Studio Scale Probe Droid

Discussion in 'Studio Scale Models' started by vaderdarth, May 7, 2012.

  1. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    Hi guys, finally after nearly 3 years, my Probe Droid master pattern is nearly complete. It should be done within a couple weeks. I couldn't wait to show it off so check it out. Look for my interest thread in the Junkyard too. :)

    As some of you already know, I bought the masters/rights to Rolando's original PD kit. The things that bugged me about that kit were the head shape and some scratch built parts that have since been correct. Now all the available donor parts have been used on the improved master. Where possible we have created copies of donor parts to be added by the builder to the model. This feature alone makes me giddy. The big changes to the head were to create the curvature and paneling to allow donor kit parts ie eyes etc..... to be placed and spaced the same as on the original SS filming miniature. The sculptor communicated back and forth with me until we were satisfied we matched the original in all the available shots we had. Now all the eyes and head doo dads will have the same spacing and location as what we see on screen.

    And last but not least, the legs which were solid castings on the original model, with a few brass rod pistons added, are now made 100% from donor kit copies, so each kit can have a fully posable set of lets. Are you drooling yet? I could't sleep last night thinking about these legs.

    Now before I show the photos, please allow me to thank all the guys who helped me get this project moving.

    Our good buddy in the SS world Steve Neisen was the guy who basically dropped the opportunity in my hands for this probe droid master model. He introduced me to Rolando who sold me both his PD and the ANH Escape Pod master models. Steve also introduced me to my sculptor for this project. Steve also kept me posted during the many discussions for re-mastering this model. His insight into updating and turning this into a better kit are invaluable. I will never be able to thank him for his help.

    I won't name him by name, but my sculptor is one of the most talented fellas in the business. If he's not up to his elbows in clay and resin, maybe he will chime in and take the credit himself. :)

    Last but certainly not least, I want to thank my "leg man" and "kit producer" Mike Salzo. My project has been in limbo until recently. Once Mike came on board (also thanks to Steve), the project has shifted into high gear. As you can see from my photos, the kit is in capable and masterful hands. Originally, I had no plans to make these legs posable like the originals, because I just could not imagine any scenario where an affordable kit could be produced with such a high level of accuracy and quality. Mike changed all that. (special thanks to Lee and Guy for their inspiration to Mike to allow him to envision and create affordable poseable legs) :)

    Now a few specifics. The head and body casting will be rotocast to get the most flawless castings possible. If anyone has gotten one of Steves or Mikes kits in the past, you know what I mean.

    The legs will be cast with aluminum powder in the resin to make them stronger and less likely to break.

    all the parts will have minimal cleanup in most respects.

    Now since this is just a show off thread, I'll shut up and post photos. :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  2. jedimaster

    jedimaster Sr Member

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    Sweet, so it's pd's all around then. Looks fantastic Dave.
     
  3. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    Yeah, it's been 3 years in the making. Mike has really pushed it to the near completion stage. I absolutely cannot wait to see this model built and photographed. I'm in secret negotiations with another rebel spy to do a build thread for me. :)
     
  4. moffeaton

    moffeaton Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Super thumbs up!

    (transmitted from spy HQ)
     
  5. Aurora

    Aurora Well-Known Member

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    Very cool bet you can't wait to see this assembled
     
  6. jedimaster

    jedimaster Sr Member

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    Now hurry up and get on with that x-1 you mentioned.
     
  7. ralphee

    ralphee Sr Member

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    Those legs look more based off the proto versions in Chronicles, which is where Ro patterned his from, look good, but quite off here and there TBH, good luck with this, looks nice.

    Lee
     
  8. Zombie Killer

    Zombie Killer Sr Member

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    Looks good. Can't wait to see one built up.
     
  9. FlyAndFight

    FlyAndFight Member

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    Looks fantastic! I also can't wait to see a build-up of it.

    One of my favorite Star Wars droids.
     
  10. cosmic_x

    cosmic_x Well-Known Member

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    amazing, so glad to see this!
     
