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B5 Wars Miniatures Reviews Part V: Centauri Capital Ships

By Terry Miesle - copyright © 1998.

Octurian Dreadnaught | Primus Battle Cruiser | Vorchan Light Cruiser

AoG Vorchan

AoG's Vorchan by Terry Miesle

Front View

Front View

Rear View

Rear View

Head-on View

Head-on View

Top View

Top View

Bottom View

Bottom View

Centauri Vorchan: Bad Moon Cruising

The distinctive cruciform dual crescents of the Centauri Vorchan Light Cruiser make it instantly recognized, and in most cases instantly feared. A quick, maneuverable raiding ship which carries no fighters, the Vorchan became the obvious choice for the puppet masters controlling Centauri Prime.

AOG's mini is small compared to many of the cruisers and battleships, but contains areas of complexity which make it somewhat difficult to execute a good paint job. Chief among these are the choice of colors. Purple and gold can be difficult, particularly if you decide to use metallic paints which tend to be less forgiving of mistakes. I know it took me longer deciding how to accomplish the final result than actually painting the mini. I didn't use any washes, only minimal drybrushing and very little detailing. It's just a matter of figuring out the colors.

1. Clean and prime. Unassembled you start with four pieces, excluding base, a main fuselage, vertical wing and two gun turrets. The gun turrets are much larger than those on the Omega Destroyer, and are much easier to work with. The base pylon is to be glued into the bottom of the vertical wing, which is in turn glued to the fuselage between the engines. Upon test fitting, I decided to leave the fuselage and wing separate until the very end. This is a two-edged sword - if not three edged ;). It will allow you to more easily paint the details on both pieces, but means you will need to lay the fuselage on your work surface instead of keeping it safe on its stand. The fuselage sits in the vertical wing attached to its stand just fine, though - so you can use it as a stand to let your detail work dry without gluing it. I also left the guns off, intending to paint them a different color than the hull areas they attach to.

Cleanup was straightforward since my copy was well cast, without any glaring irregularities. A white primer was followed with two airbrushed coats of Testor's Colors by Boyd (TCB) Grape Pearl. They also make a Purple Pearl which is more red. You may have to look in the model car or even Radio Control Car sections of your hobby shop to find these automotive colors, you won't regret it - there are some great colors for cars which prove useful from time to time. I always lacquer between major steps - so this was sealed after several days for curing - gloss takes longer - with Testor's Model Master (TMM) Semi-Gloss Lacquer in a spraycan.

2. Detailing. After this I applied Tamiya Sky Grey Acrylic (though some TMM Dark Gull Grey or Battleship Grey would work) to the interior fuselage/wing inset sections and nose inset. I applied TMM Flat Black to the wing interior and TMM Euro I Grey to the wing inset. I sealed these off with another coat of Semi-gloss lacquer.

Next I began ticking out details with TMM Gold. This is another glossy metallic paint. If you make mistakes you can usually wipe enamels off with a cotton swab or wad of tissue and a bit of thinner, so the lacquer coats are vital. The brackets on the horizontal wing, the side inset on the nose, some fuselage details, and the border of the vertical wing all got gold paint. The vertical wing also has insignia - kind of a curved ice-cream-cone crescent shape.

The only major beef I have with the sculpting is that the line for the gold on the vertical wing is too broad. I experimented with making a thinner line, but it didn't look good with the sculpted wing lines there, too. Eventually I decided to paint the entire area. This was all brush painted, and I used liberal amounts of gold paint to avoid brush strokes. If anyone out there decides to use gold foil let me know, I debated that idea too.

I had to give the studs on the wing a bit of white paint and repaint them purple after the black and gold, no major problems there. I applied a bit of white paint to the wing inset depressions. I gave the engines some color with TMM Steel and Flat Black inside the nozzles. After all this I used the drafting pen (Micron brand .005 size, black) to bring out the main wing lines, differentiate some ribbed details and color separations, and generally spruce things up.

3. Finishing up. After all this was done, and I was fairly satisfied, I put the guns on. I had painted the turret body TMM Euro 1 Grey, and the barrels TMM Gunmetal, gave them a quick black wash and light TMM Chrome Silver drybrush highlight. They got superglued on, then the fuselage got superglued into the vertical wing.

The pylon/base assembly was painted TMM Flat Black. The whole assembled ship and base was sprayed with Semi-Gloss lacquer. After that had dried several days I handbrushed some Flat Lacquer onto the grey areas and gun turrets to provide differentiation. Then I gave it the acid test. I asked my wife whether she thought it was done - and if I should add details here, darken panel lines there etc. She said no, which was the answer I wanted to hear. Centauri ships are usually seen clean, and don't exhibit a lot of exterior machinery.

This is a straightforward subject, only the fact that I used gloss metallics made it difficult. That task should be even more difficult with the larger ships, the Primus and Octurian. If you decide to use flat paints I think you'll have a greatly simplified task.

The center of gravity of the vorchan mini is extremely high, making it one of the less stable minis. I may glue some lead sinkers underneath the stand to make it less prone to keeling over.

Previous: Part IV: Primus Battle Cruiser

General Notes Part I: Minbari Capital Ships
Part II: Narn Capital Ships Part III Earth Alliance Capital Ships
Part IV: Other Races Part V: Centauri Capital Ships

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