The Three-Engine Blockade Runner Project

Discussion in 'Studio Scale Models' started by DaveG, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This project is to build a "studio scale" model of Joe Johnston's original three-engine version of the Rebel Blockade Runner from Star Wars. It may have been considered as the deign for the Pirate Ship at that point, I'm not really sure, but I'm going to call it the Blockade Runner for this project.

    JJ Sketch.jpg
    I'm approaching the project as if I were working in the model shop, was handed the sketch and told "make it about 32 inches long". This seems like a decent size, big enough to detail but not so big as to become unwieldy. It's also, coincidentally, the size of the Millennium Falcon model built for Empire.

    The model will be built using a hybrid of technologies, designed using 3D modeling software and fabricated from plexiglass and styrene as were the original models, but also using 3D printing where appropriate. Details will be interpreted from the original sketch was well as the actual Blockade Runner built for the film but I will also feel free to change up or add cool things as the model evolves. That's half the fun of doing this kind of project. Nernie kit parts will, for the most part, be drawn from the same vintage kits used by the ILM model makers back in the day.

    My goal is to get the model done in time for this Spring's So Cal RPF Prop Party, an ambitious deadline, to say the least!

    The first step was to model the overall structure of the Blockade Runner, scale it to the desired length and resize the major components to fit available sizes of plexiglas and Plastruct tubing. The computer model will get more details added as the project moves forward, especially to those sections which will be 3D printed.

    Screen Shot 190112.jpg

    Construction began by "laying the keel" as it were. The main structural hull is comprised of 2 1/4" and 2 1/2" diameter plexiglas tubing. The trapazoidal bulkhead plate to which the three engines attach was milled from plexiglas sheet using a CNC router. I've made the bulkhead hollow to allow for wiring to light up the engines.

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    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  2. Rick Deckard

    Rick Deckard Well-Known Member

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    Pretty cool Dave!!

    Adolfo
     
  3. 3DImpact

    3DImpact Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Oh, I'm going to be watching this! I always loved that Joe Johnston sketch and design. Great choice for a project!

    Dan
     
  4. Jkirkon

    Jkirkon Well-Known Member

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    Subscribed to this.

    I love watching, and learning from guys like you, Dave. This is a fantastic subject to build!
     
  5. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Oh boy...Dave is at it again;) No need to say that it'll be a great build/tuto for everyone here (I'll take detailed notes Dave(y)).
     
  6. moffeaton

    moffeaton Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I LOVE this! I was, funny enough, playing around with this last year, before things "clicked" for me in Rhino.
    This is as far as I got at the time. Needless to say, I like yours better ;)

    Screen Shot 2019-01-13 at 4.18.09 PM.png
     
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  7. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks Jason! Mine went through a lot of iterations before it got to where you see it. One of the challenges is to interpret the sketch which has a lot of built in wide angle distortion. Working out proportions that are pleasing to the eye and look good from a variety of angles. I like to think this would be the same process the model makers would have gone through in developing the designs, albeit with pencil and paper on a drafting board!

    I got a bit more done today on the structural components. The side plates were milled out of acrylic using the CNC.

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  8. Toxcedo

    Toxcedo New Member

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    Just saw a guy that just finished the same project? Have you seen it? Rossi replicas.
     
  9. Studio Kitbash

    Studio Kitbash Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Oh crap, there he goes again....

    Why do I feel like I'm about to voluntarily and happily part with hundreds of dollars in order to participate in some of this magic???

    Please tell me you are NOT going to make these files publicly available, NOT sell nurnies to dress it up, NOT sell complete armatures, and otherwise NOT offer me further temptation to the already distressingly addictive Y-Wing project of 2016 that continues to eat up large swathes of both my wallet and imagination.

    And whatever you do, Dave, do NOT make so-perfect-you-can't-resist-them Tree Ornaments out of them next year... cuz you know I'll buy it.

    When DaveG opens up a new build thread is the time I am most often quoting Oscar Wilde: "I can resist anything except temptation."
     
