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Old 29-04-2008, 05:56 PM   #1
Known Space
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Default Eagle Launch Pad (Budget version)Pt 1

This is for those of us who are unlucky enough not to have or yet to be able to make their own launch pad base, but fortunate to have a few of the very nice 12" PE Eagles to want to display on something quick and easy.
I'll try and do this in two parts:
PT 1:Materials and Basic Painting.
PT 2:Masking and Detailing.

If it is possible let me get to the end of PT 1 and then add your comments. The more experienced guys will probably be able to pick up and post loads of hints and tips, as well as being able to supply links to the various helpful threads on the forum.To be honest I struggle to get the photos up most times so any help will be gratefully recieved at the end.
This is a second go for me so there is still plenty to learn and hopefully if everyone adds to it then everyone will be able to get better results.This forum is rich with people with experience and ideas .

(1)Scale.
I've tried to use launch pad one as my main template.It helps to think of it as five connected perfect squares. The centre square where the Eagle lands is almost exactly the length of the body of an Eagle(minus head and engines).This is about 8.25 ", which is almost perfectly the width of a sheet of A4, which is very handy.
So the first thing to do is to cut five perfect squares using clean A4 and then join them together.This gives you the landing cross.
Scaling that to give you the size of the circle gives a diameter of just over 14" (36 cm) and total width of just over 28" (72 cm).The cross far corners should be 28mm from the edge.
Draw it on cardboard (or whatever material you intend to cut) and drop the cross on to it to check scale.I think its pretty close to LP 1). The cardboard will give also you a template to give to the woodcutters to copy and to practise on
.





So now is the time to decide which material you want to use.
The easiest to get cut and paint is probably MDF. I use it instead of canvas as it has no grain, is cheap and just about every wood merchant carries it.It also comes in a variety of widths of sheets and thicknesses.
4mm is thin, light and good to hang on a wall if you want to store your launch pad there (though please check with your wife and don't hold me respouncible for the idea) .It will warp over time slightly if stored over strong heating or damp (so don't put it over a radiator), but if properly sealed its pretty good generally.
6 mm is more robust and rigid. Again good for walls or under the bed and not to heavy at this scale size.
9mm is a strong base, heavy ,pretty unwarpable at widths of about 28 inches wide and would easily be in corporated into a launch pad at a latter date, but would have to be recessed for scale.

There are other materials out there but I haven't used them so I won't recommend them for this build and paint job.

Phone your wood stockists and ask if they will cut you a circle. Local DIY stores bulk MDF in sheets if you want to cut it yourselves. Just be carefull if you do.It shouldn't cost much at all.


Materials you will need besides MDF are:
White undercoat.
Black Matt paint.
Orange paint.
A sharp modelling knife
Mini roller.
Black wide nibbed biro.
Breakfast cerial box.
Masking tape

Last edited by Known Space; 30-04-2008 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 29-04-2008, 06:12 PM   #2
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Once you pick up your MDF give it a light sanding with a fine grained sandpaper. Do this outside as MDF dust is very irriatating and bad for the lungs.Give it a wipe down with a dry paper towel and just check the surface for marks (rare for MDF).
Get your mini roller ( 99p ASDA or any DIY store) and apply a couple of good coats of white undercoat to seal it. If you don't the MDF will drink your paint and also absorb any mositure and then warpover time. Seal it well with a couple of coats on both sides and there are no issues. Don't forget to do the edge and to use the Emulsion (Cloth) roller not the foam (Gloss) roller. Don't use a brush if possible.This leaves brush strokes which look really wrong on a flat surface.
Leave it to dry well between coats.

