Lamar Brown's 3-ship Battlecrab diorama.

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Starship Modeler: "A Bloody Awful Lot of Ships"

By Lamar Brown

In my 30 some odd years of modeling I had never built a resin kit so for me it was a new beast but I enjoyed every minute of it.

After many weeks of talking to Kip over the Internet I decided to try one of his kits. We decided "you send me the money and I'll send you the kit" (good arrangement, huh?). When I finally received the kit in the mail, I found: two larger body pieces, two half pieces which make the lower portion and eight spines of various lengths. And too my surprise, an added bonus of six small Shadow Fighters!

I washed all the parts in the kitchen sink using my wife's trusty scrub brush and a small dab of Palmolive dish washing soap (it suds up and cuts the release agents quickly). I then let the parts dry overnight.

The next day I set out to conquer my first resin kit. Looking over the kit very closely I found numerous pit marks and places where the veins did not mold well. I started with the upper body of the Battlecrab and took the two largest transverse spines, drilled a hole in the center about 1/3 inch in diameter, 1 1/2 inch deep using a dremel tool. I then repeated this with all the spines on the top and the middle body. Next I cut the same number of 3 inch brass tubing lengths to put in the middle of spines and body, sort of like a bone. The brass tubing allows you to strengthen and to position the spines to match the two (2) parts as close as possible. This turned out to be a pretty good idea. The brass tubing also allowed me to match angles due to it being soft enough to bend.

Filling the gaps until they where completely filled. After all the spines where attached and gaps filled with Zap-A-Gap CA+ and Insta-Set Accelerator, I assembled the two halves that make up the lower part of the ship. I then filled the seams with CA. After all this had cured I washed the three assembled parts with soapy water again and let dry overnight.

I painted all three body parts with Tester's Flat Gray Primer #1237 and let dry 24 hours. The primer showed all the little pits, flaws, flat veins and almost non-existing veins on the model. I started filling in all the pits using Elmers Carpenter Glue applied with

toothpicks. This worked out very well with hardly no sanding needed. Next I worked on the veins using the wood glue, pouring a little wood glue to the side and letting it set awhile to thicken. I found that I could string it along to produce new veins, connect veins and hide any bad spots that might be found. After awhile I got pretty good at this and was able to hide the places around the spines where they meet and connected together. This worked great.

Next step I attached the lower spines to the mid body part using the Zap-A-Gap and repeated the process with the wood glue again. Then I cleaned the body with a damp rag soaked in alcohol. (wood glue does not tolerate water very well). I set the model aside to thoroughly dry before painting.

I used as my base coat Model Master Metallic Black to give the skin a busy, "organic technology" look.. I then put on one coat of Future Floor Polish to seal in the paint because the veins were painted Napoleonic Violet by hand with a 00 paint brush and this prevents blending of the two different color paints.

Next I painstakingly began to paint the veins one at a time. After about two days the veins where done and I started another coat of Future. After this coat dried I repeated it with four more coats to gave it the look I wanted.

I liked the way the first one came out so I ordered two more and built a display stand to match the ships skin. The base is 2 x 2's, framed in the shape of a V covered with 1/4 inch plywood, which is in turn covered with plastic sheets. Then I used wood glue to make the patterns to match the ships. I followed up with two coats of Gloss Black and four coats of Future.

I have entered my display in two different model shows and won 1st and 3rd prizes with it.

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