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As the lead developer for our line of sci-fi kits, I can’t be an expert in everything so it is good to know people that “knows people.” One of Round 2’s “go-to” consultants is STAR TREK expert Gary Kerr. If he doesn’t have the answer to any given question he knows who does. He has a lifetime of “side adventures” that have given him close contact with many of the Star Trek filming models and in some cases, our kits are based solely on his exhaustively documented plans of some of the ships he has encountered. Most recently, his plans were used to develop our 1:32 scale Galileo Shuttle model kit. Along the way, he was given the opportunity to write up an article about the Galileo for STAR TREK Magazine published by Titan Publishing. As he wrote, he found that his information overflowed his allotted word count. Neither of us wanted that effort to go to waste so we invited him to publish the overflow on our blog. We’ve chosen to break it up into a series that will be rolled out over the coming weeks. So without further ado. Here is part 1…

A Brief History of the Shuttlecraft Galileo Pt. 1 By Gary Kerr

Poor Lieutenant Sulu… slowly freezing to death after a malfunctioning transporter strands him and the rest of the landing party on the increasingly frigid planet Alpha 177.  The glitchy transporter beams down heaters, but they are non-functional, and the landing party seems doomed unless Scotty can repair the transporter in time.

Modern viewers of “The Enemy Within” might be forgiven for wondering why the ship simply didn’t send down a shuttlecraft to pick up the landing party.  The truth is that even though the Starship Enterprise sported a pair of clamshell hangar bay doors at the end of its engineering hull, it didn’t yet have any shuttlecraft or a hangar to house them in.

This article will examine the history of both the “full-size” Galileo mock-up and the filming miniature.  To begin, we should backtrack and examine the origins of Star Trek’s first shuttlecraft.

In the Beginning

As the final design of the Starship Enterprise began to gel in 1964, it became apparent that a starship would probably carry an assortment of smaller craft.  Art Director Matt Jefferies added a hangar bay and a pair of clamshell doors to aft end of the ship, but deciding what kind of craft would be housed in the hangar bay was not an easy matter.

One of Jefferies’ initial concepts called for a small, aerodynamic pod that would be light enough to be lowered from the studio ceiling on wires to simulate a landing.  This ambitious concept was abandoned as being too costly.  Desilu continued to give the construction of shuttlecraft a thumbs-down, which is one of the reasons for Lt Sulu’s predicament in “The Enemy Within.”

All seemed lost regarding the shuttlecraft situation until August 1, 1966, when Associate Producer Bob Justman informed Gene Roddenberry that Desilu attorney Ed Perlstein had concluded a mutually beneficial deal with the AMT Corporation. 

In exchange for rights to produce a plastic kit of the USS Enterprise, AMT agreed to construct both an interior set and exterior mock-up of a shuttlecraft for an estimated $24,000, plus an additional $650 to build a miniature shuttle.  The work would be done at AMT’s Speed and Custom Division Shop, in Phoenix, Arizona.  Gene Winfield, who was serving as a consultant style designer for AMT’s auto kits, served as production manager. 

At this point, nailing down the design of the shuttlecraft moved into high gear.  Although Matt Jefferies favored a rounded, aerodynamic design for the shuttlecraft, he became the first, but not the last, Star Trek art director to learn that compound curves were a no-no on a television budget and time schedule, and that a shuttlecraft had to be built from sheets or plywood and Masonite.  Winfield and Jefferies set about designing a flat-sided shuttle that could be built in the allotted 30 days.  The inspiration for the preliminary design seems to have been Jefferies’ 1964 sketch of “Space Dock Utility Craft Personnel Carrier”.

Jefferies and Winfield passed a preliminary design to Thomas Kellogg for further development.  Kellogg was an industrial designer, working at the Raymond Loewy Associates design studio in San Francisco.  Kellogg worked in some design elements of the studio’s renowned design of the 1963 Studebaker “Avanti” car and created a color rendering of the revamped shuttlecraft. 

