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Captain’s Log: Friday, October 10th.

 

Southern-Cross garage kits are among the rarest of the rare, assuming there are any out there at all. A while back, I was approached by a fellow MWer about mastering the patterns for the Bioroid drop-ship. It seemed like it would be a fun project, so I gladly accepted. 

 

So as with all projects, I begin by drafting some basic technical drawings from which I can carve parts. As is to be expected from line-art of that by-gone era, the different views of the ship don’t even correspond with each other, and this case is a particularly bad one!

 

So after a bit of back_&-forth with the client, I finalize the diagrams and can now begin making a mess in my workshop!

 

I had a block of modeling board, but the edges were rough so I had to mill it down to create some square edges. The block is so large that I had to get « creative » just to be able to work on it (pic 1)

 

Now I have drawings, style-sheet reference, and a block of modeling board: watch me turn this block into a finished set of masters in 30 days or less! (pic 2)

 

Pic 3: the block is so large that it just barely fits under the bandsaw at maximum clearance: problematic, but not insurmountable. We will take the long road…

 

Pic 4: I use my trusty drill press with a cutting wheel mounted. Since I can’t cut all the way through such a large part, I settle for notching the cut mark all around the part.

 

Pic 5: time to break-out the hack-saw and manually cut the board! It’s a long, tedious process, but it must be done.

 

Pic 6: the cut came out a lot rougher than I would have liked, but no worries. Back to the drill press, this time using a grinding stone to level the surface of the cut and make it perfectly flat.

 

 

Pic 7: there were still some nasty saw-marks in the board, even after the grinding. To avoid removing too much (very expensive) material, I just use some polyester putty to cover the scars. Easy-peasy!

 

Pic 8: now that I have smaller parts, I can cut them on the bandsaw to remove excess material and begin to shape the parts accordingly.

 

Pic 9: after some grinding and sanding, the parts are starting to come along. I will likely want to fiddle with some of the details as I go along, simply because the line-art is so loosey-goosey and there’s leeway for tweaking to get the coolest looking shapes possible. Stay tuned!

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Captain’s log: Friday, October 19th.

 

I spent more time working than taking pictures, but the reality is that it was mostly the same operations as in last week’s installment applied to some newer parts. I did, however, need to start turning some parts on the lathe to ramp-up the process.

Pic 11:  I wasn’t happy with the initial drawings I had done of the pod-like thingamabobs on the ship’s haunches, so I started over in an attempt to better harmonize the otherwise disparate illustrations comprising the line-art. This time I decided to turn the part on the lather, rather than hand-craft it.

Pic 12: the part being milled will eventually become the main rear thruster… Or block-heater. It doesn’t really have a name yet. I will give the part some tapering in the final stages, but most parts must start square to better preserve the proportions and ensure accuracy.

Pic 13: in order to get the canopy dome to sit nestled within the upper fuselage, I began by grinding a crude channel with a rotary tool, then filling the channel with putty and pressing the canopy sprayed with release agent into the putty to create a perfect fit.

Pic 14: I created the recessed band line in the hull with thick styrene sheet. The part was traced from the hull outline, cut-out and then positioned roughly 1.2mm inboard.

Pic 15: after lots of block-sanding, puttying and wet-sanding, I was able to get the major hull-parts into semi-complete stages, which is a necessary foundation for adding secondary parts.

Pics 16-18: the drop-ship is comprised of numerous  very mechanical and organic shapes. The latter, like the egg-shaped gun turrets, canopy dome and various detail parts must be shaped by hand, simply because they lie outside the ability of both the lathe and mill. As such, meticulous attention is needed to craft these compound curvatures in such a way as to make them look organic, but with mechanical precision.

More to come next week. Stay tuned!

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Captain’s log: Friday, October 26th.

She’s almost complete now, just a few bits of styrene needed to create the lateral hatches and the inside of the space-heater thingie at the back.

I decided on a last-minute change to the canopy, which was prompted by finding a slightly higher resolution image of the line-art. I originally interpreted the dome structure to be separated in the middle by a recessed spar, which is what I produced in image 20. After some study, I saw that the design was actually a tad fiddlier, so I made the necessary corrections along the way. The result is seen in image 21.

The belly turret (pic 22) is almost complete: the masters are done, now must come the molding of the barrels so as to have four exact parts to complete it.

Pics 23-25 are of the masters, now simply awaiting primer and the molding process. As several people have asked, yes, it will be a kit and it will be available for $170 CAD + shipping.

By next Friday, I should be solidly into the molding process, and castings should be ready a week or so after that. What a fun project this is turning into!

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Done!! ^_^ I'd like to thank Podtastic for allowing me the opportunity to hone my craft on this fascinating and esoteric design. One more obscure piece of Anime history saved from the depths of memory-oblivion! The kit will come without a vanity box to save on space and weight. She's a hair over 20cm in length, 31 parts.

Now let's see if Exo has any plans to use his mad skillz to make tiny 1/550 Bionoids to go with the shuttle! :p

 

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