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Old 16-10-2008, 02:44 PM   #1
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Default Making the Moonbase Alpha kit more accurate

I'm currently working on making the old Moonbase Alpha kit more accurate, based upon the many publicity photos of the studio model and of pics posted at Martin Willey's The Catacombs site of some of the buildings from the same studio model. While it won't be 100% accurate--scratchbuilding would be the best route for that--it will more closely resemble the studio model than the out-of-box kit did.
It's fun kit spotting what the studio modelmakers used, and gives a sense of the overall huge size of the 'miniature.' Doing so also helps establish what details to add on to the model kit, which ones to correct, and so on. Again, for an accurate replica, one should just scratchbuild their own Alpha, since so many of the kit details are just wrong. But I actually want to complete this project within a human lifetime, so I'll stick with modifying the kit.

I'm having problems with my computer lately, but shall try to upload a pic or two of my work-in-progress soon. (Either today or next week. Yes, things are that difficult...)

Anyone else who's modifying an Alpha kit should also post stuff to this thread, so we can all keep everything tidy (in other words, not have a bunch of new threads about the same topic) and compare our ideas. Thanks!

Last edited by CR; 16-10-2008 at 02:45 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 16-10-2008, 04:28 PM   #2
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Aaaaaand... we'll try to post pics later. My photo program keeps crashing while I try to resize the pics & add captions.
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Old 16-10-2008, 05:36 PM   #3
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Well, I got one. Others to follow, but I get errors uploading. It's always something...

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Old 16-10-2008, 05:44 PM   #4
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And here we go...










That's all I have for now. I'll add more pics as I make progress on the model. That, I assure you, will take some time.
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Old 16-10-2008, 07:29 PM   #5
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You had to go and post this just after I cut a nice piece of MDf for the base and prior to laying out all the Alpha parts on it to see how they look....................
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Old 16-10-2008, 11:44 PM   #6
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Great start! Definitely a thread to follow.
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Old 17-10-2008, 12:38 AM   #7
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steve36uk: Ah, the life of a model builder. Get a model, spend lots of time & effort getting it to look 'just right,' come up with a display for it, and then realise something's wrong and you have to start all over. I'd ask everyone who's had thippen to raise their hand, but it would be easier to count those who've never had this happen!
dougkeenan: Great, now the pressure's on to actually finish this thing in a timely fashion!

Some of these buildings I'm reluctant to work on, as their detail is so wrong, I'm torn as to how far to modify them. Oh, well, maybe someday I will do a scratchbuilt version. Don't worry, I shan't start it til I'm done with this one!
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Old 17-10-2008, 04:55 AM   #8
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Default My attempt

Since we're sharing modeling tips.. Here's my attempt at accurizing the Alpha Model kit. I did this before I researched for my blueprint for Alpha so some of the shapes are not right. Especially the Rec building. As far as detailing, I basically started with a plain sheet of styrene plastic. Made the shape of the roof tops. Domes and more notable features were removed from the original and put on the new roof top. More detailing was done with thin pieces of styrene cut into various shapes and sizes to resemble the actual TV model. Other detailing parts were canablized from my old Millenium Falcon model and some other old models I have.
Since drawing the Moonbase Alpha blueprint, these pieces are now in my re use box. One of these days I'll try again. But for those of you wanting to try doing this to your kits don't be affraid to try. It's really quite easy to do. Just take you time.









Last edited by CR; 18-10-2008 at 01:43 AM. Reason: Fixed IMG tags & returns to better format thread page, and deleted one double-posted pic.
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Old 18-10-2008, 01:42 AM   #9
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Thanks for sharing your pics! (I edited your post so that the page format wasn't stretched out so horizontally and deleted one pic you posted twice.) It's funny how one can see parts that are 'wrong' after one does extensive research, but I'll bet to the casual observer, the buildings look just fine! (Heck, for decades, I thought the Alpha kit, though underdetailed in some places & missing two launch pads, was generally pretty accurate. I've found out during my endeavour that that's not the case! It's still a decent kit, though. Well, except for that difficult vac-u-form base...)

Anyway, I've been trying to pick out what pieces are from the Millenium Falcon since you mentioned using them... I have to admit that I'm not as familiar with that kit as with others, so I can't be certain of which parts you've used. Plus, I'll bet you altered/disguised them. Bottom line: nothing stands out at a glance as out of place or obviously from another kit. Nice job!

Anyone else got anything to post? Doesn't have to be right away, but do feel free to share what you've got. And no, this isn't a contest to see who has the most accurate Alpha; it's merely a way to show off your work to others who might never see it and (hopefully) to teach and/or to learn a thing or two in the process. And that's stuff that can be applied to any model, not just Alpha.