While this is going on you can cut masks.I like to use fixed and floating masks, which are easily cut from stiffish cardboard.This is where your cornflake box will come in.Its cardboard makes great masks




And heres the first quick cheat.If you cut one perfect 8 " square mask and cut in all the holes, you can simply rotate it eachtime you move to the outter squares
to get that chequered effect on the launch pad.But be careful which way you rotate it or from one side you'll end up with the same pattern in every square. Unlikely but not impossible. It will save time however and as you can keep most of the corners level and neatly in place with bluetack it won't move and so you will get a very level appearance with all the shapes at right angles to the cross sides.
You can also cut two right angled floating masks.Simply put, you move them against eachother to create a rectangle ,square or sharp edge of any size and throw them down very quickly.You can secure them with blue tack or masking tape, then spray.Again,pretty helpful if you don't want to cut too many masks, but it can be inaccurate it you dont secure it.
The last job is to cut just small masks you can use to break up the patterns and use on the edges of the pad and in the black areas( spraying white).
Next up is the paint job.

Last edited by Known Space; 30-04-2008 at 06:06 AM.
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Old 29-04-2008, 07:13 PM   #3
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I guess this is where the world divides between those of us with airbrushes and those of us without.

For those with the best colour match sems to be Cadnium Orange for the cross and Black matt paint for the outter areas.

For those without airbrushes your best options are a mini roller or spray can.

I've found the closest colour match is Plasti Kote Gloss Orange from B&Q at about a 5.Motor stockists like Halfords have other colours like mainly VW orange. Its really your choice.It does get toned down a lot once you start to spray on the black weathering and the squares. I wouldn't advise Gloss black for the sides.Go Matt Black, either spray can or tin for the roller,though spray can will be easier when it comes to masking.Blackboard paint is ideal.

And this now is the crucial part.Drop your squares in dead centre and mark the edges.Divide the circle into quarters and make certain the middle of each of the four outter squares matches the quarter.That way you'll end up with your cross bang in the middle of the circle.Secure with bluetak and lightly mark in the outsides with a pencil and ruler.
Remove and check that its right.All the corners of the cross should be about 2.8 cm from the edge of the circle at the nearest point.
Check the centre square by putting in a drawing pin dead centre and with a piece of string checking it matches each of the inner corners as perfectly as possible.
If you don't get this right now, before you start masking and spraying then you are in for alot of wasted time and corrections later and it will really detract from the pad top.
Now you can mask the cross in.Use thick masking tape (2" best) and press down very
firmly on the edges.Using the back of the thumb nail is a good idea.Cut the corners as cleanly and as accuratley as you can.This will prevent the paint bleeding under the mask and respraying.
I've done one badly to show what to avoid.Poor tape, badly pressed down and creased.This will add hours to your work.



As opposed to the image benieth which is tidy and neat after spraying and a bit of border lining.

Now paint.

When spraying use sweeping strokes that cross eachother and lay the paint on evenly.It may pay, particularly with the can, to practise on a bit of junk MDF.It will come out intially at very high pressures at first and if held too close to the MDF will give you a bloom of paint if held still.Try light quick bursts until you are comfortable with it.Ex Graffiti artists will have an advantage here.
Also spray on the flat in an outside area free of dust and wind. Gloss paint reekes and nothing will upset your loved one more than a perfectly orange ghost circle on the carpet or kitchen tiles (which although it may be artistically pretty will get you band from any further modeling projects.)Also being flat will prevent unevenly sprayed paint from following gravity downwards in a run of nasty sticky droplets.)

Let the paint dry.It will take a couple of coats to get a nice even finish.


Once it is dry to the touch then reverse the masking for the black areas.Take this opportunity to check how much has bled under the mask and again, try to be very accurate and firm, particularly now the black is going on.Providing the paint has dried very well push the mask down hard.I,ve even used sellotape as this gives very good clean edges, but check that it will come off on a small piece of the pad without lifting the orange paint.A hot hairdryer can help with this as the warmth will loosen the glue in the tape.

Now spray your paint.Or use the mini roller. The foam roller will give a nice surface finish after a couple of coats.Again do the edges and let it dry thoroughly.

