This is my Battlestar Galactica Colonial Recon Viper, which was built from the 1/32 scale 30th Anniversary re-issued Revell kit.
The Colonial Viper from the original Battlestar Galactica is one of my all-time favorite space fighters (though, it was also capable of atmospheric flight and ground landings!), and looks absolutely plausible for flight, whether in space or over a distant alien planet. It's a sleek and sexy craft! It also screams 'fighter' to me. It's been updated with newly tooled details molded in light gray plastic, and clear parts.....far surpassing it's predecessor of 10 years ago from what I've read; and this kit comes with a detailed cockpit interior and pilot figure, which is an added bonus to me.
When I started this kit for Build on another modeling site, I decided t go off the beaten path from the show canon, and make this a Recon Viper of the Colonial Marines Fleet Patrol, complete with under fuselage camera. It is pre-Fall era (when the Cylons attacked the second time), with old style pilot uniform.
Last Edit: Jan 24, 2019 22:52:09 GMT -5 by Whiterook
I found that the kit doesn't have a huge amount of parts. I guess I'm getting so used to building more complex pieces with tons of tiny little bits, so this really threw me a bit on first inspection, wondering how much of a challenge this kit would present, but in the end, it actually proved to be a satisfyng build, overall. Being a Revell kit, perhaps this is more of a starter kit? But the addition of scratchbuilt extras and moving away from the kit out of box and tailoring it to a specific purpose brought the model to life for me!
As mentioned, what I ended up going to was straying decades before the events in the original Battlestar Galactica series canon, and modelling after the First Cylon War; a Colonial Marines Fleet Patrol (MFP) Recon Viper, Piloted by the intrepid, yet ruggedly handsome Captain Gallant ....inside joke The MFP was a squadron of elite fighters based upon the new Battlestar Galactica, and served as recce deep in Cylon territory, which forced these birds to fly long sorties; fly in atmospheric low-level flight and duck & hide in asteroids and interstellar dust clouds; and well, just get the crap beat out of them. This means they were 'dirty birds' in more ways than one: Both in appearance, and in lethal stealth kills. These pilots were Top Guns of the Colonial Fleet....and damned good at Pyramid!
First up, the cockpit. Some decent detail in this clean-molded part. I painted it Semi-Gloss Black, and I planned to use primarily Tamiya Paints on this model. The 'metal' flat areas came out very nice and have a nice sheen to it; but the seat on the other hand is like one giant cushion. I don't remember what the original seat looked like in the show, but this is pretty cheesy...still, I worked with what I had, and jazzed up the seat with some scratchbuilding later, along with some brush painting enhancements! I added arm rest attachments which would also serve as extra instrumentation fodder. Then dryfitting the Pilot figure of Captain Gallant came next (and the sculpt on it was pretty basic), along with the framework of a new Pilot's Ejection Seat, which would be molded over with some air-drying clay later. I also wanted to make sure it'd fit inside the cockpit and canopy area, so I did a quick dryfit of that, as well.
Last Edit: Jan 24, 2019 23:38:00 GMT -5 by Whiterook
I forgot to mention....the dashing figure of Captain Gallant came next (errrr...the inside joke on that is, it's my last name!!!) was stuck upon some Blue Tack to make sure he not only fit right, but to also check the canopy!
Painting the figure was a challenge, as I had never really done figures before up to that point. I used primarily Folk Art Acrylics from Micheal's Craft Store. First base coats, followed by a second build-up of coats.
Last Edit: Jan 24, 2019 23:46:47 GMT -5 by Whiterook
So, as you can see, this is all kinds of hybrid-thinking going on here! First, I had decided to make this an amalgam of the Mk I and Mk II Viper, and souped up to boot, so it is now a 'Hybrid Mk II'; and....
Second, I just HAD to make this a Recon Viper, complete with camera(s) on the bottom fusilage!
The original "Bucket Cockpit" of the original series, molded by Revell was just so boring, so I added some scratchbuilt customs to it! After adding on side-board instrumentation panels under the Pilot's arms, which fit more closely with a Mk II, and hence will compliment the new designation as a Recon Viper along with the camera and surveillance controls, this bird is now in uncharted territory! Since this is a Recon craft, the Pilot's compartment is a little cramped with all the added electronic gadgetry to accomplish it's missions! As this is a Recon craft, the Viper is subject to high-danger missions "up-close-and-personal-like" with the Cylon enemy, so there is a good chance that the Pilot need be prepared to exit the vehicle quickly, so a full modified ejection seat was scratchbuilt for the cockpit.
