Reader reviews of a kit featured on Starship Modeler.

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Your Two Cents: Rocketship

The following are reader's opinions of the Rocketship made by Herb Deeks Models.

Reviewer   Steve Brejnak
Date Reviewed   Jan 1, 2001
Overall Rating       Good kit, but with some problems.
Comments I must admit upon receiving this kit to build for a customer I found a pleasant smile on my face as I assembled it. It brought back many fond memories of staying up late on a saturday nights and eating popcorn and drinking pepsi till I was about to bounce off the walls watching Flash Gordon take on Ming the Mercilous and kick butt.

The kit I received had a few flaws the first and most annoying was the seam around the door. I debated on weather to fill in the seam and rescribe it but that seemed like more trouble than it was worth not to mention I dreaded slipping with the scribing tool and gouging the already suprisingly smooth surface. I lightly filled it in with putty to help smooth the jagged edges. The next area that required a bit if touch up were the engine exhauct ports. They were all filled with chunky resin blobs and bits of mold material. I carefully scraped them clean with a scribing tool until I got in deep enough to backfill them in with putty. And yes this makes your hands hurt and the thought of slipping and breaking a fin off was a constant worry.

The rest of the assembly was quick and very easy. A touch from a belt sander brought everything in line and allowed me to have any easy go of it. I deviated from the assembly instructions a bit and put the whole thing together at the same time before painting. If the kit had required heavy sanding I wouldn't have done so.

I scrounged around for some suitable tubing for the front probe (not included in the kit) and used the smallest diameter aluminum tube for the tip and the next size brass tubing for the base of the probe. A brass grommet from a Radio controlled servo motor arm was used for the base of the probe to give it a flared end into the nose. The whole thing was tipped with a large headed straight pin. (That's why you need to use tube and not rod.) The pin slid right in with a perfece fit and once painted looked exactly like the one from the show.

After the kit was dry I wet sanded the entire thing for at least an hour using various grits of paper starting with 220 grit and finishing with 600 grit. I used an under coat of black automotive primer and once dry I inspected it for flaws. Once again I wet sanded using a 400 grit paper this time and finished off with a 600 grit. Silver has to be the most pain in the backside color to use and a flawless undercoat is an absolute must. Once the primer was sufficently smooth I began to do the final silver paint work. I first did a dusting coat with a can of testors german silver. Once dry I again wet sanded the entire thing. Two more coats of silver were applied and let set for three days before I even looked at it again. On the fourth day I gently sanded the paint once again using a flexi-file brand polishing stick. The paint was still soft and needed to be handeled very carefully to make sure no finger prints were left behind. After the final coat of silver I polished the entire ship with a scotch brite pad by 3M. By now I had a deep clear finish and was ready to go onto the next step. I switched to acrylic paints to paint the windows and exhaust ports. Gloss was used for the windows and flat was used for the ports. I changed to acrylics at this point for two very good reasons. One, if you screw up and slip with the brush and end up outside the lines all you need to do is take it over to the sink and give her a shot of cold water and rinse the paint away. Two, the acrylic wouldn't eat into the still soft silver paint and leave a sloppy mess dripping down the side of the hull marring my fragile silver finish. (Thank the modeling Gods for that one.)

After the acrylics were dry I lightly weatherd the ship with lead from a No. 3 hard pencil. I ran the pencil across a piece of sandpaper and made a pile of dust. Using cotton swabs, soft brushes and the occasional finger, I lightly weathered around the exhaust ports the small tubes surrounding the hull. All and all It was an enjoyable build and I will hate to have to ship it to the customer. I am going to wait a few weeks to do so just to make sure the paint is good and hard so it won't get damged in shipment. And hopefully I'll get to build one for myself in the future.

Reviewer   Mike Cody
Date Reviewed   Jan 7, 2004
Overall Rating       Well worth getting.
Comments This is a great kit. He has captured the proportions and the feel of the rocketship. The overall design is well interpreted from the old films. The only thing missing are the sparks shooting out of the tail. Invest in some good quality chrome or other highly metallic paint and take the time to do it right. It's worth it. I feel like I have a piece of sci fi history.

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