Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Confessions of a Styrene Addict

This will be my lengthy introduction first post. After this I will try to document the builds as I do them.

When I was a kid, I loved to build plastic models! I built cars, tanks, airplanes, ships, spaceships......whatever I could get! I built models all the way up until I was around 30 years old. Then I got married and had a kid; I no longer had any money to build models.

Steve Neill's Garage
I got the bug again 12 years later when I found the videos of Steve Neill on You Tube. This was a year ago. It was then that I realized that I was never very good at building scale models. This guy was doing really cool things with LED Lights and doing cool paint jobs with an airbrush! I wanted to do that, too! But could I? I didn't think so, but I was going to try.
Steve and I have since become friends. On top of being a fantastic model and prop builder he is also a really down to earth, nice guy.

Beginning Again

I had an old Monogram Battlestar Galactica stored on the garage that I had slapped together many years before. I got that out and pulled it apart and stripped all the paint off. My Father-In-Law was into electronics, so I had access to a soldering iron, solder, wires, switches, resistors and some power supplies. I then went to radio shack and bought some LEDs.

I wired it up, rebuilt it and repainted it (I didn't have an airbrush yet). I still didn't know what I was doing paint wise, but I got it together and it was lit, darn it! It wasn't pretty, but this was my first model with LED lighting! I was very happy.

I then tried my hand at some small Star Trek kits.  My first attempt was the small Polar Lights U.S.S. Enterprise. I didn't put any lights in this one. My focus here was learning how about filling gaps with putty and sanding, priming and painting, clear coat and decals.

The Kit Factory
I screwed up on the decals, though. I didn't know about laying down a layer of clear gloss before applying the decals. It was Mr. Simon "Papa Smurf" Mercs of The Kit Factory who set me straight on that problem. Simon is a very high end, high quality model builder. His work is absolutely phenomenal, but he isn't above helping some poor schmuck like me do his decals right!

I then tackled some of the small 1:2500 Star Trek kits. I still didn't have an airbrush, but these were all about learning how to decal properly. I started with the Three Enterprise set and then did the Enterprise-C.

I finally got a cheap Chinese airbrush and compressor on Amazon and got to learning how to us it. My first attempt at airbrushing was on the 1:2500 Enterprise-D. I was happy with the results.

From here on I felt confident enough to tackle some bigger, more expensive kits. I won't go into any more detail for each one. I'll just show you the results and the progress I have made in my skill level. Each model I do gets better and better, but I still have a long way to go!

Re-Imaged Moebius Battlestar Galactica

1969 Chevy Camaro

Psycho House

Pegasus Hobbies T2 Aerial HK

Starcrafts 1:1000 USS Akira

AMT/Ertl 1:1400 USS Enterprise-C

Moebius Original Battlestar Galactica

Next up I will try to document my build of Revell's U.S.S. Voyager!