Wednesday 31 August 2011

Model Making: Retro Rocket Mk.1 Pt.2

After I posted the tutorial on how I made my first Retro Rocket the other day, I received several comments along the lines of “Why doesn't it have a fin on top?”.

Once the question had been asked it was pretty much a case of “Why didn’t I think of that!”

So, as it was a very simple addition, I cut a fin out of 3mm acrylic sheet, rounded of the front edge, sprayed it and stuck it on top. Here is the result…

Pulp Rocket 36Pulp Rocket 37Pulp Rocket 38

I am very pleased with the addition and I think it finishes off the model nicely…

Monday 29 August 2011

Model Making: Retro Rocket Mk.1 Pt. 1

As I slowly tie several projects together (Hydra Miniatures Retro Raygun figures, the Habitation Dome, laser cut gantry system and a few more that will be seen in the near future), my retro sci-fi collection is filling out nicely. However, you can’t have a retro sci-fi game without a bullet shaped rocket or a flying saucer! So I have slowly been putting several ideas together to come up with a selection of retro rockets. These will include rockets from several different sources, including one model kit, a shower radio, a child’s sweet dispenser and the first completed one… a bubble blower.
Retro Rocket with three Hydra Miniatures Figures
Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos of this during the early stages of building it. It was started a couple of years ago and at the time I had no idea that I would end up doing this article. Anyway, to give you an idea of where this came from it basically started life as a bubble blower in a kind of raygun shape, very similar to this one:-
As you can see the basic elements are already there,it has a fairly streamlined shape and the rocket pods are already there. My one is a little more rounded than the one in this photo, but it is essentially the same thing. All I had to do was remove the inner working, fan etc., cut off the handle and “bubble blowing frame” and I had the basis for the model.
I took the inspiration from the Flash Gordon Saturday morning cliffhanger series spaceship.
Flash Gordon Rocket
I initially started the project with the intention of producing a resin kit, so the next thing I did was to fill the entire hull with car body filler. To survive the mould making process, masters for resin models are best made with absolutely no internal cavities, as when the vacuum degassing process takes place on the silicone rubber mould any air trapped inside the model expands and can literally blow it apart. So this had made the final model very solid!
Pulp Rocket 01Pulp Rocket 02
In these photos you can see the filled body glued together and with the nose stuck in place. The nose (yellow in the photos) is actually a lid from a super glue bottle, which fitted perfectly on to the front end of the rocket. The second photo also shows the side of the model where I cut the handle/trigger mechanism off of the bubble blower. Here filled in with filler and with a basic groove cut in for the door.
Pulp Rocket 08
At this point I was doing a lot of sanding and filling to get rid of the seems and also to even up the area where the handle had been removed. This process involves filling an area, sanding it down, giving the model a coat of spray filler, sanding a little more and then repeating from the beginning again until you are happy with the finish. This accounts for why the model has gone red all of a sudden (spay primer).
I had spent quite some time trying to work out how I was going to do the actual rocket engines. Obviously, a lot of the works was already done with the pods either side and and also the raised disc on the back of the body.
Was I going to have just two engines, one on each pod, or three? Ok, a main central engine and two boosters either side seemed logical!
Next up, how do I get the typical rocket engine shape? This one was a little trickier, until I happened to notice the pen I was using had a screw on tip that just happened to be the perfect shape. I ended up with three tips from different pens, that are all the same shape, if different coloured.
Pulp Rocket 07
I drilled a hole in the back of each section the the engines cones were being fitted and then used epoxy adhesive to set them in place. I left the model perched in a yoghurt pot to set.
Pulp Rocket 04Pulp Rocket 10Pulp Rocket 05
Then it was back to more filling, sanding, spraying and sanding again! Also here you can see the first set of legs I laser cut for the model. I really wasn’t happy with either the shape or the the way they sat on the model, so later on I redesigned them as you will see in the next set of photos.
Pulp Rocket 13Pulp Rocket 12Pulp Rocket 11
These legs worked much better and had a more aesthetically pleasing retro look about them! At this point I thought that the area around the central engine looked a little plain and needing something extra to finish it off. So drawing on on Flash Gordon DVD set for inspiration I decided a ring of tubes around the main engine cone would be enough to add some interest without ruining the sleek lines of this “super fast craft”.
Pulp Rocket 09
Pulp Rocket 17Pulp Rocket 18Pulp Rocket 16Pulp Rocket 15
I cut some styrene tube down to 5mm lengths using a jeweller piercing saw and glued them in a ring around the engine. Then with a little filing to even them up they really finished off the rear detailing nicely.
Now it was just about ready for painting. I had already decided on a simple Red and Gold paint scheme that seemed to be the perfect fit for a retro rocket. I would split the colours around the existing seem line that ran around the body of the bubble blower. I sprayed the front half of the body with a gloss red that stood out very well. At this point I felt that the door looked a little plain, but I hadn’t decided what to do about it yet…
Pulp Rocket 20Pulp Rocket 24Pulp Rocket 21
Mike, a friend of mine, suggested the obvious thing was to add a porthole to the door.
Pulp Rocket 19Pulp Rocket 32
I cut a slice off the end of a piece of aluminium tube that was around 8mm diameter. This proved to be ideal. I simply super glued it to the door and then painted it!
I then finished off the paint job. Gold for the nose and rear half of the body, steel for the legs and engine cones and copper for the tubes around the centre engine.
Pulp Rocket 27Pulp Rocket 28Pulp Rocket 29Pulp Rocket 30Pulp Rocket 31Pulp Rocket 33
I have now come to the conclusion that I got the gold and the red the wrong way round and it would have looked better with the front half of the ship in gold and the nose and rear section in red! However, I am not going to repaint it at this point, as it look pretty good as it is…
Pulp Rocket 35
This is a final photo with the rocket and the Hydra Miniatures (Not)Flash Gordon figure – Buster Gordy (not quite finished painting him in the photo)!

