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Building Decals for Federation Ships
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Rick Smith
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 02 Sep 2008
Posts: 266
Location: Silver Spring, MD

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks to some abnormal amounts of low humidity, I was able to prime my recent
conversions
. Actually, this is step 1 in the priming process. The first light undercoat
is mostly just to see what mold lines and conversion imperfections there may be.
These will be filed, sanded or X-acto-ed off and then the model will receive one
more light coat of GW Skull White primer.

So that's that. Now the models can actually be SEEN thanks to the undercoat - for
better or for worse. Next step is finishing the CA (show above) and then starting in
on these guys. I'm a notoriously slow painter, so I'll try to post finished models
when I can.

OGOPTIMUS and Davec_24: Nah, don't worry about it guys. Advise away. We're
all just brainstorming after all, right?

djdood: Thanks man! I'm glad you like 'em. I feel the same way about the plastic
kits - especially the clear ones. I could barely see what I was doing, hence the two-
part priming process I described above. That being said, I love the amount of detail
present in the Zocchi kits. Mr. Zocchi did a great job sculpting them and they stand
the test of time.

Glad you like the warp engines. Probably the most interesting and enjoyable part
on the ship to paint.


Last edited by Rick Smith on Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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djdood
Fleet Captain


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2922
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mind the plastic minis normally - they have beautiful, subtle detail that metals minis would struggle to match. It's too bad the tooling for plastic is so prohibitively expensive.

Clear plastic always tends to be brittle (due to the formulation). All plastic gets brittle with time (and all the plastic Zocchi minis are at least a decade old production, if not more). Add already brittle plastic with age and they're pretty easy to break - I snapped off a couple of clear DN engine struts I was filing and had to try and figure out how to fix them without ruining my paint job (or blow my deadline).

Lou Zocchi probably didn't "sculpt" the old plastic minis, per se. He commissioned the injection-mold tooling (for his "Star Fleet Battle Manual" game for Gamesicence), way back in the day.

Some tooler/machinist, somewhere, did a pretty amazing job of doing all that fine scribing, etc. in the face of some big blocks of steel - it's still some of the best hand-tooled injection-mold plastic tooling work I've ever seen (and it pre-dates the modern CNC-assisted stuff by at least a decade). From what SVC has posted about it, the one tool has multiple cavities and one shot of plastic pops out the full squadron of Fed plastic ships (which is why ADB sells Tug parts in a bag for cheap - they get a poor-selling Tug for every super-selling CA).
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Scoutdad
Commodore


Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4463
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djdood wrote:
... All plastic gets brittle with time (and all the plastic Zocchi minis are at least a decade old production, if not more)...

Not totally true. While Steve was over at Case De' Thomas last night, the subject of Col. Zocchi and the original FJD ships came up.
Apparently, a recent run of the entire set was produced at SVC's request. Unfortunately for the kitbashers among us, they are all going into SFB "Fleet Box #2's", so no separate pieces will be available... but if you order a Fleet Box #2, you're plastic minis are 20 years newer then those 'dood and I purchased all those years ago.

dood wrote:
From what SVC has posted about it, the one tool has multiple cavities and one shot of plastic pops out the full squadron of Fed plastic ships (which is why ADB sells Tug parts in a bag for cheap - they get a poor-selling Tug for every super-selling CA).

Yep, that's about it. One squirt of molten styrene produces one sprue of parts. That one spure contains 1 Dreadnought, 1 Heavy Cruiser, 1 Tug, 1 Destroyer, 1 Scout, and 2 Tug Pods.
According to Steve, for every CA sold - you sell half as many DN's...
For every DN sold, you sell half as many DD's...
and finally, for every DD sold, you sell half as many Tugs.
That means for every 8 CA's sold, you sell 4 Dreandnoughts, 2 Destroyers, and 1 Tug.
If not included in a five ship Fleet Box - after all 500 CA's were sold, ADB would still have 438 Tugs left to sell Shocked
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Davec_24
Commander


Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 596
Location: England

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to say, I do like the look of the moulding on those plastic minis. They look more accurate than the pewter ones in a way, maybe there's subtle differences in the shape and proportion or something. I didn't realise those were in transparent plastic - any particular reason why they are? Certainly in my experience as an aviation modeller clear plastic can be the bane of one's existance because it cracks and scratches and mists so easily. Usually on aircraft the clear plastic represents a highly visual part of the aircraft such as a canopy, window, or light cover and so any marks and cracks really show. At least with the starships you can paint over the plastic if you get misting from glue or whatever while you build the model.
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pneumonic81
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 23 May 2008
Posts: 275
Location: Austin TX

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

have you looked at doing some of the other races? love to see some of your interpretation of the klingons.
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Scoutdad
Commodore


Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4463
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Davec_24 wrote:
I have to say, I do like the look of the moulding on those plastic minis. They look more accurate than the pewter ones in a way, maybe there's subtle differences in the shape and proportion or something. I didn't realise those were in transparent plastic - any particular reason why they are? Certainly in my experience as an aviation modeller clear plastic can be the bane of one's existance because it cracks and scratches and mists so easily. Usually on aircraft the clear plastic represents a highly visual part of the aircraft such as a canopy, window, or light cover and so any marks and cracks really show. At least with the starships you can paint over the plastic if you get misting from glue or whatever while you build the model.


I think it was expedience and cost. Col. Zocchi had the plastic minis available in white plastic, clear plastic, and glow-in-the-dark. I think he basically used whatever plastic he could get when he needed it.
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Cloaky_McCloak
Ensign


Joined: 06 Feb 2008
Posts: 9
Location: DC

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh Ricky. It's adorable how you PS'd the class of the ship under each image. You are my unemployment super-hero. Too bad each of these ships will most certainly eat hot firey melty plasma death or meet devastating disruptor doom at my hands - depending on what kind of "evil" I feel that day.

Very nice ships though. I'm stoked to play again soon.

Now get painting you goon! And no one else suggest that he create battle damaged ships! At least not until he gets the dang things painted first. He's like a raccoon chasing shiny objects. FOCUS!
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Rick Smith
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 02 Sep 2008
Posts: 266
Location: Silver Spring, MD

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cloaky_McCloak: Yes, yes...more plasma...more plasma. Rolling Eyes Heh!

Yeah, I have plenty to paint at the moment don't I? Well, first things first,
I have a gripload of art to do - so I'll be fitting in some zen-like tiny space
ship painting when I can. "Don't catch feelin's baby!"

I'm up for a game whenever, but I think it's your turn to travel up
here! Mwahaha!!!

pneumonic81: I have actually. I wanted to do my own version of some
Orion Pirates! But that will have to wait or Cloaky_McJerkFace will
berate me publicly again. Razz

Wow...look at me using the emotes...
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Davec_24
Commander


Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 596
Location: England

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rush rush rush! Don't take your time over the painting or the plastic might go brittle or the world might explode or something before you get to play with the minis! But seriously, do take your time and make a good job of them - no sense rushing and spoiling the nice work we've seen so far. Keep it up, but in your own time. Wink
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Rick Smith
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 02 Sep 2008
Posts: 266
Location: Silver Spring, MD

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Davec_24: Heh...yeah Dave...they'll be dust by the time I get to them, right? Well,
I'll do what I can in my spare time and post 'em. You still blow my mind with the
amount of work you've put into your scratch-built 1" models. Sweet.

Here's something my good buddy and I have been messing around with of late:
Organic, free-flowing "honeycomb" shaped star map board sections that can be
leap-frogged when ships are about to move into the nether. Nothing against the
existing ADB boards - they work great! But I wanted to try something crazy and I
can never leave anything well enough alone. Another reason for this is that we've
been using Litko hex bases and stems for our ships (which are amazing - you all
should check them out. They even do custom etched text for your ship names for a
little extra cash!) which are 1.375" wide so that they can accommodate the vessel
names, so we needed a hex grid to fit.

