The base of the kit, just as in the original release from the 1970s, is this flimsy, vac-formed lunar scene. As then, this base is largely inadequate for the model (though, I take the point that this was never meant to be a highly detailed model, and more like a quick-fit job for kids to get into on a wet weekend). If I had been of a different mind, I would have scrapped this from the start, and used foam-core as a base. However, it being ‘part of’ the kit under review, I have had a go at beating it into shape.
Using the raised sections on the base which provide support for the building sections, I decided to try two different approaches to stabilizing the vac-formed sheets. The left was filled out with two-part poly resin, and the right was filled out with plaster of paris. A bit clunky, to be sure, but both forms turned the fragile sheets into stable bases.
From there, once all the bases were ‘filled’, I saw to closing all the gaps with plaster before undercoating.
After that, it’s not much of a build… 🙂
Not much of a paint job, either. However, with only grey and white with which to work, I was a little daunted.
However, I’ve been looking for excuses to try pre/post shading and this proved to be just the challenge I needed. This was because, although the actual production model buildings are pale grey/off-white, the stark lamps on set (used to reflect the unimpeded sunlight conditions on the surface of the moon) meant that the shadowing created on the base gives the impression that everything is rather darker than it actually is.
Indeed, so strong is this impression that once I had undercoated the structures in white, they just seemed so wrong…
The next step was to pre-shade….
Washing the model back with Citadel Nuln Oil established all the areas of greatest contrast. This was then adjusted, by bringing up those areas, by airbrushing white as required (most building edges and high points). This was then left to dry for 24 hours.
Then followed pen inking to intensify the shadows. Normally, I’d have done this with my airbrush, but even on the finest setting, the brush overwhelmed the detail, and the fine Gundam Marker proved just enough to lay down some color, which would do all the pre-shading required, once the final (thinned) coats were added.
The top coat was nothing more than Tamiya light grey (thinned to 70% X20 thinner 30% paint), lightly applied to the whole kit (including lunar surface).
The highlight was simply Tamiya white post-shading the high-points of the kit – as well as being dusted across the lunar surface, to create glare. It worked out very well indeed.
I took a few liberties with the kit here and there, I will admit. For example, the surface travel tubes were not lit in the series, but I wanted to add a little further contrast to the build, and feel it looks quite nice for all that it is not quite ‘right’. I also note that these ‘tubes’ are little more than square bars, but as Dale rightly points out, this is not so very far from the filming model. With more time, I might have been persuaded to replace them, but this being a review, I do not feel it is right to do this – after all, this is how the kit ships, and it still does not look bad as it is.
In closing, though this is not a ‘great’ kit by any stretch of the imagination for Space 1999 fans, there is no other game in town as far as Moonbase Alpha goes, and – as the old saying has it – ‘there’s no point in asking if the air is good, when there’s nothing else to breath’.
I’m pleased with this little kit and very glad I bought it.
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