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Studio Scale UFO Interceptor

badsimmonds

Alphans
Ages ago I managed to get a hold of a fibreglass Interceptor body shell which when complete would be about 27" long. Originally I had ordered a large Interceptor from Product Enterprise and had been allotted a number, however the thought of spending £1200 eventually changed my mind and cancelled the order.
I thought I would give a self build a try and dug out the body from the back of the garage. The first thing was to trim and tidy the two halfs so they would fit together better, next I glued chunks of wood inside the body as anchor points for engine, wings, tail fin etc. This body had no access holes to the interior so I decided to fibreglass a rim round one half to create a lip for the the two parts to fit together. Once this had dried I fine tuned it making sure it was a good a fit as possible. I then mixed up a load of resin and quickly dolloped it along the join and taped the body as tight as possible to stop the resin running out before drying. As usual with me it was a very messy job so I left it for a few days to cure before I started on the next stage.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Once the resin had finally cured I started the long and messy job of removing the excess, sanding and filling. This took some time as just when you thought it was safe to move on you find a fault and it starts all over again.
Eventually its done apart from the final check before painting but that's some time away.
For the ridged cone at the front where the missile is attached to the body I decided to use part of the tightening screw from a paint roller extending pole, I thought this looked just right and saves me trying unsuccessfully to scratch build one. Once it had been cut down to size I then cut part of an ema cone I had lying around for the circular part which has the eight holes in it.
For the missile support tube I'm using an aluminium mop pole so I cut a short section off and used it to create a circular hole by wrapping the pole in parcel tape and stuffing P38 down the sides. Once it dried I was able to remove the pole and add some more P38 to fill any cavities.
As you can see I try and use parts that are already lying around so my model although it will be 27" long when finished will have some compromises though hopefully not enough to spoil it, I hope.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Yes the photos are a great help, I've never seen such detailed photos, they will come in handy at all times during the build and when it comes time to put the decals on. I obtained a set from Paolo from ISOSHADO in Italy, I don't think I've seen so many decals on one model before.
BS
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
When I started making the engine nozzle area I originally used some plastic flower pots as they looked pretty close to the shape required and I had got as far as cutting out the eight recesses. However as the pot was not very thick I used a second one to thicken it up, even after using P38 I was far from happy with the result. It doesn't look too bad in the photos but I can assure it was rubbish so it ended up in the bin.
After much searching I found a double skinned acrylic tumbler in 'The Range' a home supermarket of sorts. With it being double skinned and thicker I was able to make the cutouts using my dremel and used the internal part of the tumbler to fit inside perfectly. I cut out circles of acrylic to blank of the ends and with a sanding it was more or less done.
Between the main body and the engine block there is a rim which increases the diameter of the body up to the engine size, to make this I cut down an EMA cone I had which would act as a join between the body and the engine, it was only about 15mm thick. Again I blanked off the ends with acrylic circles to give it strength and something for the glue to fix onto.
Using some left over drain pipes I made the actual engine nozzle which just fits on the end, this won't be fitted until much later.
Up to this point the construction was fairly straight forward, however it was about to make me think of stopping work and moving onto something else.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
With the engine section sort of done it was time to move onto the wings.
I decided to make them from acrylic so I glued three 4mm thick pieces together. Once dry I sanded them down using an electric sander, of course acrylic will start to melt when subjected to fast sanding and/or sawing but that's not really a problem as you just let it cool down and then break off the excess. Once satisfied to the shape it was back to P38 to fill gaps etc, once again endless sanding and filling. I'd hate to think of the time used just sanding and filling.
To fix the wings to the body I decided to use 4mm steel pins which meant drilling two holes in the edge to about 40mm deep and then drilling two holes in the body (this is why I fixed a chunk of wood inside before joining the body halves together) this was quite tricky getting the right angle, in the end I had to slightly bend the steel pins to get the angle required. The wings won't be fixed on the body until the landing gear has been worked out.
In the meantime I started on the two side thruster units, this is where the fun started as I tried to shape a chunk of balsa to the interceptor body, after three tries I gave up. I then remembered how other modellers got over this (I'm very slow) I used my dremel to cut out rectangular holes on each side then just fitted the balsa into the holes, perfect fit. Now it was just a matter of shaping the balsa.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Balsa wood is a curse and a blessing, easy to shape but so easily damaged.
However due to the shape of the side boosters it had to be balsa and the fact I had some left over from my Firefly project.
I first created the basic shape of the section using a power sander (very carefully) and then moving to various sandpapers until it looked about right. I used my dremel to create the cutout, this was easy to do but tricky in trying to form the correct shape, one wrong move and before you know it a chunk has been removed. After lots of sanding I decided to mix up some fibreglass resin and paint it over the balsa to seal and add a bit of strength to it.
Once this was dry it was back to P38 to cover the whole thing and then sand it down. This took some sometime, in fact two weeks to get both side boosters to a point where they were about ready. This was a bit boring as its endless sanding, filling and spraying.
I put some parcel tap on the main body and fitted the booster into the slot then using p38 I filled the gaps near the engine section, this way I get a perfect fit once sanded, the gaps along the rest of the booster can be done later. I suddenly realised there is another section at the rear of the booster which the nozzles are fixed to so I cut and shaped a pieces of mdf and added them on.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Still working on the two side boosters, once glued into the cut outs they once again get more filling and sanding until they merge with the body plus I had to shape the front of the boosters as they slope up from the body, I'm going through P38 like nothing on earth.
During this I also decided to cut out the two 'engine panels' on either side of the body using a dremel then filed sanded and filled until the edges were acceptable.
Now comes one of the area's which I was dreading - the landing legs.
Like lots of things I don't have the experience or the tools to deal with metal work so it took me two days just staring at the pictures and thinking how to get round this. Eventually I remembered my old meccano set and raked out a few pieces which might help, I also sent off for some brass air hose connectors which look a bit like the interceptor legs. For those perfectionists out there please forgive my compromises, since I'm building this for fun and no-one is going to see my models I can accept the changes I make.
Once the air hose connectors arrived I dug out the meccano parts and lots of brass rods and just tried different combinations of parts until I felt I could produce something that looked like the real thing.
The skids themselves were easy to make from brass strips using a hammer to get the curve up front. Next I had to drill three holes in the end of the wings to take three brass rods which would be the actual leg supports and glue them in place. Then with a lot of cutting, gluing more cutting and swearing I finally had one leg complete. I used up a lot of brass rods as I either cut it too short or bent it in the wrong place. To help with the bending I used the dremel to cut out a V shaped wedge from one side.
I've simplified this section as it took forever to do, once one leg was done it was easy to duplicate the second one as all the problems had been ironed out.
 