  10. TazMan2000

    TazMan2000 Sr Member

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    I'm glad you made the side engine plates trapezoidal. They look much better that way.

    TazMan2000
     
  11. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I know of a couple of 3 engine blockade runner projects but I've not actually seen them, nor do I want to until I've finished mine. Don't want to be influenced by other versions.

    SK - I'm not planning to make this an open source project... but a Christmas ornament... who knows!
     
  12. monsterpartyhat

    monsterpartyhat Well-Known Member

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    It's not the same project -- different drawing for inspiration, different # of engines, and his is a modification of the Randy Cooper Corellian gunship model, not a full scratch build. Cool stuff, but pretty different :).
     
  13. Dimitri-Ajith

    Dimitri-Ajith Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Subscribed!
     
  14. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    There's a new toy in my shop! A Formlabs Form 2 SLA 3D printer! I'm very excited to put it to use on this project.

    IMG_2060.JPG
     
  15. acesh007

    acesh007 Active Member

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    Great looking start and Im a bit jealous on the Form2.
     
  16. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    First couple of 3d printed parts off the Form2. The two part trapezoidal shroud that goes on the front of the engine section.
    IMG_2100.JPG

    IMG_2101.JPG
     
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  17. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    3D printed conical sections that connect to a section of EMA/Plastruct tubing and then slip over the main acrylic tube structure. On these parts I've replicated to look of the .030" styrene plating I'll be adding to the tube sections.

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  18. sgtfury4017

    sgtfury4017 Active Member

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    Those printed parts are pretty awesome! Great work as always!
     
  19. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Beauty and more beauty Dave(y)
     
  20. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Here's the armature hub for mounting the model. I machined the hub out of 2" diameter aluminum bar stock. It has a 3/4" cross drilled hole with keyway for the mounting rod. I plan to display the model using a side mount only so I didn't bother with a top/bottom hole or front and back. There are also some small holes running through the length of the block for wiring.

    The block was machined with recessed areas and was inserted into the fuselage tubing and carefully aligned. A two part adhesive was injected through pre-drill holes in the acrylic tube into the recesses between the aluminum and the inside of the tube. Once set the block is not going anywhere!

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  21. DaddyfromNaboo

    DaddyfromNaboo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I am stunned by the quality of those prints! Granted, still a pricey tool, but a tenth of what a printer with a comparable output quality would have cost a few years back!
     
  22. star-art

    star-art Sr Member

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    That looks amazing! What I worry about when combining acrylic and metal parts like this is the possibility the metal can expand/contract at a greater rate than the acrylic and cause it to crack (this has happened to me before). I've tried to find different ways to create a sort of "buffer" zone to allow for expansion and contraction of the metal relative to the acrylic.
     
  23. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That's a valid point but I'm not all that concerned about differential expansion problems. That area gets covered by large tubes and there will a fair amount of styrene plating as well. I seriously doubt there would ever be a catastrophic failure. Worse case, maybe a crack or two in the tube might be visible. Battle damage!
     
  24. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    yes. I'm blown away by the quality of the prints at what works out to about 1/8 the cost of Shapeway's highest detail plastic. What sold me was seeing Jason Eaton's stunning concept Y Wing parts in person last year.
     
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  25. OTnROTSfan

    OTnROTSfan Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Stunning prints. Played with the Form2 a bit at CES (they had a whole wall of them... wanted to just carry one off, lol). Starting to see these are pretty darn worth it, I think, the more and more I see actual prints from folks using them. That's a pretty good savings rate, too. Project looks awesome!
     
  26. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    This is a great picture because of what it represents. True multi-tech/multi-media 21st Century modelmaking! A combination of CNC cut acrylic, 3D printing and styrene panels cut with a Silhouette Cameo. And later there will be the addition of some resin castings of vintage kit parts. The best of all worlds!

    IMG_4808.jpg
     
  27. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    More 3d printed parts,

    IMG_2195.JPG

    IMG_2196.JPG
     
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  28. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Getting into the fun part... Styrene plating and nernieing!

