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  1. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jun 5, 2017, 6:50 AM - Starbug from Red Dwarf #1

    Hi all
    My new project is scratch building Starbug from the Red Dwarf TV series.
    My first step was to get some acrylic spheres, these are cheap ones that are meant to be xmas baubles, but I figured I could put them to much better use.
    After doing some research I got 120mm, 90mm and 70mm spheres for the three sections of the ship, from my research these spheres are not in the perfect ration of sizes, but the difference is maybe 10%. I also found that there were several different versions of the ship so I figured that 10% is not bad at all.
    I cut lots of semicircles out of styrene to find the centre of the hemispheres and marked them all.
    I then used a picture I found online as a reference and measure where the engine bay needs to go, the rear radar and the middle section greebie cut outs.
    These were cut using a razor and thin cutting disk in my motor tool.
    I made a styrene circle section to pad out the rear sphere also.
    Here are a few shots of the progress and the very initial mock up using the three spheres.
    I would be really keen to know if anyone else has built one of these and if they have any advice!

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  2. the DOCTOR's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2005
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    293
    Jun 5, 2017, 8:25 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #2

    Good old Starbug! Up there with the Eagle Transporter from Space: 1999 and the Liberator from Blake's 7 as great UK spaceships- I made my replica at around half studio scale, it's around a foot long, and is made from Christmas baubles and two vacformed hemis for the largest ball. Off the top of my head, the original sizes were 8, 10 and 14 inches, so I went with 8, 10 and 15 centimeters, as I could get hold of them easily!



    Had lots of fun making the rear deck and engines, the engines had halogen bulbs in them, but I could only run them for a short while before things started to melt, so I replaced the halogens with LED bulbs, it's also go illuminated headlights and a detailed lit cockpit, with 1/48 scale aftermarket aircraft ejector seats!

    Looking for ward to seeing how you build progresses!



    Oh, this article might be of interest:

    http://www.davidsissonmodels.co.uk/S...0selection.htm
    Last edited by the DOCTOR; Jun 5, 2017 at 8:57 AM.
  3. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jun 6, 2017, 6:37 PM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #3

    Hi Doc!
    Love your work, I hope mine comes out as clean as yours.
    I have seen that reference link before, I have based my project on that too.
    Fingers crossed I will get a bit more done this weekend.
    Cheers
    DP
  4. blipper's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 2004
    From
    UK
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    594
    Jun 11, 2017, 5:04 PM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #4

    Such a great little ship, nice start.
  5. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jun 13, 2017, 6:03 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #5

    Thanks for the compliment Blipper!
    I made some progress tonight.
    I remade the disk that acts as the spacer in the rear bubble, I included a wooden core so that I could drill into it and secure the landing gear.
    I put a smaller sphere into the back bubble for the radar thingy, this was glued and sanded and looks pretty good. I also put a rod through that and into the disk so the it comes out at just the right angle.
    The middle section has been glued up and mostly sanded.
    Here are a few pictures, they don't look the best just now as the hemispheres are clear but I hope you get the idea.
    When the glue sets I will put some primer on it and see how it looks.
    Happy glueing everyone!!!
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  6. the DOCTOR's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2005
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    293
    Jun 14, 2017, 4:34 PM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #6

    Ah, now, not to criticise, but you've made the same error I did with my Starbug- the middle sphere is slightly offset from the centre of the rear sphere- the only photo I can find on Google is of my version, oh well, I'm pretty sure it's accurate:

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    Off the top of my head, I had to move it down around 15mm to get it to look right!
  7. the DOCTOR's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2005
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    293
    Jun 14, 2017, 4:43 PM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #7

    Ah, found a photo of one of the real miniatures, much better:

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jun 14, 2017, 9:51 PM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #8

    Hi Doctor
    I see what you mean in those pics, there is an offset.
    I am not sure I will be able to change that now. Hmmm, will have to think about that one.
    Thanks for the images though, they will be very useful!
  9. Member Since
    Jul 2013
    Messages
    71
    Jun 15, 2017, 6:35 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #9

