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Rocketfin Hobbies Scale Model Kit Blog and News : SciFi Models

Finding Time to Model, and Fixing Things when it all Goes South

Adding tailfin lights to the Moebius Seaview

When you've modeled many years, and as you get older as an adult, life can sometimes get in the way of actually getting any real modelling done. It doesn't seem to matter where you buld your models, or exactly how you do it. Stuff gets in the way. Most of us are working long hours during the week, so to come home and attempt to wind down, even for a few moments to focus on modelling, is not easy. If only I had more time.

Often we try squeezing model time in at any given chance. Finishing up breakfast? Got a few moments before it's off to the office? Maybe I'll just glue a few parts on and then go. Or you find yourself trying to sit down after a 13 hour day, trying to get your mind to focus long enough to figure out where you are in the build, what needs to be done, and should you glue or paint something before it's off to bed.

It's not that there's a rush to get the model done. After all, it's a hobby, it's something you enjoy. But waiting for glue or paint to dry isn't very exciting. So if you can sneak in a moment to glue a few parts together, so they'll be dry later when you're back to your projects, it always seems to be a good idea.

But things can go wrong, and this happens to every modeler. Especially when you're building something from scratch, or trying out a new model idea, or making a modification to the kit itself. In cases like that, you can't follow the directions exactly. You have to plan, to map out your course of action. What parts need to be assembled first? What needs to be primed or painted first? Do you glue certain parts after the modification, or before? Which parts of the project will take longer to modify? Do you need special accessories for the model kit, or special paint or supplies? Do you need to order them ahead of time? It's a dance that many modelers know well by now after building many years.

Take for instance what I'm working on now. This is a long term project. It might take me a year to finish between smaller model kits along the way. It's the Moebius Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Seaview submarine. First off, it's an amazing kit. It's seriously 36 inches long. And while I could easily glue it together in probably one day, there are of course seams to fill, and a lot of modifications I have planned. So it's going to be a long term build.

One day when I had a few minutes to spare, I thought I would go ahead and glue a few parts together. The printed directions are SMALL, and there's not much to them. Not like other Moebius kits where you get a booklet of many pages and some of them are in color. The tailfins seemed like easy parts to glue together and they were. Badda bing boom - a little glue, and they're done. I set them aside to dry. My few minutes of time were over and I had to leave.

Now, I've built Moebius kits before. If you've built their science fiction models, you know they usually mold in channels and spaces for wiring. In case you decide you want to add wiring and lights to the kit. It's an awesome idea (Round2 does it too on some of their kits as well). The only thing is, they don't normally MENTION THIS IN THE DIRECTIONS. If you're experienced enough to add lighting to your model, you know enough to notice the spaces left open for the wiring. (that's my guess why they don't mention it).

Yeah, well, that's the theory. With my mind foggy and being in a rush, I didn't notice the channels molded into the rear fins. I didn't think much about it till a couple of days later. I remember seeing the channels when I was gluing the parts, and thinking, that's unusual. Oops. The glue was quite dry in a couple of days, so now I had to back pedal to add the wires for the lights (the end of the fins have a light on them on the TV model).

If this was a $ 20.00 kit, I would have just bought another one for the fins. But at $ 80.00+, I couldn't do that with this model. I thought about it for a while, I even thought about skipping adding the lights on the fins all together, but hey, I really wanted those lights. And as DEVO once said: "Are we not men?". I'm a modeler. That's what I do. I build stuff! Nothing a power tool, some putty and primer can't fix, right?

I marked the channel with a pencil (you can see it if you hold the fins up to a light), and then took out my Dremel, and used a burr to open the channel up. I had to pry open the gap a bit to fit the wires through, but I got it to work. Once the wires were in the channel, I used CA glue to hold them in the fin (note: I did test the light to make sure it would light up before making all this permanent). Once the glue was dry, I used putty to fill the gaps, and primered it. It came out fine. So I did the other side as well, and I'm sure it will be ok once I primer it.

I'm telling this story because as modellers, we're all pressed for time to build. It only takes a slight lack of focus to turn that model project into a hand grenade. With work, kids, and and everyday life, it's not always easy to get some modelling time in. But always remember that you're modelers. You're a PROBLEM SOLVER. Whatever has gone wrong can probably be fixed, corrected, scratch built, or repainted. It will just take a little longer than you thought. In repairing these fins, I learned something new as far as a model building technique, and I'm probably more proud of the work I've put into it than I would have been before. It also makes a great story to tell when discussing building the Seaview!

