A Clumsy Build: Star Wars Virago starfighter

ClumsyModeler

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Feb 21, 2012
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135
Thanks you two, I appreciate the words of encouragement!

Tonight might be a bit light on updates, just got word about some potential job openings that would be good for my career progression so I'll have to deal with the applications process (US Gov't job application suuuucks!). If I'm lucky I might have a small bit of time afterwards to work on the Virago, but since this job opening is only available for application tonight and tomorrow, I have to put my priorities in order. Bleh.

I guess putting off my model for one night is worth it for the potential increase in income and training opportunities. :)
 

Igard

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May 16, 2011
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Work must always come first. Just think of the models you'll be able to afford with more income!!! ;D

Good luck with it, mate. :)
 

SLW45

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Apr 3, 2011
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Good luck on both the job and the build
And the build will be there when you have time
 

ClumsyModeler

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Feb 21, 2012
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I managed to take care of updating the 'ol resume and submitted my application with time to spare, so I spent a little bit of time wrestling with the Virago. I started on the engine housings tonight and true to form these components are going to need a lot of love as well.

Here's a shot of the bits I cut from the sprue, as well as a pic of the problem area between the two halves of the engine housing:

ettsax.jpg

16k4d3q.jpg

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In terms of parts count and how they go together, this kit really is a simple one to build. Thanks to the poor seam placements, though, it makes this kit a hard one to put together right. I'm not looking for perfection, but I'd like it to look good enough to display. The design really is growing on me. Here's where I'm leaving off for the night:

11io512.jpg

Can't wait for the weekend to start so I can really dive in and make some real progress on this pain in the posterior! :D
 

Ziz

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Sep 24, 2011
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Just align the engine halves by making the front and rear edges level to get good seams on those parts. It's easier to putty and sand the center seams than to re-build the edges of the engine cones.
 

ClumsyModeler

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Feb 21, 2012
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I don't believe the center seams are supposed to be filled, are they? The gap needs to be filled, but that trench between the two halves... Fill it, or no?
 

ModelMakerMike

"It's Slobberin' time""
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May 28, 2011
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I built one of these when they first came out, and I too was disappointed with the cheapness of the kit.
As I recall, it had no clear parts for the canopy. The barrels of the guns weren't even, and the thickness of them varied. I like ths design of the ship, and if I were to build one these days, I would do more enhancements to it, with details and stuff. I might venture a guess of maybe 1/32nd scale? But I don't know.
It's been a while since I have seen my model, and even longer since I have seen the video game.
Have fun with this, and build it HOWEVER YOU want. :D
 

Ziz

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Sep 24, 2011
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ClumsyModeler said:
I don't believe the center seams are supposed to be filled, are they? The gap needs to be filled, but that trench between the two halves... Fill it, or no?

Right, that's what I meant. Point is, glue the parts based on making the ends flush. It's easier than trying to make the seam tight and then having to re-work the ends.
 

ClumsyModeler

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Feb 21, 2012
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ModelMakerMike said:
I built one of these when they first came out, and I too was disappointed with the cheapness of the kit.
As I recall, it had no clear parts for the canopy. The barrels of the guns weren't even, and the thickness of them varied. I like ths design of the ship, and if I were to build one these days, I would do more enhancements to it, with details and stuff. I might venture a guess of maybe 1/32nd scale? But I don't know.
It's been a while since I have seen my model, and even longer since I have seen the video game.
Have fun with this, and build it HOWEVER YOU want. :D
All observations I've made with my kit as well. It's almost like AMT knew this was a lame duck and put in the minimum effort to get the kit out the door. Ah well, it's a good warm-up for my next kit - whichever one it may be. :) Thanks for the info!

Ziz said:
Right, that's what I meant. Point is, glue the parts based on making the ends flush. It's easier than trying to make the seam tight and then having to re-work the ends.
Ah, got it! I can be a bit dense at times, just hang with me. :-[
 

Kryptosdaddy

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Oct 26, 2011
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You can work around some of this with some thin styrene strips, cut em and slide them into the big gaps. much easier filling then.
 

ClumsyModeler

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Feb 21, 2012
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I was thinking of using that technique. I've got some styrene sheets I can use for the task. Also, what about careful putty work using styrene melted in MEK? I can use a putty spatula and fill in the gaps from the backside, then file from the front to even it out. Thoughts on this?
 

