KIV-3 Cover Shot Build Part 2

After taking the summer off to write, I’m back to the model bench in the fall. This time I tweak some of the details and take my first stab at a wing.

We’ll start with our unfortunate Votainion pilot. I used a Star Wars Clone trooper as my base and added things and took away things and well, it’s a work in progress at this point.

The tank treads in the background are going to be seat belts. The shoulders had to be puttied to eliminate joints. The face shield was added after a quick brush with a hobby grinder and a knife. I’ll probably add some more details as I go to ensure he’s not mistaken for a Stormtrooper.

Here he is in his seat. The details have been painted a primer gray but no other painting has been done to the interior pieces.

Here’s a view of the other details, some of which are not yet painted gray. I had lots of fun doing these details, I hope they show up in the final image.

Now it’s time to cover the cockpit walls with thin sheets of plastic. Not all the model will be covered like this, only the parts that we can see in the picture. But the ones that will be seen are molded to fit by bending the pliant plastic into curved pieces. This is pretty much how modern airplanes are built from aluminum panels.

The first panel was not bent to the right shape, but I’m leaving it as is. The second panel is shaped and I don’t think I will bother with any more on this side as they won’t be seen. Now I should turn my attention to the fuselage, but somehow that didn’t sound exciting enough. So I took on the wings.

I measured out the wing as one unit and cut it from a thick sheet of plastic. I figured that I would have to get another sheet and do the bottom side too. But after fumbling around as I went, I decided to use panels on one side of the wing and that meant I only needed one. Turns out to be a good call.

This model is starting to show its size. Eventually I broke the two wings into separate pieces to make them slide into the fuselage just like a kit model.

Here they are propped up with the model. This is such an awesome design and you can start to see how cool it will be when finished.

Each wing has a cut out panel with wire’s strung in an X fashion. As I determines the thickness of the wing, I was able to lay out those wires with very thin diameter plastic tubes.

This process actually went pretty fast and the wing started to come together nicely.

The leading edge of the wing has a slight hint of a chamber like a real airplane or jet wing. I did this just for fun as obviously a space fighter doesn’t need a true wing. The effect is done with a tiny H beam struct and a tiny plastic tube.

A modeler uses what’s on hand whenever he can. This shows the panels being glued into place on the top of the wing. I’m quite happy with how this turned out and should be able to replicate this on the other wing. However, the other wing has to be ripped and bent over, so it will have added interior details exposed. More fun!

Here’s the model at my dining table with the new wing stuck on temporarily. Not too shabby.

Next time I’ll build the second wing, complete with damage and start adding more panels to the main body. With any luck it will start looking more like a starfighter and less like a cutaway picture.

KIV-3 Starfighter Part 3

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

The KIV-3 model is nearly complete now. I’ve added a few panels using poster board and matte board, added the wing mounted guns and painted on the base coat of olive drab paint. The guns are actually wooden toothpicks and even have slightly hollowed out barrels. I used matte board to layer up wing tip pylons behind the guns.

Normally at this stage of construction I’d be pushing my fingers around inside boxes of spare plastic model pieces, looking for details to add to the outside of the model. But I have not had such hell boxes in a long, long time. So the details of this model are more subtle. More panels and clean lines than bumpy pipes and fixtures. In a way, it contrasts enough to the Alliance starfighters to make the two more believable.


The last detail to finish up is the cockpit canopy. I’m still not sure how to pull it off. I might give up and just paint it on. I think that would lend itself to the clean lines anyway. I’ve experimented with putting WWII style invasion stripes on the bottoms of the wings. Five alternating white, black lines intended to call out allied aircraft so their own forces don’t confuse them with German planes and shoot them down. My invasion stripes are set at an angle and as such break up the pattern of the wings quite nicely, which is an added benefit I had not anticipated.

Another nod to WWII aircraft are the yellow leading edge of the wings. The Japanese and British aircraft used this technique to identify their friendly aircraft, to ground troops. In this case, it just looks extra bad ass. So there.


Since I’m not in any hurry to complete the model, I may let it simmer in the wings for a while before attempting to weather it. Even ships that fight in a vacuum have some weathering. Especially if they enter atmospheres of planets. Weathering was always my favorite part of modeling. Making the vehicle look like you pulled it out of its environment.

KIV-3 Underside.

All in all this little starfighter has been a joy to build from scratch. The design is very iconic and just as cool looking today as it was nearly thirty years ago when I first sketched it out in my middle school notebooks.