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Work In Progress : S.S. Hyperion


This is an original design that I put together... oooh, about 30 years ago when mucking about with super-8. The original was cardboard with two jet-engines from a 1:35 Frog Messerschmitt 262. It was a bit smaller and had a bit of a different engine area.

A couple of months ago, I noticed that I had two different types of water filter cartridge that would go together very nicely, so I decided to have a go at rebuilding the old design, under the name of "S.S. Hyperion".

Here it is :

A friend nicknamed it "The Flying Coffin"(!)


Oh now that is nice.
I love the way the filters just look right... almost as if they had been designed with scratchbuilders in mind :D

That will look fantastic fully painted and weathered.


I'm hoping to install rotating lights in the front and back of the cartridges, as soon as I get my courage up and start soldering the circuits up.

In the meantime I happened to be wandering up a street near me, to find that the local model hobbies shop has opened up a "Bargain" area, so I picked up two kits for 10 Euro : a 1/100 Apache Helicopter and an Italieri Leopard tank. Both seem very well moulded and will contribute considerable wiggets to the build.


I had the Italeri 1/35 Leaopard 1A4 about 16 years ago and I thought it was a good kit. Not sure if it was that kit, but Italeri are generally well-moulded.


This is the 1/72 scale one. Interestingly enough the tracks are solid plastic, and have to be assembled, with separate links that have to be assembled for the parts that curve round the wheels. It is very well-moulded. I'd say on a par with Tamiya.


I've actually stopped work on Hyperion for the moment, due to waiting on some parts for the lighting, in favour of her sister ship, the Elysium. This ship uses the same filter cartridge engine design, but has 3 engines and a very "Thunderbird 2" nose shape.

I started on the nose by making a 3d cardboard template, then cutting out filler pieces from a sheet of extruded polystyrene foam. This is the infamous "pink foam" you hear a lot about on various forums. It's pretty cheap, as you can get a 1M x 1.5M x 3cm sheet for 5 euro, and, because it's used in building insulation, you can usually find chunks of it in skips! Compare that to the horrendous prices for balsa, which is now a protected wood....

Anyway, after about an hour's carving with a craft knife, I had a reasonably Thunderbirdy snout shape. I was surprised I could even sand the foam, although if you get a bit too eager, it melts.

Next phase, paint it to seal the foam, as it will apparently react badly if directly coated with bondo/isopon/epoxy putty. I tried this with gloss paint. The results weren't too great, as the foam seemed to absorb the paint. Second attempt to seal it : PVA wood glue (well, Ponal, the german equivalent) as suggested on for sealing plastazote foam. Initial attempts with diluted PVA didn't work well, due to the foam causing surface tension problems and making all the glue run off. Undiluted glue worked a lot better, making a nice thick even coat.

Finally, the chance to play with epoxy putty! Well, between the Minis and the Striker (as you see on the Avatar) I'm no stranger to working with it, or fibreglass layup, for that matter. (The wings on the Striker required quite a bit), so I spent the weekend on my balcony making strange smells, and sanding away madly. I coated the pattern once, rubbed it back smooth, then filled the various imperfections with plastic putty, rubbed those back, then put on another layer, rubbed that back this evening and am now waiting for the second set of filled imperfections to dry.

I'm wondering which way to go with this : either make a plaster mould to then produce the nose halves (I've only done the top half so far, the bottom is next on the list) by fibreglassing/moulding isopon, or building a small vacuum table and taking two pulls - one in thicker plastic, then one in thin plastic for panel detailing. Having learnt a few lessons from the first project, the chassis for this model will either be thin MDF or perspex, depending what I can find at the DIY store.

Pictures to follow as soon as I get them off the phone.


Speaking of balsa, I can't help but remember my introduction to the world of scratch-modelling at the age of 9 in 1975 : I bought a huge chunk of balsa for what seemed to be next to nothing : 5cm x 5cm x 1 metre, and proceeded to attempt to make models based on the front cover of the Puffin edition of Arthur C. Clarke's "Islands In the Sky". The cover in question is the rather childishly-drawn one, which nevertheless features the "2001" Orion Shuttle in the background (although I didn't know it at the time).

I had no idea how to make spheres, and so spent a lot of time sanding away to get a near-approximation. I also didn't know anything about sealing wood, and painted the models with gloss paint and black Humbrol enamel. Well, my father wasn't about to trust me with fibreglass for the next 20 years or so...

I wish I had taken some photos of them. I had quite a little fleet, including a very crude Orion.


Talk about back from the dead..

I've resurrected the Hyperion, given it a decent coat of paint, some dry decals and a bit of a rub-down with a wash made from burnt umber acrylic, with a little black in there.

hyperion clean.jpg
When last seen, our Hero's ride had a fresh paint job. The sort that no self-respecting space pirate (let alone his hairy co-pilot) would allow to last for long, so...

A bit of letraset, some go-faster stripes and lashings of grime later...

As you can see, they've had a bit of an oil-leak...

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Wow!!!... Looking very good Mr Dix Sir.....:thumbup:
Fantastic paint up and weather..
Well done buddy on the resurrection!!

Regards Andy..:D


Yeah not too bad buddy, just dropping in on ETF and various other sites...
Building some small scale WW2 kits and scratch building the dioramas and extras... Nothing special...... :-/

Oh and looking at your excellent Thunderbirds paintings... Fantastic matey, well done!!:clap::clap::clap:

Take care bud, stay well and Model Happy.... :yes:

Regards Andy... :D