As I've said many times, I've admired the builders of the Rag Tag Fleet of ships of the original Battlestar: Galactica series. They had little time to build them, yet each ship had to be distinctive so that it could be recognized in distance shots and sufficiently finished to hold-up in close-ups. I've always wanted to build one because I want the instant gratification of spending very little time on a ship before calling it done. Jason started a nice one, and mentioned plans to have a special exhibit at Wonderfest 2008 of new Rag Tag Fleet ships by several builders. So I thought, hey, what better way to spend some of the long Thanksgiving weekend?
This is supposed to be Studio Scale, which means it's supposed to be in scale with the original 6-foot long Galactica shooting model, meaning an RTF ship should be atleast a foot long, and maybe three. Further constraint: A truly authentic RTF would be made of the same model kits available at the time. As already mentioned, it would have a distinctive shape but, unmentioned, although film is two-dimensional, an RTF should have a distinctive shape in all three dimensions, so it can take-up screen-space when seen from any angle. Naturally, with this set of requirements I started off cheating.
Twenty years ago I started a ship inspired by the tip of the nose of the hero ship from Sayonara Jupiter. It was distinctive and big and I thought it might make a good frame upon which to build a ship. I turned it upside-down and hung a Monogram B-52 off the front, suitably chopped-up, because the plane was almost the same width as the channel. Right-off its got a Star Wars hospital ship vibe going on - Oh, dear!
If I see something that might be a problem to use or cover-up, I chicken-out and lop it off. Knowing I do this, I usually compensate by building the biggest basic form I can, then whittle on it and fill-in the details. In this case, I figured the complicated top and back were going to get in the way, and cut them off The original BSG SFX guys wanted the biggest ships they could get so they always added stuff on - They didn't excise! But I did. At least I left the bottom structure alone, even though a more proper shape - less height - would have resulted in only the longer B-52 remnant attached.
True to the RTF spirit, though, while working with two 1/24 Gemini capsules, I attached the smaller retro-rocket module instead of the larger Engineering module just because they fit better. This is what I end-up with after attaching two space-station sections for engines. With the engines attached behind the arms, the design needs something big on the upper-back, not just to balance-out the weight above and below the engines, but also because right now the ship has height and depth - It needs width! And it needs something to help tie the engines to the rest of the ship.
I had a pair of make-up jars that seem to fit perfectly on the booms in front of the engines. Hmm... A little wider, but doesn't help anchor the engines. Ah! A pair of Lindberg kit bases with a CD bottom fit atop the engines and the blue ex-staple boxes. Now, for better or worse, the ship has presence in all three dimensions. I think it's too tall by the height of a B-52 hull, but I'm going to brazenly call it 'distinctive'. Anyway, here's the part where a lot of ships get abandoned - It's time for detailing!
In the Trek universe I could skip detailing as surface interest is all painted on. Alas, BSG ships, with few exceptions, had recesses in their basic construction packed with detail. We'll see what I come up with this weekend.
It's now two weekends hence. Detailing took more excruciating time than I'd hoped. I've taken shots of it in it's unifying basecoat - Side and Top. And a shot of my abandoned pre-shade. I started doing this and thought, hey, to do it right I'm going to end-up painting the whole poxy thing black. The heck with that!
Another weekend, a little incremental progress. Took a whole bottle of SAC Bomber Tan, but here it is. The good thing about the color is that I didn't have to worry about covering all the gray - It's the same intensity as the SBT, so a little gray showing through just adds depth.
It needs some accents. Some stripes or chunks of color. I'm going to go with the B-52 kit decals just for grins, and it features a long white stripe with numbers in the middle. It would probably show up on the tan, but would show up better on red or yellow. Some pale red would have looked good on the ship, but since the kit decals have some red numbers, if I don't use the same color red for stripes and stuff then I can't use red at all. So, yellow it is, for stripes. And SAC Bomber Green on the side and on the top.
Three months later on Easter I finally finish it. It had languished all that time because I'd oversprayed black-ink-in-Future to give it depth, but I thought it just darkened everything. It took me a while to decide it was really an ok color and just finish it.
It must be compared to the original (or a replica) Galactica shooting model, which Todd Boyce (who has some interesting BSG and non-BSG illustrations here) figures to be 4166 feet long. The shooting model dimensions are 76x30x11.5 inches. If my math is correct, the scale of the Galactica shooting model, thus mine as well, is 76/(4166x12), or roughly 1/650. The dimensions of my ship are 26x11x9 inches, making it roughly a third as long and wide as the Galactica, and nearly the same height.