Starship Modeler - The complete information source for modelers who build sci-fi, fantasy and real space subjects

Grab Your Gun... and Bring The Cat In
A 1/48 Viper MK2 Vignette

By Tony Agustin - images & text © 2007

Lee "Apollo" Adama has no hope of getting back to the Galactica. Trapped inside of his severely damaged Viper he accepts the possible fate of either capture by the Cylons or a slowly suffocating in the cold of space inside a dead fighter.

However his pal Starbuck has other things in mind for Lee, as she comes up with a 'unique' rescue plan of her own. Performing a reckless yet necessary maneuver of physically attaching her fighter to his and 'flooring it' , she successfully gets them both back inside the Galactica's port flight pod just mere seconds before it jumps safely away from the attacking Cylons.

The Vignette

Back in 2005 I got a chance to purchase online from Sci Fi Models a pair of 1/48 scale Viper MK 2's mastered by Alfred Wong. I believe as of this writing Alfred has re-mastered the 1/48 Vipers and they will eventually be sold thru the Starship Modeler Store.) (That is correct - Ed.)

[Please click to enlarge]

[Please click to enlarge]

^ Damage

Image: The resin parts provided in shockingly yummy-licious colors.

Image: I used DVD screen grabs for reference to replicate the damaged Viper MK2.

Image: I beat up the port engine area ...

Image: ... then bashed an engine and other internals.

Image: I opend up the access areas on the engines and replaced them with a cast resin part of an X-Wing engine. Bits of kit parts and brass wire was used to decorate.

Image: I tore up the kit cockpit with a sprue-cutter and dressed it up using reference from the internet.

Image: Some subtle and not so subtle cosmetic changes were made.

Image: A wing from an F-15 kit was used as inspiration for the new MK2 paneling.

Image: A mount was devised using aluminum/brass tube and acrylic rod.

Image: More details

Image: Mock-up

Image: Assemblies are washed and dried for priming.

Image: Plasti-Kote Primer is my friend.

Image: I take my Sotar and Pre-shading begins.

Image: White Plasti-Kote is misted on to kill the high contrast of the pre- shading.

Image: I ditched the decals and ended up painting the stripes on. Easy Peasy. I scratched away at the soft acrylic paint to show chipping.

Image: For weathering I use Acrylic Enamel 'Grime' and 'Flat Black' in controlled washes and stipples. There is some rust in the mix but it is used very sparingly.

Image: The canopy was kinda crude on the surface but with a little wet sanding and Future it can look a little better.

Image: I also used silver pinstriping tape to replicate the canopy frames.

Image: I make my own decals when the kit provided ones won't do.

Image: I sprayed the surface of the area to be decalled with Future and hoped for the best. When the decals were finally laid down, Gunze Sangyo clear flats were used to dull everything down.

Image: I hollowed out the helmets with a Dremel tool. I then tried some creative head transplants by sacrificing some 1/48 russian figures.

Image: The tops and backs of the russian heads were trimmed so the helmets could fit. I also detailed out the little helmets with scrap styrene and brass wire.

Image: The figures were primed and painted with Badger Freakflex colors.

Image: Completed vignette

Image: Looking down

Image: Damage

Image: "What the hell?!"

Image: Lee's fighter

Image: Another look

Image: Closer

Image: Other side

During construction I did make a few subtle changes to the original design by adding a few greeblies here and there around the ship. One big change was adding panel lines to the hull and wings. I felt this was a major detail that was sorely lacking in the design of the new MK 2 Vipers.

The main kit fuselages were roto cast so they were hollow, lighter and much easier to work with especially for replicating Apollo's ship which had to be completely damaged on the port side. The thin resin would help with the torn plating on the port engine section. For replicating the damaged area a DremelŽ is used to open up the side of the engine compartment. Choice parts from the greeblies box were added to replicate an exposed engine and other damaged inner workings.

The pilot figures that came with the kit were in need of some extra work and I also wanted to repose them slightly. For instance I wanted to see some body language and have the Starbuck figure looking straight ahead completely focused with her hand gripped tight on the stick. In counterpoint I would have the Apollo figure looking not so confident but quite panicky, holding on for dear life struggling to look to where Starbuck is steering them both.

Since the helmets on the figures represented closed face plates, I printed up some decals made from screen shots of the actors faces in their cockpits of Starbuck and Apollo to place over the face shields. I tried the decals out but they looked so very bad mainly because the viewing perspective was just too weird looking which made their faces look huge. I scratched that dumb attempt and ended up removing the helmets off the figures only after using a DremelŽ tool to hollow them out. I detailed the helmets with styrene and thin brass wire using reference screen grabs from the DVD. The heads of a pair of 1/48 scale russian figures (male and a female) were donated to the cause to represent Starbuck and Apollo. The facial features were way off but you'll only know that if you look really really close.

The one piece canopies were vac-formed and unfortunately quite bumpy to the point of unacceptable to use as-is, so the surfaces were wet sanded smooth and dipped numerous times in FutureŽ to get them to look 'somewhat' clear looking again. Not a perfect solution but way better than before. Pinstriping tape was used to make the canopy frames.

I also needed to make additional decals using Photoshop on my laptop and printing them out on SuperCal decal paper using an Epson printer with waterproof inks.

The fighters were attached to each other with brass tubing and a single large diameter acrylic rod was used to support both ships on one of the two bases provided on both kits.

Plasticote was used for priming and main fuselage colors, Badger Freakflex colors was also used for the striping and figures and Alclad Aluminum was used for the base.

'Grab Your Gun and Bring In The Cat' garnered a Silver and Best Sci Fi Vehicle at Wonderfest 2006.

[Please click to enlarge]

Go back up | Other Sci-Fi Index | Starship Modeler Home | Site Map | Feedback

This page copyright © 2007 Starship Modeler™. First posted on 5 October 2007.