THE NEXT GENERATION
While recuperating from a recent major operation and, at the
same time, receiving 30 doses of radiation away from my home town, I had the
opportunity to take some model kits with me and to spend quite a few hours
doing what I love doing - butchering kits and creating something totally new
and unique. Not having done any modelling for a while, due to health reasons,
it seemed a good pastime to take my mind off what was happening around me and
to get some practice in while I had the hours to spare.
Having acquired many aircraft kits over the past few years,
it seemed the safe option to take as many of them away with me as I could
transport in the car. It took quite a while to choose which models would best
lend themselves to my kind of "butchery" and, along with repacking
the smaller ones into larger boxes to save space, I ended up with about eight
kits that would be good starting points to create Gerry Anderson-like models
that could have appeared in "Thunderbirds", "Captain
Scarlet" or "Joe 90". These kits were as follows:
Hobbycraft 1:48 scale CF-105 Arrow Fighter
Hasagawa 1:48 scale J35 F/J Draken
Monogram 1:48 scale F104C Starfighter
Academy 1:144 scale B-58A Hustler
Airfix 1:72 scale SAAB Draken
3 kits of the Academy 1:48 scale Mirage III R Fighter
As well as these particular kits, some of which would be
familiar to devotees of Gerry Anderson shows, I also threw in some bits from my
spares box, along with all the tools that I'd need for the six weeks away.
Amazingly enough, all this fitted into a single large box for transportation
The idea was to make as many different models as possible by
using just the pieces in these kits. Lacking the space for an airbrush and
other major tools, I was limited as to what I could get done on each model,
however automobile spray cans for painting were purchased as needed, along with
lengths of brass tubing for wing support and undercarriage additions to be made
at a later stage.
The same techniques were used on each model - sorting through
the kits to see what parts suited each other; trimming or in some cases,
totally removing large sections of the parts; gluing everything together
securely; sanding and puttying with car "bog" to achieve a smooth
finish, priming the model with automobile grey primer; spraying the basic
colour(s) from auto cans; masking off areas for respraying; touching up small
parts and sections with a brush; adding pencil lines, generic decals and car
pinstriping tape; providing lead pencil weathering to dirty each model down; adding
clear coats to protect the finishes. In all cases, the models needed to be
transported back home in order to complete them, such as the addition of
landing gear, decals and weathering etc. Where I was modelling only allowed me
to get to the basic colour stages with the models.
The first one I worked on. I removed the nose of the Arrow Fighter and replaced it with other parts to make it more interesting. The Arrow's fuselage was used, minus the wings, while a pair of Mirage Fighters became the engines midway along each wing. The Mirage fuselages were reversed and new outer wings were added by using the 1:144 scale Hustler wings. All sections were pinned for strength using brass tubing and copious amounts of Araldite, two-part epoxy glue. I added four vertical wings from the Mirages to the top and bottom of the main wing area, again fixing them very securely with tubing and Araldite. For the front undercarriage area, I inserted a section of brass tubing permanently into the models where the undercarriage could be "plugged" into the aircraft when it had been made later on from brass, kit parts and toy car wheels. The rear undercarriage would need to be completed back at home as I didn't have the necessary parts to construct the housings for these sections.
Basically I worked on two or even three models at any one time. This one was very pleasing to design using the front section of the Starfighter and the main fuselage from the Draken in 1:48 scale. With a little "encouragement" one just plugged neatly into the other. The large wings at the rear came from the Arrow Fighter, while the Draken provided its own vertical stabiliser. To position the two sets of brass tubes into the undercarriage areas, I had to add two drop tank halves to the upper fuselage in order for the brass tubing to have something to be glued into. I'm rather pleased with the shape of this aircraft - just different enough to be interesting, but not too outrageous to be too fanciful. This was the first model given a colour spray - Toyota Silver for the overall colour and Venus Orange for the added colour after everything was completely masked off, the inspiration coming from, believe it or not, the Treehawk in Gerry Anderson's "Terrahawks".