As you may know, I sculpt the model kit versions of Ian McQue’s airships for my model kit production company Industria Mechanika. For a while now I’ve wanted to do a large one-off showpiece as a backdrop for the smaller kits. Something to give a sense of scale and scenery as seen in Ian’s paintings. I was going to make one based on a barge-like sketch, but then Ian sent me a painting of this cargo ship/freighter and I was hooked.
Now of course, how to construct such a large vessel without it being a massive mess of Bondo…? The answer was laser-cut acrylic and luckily I have a friend with a laser-cutter! So I spent a week designing many many many parts from 3 thicknesses of Acrylic 1/16″, 1/8″ and 1/4″ (” = inch and ‘ = foot (12 inches) for those using the metric system… I use both as you’ll see) and even more parts from 0.2mm brass photoetch. And of course I’m not done yet as I still need to finish designing the underside of the craft.
Designing the acrylic was a fun challenge… it’s like designing a 3-dimensional puzzle using flat parts, slots and tabs, and more. I really had to think ahead in the design for lighting and more. The bulkheads in the interior cargo hold for example not only have door holes, but small holes that are both decorative and able to hold “pipes” in which I can run wiring. I also had holes cut for LED lighting, etched-in details and more.
The ship itself is VERY large at 1/35 scale. It’s about 36″ long (90cm). I need to come up with a build-plan as I will have to paint, light, and detail the cargo hold before I assemble most of the ship.The acrylic just arrived yesterday, so I’ve lots to do.
While waiting on the acrylic to be delivered I had time to start on the cargo… and there’s a lot of it to fill up the space. Here’s a bunch of pics and I’ll add explanations as I have time. Most of these are already explained on my facebook page. The large containers are the new 1/35 Military 20′ containers by Italeri, forklift by Aoshima, motorcycle by Bandai, and everyhting else is random bits and bobs or scratchbuilt.