Saturday, February 10, 2018

Project Kestrel (2) Ha'la'tha VTOL

I continue to be unimpressed with Revell. The cabin build for the Kestrel is the H145M which is, apparently, a rebox of the EC145 kit from 2005. All the edges are soft except for the pieces that are specifically for the Military version. The engineering of the kit leaves some things to be desired as well. Several pieces are integral to the main cabin shell, and their alignment is critical, but there are no locating pins or even a shelf line. I've even found a piece that is supposed to be a mirror, but they cast it as a duplicate. The instructions tell you how to file and cut the thing to be the piece you need. That I would expect from a garage kit.

 Main instrument panel. Soft edges, there'll be some serious filling here.

The rudder, cyclic and collective controls are pretty nice. A little tricksy to get off the sprue, as there are gates on the very fine parts, but once you get them and if you're patient it can be worked.

Of course, I had to choose to do the troop transport version. Painting up the jump seats and then did a little research on the color gradations for red/brown leather. the instrument panel went together ok, but still needs some filling and work,

Putting the chairs in place and did a bit of weathering of the floor

a look at the main cockpit and controls.

This is what I was talking about. you have to build up an inner shell, and then this will align with the windows and ports on the external shell. You can see fitment issues along the top, and it's hard to be certain where the edges are supposed to be.

Of course, I also forgot when I was putting all that subtle weathering in place that it pretty much won't be visible.  I am thinking I'll keep the side doors off, or at least open.  The rear doors I can leave open, and I'm also thinking taking it completely off and mounting a minigun might be a nice option.  

We'll see how it goes together from here.  : )

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Project "Kestrel" - The beginning. (Caprica-'verse Ha'la'tha VTOL)

Project has a name: Project Kestrel. I like the sound.  Again, staying wit the theme of a resistance-use aircraft, I actually have to put a bit more thought into the equipment maintenance and battle strategies. From what I understand, the Ha'la'tha forces had a decent run early but were overwhelmed by superior equipment, manpower and resources. However, they had to have some kind of infrastructure to start with, and working with smaller, more agile and flexible hardware would have been a good strategy.
So, the Caprica VTOL design is big, powerful and state of the art in appearance, compared to our early designs of Huey or Chickasaw. Essentially a merge of a jet-powered Osprey and the Blackhawk, the designers didn't try hard to hide the Blackhawks lines, so I'm not going to bother with it either. I'm going take the EC145 and work along similar design concepts.

I'm liking the upward bent gull wings with tip-mounted engines. The one thing I need to figure out is the tail.. the narrow beam looks "meh" to me. But, because I want to keep the doors, I have to figure something out. Either a twin tail boom extending off the rear of the fuselage or something wider and more robust looking. Not sure yet. We'll see. I do want to keep that rear-opening door. That allows the design to be variable like the 145, troop transport, special assignment, med-evac.. etc.

The engines will be a bit tricksy. I have a few ideas.. but there's a trick to the V-22: Fuel and control delivery. That was conveniently skipped in "Caprica" if you look at the images, but I will have to account for it on my design. (Engineer brain again.) but the Osprey hub solved that problem, I can simulate a similar resolution.
More to come. : )

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Ha'la'tha Resistance Fighter build - 6 Completed.

Once the main colors were down, it really was a matter of getting stuck in on the weathering.  For this, I stretched my skills again and decided to try using oil paints.  Yeah, I know, pretty much everyone uses them, but they are new to me so all the techniques are going to be learn-as-I go. 

I intentionally was going for a heavily weathered and worn look.  This aircraft is part of resistance forces and so is operated out of hidden bases with minimal maintenance available.  That's the look I'm going for- flight worthy, funcitonal but used.  The first thing I went for was the panel- line shading and I pretty much used the shading to hint at lines that weren't even there.  The feathering worked out better than I had hoped it would and I was content with the end result. 

After that, I just got stuck in on chipping, dusting and fading the colors.  Eventually, I got to where I wanted to go, and called it done.  I learned an incredible amount of things working this model, and I'm quite happy with what I was able to turn out.  There are many things I think I would like to do differently in later projects, but that is what learning is all about.  

