OK, all you car and truck modelers: I’ve been taking some heat, both internally and also from emails coming in. No, not about suicide chicken wings, but regarding our blog and Facebook pages; being “limited” to sci-fi subject matter. I cannot contest this. So, I’m going to try and improve on the situation once and for all, with some posts for those of you who like things that run on gasoline as opposed to dilithium crystals. I commend Jamie to no end for the time and effort he finds and puts into his sci-fi and figural posts. He’s done an incredible job.
Word of our new MPC Eagle kits landing in modelers hands started trickling in late last week. Orders are still in the mail to some, so stay patient if yours hasn’t arrived yet. I just wanted to take a quick minute for a quick post. Let’s start with some “bad” news…
The metal accessory parts are at least a month behind. The factory is making sure that they weed out and metal bells with visible flaws. At the price the sets will be going for, we want them to be flawless. Only a few people have seen them first hand. I actually don’t have a full set myself other than the one installed on our buildup. But everyone that has seen them will attest to how magnificent they look.
Speaking of flaws… with as much energy as we put into the kit, nothing can be considered perfect. I’m going to be up front and fill you in on the handful of things to keep an eye out for if you are a discriminating modeler.
- One point the factory misinterpreted in their final clean up was the presence of two “teeth” on the trailing edge of the command module halves. The presence of them would allow the main pod shell to grip onto the back wall without the need for cement. Unfortunately these were removed on accident and are not present on the first production run of kits. This has already been corrected on the tooling so subsequent production runs will have this feature.
- During the tool polishing stage, the factory got a bit carried away on the port windshield part causing a bit of a wave in it which gives a bit of distortion when looking through it. The tool is being reworked to correct this as well.
- There are pins present on the back side of the CM sensor dishes. These pins are oriented at an incorrect angle. This will get fixed later on too.
- Two errors were present in the data we sent to the factory that was used to create the model. Correcting these problems was problematic as it would require substantial tool work for the very slightest amount of change. the first error is the depth of the RCS thruster housing. They are 1mm too deep.
- The second error was not noticed until just recently. The nozzles on the loose Gemini domes should have been either A) been fudged a bit so one part could be used in every application or B) had lefts and rights made on the tool. Sadly this wasn’t the case so now the “lean” (the angle is fairly slight) in the wrong direction in some cases.
- Lastly, The screws that are included in the kit are not “self tappers” so you will need to use a drill bit or another instrument to create a hole in the top of the passenger pod roof. Don’t make it too big obviously…
In the big scheme of things these are all very small things. But I figured I should stay as straight forward as I always try to be.
Now some good news… that some might think is bad…
I mentioned that we were making corrections where reasonably feasible on the problem areas I mentioned so the kit is more “right” when we do subsequent production runs. As of this writing we are very nearly sold through (that means from our warehouse, not necessarily at the retail level) on the first batch of Eagle kits. A second batch was already on order some time ago, but we don’t expect those kits to arrive until later this month. In fact, we’ve placed a third order to follow behind that one as sales have been very brisk. So, that means if you want yours soon, but you haven’t ordered one you should do it now or you may end up having to wait a bit until more fill the distribution lines.
Further good news is that our friends over at Sci-Fi Fantasy Modeler have launched their digital publication program. Be sure to check them out to get some free digital content now, while new stuff like the Eagle special will be coming soon. I also understand they will be making back issues available digitally as well. So check them out and keep an eye out for more from them. Read the yellow section at this link to find out more details.
Not to introduce brand confusion (read the title closely) we got word this morning of a new sci-fi oriented website that looks pretty promising so far. Check out the link below and look for the 1:350 scale U.S.S. Constellation article. Looks pretty great.
While I’m talking up websites/forums/online modeler gatherings I wanted to mention a fan group on Facebook that has been very supportive of the Eagle kit. If you aren’t already a member, do a Facebook search for “Space: 1999 Props & Ships” to see what Todd Morton and a ton of other kind S:1999 fans from all over the world are talking about.