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Sea Devil

Alphans
That's coming along quite nicely. As long as the legs can take the weight of the model they will be fine. You remind me of myself when I started building models some years ago, a lot of thinking out side the box is required.
 

SteveDix

Alphans
oh, I know that feeling soooo well. I'd sit for a week wondering how to do a bit of my kit car. The same thing is happening with the moon mobile undercarriage.
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Still working on the landing gear. With one wing leg done and all its problems sorted out the second one was made in a fraction of the time. I'm leaving the front leg until the other two are in place so I'll know the height required.
It was now time to fix the two wings/landing legs to the body.
Previously way back at the beginning I fixed a block of wood inside the body so it would something solid for the wings to fit into. Each wing has two steel rods glued internally and these will fit into two holes drilled through the body into the wood. I found it was easier to slightly bend the rods until I got the desired angle. It was then a matter of gluing and taping and leaving for a day.
I fitted one wing a day so they had plenty of time to set.
Once both had dried it was back to filling in any gaps with P38. Laying out the model absolutely level I was able to measure the distance between body and table so I could start work on the third and final leg. Again this was fairly straight forward even though the leg is different from the other two, my trusty meccano set came in handy again.
So finally the model was able to stand on its own two feet for the first time.
Oh I almost forgot I had to add a piece on the top of each wing which also curved down the end of the wing, this was made up of acrylic pieces sanded down to fit.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Now working on the rear fin, its profile is quite thin so I first thought of acrylic but it could easily snap, next I tried some foam board and got as far as actually shaping a piece. However it really wasn't much good then I remembered I still had some aluminium sheet, right thickness and with enough strength to do the job. I used a jig saw to cut out the shape and then lots of filing and sanding until I was happy. I made the cross fin out of acrylic, why I don't know but I did. I cut a groove in the underside of the fin so it would glue and fit snuggly. Because of the fragile nature of this piece I decided to make it removable, so I cut a couple of holes the exact shape so it could just slide in.
The next thing was the missile, this was made from some plastic drain pipe I had lying around. The sloping section at the rear was cut from an acrylic drinking flute (obtained from the Range shop). This was very thin so I plastered lots of p38 inside to give it more body. The front cone bit was an actual plastic spinner from an r/c aircraft, there are various sizes available but I got one the exact size needed. To create the raised ridges I used very big washers glued together to get the right thickness. The pole used to support the missile was an old aluminium mop pole cut to length, this was secured inside the missile through pre-cut mdf 'washers'. I used some blue thin masking tape (the sort I used on the mobile to create ridges) to form raised lines etc. Then it was just a matter of priming sanding and final painting.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
The two cut outs behind the tail fin have loads of detail in them so I decided to cut up some old circuit boards to fit those spaces, the circuits have lots of bumps and shapes to it so I thought it would be a good base to start from.
Once they were in place I added some pipes and little details I had lying around to make them even busier looking.
The cockpit was an area I had left to the end as I have little or no experience in this area. I did make a very basic interior for my Mobile which was left mostly just grey primer colour as it was an area I wasn't concerned too much about. Plus the windscreens in a mobile are basically flat so were relatively easy to do.
However the interceptor cockpit is an entirely different kettle of fish as its very curvy. To get going I cut out the cockpit following the lines on the body, then sanded and filed the edges. A couple of the curves were too angular so I added some filler and sanded until they looked better.
Because at the very beginning of this build I had added a block of wood inside for various fixings I now found it got in the way of having the cockpit more recessed so I built a very simple interior with a few bits of detail and the back of a seat.
