Studio Scale Probe Droid

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vaderdarth

Master Member
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. :)







 
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vaderdarth

Master Member
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. :)
 

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ralphee

Sr Member
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
 

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ralphee

Sr Member
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
 

ralphee

Sr Member
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
 

mslz22

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
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
 

ralphee

Sr Member
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
 

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mslz22

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
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
 

vaderdarth

Master Member
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. :)
 
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moffeaton

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
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.
 

ralphee

Sr Member
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
 

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