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This is the MQ-1C Gray Eagle and completes my series of large US Military Reconnaissance Drones starting with the RQ-2 through the MQ-8C. As the few of you who have been paying attention might remember I have in the past complained about the lack of a 1/72 kit for the MQ-1C. Italeri made a die cast model that they called am MQ-1c, but it looks like they based it on their MQ-1B Predator kit and it has no resemblance to the Gray Eagle which is larger, has a very different engine housing and carried more ordnance. . However in my searching for something I came across this web site; https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/model/288eda09ce849054c00d89a3d1c6a249/Aircraft-General-Atomics-MQ-1C-Sky-Warrior that has a 3D model of it, and since I had previously purchased from Shapeways at https://www.shapeways.com/, so I figured I would give them a try . I should note here that none of my following trials and tribulations are their fault and they did an excellent and quick job. The first issue I had was that the rendering I downloaded is in Sketchup format and Shapeways doesn't handle Sketchup. Luckily I was able to convert it into .dae (COLLAborative Design Activity) format which Shapeways does accept. So I uploaded it to their website. Next I had to choose which of their many plastics to print it is. Here I made my first mistake and chose their Strong and Flexible Plastic, which is also their cheapest. They immediately notified me that due to the thinness of the tail and other surfaces that the model would not survive the printing and finishing process, but that I could choose the "Print it Anyway" option and they would do the best they could and would skip the finishing and polishing. I should have tried the HP Plastic instead, but it was twice as much money so I went with the Print it Anyway option. A week later I had my model on the door step. With the exception of the landing gear all the other parts were there, but everything was pretty rough and I ended up discarding the ordnance, props, and tail surfaces. I also wan't happy with the sensor turret and cut it off. Expecting that I would have to replace some parts I had purchased a Platz MQ-1B kit to act as a donor. This was my second mistake. I chose the MQ-1B because it was close in size to the -1C, but I would have been better off choosing the Skunkmodels MQ-9 Reaper kit, also the MQ-9 kit would have cost me 3 times the price. . They landing gear would have been closer in size, I could have used the ordnance and pylons that came with it and I could have used the props and spinner. As it was I used the landing gear, tail surfaces, weapons pylons and front turret from the -1B kit and the props and Hellfire missiles from spares. The main lading gear is turned out to be a bit too short, but I used it anyway. The unpolished model was very rough; and it defied my efforts to get a smooth finish. I finally was able to smooth it out after applying several coats of Mr. Surfacer, and thin CAA glue. Again this was not Shapeways fault but my choosing the wrong plastic and the Print it Anyway option. I ended up separating the wings from the fuselage so I could polish them separately. In anticipation of having problems gluing parts to the plastic I had ordered several epoxies and glues for "problem" plastics but Zap CAA+ worked fine and made strong joints. Tamiya lacquer primer also seemed to work well and from there it was just using my usual Humbrol enamel paints. US Army marking are pretty minimalist so that made decaling sinple. So now on to the pictures. and here is the whole collection From left to right and in chronological order of first flights they are MQ-8C Fire Scout, MQ-4C Triton, MQ-1C Gray Eagle, MQ-9 Reaper, MQ-8B Fire Scout, RQ-4B Global Hawk, MQ-1B Predator, RQ-7B Shadow, RQ-5B Hunter, and RQ-2A Pioneer. Next up is the Heller E-3 Sentry. Enjoy.
This is a conversion of the IBG Bedford QLD to a twin boon refueller. The cab, chassis and running gear are from the donar kit whilst the majority of the refueller parts have been 3d printed, the finer detail was then added with scratch building.
I was chatting with an acquaintance the other day combining my twin passions of modelling & technology! He mentioned how 3D printing was coming on leaps & bounds and how it would find its way into the home before too long. Having seen for myself at CES 13 in Vegas (the massive annual consumer electronics show) & in TV reports from CES 14, it's clear this area is one to watch. Are they any views how this would impact on the accessorises/after-market market for modelling? The clever bit will be doing the design work on CAD and then selling the files as downloads that can be 'printed' remotely. Perhaps your 'Local Model Shop' (if you have one!) would be able to justify investing in a printer, which would also help bring people to the store. No mucking around with casting - just 'print' on demand. No stock holding. From what I understand the detailing is pretty good nowadays, the materials pretty workable and you can even 'print' now in different colours. Thoughts?
A very very long time ago I started on a B737-200 I wanted to set myself a challenge so I decided on a project to build a B737-200 Combi fitted with a gravel kit etc. and with all the doors open being loaded up in the snow of the Canadian north....... Over a few weeks I collected together a kit, some AM stuff etc. as a starting point: The Airfix engines are known to be a poor representation of the -200 engines (narrow pylons being the first issue!) hence the braz resin engines. All was well until I looked at the Braz engines in the above shot.... which had degraded silicon bits from the mold down their tail-pipes... not good! but Hannants were their excellent selves and we quickly determined that all 2 of their remaining stock had the same issue so they went back for a refund. A bit more online retail therapy and I had some Nazca decals and the authentic airliners resin engines (lovelly things): I know the extratech PE is for a different model of B737 but I was using it for the common parts.... A few weeks later after some scratch interior building, cutting a cargo door opening and I was thinking about the cargo door itself: But in the end the windows just didn't look right and the internal detail on the whole aircraft was poor, the windows are in the wrong place on the model, the doors are wrong and the nose shape and cockpit windows are also way off..... Skip forward 3 years and I started using 3D printing at work to build replicas of skulls (useful for teaching anatomy). I've been modelling aircraft in 3D programmes for years (used to sell them for flight simulators) and remembered I had a 727 model somewhere.... the fuselage isn't that different so it might be easy to adapt it to make a 737-200. Skip forward another year of messing around in Blender, 3DStudioMax, ZBrush, Polyworks, Rhino and all manner of other 3D programmes I work with and I had a set of STL models that I was happy with. So this Christmas I borrowed our newest 3D printer from work and this is what we get: These are my external shape masters.... but there was a problem. It was cold the day I went out and left these to print (18hour print time at 40micron layer size) and I wasn't thorough enough with the glue (pritstick) on the glass build plate so I ended up with the left side's nose lifting off the build plate and warping (bugger!): Now printing a new left side wasn't an issue but it takes a lot of plastic and 9 and a bit hours! so a quick edit in blender and I printed off just the nose section from just forward of the left door: Might have been a bit OTT with the glue this time as it took 3 hours soaking in warm soapy water to get the damn print off the glass! Next up: how to perform rhinoplasty (nosejob) on a 737.... Marked up and chopped off the dodgy nose: Lined up and glued the new nose on using the right hand side as a guide: A bit of Perfect Plastic Putty (wonderful stuff!): Have just sanded off the excess filler and it all looks spot on. Next up printing the internal details masters, molding them all in silicon and then casting the rough resin detail masters from these molds. I'll then add all the small details, panel lines etc. on those resin casts as the 3D printer plastic is very hard and therefore difficult to sand etc. More later. FB