When SRadler posted pictures of his new BSG-esque starliner, made from an upside-down submarine with ME-262 engines, I just had to have me one. I didn't have the submarine, but I did have an AMC 1/72 KC-135 (think Boeing 707 sans windows). Good enough!
The fuselage was one of those with the wing-top-shaped curve scalloped out of it. I hate those! But, that's ok. I just squared-off the opening, going all the way to the end (airplane's nose - spaceship's tail). And lopped-off the nose, too, just to make things easier (it didn't). Now, to fill the hole with something that has a round top for the A-10 engines - A styrene cylinder (I buy them bulk). Well, there's both main design requirements! But it's not a very interesting ship. Time to hit the spares bins...
Well, lookee what we have here. It's a pair of 1/48 P-38 Lightning booms - Thanks, Arnold! Let's hook them right over the surviving 135 fuselage and lop-off their tails. Looks like giant air scoops, but we don't have to say how the engines work, just make it look like we're serious about them working this way. Small styrene easter eggs are better than turbines or, heaven forfend, Empty Space, to fill the intakes. And tank wheels fill the intakes on the ex-P-38 radiator fronts. The holes where the P-38 wheels go is perfectly filled by the kit's wheel wells, just inverted to stick out instead of in. Alas, the P-38 booms also have the scalluped-out wing connectors, which leaves an ugly gap where they meet our fuselage. Time to find something to cover them, and the bottom of the A-10 engines.
Ah! Here's where some 1/144 Space Shuttle doors and 1/72 B-52 wheel-well doors come in handy. They also help cover the end of the styrene fuselage tube that I've reduced by inserting a Scotch tape hub. The left-over 135 nose helps, too.
Now it's time to step back and look at the overall shape. Hmm... Has some interesting bits (and some things to be fixed, like the nose where the vertical stabilizer was removed), but it lacks, I don't know, some panache. Some dynamicism.
And nothing adds flash like some wings. The 135 stabilizers, specifically, wedged right on top of the monster intakes, sloped, as seen from the top and the side, because during re-entry, the nose will be angled up. Well, ok, mostly because that's just the way they fit. And thus ends the major design stage. It's mostly just detailing from here. For which I want to use-up as many 135 parts as possible.
The A-10 engines need either turbines in front, or... Hey. These domed-tubes fit perfectly, with a little styrene strip filler. And these space shuttle booster engines fit prefectly abast. I've found that serendipity like that usually works out better, and always works faster. So, it's time to look at the overall shape again.
So, I'm sittin' there, turning it over and over again, feeling the shapes, looking at the angles, and... Ya know what would be cool? More wings! Even relatively little ones glued to the underside of the protruding wheel wells. They were leftovers from the plane used inside the tanks of the Tanker Pakajak.
Time to work on the nose and cover up the missing stabilizer slots and hole. And I want to use a T-shaped ex-135 fuselage part to do it, too. Just because. So I'll put the T-shape on the bottom, having it attach to... P-38 wingtips. With some stuff thrown on top to cover those slots, and some automobile frame parts underneath to fill the T. It's all over now but for the painting!
The mental picture of an airliner I had was bright colors on top because it would look more attractive on brochures. And silver, or gray, on the bottom to help hide the re-entry scorch marks. Back to the top - I wanted white and yellow. Maybe all-white with an offcenter Japanese battleflag starburst of yellow. Hmm... Cute, but impossible to mask, what with all the surface detail. Oh - And I have to take it to a Career Day presentation in two days, so there's no time for anything too fancy.
Thus, the curvy stripes. I wanted Maori stylized eyes under the yellow brows in the front, but I don't do freehand, and I didn't have anything eye-like. I also wanted to burn as many of the kit decals as possible, hence the Seattle Seahawks symbols instead of eyes. If that part of the fuselage hadn't had all those ridges, I would have considered making eye's from several layers of decals. But, it did, so I didn't. And there was that only one day left thing.
In some venues ART is when you can't take any more away from it. With a lot of ships, ART is when you can't glue any more on. In this case, ART is when Friday arrives. It was a fun build, and now I can't say I never do white or gray ships.