(Edit) A few commentators have suggested that the rocket might look good with a fin on top. As this seems like a good idea to me and is a very easy alteration, I am modifyig the model at the moment and will post some revised photos in a few days...
(Edit 2) You can see the final model in Model Making: Retro Rocket Mk.1 Pt. 2

I have just started the second retro rocket model, so keep checking back for the further adventures…

Friday 26 August 2011

Model Making: Shrinking Resin!

I have heard about this stuff on several occasions. In fact I know someone who used it to reduce the size of some Pictish carved standing stones that he sculpted, down in size to sell as small paperweights.

I have never tried it personally, and with the very flexible nature of the cast items I wonder how useful it would be for figure sculpting. Still I’d like to give it a try some time…

Thursday 25 August 2011

Pulp Zen! has split into two distinct blogs!

As I said in my last post, I have decided to reassess my blog and refocus it.
This has led to my splitting Pulp Zen! into to separate blogs, Iron Mammoth’s Studio (this blog) and Iron Mammoth’s R&R.
Iron Mammoth’s Studio will focus exclusively on model making, figure sculpture and wargaming. Offering tutorials, tips and tricks for figure sculptors and model makers and also model making materials and tools product reviews. It will also feature postings on the developments in my wargaming hobby, such as 15mm sci-fi and 28mm retro sci-fi and where-ever my wargaming interests may wander…
IMS is where my main focus will be centred! I want to concentrate on developing a resource that model makers and figure sculptor will find useful and refer to on a regular basis.
However, I also enjoy reviewing books and movies and I find that generally those posts are the ones that attract traffic to the blog. So rather than abandon that side altogether I thought it would be better to create a separate blog, Iron Mammoth’s R&R.
Iron Mammoth’s R&R will feature everything else that has normally been found on Pulp Zen! Movie, TV and book reviews, general Sci-fi and Pulp related articles, anything else that my geek mind happens to settle on…
Over the next few days and weeks both blogs will be settling into their new roles. This may well mean some minor design changes happening, also there may be a few hiccups along the way (I am having trouble transferring the Google Friend Connect ”Following system” from Pulp Zen over to Iron Mammoth’s Studio, for a start). I wanted to move IMS to it’s own blog page rather than simply use the Pulp-Zen blog, as I want it to build into the future and have it’s own identity. This is why I have moved it to Pulp-Zen! has always been associated with Pulp, Sci-Fi and reviews so it seemed natural to leave IMR&R in that slot.
Oh and of course IMR&R will also feature your regular dose of space babes as well ;-)
Space-Girl-pinup by

Monday 22 August 2011

Where am I going with this blog?

