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This is a Weather Balloon?

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by Marco Scheloske

Scale: 1/48

“Roswell Daily Record": July 8, 1947

RAAF Captures Flying Saucer
On Ranch in Roswell Region
No Details of Flying Disk Are Revealed

The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today, that the field has come into possession of a flying saucer.

According to information released by the department, over authority of Maj. J. A. Marcel, intelligence officer, the disk was recovered on a ranch in the Roswell vicinity, after an unidentified rancher had notified Sheriff Geo.Wilcox here, that he had found the instrument on his premises. Major Marcel and a detail from his department went to the ranch and recovered the disk, it was stated. After the intelligence officer here had inspected the instrument it was flown to higher headquarters. The intelligence office stated that no details of the saucer's construction or its appearance had been revealed.“

This incident was the birth of the UFO-myth. First reported by the newsletter “Roswell Daily Report” (and confirmed by the military) as a real ship from outer space it was later claimed as a destroyed experimental weather balloon...

The model company Testors created a model of the (in)famous spaceship based upon a painting made by artist Tony Weddel - and in addition to that they also produced a wonderful kit of the complete crash scene. Being completely out of resin the quality of that modeling set varies: The base is amazingly detailed, the figures are very good, but the ship itself - the fit is not very good, and mounting the partial visible cockpit doesn`t make this issue better. The upper and lower parts of the saucer were damaged in several areas (beside the ones that are supposed to be damaged, of course), but I simply declared those to this-should-look-this-way defects and painted them accordingly.

The base, showing a sandstone arroyo wall and a part of desert ground, is built out of two parts. A lot of two-part-epoxy glue was used to mount them together - no good fit here, either. The horizontal part was so heavily bended that it was impossible to straighten it without making it break in some of the molded details, so I decide to build up partial new sidewalls out of sheet styrene to let it sit flat on the ground. The fit of the human figures was much better, I used only a bit putty where the arms has to be glued to the bodies. The aliens are one-part castings. Regarding the ship itself the upper and lower halves had to be glued together, but before I could do so the cockpit had to be glued into the lower half. It had to be painted and decaled in advance, too, as you can see it later through the chap in the ship`s hull. A good amount of Aves putty was used to close the seam where the halfs are connected.

The base was painted “vomit brown” from Games Workshop as the basecolor, followed by a dark brown oil wash. Then several coats of drybrushed colors were added, using tan, light brown and flesh tones from Games Workshop, to achieve subtle but huge variations of sand-like colors. The final drybrushing was made with white to bring out the fine details. A lot of debris from the ship are molded into the base, those were picked out with “Chainmail” and drybrushed with “Mithril Silver” on the edges.

The aliens were primed in dark grey, then drybrushed with “Codex Grey”, “Fortress Grey” and finaly with pure white. The striking eyes of the little grey guys were painted black.

The three humans, representing an Air Force officer, a G.I. and a civilian person (maybe a reporter?) were painted with acryl and oil colors. The reporter got a blue suit and a white shirt with a black tie. A darker shade of the blue was used to paint the shadows, a lighter one for the lights of the clothes. The officer got a khaki dress with details painted in black, silver and gold. The G.I. finally got a mainly olive uniform. At the end of the painting process I weathered the clothes and shoes of all of the figures to make them look as they had driven and walked a while in that dusty area.

I tried something special with the color of the ship, it works very well when you look at it with your naked eyes, but it very difficult to capture in a picture: Flip-flop laquer from the automotive store. The basecolor is aluminium, the laquer I used is called “Forrest Rain” and changes its color from metallic green over the silver tone of the basecoat to light metallic purple. So the color variations you can see in some of the pics are really there! I did this to underline the alien origin of the ship and to simulate a bionic hull not made out of materials known to humans.

There are some debris of the sandstone arroyo molded on the front of the starboard wing, I painted those in the same way and colors I used for the base. For the burn marks of the huge chap I used Tamiya weathering master set “D”. This contains “burnt blue”, “burnt red” and “oil stain”. I tried to represent melted and heat-stained metal here.

Finally, all elements were glued to the base. Molded footprints helped to find the proper positions for the three humans, as well as slight depressions did for the two aliens lying on the ground. The nameplate is printed on silver cardboard. It contains a part of a possible conversation between the three men which came to my mind as soon as I saw the model kit for the first time ever: “This is a weather balloon?”

Image: Scene from above

Image: Another angle

Image: Debris

Image: Cockpit

Image: Damage underneath

Image: "Ewwww ... What is that?"

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