So, the final product:  the GAS F/A-3 Medusa Attack aircraft. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Ha'la'tha Resistance Fighter build - 5

I have the final shaping and piecing done.  The contours are sanded and the panel-line scribing is done to the best of my ability.  I did make an attempt, and while I wish I could've done better, I did learn and will have more skills the next time I try.  For now, I will use weathering and shading to accent the lines and get me the look I'm going for. 

I added the cannons to the fuselage and also put on the hardpoints.  I'll add on the drop tanks as well.  I really do like the look of them underslung under the wings.  I dunno if it's going to please the BSG rivet counters, but hey, I'm building for me and this is fun. : )  It has the look I'm going for and I'm having a good time doing it.  I feel like the cannons have that Viper-call back feel, and it would make sense that the design element that placed them there in the first place would carry through to later Superiority Fighter designs, and cause the designers of the Viper series to do the same.

With the overall design done, on to painting.  I really like the camo I mentioned earlier, so I started with a base of desert tan, and then mottled with Flat Earth.   For the first time in..oh.. forever, I actually broke out my airbrush.  I like the airbrush but it's always a challenge getting my paints to work well.  I don't have the model AIR which I prefer, I mostly use Vallejo game color.  With a good mix of thinner and flow improver, it works well, but between the cheapo compressor and the set up I have, I find that I have to fiddle a bit to keep the consistency of the paint even.  It's not really a problem, it's just fiddly.  It's that fiddlyness that gets me to not use it enough.  I really should get the adapter setup for my good air compressor. 

The camo scheme has the look I like, so on to the decals.  ugh.  I tried to use my own custom decals and they are ... bleah.  I have had recommendations since to try the Testor's paper, which this was not, and a different fixer for them.  For now, I have only a few special ones and the rest of the placard decals are coming from the F4 kit. 

Overall, I'm not too terribly unhappy with the result.  They'll do for this run, and next time, I'll know more.  I will use weathering and use to try to fade these in more and give it the look I'm going for.  So far, so good.  Moving forward. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ha'la'tha Resistance Fighter build - 4.

Subtitled: sanding and filling and sanding and filling and sanding and filling.

Lots and lots and lots of sanding.   The main kits fit together well, and in reality, the overall curves where they join worked out pretty well.  The biggest issue was the huge gap where the wings were removed and the underside of the engine housings.  To fill this, I decided to work with something I'd not really used much: FreeForm Air from smoothon.  I really do like this stuff.

For the most part, it goes on pretty well, although it takes fiddling to get it to do what I want it to.  Of course, that's probably just my skillset.  Either way, the best thing in this case is the weight.  The stuff is very light and I have a ton of it going into this model to fill up the huge holes and gaps.  So this is not going to add a bunch of weight, like other stuff could.

After that set up, the sanding started again. The long, tedious process of getting the curves to go together. You don't need a thousand pictures of sanding. : )  Once I got the main curves done, though, I did add the intakes, vertical stabilizer and the nose build up strip.

 That strip is pretty much there just for the lines of the fuselage and so I could get that step right at the cone.  On the step, I put in the ports for the nose guns.  All it was is the insulation off of wire.  Saved me from having to drill that out. 

I also have been thinking about the under-wing guns.  I really do want to give the thing that look that comes from the engineering that gave rise to the Vipers.  It dawned on me that the Stuka Tank-buster gun pods might work.  I like them, they *might* work.

We'll see.  I also played around a bit with the Photoshop, and wanted to get a feel for possible decals.  I doubt I'll be able to hand-paint the specific markings for the affiliations, although I will use the F4 kit decals for most of the placards.  I just might try printing my own.

I've also been toying with conceptualizing the camo scheme.  I really like the yellow/tan look of desert camo, and I think it's appropriate for what I see Tauron's greater landscape to be like.  I expect the Ha'la'tha resistance, at least the part of it that has fighter planes and controls territory, would be out in the countryside, away from cities, and would want to blend in with the terrain.  We'll see, but I really do like the look.  I think it gives the planes a meaner look. 

So that's where I am so far.  more to come.