it to. Nor did it provide me with enough time to get the two halves aligned and joined. Instead, I used some of my old, trusty, Testor’s modeling cement. This stuff is a bit thicker and slower-setting, but it worked perfectly for my application. A great tip I received (after I had already glued the two halves) was to use the back panel of the fuselage as a jig since it will naturally the two halves and hold them together.
After the cement had a chance to cure, I went down the seam with some automotive spot putty, being careful to minimize any excess. After that has sufficiently dried, I’ll need to sand down the seam and restore some of the panel lines and detailing that was covered by the putty, but I’ll have to save that for next time.
While I was waiting for the fuselage halves to set, I decided to assemble the two lower laser cannons. These went together relatively quickly, as they’re composed of just three, small pieces. They’ll mount to the two hemispheres you see at the bottom of the main fuselage.
Today I started sanding the seam of the fuselage. I started with some 215 grit paper and moved onto 400 before finishing up with some 600. I used the wet-sanding method to help prevent any additional scratches, and it seemed to work well. I won’t know for sure until I prime.
Next, I’ll need to restore some of the panel lines that were puttied over.
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost three months since I’ve been at my workbench, but such is life…
Anyway, I managed to get back to Slave I today. After having puttied and sanded the main seam between the fuselage halves, I had to rescribe some panel lines. I did this using a Tamiya scriber and a flexible ruler I picked up at Staples to use as a guide. It looks pretty good, but I won’t know for certain how well it worked until I apply the primer later on.
Next, I added some of the detailing pieces along the hull, and I also attached the small piece that over-hangs the main cockpit area. Due to some misalignment I had with the fuselage halves, this piece didn’t sit quite right. I soaked it in some hot water until it softened, and then gently bent it into shape before gluing it into place.
After being away from the workbench for awhile, I managed to get some work done on Slave I. Having completed the main fuselage and wing assemblies, it’s time to move onto detailing the undercarriage.
As shown in the picture, I completed the subassemblies for the main engine, the two supporting engines, and some additional detailing pieces.