    IMG_4825a.jpg
     
  29. Duncanator

    Duncanator Well-Known Member

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    Right on! That's the way it should be done! Using the right technique/tool for the each part.
     
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  30. Flixen

    Flixen Active Member

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    Looking food!
    I love the kit parts layout
     
  31. Studio Kitbash

    Studio Kitbash Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Love the use of the "universal greeblie" three times on the lower section from the Anzio Annie that was used liberally "like pepper" on the ILM models.

    Dave, do you have a recommendation between Silhouette Cameo vs the Cricut machine? Cameo looks cheaper, but also looks "flimsier" while Cricut says it can handle heavier/thicker card/stock materials -- I'm asking because the ONLY use I would put either one to is the same as you've shown - the cutting of template pieces no thicker than .030" styrene plating. Are you happy with the Cameo? Or do you wish you'd splurged and gotten the Cricut? I'm on the cusp of one or the other, and would value your suggestion or your overall review of the Cameo's strengths and weaknesses.
     
  32. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    You mean the "Universal Nernie?" ;)

    I've only been working with the Cameo for a little while now and have not really put it through it's paces. Also I do not have any hands-on experience with the Cricut so I can't speak to that. Looking at the specs, neither machine is going to cut all the way through .030" styrene. It's not a function of cutting range, on both the range is adequate, it's knife pressure, and both are similar in that spec.The machine basically scores the material and then you go back over with a razor and snap. That was expected. Styrene is a really dense material. I know from reading some of the model railroading forums the guys are having good success cutting all the way through .010 and .020 styrene. I have a friend who has the Cameo and loved it. And the price difference is a big factor, the Cricut being almost twice as much money. I did find a couple of comparison videos on YouTube between the two machines and they tended to lean slightly to the Cameo, though they were not cutting styrene and the differences were pretty minor. It's also not entirely clear if the Cricut can be used without paying a yearly subscription fee for their cloud based access, but I could be wrong there.

    So far I am happy with the Cameo.

    Graphtec (who make professional vinyl cutters) make a cutting knife that works in the Cameo and I've gotten better results, deeper cuts, using that.

    With either machine you will need to be able to draw vector artwork using a CAD or graphics program. I use Rhino and Adobe Illustrator.
     
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  33. TazMan2000

    TazMan2000 Sr Member

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    You can import bitmap drawings (at least for the Cameo) and use the trace feature, but the software is interpreting the chunkiness of the curves, so you better use a higher resolution bitmap. Vector is better.

    TazMan2000
     
  34. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    yes, if you're going to do any kind of precision cutting, especially that will need to fit up against other parts, you'll need to use a CAD or other 2d drawing program. Keep in mind that these machines are really intended for "crafters" and precision modelmaking is stretching their capabilities a bit. But that said, it's a nice tool to have. I am also looking forward to using them to cut paint stencils.
     
  35. nkg

    nkg Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The only thing about the “universal greebly” is that I’m not at all sure they used it on ANH. Didn’t it come later? Certainly the five foot Falcon didn’t use it.
     
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  36. moffeaton

    moffeaton Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    It came right after, starting with MCA57 Galactica builds.
     
  37. nkg

    nkg Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Cool, thanks! Most of my interest has been with ANH, and I'd never seen that greebly crawling around anywhere...
     
  38. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Roughed in to full length now.
     

    Attached Files:

  39. monsterpartyhat

    monsterpartyhat Well-Known Member

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    You can use it to cut anything you create without any subscription - the subscription is just for a lot of pre-supplied artwork, most of which looks like you'd expect to find all over Etsy.... I build my patterns in SketchUp and export directly to SVG from there, which can be imported directly into Cricut's software.

    Really nice work on this model! I love seeing the combination of techniques you're using here.
     
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  40. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Great work Dave(y) Cannot wait to see how you're gonna dress that one:)
     
  41. DaveG

    DaveG Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    IMG_3099.jpg Overall length massed up.
     
  42. joberg

    joberg Master Member

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    Looking very spiffy so far;)
     

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