I created the star field in Photoshop and the planets and moons are images from
the NASA database. I plan to replace these in the very near future with planets I
will also build in PS. The images were then taken into InDesign and the hex grid
was overlaid and everything was sized to print. PDFs will be sent to Kinkos/FedEx
in the near-ish future and once the prints come back, they'll be spray mounted to
2-ply illustration board and cut out.
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Last edited by Rick Smith on Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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OGOPTIMUS
Captain


Joined: 10 Nov 2006
Posts: 981

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was going to ask about those hex bases since they looked different. And also quite nice at the same time.

Are you using the 1" or 2" tall stands?

EDIT: Litko also has drone and plasma torpedo counters that might be interesting for those that might want more than the (still wonderful) cardstock ones produced by ADB, but don't want to get minis (coming soon from ADB, hopefully).
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Rick Smith
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 02 Sep 2008
Posts: 266
Location: Silver Spring, MD

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OGOPTIMUS: Yeah, Litko bases are a lot of fun. And the fact that you can get them
laser etched with whatever you want is that much cooler. Keep in mind though, if
you have a really loooooong name, they will have to decrease the font size when
they etch the acrylic.

My friend actually has some that have text on the base. Maybe he'll post some
pics soon.

I usually get the 2" tall stands and then cut them down so that all of the ships line
up on the same horizon line, for lack of a better term. That means that the Fed ships
I just converted with secondary hulls have stems that are approximately 7/8" at most.
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Davec_24
Commander


Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 596
Location: England

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those bases are pretty cool actually. They look even better for being transparent. If you got engraved names, would you keep them un-coloured, or sun some ink or thinned paint into them to make the name stand out or something?

Also I like your hex board idea, it might make it easier to leapfrog the map sections if you have limited room on the tabletop. Also the terrain hexes look cool and the whole lot looks really professional Smile
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Rick Smith
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 02 Sep 2008
Posts: 266
Location: Silver Spring, MD

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Davec_24: Dave, I'm not sure if you remember old school "basic" Dungeons & Dragons,
but the boxed sets came with dice and a white wax crayon. The dice didn't have the
numerals painted in. You'd rub the crayon into the grooves and rube the excess wax off
with a rag. Litko recommends the exact same treatment for their etches bases.
Theoretically, the wax would probably stick around for longer since the etching leaves a
bit of a tooth to the plastic, where the dice had smooth grooves for the numbers.

Thanks for the compliments on the hex sections! I have more plans for those as well.
Not sure if the "Miniatures" section of the forum was the right place for showing them,
but I didn't know where else to share them.

I forgot to mention that it's probably best to do the following with the flight stems instead
of cutting them with side clippers, as the clear acrylic is brittle and doesn't like that sort of
pressure:

1. Figure out how long of a segment you would like to have and place a sharp Xacto blade
on the plastic rod.

2. Carefully roll the rod with the blade, making sure to stay on track with the slight groove
the blade makes. You don't need a huge amount of pressure for this. Just enough to
make a visible indent.

3. Take the rod in both hands, near the groove you cut into the plastic and give it a quick
break as if you were snapping a twig. The acrylic breaks very cleanly, and if you need to
fix the break rub it over some very fine grit sand paper.

Easy!
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malleman
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 12 Jan 2008
Posts: 308
Location: Lafayette, LA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't wait to see you Shanks class LC painted. I can about imagine it blowing up one of C Mc's D-5s. Laughing

Try a paint pen (fine tip) for the etching. It may be easier than using wax. You may have to let it sit for a bit to let the paint dry in the etching. After it is dry you can carefully scrape any mistakes off with a hobby knife. I used this method for my dice. I now have a colored set of dice to match the SFB colors of each empire's counters. I originally tried to use the crayon method, but it took to long.

Please post pics of your custom board as soon as it is finished. I always enjoy other people's art.

Oh, and how is that, two emoticons. Wink
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