Last edited by CR; 18-10-2008 at 01:46 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 18-10-2008, 08:26 AM   #10
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This gives me some good ideas for when I get back to making mine. The launch pad modifications are especially helpful. I could have a go at making a cast of the scratch built replacement for the pad so that I have the requisite 5
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Old 19-10-2008, 02:52 AM   #11
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I plan on casting mine once it's correct enough; saves the trouble of kitbashing/scratchbuilding so many.
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Old 22-10-2008, 07:46 AM   #12
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Default Model Parts

Most of the parts from the Millenium Falcon are the little domes or "functional" looking tiny things. All cut off the Falcon, sanded down to fit.
The roof top of the Rec building is part of the rear of the top of the Falcon by the engine. But it isn't recognizable because of all the crap I loaded onto it. LOL The Hydroponic building was extended outward and the Computer building has added domes and gadgets. The Launch pad was done by scratch

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Old 26-10-2008, 03:50 PM   #13
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Wow! This thread could not have had better timing!

I just purchased a 24" x 18" piece of 1/4" thick polycarbonate to serve as a base for my long-overdue Moonbase Alpha kit. Mine is not going to be nearly as ambitious as yours, but I do want to add some detailing the store-bought kit lacked. I also hope to accomplish heightened realism by giving it a decent paint job.

Here's my plan:

Use a wide-format inkjet printer to print out a plan view of Moonbase Alpha. I will place it under the clear polycarbonate and use it as a guide for positioning the buildings and travel tubes.

Scuff up the polycarbonate to give the buildings something to bite onto, and provide an etched surface for the moon terrain which will be applied as a thin layer of paintable clay.

Glue the buildings directly to the polycarbonate, and add the travel tubes and "joints" thereafter.

Add sheet styrene strips and pieces to the buildings to give them better relief, and paint the buildings with various shades of white and gray to give them greater depth.

Apply a thin film of paintable clay, and produce "craters" and some simple geographic features before the clay hardens.

Paint the clay "Moondust Gray" (there's no such color, but I'll invent one! LOL).

Drill two holes in the top corners of the polycarbonate, and hang the Moonbase on the wall above my collection of Product Enterprise Eagles!

Voila! Thirty-three years in the making, I will finally have a model of Alpha I'd be proud to call my own!

Here's my "trial fit":



The blue protective film on the bottom of the polycarbonate will be removed when it comes time to lay down the building layout.

Per your suggestion, my progress will be documented here...
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Old 26-10-2008, 10:33 PM   #14
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Lookin good Celtic. Keep us posted on the progress.
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Old 27-10-2008, 01:24 PM   #15
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Cool!
I think I brought this up on another thread a year or so ago... I'd thought about doing something like that, CelticNut, and drilling out a bunch of windows so that the whole model could be lit up by a single lightbulb placed beneath the clear surface. The plastic walls on the buildings are very thick, though, so the drilling might take a lot of effort.

Oh, just a note to everyone: don't forget that the 'micro Eagles' that come with the kit are about twice as big as they should be. So if you want an Alpha in scale to the Eagles, scratch build one. (I'm tempted, but lack the room to store it at this point.)
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Old 27-10-2008, 07:59 PM   #16
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On that point I'm building a pad to match the micro Eagle,which though still neding work doing to it shows the size differential-the cross is just a paper test,the actual artwork will be a waterslide decal,plus reduced size ones for the AMT size pads on my moonbase model.


Last edited by steve36uk; 27-10-2008 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 27-10-2008, 09:50 PM   #17
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Very nice.
You can see why I'm concerned about display space for an Alpha made to scale! (It wouldn't be studio scale, of course, but it would still take up a dining room table. Ah, who needs to eat at a table, anyway? )
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Old 27-10-2008, 10:11 PM   #18
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Well if you made it large enough the launch pads could double up as plates.......
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Old 27-10-2008, 10:35 PM   #19
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Old 28-10-2008, 02:20 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CR View Post
I'd thought about doing something like that, CelticNut, and drilling out a bunch of windows so that the whole model could be lit up by a single lightbulb placed beneath the clear surface. The plastic walls on the buildings are very thick, though, so the drilling might take a lot of effort.
I (briefly) considered what you proposed above. However, like you, I want to finish this kit in my lifetime! I built my first kit back in '75, but it didn't survive my adolescence. I seem to remember Alpha being destroyed (time and again) by firecrackers and flaming globs of wax.

I'll probably do what I did back then to "illuminate" Alpha's windows: Cut tiny segments of fluorescent yellow and chrome modeling tape and affix them to the sides of the buildings. If memory serves, it accomplished the illusion of illumination. The tape is only a millimeter or two in width, so one roll was more than enough to "light up" the Moonbase.

Here's my moonbase footprint:



...and a test fit:



The scale was nearly a perfect match, but there were obvious differences in shape. Still, it's close enough to use as a guide for placement.
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