So keep modelling when you can. Don't be afraid to find a solution and learn something new when building.

moebius seaview model kit

Mat Irvine Interview on Finescale Modeler.

Catching up with Mat Irvine - FX and Model Builder.

There are some big names in the FX / Movie & TV Special Effects field. If you're a model builder, especially if you build Scifi kits, you probably know most of the famous ones. John Dykstra, Ray Harryhausen, Phil Tippett, Douglas Trumball, just to name a few. Those are primarily North American folks, but if you're familiar with the BBC and over the pond, you'll know Derek Meddings, Brian Johnson, and our subject of this posting, Mat Irvine.

Of course there are newer, younger FX people working on movies and TV shows today. While the older names dealt with practical effects (models !), the new generations have to deal with those as well as CGI. I see recent articles that say "Practical FX are making a comeback!". But in reality, they never went away. It's just that many of them are mundane, minor to the film, or invisible when used in a film (the mark of a good FX, right?). For big effects, I think the talent today is knowing which approach to use, which one will look best, and of course, budget will always be a determining factory.

I have never met any of these people in person (I wish!), but as a kid in the 1970s, I grew up in the era when FX were just becoming big to the general population. As a young model builder, FX models always interested me. Looking through the pages of the latest issue of Starlog magazine at Star Trek, Space 1999, and Star Wars models, I marveled at what could be done with a model. Those articles were the fire that would fuel my model passion for a lifetime.

Mat Irvine is still an avid model builder in his private life, and has been publishing books and articles on modelling for decades. You would think he spends all his days crafting space and Scifi models, being as he did work for the BBC and shows such as Dr. Who and Blake 7, but in fact, he's quite the automotive builder as well. If you build cars and trucks, his model books on those subjects are well done and very informative.

So, without much more of an introduction, I think you will enjoy his light hearted interview with Mat and Aaron Skinner at Finescale Modeler. Check it out!

resin figure models norse


Scale Model Life Magazine Volume 6 Is Out

Scale Model Life Magazine, issue six, is now out. This one focuses on Sci-Fi & Space related model projects.

Some of the models covered are the Moebius Battlestar Galactica Colonial Viper, AMT's classic Star Trek D7 Battle Cruiser, a scratch built Mars Rover, MPC's Space 1999 Eagle One with Lab Pod, and Game Workshops' Imperial Guard Valkyrie. There's even an Aurora Orbital Interceptor and Dragon Model's Star Lord figure too. Of course there's plenty of tips and ideas for building models of the SciFi genre.

I had fun with this book, and built a few kits I've been itching to do for quite some time. Especially the Aurora kit, which is one I built as a kid, but is very rare today. The same thing can be said for the AMT D7, which I probably built 4 or 5 as a kid. The ship has such classic lines, but it's very unique, and has become an iconic ship of Scifi history. It did take a lot of sanding and putty to get it smooth, but I'm happy with the way it came out. It's definately the best one ever as far as the ones I've built in my lifetime.

So grab this all new issue and catch up on some modeling for the outer reaches of space!


scale model life magazine volume six


Mythbuster's Adam Savage - Modeler at Heart

I thought some of you might like to watch this video I came across. We all know what the Mythbusters are on TV. But this is a vid by Adam Savage, who is at heart, a modeler like us.

It's not surprising, since he cut his teeth working at ILM, and building models and props. Or that he teamed up with Jamie and used their own company to do Special FX for TV, movies and commercials.

But at the end of the day, Adam likes to make stuff for himself. Not only fabricating what he has in his head, such as a model or prop idea, but to also build an actual model kit that might have come in a box. Just like we would.

He's no stranger to resin, casting, making molds. That is of course, part of his profession on a daily basis. But it's fun to watch him get as excited as we do about a new model, and the assembly of the kit, as well as painting it.

He has quite the shop too, and I see us all wishing we had a shop like that to literally make anything. What I like about Adam speaking is when he talks about resin, or mold making, he seriously knows what he's talking about. If you're not familiar (I suspect most SCIFI model fans already know) they mention Industria Mechanika. That company make some great resin products that are unique, and you can check out their site here.

So take a peek at the video, it's a lot of fun.


adam savage builds models


Original TOS Star Trek USS Enterprise Model

If you have a model of Star Trek's orginal USS Enterprise, you might find these images online interesting.

