This is my first go-around with Sci-Fi & Fantasy Modeller. I’d heard of the magazine/publication, but never had the opportunity to look at one up close in my area of the country. I must say that the first thing that immediately caught my attention was that this is not a typical “magazine”, but more of a soft-cover book. The materials for the publication are very sturdy with the pages made of very heavy paper stock, pretty much guaranteeing that this will be around for years as a reference or inspirational item.
Upon opening the cover, the publication consists of 14 articles and 98 pages. The first article sets the stage with a scratchbuilt Blake’s 7 Liberator ship. Included in the article are computer layout drawings of the ship for reference, along with multiple step-by-step pictures showing how the builder accomplished the build. One bit I didn’t care for was some of the reference #’s for the pictures were on the following pages rather than with the article/picture on the same page, although turning a page back to look at a picture isn’t a big problem.
The next article covers the second half of a two-part build. The latter part of the split article follows the finishing process of a Doc Savage figure diorama. Even though I missed the first half of the article, the second half still has a lot to be learned, particularly a unique base cut to display the figures together either back-to-back or apart. It takes you through constructing of the base, along with the step-by-step painting process for painting the figures and a couple neat tricks for creating effects with eyes.
The third article in the publication follows the scratchbuilding of the Ornithopter from the Dune mini series, based on the 1984 film. What looks like a simple build includes more complex building techniques, like creating wing lift fans from turned aluminum to mate with parts from an F16 kit. What looks like a relatively simple build by the picture shows in the article that quite a bit of engineering went in to the piece.
The following article moves to a significantly larger scale build replicating the “Derelict” ship from the movie Alien. Nuances from HR Giger’s art work adorn the ship, much like they do on the alien creature in the movie. The project starts with a large 4’x3’ block of polystyrene foam. Following the block cut to the sanding/smoothing process of the base structure is neat, but the ship really comes to life when the outside pieces of the hull are added. Items like wire guide sleeves for welders, auto cable, bass guitar strings, and a plumber’s drain snake were employed to make the correct representation for the ship’s hull. The finishing process is nothing I’d ever heard of – using Jesmonite to coat the outside of the build. It’s resin-based and finishes the model with a hard surface.
We take a back-step in the next article with something a little more familiar to us all in a review of the AMT Interplanetary UFO glow-in-the-dark kit, followed by another scratchbuild project of the Doctor Who “Pirate Planet Parrot”. This scratchbuild proved a bit more technical and included the addition of LED lighting to the mix.
Halfway through this issue is a classic review of an out-of-production V.I.N.CENT kit made by MPC. Along with C3PO, R2D2, and Robbie, V.I.N.CENT is easily one of the most recognizable and remembered bots in TV/movie history. The Black Hole came out when I was just a kid, but I remember watching it fondly. Reviews of old kits are good and bad – good in that it brings to light memories of kits long forgotten, but bad in the fact that these are items that a person cannot find very easily, or at all.
Following the classic review is another review of a current kit, the Moebius Models Vampirella. A nice review of the kit, but much more informative on minor techniques in figure painting, like the use of watercolor pencils to make colored powders for detailing, something I’ve been doing for a while. The last detail, and a great idea I think, was the reviewer used a bit of polythene decorative chain to create a nice backdrop to the basic kit.
The next article is one I really enjoyed, a group-build of a Battlestar squadron, including the hangar. The kit used was the Moebius Viper Mk II with some Paragraphix photoetch detail sets. Along with a group hangar shot, pages 62-64 share detail photos of all 11 individual builders’ ships. Tying in directly to the same theme is a follow-up article starting on page 65 for the Moebius MkVII test shot and a review of the test shot. Look for this one to be in the hobby shops soon.
What sci-fi magazine periodical wouldn’t be complete without some Star Trek features? Page 69 jumps right in with building the “Ultimate” NCC-1701. One bonus with this how-to article is a list of references the author used to help make the decision to purchase the model. The kit is very large and takes you on the journey through the stages of building the kit right down to finding Star Trek blue prints with web URL’s for them.
Moving on to the end of the issue, page 74 is a how-to article regarding turning a hobby in to a career. This 10 page article following Jim Millet’s career is interesting and shows that a “model” isn’t truly a small piece in the movies all the time.
The final pages are dedicated to replicating Moon Base Alpha from Space: 1999. Several shots are referenced along with several kits used to rob parts to replicate the base station. Kits include the Bismarck ship, panther tanks, and others to create the surface detail on the base. The progression of photos seeing it come to life is impressive.
The final article on page 94 is a scratchbuild of the Altares ship from Day After Tomorrow. Another in-depth article on a scratch build, along with several tricks and ideas to overcome problem areas, the last of which I found very unique in that the author used the bottom of an old TV remote to create a display base stand for the ship.
I’d like to thank Happy Medium Press for supplying this issue for review. It was very nice to get my hands on something I’ve been interested in for some time. The price is a bit high, but receiving 98 pages of modeling inspiration, and the heft of paper, cover, and FULL COLOR pictures, makes it all worth the price of admission.
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