Lastly, we know a lot of people have been asking why our own model kit website hasn’t been updated recently. Fear not. Attention has turned to developing an all-new website that will host all of Round 2’s product lines. It is a complicated endeavor that a limited few of our staff have been handling for several months. There is still a lot of work, redirecting and updating to do before we start using it. Round2models.com as you know it will stay active until everything is up and running on the new site.
Onward into 2016…!
UPDATE: Kits are due to ship from China by the end of November. No promises that they will land in modelers’ hands by Christmas, but may still reach many of you by the end of the year.
Nearly everyday I get an email or note requesting more info on our exciting new MPC Space:1999 Eagle kit. Quite a bit has happened since my last post and I’m overdue on an update. So here you go. Let’s see… where to start…
The parts- We’ve received two rounds of test shots. You may have seen comments from Jim Small or Jay Chladek online about the first set of those. I’ll admit I’m holding back a little bit on this one in order to save something for Sci-Fi Fantasy Modeler’s Eagle special where I’ll be contributing an article. Btw, to pre-order your copy click right here! I’m doing my best to balance the distribution of info between here and there.
I guess I’ll start by saying that beyond flaws in the surfaces of parts caused by the tooling process that there was not a whole lot to be addressed. There were minor fit issues here and there with pins missing, sink marks etc. All were to be expected in a preliminary test shot. Other than that, the kit really assembled nicely once I wrapped my head around a few of the sub assemblies. It is one thing to see all of the parts and understand how the end product is supposed to look and see what assembly “theories” worked out and which didn’t. Even not noticing very slight differences between some of the frame tube parts caused problems in my first attempt. Keep in mind none of the parts get numbered until the next step. A few lessons were learned, but all for the better and the initial build went together satisfactorily.
I always ask for 10-12 initial test shots for plenty of testing and distribution to consultants and select media outlets. Most might think “ooh, 12 sets!” Well, they go pretty fast once you start handing them out. I kept three. One got assembled, one was used to retrace steps in the build to document trouble areas in the parts and one was kept intact for our archive. Three got sent to Jim Small to use for our buildup. That allowed extra parts for immediate replacement for the build and the ability to build a rescue pod in addition to the standard passenger pod. He was also due a copy as a consultant on the project. Our other consultants Daniel Prud’homme and Chris Trice were also sent one copy each. A set was sent to Sci-Fi Fantasy Modeller for upcoming issues. Two sets were sent to Mat Irvine to take along for his SFFM interview with Brian Johnson. One set was awarded to Jay Chladek for winning in the JerseyFest model competition. Let’s see… ten fingers and couple toes… Yep, that was all of them.
Back to the parts themselves, I mentioned we received a second round (only two sets this time) and most of the problems were resolved, but they never all get taken care of even at this stage. There were still about ten points to correct. The biggest problem to overcome was sink marks in the tops of the landing footpads. The parts were originally solid, but had to be broken into two parts each. This required a bit of rearranging other parts on that particular sprue to make room for the second sizable piece. The change resulted in more problems. In some cases, the factory’s work takes us a step backwards and this case was no different.
One of the features of the kit is that we are injecting it in two colors, “eagle” white and gray with windows supplied in clear plastic. This means that if one wants to, he can build the ship without having to paint it. I’m of the mind that is looks a little toy-like in this state, but adding the metal engine bell accessories helps, and just a little chalk dust added to the corners and crevasses would supply a superb look without painting in full. Here is a pic of Jim’s “naked” build with the larger metal bells installed.