    Hi again all
    Some more progress tonight.
    I sanded and primed the main section, its looking pretty good. Unfortunately the issue that the Doctor pointed will just have to remain. Perhaps if I make another then I can do it right! (not that it seems likely I will be doing that anytime soon!!)
    I also cut the window sections from the front bubble and I reckon its pretty good.
    Happy glueing all!
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  10. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jun 16, 2017, 7:11 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #10

    A little more work done today.
    I made the radar bit in the nose and spent quite a bit of time prepping the engine manifold parts.
    It took a long time to get the profile to where I was happy with it. I used sheet styrene to make one rib, then drilled holes and bolted another piece to the original so that I could make the two pieces identical. After some more careful measuring I glued them on. Not perfect, but it does look like the bug!

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  11. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jun 17, 2017, 7:17 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #11

    Evening all.
    Some more progress made and a surprising level of maths today.
    I cut lots of circles of different radius to make the ribs for the engine manifolds. I then had to use a bit of pythagoras to calculate what radius of circle to cut for the bottom of them.
    I them cut them in half (leaving a 1mm strip out of them to fit the central spine). Glued them up and its looking good.
    I will start to put styrene between the ribs when I force a lot of filling and sanding ahead!!
    Happy glueing!
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  12. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jun 20, 2017, 6:05 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #12

    Got a little bit more done on the engines today.
    I got myself some polyester resin filler, which has the advantage of not melting the plastic that it is on contact with. It does have the disadvantage that it is quite nasty stuff so the face mask went on for application and sanding.
    I filled any little blemishes with normal model filler and I also attached the fins.
    Click image for larger version. 

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  13. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jul 7, 2017, 7:18 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #13

    Hi all
    So it has been a while since I last posted. Some very sad news, my three year old daughter wanted to help. as a result I had to remake the middle sections completely and the fins have yet to be replaced (I still love her though!).
    I have also sanded the engine nacelles to the point where I am happy with them, some more filler was needed but they are looking good.
    Tonight I started the much more entertaining job of greeblies. The radar dish section is looking pretty good and I started the engine section too. I have one of the sections removable to put a 9V battery in should I chose to get the lighting all working.
    I have a couple of observations
    1 - get yourself some tamiya extra thin, it seems to glue almost everything.
    2 - bondo filler is much harder than normal model filler so you need to take care when sanding the different hardnesses, dents can appear
    3 - toddlers are awesome but not very good at scratch building spaceships
    Happy glueing all.
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  14. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jul 9, 2017, 6:01 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #14

    Finished the rear engine greeblies. Pretty happy so far. The primer brings it all together.
    I also found some prescribed sheet for the banding around the middle of the rear pod. I was going to just cut a lot of strips, but I have to say $10 for the plasticard sheet was a cheaper investment than the counselling I would have needed if I had made each bit individually (even my wife agreed!).
    Next step is the underside quarter bits!
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  15. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jul 10, 2017, 7:01 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #15

    Little bit more done tonight.
    Got the greeblies in the cut outs done and a few details on the hull.
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  16. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jul 15, 2017, 6:55 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #16

    Well folks, its been a few days since i got much done - life does take over sometimes.
    Tonight I got a few more detail pieces done. I built a radar dish for the top, its half a fuel can from a challenger 2 tanks with some other bits.
    I also added some panelling to the engine nacelles.
    I am waiting to get more spheres before i can tackle the legs and the nose section, hopefully eBay will deliver soon!!
    Happy glueing everyone.
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  17. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jul 27, 2017, 11:01 PM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #17