Last edited by Known Space; 30-04-2008 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 29-04-2008, 07:27 PM   #4
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Once this is done peel away the masking.Pull away from the newly painted area. This helps break any clinging paint off the mask cleanly. Pulling it into the fresh paint can lift it off and give you a toothy edge. It should be very well dried. Don't be to keen to rip it off to get to see your handy work. Slow and carefull will save time in the end.
You'll always get some bleeding on even slightly rough surfaces but it can be minimised by spraying away from the mask edge or from vertically over it when you paint.Don't do it towards the edge, at an angle, you'll push the paint under it.

Where you have got a little bleeding the next cheat is very handy. Get a fairly wide nibbed black ink pen and a good ruler.Move it near to the black boarder then slowly but firmly rule a line.Do this until a very straight boarder appears.






This should give you a very tidy looking cross.
Where you got a major bleed my only suggestion is that you remask and respray. A pain ,but if you try thinners or wiping it of you'll only make it worse.

And that wraps it for part 1.I want to wait for the S&F Modeller edition to see if there are some better pictures of pads before I start work on the detail. If anyone has any questions or can add anything like links to the catacombs and such then please do. The more people that can the better the results for anyone who wants to paint one. I learnt a tremendous amount just reading other threads in the forum, and I'm grateful to those members that shared that knowledge.It still gives me a kick to look my pad and those results would not have been possible without what was here.
Hope this helps.

Last edited by Known Space; 30-04-2008 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 29-04-2008, 07:38 PM   #5
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nicely done. look forward to seeing the next stage.
cheers Paul
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Old 30-04-2008, 03:19 AM   #6
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That's looking great....I can't wait to see more (very inspiring).

Dana
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Old 30-04-2008, 09:08 AM   #7
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I drew this up at one point at roughly you size did so I'm half way there. This is a great idea... many thanks.
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Old 30-04-2008, 01:37 PM   #8
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Another launch pad "How-To". Well Done.
This "budget" version makes mine the "poor" man's version.

http://h1.ripway.com/RussellE/scifih...launchpad.html
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Old 01-05-2008, 04:05 AM   #9
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Your launchpad is pretty good too, Russell...I haven't seen it before now. It's great to see varied ideas for different budgets.

Dana
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Old 01-05-2008, 07:22 AM   #10
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KS, that's very inspiring and I should be able to work that, it's a good budget project, as MDF is a cheap material to work with, now all I need is someone to cut it in a circle.
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Old 01-05-2008, 06:08 PM   #11
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I really should add that you should buy untempered MDF,not tempered.The difference between the two is that untempered is pale and untreated, whilst tempered is a very dark (coffee) coloured brown. The tempered will not paint very easily and contains alot of resins that are bad if you cut it.
Untempered absorbs the undercoat and allows a much more stable base to be painted on.It'll rarely flake.I'm still waiting for the S&F magazine (my fault I'm afraid) and the weekend is busy so part two will not be until next week, unless I can crib some more detailed photos of the landing pad.I'll have a look whilst the paint is drying on my latest. I've hit one of those just can't get the damn ears right that sometimes happens, so i'm best doing something else whilst my brain figures it out on the quiet. Or ,as Homer, would say Doh!
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:02 PM   #12
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A nice project!
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Old 03-05-2008, 02:40 PM   #13
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For painting the edges neater, use black insulating tape.
Old motor car painting on stripes technique I learnt from the trade.
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Old 04-05-2008, 07:36 AM   #14
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Default Masking And Finishing.

I had some spare time to finish the pad as I sneaked it in whilst doing the other work.

Firstly, as this is a budget work I got a spray can of black to use instead of my airbrushes and found the results were variable but could be improved with other materails and a bit of practise. And I'll cover that latter.


Back to the tutorial.

For a quick find of dead centre use two pieces of paper as shown below.Try not to mark with the pad with too many lines yet as this will make the work a little harder latter on.






The next issue is drawing in the details of the pad.Again, the easiest option is to use the black biro as this will slightly indent and gives nice staight lines quickly and neatly.At this scale it would also be difficult to spray the lines in cleanly but it can be done if you have the time and patience.