Round2 through AMT and Polar Lights have made several kits of the Enterprise over the years. AMT has since the 1960s. Chances are you have at least one in your model stash. From the smaller 1/2500 scale to the huge kit released in 2014, the 1/350 Polar Lights Enterprise.

The model itself, which was donated to the Smithsonian Museum, has been restored several times since it first arrived there. It's been on display most of the time in between restorations. The restoring process has made changes to the model, some that are popular, some not. Essentually this is a large scale model made by a TV studio, and it was never meant to last very long, or look that great over time. It's really just a bunch of wood glued together and a few bolts holding it all attached. In the end, the idea is to keep as much of the original model as possible. But only time will tell how much of that is possible. I don't know if I would use it as a reference since it's been painted over the original paint a long time ago. Production stills from the studio are probably your best bet there.

Nonetheless, you might enjoy some images of the model, and you can CLICK HERE for those. Also check out the Smithsonian's website for even more images and information. The ship should be back on display soon if you're going to visit the musem.


star trek enterprise model


FX Guide Interstellar Movie Miniature Models

Model making for movies is not used as much as in the past, with CGI 3D effects taking over the TV and movie industries. But there are still some models being made. This is a good article on using models in the latest Interstellar Scifi movie..

For me personally, models for movies has been a big influence on me. In the 1970's I couldn't wait to get the latest issue of Starlog to see what models may be in it. While I would build a model of almost anything (much like today), Scifi models have always been some of my favorites. I honed a lot of modeling skills building AMT Star Trek kits, Aurora Irwin Allen kits, and many others.

I don't think models for movies will ever completely go away. Cost wise, there will always be times when it's more practical and less money than doing the scene in CGI on a movie. And I am sure'there are times when a model will look better on screen.

Check out the article, I think you will enjoy it. By the way, Moebius Models will be producing a model of the Interstellar Ranger Shuttle in 2015, so watch for that too!

fx interstellar ranger spaceship movie models


Round 2 Polar Lights USS Reliant NCC1864 Model Kit in 1/1000 Scale

Round 2 USS Reliant NCC1864 Model Kit in 1/1000 Scale

Round 2 has issued their Star Trek kit, the USS Reliant. This is an all new model, and not to be confused with the older (and larger) AMT kit from years past. This kit is modern tooling, and should have plenty of detail for even the most avid Star Trek model fan.

The release of this kit pretty much wraps up what they show on their website for this year, 2014. But it's not quite over. They're working on the TOS Shuttle, and it will be a larger scale than the old AMT kit. It's an all new model. And to be honest, I have money burning a hole in my pocket for that one. (or two, or three). I can't wait. Round 2 rocks. This is the golden age of Star Trek Models.


round 2 polar lights star trek reliant model kit


Doctor Who Tardis Model

If you've ever thought about making a Dr. Who TARDIS model, well, this may help.

I planed on making one myself, but this ended up being a bit better. Yes, it's an ice bucket. But it's hollow, and it's plastic. I thought about it a bit, and if you consider the expense of materials, plus paint, to make you own TARDIS from scratch, this is a more econimical way to go.

I've taken a picture to give you an idea of the size. The top flips open with hinges. If you wanted to modify it more, you could probably cut the doors and position them so they open. And then you can figure out how you may want to do the interior. Or you can make the top light function. Either way, it's a sweet inexpensive TARDIS.

Check it out.


dr who tardis model


Fine Molds Star Wars Darth Vader TIE Fighter

Fine Molds Star Wars Darth Vader TIE Fighter Model Kit.

Fine Molds continues to issue Star Wars models, this time producing Darth Vader's personal custom TIE fighter.

The kit is 1/72 scale, and will go well with their 1/72 X-Wing and 1/72 Millennium Falcon. Included with the ship is a special display stand, which looks kind of industrial, and a sitting figure of Darth Vader himself for the cockpit. Fine Molds is know for the high quality details of their kits, so I am sure this one will be just as great to assemble.


fine molds star wars darth vader tie fighter model kit width=


2012 was a great model year

2012 was a big year for models.

