UNIVERSE of Science Fiction

Moebius Classic Viper Mk 1.5

posted April 28, 2017 by: UOFSF

For this build I chose Moebius' Classic Viper: http://www.moebiusmodels.com/ourkits/kits/productpage-classicviper.html

After watching Battlestar Galactica and some of Battlestar Galactica TOS I decided I wanted to build a Viper which would bridge the gap between the Mk I and the Mk II without making major changes to a Mk I. The single most noticeable difference between the two ships was the presence of reaction control thrusters. I chose Lt. Sheba's Viper to begin the experimental modifications. The success or failure of the additions would weigh heavily in any future modifications to the Mk I.

The build for this was pretty much straight out of the box. No stand has been built as the Viper will be part of a launch bay diorama which is under construction. Outside of the RCS additions I scribed the panel lines and drilled out the guns and made barrels with small lengths of aluminum tubing. Additionally I include some stencils from a 1/48 fighter jet (the Viper is 1/35th scale, more or less) for warnings and notices at various places on the ship.

Seems like there are a lot of seam issues in the repop of the Viper but they are easily handled with good clamping:

The locations for the reaction control thrusters were drilled and small bits of aluminum tubing were epoxied in place. You can also clearly see the etching of the panel lines.

Once in place the tubing could be filed and sanded flush with the skin of the fuselage. The tubes were cleaned of sanding dust with T-pins.

All sub-assemblies, including a hangar deck work cart I am building for the diorama, are primered in my home-built paint booth. Once primered the panel lines and engine bits were shaded (note the hangar deck work box) prior to applying the base coats.

The taping. As Dr. Smith would say, "The pain. Oh, the pain." I first found some masking tape the right width for the stripes (the yellow Tamiya tape) and put that in place. Then I started covering the rest of the wing / engine assembly with blue painters tape.

Onced the blue tape was burnished in I removed the hobby tape and sprayed the racing stripes on the fuselage and engine / wing assemblies.

Next I made the modifications for the guns. First I clipped off the plastic barrel (I know trhe finished product will not be BSG canon, but I'm OK with it in this case.) and then, using a pin vise, started gently drilling a hole down the center of the barrel line. Once I had a good start I switched to a drill bit as large as the aluminum tubing and slowly drilled the hole out to be large enough and deep enough to hold a bit of the tubing.

Once the holes were drilled and the tubing was cut to the proper length I put the tubing in place with a little cyanocrylate. A quick test fit insured the length was right and the effect would be better than the stock kit.

Final painting took place before a coat of Future was applied and the decals were worked into place. Once the decals were dry another coat of Future was applied before starting the weathering process. Take note of tthe exhaust staining from the reaction control thrusters. This was done with pastels and a small makeup applicator. I get some strange looks when I walk into Ulta all alone, but they have all sorts of applicators and other assorted small tools most modelers would love to use!

Finally, some smudging, scraping and random staining was applied to give the Viper a "lived-in" look.

This was a very enjoyable build and it allowed me to experiment with a couple of finishing techniques I hadn't tried before. I'll be building at least one more for the hangar bay diorama including lighting and some other features.