Now it was canopy forming time, I had never done this before so I looked on the internet and found a simple way. This involved carving the shape of the desired canopy in balsa wood and sanding it smooth then mounting it on a pole, next I heated up a sheet of clear plastic with a heat gun and then just pulling it over the mold. It actually turned out not too bad for a first go, I did a second piece which was better but decided to have a third go and its this one I used on the model. The whole process took no time at all and I found if the plastic wasn't correct I could re-heat and use it again.
The final thing left to do was the eight holes around the ridged nose at the front, I did those extremely carefully with a hand held drill, I was very nervous as one wrong mistake and it would ruin the whole piece.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
With construction complete apart from one or two little things it was time for the final paint.
This is an area I always worry about as things have a tendency to go wrong, at least for me. I sanded and primed the model a number of times until I was sure it was ready. However as soon as I started to spray it showed a fault so I had to stop and wait the rest of the day for it to dry before I could rectify it.
The paint I'm using is Halfords Appliance Gloss White mostly because I had some already and had used it on my R2. It doesn't come out true gloss more a sort of satin finish. I turned the model upside down and sprayed then when dry I did the top half. I left it for a day or two to really dry before I started masking off certain areas. I did each landing strut separately then it was the turn of the rear section which is mostly silver. I used my thin blue masking tape I used on my mobile as it does not 'leak' like some standard tapes, then covered the model in a bin liner. The silver paint I used was Plastikote Silver 109s again because I had some lying around from R2. It dries quite well and evens itself out so it looks pretty good. Lastly was the silver band round the cockpit area.
That was the painting done as I had previously finished the tail fin and missile.
The final photo shows the body with its fin and missile in place to see how it looks together. I don't have a photo of the model before the red lines were added a bit amiss of me.
The final finishing details are all that's left to do now.
 

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Slate Mcleod

Alphans
I'm surprised the Halford's paint took so long to dry...it's Acryllic based and I can usually pick up and handle the model after only 30 minutes - especially in the current UK climate. Are you putting on really heavy coats of paint rather than lots of separate thin coats ?
Very nice masking by the way, the model looks great now it has some paint on it ! Worth all of the effort !
 
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badsimmonds

Alphans
When it comes to the finish paint I always leave loads of time before I start masking off or any sanding, in the past I was too impatient and started work on new paint too soon which caused even more headaches. I decided to wait and play safe. With regards to primer it dries very quickly and can be handled in a very short space of time.
 

Sea Devil

Alphans
I can see you still need to add the front intakes and rear engine bells, was there a particular reason for doing them after the paint job?
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
I can see you still need to add the front intakes and rear engine bells, was there a particular reason for doing them after the paint job?

The model is far from finished. When I paint a model anything that's not the default colour is left to the end as its much easier to paint extra items separately and then fit them on.
When I built the UNCL kit of the Thunderbird Elevator Car I actually cut off the two front grilled intakes as it would be easier to paint them and then refit them back on, there by obtaining a nice clean edge to two different colours.
The four jet nozzles are painted separately then fitted as it makes spraying the main colour much easier as there are some awkward corners in that part of the model.
 

Slate Mcleod

Alphans
Agreed its best to leave at least 48 hours before masking as it may pull the paint. I think you have done a great job on this project so far badsimmonds. I especially like the little "adlibs" like the circuit board parts and the brass landing leg bits. They look really good once you painted them. "Outside the box" works well. It's almost impossible to replicate such details in a smaller scale even with scratch building. Am loving this build mate, I login here everyday just to check on your progress ! It don't matter it's not 100% studio perfect...if you like it and I am sure many of us are happy with it too that's good enough. Personally I don't have the skills to build from scratch unless it's my own design. Few here have the skills of Mr Bower and Sissons and we have to make do sometimes - which is fine. Keep up the great work.
 
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