Thursday, May 29, 2014

BSG78: Monogram Cylon Raider 2

After just about three days, the old kit arrived!  Minus its original box or instructions, and chipped in places just as it was pictured.  The ship is bigger than I'd thought, a little over 10 inches wide.
Notice the broke off laser cannon, and the thick layer of dust/dirt on the louvers.
I have to say that I'm pleasantly surprised by the detail on this kit.  There's actual raised panel lines, and even though the underside is lacking in detail, they obviously decided to go to town on the top.  I read somewhere that Monogram only had access to a top and bottom view of the ship, so they had to use their own imaginations when creating the front and back details, which would explain why the thrusters are so.... odd.  The Moebius kit has addressed this, but WE'RE NOT DOING THAT!
Check out those holes on the front, along with their corresponding push buttons underneath.
A quick examination of the front of the model revealed that yes, this was an original.  It has the holes for the owner to insert the now-long-lost torpedoes, and also has the tiny buttons underneath to fire them via a rubber band setup inside.
Once the ship had been popped apart, I could see the old track for the torpedo mechanism.. along with further evidence that this was indeed an original from "back in the day."

Check out the remnants of the old decals.  I could clearly see where the decals had originally been placed, because their outline had been faded onto the plastic.  Look at that brownish hue.  This is OLD plastic.

And here are the inaccurate thrusters.  The other piece is loose.  I'm not sure yet how far I'll go with accurizing these thrusters.  Also, I can already see a big fit issue with that circular piece in the center.  Just look at that gap.
I had slightly dreaded the breaking down of the model.  It was obviously from 1978, and had been exposed to a lot of seasons.  Inside, there were cobwebs and bits of what I might mistake for a rat's nest (but it was too small).  I thought I'd have to freeze the model for it to pop apart, but it just took about 60 seconds with an exacto knife to pop it apart like a dry taco! No Kidding!

There's going to be some decisions to be made regarding those oddball thrusters.  Obviously, they put those floating squares in there because they didn't want it to just be a big hole where the thrusters should be.  I plan on installing six cold white LEDs per thruster, and I sure ain't gonna have that work blocked by some flimsy, inaccurate piece of plastic!  I've checked out some of the things others have done to create the criss-crossed fins that sit inside each thruster, and that would certainly allow more light to come through.

And while we're talking about lights, there's also the two "headlights" at the front, along with two tiny lights underneath each wing.  There's no predetermined spot where these lights are to be, so I have to plot and drill them myself.

This is going to be a fun project, resurrecting someone else's trash and making it better than it ever should have been.  More updates to come!  And yes, I AM crazy for bothering with this when I have a brand new Moebius Creature from the Black Lagoon kit that I could dig into!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Battlestar Galactica Cylon Raider: The Resurrection

Back in the late 1970s, after the planet earth had been punched in the face by Star Wars, there was nothing but the titillating school yard talk of the possibility of a sequel.  Those of us who'd read every little tidbit about the first film knew that it would take about 3 years for such a thing to ever happen.  We were kids; Lucasfilm couldn't expect us to be THAT patient.

Nevertheless, Lucas was pretty flabbergasted when another creator with the initials "GL" brought a space fantasy to TV the next year.  Glen Larson's 1978 Star Wars stop-gap measure, Battlestar Galactica, did hold some of us tikes over until The Empire Strikes Back was released, at least for one season.  

It also earned Larson a lawsuit from Lucasfilm, one that dragged on until Galactica wasn't even on toy shelves OR televisions anymore.  Very reminiscent of the classic Superman vs. Captain Marvel court case.  In both instances, it was pretty obvious that it was a slight ripoff, but it still endeared itself to millions of kids... and by the time they were settled, nobody cared anymore!

Anyways, as most of us people who are conscious know, David Eick and Ronald Moore brought Battlestar Galactica back to TV via the Sci-Fi Channel in the early 2000s, although it was (for me) significantly altered.  Much like my experience with Star Trek: The Next Generation, I am still attempting to connect with it.  Maybe someday.  Maybe it's just that there's no Richard Hatch as Apollo.  I don't want to see him as some reformed terrorist or something.  So I guess I'm an old guy now:  to me, if Hatch isn't there as Apollo, then it's not Galactica.  I can do without Dirk Benedict and his cigar.  Sorry, Dirk, but you'll always have "Face."

So while the decades have passed, and Galactica has had it's loyal fanbase, it's absolutely obvious that Star Wars has long ago passed it by.  Do you see Starbuck figures out there at Walmart?  Do you see Darth Vader figures at Walmart?  Yes, I guess that's the barometer these days.  But still....

Some of the designs of the original 1978 series are definitely cool and can't be denied.  We can all together say that yes, the Colonial Viper was heavily inspired by the X-Wing (even down to the red striping), but the shuttle, Battlestars, Cylon Starbases, and the Cylon Raiders were indeed COOL pieces of design!

So the other day I was surfing eBay, and having no Galactica models in my plastic pantheon,  I decided to search for a Cylon Raider.  Moebius recently released a BIG kit, which I didn't really want.  I decided to look for the original Monogram kit, and I got super lucky!
That's right, I bid a whole whopping $2.01, and ended up winning it for .99!!!
As the item description warned, it was a "banger," and the photo shows that one of the cannons is broke off, and a few other pieces are loose.  I felt adventurous and decided that this kit just needed a home where it could not be brought back to its original splendor, but be taken up a notch and made to look better than ever before!
It appears to be an original, looking at the brownish tinge of the plastic.  I'll know for sure when I receive the kit and look inside.  If it has the tracks for the rubber band-release missles, then it's the original.  But looking at the pic, I think there's little doubt!
Anyways, I'll be putting LEDs in this baby, repainting and adding a cool base.  And... this Raider won't explode as easily as they did OVER and OVER again in 1978!  More to come.