  11. Talkierg

    Talkierg Well-Known Member

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    Sexy:love
     
  12. ralphee

    ralphee Sr Member

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    Dave to reply to your PM. All your smaller legs are using the wrong tubing.
    Thats stuff looks to be 10 or 12mm Plastruct looking at the pics, way too large it rebuild replacing with the correct tubing.
    Interested to see how well the hollw channels of the legs can be cast, should present a challenge in quality control lol.
    You guys shoulda come to me, id have kncked them out the park for ya LOL.

    lee
     
  13. ralphee

    ralphee Sr Member

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    Just looking at this, that is the old NiceN body there in the pics? That is what is included, or just there as a placeholder? I ask because the NiceN body could do with a fair bit of work to accurize, mainly the lower "coned" half, its a way off to the prop.

    lee
     
  14. mslz22

    mslz22 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I'll chime in about the legs since i built them. The smaller, thinner legs are padded a bit, for the medium of resin, even the filled resin, they need to be. These legs are a compromise of accuracy and functionality within the resin medium, which is just a necessity. I understand some of the desire for 100% accuracy but with something things like these legs it's not always practical, in my opinion. Things like the legs need to be full scratch like Lee's legs to get to the extreme of accuracy, most kits are intended for an audience that may not have the inclination or time to do a full scratchbuild for themselves but still want a replica of the prop.

    I am glad that Lee pointed out the changes/adaptations to the legs, i think that it is important that people are aware of what this is, and what it intends to be. I've always wanted to provide work that is quality, which is an ever evolving process, but within that there needs to be compromise within the medium we are forced to work with. I am hopeful that anyone interested in Dave's kit is accepting of the compromises and that the kit appeals to those who want a replica of the prop, but do not want to do a full scratch for themselves.

    thanks
    mike
     
  15. ralphee

    ralphee Sr Member

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    Fair comment Mike, Dave PM'd me asking what he can do to put right the innaccuracies was all buddy.
    I dont think the tubing will matter too much, id change it TBH, and see if it casts well, as it stands the smaller legs are gonna look a bit hoopty with the tubing currently fitted.
    In any case, this is more of a trade off in accuracy, vs possibility in making it a kit i guess.

    lee
     
  16. mslz22

    mslz22 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for the input Lee, I've always had a tremendous respect for your keen eye for accuracy on these things, and your legs along with Guy's were a big inspiration for me on these.

    Part of my decision making process on these was my experience casting the legs on the original release. I was a hired caster on that project and had nothing to do with building the pattern, but i do remember the issues with those smaller legs. I figure that by padding a bit, which is really 1-1.5 mm here or there (a testament to your keen eye) and using the filled resin they should provide the rigidity that's required for a kit. Again for accuracy your full scratch is the way to go, again for a kit you need to make decisions to bring the whole thing together in a reasonable package.

    For the hollow tubing, again there is a compromise there, the trenches are there but i stacked .156 strip to bulk it up on the inside, so it has strength but still give a reasonable sense of the hollow trench.

    thanks
    mike
     
  17. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    Lee, for a kit, we had to make minor concessions for the resin castings, to keep them strong enough so as to avoid warpage in the parts. Still they are designed from the screen legs, not those wonky white prototype legs. As for the body, yes we are using the original Rolondo model as basis for our body, but it has had some alteration too.

    I can't afford anymore changes to the masters as my investment is already in the thousands. We have created a kit that looks good to some pretty keen eyes and I'm happy with what I have. I have no doubts Lee that you can make something even better with your skills. I think we can all agree to that. I'm just trying to keep costs affordable for everyone involved if you know what I mean. I'm shooting for a very low pricetag considering the new design and the articulating legs. I think most SS collectors who are aiming for a highly accurate yet affordable kit would agree. :)

    Dave

    PS : Lee, we all love your leg builds. I've followed every step of the way. If I could magically get some donor kits to scratch the legs like you have, I'd have already done it. You Da Man!!!! Honestly I just have zero interest in scratch building due to costs. I'm a resin kit man. :)
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  18. cosmic_x

    cosmic_x Well-Known Member

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    Agreed Dave, when will the kit be available?
     
  19. moffeaton

    moffeaton Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Kits will always be a give and take, and I think this forum and hobby can support both. I dip my feet in both pools, so I have dogs in the fight on both sides, to use a crude phrase. I'm building a scratch PD down the road, but first I'll build this kit. I'm excited for both! I'm actually pretty psyched since I just realized I can display the resin one at work, and have a "little" studio scale magic with me at my 9-5. MWUHAHAHAHA.
     