For more on Thomas Kellogg’s Galileo design click on this photo to visit scifiairshow.com

Jefferies added a pair of warp nacelles to Kellogg’s design, and Winfield’s shop was ready to begin construction of a 22’ prop and a 22” miniature shuttle.  Union Local 44 is a professional association of craft persons having specialized skills and talents at Paramount, and the studio’s practice of having outside, probably non-union, vendors supplying props for a TV production would almost certainly cause friction with the union.  To avoid problems arising from the studio’s use of outside vendors, the studio and the union arrived at an agreement under which vendors would supply props in an unfinished state, and union craft people would perform the final painting, detailing, and installation of lighting.

Even though the filming miniature and the full-size prop were supposed to represent the same ship, they are not identical.  The most obvious difference involves the shape of the hull, with the sides of the 22” miniature being parallel, while the aft end of the 22 ft prop (including the nacelles) flares out slightly wider in back. 

Why the difference?  To find the answer, we need to jump to the spring of 1992, when I met with Lynne Miller, the owner at the time of the large Galileo prop.  The Galileo was located at the Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio, and I spent several hours documenting the shuttle, which was slowly undergoing a restoration.

 Lynne revealed that Matt Jefferies had told her that the Galileo was only three-quarter scale.  This made perfect sense after I’d climbed inside the shuttle.  Being inside the mock-up was akin to crouching inside a very wide minivan.  It was certainly a far cry from what we saw on TV!  Making “full-size” props at somewhat less than full scale is a common practice in Hollywood.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but Matt Jefferies’ brother, John, wrote in his biography of Matt, Beyond the Clouds, that Matt often utilized “illusionary perspective” to create the illusion of distance and makes things appear larger than they actually were.  Looking back and seeing that many scenes involving the Galileo were shot at the rear of the prop, I am now convinced that when Jefferies made the rear portion of the 22-footer flare out wider, he was using illusionary perspective to make the three-quarter sized shuttlecraft appear larger.

The use of an undersized prop makes perfect sense: construction costs were less, the prop could be moved more easily around the soundstage, and it took up less precious storage space.

Come back next time as Gary dives into the construction of the miniature and the set pieces.

AMT Model Kits: James Bond Moonraker part 2

posted by ChrisP 1:06 PM
Thursday, July 23, 2020

JAMES BOND 007: MOONRAKER SHUTTLE READY FOR LAUNCH!

Are you in need of thrillers, spills and something OUT OF THIS WORLD? AMT will transport you to another world the James Bond 007: Moonraker Space Shuttle!

The 1:200 scale space shuttle kit includes rocket boosters, fuel tank, operating bay doors, a top secret payload and a dome display base. When assembled the model stands at over 10.5″ long. The kit also includes colorful packaging, assembly instructions and full color decals to do Moonraker 1 thru 6 or the U.S Marine version featured in the classic 1979 sci-fi spy film. Packaging lid shown above. Tray and decals are below.

AMT Model Kits: James Bond Moonraker

posted by JamieH 10:20 AM
Monday, July 13, 2020

Here is a special guest blog from Jim Small. Apologies to Jim. He had written this to be included on our instruction sheet, but a few matters shifted during the time when we started working from home as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and we lost track of this. So we gladly present it here.

The ending of the 1976 film “The Spy Who Loved Me” credits crawl stated that Bond would be back in “For Your Eyes Only”. However, with the surprise success of Star wars in 1977,  that would all change. It was suddenly time to put Bond in space, and Moonraker began production, pushing FYEO on the back burner. The late great British visual effects legend Derek Meddings, who was quite at home with many previous (and subsequent) Bond films, was again hired to produce the many shots needed to achieve the first footage of what a real space shuttle launch into space might look like several years before NASA launched theirs, albeit with a lot of artistic license.