Packaging- By the time test shots arrived, we were racing the clock to get everything finished. The instruction sheet needed to be revised to take practical assembly into account, decals had to be test fitted and refined, the test shot needed to be built into a respectable model for the packaging and publicity and I had the extra task of finishing the box lid illustrations. In most of the designs I was considering, I had a second Eagle in the background. I decided to paint that one separately and would later drop it in as needed in photoshop. This served two purposes. The angle I used for it lent itself better on the box ends. So I would need it larger than it appeared on the box face. Secondly, it allowed me a practice painting to exercise my languishing skills and to check my planned technique. If I couldn’t manage this “baby Eagle” as I like to call it, I was sure to fail at the much larger painting. I’ll post more on the illustrations and process on those another day, but I have to say I felt a bit wounded by some of the comments I saw out there when one of our distributors released a sales image of the box face. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and let’s face it you guys love this ship more than I do even in the very intimate role I’m playing in this. I know very few people could have known the hundreds of hours spent on the design, art and package. In the final push, I spent every waking hour for three straight days working on the larger painting. Time heals all wounds though and I feel much better now. Btw, usually when working on freelance gigs and even when I’m doing semi-mindless photoshop here at Round 2 I listen to podcasts more than music. One thing I used to pass and measure the time on this project was finding “books on tape” for free on youtube. My “reading list” was… 2001: A Space Odyssey (I get it now), Starship Troopers (I was struck by how closely the movie stayed to the book while still failing in its portrayal of the material), the first 1/3 to ½ of Stranger In A Strange Land unabridged edition (I didn’t really grok it so I moved on), 1984, A Brave New World and Treasure Island. I feel very well read now…
Other stuff- I was very hesitant to reveal all of the news I made in my last Eagle post because it all felt too good to be true and that any of the deals I mentioned could fall apart at any moment. And I’m sorry that I have to report that one of them did… for the moment. It seems the ability to move decals from Italy into China for pack-in is disastrously problematic without the proper red tape taken care of. This is something that is being worked through presently and we full expect to be able to use Cartograf decals in upcoming Polar Lights, MPC and AMT kits by mid 2016, but unfortunately it just can’t happen in time to include them in this release of the Eagle. We currently and will continue to include them in our Hawk and Lindberg branded kits. The move to change to Cartograf has sent a clear message to our current Chinese decal suppliers and stepped up attention to quality has been ensured. I have tested proofs of the Eagle decals and they performed admirably and responded to the use of setting solution. More updates on the inclusion of Cartograf decals will come when definitive info becomes available.
On the plus side, Mat Irvine’s interview with Brian Johnson seems to have gone off without a hitch. Since the interview Brian has delivered a special behind the scenes treat for Eagle connoisseurs, a rare photo of the Eagle model crew along with a full listing of everyone that worked on them!
Pictured from left to right: Alan Barnard, Sallie Beechinor, Terry Reid, Guy Hudson, Brian Eke, Cyril Forster, Brian Johnson, Andrew Kelly, Terry Pearce, David Watkins, David Lichfield, Terry Schubert
Not pictured: Harry Oakes- DoP, Frank Drake- Cam Op, Les Bowie- Pinewood FX, Alan Bryce- Pinewood FX, Fiona Latto- Sec, Martin Bower- models
AGM Aeronautical General Models- Larry Barr & Wag Evans- 2nd 44” filming Eagle
Mary Robbins (Anderson), Nee Curtis- Sec 2nd Series 1999
Wrapping up- Okay, that’s about all comes to mind at the moment. Have a happy Thanksgiving!
Oh… you ask when will the kit come out? It is November and that was the release date we’ve published, isn’t it? Yes, well, despite our best intentions November is not to be. Currently, it looks like kits should arrive in the nick of time before Christmas. No promises as always, but the honest truth is that is how it looks at the moment. I’ll post an update when I hear they are being loaded onto a boat. Until then… build a deluxe 12” Eagle Deluxe Edition or Moonbase Alpha. As always, Happy modeling!
At long last, here is the promised sneak peek at the new parts that have been brewing to create our upcoming release of the U.S.S. Excelsior from Star Trek. The short history on the old AMT tooling is that the inserts that are needed to transform the U.S.S. Enterprise-B kit into the Excelsior have been lost. So we have had to recreate the missing parts. Like most of our work on new Star trek kits, the CAD work was done by Angelo Bastianelli. If you never picked up our reissue of the Enterprise-B a few years back, we made a few corrections on that one. Most significantly, we completely redid the lower saucer and curved the back wall of the neck. Some might ask if we are just recreating the parts from the old Excelsior kit. You know us by now. We approach these kits like the Six Million Dollar Man. We make them better than they were before, better stronger, faster… Okay, maybe just better, but you get the point.
