Building the Battlestar Galactica

blah blah blah, something about lack of posts, blah blah blah, promises as empty as my heart about keeping it updated… blah blah blah heres a writeup of how I lit the Revell (sold by Moebius in other countries) Battlestar Galactica kit.

First of all, I’ve had this kit for a while, its been kicking around for ages gathering dust and after finishing off the army of Gavin statues (oh wait, I haven’t even posted that the kickstarter got funded and I build all of the figures) I wanted a quick break from sculpting to do something a little more relaxing. A kit. Why not.

First thing with the kit is it has a bit of a design flaw in the gator head (the front bit) misaligns from the body, it should be flush. I chopped some of the middle section away and filled the gap between head and body with some plastic card.

Gator head and body

Next up was test fitting and then priming all of the kit. The main body was primed in Games Workshops finest Chaos Black primer while the engine parts got airbrushed in a rather nice paint I found in the local craft shop. Its designed for painting glass and is available in opaque and non-opaque. I picked up some petrol blue and hit the sprue with a few coats. It goes on really well and was well worth the effort to find.

engine parts

I started to assemble the kit while drilling out sections to run the wires through such as the wires for the landing bays was done by drilling out part of the arms. I was basing the whole thing on a 12v supply of 8 AA batteries so I would know how to setup the LEDs, of which there where a lot.

6 blue for the engines (one in each nacelle and two in the main drive)
1 white for the fibre optics in the head
4 white in the two landing bays
6 red for each side of the main body where the landing bays retract

wiring

My plan was to run the power supply from the base and up through some tubing, into the body, then split off into different areas where I knew I’d want the lights. To keep it simple for the wiring I tried to pair up two LEDs at a time so I only had to use an 820 Ohm resistor but in a couple of places where it was just one LED (the front one for the fibres and the engines) I had to use a 150 Ohm and an 820 Ohm.

resistors

Before soldering them I’d run each circuit for about 5 minutes to make sure it was ok and nothing was going to explode.

The red lights on the side was an interesting problem, I didn’t want bulbs poking out but was worried that there wasn’t much room inside for them. I found the local electronic store stock strips of lights that are 12v and you can cut them to the length needed. I got a 15cm strip as you have to work in the little 5cm sections where you cut it.

strip

These things are awesome. They’re almost flat, are flexible and run off 12v so fitted perfectly. My one wish if I was going to redo this project would be that I’d used two 5cm sections to make 6 lights down the side, not just three. They feel a little clustered and I’d prefer more of a spread but its not a huge thing.

The fibre optics in the nose was done with an old bundle from a kit I had years ago. I drilled out each of the square sections on the nose and then spent a couple of evenings screaming at myself for doing it while I threaded each one through the hole and looped it back to the body where there was a single LED. I clustered them all together in a bit of brass tube so they all met at the same point.

fibres

Once everything was in place I started to hot glue, super glue, insulation tape everything into place. It was a mess inside but I kept test fitting to make sure it all still slotted into place.

guts

Various test runs showed me where there was light leaks and sections that needed a little bit of putty to fill holes. The whole lot was then glued and clamped together, reprimed where needed and then (deep breath) painting time.

I masked off the exposed lights and sprayed the whole thing with a mix of Games Workshop and Vallejo paints. Mainly greys and some boltgun metal. Metal paints have a reputation of not spraying well but if you keep the mix thin enough, they’re fine IMHO.

armour

Once the metals had been done, I removed the masks and picked out the armour plates in a light grey and the red sections around the nose and landing bays. A quick spray with a gloss varnish and then just tipped a tube of black oil paint over it, well not quite the whole tube but it felt like it. The oil paint was thinned with some sansodor and applied in thin washes to pick out the plates.

Once the paint had dried and I was happy with it, I picked out a couple of spots with some silver highlights and added the transfers. Man did they look clean against the grubby hull.

One last coat of matte varnish and shes done.

Galactica

Next I just have to take some better pictures of her.

I’m trying out posting images in imgur so theres a fairly full gallery of shots there. Any questions? Drop a comment below or find me on my facebook page at Castings of Cthulhu.

