Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fighters Preparing for Attack!

These are some of the 'fleet scale' fighters from Studio Bergstrom:

Primed in white are an X-Wing squadron http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/X-wing and a Y-Wing squadron http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Y-wing (12 ea), primed in grey are two TIE squadrons http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/TIE_series (12 ea). Pictured with them are two WoC rebel ships, the Assault Frigate and Rebel Cruiser. Certainly these fighters scale in much better with these ships then the WoC ones do! They're about .5-1.0cm in demensions, around 1/1000 in scale. For their size they've nice details.

The models are metal, and do have some mold lines and flak. After careful consideration of time, tiny size, etc, Decided to just trim the flak and leave the mold lines - they just aren't worth removing on something so small! Rinsed them in hot water and cleaned them with a soft toothbrush to remove the mold powder. Primed them in my usual white and grey primers (Armory, I think) and glued them to piano wire of varied heights to give a 3-D feel to the tabletop. These models come with pin-holes on the bottom, pins and rubber bases. They're quite nice and a good value I think.

Painting the TIEs seems a bit harder then the X or Ys, but I'm working on it. Presently, I'm trying a dark grey for the solar panels and a light/lighter grey drybrushing. That and a black/grey dip should do them fine. More as this develops!

More pics of the finished ship. The size is noted with the US quarter, which is 2.5cm in diameter, the ship being about 3.5 cm long. In 'lreal life' the ship was 'over 3o0m' so this is in scale.

The fist pic is the port side (left facing forward) and the second is from the stern (rear) of the ship, where you can see the distinct 4-2-1 exhaust ports of the Neb-B engines. The ship has a piece of piano wire super-glued to a hole I drilled into the stern. The three ships are all on slightly different lengths of piano wire, abut 2, 2.5 and 3 inches. When they are on the table, this will create a feeling of different altitudes and help alleviate some of the 2-dimensionality of the table-top. The pink base is from Studio Bergstrom, from which the Millenium Falcon (and all the fighter models) came. It is a soft rubber so you can remove ships from it or put them back in if you want to group them. I really like this, I'd just prefer larger, flatter bits of rubber so it'll be something I get next. I like the flexbility of it, and the bases are heavy enough to keep the ships stable.


Fleet Assembly, Priming and Painting

Thanks to some helpful folks on the web, I got information pretty quickly on how to deal with the yellow resin for these models.
  1. Brushed the loose resin flack off the models, then used a file and very sharp - new - X-acto blade to trim everything.

  2. Soaked the parts in warm water with Palmolive (any grease-cutting soap is good they say) for an hour, then scrubbed them with a soft toothbrush - very gently!

  3. Let dry overnight.

  4. Assembled with standard super-glue, in this case GaleForce Nine Hobby Glue, but any cyanoacrylate like Zap-a-Gap will do. For gaps or loose fits, I used Green Stuff from Games Workshop with no other glue. The parts are light, they held with just the GS.

  5. Primed with my usual hobby primer, this one in a medium grey. However, some of the guys who responded said that cheap-o primer from Wal-Mart works just fine for them at a $1 a can! Must try that!

  6. Did a dark grey wash with some thinned-down dark grey, just regular GW paint.

Painting. For the Nebulon, I'm using three shades of grey for the base coat, one on each ship. I wanted to finish one first and see how it came out. I haven't painted many starships, and needed to see the effect of various painting methods. For this first finished Nebulon, I started with the dark grey wash over the grey primer (the medium and lighter grey are the other two ships). I then painted 'up' in various shades of grey, with the 'outside' parts lighter than the 'inner' parts of the ship.

The ventral fin at the front is actually a rack into which various ship systems can be attached, including things such as the bridge which is located towards the top, and weapons that are towards the bottom. To get the feel of several different 'pods' that were inserted into the ventral rack, I painted the horizontal bits different colors, etc, to give the impression of a variety of sources used to assemble the ship in its present configuration. This is a 'rebel' version captured from the Empire, so it has the Rebel 'red line' and symbol on the upper main superstructure.

