Category Archives: scale modeling

Bubblegum Galactica – Make a BSG-inspired Model Spaceship From Gum Containers

One of the truly awesome superpowers you gain when you start kit bashing and scratch building scale models is a limited-scope future vision that allows you to see which everyday household objects would make great spaceships.  It’s like a really useless ESP or an X-Ray vision that doesn’t let you see through blouses.  Seeing as I lack any decent super power, I’m not going to register my complaint with the Justice League just yet.

The key components used in the spacecraft pictured above are Hubba Bubba measuring tape gum dispensers.  My son loves the stuff and probably chewed his way through a few miles of it before I started scratch building.  Not long after my super power was attenuated, I saw a couple of the empty containers in the back seat of my car and visions of the Battlestar Galactica rag tag fleet danced in my head.

The "Mineral Ship" from the new Battlestar Galactica series - aka the "Livery Ship" in the original BSG series.

As a kid, I loved the original Battlestar Galactica.  My favorite parts of every episode were the establishing shots of the “rag tag fleet” all floating in space together.  I remember the original series with the same fondness I afford to The Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider, The A-Team, and Automan.  Yes, they were cheesy and have not aged well.  Fortunately, the reboot of Battlestar Galactica was one of the best television series produced in the past several years.  I thought it was intelligent, funny, and thought-provoking.  The writing and acting were both excellent.  And the spaceships looked really cool.  As a kid, I especially liked the tri-disc-shaped ship and my nostalgia sensors overloaded when I saw it had been reproduced for the new series.

Activate the jump drive and follow me to the next set of coordinates where instructions on how to turn discarded Hubba Bubba containers into your very own BSG-inspired ship await your discovery.

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Filed under Art, Let's Make Something Beautiful, scale modeling

Gay For May, Part The Fourth

I believe I’ve built a bullet-proof case in my quest to prove the fact that James May embodies everything one would hope to find in the ideal 21st Century Renaissance Man.  I would put him up against any currently living male of the human species.  You cannot name another person who has driven the world’s fastest production car at top speed, made a blimp out of a caravan, and eaten bull penis.  A more Reanissancey or manly man there is not.  Yet, not unlike the situation I found myself in when I started a petition to get Lou Reed’s face put on the Statue of Liberty, I am utterly alone in my pursuit.

The above video is the first episode of James May’s Toy Stories.  Here, May sets out to prove that the old toys are better than new toys, mostly because they required imagination and inspired youngsters to be active creators rather than passive consumers.  The first episode is an homage to British scale model manufacturer, Airfix.  Not only does May manage to get high school kids interested in this character-building hobby, but he and the kids actually make a 1 to 1 scale model of the most popular Airfix model, the Supermarine Spitfire.  For those of you poor at maths, 1 to 1 scale is actual size.

The whole series is excellent.  He builds a house entirely of Lego and constructs a garden entirely of Plasticine, which he manages to get into the world famous Chelsea Garden Show.

The one that got me started down the path to scale modeling oblivion.

Above is the Supermarine Spitfire I built after watching James May’s Toy Stories.  It’s not an Airfix, but that’s not the point.  The point is to Get Excited And Make Things.  And if you want to do that, there is no better source of inspiration than James May’s Toy Stories.  It’s just one more reason I am totally gay for May.

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Filed under Aviation, Gay For May, scale modeling

Metropolis II by Chris Burden

Chris Burden seems to have had two very distinct artistic selves… Those two selves would be Chris Burden the Younger and then Chris Burden the Elder. He has gone from the extreme self-mutilating performance artist of his early years in the 1970’s into his current incarnation as the Willy Wonka artist who brings to reality the wildest dreams of many pre-adolescent children.

A short doc about a kinetic sculpture that took four years to build. We had the honor of spending three days in Chris Burden’s studio filming this sculpture before it was moved to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art (LACMA) where it is being reinstalled…

Directed by Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman
Edited by Max Joseph
Cinemtography by Schulman, Joost & Van Neistat
Music by Tortoise (Ten-Day interval) & Mahogany (Windmill International A)

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Filed under Art, Automotive, scale modeling, Transportation

Classics, Wrecked

Here's a perfect excuse for clever a "wrecked 'em" pun and I can't think of one.

Classic Wrecks is your one-stop Etsy shop that will help you build the junkyard of your dreams.  John Findra builds 1/24 scale models of classic automobiles and then, as they would say in the fashion industry, distresses them.  I’ve always been a fan of scale modelers who build airplane crash or battle damaged armor dioramas.  The idea of cutting a brand new model off the sprues, and putting it together in the exact opposite condition of factory fresh puts a big smile on my face.

Helen Killer over at Regretsy listed John’s work as her number one favorite purchase of 2011.

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Filed under Art, Automotive, scale modeling, Transportation