Along with a plethora of other miniatures, several models of the shuttles were built at various scales, 1/24th for the largest orbiter measuring a little over 60 inches long and 1/48th scale with the stack measuring 46 inches high for the liftoff sequences, the orbiter measuring 30 inches long for other miscellaneous shots. Other smaller ones for distance shots and seen attached to the massive space station were built too, possibly made from existing commercial kits. Drax’s Moonraker shuttles numbering 1-6, painted with orange stripes and the U.S. Marines version with the “star and bars” emblazoned on the fuselage and wings were the two liveries seen.

As there were several models made of each ship, all of them looked slightly different with various “technical markings” and other details that were often rather inconsistent. Therefore it’s up to the builder of this kit to decide where those smaller markings on the decal sheet that are not numbered can go. Suggestions are provided on the box art photos. Because the budget of the film did not allow for the expensive and complex new motion control & blue screen work employed in Star Wars, more traditional methods of simple “in-camera” multiple exposures were used to assemble shots with the models filmed against a black background, hard mounted on stands or suspended on wires. Consequently, unlike the real shuttles that were overall white with a black belly, the black was substituted (except for around the cockpit windows and other smaller details) for a dark reddish brown on the miniatures to help them stand out against the black background they were filmed against.

As a fun little bit of trivia, sharp eyed modeling fans will notice bits and pieces of the old MPC Space: 1999 “Eagle” kit placed throughout the Moonraker launch bay shown in the film!

Now here is a closer look at the buildups featured on our packaging. Both Moonraker and marine decals are included in the kit.

How are you doing in this “new normal” hopefully you’ve been able to spend some time modeling as businesses reopen and we baby step our way through this ongoing crisis. Here at Round 2, our full staff has returned to the office after many weeks of working remotely from home. It seems like we haven’t skipped a beat. Well, maybe one beat was missed…

Because we have been working remotely, we couldn’t follow our usual methods of proofing and double checking and some errors were made in the numbering of our upcoming STAR TREK DISCOVERY U.S.S. Enterprise Aztec Decal Set. Some of you may know that the product was delayed slightly and missed being delivered with the kits and light sets. The numbering error was not the reason, but the delay in release did play a roll in the error. We will be sure all future production orders will be corrected. Without further ado, you can see the corrected numbers in this image and high res PDF can be downloaded here.

Everyone just stay calm… and build a model…

posted by JamieH 9:33 AM
Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The world is a crazy place these days, but if you have to stay home… why not dig out that kit you’ve been meaning to get to…? Jump over to our Facebook page and show us what’s on your bench right now.

Round 2 wishes the best for modelers everywhere in the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in. Take care everyone!

Round 2 Models: Live 2020 model kit preview

posted by JamieH 12:57 PM
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

SPECIAL ANNOUNCMENT: This Friday (1/31/2020) tune in for a LIVE look at some of the NEW models you can expect from AMT, MPC and Polar Lights in 2020!
Model kit developer, Jamie Hood, will be showing both new sci-fi AND CAR KITS! He will have a couple guests along for the ride. Watch live on our Youtube channel and ask questions via the live chat. here is a link to the show…

Space: 1999 Models: New 1/72 scale Eagle kit Pt. 7

posted by JamieH 9:13 AM
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

This post finishes up the preview look at our new 1/72 Eagle kit. As things stand now, we have gone through three rounds of test shot refinement, the box art is done and production will begin soon. The kits are on track to be in the market in November.

Paint: The Final Frontier

Oops! Wrong show. Carry on.

By E. James Small

First, I apologize to readers for finishing this up so late. Life and other jobs took priority so I just couldn’t put it to mind until those chores were done. Anyway, we continue with where we left off.

After all sub assemblies are done it is time to paint the model.

I first used gray primer to paint all parts, straight from the rattle-can. Then when the gray primer was dry I primed it again with white.  Why two primer coats? First, the gray primer is much more opaque than white primer is. And primer is much less physically thick than the colour coat. By priming it first with gray to knock back the translucency of the plastic and then putting white (which covers better than colour coat) over that, it makes it possible to use a lot less of the main white colour coat.

