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Junkyard Dogs

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by Dave Hyde

Scale: Not Stated

Far out in an area of the Procyon Deep known as “The Junkyard”, the Heavy Utility ship Vagabond hovers at the center of a secret and very dangerous salvage operation. Captain Dasmark knows some people don't want the remains of the Battle of Procyon Delta investigated too closely. The area had been ruled “Off Limits”…a strictly enforced TerraFleet edict with penalties harsh enough to make most of those capable of mounting such an operation think twice.

Two weeks into the operation and Vagabond has surrounded herself with some choice booty. Drawn in close to shield the work crew from the distant but deadly glare of the Procyon inner primaries, the remains of Gun station 12 of the Delta 4 station itself helps mask their activities from any casual patrol scan. With the threat of a Fourth Karkon incursion into human space the 800 individual focused laser heads comprising the main gun's long-range fire elements would each bring in a good sum alone. Those heavy duty capacitors that still function and certain panels of Hi- density armor have already been packed up and sent along to the Collection point.

Tethered to Vagabond 's Starboard work crane is one of the six secondary drive sections of the System Defense cruiser Kage Ultima. A fairly large but older warship, she was one of the first responding Fleet ships to answer the call when the Karkon ambushed the Delta 4 station 8 years ago. A nuke to the control deck took her out of the fight early and ancillary damage tore her drive section apart. This complete thrust chamber is still in good condition though and is worth almost enough to make the trip worthwhile if the work crew can strip all the scrap away without any further damage.

The stripped out remains of an unidentified gunship…possibly one of the many converted freighters to join the fray… is being pushed down the “Scrap Lane” to join the several dozen other chunks of now totally useless space debris the Vagabond 's 20 being crew has stripped of every useable component .

This scene takes place a few minutes before the incoming missiles are detected…..

About the Models

The “Junkyard Dogs” diorama is really several models. The Vagabond is a ship I started for an independent production about 2 years ago. When the project went on “indefinite hiatus” I ended up with a mostly finished studio scale-type starship. Since I was given a free hand to design and build her as I saw fit I was always looking for a reason to finish and display her. Then one day I hear….”hey honey, there's a “Wrecks “ contest” …. and away I went.

The Vagabond herself is primarily 1/8” sintra panels patterned for the four main engines and hull. I used a variety of sizes of sticks labels to give the hull its basic panel detail. I then covered the hull in chrome HVAC tape and rubbed it down hard to let the double thick label paper stand out in relief with a metal finish. Not “metallic”…. Metal. I was trying to decide what color she should be when the early ruddy brown primer coat started to look good on its own over the metal tape treatment so I pretty much left it as was and gave it a good ink wash.

All engine and running lights are Hi-intensity LEDs as are the mini work floods under the cranes. The bridge [which is fully detailed and has 4 crew members at in various work positions] is lit with three small Krypton maglight bulbs. All the lights are powered from an internal battery power supply located under the upper rear deck. Lots of odds and ends from the parts bin were used to detail the whole thing out. In fact, there are only two custom castings on the entire thing. The small attitude control thrusters and the large power converters at the front of the engine nacelles were both resin casts of master forms made from styrene.

Wreckage of Defense station Procyon Delta 4

Eight large curved I-beams of .060 styrene form the frame of this big backdrop model. I wanted a piece large enough to frame the whole diorama yet not be too large and heavy as to make transport impossible. The large turret ball is from a large discarded Christmas ornament and with the gun details is around 9”long. The rest of the triple layer hull detail is about ¾ “deep . The layers of armor and inner support structure are painted in different primer colors to give it some depth. Mostly styrene makes up the main curved wall form but he twisted and burnt wreckage is everything from metal bridge trusses to brass and aluminum tubing. I heavily weathered the entire thing to look as if it had been getting kicked around in a slow moving asteroid field for the better part of a decade.

Wreckage of the KAGE Ultima

A length of broken lawn sprinkler about 12”long is the basis for this model of a large warship's drive section. A lot of Saturn V tanks and industrial looking looking doo-dads are partially covered by a curved hull plating section of styrene. Curved ribs made of sprue and railing represent exposed internal structure.

Work Horses

They said it couldn't be done but….I found a use for those ugly little troll versions of the Y-wing that come with the old Hoth rebel base kit. Since no one I know who had one of those sets ever used the things, I had collected several of them more as a joke over the last 25 years .But when properly chopped and re -cut and with a few scale mods they made great little service and tow vehicles. There are 5 of them busy at a variety of tasks, including one pushing a cargo carrier and one outfitted with a plasma cutter slicing away a piece of armor plate.

All the crew members are modified work crew figures from the scrap-people bin and the entire thing is supported by ¼” steel rods coming out from Vagabond 's central support.

Image: Kage Ultima's remains

Image: Another look

Image: Work Horse, at work

Image: Overall, from above

Image: Salvage ops

Image: Back end

Image: Bridge

Image: Vagabond's strong back

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This page was last updated 18 November 2007. © 2007 Starship Modeler