GCU Griffin Build, Part 2


The Griffin was not going to be a large and heavy model, like the Renoke. It was a smaller starship than the GCU Sokol and would be built to the same scale as that model, 1/350. I’ve had some success with these 1/4 20 female plugs that can be hammered into a pre-drilled piece of wood. So I went to the hardware store and purchased a 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch square piece of hobby wood and cut it to the width of the scanner section.

This would also be where I mounted the 1 1/2″ PVC pipe used for the Class-C engine. I drilled and hammered into the wood four of these plugs. This would let me secure it to the PVC with the top one and give me left and right and bottom mounts for the model.


Below we see the PVC and wood mounted with the scanner and head sections taped on for reference. 


This is a side view of the model. Proportions are slightly long in this shot and would need to be shortened a bit to match my drawings.


I’ve had great success gluing wood to plastic with this Gorilla White glue. The metal plug sticks out a bit so the plastic sheet on the bottom had to be removed so it set flush to the wood. I also glued some strip plastic to prevent the PVC from twisting.


I used 0.30 gray plastic sheet for the bottom of the head. I found a couple of parts from my bins that seemed to match the scanner gear under the head. So I went ahead and glued them onto the bottom. Normally I don’t do greebles until the boxing out is complete.


Here’s the model mounted on a stand. 


I’m always on the lookout for interesting details. These white plastic parts are only a couple centimeters wide and come from inside the keys of a laptop computer. I thought the ones on the ends looked like they could be escape pods for the side of a starship.


Here is a divider bin where I keep small parts. I’ve separated out the keyboard parts to make finding them easier.


Below I’ve placed a row or two of these greebles along the side of the head to judge size and placement. I’ll definitely use them.


Here is the head section of the ship after boxing it in. There will be more supports and I’ll have to figure out what to do with the fiber optics from the head. It’s a good bet the fibers will run through the PVC to the center scanner section where I’ll mount the LED light for them.


Triak Starfighter Build, Part 5


This is one of my favorite steps in modeling. I love making a model look like it just came out of the real world where it has lived a long and hard life. Weathering sounds like it should only be for machines that live inside an atmosphere, but all machines get worn and used, even in space. So it really refers to damage, chipping of paint, fading of paint, grease and oil leaks and sometimes dirt and grime.

All of my models have that George Lucas look of being in a well-used universe. Because my models are also built specifically for my book covers, sometimes I don’t put unit marking on them or anything too unique, so that they can be copy and pasted into many fighters for cover art. But with this particular model, I decided to get individual. Which meant I could do unit badges and make unique mods like the starboard engine nacelle being removed.


In this wide shot you see the whole model as it stands now. Decals are applied and paint chipping has occurred on the painted areas and we have some dusting with artist’s charcoal.


I applied a light wash to the stern details but I will be going back over this area with more grime and oil as it looks too clean for my tastes.


The paint chipping was achieved by – wait for it, actually chipping the paint. I used my finger nail and a hobby knife. 


I think the nose art is from a WWII airplane kit. I just have a stack of decals and pick and chose from it randomly.


You can see the chipping details around the black area behind the pilot. Panels get chipped by ground crew constantly removing them and handling them with dirty fingers.


I think this engine art decal was from a Japanese F-1 kit.


I painted the blaster tips a darker gray since I had to do some gap filling on them post primer. I also made some of the raised panels different shades of gray.




Below we see a more extensive wash of black for the back details.




More wash applied to the intakes and exterior. 


Oily stains on the bottom are a bit of a trademark for me.


Another look at the bottom details. Even if I don’t model landing gear, I include the landing gear doors.


And here she is, complete. I don’t have any Votainion Empire symbols on it or any of my models, actually. That’s because I don’t have the ability to make my own decals. Easier to let graphic artists apply them in post.


This might be the last model I work on until winter releases it’s icy grip on my garage. Right now the temps are in the teens and my garage is just too cold to be in, even with an electric heater at my feet.

