Spieron Starfighter Build, Part 1

This is the primary starfighter during the Starstrikers Trilogy or middle time period of my Star Saga series. It was first sketched on paper by myself probably twenty years ago. I built a cardboard model of it about a decade ago and was not completely satisfied with it, so now is the time to do it in styrene and up the scale to 1/32.

Scaling up the 1/48 card board model using PVC for the engine and a fabric stain remover cap for the engine exhaust. The seat is from the Renoke model and is just to help suss out the scale. I make a paper model blueprint to start with and then use it as a pattern to cut the more expensive styrene.

Above we see the paper model with a four sides to the fuselage. The gun will be a push-pump soap dispenser.

The engines get LED lights. I used a car wheel and a tank wheel to mount the LEDs inside the bottle cap funnels and PVC engine tube.

Above you can see the parts before gluing them together.


Next I started with the bottom of the fuselage to anchor the mount. I still had a tapped block of aluminum with two mount points on it so I didn’t have to do that part again.

The bracing for the mount is basically a bunch of plastic.


The fuselage sides when up pretty fast. The area behind the pilot is raised a bit and so is braces accordingly.

The top area is cut out, but not glued in place yet. I have to cut out the cockpit area and detail and light it before I close it up. The battery and circuit board will go in the area between and above the engines.


The nose cone for lack of a better name, was walled off at the last minute and the cone inside the tube was left inside. Not so smart. I know the nose is flat, but the original design is that way and I figured that a space fighter didn’t need a pointy nose.


Detailing inside the nose before attaching it to the main body.

Also took the time to detail the nose extension piece. This is probably an area that has had the covers removed on a regular basis, so I’m making it look like you could have it covered if needed.


You can still see the cone coming through the cylinder. Ugh. Good thing that will be covered.


My stand in 1/32 scale pilot as the cockpit comes together. Actually using the base from a resin seat behind him.


Some cockpit details coming along, including the metal Imperial Walker model that a friend donated.

The canopy frame is coming together next.


Starting to look like a Y-wing or a Snow Speeder now.


Here’s everything sitting together on the bench. She’s big!


The Martin Baker ejection seat is from an F-4 Phantom resin mold. Very detailed.

This is looking pretty cool about now. Next up: lights!

Writing Update Mid-September 2015

I just got the edits for the Devon’s Blade novella back and I’m already deep into them. There seem to be fewer issues with this one than previous books I’ve written. If I can get this one corrected and proofed in the next few weeks, it could be the first to market as the cover is already finished.

Devons Blade Cover 4-26-15

I’m using a plugin for LibreOffice that lets me export my manuscript to epub format. Then I simply open it in Sigil and add the pages and styles that make it a GB Press ebook. I’m standardizing all my novels with a new format that is cleaner than the old one.

In other writing news, I’m still outlining the next trilogy of the Star Saga. This time I’ll have a pretty good set of outlines, one for each book, before I start writing them. Hopefully I can knock out one novel and one novella per year for the next two years. Faster if I can manage it. All of this work is being done in Plume Creator, still the best program for series writing available on Linux.

I’m also teaming up with my brother, Byron, to map out a stand alone SF novel. We’re using a new web based app called Novelize to write it. If you haven’t heard of Novelize you should go and sign up for the free version to check it out. Sort of like a simplified Plume Creator or Scrivener as a web application. It’s still in active development but you can definitely start using it right away. I’ll have an in depth review in a few weeks.

The current publishing plan is to release all the Starforgers Trilogy books after the first of next year. Probably one after the other every couple of weeks, to build momentum. Starforgers will get the new cover and interior updates, then I’ll drop Devon’s Blade followed by The Rising, The Blood Empress and finally, Counterattack.  That’s five books hitting the digital shelves within a month or two. Hopefully that will make a splash and gain some sales momentum.

Well, I’d better get back to my edits.


Building the Renoke, Part 8

Painting continues with the bridge getting a flat gray color via my trusty airbrush. I purposely didn’t cut the fiber optics so that after painting, I can trim them and not have them covered with paint. I chose a darker gray so that it contrasted with the exterior. Weathering will probably lighten the color a bit as well as make it look worn down.

The over all base color of the Renoke is flat white/deck tan/gray. This is a nod to the Star Wars universe and in particular, the Millennium Falcon, which has the same color. I wanted it to have a non-gray base, because gray is military and this is not a military starship.

You will never see a more clean version of this model. It’s about to get all broke in with weathering.

The first level of weathering is done with a wash of thinned out artist’s oil paint. I used to do this wash in regular paint, but after having tried the oil paint, I’m a convert. It gives the model an earthy tone that I really like. You basically drench the cracks with a brown and black mix and then wipe it away with a rag. What you are left with is what you see from here on in the pictures. A wonderful lived in look.


I also started painting some of the panels red and green and gray. This needs to continue with more shades of gray and white. It’s a slow process.


