BanDai 1/72 Scale Millennium Falcon Perfect Grade Build

Here is the new project.  The Millennium Falcon in 1/72 scale by BanDai.  The kit is beautifully detailed and very closely matches the studio model.  If you check out the parts closely, you can see the parts that came from other plastic models of the day.  For example, I’ve found a transmission case and under chassis from car models, suspension parts from cars and tanks and other tiny bits that the ILM modelers used to create the Falcon.  It is a very cool kit.  It also includes a lighting kit so I won’t have to try and add those components.  The parts are all very crisply molded and no signs of flash anywhere.  Most mold lines and ejector pin marks are in hidden areas so they don’t mar the finish or require much cleaning.  On the other hand, with the hundreds of small parts and sub assemblies this model will take a bit of time to complete.  This build series will probably have some long gaps between posts since it will take time to find breaking points.

Anyway, it’s time to start.  I’ll be starting with the cockpit.  I don’t do figures or cockpits very often so they are not one of my strong points.  I hope I can do the model justice.

I started by spraying primer on the cockpit seats and the figures.  I then gathered the colors I needed for the figures, Flesh, Aged White, White Gray, Red Brown, Black, Blue, White, Light Brown, Gold, Sand Yellow, Transparent Yellow and Silver.  I used a small fine brush to get the faces and hands, then started on the clothes with the varying shades of white, gray and brown.

C3-PO and Chewbacca got and undercoat of black.  Then C3-PO got painted Gold and then that was overcoated with the transparent yellow which really gave him a nice gold look.  Chewbacca got an overall coat of red brown.  His belt, face and legs got a drybrush of black to darken those areas. Then a drybrush of light brown.  The boxes on his belt were painted silver and his face got a light drybrush of black to bring out some details and highlight his nose.  The figures aren’t perfect but for me they turned out well.  Meanwhile the padding on the seats got a coat of sand yellow.

Next I started on the cockpit control panels.  BanDai includes a some nice decals for the instrument panels.  I have heard from many sources that the decals don’t lay down well over the control panels and decal solvents don’t  help much.  So in light of that, I made a set of custom decals using my decal paper and my ALPS printer.  The decals turned out well.  After clear coating the front control panel I applied the first two decals.  After several applications of Micro Sol the decals finally laid down pretty well over the raised details.  It was good that my custom decals are so thin, otherwise I don’t think they would have worked at all.  The control panel between the two main panels had some LARGE raised areas and when I tried to apply a decal to that area, the decal just would not conform well at all.  I ended up taking a fine brush and hand painting the area.

It looks like, from that experience that the panels on the side walls will have to be hand painted.  I’m still holding out some hope that the decal for the back wall will work.  The raised areas on that panel are not that large.  We shall see.

More to come.

1/144 Saturn I Block I Build Final Update

I’ve been working on this model for a while since the last update.  After the primer went on, many flaws showed up that I couldn’t see on the bare resin.  Fixing these required many iterations of putty, sand, primer, and inspect.  Sometimes I thought I was getting close only to find some new pinholes show up due to sanding the surface of the resin.  Martin really needs to invest in some vacuum casting tools.  Anyway I finally got through that stage and was able to start painting.  I started out by painting the engine nozzles and turbo pump exhausts with Tamyia bright silver paint.  Then I painted the inside of the nozzles and the holes I drilled in the turbo pump exhausts with clear smoke.  I then gave the model a coat of gloss white.

After letting the gloss white cure for a couple of days I started masking for the black areas on the first stage boat tail.  The rest of the rocket is white.  The boat tail was a challenge to mask due to all the compound curves.  I finally got it masked satisfactorily, including the heat shield area on the base.

Next I sprayed gloss black on the base of the rocket.  I let the paint dry for a few hours before removing the masking tape.  The black areas turned out fine.  The black tanks will have some custom decals applied rather than trying to mask them off.  The area between the tanks is still a bit rough, but it is MUCH better than it was out of the box.

To create the custom decals I started out with a scan of the decals that came in the kit and then photos of the actual vehicle.  I resized and modified them to be more accurate.  I added stripes that go halfway around the dummy third stage just below the nosecone and at the third stage/transition junction centered on Position I.  I also added some inverted “T” shapes that appear on the dummy second stage at the interstage junction.  The checkerboard roll pattern that appears around the top of the first stage was not correct at all in the kit decal.  I measured the circumference of the area and then using photos counted the number of checkers and drew a new decal.  Also there is a slightly larger block that appears at 8 places around the roll pattern and I added those as well.  I double printed the white areas of the vehicle number and position number decals to help avoid the black from showing through.

I knew I was in for a challenge in applying the fuel tank decals.  There are a number of raised areas that are hard to account for when making the decal.  I had to cut the decals in places and use some black paint to touch up a few spots.  Micro Set and Micro Sol were used quite a bit in getting the decals to settle over the added details.  I also had to double layer the decals that were put on over the black.  Even double printing the white while printing the decals was not enough to keep the black from showing through.  Applying the second decal over the first eliminated the black showing through.  In the end the model looks pretty good.

With the decals in place, I let the model dry completely overnight and then sprayed a gloss coat over them to protect them and prepare them for an overall clear flat coat.  After the clear coats dried overnight I then added the engine nozzles and turbo pump exhausts with some CA.  Finally, the model is done.  It looks nice sitting on its stand.

The stand should be temporary since I plan on adding SA-5 and SA-10 to the collection to show the Saturn I progression.  However those will have to wait a bit.  I need to take a break from the resin before tackling those kits.  Thanks for following along.  I hope to start the next build shortly, probably a sci-fi subject.