With this edition, we examined the shape of the lower hull carefully, but found that the shape of the old part was proportionally accurate. Without necessarily meaning to, the new one is relatively close to the shape of the old one. We’ve decided to implement a slide mold this time though so the deflector trench will no longer be a separate part. That also allows us to get the weapon details a little better on the sides of the hull. We are completely redoing the inner “gut” detail of the hull based on Gary Kerr’s research into the model kit parts used when the filming miniature was built. A few compromises were made to allow us to inject the part with minimal fuss, but few will pick up on the differences. The look of the “whalebone” is more accurate now with that detail being split between the inner bay part and the outer hull part.
We had to recreate the top of the saucer as well and this was probably the most significant undertaking. The old part was kind of soft on details, so we made sure this one is up to snuff and a substantial upgrade will be the ability to use parts to build the ship as either the NX-2000 as shown in STAR TREK III: The Search For Spock or as the NCC-2000 as commanded by Sulu in STAR TREK VI: The Undiscovered Country. That means the bridge dome, impulse crystals and hangar bay will all come with swap-able parts. Speaking of impulse crystals, they will come as clear parts regardless of which version you choose.
Here are a whack of photos to take a gander at. I’m sure you’ll pick up on some of the other fun details and features I haven’t mentioned. Right now, it looks like the kit will be out in May.
For those hungry for more Eagle updates. I hope to have another post about that out next week.
Hi there Eagle fans. One last blog post to wrap up my series on the new MPC 22” Space:1999 Eagle kit. I might follow up later on with some process stuff about the box design and illustration, but I expect my next blog will be about the new parts for the U.S.S. Excelsior. But first, what more could be said about the Eagle…? Heh. Wait for it…
We announced at Wonderfest that we will be releasing a set of metal bells and oleo struts. Well, here is a peek at the first set of samples. They look great if I do say so myself. We need a small amount of adjustment on one of them, but otherwise looking good. The set of 12 aluminum bells and four oleo struts will retail for around $100.
Click to view the following image at full size.
This shows the comparison of one of the VTOLs to an aftermarket main engine bell installed on a 1:96 scale Product Enterprise Eagle.
We recently decided to offer another smaller metal accessory for the kit, which will include the small shoulder pod RCS thrusters. These should retail for about $25-30. I’ll let you know when we get samples in.
Next, if you hadn’t heard we have on occasion had faulty decals found in our kits. In an effort to improve that situation we will be starting a relationship with the world-famous decal manufacturer, Cartograf out of Italy, and the Eagle kit will be one of the first to take advantage of their superior quality. Other kits will start using Cartograf decals as well with a couple trickling out towards the end of this year in our Lindberg products and more being used in our other brands early next year. Once we get some kits rolling out with them, we will evaluate whether to start using them across the board. Cartograf is THE name in water-slide decals having supplied decals for several other well-known model kit manufacturers. I recently tried a “side-by-side taste test” myself. I found that they “feel” thicker even though they are not, and they do not fall apart in water or tear nearly as easily. They seem to really suck themselves down to the surface of the model conforming superbly to compound surfaces. All kits that use them will have a sticker on the outside of the wrapping to clearly show that they are included. It is our genuine hope that this demonstrates how important it is for us to make sure our product is as high a quality as possible.
Last and hopefully not least, I think we have a bit of news that will literally put the kit over the moon. (okay, maybe not literally) We will have the ship’s designer and Academy Award Winner, Brian Johnson, review the kit himself in hopes of getting his endorsement to apply to the packaging.
Along with that I am thrilled to share even more excitement… Happy Medium Press, publishers of Sci-fi & Fantasy Modeller, are putting the final touches to the contents line-up for their Modelling The Eagle Special, due for publication early in 2016. They have given us an exclusive look at the cover, prior to them announcing the title on their site in the next couple of weeks. I’ve seen the list of potential article features and a great portion of it will cover more about our new 22” Eagle kit.
Well, what do you think…?
With the development of the new 22” Eagle model kit currently in the tooling stage I have started design work on the packaging. I’ll be illustrating the box lid personally on my own time. Jim Small pointed out the stunning illustrations done for the Matchbox line of kits by Roy Huxley. I’m taking them into account as well as Robert McCall’s work and focusing on his 2001: A Space Odyssey poster. Their art is very inspirational. I can only hope that my skills can pay them due homage.