I built up the seat head-rest with Evergreen plasticard to a flat rectangular piece of plasticard. After glued and dried, I filed edges down, and then used two different micro files to create the head cushion shape, and then sanded smooth. Next, I saw the air-dry clay wasn't going to work well, so I changed course and applied some Squadron Putty to the seat back, which was sanded smooth later, along with the addition of hydraulics to the seat, as well as ejection pulls. Then some paint to the cockpit tub to trick her out!
With the pilot, I found it needing darker epaulets for the finished work.
Last Edit: Jan 24, 2019 23:32:02 GMT -5 by Whiterook: Added images
Well, plenty more to come on this one but alas, I must head off to bed. The birthday day off is coming to a close and soon I'll be back at the grindstone. Plus, a lot of these pictures are a still on a flashdrive somewhere, so I'll stop here for now. Stay tuned...same bat Time, same Bat Channel!!!
Welcome aboard Whiterook/Captain/Mr Gallant and what a start! Excellent work on this one - some superb modifications and upgrades - excellent modelling and nice to see the obvious enthusiasm you (and Andy and TutuBoy) have for the subject First class sir and as an interesting bit of background information was my Mother In Law had a starring role in this classic series
Yeah, Battlestar Galactica......that's what I said......
Sorry WR, my mistake, she had a starring role in:
If yer think yer one in a million, chances are, YOU AIN'T!
Viper butt!!!!! Yup, you heard me! I said it. Time for some junk in the trunk!!!
The Viper butt was the only part of the model that was difficult to line-up seams...tricky stuff, actually. With so much junk in the trunk, misaligned seams would stick out like a sawed in half daggit!!
The base thank goodness had a flat laying base to start with...
And the upper-angled engine panel's and "wings" were 1-piece moldings; however, required substantial clamping after gluing.....
Last Edit: Jan 25, 2019 0:33:42 GMT -5 by Whiterook
All of this produced smooth seams, thank goodness! It's always sketchy when working with big, clunky parts that have round and odd angles...it seems to me that it leaves more room open for things just playing nicely with one another. But not all was well, as a few gaps caused some issues which necessitated some crafty Squadron Putty work....love that stuff! And then, it was time for a little construction, and a bit of paint on the interior continued from this point with the intake turbines.
Last Edit: Jan 25, 2019 0:44:28 GMT -5 by Whiterook
Next up, the Recon Vipers main rig....the camera and camera pod! I hit the old spare parts box....yes, I have one now!....and found a few cockpit and gun turret spares and looked for the best that would really represent what I wanted to accomplish. I hit it way lucky with the PERFECT item....I have no clue what it went to, but I was glad to have it......
The perfect answer for the camera pod, but it needed a mounting plate of some sort, therefore the following out of a piece of plasticard...
Of course, what good is a camera pod without a camera!
Gluing of the camera in place, at the right angle was likely the trickiest bit up to this point. And then building the box framework for the walled camera bay, which was painted black inside.
Last Edit: Jan 25, 2019 18:03:53 GMT -5 by Whiterook
And of course, it has to go somewhere! I placed the camera bubble on the bottom of the Viper, looking for not only the most viable spot, but one that would look right. After picking the spot, I held the bubble in place and traced around it with a mechanical pencil, with a little help from my trusty painter's tape to hold the hull halves together.
Cutting out the section from the hull was a bit tricky, as I wanted to go slow using my #11 hobby knife. It went fairly well and I achieved the exact size I wanted, but a corner split a tad; but no worries, as I'd just putty it later when I did the seams. I then did a dry-fit of the camera canopy bubble onto the bottom of the Viper, to make sure I had the hole exact.
I should mention that I also dryfitted the nose atmospheric air scoop in the front of the bird, to make sure there were no conflicting components, and there was plenty of room. I also want to point out that the camera canopy was not glued to the exterior hull, but rather had a base plate made for (as mentioned) it with plasticard, so the canopy was loweredinto the bottom of the hull; the plate lying on the interior floor of the hull. I made a 'box', attached to the base plate and painted the interior black. I left the camera itself gray.
So, the underside looked like this...
Last Edit: Jan 25, 2019 18:52:32 GMT -5 by Whiterook