My new steampunk Fish Sub model kit is about to start shipping for those that preordered it, but meanwhile, the caster sent me my advance copy to start building up. I did my last sub design in copper, but this one is begging for brass since the real fish I based this on (The Longnose Butterfly fish) is mostly yellow.
I started off by gathering some old brass watches in my collection to use as paint reference. What’s great is that the tones of brass are quite varied even without the patinas and staining. The kit comes with the brass photoetch I designed for it, but the sheet-brass has a natural grain to it that makes it look out of scale. So unfortunately I’ll be painting most of the etch as well, but the good news is that it’ll match the rest of the sub better which in the long-run is ideal. I like that in the watches, they’re not all brass. There’s other gray metals (stainless steel?) in there as well which will help to break-up the brass tones.
Along with the reference I’ve pulled out a plethora of brass and gold-toned paints from the shelves. I’ll use these straight from the bottle and mixed with silvers and coppers to adjust and vary the tones so that the panels have some nice variance to them. Just like I did with the original Fish Sub.
The brass photoetch is pretty easy to work with. Simply use a razor to snip the parts from the sprues and lightly sand the nubs down. Lightly sanding the entire sheets before cutting as I did will allow for better glue and paint adhesion later.
Let’s start with the brass gauges. Cut then from the sprue and stick them to some reverse rolled tape. Spraypaint them in whatever color you choose for the recessed faceplates. I used cheap gloss black spraypaint. Let dry then lightly wet-sand the faces on some fine grit sanding film glued to a styrene block to reveal the raised brass. Really simple and nets some attractive results.
The resin is cast in Industria Mechanika‘s typical light grey which makes cleaning it up easier than the plain white or cream colored resins. Clean-up is a breeze however thanks to some great casting. The pilot figure turned out especially nice. Overall minimal sanding is needed and so far, no putty!
The figure gives you a good idea (if you’re familiar with 1/35 scale) of the size of the Fish Sub. For those that are not, nose to tail the sub measures a little over 8.5 inches (21.5cm) long.
I decided that since this is a promo build-up for shows and such, I wanted the head to be removable to show off the inside. This was really easy since the head fit is VERY good. I used several neodymium magnets (small, but crazy strong) to keep the head in place.
There was a hair of light that could be seen yet which bothered me so a thin strip of styrene embossed with rivets (nail pushing on the reverse side) was added on the rear hull inner seam. This will block any light bleed. As you can see from the first pic of the resin above which the magnets are holding in place, the fit is really good. Nice amount of interior space on this one.
The layered photoetch brass fins are my favorite part of these subs. The side fins are 4 parts each (unless you also use the optional riser as shown below) while the other 3 fins are 3 parts each. A main fin shape and 2 decorative brackets. The dorsal and anal fins have holes in their brackets where a brass rivet included in the kit can be inserted to secure the brackets to the hull. These brackets need a little bending to get them in the right position, but that’s relatively easy.
Above is a 3-part riser that one can use to make the pectoral fins stick straight-out like traditional dive planes on a submersible. Otherwise you can skip these and have them look more fish-like and to the sides as I’ll be doing.
Next up I’ll be starting to paint the interior.