  20. ralphee

    ralphee Sr Member

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    I have to say, i too dip my feet on both pools, its a given in this hobby, some kits are superior, others, turds to be polished.
    I have nothing but respect for Mike, he is about the best caster around these days, i still class his Snowspeeder pulls as the best ive ever seen.

    Iam biased i guess on the subject of the PD, many hours of R&D went into what me and Guy did, and i WILL be building a scratch droid soon, im already sourcing for my next set of legs for my own use, with machined joints too.

    This isnt a bad kit, its going to populate to the masses i guess, just cant call it anywhere near accurate other than the eyes have been adjusted for position.

    lee
     
  21. moffeaton

    moffeaton Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Lee, after your leg work (harr) I can't imagine anything looking better, especially to your eye. It's like seeing a resin AT-St after you build a scratch one. Sure, it's nice to get a peck on the cheek, but it's not a nice long snog with that hottie in the a-line wool skirt and purple tights behind the cafeteria, circa 1988.

    But I digress ;)
     
  22. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    understandable Lee, you've spent a ton of time on your PD project. :) Now if I can just talk some of my buddies into making my SS Landspeeder project a reality, My museum will be set.
     
  23. ralphee

    ralphee Sr Member

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    A line wool skirt, and purple tights, id better not stand up right now huh LOL.
    I think as i said this will appease the masses for sure, but its not a patch on what Mars has laid down, just seems sad to post this, at this point in time, in this current state just to plug a sale because another guy dared to make a difference with a true Probe Droid.

    lee
     
  24. Scott Graham

    Scott Graham Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The more scratchbuilt option isn't best for me. If any option existed, the kit version would be the one I'd go with. I think it is segmented into two different customers (unless you're moffeaton!).

    I'm not sure if I'd make the kit TBH, because of the massive size of the thing...

    This looks great Dave. It's good to see that DYI isn't the only game in town!
     
  25. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    Lets stay on topic gentlemen. My thread has zero to do with someone else's probe droid threads. I've been working on this for 3 years now. It only reached Mike's capable hands last week. I wish it had been 3 years ago. But such is life. :)

    Dave
     
  26. ralphee

    ralphee Sr Member

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    I agree, this is the perfect solution to the person who has a limited skillset, a GK, you said it best Scott.
    Dave, no hards man, it is nice, and itll look killer when built, it really will, so good luck with the groups project.

    lee
     
  27. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    Thanks Lee. Your compliments are highly regarded here man.

    Thank you too Scott. :)
     
  28. Guy Cowen

    Guy Cowen Sr Member

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    There are so many tiny but well worth the effort upgrades to this already if you haven't gone too deep with things yet. One quite simple one would be to mount the plastruct lamps from the inside of the sphere's, the difference in look is huge for such a small adjustment and well worth it I think. Pardon if you already have its hard to tell from the pic's. Its the one thing that bugged the hell out of me that I didn't do as it was such a pain to recreate this look on a solid cast head.

    There's a thread on here somewhere with tons of R&D on upgrading the V1, since the remaining leg donors are now known this should be rocking. I have to say in the list of thanks in the first post I would consider adding Moe, it was his knowledge and advice that sparked the hole leg upgrade in the first place, hopefully you've been able to use a lot of the thread to get the info on kit parts for the upgrade, a ton of effort by a lot of talented people all round.

    Mike's legs look great really cant wait to see them articulate, this should really tip it over the edge on coolness. Its a shame that there has to be some give in the sizing but totally understandable. I think making them closer but solid is a better trade off, would it be possible to insert square brass tubing to add strength? It seems a shame to got o all this amazing effort and not push it as far as it can go?

    The PD is one of the most appealing models you could ever have and we're so lucky to have it out there again as a kit or in plastic for scratch building. I'm just gutted that my 1 of 3 Stop mo legs will soon be 1 of 20 or so, hey ho :lol
     
  29. mslz22

    mslz22 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks Guy, I also thought about the brass inserts for some of the legs but they would need to poke out past the middle disks that form the swivel joints, if they did not poke out i would not get proper alignment of the brass and you would have brass sticking out of the sides of the legs. The issue with the sticking out past the disk is not only a pain to clean the part, but that the biggest round stock i could get in there is not substantial enough to offer any real support for the leg.