While digging into my illustration inspiration, I’ve been playing around with fonts and design motif’s that span the range from throwbacks to vintage Space:1999 products and collectibles like the old Eagle toy to contemporary takes that still keep a toe in the 70’s. Despite wanting to capture the look of the vintage products, I’m at a slight disadvantage because nearly every product uses the main three characters in a significant way. I can “cheat” by plugging in some of the other characters or putting everyone in helmets. Surprisingly after examining the size of the sprue frames and estimating a box size to hold them all it looks like we may have landed at the fortuitous box width of 22” wide.
These are quick study layouts using screencaps of the Eagle just for positioning while exploring the rest of the layout and various motifs.
I’ve contracted a skilled digital artist named Ken Netzel to help with instruction sheet diagrams. I’ve been playing around with how to best lay out the instructions. Though not what I would consider a knock-off by any stretch. I’m taking another cue from Matchbox instruction sheets, which had a very clean, nicely gridded look to them.
At this point we are about half way through our series on the new MPC Space:1999 Eagle transporter. So far we’ve covered some of the kit features and the prototyping process.
Since approving the digital mockup, I’ve been presented with a tool plan and layouts, which have since been reviewed and approved. The tool plan is basically a listing of every part in the kit. It shows which tool they will land on, how many copies of the part are on the tool and how many times a given tool will need to be injected. At last count, we were in the neighborhood of 320 total parts in the kit! With all that done and all parts accounted for, the tooling process has begun. I expect to see test shots in early September!
Next, a look behind the curtain at packaging and instructions…
UPDATED WITH MORE IMAGES!
Continuing the look at our upcoming 22” Space:1999 Eagle from MPC… You may recall that we received the kit mockup just days before Wondefest. I was swamped with show prep, so it stayed in the box it came in until Jim Small did his repairs to it the day before we left.
After displaying the prototype at the show, we found very few substantive errors when we gave it our thorough review. In a case of the 1:350 TOS Enterprise kit we probably had between 50 and 100 points to change between the first prototype and the end product. For this kit, we found about 10 things that needed to be corrected and a handful of other things had to be addressed like the cockpit wall and areas where tool drafting hadn’t been fully resolved.
For the most part, what you saw in the Wonderfest mockup is what the end kit will be. I give all credit for that to my development partners Jim Small, Daniel Prud’homme and Chris Trice. Their research, data and their mindfulness of how the kit should be parted out, etc. really made a huge difference that took months off the development timeline. The differences were actually so minor that I didn’t require the factory to implement the changes to the mockup and instead reviewed them digitally only. Photos of the mockup were submitted to the licensor and it has been approved!
A month has blown by and I couldn’t let another week go by without posting. I figured the hot topic may still be the new Space:1999 Eagle kit we announced at Wonderfest. Like I did back in June, I’ve written several posts that will appear weekly. We have closed the thread for the survey. Thanks for all of the input. We’ll be tabulating everything and I’m sure I’ll post some kind of response to the tallies later on. And now, on to the Eagle…
The kit is based on the ship as it appeared early in season 1. The model was redressed and details changed as filming went along. In some a few minor instances details have been simplified or compromised from how the miniature looked. The sub-assemblies of the kit will go together in much the same way as the original did.
The kit will measure 21 5/8” long, which is exactly half the length of the 44” (it wasn’t quite that long) filming miniature that was used during filming of the show. The “true” length of the ship has always been a point of contention. Like the Galileo shuttle in Star Trek, it has the Tardis-effect of being bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Most glaring is the fact that the doors on the personnel pod aren’t to scale with the doors martin Landau stepped through. The case can be made that the ship was longer. We landed on this length for two reasons. 1) 1/24 scale modeling materials were used to create both this miniature as well as the surrounding environments such as the MBA interior shots of the Eagle hangar. So, if you want to scratch build the environment to match the show, going exactly ½ scale from that is ideal. 2) From the development budget standpoint, the kit parts would have outgrown the amount of tooling we had estimated. Even just a couple inches longer threw everything off and driven up the price of the tooling to the point we could not have managed it. In the end, we figured the market would accept a kit in the area of 2’ long that was properly detailed even if the scale stated on the box was to be ignored. In order to sidestep the debate, I generally refer to it as the 22” Eagle and only state the scale for the benefit of the parties that require us to assign a scale.