That is a question that I have been asking myself over the past couple of months.

I could get the random visitor numbers up by doing a lot more movie reviews and that type of post. Feature more photos of attractive actresses (and actors) as they seem to pull in the hits as well. That would increase the basic number of people visiting my blog, but just how many of those visitors actually read the posts that are important to me, i.e the wargaming,  model making and figure sculpting articles?
Many of the random hits seem to come from Google image searches (again the attractive actresses), and from using Google Image search myself, I know that many of those visitors wont even be looking at the page that the image is on, they simple click on to the image and then head back to Google for their next image search. Taking the random visits at face value seems to be a good way to mislead myself on the popularity of my blog...

I want this blog to attract visitors who are actually interested in model making (mainly for wargaming), figure sculpting and wargaming (mainly sci-fi, 28mm pulp sci-fi, 15mm sci-fi and possibly 6mm sci-fi if I ever get around to painting any up).

So, with that in mind I am looking at doing a little redesign work on the layout, and content of the blog. I will concentrate the content on the core areas. I will occasionally drop in some less focused postings, but only if I can justify them against one of the core areas in some way. I will also include some eye candy postings from time to time as we all need a little light relief occasionally. BUT this blog will be more focused and cover the core areas in more depth om now on.

To reflect this I am going to re-brand the the blog. I will probably keep the pulp-zen blogger URL, but the main name will become something more in tune with the central themes for the blog, i.e. model making and figure sculpture with a sci-fi wargamers bias. I haven't chosen the new name yet (any suggestions greatfully received)...

This is going to be musch less of a personal ramble of a blog and much more of an instructional kind of thing.
I may even open it up to other regular contributors.

So, if you have actually stuck around to read all of this post, you will hopefully have enjoyed some of what I have done here in the past. If so, please let me know what you have liked and what you would like to see more of!

Just to lighten the mood of this rather heavy piece. Here is Jane Fonda to remind us what sci-fi should should really be about...

And here is a kit of her, just to keep things on topic...

Friday 19 August 2011

Model Making: 54mm Mini Diorama

Recently I have been concentrating on putting my 15mm Critical Mass Games ARC Fleet army together. After painting around 50 15mm infantry figures with four colour camouflage and and shading, I was about ready for a bit of a change. So I decided to tackle a 54mm resin figure, by the name of Lucky from Dark Age Games that I picked up a while ago.

We Eat Tonight 1

I have been following the Massive Voodoo figure painting blog for a a year or more and I like their basing style, so I took my inspiration from there.

I have not recorded this project as it progressed, so here I am simply showing a selection of photos of the finished piece, which I titled “We Eat Tonight”. I was going to call it “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, but I believe that that title is already taken, and the post apocalyptic theme I used seemed to fit the final title…

We Eat Tonight 9We Eat Tonight 10We Eat Tonight 11We Eat Tonight 12We Eat Tonight 13We Eat Tonight 14

I laser cut the plinth with the dragon design and also built up the blocked sewer and drain cover with laser cut pieces. The Stop Sign is a piece of laser cut 2mm acrylic. The rat was originally sculpted as an earring from a design by comic artist Colin MacNeil (from a project we worked on together year ago). The water in the sewer was created using clear resin,with a hint of blue dye in it, poured over a piece of yellow transparent acrylic with tissue paper behind it to diffuse the light.

We Eat Tonight 2We Eat Tonight 3We Eat Tonight 4We Eat Tonight 5We Eat Tonight 6We Eat Tonight 7We Eat Tonight 8 

The dragon tattoo on the girl’s leg is copied from the design laser cut and backlit on the plinth.


Now that this piece is finished I am moving back towards painting figures for gaming and with the recent releases from Hydra Miniatures, it was about time I got back to painting my 30mm pulp sci-fi figures. You’ll see more of those very soon…

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