To protect it, I used a layer of polyurethane, the water-based MinWax. The mix I used is a bit 'brown' for a natural look, but for the ships I want more of a black/grey wash so I'll make another dip in that tone. I just dipped the ship into the mix and shook off the excess.

At the top, is a picture of the WoC Nebulon B which is a 1/4,000 scale or so, about 7cm long for a 300m+ ship. Above it are the three OS resin ships, one finished and two in their beginning grey. They are "in scale" at 1/10,000. The picture is from V:ESB, a 'real' Nebulon B. I'll leave it to your judgement which you like best!

Personally, I can make a solid argument that a cheap WoC ship that is out of scale but looks cool is a nice alternative to painting, but it is fun to paint them as you want them to look. The cost is about the same, around $4 for either ship. It should be noted that the WoC ship had a large bend in the middle, making it rather 'U' shaped! I had to unbend it and do some re-assembling after. Still, it does the job and it is hard to damage, perfect for conventions!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Odyssey Slipways: Class 3 Star Wars Vessels

All the Odyssey Slipways are resin kits from Altoona, PA, USA. Chris the purveyor is available at OdysseySlipways@aol.com, and is a very nice fellow to chat with should you be crazy about model making!

I got mine from Starship Modeller, from whom I get excellent customer service and fast delivery: http://www.starshipmodeler.biz/

Resin Kits. These are softer than plastic, yet brittle enough to break. I strongly advise using care when making the models and playing with them on the table-top.

Flash/Mold Lines. All had flash and mold lines, some of which could be ignored and some of which couldn't. It especially likes to occur in the little nooks of the ventral fin, engine areas, etc. This I carefully removed with a new Exacto-Blade (careful b/c the model is fragile, and b/c the blade is sharp!) and a fine file. Most of the parts were not precise fits and needed some careful sanding and shaping.

NEBULON B [EF76 Escort Frigate].These three models are pictured in the top right of the photo above. This frigate appears in SW V: The Empire Strikes Back in a medical version, and Luke Skywalker receives his new hand there while the Millenium Falcon is docked there as Lando and Chewie plan to leave and save Han Solo. The ventral fin descending from the bow of the ship provides a frame upon which various systems are located, including pods for the bridge, sensory and weapons arrays. The large bulbous top are actually tanks for water, etc. The smaller section in the stern houses the engines.
In WoC SB: These ships would both come under the heading of the "Rebel Cruiser" 9/60. If you wanted to follow the B-2 entry in Wiki, you might alter the stats a bit.

NEBULON B-2. These two models are pictured in the top left corner of the photo. You get two ships for $12.50. These makes it a worse deal than the three for same price in the B version. They are identical in size, with the only difference is that the B-2 has the forward ventral fin split into two, an inverted V shape. This doesn't seem to justify the extra price. http://www.starshipmodeler.biz/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=1112
These resin ships are nicely done, with plenty of details. They are pretty small, at only 3.5cm long, which makes them correct for thier 1/10,000 scale of approx 250-300m length. The details and history of this ship are found here:
But basically it is a variation on the Nebulon-B frigate. The bits did not fit together precisely, and I spent about an hour on each ship doing a little cutting and filing to get the bits to fit well. The weakest aspect of the kit is the spar that connects the fore and aft portions of the ship. It's a bit small (or the holes are a bit large) making for a loose fit. This made it very difficult to get the entire ship aligned 'straight'. I recommend green stuff to tighten the fit and pull it together. NOTE: The static discharge vanes are not pictured on the B-2 in Wiki, but could certainly be put on anyway. More importantly, Wiki shows that the engine section is inverted compared to the B! This is not shown correctly on the model's assembly diagram. I advise checking Wiki to get an 'historical' assembly correct.