After a years wait, Round 2 / Polar lights released and shipped their huge 1:350 USS Enterprise from Star Trek TOS. I had preordered one of these (I hope you did too) and receiving one is a thrill to be sure. Remember that Round2 shipped out TShirts when you first signed on to preordor, and they kept us all up to date on what was going on with the kit since day one via exclusive email bulletins. They continued to work very hard to give us the best version of this model that was possible, and I think they have given us (the Customers) exactly what we want. Everything took a back seat to their progress, from their website being a bit out of date to probably giving up time with family and friends. They sacrificed alot to get the job done. I feel that if their was an award for the model of the year, these guys (and gals) deserve it 110 %.

Round2 also announced that they will be producing a 1/32 scale version of the Shuttlecraft (Galileo)from the TOS series and I look forward to that one myself. Again, they work hard to give Customers what they want.

But the year was not just about Scifi models. Revell released several brand spanking new car kits with all new tooling. Giving us a 1950 Oldsmobile Coupe, a 1962 Corvette, and a 1957 Ford 300. Moebius gave us a 1955 Chrysler 300 and a 1952 Hudson Hornet. The Hornet alone has been a much desired kit for car modelers for many years. Dreams do come true !

Moebius has given us kits of everything from Superheroes to Spaceships. I love the way they find new ideas for kits, from Mars Attacks! (coming in 2013) to Bob Burns "Kogar" gorilla. Who would have guessed it? This is truly a great time to be a modeler. The variety of kits is just amazing for us to build.

I hope 2013 is going to be just as good, and I think it will be. There are some great models in the works: Revell's Mustang Coupe, with the (finally!) 10 hole wheels, Moebius' Herman and Grandpa Munster figures, Pegasus Nautilus submarine (it's been a long a wait for that one!) and Mobebius' all new classic Battlestar Galactica kits. Of course, there will be new kits along the way that will be surprises. With Round2, you never know when a classic AMT or MPC kit will pop up!


polar lights round uss enterprise star trek


Pegasus Hobbies H.G. Wells Martian "War of the Worlds" tripod Model Kit 9005

Pegasus Hobby has released their "War of the Worlds" tripod kit.

This makes a great addition to their previous 1/8 kit of the Martian figure from the same movie, the 2005 remake with Tom Cruise.

This all new kit consists of one Martian tripod with deployed arm lasers, tentacles and collection cages for building alternate versions. It includes over 90 pieces, with a transparent hood and clear eye lenses for possible lighting opportunities. Even a detailed logo display base is in the box to allow you to display the kit in an action setting.

The kit is 1/144 scale ( a popular aircraft model scale). So it may be possible to add some extras on your own. (people figures?).


pegasus hobby war of the worlds martian tripod model kit


Round 2 AMT Leif Ericson Galactic Cruiser AMT698

Round 2 has released the AMT Leif Erickson Galactic Cruiser.

This Interstellar Bird Returns To Explore Again! Originally released in 1968, this fan favorite spacecraft returns to the applause of sci-fi model builders everywhere. The classic ship was designed by U.S.S. Enterprise designer, Matthew Jeffries, and features a scout ship, backdated parts, and light kit. It all comes packaged in colorful reproduction packaging.

The model is molded in light grey, with chrome and clear red parts. The ship has opening shuttle bay doors with a separate small escort shuttle. New instructions feature the original Strategic Space Command story. This kit version includes LED LIGHTING KIT as well!


round 2 amt leif ericson galactic cruiser space ship model


Round 2 Star Trek 1701-Club T-Shirts

Well, I recieved my shirt from Round 2 the other day. Very cool !

I am looking foward to the model kit. Round 2 is bending over backwards to produce the best Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise kit ever done, and I am sure they will follow through and get this project done.

The best way you can support their effort is to preorder the model.

My shirt was blue, so it seems I may have been one of the first 250 to order. But whatever color you get, it's a show of good faith from Round 2. They rock !


round 2 polar lights star trek 1701 uss enterprise shirts


Round-2 Polar Lights NCC-1701 Star Trek USS Enterprise Model

Polar lights is working hard on producing their new, large scale, 1:350 Star Trek TOS Enterprise.

You can preorder and reserve the kit - Polar Lights Enterprise.

If you have not seen it before, below is a video explaining more about the kit and what to expect. Personally, I already have the previous USS Enterprise Refit kit in 1:350, and that kit alone is remarkable. But I have never liked the refit engine nacelles, I have always preferred the TOS ones. I always thought someone would make a resin conversion kit, with parts to convert the model back to the TOS look, but that has not happened. Now it seems, it will not be needed. Polar Lights is producing an all new tooling for a detailed version for Star Trek model fans.

