Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ralph McQuarrie Concept Viper Scratchbuild

While doing research for work I found this awesome Ralph McQuarrie sketch of a concept for the colonial viper from Battlestar Galactica. I really liked the look, like a Volvo space superiority fighter. After seeing this guy's concept raider I thought I should probably make a studio scale model.

I did this much less good sketch to try to figure out how the back would go. I couldn't really come up with a good square thruster. It just wouldn't work, so I had to translate them to something round. There was only the one sketch from the front, so I looked to the rebel Y-Wing bomber from Star Wars, which was a Joe Johnston joint I believe. The Y-Wing has a lot in common with this concept sketch though, so there you go.

For consistent scale I started with the cockpit. I am using a bucket seat from a 1/24th car kit. the final kit should be about 14 inches then. I have had this crackerjack toy I have been sitting on for like 10 years that will make a bitchin' dradis screen.

The basic skeleton. It's going to be fully lit, so I have to plan all that out before I really go nuts.

Wiring is done. I decided the high output led in the cockpit was bright enough without using fiber optics. The bending I would have had to do would have made it a waste of time anyway. I also test fit the engines. I think the thruster bells need to get shorter.

The thrusters were built from a glue stick, ho scale car siding, led diffusers from my wife's lab, and tomcat engine caps sanded down until they were transparent.

Here's an assembled shot. Sorry so blurry, but I need to get a decent macro lens. The studio vipers used a much cooler light, and I think I may go that way.

A shot of the front greeblies. The sketch doesn't really show what is going on to well, but I think it's a pretty good match. Space is dark, you would need headlights.

A test fit of the top stabilizer. I may rebuild this later. I also mocked up the canopy, which will be built from flat stock and clear styrene. The original cockpit dimensions looked cool, but were totally unrealistic. The canopy was just too short for a pilot, so I stretched it out a bit. This required that I lay the angle of the stabilizer back to match. I think it looks a little more predatory this way.

Building the hood. The model store I shop at hasn't re-ordered anything since 1982 so I had to build the vent from scratch. Hard work that looks like crap anyway.

Here's a wider shot showing the hood vents and details. I used so much filler I could have just whittled this thing from Bondo and saved myself some time. More to come.

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