    I used the aluminum filled resin on the interceptor wing and it really added rigidity to them, i am expecting that it will do the same for the legs.
    mike
     
  30. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    Mike is the guy to ask on metal reinforcement, but I suspect it will be no, because the specific details that seem to warp are so skinny in the first place. No room for metal plus resin. The only approach I think we have is to increase the bulk ever so slightly and reinforce with metal powder in the resin. We want to avoid the warpage from the V1 kit. Sorry Mike, you beat me to it.
     
  31. Guy Cowen

    Guy Cowen Sr Member

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    Makes sense, I'm not doubting you've been through every sensible option mate, just thinking out loud, I never thought I'd say this to you mike but you do have nice legs mate
     
  32. CutThumb

    CutThumb Sr Member

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    I have to say the aluminium resin that Mike used in the Interceptor wings works extremely well. The wings have remained as absolutely rigid as the day I received them with no distortion at all, despite them being in a warm sunlit room.I've just had a look at them and everything has remained perfectly "square on". Unfortunately thats no longer strictly accurate to the studio scale model as the original is sagging noticably in places , but thirty years on thats probably true of a lot of us.
    Given all the effort that goes into creating these kits and then building them, the extra durability of the resin mix is a welcome foresight and investment for everyone.
    The debate about accuracy is an interesting one. There are probably less than half a dozen people IN THE WORLD who are dedicated to building a SW studio scale model as it was originally produced down to the last paint stroke at ILM and most of them frequent this forum.If professorships and doctorates were issued as a measurement of the degree to which they research these builds some of them would easily be PHDs by now, such is their thirst for absolute accuracy. And as is common in the world of academia, everybody loves a good arguement after a beer or two because it helps to improve the overall results.
    I'm happy to invest in this new kit because it is a such rarity and it will remain as such for a long time.I've been waiting years for one.It will may never be quite as rare as the scratch built ones done recently using the actual parts from model kits , but given the hundreds of hours and sheer graft involved in those builds thats not surprising. Apart from Guys, Lees and Jasons PD I've not seen any completed PD builds because those first castings were so uncommon.
    However, I thought the main bodies of the spydroid used by them were done using the resin kit parts from the model molds VaderDarth bought anyway. And the inaccuracies with these as have been pointed out and improved during those builds have now been corrected by Dave and co for this new casting. So there is an overall marked improvement with the new model accuracy alround.
    I will find building this kit far ,far easier than a scratch built version of the droid . Though the actual truth is I want to have a go at a totally scratchbuilt one later, I'm just not as confident, having seen the effort Guy and Lee put into thiers I will get the same results or have the patience though I will be trying. But like most people here at the end of it, I won't be loosing too much sleep if I have JUST the Vaderdarth model in my cabinet!!!
     
  33. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    I agree with you totally CutThumb. I'm in awe of the scratch builders in this hobby. I have neither the patience nor the time to track down every single donor part like these guys do, nor the sculpting ability to shape the basic forms to my liking for something so accurate. Guys like Lee and Moe and the like blow me away with their talents. I'm honored to be able to work with the real professionals in the hobby to get the wonderful toys I get for my own personal collection. This was honestly my top motivation in jumping into the Probe Droid and Escape Pod projects. I wanted a nice model of these in my collection and I wanted to see it done in a way that I was happy with the outcome of the corrections and alterations. I feel like I've done that with both models and will be proud to display each of them. I don't think they are perfect, but they look right to my eye. That is what matters most to me. Yes I would be delighted to be handed one of these scratch built donor sourced models. Of course I couldn't begin to afford such a task for my collection and so this is my solution. I know you guys are going to love the PD and the Escaoe Pod when you see them in person. Once this PD project dies down, we will move on to the EP project. It too has been heavily modified from the original kit. Every part that has been identified as a donor part for both kits has replaced the original scratched parts found on those older versions. :)
     
  34. Alan Cross

    Alan Cross Sr Member

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    Could you explain the term, "donor part kit?" Is that a reference to a part that comes from some other kit a la scratch building? Also, I bought the old Rolondo PD kit but I haven't built it yet. What would be your advice for someone who has the older kit? Would it be best to replace it completely with your new kit? Or, if you do make partial kits available, just replace the dome and the legs?
     
  35. ralphee

    ralphee Sr Member

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    You could do this, this is my droid, also a V1, with stop motion scratchbuilt/accurate legs, and virtually EVERY cast in kit part on the head and body replaced with the original part.