So if you want one of these kits, for 2012, step up and jump in. It's gonna be a great ride !



Star Trek Hand Phaser Prop Model Kit

Star Trek Hand Phaser Model kit.

From renowned propmaker and effects artist John Long, this is the most "screen-accurate" hand phaser kit you'll ever see. Based on the only known existing "hero" phaser (the one used for close-ups in the Original Series), this kit is expertly crafted down to the smallest detail. Some may not know this, but on the original phaser, the thumb scroll wheel actually raises a small forward "site" to aim with. This was an actual moving prop, unlike the others that were non-functioning 'static' phasers.

From the hand-laminated fiberglass body to the ingenious internal mechanisms, this kit gives you period materials and expert instructions to create a working replica, complete moving parts and an acrylic emitter light. More than a mere toy, this is a museum-quality piece of television history.

star trek hand phaser model kit


WARP Space 1999 Hawk Fighter Model

Comet Miniatures now has the Space 1999 Hawk Fighter by WARP models.

The kit is in 1:72 scale, which matches it in scale with the older Airfix Hawk, or AMT / Fundimensions Eagle One.

The kit is resin with some white metal parts . The ship was originally shown in the Space 1999 "War Games" episode. Meaning, with just one episode, the Hawk has become an instant hit model project. This adds another great Scifi kit to the mix of available products.

warp space 1999 hawk fighter resin scale model kits

Space 1999 DVDs

Space 1999 - 30th Anniversary Edition Megaset

WARP Space 1999 Hawk Fighter Resin Kit


Pegasus Models When Worlds Collide Space Ark Rocketship Kit

When Worlds Collide Space Ark Model Kit from Pegasus.

The movie, "When Worlds Collide", is a classic sci-fi movie. In 1951, it was the winner of the Academy Award for Best Special Effects. It was produced by visual effects pioneer George Pal, so you know the effects were a bit ahead of their time when this film was released.

The film itself was based on a book by Edwin Balmer.

Today we can now build a plastic model of the famous Ark from the movie thanks to Pegasus Hobbies. The kit is 1:350 scale, and includes a portion of the ramp for takeoff, and is around a foot long. It's a great classic project and fine addition to your scifi model collection.

when worlds collide space ark


Amazing 40-foot Space Rocket

Some models are very large. Well, some that I like anyway.

Here we have a 40-foot Rocket, a design to reflect the 1930's - 1940's imagination, hand built and ready to make any adult an instant kid again.

It features a full space ship interior true to form, including a pilots bridge and alien lab. With gadgets galore on the inside to tinker with, it takes cool to a whole new level. I recommend the video below, which gives you a tour of the inside. You won't be disappointed. No space suit needed.


Hasegawa Lunadiver Stingray Maschinen Krieger Model Kit

The new model kit, Lunadiver Stingray, has been released.

This model is part of the continuing set of model kits and characters called Maschinen Krieger, created by Mr. Kow Yokoyama.

This new model design includes 2 Space battle powered suits (Fireball SG & SG Prowler) and 2 Stingray pilot figures, along with a display stand. Like most of the models in the series (but not all), this one is also 1:35 scale. The Stingray itself is 303 mm in length, and 163 mm wide. These kits usually sell pretty quickly, and are highly sought after once a production run has made it's course. This can drive the values up, some of the older kits in the series are hard to come by, and expensive. These kits appeal to both military and science fiction builders. But can be a fun build if you just want to do something different for a change.

The previous kit release, the Antigravity Armored Fighter, is stil available while it lasts. If you want to learn more about the Maschinen Krieger series of models, I recommend MAK in Action, a good site on the kits.

lunadiver stingray Maschinen Krieger model kits


The Invaders TV Show Flying Saucer Model

How many of you out there have built The Invaders flying saucer ship?

Myself, I built one of Monogram's reissues the last time it came out. It's not a bad model, and it's a fair subject, especially since I like TV and movie model kits. Whether you have built one or not, you may want to check out this website that talks about the history of The Invaders models. It's quite interesting.

There's a lot of tid bits with cool information. I like where parts of the Aurora Invaders kits were used on the original TV Battlestar Galactica Cylone Raider ship! There are also some other its of this craft from other manufacturers. Check it out and see what you think.

aurora tv invaders ufo model kits

TV Invaders UFO Model Ship History | The Invaders TV Show| Spaced Invaders


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