Tools of the trade

I’ve been asked a couple of times about the tools I use on my sculptures. The main tools are my hands, that sounds a bit patronising, but it’s true. I’ll roll, push, poke, prod and generally mash Sculpey or clay around with my fingers to get the shapes. As for tools, heres some of my commonly reached for with the most important on the left and descending in order to the right.

tools

First off is a couple of wooden tools that are I would struggle to be without as I use them not only for building forms, I tend to use them for detail work as well. The top of the far left one is the one I use for hair a lot.

The next one is a home made one which is a brass tube with a bent jewellers saw blade in the end. I’ve had this for about 15 years as I made it at uni. I honestly have no idea how I bent it as these blades are tough but snap easily, all I can think is I heated it and bent it. I hope I never snap it. Anyway, its a rake, the fine teeth on one side help to shave the top layer of material to make shapes in the clay.

The three together are ball stylus ended thingys. Technical I know. They’re good for forming folds and indentations.

The five black handled tools are silicone tipped sculpting tools. I had some cheap ones once and they lasted about a month. Seriously c**p. I bought these ones from a Spanish website called green stuff world for about 10 euros and they’re amazing. They’ve lasted for about 2 years and show no serious degradation. Shipping to the UK was a bit of jolt but worth it. I’d shop around if I needed new ones now but at the time I was too narked off at my cheapness and didn’t care.

The small silver thing is a Zirconi Zahle 4 Wax Carving Stainless Steel Instrument and will gut you like a fish. Good for sharp clean edge work.

The next bunch of tools are a mix of sculpting tools I’ve collected and dental tools given to me by a dentist a long time ago. Yes, they are second hand… I cleaned them. Many times. The lone brass tube in the middle is a home made pokey thing build from a bit of stiff wire and stuck in place with putty. It comes in handy now and then but not that much.

Red handled tools are silicone paint shapers from a cheap shop. They come in useful now and then but theres nothing the wooden tools can’t do.

Some paintbrushes round off the photo but only because it stopped the shapers from rolling out of the shot.

Not shown are a load of wooden tools that get used on big things, knives, loops (very useful items) and bits I use to make texture like sandpaper and sponges. I also use wooden balls for eyes as I’ve got a selection of sizes although Cthulhu used some glass beads we had in the garden. Pin heads for rivets or buttons. Guitar wire for pipes.

Any questions then drop by the Facebook page and ask or leave a comment on here. I’ll try and make sense with any replies.

Welcome to the Hinterland

Poor old blog… ignored for aaaaaages. I’d like to put it down to being really busy but its also that I’m too damn lazy to update this place. Still, not as bad as the five month gap between the previous two.

So whats been happening in the last couple of months? Well, the Bertram Fiddle kickstarter got funded so I’ve been casting up Gavins like you wouldn’t believe so I’ll write up how thats been going on at some point, I sculpted a Welsh Dragon as a Christmas present, I finished and cast the goddess figure I’d been working on and at the end of the year I did a little personal piece to amuse myself over December. Thats four blog posts waiting to be written.

OK, so I’ll write one up now, just to ease up my workload.

The personal project was my attempt to sculpt a ‘real’ thing. All of my sculptures are either gods, aliens, monsters or comical in some way, shape or form and it seemed like I needed to work on something different to stretch myself in a new way. As it’s easy to sculpt something unnatural and claim “It’s supposed to look like that” I picked a character from a rather dark TV series I watch, hoping I could get a good likeness. This is my attempt at DCI Mathias from the Welsh TV series ‘Y Gwyll’ as shown is Wales or ‘Hinterland’ to the rest of the world, filmed in Aberystwyth. He started off looking a bit rubbish but things always do.

It was a pretty quick sculpt, only taking a couple of weeks (quick for me anyway) and I ended up with this.

hinterland

Built up over some brass tube and sculpted in super sculpey firm, I’m fairly happy with the outcome even if the paint job was a bit sloppy and I need to work on my flesh tones. The base is a chunk of drift wood which I found while wandering the beach a few miles north of where the TV series is filmed, so fits rather well.

Theres a full album with work in progress shots here: https://goo.gl/photos/dzcf28MsbCtyJbNT7

More to come then, I’ll try and keep the blog updated but don’t hold your breath…

feeding on the gammy carcass of life since 1793

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