|ADDING PUNCH TO YOUR UFO / SPACE-SHIP MODEL - There are many kits for building spacecraft, UFOs, flying |
saucers. Most of them build into great models right out of the box, with just a good paint job to finish them off. However, there
are a few things you can do to add a little extra life to you spacecraft model.
PAINT - Study the kit's box art to get a good idea of what the finished model should look like. You can follow the kit's painting
directions, OR exercise a little artistic license and add color detailing. A few patches of crisp color applied in the right spots
can make your model uniquely your own and give it added eye-appeal. Don't be afraid to spend time detailing areas not easily
seen, like landing gear bays or inside engine ports.
ADDED DETAILING - Before beginning work on your model, check to see if there are any "after market" detailing items
available. Such kits provide additional or more accurate detail for specific models and can give your kit a real boost.
BACKDROP - Instead of simply putting your finished model on a shelf, create a display base that adds a story element. For
example, putting a UFO on a simple landscape (or, as in this article, putting it on a base that simulates a recharging / refueling
station) will put your model into a setting that adds visual appeal.
ELECTRONICS / LIGHTING - Even very simple static (non-blinking / non-moving) lighting can add real punch to a finished
spacecraft model. Lighting a space-ship's interior / windows can do a lot to bring it to life. Adding flashing or chasing lighting
to the 'engines' will really liven up your model. Just look at the realism added to the models used in TV shows because of the
lighting effects (e.g. Any version of Star Trek's Enterprise).
COMBINED DETAILING - Combining any of the techniques mentioned above will produce a really distinct model truly worthy
of display. As an example, here are some photos of a Pegasus Area-51 UFO model that has been given a simple paint job,
but enhanced with animated internal lighting AND placed on a detailed display base which features its own animated lighting.
MOUSE-OVER IMAGES FOR ALTERNATE / ADDITIONAL VIEWS.
|HOW YOU MOUNT LIGHTS INSIDE A MODEL IS|
DETERMINED BY THE SHAPE OF THE MODEL & THE
SPACE AVAILABLE INSIDE THE KIT'S PARTS. THIS KIT
HAS LOTS OF INTERIOR SPACE. RATHER THAN BUILD
INDIVIDUAL MOUNTS FOR EACH OF THE SIX WINDOW
LIGHTS & THE CENTER DOME, I INSTALLED A SINGLE
PLASTIC DISK INSIDE THE UPPER HULL & SPACED
OUT THE LEDs ON THE DISK SO THEY LINED UP WITH
THE WINDOWS & THE CENTER DOME. A cardboard
disk was used to create a template with precisely
located mounting holes for each LED - the plastic
disk was cut / drilled based on the template.
|FOR THIS MODEL I SCRATCH-BUILT A BASE TO LOOK LIKE A |
LANDING PAD IN A REFUELING STATION. THE 'POWER LINES'
THAT RECHARGE THE UFO ARE ACTUALLY THE WIRES THAT
CONNECT THE 9-VOLT BATTERY IN THE BASE TO THE CHASER
BOARD DRIVING THE LIGHTS INSIDE THE UFO. NO NEED TO
HIDE THE WIRES - THEY'RE PART OF THE SCENE!
|ADDED EXTRA DETAIL -|
USING A LANDING GEAR COVER AS A PATTERN, I CUT OUT AN
EXTRA OPENING IN THE UNDERSIDE OF THE UFO & DETAILED
IT TO SERVE AS THE CRAFT'S 'POWER INTAKE PORT'. THE
NEW DETAIL MAKES THIS MODEL UNIQUE & ADDS TO ITS 'EYE
APPEAL'. THE BATTERY WIRES FROM THE BASE FIT THRU
HOLES IN THE 'POWER INTAKE PORT' MAKING THE NEW
FEATURE FUNCTIONAL, TOO.
|SIMPLE DETAILING -|
BLACK WASH IS A GREAT WAY TO ACCENTUATE ANY
RECESSED AREA, SUCH AS IN THE LANDING GEAR LEGS OR
THE UFO's PANEL LINES. PAINTING EDGES OF 'MOVING
PARTS' WITH A BRIGHT SILVER OR OTHER METALLIC SHADE
GIVES THE LOOK OF NORMAL WEAR.
|MOUNTING THE FINISHED UFO MODEL ON A |
'LANDSCAPED' DISPLAY BASE PUTS IT INTO A
SCENE & ENHANCES ITS APPEARANCE.