The off-white colour coat was then sprayed over the white primer. I like to use automotive lacquer when I can because it dries very fast, is very tough, and goes on less thick and less likely to run than enamels or most acrylics or alkyds. When lacquer dries, most of the carrier evaporates and the paint pigment hugs the details very well.

Details were either left in primer gray or sprayed black and silver as shown.

Weathering was done by first cutting chunks from an old business card and using it as a soft mask to airbrush light gray paneling effects over the entire model. This method is very fast, easy and looks authentic because they often used this technique on the original studio miniatures as well. 

Further weathering was done by dusting some black powder paint over the model then wiping or blowing off the excess. Black powder paint is gray unless you add water to it. This allows the details to pop a little more.

Now it’s time to paint the details and add decals.

The landing gear oleos’ silver struts were just hand painted. Those of you who need more attention to detail and more time to spare would do well to cover those struts with Bare Metal Foil for an even better appearance. The landing feet “toes” were dusted with a lighter gray. Since the actual kit decals had not been done yet, I printed a set myself by using scaled down ones from the previously released 22” Eagle also available from MPC/Round 2. I find that using “Future” floor coating applied to the model just before the decal is applied gets rid of a lot of silvering and saves having to spray the entire model with a gloss coat, as decals never work well over matte surfaces. The Future blends the decals into the surface. Just apply the Future to the surface a few seconds before you apply the decals. 

Finally the entire model, minus the silver bits, was sprayed with dull coat.

Here are all the painting products I used to finish the model.

Left to right: Generic Canadian Tire gray primer, Krylon white primer, Dupli-Color off-white automotive lacquer, Krylon Chalky Finish Misty Grey (for the airbrushed weathering), black powder paint for weathering, Krylon Chalky Finish Matte Sealer for the overall finishing dull coat, Krylon silver for the engines and finally Rust-Oleum Quick Color flat black for airbrushing inside the engine bells.

Why use spray cans instead of hobby paints, you ask? Because of the expense, mainly, and convenience. There are no hobby shops near me and spray cans like these are readily available at local hardware stores. Also you get a lot more paint for the money with spray cans and at the rate I go through paint it would cost me a fortune in hobby paints for my work. I do have a stash of hobby paints that I have collected over the last few decades (usually Tamiya, with some Testors and others) used mostly for small detail brush work.

Then came the photography of the model for the box art once the painting was all done. Jamie Hood did a GORGEOUS painting (Wait ‘til you see it!) for the main box art but we needed pictures of the model for the rest of the box and tray. Most of it was all just standard stuff shot against a black velvet backdrop but I wanted a “hero” type shot showing an environment for the main box tray picture.  Jamie picked out a shot from the show itself that had the angle he wanted, so I just more-or-less copied that shot using the 14” model in place of the original 44” VFX miniature. I painted up a quick and dirty partial launch pad to scale from an old board I had laying around for the model to sit on so that shadows cast onto it would look natural. That was better than just Photoshopping the model onto a digital background. Besides, even though this was to be a manipulated shot and a composite, I wanted to use real physical elements wherever possible. Real objects always look better than computer generated ones. Knowing the angles necessary I didn’t need very much of the pad to show, that’s why it’s mostly unfinished and all chopped up. Took just a few minutes with a couple of spray cans to make.

Then when strategically lit to look somewhat dramatic it was photographed then brought into Photoshop where I matted in a background of the Lunar surface using elements I had made from the 22” Eagle Cargo Pod kit box art. The mountains are just bits of foam chunks and tin foil sprayed with gray primer, covered in cement dust for texture and shot up close with appropriate lighting. The mountains are only about 3-5 inches wide or so.

