Monday, June 28, 2010

Ralph McQuarrie Concept Viper Scratchbuild Part 2

Rather than try to build the "ear" sections I vac formed them. I didn't want to use expensive mold material for such a simple shape, so I used silicone caulk and it worked pretty well. I just had to make sure that the first layer had no bubbles.

Here are the plaster positives in the vac former.

And here they are on either side of the top fin. I think I made them too tall compared to the drawing, but I like they way it looks, so meh.

A closer look. Tons of Bondo, I know. Most of it was sanded off.

Rear view with the upper wings attached.

And finally time to prime it. After spending a few minutes trying to scribe panel lines with the back of an Exacto blade I ordered a scribe tool from Japan. I wish I had that thing in school, it's awesome. Initially I was going to build this with landing gears down, but I liked the way it looked flying so I skipped it.

I added these pinstripe details that may be in the drawing, it's really hard to tell what is going on back there. I thought it had a cool vintage look like a lot of RMQ stuff.

I added some kit parts from a hind for the undercarriage.

I added some more pipes and venting in the part of the drawing you can't see.

White! It looked so bright when I started the body color. White stuff is really hard to take good photos of, no contrast.

The factory showroom paint job. It looked ok, but really needed some weathering to tone it down. I had a really difficult time finding the right yellow in a spray acrylic, so I got as close as I could, but it's not a match.

The empty cockpit and some pastel weathering.

For the little Sculpey pilot I used the razor style uniform for a model, I'm not a huge fan of the old suede uniforms and king tut helmets. I went for the airbus style joystick just to do something different.

The dash lights on. I wish I had taken a better picture of this where it didn't look so bright, but the canopy is on now.

Building the canopy was the hardest part. I did three tries and I am still not satisfied with the result but I am really, really tired of making little canopies.

I tried to take this shot from the same angle as the drawing. The proportions are a little off, but I am pretty happy with it.

It is dark in space, you would need headlights.

The underside after weathering. I thought I went overboard, but in the photos it still looks pretty clean. I didn't do any paint chipping because it's a concept, but it really needed a little dirt in the nooks and crannies.

The engines turned on. I think the way the inside of the thrusters turned out was may favorite part. It's also the part that I could take the most creative license with, so it was a lot of fun.

I hid the battery cover between the thrusters. Its a really tight fit, but looking at it on you can't really tell it is a separate piece. I'll probably do some more detailing and spruce up the base eventually, but this thing has already eaten a big chunk of time and I think we need some time apart.


  1. Very impressive. How about a little explanation of what you used for the display on the control panel and the thrusters. I imagine maybe some sort of LED stuff??

  2. Yeah, it's all colored LED's. In the cockpit I used chunks of fiber optic cable for the instruments and a piece of a crackerjack prize for the screen