Grendels

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Nov 24, 2009
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I have tried this before, and while it does work, I found that I needed practice at it for the method to be useful. The strip styrene method is much easier to work with.

Nothing wrong with using putty. Most putties are softer than the plastic of the model which makes it easier to remove the putty. You will sand away the putty first before you remove the plastic.

A real good putty is bondo spot glazing putty. Cures fast, is softer than the plastic, and thins with acetone fingernail polish remover. Also, you can get it at any auto parts store, or home improvement store for a good price.
 

ClumsyModeler

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Feb 21, 2012
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I guess I might as well start practicing with the styrene putty mix on this kit, then.

I also got in a few extra doodads to help with my modeling - one being a drink mixer so I can mix my paints faster, and the best one is a large architect's lamp. Here's a pic of it:

jh5zyh.jpg

It works great, now I can model clear into the night, LOL. OK, enough screwing around: I'm going back to work. :)
 

ClumsyModeler

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Feb 21, 2012
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Thanks, if anyone's interested in a lamp like that for themselves you can get it from Amazon.com, here's the LINK.

OK, so after I got home from work I headed out to the hobby shop with the Mrs and picked up a few new toys and doodads for the bench. A new self healing mat, sanding sticks (got lazy and didn't want to stop by the beauty supply store), paint palettes, and my favorite: Tamiya x-tra thin glue. WOW. I thought Tenax was the business, but this stuff is great! I can see where each one would work better in specific situations, but I'll try to do the majority of my building with the Tamiya stuff.

Tonight I focused on the engines and all the needed sanding, fitting, filling and, well, more sanding. The engine pods are together now, but they took all night, basically. I used my typical Squadron green putty thinned with Testors liquid glue (the stuff with MEK in it). I've managed to get a bit more efficient with the stuff, avoiding putting it on too thick or getting it all over the place. I also try to wipe off the excess with my putty spatula to reduce sanding and filing time.

So to fill in the lovely gaps between the halves, I thinned the putty to a consistency that was pretty close to a runny milkshake.

14joks9.jpg

I then troweled it into place from the backside of the assembled halves, taking care not to push too much putty in, as it will pool up on the other side and cause you to clean up the mess.

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Now we place the intake onto the engine pod and. . . What the *)$# is THIS?!

2s00h91.jpg

OK, let's start puttying up this badboy. I swear kits like this could singlehandedly keep Squadron in business thanks to their voracious appetite for putty. I think I'll have to call this kit the puttymonster from here on out.

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After the first round of putty and sanding, it's getting a second dose after this one!:

4gi0av.jpg

OK, those are drying - time to move on to the wings:

14wpqnq.jpg

*Messes with wings for a bit, filing, sanding and making little progress for the time spent*

Uh, you know what? Let's just skip that for a while! Back to the engines. I took care to make sure my engine thruster nozzles were going to be placed in a symmetrical order. Laugh all you want! :D

1z4z51e.jpg

And of course, the back end needs attention from the putty brush and spatula as well. Not as bad as the front, however:

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And that's where I'm leaving off for the night. Not bad for today's effort. Tomorrow I'll finish sanding the putty on the engine pods and will tackle the wings afterwards. Yeah, I'm not looking forward to them. I think once I get some acetone from the hardware store I'll start experimenting with the Bondo spot glazing putty I've had sitting in my toolbox.

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome! Sorry for all the pics, but I want to give people who may want to tackle this kit a head's-up regarding what's in store with them. The kit seems very simple, but it's correcting all the gaps and poorly fit parts that ups the challenge. I still suggest if anyone has an interest in the kit to get one and give it a shot! If I can do it, anyone can!
 

Ziz

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Sep 24, 2011
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I do the same thing with putty but instead of making a mixture in a jar I just dab the putty blob with Testor's Liquid Cement while it's still on the end of the X-Acto. Once I get it basically smeared into the groove I'm trying to fill, I dab a little more glue on. At that point it's usually soft and wet enough to be workable.
 

Grendels

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Nov 24, 2009
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Just keep at it, it looks like you got your technique down!


Igard said:
Nice work on those gaps. This kit would seriously test my patience.

It seems like a normal kit to me!
 

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