THE MODEL LOOKS FINE ON THE NEW
DISPLAY BASE, BUT ADDING LIGHTING TO
THE SHIP & THE BASE BRINGS THE SCENE TO
|PEGASUS UFO KIT - ADDING LIGHTING & DISPLAY BASE:|
|QUICK TIPS FOR MAXIMIZING YOUR DIORAMAS, VIGNETTES, & SHELF SPACE:|
Here are a couple of simple, common sense, tips for making the most of your diorama or vignette layouts:
1. NO GLUE: Don't glue your tank or other vehicle to the display base (i.e. diorama or vignette scene you
created). This makes it easier to do several things:
- Allows you to reposition your model for a more dramatic appearance or just show it off better in the scene.
- Reuse your landscape. If you tire of the model(s) you've set into your diorama, not gluing them down makes it easy
to replace them with other models, thereby saving you from having to create a new landscape from scratch.
- Instant photo set. If you like photographing your completed models, being able to remove models from a diorama
makes that scene available to use as a photo backdrop for new models you might want to photograph in that scene.
|SIMPLE VIGNETTE: This is a|
vignette I recently created. The small
scene was designed to fit inside a
1:18 scale display case. As you can
see, the scene has an M4A2
Sherman & an M8 Howitzer passing
through a bombed out / shelled town
somewhere in Western Europe.
The tanks are not glued to the base.
This lets me rearrange the models
any time I want to, or replace them
with another model that I want to
photograph using this scene as
|VARIATIONS ON A SCENE:|
Here's a simple example of how
you can change the look and feel
or a scene, by rearranging the
models / vehicles appearing in it.
This is the same scene as above, but
with the vehicles going in the
opposite direction. In this scene, the
M8 Howitzer is in the lead position
with the Sherman following.
|REUSABLE SCENES & PHOTO |
The scene above (1st photo) is on display
in my collection inside a clear display case.
However, because the two tanks in the
scene aren't glued to the base, I can easily
replace them with different vehicles or, as
shown at the right and below, I can use the
vignette's scenery as a backdrop for
photographing other models (then I put the
Sherman and howitzer back in place and
put them back on display)
|2. SAVE SHELF SPACE and KEEP YOUR MODELS CLEAN AT THE SAME TIME:|
I don't know about you (of course) but I used to display my model tanks and other W.W.II vehicles side by side on my display
shelves. This is OK and is probably how most people display their collections of model cars or military vehicles. However, it
has two drawbacks - 1. Open shelves gather dust and cleaning intricately detailed models can be time consuming work. 2.
Aligned side by side models eat up a lot of shelf space, (unless you don't mind hiding a smaller model behind another on the
The simple solution to both these issues is to store your models in display cases with hard clear covers. This keeps the
models clean, and it is far easier to dust off the flat surface of a display case than to try cleaning a model. Keeping your
models in a display case also helps save space by letting you combine models inside the case. This is particularly useful for
smaller models that were sitting side by side. The "Passing Through" vignette (see first photo above) combined a 1:35 scale
M4A2 Sherman and an M8 Howitzer into a single scene, letting me display both inside one (1:18 scale) display case. If you
have high / widely spaced shelves, stacking display cases can double or triple your available display space.
Of course, all of the space saving features of using display cases depends on how and where you display your models and
how much space you have overall. In general, I do recommend using clear display cases just for the time they save in keeping
your models clean.
|RIGHT: A display case for 1:18 scale |
cars gave me plenty of room to create
this vignette and display a Styre RSO
tractor along with a Pz.II Bison. With all
the interior detail in both these 1:35
vehicles, keeping them clean would be
quite a chore. Now all I have to do is
dust off the display case's clear cover.
BELOW: A Tamiya 'Type C' display
case (5"w x 9.75"l x 4"h) provided
ample room for this scene combining a
1:35 Pz.II Ausf.C and a Kubbelwagen
having engine troubles. This display
case is stacked on top of another
containing a PzII Ausf.F set in a North
African dessert scene - three models
taking up only 5" of shelf space!