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Taiidan Triikor Interceptor

[Proudly Sponsored by BLAP! Models]

by Petar Belic

Scale: 1/72

'Homeworld' was a Windows game published in 1999. It remains one of the best tactical space battle games developed. The ship designs in particular were a standout, inspired by the seminal science fiction cover artists that included Chriss Foss, Peter Elson and Angus McKie. The appealing colour schemes provided a relief from the plethora of grey ship finishes made so popular by ILM in the previous decades. Bold use of contrasting colours, and a more functional approach to design were hallmarks of the ships.

I decided I needed to scratchbuild my favourite. The Taiidan Interceptor was one of the many asymmetrical, functional looking fighter designs, but stood out for me as one of the more attractive. As the original design was created for a game there was a lot of detail missing. This provided a lot of room for customisation, and letting my imagination provide a lot of input - exactly how I like to build.

After some research I discovered - to my amazement - that there was a paper model available for this design. I had already started building some components such as the cockpit area and gun. However my hopes of repurposing the paper design to styrene were quickly dashed with some experimentation... the two mediums have dramatically different behaviours. Styrene, for example, does not like to fold evenly, even with a score. I blocked in the main volumes using a combination of the paper model plans, my own interpretation, and accident. The scale was chosen to fit into the rest of my collection.

Once the entire main structural areas where created, I embedded a reverse bolt, and filled the empty interior with resin to provide some heft, as I wanted to mount this on a ball vice while I worked on it. The main idea was to have every exterior surface rendered in styrene so that I could scribe panel lines and access hatches. Detail was added from various kits, and some was scratchbuilt. Because I wanted to stick as close to the design as possible, kitbashing was not an option, so many of the details had to be built from scratch.

I had earlier decided that the unique two panel flat canopy would be perfect for two crew. There is some debate in the HomeWorld community about whether this fighter had 1 or 2 pilots, however I just wanted a more interesting cockpit. The pilots were resin ones from Studio Starforge. I added detail to the cockpit from various kits, guitar string wire, and odds and pieces I had lying around.

I created one of the 'wings' with styrene and tubing, the molded and duplicated it 3 more times. The engines were from Adler's Nest - I wanted turned aluminium thrusters to really stand out from the rest of the ship, and they did the job.

Finally it was time to paint it - yellow was the base coat, with a lot of tape providing help for the complicated masking job of red, various shades of grey and white.

I then raided the spare decal box for most of the decals. I didn't want them to be obviously from other kits, so some decals are an amalgamation of others, for example a blue panel, then another white decal on top, and then perhaps another decal on top of that to create something unique. Even so, I didn't have many of the decals I needed, such as the unusual red triangular with black dots on the wings. So these were produced on inkjet decal paper specifically for the build-up. It was only afterwards that I found out from the Homeworld community that these were actually verniers, rather than decals. This illustrates one of the many problems of working from games - lack of detail in original designs.

I also created some custom photo-etch for the canopy frames, and a few other details now covered by paint. Although it can't really be seen many of the images, the canopies have a clear piece of PETG plastic. Because they are totally flat, and have been dipped in Future, it's actually very difficult to tell they are there at all unless the light hits it in the right way.

Finally, the build was weathered with a combination of airbrushing, Tamiya weathering sets and pastels.

Mounting was on a slab of acrylic and acrylic rod. The bolt went into the top the rod, however it was a bit messier than I liked. Hopefully the dramatic colour takes the eye away from it.

I was very pleased to finish this model - it took a bit longer than I had planned. For for various reasons I had not been able to do much modeling this year, and this project brought back my modeling passion and reminded me why I enjoy this hobby so much.

Image:Canopy detail

Image: Docking area

Image: front

Image: Right side

Image: Right/front

Image: Top view

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This page was last updated 1 February 2011. © 2011 Starship Modeler