Monday, March 8, 2010

The Rodian Runabout (In Progress)

Here's the Rodian Runabout, the latest of my custom landspeeders.  This one was a complicated model, and it has given me quite a few headaches.

It is based on an old 1:43 diecast toy car called a Bertone Runabout, a funky little sports-car from the 1970's.  The toy had a neat retro vibe, which I felt fit in nicely with the design aesthetic of the original Star Wars film.  You can see a picture of one of these toys HERE.  So, a couple years ago I bought a beat-up used car for about $3 on ebay, and my headaches began.

The first thing I did was to take the whole thing apart.  This guy wasn't held together with easily-removable screws like the Batmobile toys I used for some of the other speeders.  This meant drilling out the 2 rivets used to hold the thing together with a large bit power drill.  Once apart, I trimmed off the bits of scrap metal around the holes, and gave the metal parts of the car a bath in PineSol.  After a few days, the paint was ready to come off with the help of a brass brush.

The rest of these photos are of the model before it was painted -- you can see where I had to fill in the body with brown or green epoxy putty.  The front wheels had to have their fenders ground out, and then the holes were filled and filed smooth.

The engine pods are from my bits-box (they were actually the internal engines from the Bat-submersible toy -- let nothing go to waste!)  They were secured into place with a flat piece of brass, then I filled in around it with putty.  At last, the model was taking shape!


The glass canopy of the Speeder was made by making a solid form, which was used in a vaccu-former to make the clear plastic dome.  This took a few tries to get right.  A big thanks to my pal Brian and his vaccu-former for making this part possible!  The 'Buck Rogers' style bubble-canopy is really my favorite part of the speeder, and it will keep the sand of Tatooine out of our driver's eyes!


Did I mention that this one caused me some headaches?  It crossed the line from being 'fun' to 'frustrating', and I very nearly threw it into the trash a few times.

I showed the finished model to the good folks at Armorcast, and they offered to try to cast the thing in resin.  It was something of a problem for them to cast, though, as it was not really designed for production.  Kudos to Armocast... the model shown in the first 3 photos is a casting of the original!  This last process actually went pretty smoothly, and I ended up with a few extras for the other racers in our gaming group to paint.  I may revisit this speeder at some point in the future to make it easier to produce -- probably replacing the engine pods with something much simpler, like those on Luke's speeder.

I'm still not quite happy with the finished figure, it still needs a Rodian crew (in progress), and further painting and weathering.  But I've decided to set it aside for a while for my sanity!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Mon Calamari Ferrari

OK, here is a new one -- the Mon Calamari Ferrari!  I wanted a speeder that looked like it was designed for operating over water rather than land, as the Mon Cals come from a water-world.  This is how it was done:

This landspeeder is converted from a Corgi Batman 'Batsubmersible' 1:43 scale diecast toy that came out a few years ago.  You can see a picture of one HERE.  I took it apart and removed the glass domes to allow for spots for the Mon Cal crew to sit. The 'dorsal fin' was cut down considerably, as the toy's fin was rather huge and silly.  Cutting the fin down was hard work, it was the hardest plastic I have ever tried to cut, almost like metal.  At least I know it will be durable!  It had pop-out pods on the side, I glued these permanently in, to keep it looking sleek and organic.

The crew miniatures are converted slightly; they were originally Mon Calamary Mercenaries, from the 'Rebel Storm' set.  I gave them new head positions, racing suits, and new paint jobs -- then glued into the open ports. Last, the whole thing was mounted on a spare base from a Flash Speeder, for compatibility with the rest of the Speeders. I kept the original paint job (for the most part), only having to repaint the rear engines and the dorsal fin (because I cut it down.)

I like this one quite a bit -- it looks suitably aquatic, which fits the Mon Calamari background, and even has some of the smooth, organic aesthetic of the movie ship designs.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Sith Speeder

This one was a more complex project.

The Sith Speeder was was converted from a Corgi die-cast 1:43 scale 1990's Batmobile toy.  (You can see a picture of the original toy HERE.  It took quite a lot of cutting with a dremel tool -- I had to remove the front wheel-fenders altogether -- and then a LOT of filling and filing. The jet pods were made from assorted parts in my bits box.

I painted the Speeder to match its driver, a Mistral Shadow Guard. The weathering was a fun effect -- it was added after the paintjob is complete, by painting silver paint in dabs where the body would be hit be debris, while traveling at high speeds (mainly the front plate, and some of the edges and sides.)  ILM model-making deptartment -- I await your call!

The entire rear of the landspeeder is hinged, so it can flip up to access the engine inside. I've included a photo of this, it's a pretty cool effect.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Simple Landspeeders

Here's a couple more.  These were really easy projects -- they are Speeders from the old Galoob Action Fleet toys (their "Battle Packs" line).  I re-based these onto extra bases that I pulled off from the "Flash Speeder" minis from the SW Miniatures "Universe" set (the original Galoob toys have clear plastic wheels.)

I didn't bother to repaint them though, as I think these paint jobs are pretty good as is (though I may weather them further at some point in the future.)

The first is the Lars Family Landspeeder, a Sorosuub V-35 Courier.  It's from the Galoob "Lars Family Homestead" Battle Pack.



Next is Luke's Landspeeder, a Sorosuub X-34.  It's from Galoob's "Cantina Encounter" Battle Pack.  I figure this guy picked it up cheap after Luke sold it before leaving the planet.

Just a few more contestants, and we'll be ready to start the race!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Custom Gian Landspeeder

OK, let's start out with something cool -- it is no secret I'm a big Star Wars geek, and over the years I've collected a bunch of the WotC pre-painted plastic miniatures.  A while back I got the idea into my head to make some custom landspeeders that would be compatible with the WotC miniature range (28mm figures).

Here are some photos of the first of these I finished. It's a conversion from the old Gian Speeder playset from the Galoob Action Fleet toy range.  The cool thing about this range of toys was that most of them were scaled somewhere between 1:48 and 1:72 scale, which makes them just about the right size for 28mm figures.  I put some of the figures in the photo for scale reference.

The original toy had big spring-loaded rockets on either side which really made the thing look like a toy.  I removed these and filled in the holes with putty.  I made a few changes to the cockpit as well, but, but this is mostly just a repaint.

Anybody wanna race?

One more: