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Spaceship Crash Site 


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The inspiration for this vignette came from this sketch by concept artist, Guy Warley.

 

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I originally planned to have the figures to be backpackers or maybe having a picnic, unaware they were sitting upon the site of an ancient extraterrestrial ruin. Then I could call the piece, “Picnic at the Ruins of ARK Polaris”, or some such.  I also thought it would be funny to have one of the figures have a metal detector, but I’ve been unable, as yet, to find an HO scale detectorist figure.

 

The ship hull was printed in polystyrene. I made the ship a bit more organic than the one in the drawing, as I thought it would look cool if the engines were nestled in recesses. After some minor body work with sandpaper and Tamiya putty:

 

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The engines themselves were designed in the free version of Fusion 360 cad software and printed. I also added some kit part details between the engines, but I think this will be largely invisible in the finished piece. 

 

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Here are things mocked up. I bulked out the ship with some styrene insulation. I think the overall base will need to be slightly bigger, but overall I’m pleased with how it’s turning out.

That’s all for now. Thanks for looking.

Edited by Photon
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Hi Photon,

I love the inspirational sketch and I'm betting the diorama is going to look even better. I'm quite pleased to see some 3D printing making an appearance. How long did it take to print that lot?

As for HO detectorists, I haven't a clue. Are there no HO WWII mine detectorists figures on the market? How about a chap digging a hole with a spade/shovel, using a broom, and modifying that?

 

Just a suggestion, but could the people stood on top be a father and son, facing the other way and looking at the sky through binoculars? The brass plate on the base could be engraved with 'Dad, dad, I think I saw a UFO!'

 

Rearguards,

Badder

Edited by Badder
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Thanks. The main ship hull was printed with polystyrene filament and probably took around 6hrs or so. It’s about 13 cm in diameter.

The engines were printed on a resin printer. I was able to print them in pairs and if I recall took about 4-5 hrs. per go.

 

thanks, those are good suggestions about the figures. I have seen some solders with mine detectors. I’m not above modifying the figures. I think my main goal is to have a bit of humor, since the whole scene will be rather cartoonish.

 

Peter 

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  • 1 month later...

As usual, I’m bouncing between multiple projects. I finally put some time into this and thought I’d share some progress.

 

I thought the ship hull looked a bit stark, so I decided to have a go making some panels. In order to get them to conform to the compound curves of the hull, I vacuum formed them. I printed three instances of this portion of the ship.
 

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I arranged them with a triangular plywood spacer, so the plastic wouldn’t have to be drawn as deep, preserving a bit of material thickness in the final parts.

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vacuum-forming machine:

 

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Here’s the result. The form is still trapped within the part, as I wasn’t too concerned with undercuts. Also it will provide some needed support whilst scribing.
 

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I scribed some lines into the panels using a chisel made from a ground down needle file. Scribing an ellipse onto a curved surface was challenging, but I got better at it as I went. The worst of them will positioned so it will be hard to see in the final piece.
 

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Here’s the ‘chisel:
 

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After scribing, the panels were trimmed to size.
 

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Here is the hull fully paneled, with some grey primer. I’ve started to paint and weather the engines, as well. They’ve got a ways to go.
 

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I also started to bulk out the base. I will paint the ship before attaching it, then continue to add ground material.
 

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That’s all for now. Thanks for looking. Hopefully it won’t be quite as long before the next update.

 

Edited by Photon
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I needed the panels to be thin shells that would fit perfectly over the ship hull. The shapes that I’m forming over are identically sized to the original. That means the inside of the vacuum formed panel will conform perfectly to the model. To 3D model a thin shell that would conform to the surface of the ship is beyond my computer skills and would be difficult to print without warping. Also, I really like vacuum forming and don’t get many opportunities to do it.
 

Thanks

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Great to see more on this. May I ask what you used to bulk out the base, looks nice and solid, I especially like the flat side for a poured concrete effect. The vac formed panels are a nice addition. The thinness lends itself to maybe showing damage from the crash, torn up outer skin revealing damaged internal details.