Corellian Gunship [DP20 Frigate]. These small, simple models are about 1.5cm long, the correct size for a 150m vessel in 1/10,000. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/DP20_frigate
These are 1-piece and aside from the flash were easy to clean up. The four are pictured in the bottom left of the above photo.
In WoC SB: These ships according to Wiki were used as gun platforms, boasting 8 Turbolasers and 6 Laser Cannons with 120 Concussion Missiles in 4 launchers. This would put in somewhere in the performance range of a good Class 3 fighting vessel like Slave I 42/60, or Imperial Shuttle 39/60. If you wanted to follow the B-2 entry in Wiki, you might alter the stats a bit, removing "Bounty HUnter", "Proton Torpedoes" and Tractor Beams" from Slave I, or upgrading the Imperial Shuttle with Concussion Missiles and better blasters for around +2 pts. It's around the same size as the CR90.

Carrier Corvette [CR90 Corvette]. Same comments as the DP-20 above. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/CR90_corvette The four are pictured in the bottom row, second from left next to the DP20s. These are $10/4 and a good deal I think, same as the gunships above.
In WoC SB: You could arm this like a Tantive IV with Fighter 1 and a Tractor Beam.

NOTE: The Tantive IV CR90 Corvette from the opening sequence of SW I: A New Hope is made by OS. None were available when I ordered, they are titled "Blockade Runner" at the usual 4/$10 price as above. It is the same wiki entry, altho there is aone just for the Tantive IV, too.
Carrack Cruiser [Carrack Lt. Cruiser or Gunship]. These stubby models are one piece, and $10/2. They suffer from the usual mold lines and some flash, and have a hole in the tip that needs to be filled. They make a nice addition to the table and add a little variety. They are in scale at 3.5cm. They are pictured bottom row second from right. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Carrack-class_light_cruiser
In WoC SB: These would be about the same as the Rebel Cruiser 9/60.

Lancer Frigate. As the Carrack above, this is one piece with some flash issues. It also has a gap at the front tip, an air bubble perhaps. These are $10/3 and a reasonable price. They're pictured at the bottom left. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Lancer_Frigate
In WoC SB: Their specialty was anti-fighter duty, and their stats might match the Rebel Transport 10/60.

Class 3 Ships Arrive in Fleetworks!

My fleetworks has several Class 3 [C3] ships that have arrived [note: all Star Wars references are in WoC "Starfleet Battles" terms unless stated otherwise - Class 1 is Star Destroyer II class, Class 2 is Star Destroyer I, C3 are all mid-range ships from the Millenium Falcon to the larger freighters, and C4 are starfighters like the X-wing].

The Millenium Falcon is approx 1.3x1.6 cm in size, and is 1:5000 scale. I obtained mine from Studio Bergstrom for the whopping price of $1.70! http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Meteor/4155/thumbs/orderform.html

It is nicely detailed white metal, very solid and durable. I would rate this ship as a 9/10, deducting '1' for the underside not being very detailed. This seems purposeful, not sloppy, as it's meant to be looked at from above. The sides are fully detailed, however. I STRONGLY recommend purchasing this piece for your SW fleet. At this price, anyone who wants to play more 'in scale' with their WoC fleets must have it!

Welcome to 3066, Admiral!

Fleet Admiral 3066 [FA3066]is the working title for a set of miniature rules for massed space combat. It will place the player in the Admiral's Chair, maneuvering squadrons of fighters and capital ships into fleet actions. While single ships will be represented, the idea is to keep the player in the Admiral's chair, not the captain's or pilot's.

FA3066 will accomodate any set of space ship combat rules. For instance, you could fight a battle using the Babylon 5 combat rules by Mongoose Publishing, "A Call To Arms" [ACTA] or use the Star Wars combat rules by Wizards of the Coast "Starfleet Battles" [SB]. Since I have both, and am a fan of both, I'll be using them as prototypes for FA3066, demonstrating how they can be respresented into the rules.

FA3066 will also have its own rules for space ship creation, fleet organization, and ship-to-ship combat. This will be a secondary priority, however.

This site will also feature occasional posts concerning the collection of my fleets, painting, reviews, etc.

If you are interested in being a playtester for these rules, please contact me.