The kit will come injected in two colors, white and gray along with clear windows. The white plastic is a match to the paint used on the miniature. The kit will feature spring-action landing gear with articulated elbow joints. At the show we gave a look at the interior of the command module with it being a flat wall with figures mounted to it in much the same way as the original had. We have since found the opportunity to improve on this though and now that flat wall will feature relief detail that matches the interior set pretty well. A dash and console would barely be visible so those aren’t included. Again anyone that wants to add interior features like that as a scratch-building exercise will find the room to do that. Some have remarked that they thought the use of a screw to hold the pod in place will be a bit of an eyesore even though the original looked that way. For the sake of the stability of the model, we do have other attachment points designed in that would hold the pod in place without the screw. For the purists that want a completely removable/swappable pod these attachment points have been designed for easy removal.
Enjoy a few peeks inside the model. Next time I’ll talk more about the mockup.
Though we skipped it last year, we brought back a short survey this year asking about kit ideas and a few other matters. A lot of folks that can’t miss the show always want to know what we were asking about and have their opinions heard. So I figured I’d use the blog to ask the public at large. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments.
Here is how it will work. The Questions are numbered. Write the number and your chosen answer. If only one answer is asked for, that’s all we want. If you leave more than one, neither answer will be counted. “Tough choices” you may say… Well, that’s why I’m asking. I see merit in all of them, and they are grouped very specifically. Does the fact that we are asking mean that we intend to do any or all of these kits. Not necessarily, but we wouldn’t ask if we didn’t want and answer. Don’t be surprised if an unpopular answer becomes a kit before more popular ones do. We have many factors that will ultimately influence our decisions.
Note that comments to not immediately appear. They have to be approved first. So don’t worry if you don’t see your votes added immediately at the bottom of the thread. We’ll let this run through the end of July. So don’t wait. remember if your votes aren’t in the form of a response to this post they won’t count toward this survey.
1) See the goofy looking figure holding a flyswatter? What should we name him?
2) Would you support a Round 2 Models Kickstarter campaign for any of the following kits? (select all you would be interested in)
A) Not familiar with Kickstarter
B) Sealab III
C) 1/25 scale Green Hornet Black Beauty
D) 1/350 scale Klingon K’t’inga
A) I wouldn’t support a Kickstarter campaign
3) What length is the K’t’inga (choose one)
4) Choose your favorite from the below Star Trek kit ideas (choose one)
A) 1:1000 U.S.S. Constellation
B) 1:1000 FJ scout/destroyer
C) 1:2500 Nebula-class (Enterprise 1701-D variant)
D) 1:2500 Enterprise 1701-D Dreadnought
E) 1:1000 Battle Damaged Refit scale w/ dry dock
5) Choose your favorite from the below Star Trek kit ideas (choose one)
A) 1:1000 Klingon K’tinga
B) 1:1000 USS Defiant
C) 1:1000 USS Voyager
D) 1:1000 USS Grissom/ KBoP scale 2-pack
6) Choose your favorite from the below Star Trek kit ideas (choose one)
A) 1:2500 USS Akira
B) 1:2500 Excelsior/Ent-B, Oberth, KBoP 3-pack
C) 1:2500 NX-01, Voyager, U.S.S. Constellation 3-pack
7) Choose your favorite from the below Star Trek kit ideas (choose one)
A) 1:1000 Enterprise 1701-D
B) 1:350 Ktinga
C) 1:350 Klingon D7
8) Choose one of the below Space:1999 kit ideas (choose one)
A) 1:48 Hawk
B) Ultra Probe
C) Laser Tank #1
9) Choose one of the below Space:1999 kit ideas (choose one)
A) 22″ Eagle Transporter W/ LAB POD
B) 22″ Eagle Transporter W/ CARGO POD
C) 22″ Eagle expansion set #1 – Nuke Mine, Claw, Side Booster & Laser Turret
D) 22″ Eagle expansion set #2 – Gantry, Entry Stairs, Buggy, Nuke Pods & Figures