Colonial Viper Mk. I 1/48 scale from paper (Alpha build)

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Galactican

Sr Member
Howdee, fans!

Since my dear friend Rhaven Blaack has posted his take on the Viper I thought it would be good to show you how the project started.

Rhaven and I are die-hard BSG and Buck Rogers fans and especially fond of paper as a medium for model building. My first paper model in years was the Thunderfighter by Martin Saenger which you can get here.

This model brought us together and we teamed up to make several additions to the basic kit, the four-seater, the old Starfighter, two cockpit interiors and much more.

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We called the project the "Advanced Thunderfighter Development Project". It is still ongoing and will be expanded whenever we have a new idea.

In the meantime I designed many many many other paper models, like the Colonial Blaster

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and my first articulated 1/6 scale figure, Crichton.

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However, there was still something missing: An accurate paper representation of one of the coolest fighter planes in SciFi history, the Colonial Viper Mk. I.

So I swang into action and started the "Advanced Colonial Viper Development Project". Its ongoing mission: To paperize all known incarnations of the famous plane, including the Model-T, the Mk. VI from the defunct DeSanto production and the Scarlet Viper from Richard Hatch's "Second Coming".

The first version would of course be the Mk. I. Using the official blueprints I fired up SketchUp and started building a preliminary CG model.

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This was refined over the course of the next weeks.

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Galactican

Sr Member
A first texture was applied using several texture maps.

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SketchUp is able to wrap an image around a cylinder. On other curved shapes I had to project a flat image on to the mesh.

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She might look like a pregnant duck in these shots but this is an optical illusion because I rendered the images in "parallel view". ;)
 

Galactican

Sr Member
Then life and job interfered and the project went into hiatus for quite some time. In retrospect the project did benefit from that because the time gave me the possibility to rethink certain design aspects, the parts break-up and how the texture should be made. Furthermore, in the meantime more and better images of the original filming miniature appeared which helped tremendously with the design of the kit.

The CG model was created in 1/1 scale, the paper model was supposed to be made in several smaller scales. The first should be 1/48, the next 1/32 and the final one 1/18. I chose to start with the smallest because it would give me the best base to work with. If something had gone wrong I would have spent much ink and paper on a flawed pattern. In addition, the small one did not have to be as sophisticated and detailed as the bigger ones so I could speed up the design process and deliver a kit much faster.

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(planet rendered in Gimp ;))

The texture work was a big challenge. A necessary evil, so-to-speak, but once it was done it could be ported to the larger versions with only small adjustments.

I broke up the CG model into buildable parts and unfolded them with the SketchUp Flattery plugin. The results were exported as *.svg graphics and imported in CorelDRAW. The graphics were cleaned up, edited and painted. So I textured the flat parts on the canvas and not on the model. Reason for that: I needed to get a clean and crisp base to work with. Furthermore, this enabled me to keep the panel lines consistent. The export of bitmap graphics as originally planned would have resulted in wonky lines on the curved parts and may have produced panel lines of different thickness.

Weathering was an issue. My first idea was to add some weathering but then I thought about what would happen if someone decides to build a whole fleet of Vipers. All would look the same. This would be very boring and unrealistic. So I chose to skip the weathering and leave that to the builder. Of course, that saved me some time, too. ;)

Alright. With everything settled and layed out I started the build of the first prototype. I began with the cockpit interior.

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Joel Owen's gave me his kind permission to use his excellent interior graphics. :)

The joystick was a re-use of the Thunderfighter cockpit interior add-on. No need to invent the wheel twice. :cool:

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Galactican

Sr Member
Next was the nose.

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This part was one of the trickiest because of the curvature. Basically it is a truncated cone. On the canvas I made heavy use of guidelines and used the angled sides to keep the panel lines straight. This sketch shows what I did:

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The grey part is the nose template. I prolongued the sides so that they meet at a center outside the shape. I used that center point to draw all the other lines. In theory that should work but reality might prove as a different caliber.

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Fortunately all lines but two were straight!

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Pre-shaping was essential on this model.

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This is the back piece of the nose.

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The recessed areas behind the cannons. The graphics are based on close-ups of the studio models.

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Galactican

Sr Member
The canopy was made of several layers of paper and clear plastic from blister packaging. The laminations produced that little step behind the canopy which is missing on many commercial model kits.

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Galactican

Sr Member
The undercarriage consists of several pieces laminated to card:

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If you look closely you will see some slits for the upcoming landing gear.

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The engines:

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The design was revised on-the-fly to make assembly easier.

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The plates feature placement marks for the intake clamps.
 

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Galactican

Sr Member
To align the cannons and wings correctly I used a wing calibrator similar to the one used by Apogee:

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The front landing gear is removable and has the small light (you can omit it though ;) ):

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The aft landing gear:

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Galactican

Sr Member
And DONE! :)

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What you see here are special inserts to simulate glowing engines. The glow was not photoshopped but achieved in camera with one light source directly aimed at the inserts. ;)

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Again no photoshopped engine glow but a combination of two differently lit images. Granted, the background was rendered in Gimp. ;)

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AsI mentioned before, this is the Alpha build. The texture was heavily reworked and enhanced after these pictures were taken. My good friend Rhaven Blaack built the revised kit (Beta) which you can see here. That one even features an opening canopy (designed by Rhaven)! :cool:

The template can be downloaded for free at www.zealot.com .

Next will be the 1/32 version with even more details.

I hope you like the model. Thank you very much for watching! :)
 
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