    Hi All
    Its been wee while since I made much progress, holidays to tropical islands will do that!
    I have built a bit of the interior, some cockpit controls.
    I also made a start on the engines last night.
    I used two old duple wheels as the exhaust end. I enlarged the holes to accomodate 8 x 3mm and 1 x 10mm LEDs so the engines look like they are doing something.
    I attached these bits to the end of a small plastic cup. This is then covered in styrene which I will add more details to. The other end will be a 300m hemisphere. I will fill that with resin and put a brass rod in it to attach it to the main body of star bug.
    Hope you are all well. Comments always welcome!
    Happy gluing.
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  18. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jul 29, 2017, 7:18 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #18

    A bit of work on the landing gear today.
    I could not find hollow spheres for the outer bits of the landing gear, so I had to cut and hollow out solid acrylic spheres, that was entertaining!! I think they have turned out ok though.
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    I also started on the legs. I used a combination of brass and aluminium tube for the main part. The suspension was made using solder wire.
    Little pieces coming together!!!
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  19. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Jul 30, 2017, 6:50 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #19

    A little more done tonight.
    I am finding that moving around the ship and doing little jobs makes life a bit more interesting, I would be interested to know how you guys approach a job. Do you concentrate on one bit and finish or do the more scatter gun approach like I do.
    I made progress on the engines and mounting them.
    Some brass rod and a lot of epoxy resin and my idea seems to be working. Fingers crossed it will hold up to the weight of the whole engine plus LEDs, only time will tell.
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  20. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Aug 7, 2017, 6:21 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #20

    Hi folks
    Well, after a little break, I have made some genuine progress.
    I got the front landing gear pod thingys carved out and glued on. The second engine is done. I have soldered the LEDs and protection resistors so now I have 8 3mm LEDs on the outer ring and a 10mm in the centre of the engine. I will try to get a video showing them sometime, my 3 year old daughter thinks they are awesome though!
    I also bought green paint for the bug, and I am pretty happy with the colour. I did a little test and it might be a shade light just now, but with the weathering it should turn out pretty close I think, let me know what you guys think.
    Happy glueing!
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  21. Member Since
    Jul 2013
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    71
    Aug 13, 2017, 6:16 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #21

    Well, with the arrival of the weekend, some more work has been done.
    I almost feel like I am getting to the end of this!
    I worked on the landing gear, two little ariels for the front and the rear sensor array thingy.
    I also got the fins reattached after their disagreement with my 3 year old!

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    I do have a question for the collective brain that is you lot. Has anyone ever had decals custom made? If so how did you go about it? Can you get them done in white?
    I am needing the starbug logo and numbers done. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    Cheers all!!!
  22. Member Since
    May 2014
    Messages
    238
    Aug 15, 2017, 1:27 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #22

    I've never had decals printed, but I have printed out various symbols/numbers etc ,found online. Trim the printed area out with a sharp knife and use the remainder as a stencil.
  23. Exterminator's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 2009
    From
    Swindon, UK
    Messages
    106
    Aug 15, 2017, 9:36 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #23

    If you're based in the UK, you could try a company called 4d Modelshop, they make bespoke dry transfers (i.e. like Letraset). I've used them before, and it's very good. Have a look in their "Bespoke Services" section here. They also do vinyl cutting, that might work, too.
  24. Member Since
    Jul 2013
    Messages
    71
    4 Weeks Ago  Aug 20, 2017, 6:07 AM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #24

    Hi all
    Thanks for the feedback, I am still investigating possible ways of doing the letters, I am not sure I trust myself to do the cutting!
    Some work on the cockpit this weekend. It is not screen accurate, I suspect the set was not built in a dome!
    I have done my best to make it look busy and somewhat lifelike. I will add some weathering when everything has dried.


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  25. the DOCTOR's Avatar
    Member Since
    Dec 2005
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    293
    3 Weeks Ago  Aug 29, 2017, 3:08 PM - Re: Starbug from Red Dwarf #25

    Looking good, bit like a trip down memory lane!

    Regarding the decals, perhaps a signwriting business could cut them out of white vinyl?I got the ones on mine made by 4D as rubdowns, around twenty years ago, along with a lot of other white decals for me and others; still cost a lot then!

    Keep up the good stuff!

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