By Terry Miesle - copyright © 2000.
Drazi ships - that's a US quarter for scale.
Drazi Sunhawk - that's the same US quarter for scale.
Image: Sunhawk, front view
Image: Sunhawk, rear view
Image: Sunhawk, underneath
Image: Sunhawk, head on
Image: Skyhawk, underneath
Image: Sunhawk, right side view
Image: Strikehawk, side view
Image: Strikehawk, front view
Drazi Cruisers: Sunhawk, Skyhawk and Strikehawk; and Sky Serpent fighter.
In Babylon 5 the Drazi hold a special place. They're like the French during the twentieth century, an annoying ally. They're fractuous, aggressive, autocratic and jealous, but at the same time they have been ready to commit military forces when the Alliance calls. They have also had no reservations about acting behind the Alliance's back when they have their own agendas to satisfy. They are the definitive traders in B5, and seem to have less moral difficulty selling or obtaining illegal items than even the Narns. Of course their agendas hold sway over their actions, but they have been seen to bend under pressure when confronted with their own treaty violations.
Their fleet vessels are also somewhat different from others in the show. Like the Centauri, they rely on large numbers of smaller, highly maneuverable vessels. Unlike the Centauri, they do not tie a fleet with several larger battlecruisers (though in the AoG game system there is a larger capital vessel). They also do not use fighters the same way other fleets do. The Drazi Sky Serpent is nearly the size of a light combat vehicle, and only one may be carried on a modified Sun Hawk, called a Strike Hawk. It can act as a picket or a strike vessel.
The use of fast mid-sized ships allows the Drazi to escort commercial freighters without committing more expensive vessels. Several Sun Hawks will deter any raider ships, of that there is little doubt.The Models
The Drazi capital ships are 5 pieces: a main body, lower engine, two gun barrels and a small projection for the nose (two others are molded on). The fighter is two pieces, with the lower engine cast separately. The wings of the ships tend to either flatten or bend too much, so some bending will be needed to correct the angles – this is a gull-winged shape. No more than the normal amount of cleanup was needed, which means removal of some excess metal and filing the mold seam lines.
I washed the pieces in the dishwasher (I built a LOT of ships), placing the small parts in a plastic mesh bag – which originally contained shallots, if I remember correctly. This worked surprisingly well; typically I have used a toothbrush and dish soap, which takes a lot of time.
The ships were assembled with cyanoacrylate (CA) glue, the small gaps were filled with CA as well. I also glued the stands to the ships at this point.Painting
I primed with two coats of Tamiya Sky Grey. This was sealed with an acrylic gloss coat (Future floor polish). I applied a light black wash with Testors Model Master (TMM) flat black along the engine nacelles and some other raised details. This step probably isn't absolutely necessary, but can provide some definition.Other grey colors were used as panel colors, Testor's Acryl (TA) Gunship Gray and a couple Gunze-Sangyo grays. Panel lines were added with a Micron 0.005" drafting pen. Excess pigment was washed away with a bit of saliva and my little finger. Several lines can be done at a time this way. More than a few lines, and the ink will be too dry and permanent. These lines are very fine and elegant, and have elicited many comments.
Before proceeding further, a layer of TA Dullcoat was applied.Bee Butts
The Drazi ships have an unusual glowing reactor as their aft sections. To me these have always looked like bee abdomens, particularly the Skyhawk with its cage-like structure. To achieve this effect, I first painted the area flat white. Over this I painted two coats of Tamiya Flat Yellow. Atop the yellow I used Tamiya Clear Red in a pattern evoking yellow bubbles floating on a red background. This same technique was applied to the engine nacelle fronts. The framing for these areas is TA Gunship Gray.Stripes and Highlights
I used Tamiya Clear Red to apply the red stripes. This was a mistake. Though the clear red is easier than a flat paint to apply lines than flat paints, it is still difficult to handpaint very straight lines. I should have used decal film. A sheet of red film and a paper cutter would have shaved hours off this project. I applied a layer of TA Dullcoat to the gloss red stripes.
The engine nacelles and guns received various metallic paints, including TMM Gunmetal, Aluminum, Steel and Chrome Silver.Conclusion
If I were to start this project today, it would probably take me half as long. Though the techniques are basic, implementation of some of the methods I’ve described are not easy and I did struggle at times trying to figure out how to achieve the results I could see in my mind.
I’m very happy to see AOG producing more ships seen on the show. We will soon have all the designs from Babylon 5 available as metal miniatures. Together with the original designs, there are enough minis to fill a good-sized wall cabinet. I'll continue to do paint-up work for AoG, so expect to see new articles soon.
Many thanks to AoG for providing review copies.
|General Notes||Part I: Minbari Capital Ships|
|Part II: Narn Capital Ships||Part III Earth Alliance Capital Ships|
|Part IV: Other Races||Part V: Centauri Capital Ships|