Modelers Resource : Issue 23 - December/January '99
Article submitted by Dave Ballard.
The Bargain Hunter's Guide to the Galaxy
with Joe Graziano
Welcome to the Monkey House! I have two new kits you will go bananas for this month! They are easy to build and fun to paint, so letıs quit monkeying around and get down to some serious monkey business.
The two kits we will be looking at are the ICARUS from Monsters in Motion and the ICARUS from Skyhook models. Both kits are exquisitely cast and the details match the movie models perfectly. Skyhookıs Icarus is cast in two pieces, the base and the ship; well the part of the ship that is still above the waterline, anyway.
There was minimal clean up on this kit, just a seam line to scrape on the ship and no pin holes. In other words it was a perfect casting. The ship is about 8 inches long and the base is about 6 inches square. It sells for $40 and is a painters piece: there is not much sanding and no filling - Just prime it and go ape!
The kit from Monsters in Motion is a bit different. For one thing itıs larger, about 13 inches long, and comes in 10 pieces plus the base. The reason why it is in so many pieces is because it has an interior. The fit is so exceptional that you wonıt need any putty here either! I was impressed. It doesnıt have the cryogenic tanks in it, but with a little patience they could be scratch built into it. The detail is pretty damn close on the inside... Not exact, but really good. I watched the movie on freeze-frame to compare the kit to it and itıs mostly there. With a little extra effort this could be an exact replica. The Icarus sells for $99.99 and like Skyhookıs kit is worth every penny.
Before we get into this too deeply, I want to say that I am not comparing the two ships to each other. They are both great kits and I am glad that I have both of them in my collection. It depends on what you can afford or what you really want in a kit that will decide which one (or both!) is right for you. That said, let's get started!
Both kits were handled the same way, except for the interior on the one from Monsters in Motion. I cleaned the seam lines off the ships and primed them with a dull coat ... yes, dull coat. The reasoning behind this is that I didn't want to lose any of the fine detail and since dull coat has no pigment, I am assuming that it goes on a little thinner than primer. Whether it does or not, the fine panel lines were preserved so I will continue to do this out of superstitious fear for kits with a lot of small detail and fine markings on the surfaces.
I base coated the ships and the bases in Freak Flex Ghost White.. I like the white because it covers nicely in one coat. After the White had dried overnight I masked off the nose cone and the window area before painting them. Now, I had a dilemma ... I watched the movie and took extensive notes on the color of the ship after it first crashes and they are climbing out and tossing supplies overboard. From what I could see, the ship was white and grey with a red and a blue stripe running around the body and a lot of bum marks.
Skyhook's instruction sheet says to paint the nose cone brass, which didn't make sense to me. So, I emailed Dave Bengel at Skyhook to ask him where he got his painting references and told him where I got mine. He said that Bob Burns has the original prop in his collection and the photos he took of it show the nose cone as brass. Well you can't argue with that ... or can you?
I looked all over the internet and found not a single picture of the Icarus, and I was getting frustrated trying to find out why we had a discrepancy with the color scheme. Enter Don Bowman of Ygor's Toys. We had talked on the net a few times and it turns out he lives about 15 minutes from my house! What luck! I gave him a call and during the conversation I asked him if he knew anything about the Icarus and he said no, but that Bob Bums did and I said that's great if you know how to contact him, but I didn't. Don did and he gave me Bob's phone number and I gave him a call. I was nervous as hell when I did this because I didn't want to bother him, just ask a quick question or two and be out of his hair. Well, when he answered the phone and I explained what I was trying to do and what the discrepancy was, he was more than happy to help!
Now I know why Dave at Skyhook and I came up with different color schemes. Bob Burns owns the ship that you see sinking when they are in the raft and watching it go down. This is not the same ship as the one they climb around on when they are abandoning it. Got it? The one Bob owns is the smaller one (about 6 feet Ion ' if I remember right) and the other one for the scenes with them climbing around on it is the full-size prop. So there you have it!
I took my painting references from the full size one and Dave took his from the miniature in Bob's collection. so I guess it's up to you which one you use since they are both right. Thank you, Bob Bums, for helping me clear this up!
Back to the kit. After masking off the nose cone and the windows I painted the windows with Golden's Carbon Black and the nose cone with Tombstone Grey mixed with a little Turned Ghost White to make a pale grey. Once this was dry, I painted the windows themselves with transparent green and then gloss coated them (gloss coat was added after the model was sealed in flat coat). I put the decals on at this stage because they need to be on before you weather the ship or they will look like new while the rest of the ship is weather beaten and burned.
I applied the weathering with chalks and some of the applicators from CRM Hobbies, called Microbrush. These are new to me; I found them about 3 or 4 months ago in a railroad shop. They work pretty well for applying chalks and washes in small amounts. I grind the end into the chalks to get some on the little puff ball at the end of the microbrush, then rub it on the area where I want it. It works better than ruining an expensive brush! The colors I used were black, rusty orange and a tan earth color. By streaking these colors from front to back in the right places, it creates a burned, rusted look. Be careful when sealing it! You can't be heavy-handed on the first coat or it will wipe away all your work. Just give it a few light coats, let those dry and then you can give it a good solid coat of flat to seal it.
Next, I feathered fiat black around the edges of the wings and the exhaust ports and streaked it onto the nose cone. I also feathered it from the window edges back a little bit, and pretty much wherever it looked like a a thin leading edge would be burned on re-entry. Now is a good time to add some more chalk weathering in rust and light brown desert dust colors to streak in with the black to add to the burnt look. When something is burnt it isn't just black ... it starts out as a light brown and advances towards black as it becomes completely consumed by the heat. Try lighting a piece of paper on fire and you will see what I mean. Just do it in a safe place with adult supervision!!! I am sure your significant other will be glad to help if you ask nicely.
The interior of the Monsters in Motion Icarus was sprayed white and given a thin (stress the word thin) yellow ink wash around the edges. I couldn't think of a better color to give the room some definition without making it look too dark. After this dried, I misted it with white again to even it out. I painted the carpet a slight blue shade of grey and drybrushed it with white.. The escape hatch at the front was painted Sunburn Red and inked with a little brown ink to bring out the shape. The various controls were painted in bright reds, greens, and blues for the buttons, and the rest were drybrushed in silver. The chairs were painted flat black and the metal parts were also picked out in silver.
The water bases for both were handled in the same way. I painted the bases white and airbrushed on green and blue inks in various shades to attempt to create some depth to the water. The whole base was then sprayed with clear gloss coat to seal it and give it a wet look. Once this dried I drybrushed it with white to catch the tops of the waves and sealed it again. The ground work on the Monsters in Motion base was painted in various browns and inked dark brown and drybrushed to highlight. The tree was painted dark grey and drybrushed up to a pale grey to suggest it might be driftwood.
That about wraps it up for these two kits. I suggest getting your hands on them while the getting is good! Here's the contact information:
Monsters in Motion
330 E. Orangethorpe Ave,
Placentia, CA 92870
PO Box 327
Carmichael, CA 95609
Both are worth it. If you have a comment or question, I can be reached at Faust87619@aol.com and, thanks to Jerry Buchanan, I now have something that resembles an internet page.
Thanks for listening! See you next time!