Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Kitbash Part 7 - VTOL Shuttle.

A while ago I picked up a real bargain at Modelzone. It was a Bigtrak Jr. on the reduced shelf because it was faulty and was missing a part. As it turned out, the missing part was a rubber ring around one of the wheels that gives it traction when it's moving. The fault was that it went round in circles - obviously because only one of the wheels had any traction. It usually retails between £29.99 and £34.99 depending on where you see it. This was marked down to 99p! I snatched it up, if only so I could cannibalise it for bits!

Bigtrak Jr
Originally I was going to stick some weapons on it and use it as a big battle wagon for maybe my Felids or Protolene, but then AGG gave me some of her old Ventolin inhalers for my bits box. I had one on my desk and was idly playing with it whilst I was on the phone one day when I noticed that the ends looked a lot like steerable nozzles:
Jump jet nozzle?
After this revelation I decided to convert the Bigtrak to a VTOL lander of some kind. It then lay dormant for a while as I waited for AGG to use up sufficient Ventolin inhalers for the project to proceed.

We've just had a long weekend here in the UK, and I took advantage of it when AGG delivered a bumper crop of inhalers. The Bigtrak got bathed in Dettol overnight to remove the stickers and glue, and then lightly sanded all over. I blanked off the rear deck with some 1.5mm plasticard, and did the same to the two side sections, after carefully sawing off the fixed axles at the rear.

I then cut down and cleaned up the inhaler nozzles and marked out their positions to make sure they would all line up. After they were added I was going to add some GZG building accessory large doors to the side, but instead remembered I had some large cargo doors by The Scene (although having just looked on their website, I can't find the doors, so maybe it was someone else). I split these down the middle and added one to each side as a loading ramp. I then tried to add some detail to the hemispheric dome at the top by adding  cockpit windows from thin strip styrene. This went badly, and every window I cut seemed to be a different shape and end up in a different place. I picked these all off and sanded the dome smooth again from where the superglue had mashed it up. Instead I bent some metal windows I had to match the curve of the hull (it curves in both directions, so this was quite a trial):

I then added additional bits and pieces from the bits box, including windows and Hatches from The Scene, vents, hatches, radar domes and circuit boxes from GZG and various other odds and ends.

The landing gear was scratch built from some left over IMEX Platformer connectors  with styrene tube and rod added for the legs and hydraulics. Detail was then added with small strips of styrene. The red transparent and purple thing on the upper hull needs to have some filler added around the edges to blend it in a bit more - it's going to be another sensor dome of some kind.

The engine bells are the caps from the inhalers with wheel rims from the re-purposed Androidz pull-and-go motors. I also just noticed my camera was on the wonk when I took the above photo - the ship actually sits level.

Seconds after I glued the top and bottom hull sections together, I noticed the hole left behind by the on/off switch. I was looking for something to cover it over and dropped one of the Platformer pieces in the hole whilst I was offering it up to check the size. I then spent 30 minutes trying to rattle it back out of the hole. In the end I had to grab it with my side cutters through the hole and cut it into smaller pieces to get them out...

As you can see, it's a substantial beast. I deliberately didn't/t arm it, as I see it more as a civilian cargo/passenger lighter. I'm going to TRY to paint it with a weathered, battered kind of look, with plenty of bumps and scratches, as though it's had a long, hard life. A basic grey/white look, with maybe some red and yellow details on it. The kind of look I'm going for is something like the battered aesthetic in the new Battlestar Galactica, or the hunk-a-junk, lived-in look of the Millennium Falcon.


Jay said...

Vry nice modeling. I'd like to ride in it.

Millsy said...

Outstanding! What a great kitbash...

e-p said...

Thanks for this! I love seeing a kitbash from the beginning anyway but even more when they turn out like this. Very nice!

Cyclopeus said...

That looks great. I can't wait to see it painted.