The next phase of weathering involves rubbing the raised pieces with super fine sandpaper and or steel wool. This gives the model a more worn out look that a ship of this kind is prone to. It’s a big, dirty universe out there and space is full of particles that ruin your perfect paint job.


Flipping the Renoke and working the same magic on the bottom.

The next installment should be the final one for this build. More weathering and sanding and panel painting will result in a finished model. The bridge is yet to be weathered.

Building the Renoke, Part 7

The last two areas to detail are the top of the bridge and the bridge itself. Nearly all of the parts I used for these areas are from the same model kit – the HEMTT Gun Truck 1/35 from Italeri. Beautifully molded parts and nearly all of them worthy of use on a model like the Renoke.


The gray parts above are from the HEMTT kit.



The old crane mount on the left is a piece of 1/2 inch PVC scrap.

There’s only one high intensity LED light in the engine. But it turns out to be enough.


Nicely glowing engine even in broad daylight.


Above is the circuit I used for all the LEDs in the model. Each one wired to a resister and then the leads that carry it to the LEDs themselves. A single 9 volt battery is all I need to light them. Later, I wired a slide switch into the circuit.


The finished bread board looked like a squid.


The bridge is lit by a red LED and the fiber optics.


Night time test in the garage. You can also see the two F-4 ejection seats I used.


Here is the switch on the left. I probably should anchor the battery in there too.


The headlights are connected to the leads with removable metal plugs. Not what I wanted to use, but what I had on hand.


In preparing the headlight area for painting, I used Fasmask to cover up the LEDs.


One final shot of the pretty bridge lights. Next up is painting, followed by weathering.

Building the Renoke, Part 6

The final areas to detail are the bridge and the bridge cover.


Fitting the top section so that it doesn’t require gluing is not an easy task. But it must be removable to get to the front mount point of the model.


Here is the back wall of the bridge. I love how industrial it looks.


This is the bridge back wall inside.


This image shows the other inside wall and the pilot and copilot seat area.


Here you can see I need to build more floor!


Things are starting to come together in the bridge.


Decided to give the sides some more attention with greeblies.


Here are the bridge fiber optics drilled into the walls and glued in.


Light test. The fiber optics are going into a single LED.


The final bit of light kit is the headlights. For these, I needed to build a box and mount an LED.


Bright as a sun flare!


This is the temporary bread board I use to test my simple circuits before soldering them up.


The mounted headlight boxes.

Building the Renoke, Part 5

This is the start of the engine detailing. I used a piece of transporter diorama that I had from an old Star Trek toy. It had a blue clear plastic part that would be easy to light up with an LED.

I just built up the inside of the engine exhaust with scratch plastic pipe and sheet styrene. Tedious.

But the end result looks pretty good.


Here are the details used to bring the engine area alive.


This angle shows the bottom front of the Renoke with the rectangular landing pads.


The final bits of details added for the hatch area of the bottom.


Top of the model after primer.


Back of the model after primer.


Finished bottom of the model after primer.


The bridge and front of the top are the final areas to be detailed.


Sanding the primer gives a nice texture. But it will soon be covered with base coat.


Building the Renoke, Part 4

Continuing the detailing on all that flat white plastic. It’s starting to look like a starship anyway. I listened to a ton of Cubs games on the internet this summer as well as my usual pod casts. I was also fueled by Irish pirate music and fighter pilot songs. It was a blast.

I really like this part of scratch modeling. Taking a plane white canvas and picking out just the right greeblies to make it look like a working starship.

This side of the Renoke turned out pretty decent.

I also liked the pipe and top panels seen here.

This is the top hatch, getting details applied. Lots of layering of panels and model parts.

I decided to put down some gray primer on the areas that were detailed. This helps me see what is working and what is not. I masked off the areas where I still have to detail.

You can start to see a starship emerging from all the rainbow colored pieces. This is where I find out if the details are working, or if they just look like random model parts glued down to the model.

The rest of the top deck is coming together. Lots of truck parts here and probably too many circular parts, but you use what you have in the scrap box and make due.

Here’s the other side of the Renoke. Breaking the outlines a bit with a diagonal cut panel.

Lots of hatches and stuff.

Finally, it looks about done. Ready for more primer.

Flip her over and do it all again. This time I’m using rails and semi truck panels to fill up all that black space.

Had to make the rear landing pad at the stern and two pads in the front for landing.


The back of the ship gets a cover piece of ribbed truck plastic. Also started detailing the back of the nacelle pods.


There’s an even mix of balanced details and unbalanced details to make it interesting for the eye.

Lots of pipes and vertical pieces fill in the ball.

The bottom details are coming together here. Abandoned model trees all over the messy table top.

This is the bottom hatch where people exit. I imagined that it also has a ladder that extends down to the ground. I use a bunch of different pieces to make it. Including tank parts and truck parts.