Triak Starfighter Build, Part 3

All of the parts and pieces finally come together in this post. This has been a fairly quick and dirty build for me. I’ve never done a kit bashed starfighter before and in many ways it felt like cheating. I even spaced putting a mount in it and had to screw one in last minute and epoxy it. Not ideal for a working model. There are no lights and only the one mount. I do have a pilot figure, but he’s not very detailed.

Still, it does look pretty cool and I’m glad I did it for the experience. It’s not exactly like what I drew but it’s close enough to give the feeling that there are more than one kind of starfighter in the Votainion livery.


Above you can see the body with the blaster masts in place. Simple plastic tubing was used for that. You can also see some of the scratch built details on the top and at the canopy.


These over sized tips of the guns were from the loose pieces bin and matched the original drawing pretty good.


Here is a side view of what I believe were some kind of rocket launcher that were wing mounted. No idea what kit they were from.


This belly view shows the tips of the guns in place and the panel covering what I assume would be the nose landing gear.


Here you can see the mount point, big and nasty, as well as some new details from the parts bin.


Top side details are visible above. Not sure why I painted the blue-gray interior color here, before I sprayed on the primer. Dumb move.


Some putty and sanding was required on the blaster canon tips.


I like this shot above of all three Votainion starfighters from the Starstrikers Era of the Star Saga. The white one is a card board prototype of the next one I will build, the K’nat fighter.


All ready for primer, the cockpit is masked off to preserve it’s paint job.


Rare side view.


Here you can see the final details of the engine area and the top. 

20151228_141713And here you can see the final details on the bottom. A few panels added and various other doodads. 

She’s finally ready for primer and then paint, next time on the blog.

Triak Starfighter Build, Part 2

As with any airplane model, you start with the insides. Here I used the wheel well turned upside down for the seat bucket. Then added details to the side walls as needed. In looking back at this build after I put the fuselage together, I completely forgot to include a block of aluminum tapped for the 1/4 20 screw mounts. I would up just super gluing a mount into a huge hole I drilled on the bottom. Completely crude, but it can be photo shopped out.


I fixed the engine nacelles to the air intakes from the Tomcat model with simple wood screws inside. Then covered the screw heads with air intake pieces from the F-104 model. As with any scratch built model, I’m always taking greeblies and trying them in different ways until I find what looks right for each section of the model. At the time I started, I only had the purple nacelle cover so I made the other one as if the cover were removed. Then I found the red one in my parts box. Too late. I like the detail on display with the cover removed.


Cockpit halves cemented together and then I start detailing the top of the nose and behind the pilot’s seat.


I used yellow clear pieces here, but it will all get painted blue-gray when I’m done. Actually, these will probably be black.


I need to cut out some sheet styrene for the back of the air intakes. I already decided to include a car radiator to cover the back of the fuselage. Why? Because what famous Star Wars ship didn’t have a radiator?


I also used some engine parts from a large scale car model for the back end. 


Nice shot of the radiator.


Time to fill the major gaps with modelling putty. This was a big, multi-night task. Lots of sanding.


I won’t know if the sanding job is good until I primer. But It should suffice for a beat up fighter plane.


Back cover plates on and some other details added. I really like the shocks here. 


For some reason, I’m putting lots of car parts on this fighter. It seems to work so far.


Little by little, more greeblies find their way onto the model. This is actually one of my favorite parts of modeling. Detailing.


More details added to the top and back of the fighter. I also added some strakes above and below where the engines are mounted. A few more details and then it will be time to do the panel scoring.


Outlining K’nat Trap Novella

Work has commenced on the initial outline of K’nat Trap. I use Plume Creator for all my first drafts and below is a screenshot of Plume and the outline. Plume has a spreadsheet view for outlining, but lately I’ve taken to just using the editor’s tree view.

This story is set in the Starstrikers Era or the second trilogy of the Star Saga. It features Tamiya and Kiloe from Starstrikers and is essentially, a smaller strike mission.

I finished a first pass and now I need to go back through and make sure character arcs are there and drop in the tags for plot points. Kiloe is the main character in this one, but Tamiya gets plenty of page time too.

Star Saga in Paperback

You can now order the paperback editions of the first two books available in the Star Saga. Of course these are the trilogy starters, Starforgers and Starstrikers, books 1 and 4 respectively. Next month we’ll release book 7, Starveyors.

These paperback editions all have colored Star Saga bands around the top of the covers. Amazon is selling used versions of the first Starstrikers paperback, but its drastically over priced and of inferior quality. Stick with the newest version for the best possible experience.

Starforgers is properly linked to the ebook, but Amazon has yet to link Starstrikers to its ebook version. I think the colored bands threw them off. The paper backs are high quality, Print On Demand books 5×8 inches in size. They both sell for $9.95 US.


You can read each book independently of the other as they are set 500 years apart and have different story lines and characters. Book 2 of the Starforgers Era will be out at the end of this year. Next year will see the release of Book 3, thereby completing the first era’s trilogy. Other books in the saga will follow thereafter.

This marks the first time that my SF books have been available as paperbacks and I’m very pleased to be able to offer them to you in this format. Many thanks to my brother Byron for his excellent interior and exterior design work on these books. If you need a great book designer, he’s available.

PS – If you are attending Norwescon this weekend, keep an eye out for me. I’ll have these books for show at my panels and I might even be giving some of them away.

Paperback Proof of Starstrikers

The latest proof for my paperback versions of the Star Saga novels arrived this week. Above is a picture of both books together. We opted to go with a series banner at the top and this causes a slight realignment with the other elements of the cover. Both books are 5×8 format and are printed by CreateSpace.

Here they are side by side, spines out. Two things of note here. The first is the removal of the coin at the bottom of the spine. It was determined that the image was unreadable in final form, so we replaced it with the name of my imprint. This brings the book into compliance with my imprint format that we established with my Mystery novel, Null Pointer.

The second thing we added was a series number in a black circle. You’ll note that Starstrikers is actually book 4. Starforgers is book one and Starveyors is book 7. Yes, just like Star Wars. I have essentially three trilogies in this nine book series. I wrote the first book in each trilogy to establish the characters and world building. Each series is separated by 500 years and each has its own set of characters.

The numbering convention will confuse the readers and make them wonder WTF is going on. There is no getting around that. But when you flip through the opening pages of each book you see a graphic that informs you of the time between books. So it’s safe to read books 1, 4 and 7 first and then come back and read the other two books of each trilogy. You won’t have spoilers.

Here is another look at both books. Starstrikers is pretty much dead on what it will look like in final form. The spine text will be aligned better when we are finished.

This is the back cover of Starstrikers. Now it can be revealed why I spent so much time building an awesome plastic model of a starship! For use on this cover, of course! ;-)

The red banner color was chosen to reflect the war years. Starforgers will have a blue banner and Starveyors will have a green banner. More clues to the reader that they are from separate trilogies.

Here is a shot of the graphic that explains the time line of the war in which the books are set. This same graphic is currently in the ebooks.

One more book to go and we’ll have three proofs. I expect that the Starveyors proof will be just about perfect.

I’d like to thank my brother for his tireless work in bringing these books to life. He’s been doing everything on them. From the interior typesetting to the cover art and design. If you’re looking for a top-notch interior or exterior book designer, I can’t recommend him more. He’s available too! Check the blogroll for his contact information.

Model and the Man

My friend Nate and I did an impromptu photo shoot with my GCU Sokol model today in the HP parking lot. Yes, those are piles of snow. We were trying to get some HD pics of the model for back cover pictures on the upcoming paperback versions of the three Star Saga novels. The overcast skies helped us get some nice shots, including this one of me and the model.