[

I've refferenced alot of the pad details from places like the Catacombs. The pads show a lot of individual variation in markings and there were probably a number of different scales so its really a matter of taking a photo that you like and use that as your source.

[


When you've inked in the edges and centre details then lightly start to draw the outlines of areas you wish to spray if you are free masking using the movable masks. Otherwise its easy to loose the design your looking for once you start to spray.


Drawing in the little circles is a pain and takes a good hour free hand but although I looked for quicker alternatives I couldn't find any.Very difficult to keep straight and even but it was easier with practise and a few light pencil lines to keep in the eye lines.
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Old 04-05-2008, 08:12 AM   #15
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Now we come to the spraying.

Again for those of us in the airbrush camp this is pretty easy and basic stuff.
Use masking tape ( or as Doomsday suggested insulation tape, its very low tack) for the larger areas and the very flat templates for the littler details.

When I sprayed the large Eagles Nest pad I used the moving masks cut from the box and artists card.This had very little bleeding and because of the control of the air pressures meant you could build up the shading easily.

Using paint from a spray can is much more difficult.I would firmly advice anyone to practise first on the back of the pad first with all the masks until they are happy with the results.Even with practise I found the paint went on much more very heavily than I often expected and it ended up giving the pad a much more dirtier and darker appearance than I wanted.Also you need to secure the masks very firmly because of the pressure from the can.



This meant there was some lifting and bleeding when using the first templates I cut.

I then went back and recut masks from stiffer acrylic paper.Not only was this very clean to cut shapes from but it also held the surface alot closer than the cardboard.This gave much better shape definition, less bleed and less time tidying it up. It also gave alot of very clean edges.

In the end I simply layed the paint on against the biro lines until it gave me a look I was reasonably happy with.But working with a can is very tricky if you don't practise first. Also, please try and give it some drying time as the colours will always dry lighter when sprayed dark onto bright, so wait to see the results before you spray again.

For the best results build it up slowly.Masking is a slower and carefuller technique the smaller you go, but time taken with it now gives much better results later.


And this is the finished result. Its a lot more heavily weathered than the first
due to the use of the spray can. The white on the black areas was built up with the airbrush and you can immediately tell the difference. Its a lot more subtler.

I also drilled a tiny hole so I could hang it in the Nest.This will keep it flat and the PE Eagles look quite good on it.

Hope this helps people with their own pads. Materials wise I probaby spent about thirty five quid, mainly on paints and pieces, but I only used a small proportion of the lot. Most people will all ready have the necessary stuff to hand. Time wise the biggest proprotion is spent on the mask cutting and spraying over a couple of days, but I didn't hurry it.





Good luck with your own efforts. Perhaps we can have a "vision on" gallery thread in the Dragons Domain for those having a go at it. Anyone else with hints and tips like Doomsdays just add them on.



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Old 04-05-2008, 10:45 AM   #16
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Looks good but perhaps some small raised landing lights (they don't have to work) around the edge? They're such a feature that it looks a little bare when they're not there. Just a thought.
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Old 04-05-2008, 11:35 AM   #17
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I'm liking this launch pad thing.
If I ever learn how to put photo's up I will.
I made a very quick landing pad for the Kanomi Eagles from an old record turntable I was chucking out. Great angled sides on it as well!
Just used bodyfiller to fill the hole and make it all flat, although a quicker way is expanding foam.
I also used little rhinestones for the lights. These look realy good and catch the light as well (especially in pics)
You can get them get them online or from shops that do dancing dresses and stuff. More of them around than you realise!
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:09 AM   #18
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Wish I had a cupboard like that.
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Old 05-05-2008, 12:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony42 View Post
Wish I had a cupboard like that.
... you should move house then

OK, ok ... was a bad joke
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Old 05-05-2008, 10:52 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony42 View Post
Wish I had a cupboard like that.
judging by the cupboard,the pad aint bad at all
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