 

q

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Thanks. I used plaster mixed with some paper pulp to bulk it out. The paper pulp is an entire roll of toilet paper that I shredded with an immersion blender (in water to keep the dust down). Then I spread it on an old window screen and let the water evaporate. I just add it to the plaster mix by eye as needed. The right consistency is similar to loose porridge or cottage cheese. It’s an attempt to DIY a product called Sculpt-a-mold, that is popular with war gamers and model railroaders. 
 

The plaster that I used is a brand called Durham’s Water Putty. It’s yellow because they add limestone and other minerals to the mix. I’m not sure what properties that imparts. For the smooth sides, I mixed it a bit thicker and didn’t add any paper. If you look close at the last picture, you can see the sides are just a skim coat over the edges of the foam insulation that the base is made from.

Edited by Photon
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  • 1 month later...

Waiting for the plaster to fully dry, then weathering and vegetation. Still haven’t found any suitable figures in HO scale. Maybe if I widen my search to include 1:72, I’ll probably have better luck. 1:72 is a bit bigger than I’d like, though.
 

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That is looking good. Great texture on the soil/rock and I like the green on the ship.

Re the figures, did you try 1/100 scale? Smaller figures would visually increase the size of the ship & make it even more impressive.

More difficult to paint, obviously, but hey, what else is there to do?

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Thanks, Pete. I actually haven’t looked at 1/100. Outside of Gundam stuff, I wasn’t aware of many things being produced at that scale. Is it a tabletop game scale?
 

I really like the texture, too. Unfortunately, it will mostly be covered in grass. I have some ideas for a couple submersible drone models. I think this texture will be well-suited to undersea landscape.

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I do have some HO scale astronaut figures left over from another project that could be modified to look less ‘astronautical ’ and maybe a bit more ‘hazmatic’. 😜 
They’re a bit soft, as far as details go, but some micro putty work and I think they could be brought closer to the ones in the original drawing.

 

Here’s what the HO figures look like in the scene.  What do you think scale wise? 1/100 figures would certainly lend some titanic grandeur, but I do like the idea of finishing this in my lifetime. 

 

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There’s a large war gaming / toy solder shop and a huge model train shop just a few miles from here, but I’d rather not venture out into the corona hellscape unnecessarily . (And I when I think about what I’ve paid on postage this year to have various supplies sent here 😭)

 

 

Edited by Photon
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The astronauts might work, but I prefer the idea of mountain climbers/walkers.

Do Preiser figures make it over there? They do 1/87 HO and N gauge. Ready painted too!

There are also bundles of unpainted figures from China.

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Yes, I’ve had my eye on some Preiser backpackers, but they’re pricey and often out of stock.
 

As I recall, I wasn’t 100% in love with them (their garb is too distinctly Bavarian),  but maybe I’ll just grab them, because I do prefer the idea of hikers.

Edited by Photon
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What an awesome project and such industrial work going into it!

 

I've got some 100th scale figures, they are very basic 'architectural' models just intended to fill out design models I guess but were very cheap on eBay from China.

 

I managed to reshape mine into Herman Goring and Hanna Reitsch with some headswapping and scalpel work.

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Cool project. Looking forward to seeing it finished.

 

Some figure options you may not have come across:

 

Here are some that somewhat fit the original drawing.

 

And here is one that might work, but would change the story somewhat.

 

Matt

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for all the leads on some scale figures. Very helpful. 
I finally picked up some backpacker figures. They’re not 100% what I was looking for, but I’m getting anxious to finish.

 I have added some fine dirt. This was just dirt from pile at a job site near where I work. I grabbed a couple yogurt cups full and then later sifted it through a wire screen to get rid of  rocks and plant debris. I applied some glue with a brush (Mod Podge matte) to the plaster. A nylon stocking was stretched over the yogurt cup and shook it over the model, salt shaker style. Only the finest powder made it through the stocking, so it looks reasonably in-scale.
 

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Here I’ve added some static grass (WWS brand). The applicator was made from an electric fly swatter from the junk shop (cheapness), using instructions gleaned from a thousand YouTube videos. There’s also a bit of weathering...some oil paint rain streaks and some dirt, dust and mud clumps. 

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Next I’ll add some of the vine like vegetation hanging from the engines, as seen in the original sketch. 
Over & Out, Pete

 


 

 

Edited by Photon
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