    [​IMG]

    Yes a donor part, is a kit part, gleaned from the correct kit, and applied to a studio scale build.

    bests........lee
     
  36. Alan Cross

    Alan Cross Sr Member

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    Thanks, Lee. Appreciate it. Your PD looks awesome. BTW, did you, or is anyon,e gonna add the mechanized communication CHATTER that accompanies the PD in ESB? Does anyone know of a source for a clean version of JUST the chatter so we could burn it to a chip or upload it as an MP3 file, etc?
     
  37. moffeaton

    moffeaton Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Jim Shima (Hyperdyne Labs) had made an AWESOME one... I think we need to hit him up again and ask if it's still available/can be put into production. I think he even had servos for the antennas at one point on a prototype, if memory serves, but I also think he was soured on the Probe Droid because he was owed a kit or something to that effect?
     
  38. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    Alan, we might be able to offer just a head kit if it helps some guys upgrade their older kits. :)
     
  39. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    I keep meaning to contact Jim about sound/light kits for the PD. I've been assured the one he did for SN was nothing short of miraculous!
     
  40. moffeaton

    moffeaton Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Make. It. So.
     
  41. jedimaster

    jedimaster Sr Member

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    Also if you get stuck for the sound I've found a really cheap but very effective way of doing the sounds for your models. I've been working on it for my dio. Firstly go to starwars.com. On there you'll find sound files. It's kind of an interactive thing. It has all the lucasfilm Clean audio files for all the ships /guns , characters etc. In this case go to Hoth. In there you'll find snowspeeder flyby's probedroid, at at clanking etc. You'll need a recording device. I used an iPod with the voice memo feature. Next run a headphone jack size cable from the audio out on your computer to the iPod. Press record and start pressing the sound file button on screen... In this case probe droid. When your done press stop. Next plug in your iPod through the normal sync cable and upload the file to your computer. That was all free. Next there is a member here who for $45 will put your files(up to ten I think) onto a chipset. You can add up to ten different buttons to it so in my case for my dio I would have one button for each sound file. You just have to email him the soundfiles and 45 bucks later my dio is alive. You just need to add the speakerbor amp and speaker. A cheap component kit can be bought for around $20.


    Cheap but very effective
     
  42. vaderdarth

    vaderdarth Master Member

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    Nice idea Jedimaster, thanks for that info. :)
     
  43. jedimaster

    jedimaster Sr Member

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    I got the files there for all my models. There a bunch of different x-wing and tie fighter sound files , flyby's , laser cannons etc. Same for snowspeeders falcon etc, all clean original files. Just press the corresponding button on your base and it plays away. Pretty cool and pretty cheap.
     
  44. jedimaster

    jedimaster Sr Member

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    Forgot to mention, for the chip for the sound files you need to speak to Rob, username replicaprops. Send him the sound files and he'll send it back on a chip. If anyone gets stuck on this let me know and I'll send him the probedroid audio file and you can order directly from him.
     
  45. IEDBOUNTYHUNTER

    IEDBOUNTYHUNTER Sr Member

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    All this probe droid talk is making me want to build a full scale one.

    I need a good display for my back yard.
     
  46. hyperdyne

    hyperdyne Sr Member

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    I did make a couple kits way way back when. I traded for a built up PD but never got it from the maker. <cough> SN <cough>. So I stopped making the electronics.

    Here is a sample of the prototype with antenna servos and motion sensor.
    Star Wars ESB probe droid studio scale model electronics - YouTube

    I could certainly look into resurrecting the project. I thought of making the unit integrated into one smaller board w/ sounds that could be changed via a microSD card. Who knows...
     
  47. 3d-builder

    3d-builder Sr Member

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    Yea and the sound would be in scale!!! LOL:lol:thumbsup

    I double dog dare you!
     
  48. IEDBOUNTYHUNTER

    IEDBOUNTYHUNTER Sr Member

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    You know better than to do that.
     
  49. Alan Cross

    Alan Cross Sr Member

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    Vaderdarth, Jedimaster, Moffeaton, Hyperdyne, THANK YOU. The last few responses are exactly why I love this board.
     
  50. mslz22

    mslz22 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Got a few minutes today to run the head mold thru the rotocaster. Finishing up the molds on the rest of the body today. Weekend is busy with mothersday but i will get on the leg molding next week.
    thanks
    mike
     

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