This model turned out to be a good exercise in detailing, with no structural or major changes but lots and lots of greebling. This kit seemed to be a super opportunity for kit bashing, but my lean spares box just didn't have much I could use. Most of the greeblies you see on this ship were scratchbuild from bits of plastic stock. Unfortunately I misplaced most of the in-progress pictures! Pretty much any detail that isn't a 3/4mm wide panel line (chasm) was added, 85% of it from bits of styrene rod, strip, and sheet. One of these days I'm going to write up an article on scratching minor greebles like these, hmm...Aside from added detail it's mostly out of the box, though I did alter the attachment points for the "head" so I could paint first and glue later.
Something you pretty much always need to do with Star Wars models is replace the guns. The molded styrene parts have difficult seam lines at best, and are typically somewhat out of round and bland. In this case the original design has pretty simple barrels as well, and I decided to stick with the design but replace the barrels with brass rod. Detail was added using several sizes of crimp beads for the raised sections. The ball mounted forward cannons are movable out of the box, but held in place by just friction I expected them to get floppy over time. To resolve this issue I added a thin piece of "fun foam" between the ball and inner structure. This creates some friction to hold them in place while avoiding paint scraping, like a polycap in a Gundam kit.
I tried to take a lot of inspiration from the Tydirium and the LAAT Gunship which share design characteristics. The upper section of the hull features a prominent vent of some kind, mirroring the similar detail below the upper wing on the Imperial Shuttle from Return of the Jedi. Unfortunately the kit has a massive seam running right down the middle of the recessed vent, and even without the seam it's a poorly executed bit of uglyness. Bondo Squish to the rescue! I built the detail in negative using a piece of scribed styrene (remember, scribed lines turn into raised details with this method). I also replaced the stupidly thick antenna part with a bit of brass rod.
With such a prominent and exposed cockpit I couldn't resist adding a bunch of detail. Most of this is stretched sprue, with a few tiny bits from the spares box. The kit pilot figures are the usual Revell faire, rubbery but nicely detailed. These guys got a repaint, and a bunch of bits of stretched sprue and such flesh out the detail. The canopy was polished up and dipped in Future before painting to help clarity. The pilots sit pretty high and were bumping their little heads on the canopy (classic Stormtrooper move!) so I had to lop off their feet and glutes to get them to fit. No blasters no blasters!
I scribed a bunch of new panel lines. The wide ones you see were on the kit, fine lines were scribed. I also added a number of raised panels in various shapes, again trying to match the style of designs from the Clone Wars era. The rest of the work is pretty much all greebling, I'll point out a few specifics. The leading edges of the wings are quite bare on the kit, while similar edges on the Tydirium and other ILM models tend to be full of detail. I filled these with bits of brass rod and plastic greeblies, really proud of the look I pulled off.
Here's a bit of goodness on the underside of the ship. There is only one kitbash greeble here, the bomb shaped bit which I guess started as some kind of grenade I found on an old sprue. The rest is styrene stock. Cut a notch out of a half round section here, bevel the edges of some strip, etc. Click the pic for a larger view with callouts.
There are some large power conduits or something near the rear of the main hull. Being a simple kit these were molded onto the hull, resulting in details with no undercut. I shaved/ground off the single conduit and replaced it with a piece of brass rod bent to shape. I deemed the double conduit too difficult to remove (lazy) and added some detail to it to imply the shadow underneath without really creating it. Probably should have replaced them, but it looks ok.
As I mentioned, I've misplaced most of the pictures I shot while building this model. I'll put them here if they turn up. But hey, I have two! See below for a couple sections that were detailed up with styrene stock. The greeblies on the "head" are mostly styrene stock, while the rear engine area is one of the few sections of the ship where I used a bunch of bits from the spares box. You can see a rifle tripod, some oxygen(?) tanks, vents, and various other fiddly things.
PAINTING AND WEATHERING
Per my usual procedure I primed the kit in Tamiya primer. The base colors were Testors Model Master Acrylic custom mixed. In classic style I failed to plan and had to go around and re-spray some grey/white areas to prepare for paint chipping using liquid mask. After this was done I did a pretty standard application of liquid mask using bits of sponge (mostly on the red areas), then re-sprayed the base colors and removed the masks. I like the way the color variation under the base coats gives some depth to the chips, this was the first time I used this method. Some other chipping occurred naturally when the masking tape lifted some of the paint! This came out looking surprisingly cool so I left it. I ended up with some texture/sheen variations after all the rubbing to get that pesky liquid mask off, which also adds to the look of realism I think.
After the paint chipping I did used oil wash "filters" to add color variation, and hand painted some lighter paint ships in the light grey and yellow areas. I seem to recall doing some work with pastels to lighten some colored panels as well, but my mind is going so that may or may not be true! I'm pretty happy with the way the weathering looks overall, but I still feel that it needs something. Most likely I'll go after it with the airbrush and pastels to add some dark streaking and maybe minor blast damage.
I'm particularly happy with the display stand. I've been toying with the idea of using gloss/flat paint to create a logo on a base and decided to give it a go with this model. I got a nice high gloss by back painting a clear acrylic disk black for my Cylon Raider, so I started this base the same way. I whipped up a Galactic Republic logo in Adobe Illustrator and cut it from sign vinyl using my Silhouette Quickutz. This was applied to the top of the acrylic disk as a mask and I sprayed it with glass frosting spraypaint. The model is held in place with a simple metal rod (Bondo squish for the receptacle on the bottom of the ship). I think the results speak for themselves, it looks really cool.
Check out the (almost) finished model in the Gallery!