By Marco Scheloske - images & text © 2003
Lit scratchbuild/kitbash-mix from the actual Perry Rhodan cycle:
Heavy Imperial Fleet of Tradom – AGLAZAR-class battleship, proper name VOI'TA MATON
In November 2002 I was showing some of my models at the SPACEDAYS in Darmstadt, Germany. That was the time and place I met Raimund Peter and Uwe Sierts – both guys play a decisive role in my creation of this model. Raimund has scratchbuilt a lot of different ships from Perry Rhodan – a wonderful example is a spherical super-battleship with a diameter of 1 meter. Uwe has managed it to convince me to come as an exhibitor to the Perry Rhodan-Con near Munic in June 2003 (a 700 km ride – maybe my wife is right and I`m really a bit nuts...)
Now, I have a nice collection of spaceships and similar items from all possible SF-universes, but regarding Perry Rhodan my stuff is limited to the known Revell kits. Not really awesome, and seeing 20 of the spaceship SOL at one exhibition isn`t THAT interesting. So something new, something created by my own must be done... but what?
That is the point Raimund comes back into the game. At this time he is building an official Perry Rhodan-model, which has become part of the actual plot – the FORTRESS OF THE INQUISITION (you can see it at the Official Perry Rhodan site). Another important role in the actual cycle is played by those spaceships which are the backbone of the reign of the Inquisition: Double-fuselage-battleships of the AGLAZAR-class, known and feared as absolutely invincible – and that for more than 160,000 years now! Matching to the FORTRESS I decided that my model should be one of those mighty battleships.
The basic parts of the model were easy to find, based on the technical description in the novels: Basic shape are two zeppelin-bodies with an enclosure-construction, connected like a katamaran. Length 3540 meters, width 2100 meters. Maximum diameter of the zeppelin-bodies is 1050 meter, the enclosure-construction is 300 meters wide – for the most part connecting bars, but also involved are pressurized cabins and more things like that. Two kits of the zeppelin „Hindenburg“ from Revell served me very well for that purpose. The dimensions are roughly correct, and a bit artistic freedom must be allowed... (at this point I want to mention that „scratchbuild“ doesn`t mean „cheap“! I spent approximately $120 USD for the complete model.)
I've taken the novel's description as a starting point, in addition to some covers and a cut-away-drawing. It's easy to see the one does not have too much to do with the other – see the above mentioned „artistic freedom“. Another point hurt me much more: The first draft of those ships showed the two fuselages touching each other at their widest diameter, so that the coupling reaches the width of 300 meters at its widest area – but all descriptions and pictures show a coupling with 300 meters at the most narrow width! So what, if all authors and artists can ignore the exposé-file I can do so too... (and the ship is a bit more elegant this way). I didn`t build the „rollbar“, shown in some (not all!) off the covers, because I don`t like it, and it looks too RELIANT-like for me.
To make the model more interesting I planned to light it up. I don`t light my models normally - for me its not worth all the additional work just to put it on every now and then. But this one was made especially for the exhibition, and so light was simply a „must“. I chose fiber-optics for the light, because I wanted to have an external light-source for the reason of easy exchanging when/if damaged. I managed it to get my hands on a cheap fiber-optic lamp, so I have all-in-one: Base, fiber-optic strands and a light source (a 12 volt / 8 watt halogen lamp). And the model will turn slowly (3 times a minute) when sitting on its base – cool effect! To get all those strands into the fuselages was a bit harder, but finally I got them in without hurting my fingers too much.
Before I mounted the fuselage on the main centerpiece I drilled the holes for all those 0,2 mm diameter fiber strands. With the help of my Dremel this went amazingly fast and was really fun. I drilled approximately 400 windows in each zeppelin-fuselage. A quick glue-test showed me that white-glue is the one of the choice – superglue would be easier to handle, but could damage the strands very quickly. So let the games begin...
I started with the cable connection of the inner hulls. Everything went easy, as I had built a drydock out of Lego-bricks before. Then I reached the starboard-outside-hull, and it became a lot harder. At first it became cramped very quickly inside, and the white glue has the awkward characteristic to flow s-l-o-w-l-y to the bottom. So I had to work intermittently and try to make sure that the glue-spots shows to the bottom as long as they are not really dry. The closer I came to the top of the hull, the more risky the construction of the „drydock“ turned out. With a lot of patience I finally managed this and could close the starbord side but it's very cramped in there. Now it becomes thrilling – how would the light look? Well, the picture is a bit blurred, but the effect was as I wished it .
So now up to the port side. In contrast to the other hull I wanted to show an open hangar bay here. The novels tell of a dazzling light there, and I tried to copy this effect with the help of a lot of fibers (70 pieces) concentrated on a small area. The back wall couldn`t be seen later, so it looks – except from a few intentional spotlights – as it is lit from a non visible source. Later a 1 cm long (100 meters in original at this scale) dinghy will sit there along with a double-fuselage ship, AGLAMAD-class.
Detailing and Finishing Touches
After I closed the port side I started the construction of the coupling. I used everything from the bits box you can think of, beginning from small styrene tubes going over small battleship-parts (from the Revell miniships U.S.S. MISSOURI), a Tip-Kick-football, model railroad parts and electronic scrap (a special thank to Raimund Peter for the friendly parts donation) up to a varnish-strip-grid from the local hobbystore.
Finished with that, I detailed both hulls with parts from a lot of different kits, including a few mechs and a star destroyer. To distract the eye of the onlookers from which parts I`ve used I finally added a few hundred small styrene-strips to get a „pockmarked“ appearance.
Last but not least I added the heavy guns with the help of IC-socket-parts and small spheres and half-spheres. I tried a bit to copy the look of the heavy armed WWII battleships so that also people who don`t know Perry Rhodan (what a shame...) can see that it is a warship and not a crusing yacht. The spindle-like look is typical for the Perryversum, and „form follows function“, so also guns used by aliens indeed look so...
I painted the ship with an undercoat of flat black (to prevent light leaks) and a final coat of „Dragongreen metallic“. This gave me a look like on the cover of novel #2154. Details were washed and drybrushed as usual. Finally, I sliced the fiber optic strands flush with the surface of the hulls.
Without the deadline of the exhibition I would have changed the one or other thing and added more details, but there simply wasn`t enough time. So the AGLAZAR-class battleship „Voi'Ta Maton“ is finished as you can see it here. A few pics came out really nice, and so I made some collages for once .
By the way, the name is borrowed from the Finnish language and means „Invincible“.
The best part - I seem to have matched the intentions of the authors of PERRY RHODAN so much with this scratchbuild model that a picture of it will be used as the cover of a monthly add-on (the "Perry Rhodan report") in novel number 2198! I will be part of their journey - wow!
Thank you for reading through that long article. I hope you enjoyed it as I did the construction. But I will NEVER again build a kit with a definite deadline in sight – but that is another story and will be told another day...
This page copyright © 2003 Starship Modeler. Last updated on 19 August 2003.