And so it begins
So, after a bit of consideration (and some rough scheduling), I have a plan forward on the Klingon Bird of Prey (KBoP) . It'll probably take much longer, but I really like this model and think a studio scale version would be amazing. That said, I'll need as many references as I can find, because I'm going to scratch build it instead of purchasing the $3,500 kit (which looks amazing). I picked up a couple of the 1/350 AMT models to this end. In case you're wondering, I'm not scratch building because of the big kit price. Not that I really can afford the cash right now, but scratch building something like this is almost certainly more expensive than buying that kit. However, there are a series of skills needed to model and build this that I want to develop... and a kit bypasses many of those skills. I also have a few ideas on how the landing gear may actually be made active, which would be bloody amazing. May not work at all, but I think it's worth a bit of exploration, trial, and error.
First, I'm going to build 2D vectors of the plan and elevation views from my research. This can be used to laser etch acrylic for a very cool lighting effect. I've already done this with the 1701 refit (GitHub repository). This isn't really necessary per we, will help me more deeply understand the model as I work toward step two.
Second, I'm going to build a detailed 3D model (with NURBS) decomposed along a similar part list to the AMT model, but improving accuracy along the way. I'll model it at a studio scale, but this should be fairly easy to resize later if needed. I'm also going to ensure the wing baffles can work, and will explore making the landing gear active. At this scale it'll need an aluminum or steal endoskeleton. I expect this process will take quite a bit of time. I'm not very proficient with Rhino yet, and this is a deceptively complex model in the details. But, I'll start with something simple like the wing and simply build from there. I don't have a 3D scanner, but frankly that wouldn't be all that helpful for the result I want anyway.
Lastly, I need to substantially improve my painting and weathering skills. On my first attempt, I had no problems with primary construction, running fiber optics or LEDs, wiring it all up to an Arduino, programming, etc. I fell apart on the painting process, which led to mistakes that ultimately damaged the model. Probably still recoverable (mostly), but I want to spend some real time improving my painting skills. So, I'm going to create a model of a pie Ron the AMT (probably a wing), and create a half-dozen copies in resin. Then I'll use different paints and techniques on those to practice getting the color and weathering I'd like.
This... will take a bit of time. All of the digital assets will be open sourced (I'll post here, but GitHub repositories will be the primary storage). Once done, you should be able to replicate anything I've done with a decent CNC mill and/or 3D printer (high resolution, and a good sized bed will be needed... but there are job shops for this kind of work). Of course I'll share manufacturing tests and results once we get there. I'll also go through the old project journal and share my first experiences in parallel with this project. Lots of learnings from the first attempt. Most importantly don't set canisters of turpentine, or mix paint next to parts. I should know better, and that mess was epic.
On a side note, I fully recognize the time this will take. If a few years from now I manage to finish this thing, then hopefully these blog posts will help me, if nobody else, understand how I got from point A to point B. The destination is cool, but in this case the journey is everything. And so, I'll attempt to document the journey.