Friday, 13 May 2016

Star Wars TIE Fighter [WIP - Command pod & wing pylons: painted, decaled and assembled]

A major step towards the completion of an Empire Strikes Back version of the TIE Fighter has been taken with various parts of the command pod/wing pylon finally assembled together. While this Bandai model kit may look acceptable assembled straight-out-of-the-box, it needs - in my humble opinion - to be pasted with water decals and painted in order to achieve its full potential. 

Bandai Star Wars TIE Fighter, command pod and wing pylons [Completed]
Orange laser cannons help brighten up (slightly) an otherwise neutral colour scheme 
Side view (left) of the TIE Fighter command pod, sans wing
A variety of light and dark grey hues helped create depth in the overall blue-grey colour scheme

Putting everything together was a bit of a risk seeing that the separate parts had paints and delicate decals on them. I was counting on the final matte coat to provide a measure of protection against the manhandling involved during the assembly process. In fact, my deepest fears were realised when I encountered difficulty putting some of the parts together seamlessly. So much so that I had to take a few swings at the problematic parts with a small mallet. Thankfully no paint chipping occurred. My guess is primer/paint must've gotten into the joints thus preventing them from snap-fitting easily.

Back of the TIE Fighter command pod, twin ion engines and all
Panel lining with black enamel paint/wash creates additional depth to the piece
Side view (right) of the TIE Fighter command pod, sans wing
Decal markings all over the TIE Fighter's command pod and wing pylon make the piece come alive

I didn't realise it at the time but the 'kitbash decal' and paint job I put together for the TIE Fighter's upper access hatch looks identical to that of the original movie studio model kit of Darth Vader's Advanced TIE Fighter. It's a weird validation of sorts knowing that my design tastes is similar to that of a Industrial Light and Magic modeller. Cool! Anyway, enough of this patting-myself-on-the-back business. The reason why I decided to cut out parts of the decal to use instead of using the whole piece was because the latter option felt wrong somehow. Truth be told, I'm surprised I managed to get the tiny cutout decals to work at all. A very sharp knife and loads of luck got it done in the end.

Top down view of the TIE Fighter's upper access hatch, completed with its own 'kitbashed' decal
Putting the decal on whole would've spoiled the paint job, hence the 'kitbashed' decal

Meanwhile, my 'fubar' moment arrived promptly to bring me back down to earth. Only after painting the TIE Fighter's power/fuel/laser system in considerable detail did I realise a fuel tank cap was going to cover it all up. Duh! Face Palm! Heck, double face palm! So all that hard work and fairly good results (there I go again with the back patting) has gone to waste. Well, sort off. The cap comes off easily with a twist so the TIE Fighter's bottom innards can still be made visible, if the need arises.

Bottom view of TIE Fighter's power, fuel and laser system - still visible at this stage...
... well, not anymore apparently

Working on this model kit has increased my appreciation of the TIE Fighter's beauty by leaps and bounds. Definitely helped by the plastic kit's impressive details and equally impressive decals to enhance those details. All she needs now are her wings and base. Those she'll have soon enough. Before that happens though the weekend will be upon us, and here's wishing you have a good one.

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18 comments:

  1. Deceptively simple scheme. There's still plenty to hold the viewer's attention on this all-grey craft. Terrific job.

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    1. Thank you very much Finch. Much credit goes to Bandai's extremely detailed water decals. They really make the model 'pop'.

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  2. An amazing (and I don't use the word lightly) project continues to inspire awe. Kudos, maximum kudos. :)

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    1. You're very kind pulpcitizen. Thank you so much. :)

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  3. It just keeps getting better and better!

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  4. That looks great!

    I paint the engine area as well even though I know it will be covered and no one will probably ever see it.

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    1. Thank you Thomas! Yeah, Bandai's detailed parts are so good that it's nearly impossible to resist painting them.

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  5. You are taking this to another whole level. I love what you are doing here!!

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    1. Thank you very much Suber. I'm glad you like it so far!

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  6. Damn,that looks so good. And you make it look easy too.

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    1. Thanks Zab, that's very nice of you to say.

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