by John Douglass
Scale: Not stated
The Manta-class fighter was a model of modularization. All the components - engine, weapons, sensors, avionics - were initially designed for other ships but were made in such a way that they could be reconfigured with little modification. The main fuselage, with integrated cockpit, was from an atmospheric fighter; the engine from a corvette, the sensor array from a survey ship, and the guns from a frigate. The result was a ship with modest atmospheric agility but superb space combat capability. It could locate cloaked ships, race to them with little warning, and destroy them with ease.
I've always loved Iron Modeler and the way the pressure of a time crunch causes so many builders to squeeze out some of their best ships - and made from some of the least optimal parts. I thought that might also describe an old Romulan ship half with an F-14 bottom. The design quickly faltered until I forced myself to glue a computer mouse on the bottom and a box on the top. Once an ancient post-WWII fighter tail was attached then things started to move quickly. The most fun was digging through a large box of car parts for the greeblies.
Paint was Model Master enamels. "Military Brown", because I wanted something rich, "Pale Green" because I wanted some color.
The decal eagles are noteworthy only because they are thirty years old and went on without cracking or tearing.
Weathering involved 'post shading' - a couple of drops of black ink in a jar of Future, sprayed on and around all the details.
Image: Bottom/rear view