Stephen realises his childhood dream…
There comes a point in every sci-fi gamer’s career that his mind turns to only one thought: I want a spaceship.
I too, wanted a spaceship.
A spaceship on the table could be used for many things – perhaps an objective, perhaps just a bit of scenery.
I thought about scratch building. But it just seemed too ambitious. And I also thought the model may be too fragile as well. I rather like the ‘boiler plate’ aesthetic of Star Wars and to achieve that requires a lot of bits and pieces. I have some, but not enough for a whole spaceship. Then my mind turned to what injection plastic kits may already be available, but there’s not many in the appropriate scale and what there is can be quite expensive.
So I turned to Amazon.
I thought there would be more options than there were. Plenty of Star Wars stuff, with franchise prices. Then I found what I was looking for – a generic kid’s toy spaceship. Dimensions seemed about right, and at about a tenner, the price was worth taking a punt on.
When it arrived I was initially disappointed. Not because of the colour (it was always going to get a new paint job), nor the size (which was spot on). It was the material it was made from. I had hoped it would be made from hard plastic but it wasn’t. It was made from that same soft plastic that Airfix soldiers are made from.
My problem with this material is one of adhesion. I did intend on adding a few detailing bits but finding a glue that grips that plastic is hard. Ditto when it comes to paint. The walls of the model were quite thin and flexible and would easily bend and fling paint.
I was just going to forget about it and chalk it down to experience and be thankful I hadn’t wasted more than a tenner. So it languished in a cupboard for a few weeks.
Then I had an idea – expanding foam! I thought that if I fill the underside with expanding foam that may offer a bit of resistance to the flexibility and prevent any paint loss. So that’s what I did – fill the underside and cavities with expanding foam.
Once that had cured I cut it all flush and glued down the compartments. As I looked at it I thought it probably didn’t need any more details added or else it would look fussy, but I did want to add some better looking engine boosters. A couple of suitable looking bottle caps were found and they were superglued in place. The whole thing was then given a complete covering of khaki spray.
And so on to the painting. I decided to do it white. The khaki would provide a good base colour for depth and shade. Then came the dry-brushing. Lots of dry-brushing.
I went with a pale beige all over. Two coats of this. Then the white. The first going over with the white was all over, and the second layer was just on raised areas. This is so some of the beige and off-white showed through, making it look used and grubby.
An accent colour was then needed to give some contrast. It was between blue or red. I went with the Star Wars red.
Screens were painted black and then made to shine with a royal blue which was then picked out with a couple of lighter shades.
Finishing touches were to add a couple of spare decals.
I wanted the finished model to look generic. I didn’t want it looking overtly military (hence why no external guns and weapons were added – I can always argue they are on retractable mounts), but neither did I want it to look too civilian. As it is it can be used as a shuttle or as a freighter. Whatever is needed for the game at hand.
I’m glad I decided to slap some paint on it in the end, rather than give up on it. Looking at the finished piece I think I was right – it didn’t need any more detailing. The foam has certainly made the sides more rigid so time will tell if the paint comes off too easily or not.
I now have my spaceship.