Looks pretty good and reasonably well matches what was seen on screen. Only thing I’m not happy with are the launch pad lights. I didn’t have the time needed to wire in real lights on the pad set so I just digitally plopped those in quick.  I’m not the artist in Photoshop that Jamie is though. Maybe he can make them look a lot better by the time he lays out the box art. He can probably improve the entire scene as I did that composite rather quickly, I had other work to get to.

I hope you people out there will enjoy this new kit. It is amazingly well done for its size and has all the external details of the larger 22” model but takes up less space for those of you who don’t have much room to spare. Another fantastic achievement by Jamie and his gang over at Round 2!

We can’t wait to see what you all do with yours!

Jim.

Coming off the Shelf – It’s Gonna Be A Big Rig Summer!

posted by ChuckZ 3:01 PM
Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Summer is here, and with it comes a BIG announcement. Two AMT big rig kits. That’s right, TWO big rig kits, are scheduled for release within a month! The Peterbilt Wrecker and Autocar DC-9964B Dump Truck!

First we have the Peterbilt Wrecker. Shot in white, the wrecker kit offers a custom body, 2 piece telescopic boom, bumper guard, hydraulic jack, tool chest, shovel, broom and more! Also included are colorful new decals and a reworked, vintage style package. Newly tooled tires were also thrown in—pad printed with Firestone lettering…thanks to the kats at AMT. When built, the Peterbilt wrecker measures out at almost 12 inches on the dot.

The second big rig inline to release soon is the Autocar DC-9964B Dump Truck. A close cousin to the Autocar A64B Semi Tractor, the dump truck is loaded with over 330 parts, including telescopic hoist, air cleaner, hydraulic pump assembly, an optional grille guard, “Gunite” spoke wheels, a Cummins 250 H.P. six-cylinder diesel engine, and more! To add to it, AMT has included an expanded decal sheet with colorful options and vintage style packaging. The dump truck also measures out at approximately 12 inches on the dot when built.

So keep a lookout for these two, hard-to-miss, big boys. Coming soon to a hobby dealer near you, or, online at: autoworldstore.com.

Space: 1999 Models: New 1/72 scale Eagle kit Pt. 6

posted by JamieH 9:00 AM
Friday, June 21, 2019

If you think you are experiencing deja vu, it isn’t just you… This post was published in error earlier. Here it is again following the correct order. Continuing our guest series reviewing the new 1/72 Eagle test shots. Enjoy!

Getting Ready for Paint!

By E. James Small

OK folks, here we are on the home stretch before we break out the spray cans and air brushes!

If there is one part of this model that is the most confusing, it’s the shoulder pods. Yes, they are simple to build, but really easy to screw up parts orientation, so if there’s one place where you REALLY have to pay close attention to the instruction diagrams, it’s here. These are the assemblies that you triple check before applying glue. I’ve even seen some of those lower cost “pro” builders get that stuff wrong on the larger 22” model! Meh, you get what you pay for I guess.

First you need to understand how the detailing on the pods work on the Eagle. Note that the pods are mirrored front to back and side to side. In other words, the detailing on the pods left to right are mirrored from each other and the details between the front and rear are also mirrored… except for ONE detail…

Note that the little dome shown by the arrow on the front pods are left off on the rear pods, so you’ll need to carve or sand off the little locator tab on the rear surfaces as shown. Of course, if you WANT to, you can also put domes on the rear pods too. It’s just that they were left off on the original for some reason. The footpads are two pieces and simple enough but there is a seam/joint running around the bottom that needs to be filled in and then, when putty is fully dry,  sanded down.

The nosecone assembly is best handled like this:Put the two main halves together, dry. Then using water thin liquid cement, touch a few drops along the joint, allowing the cement to “wick in” and get carried along the joint with capillary action. Then, after the solvent has worked at melting the plastic for a few seconds, firmly press the two halves together, making he plastic/solvent squish out the sides. DO NOT WIPE IT OFF. Allow it to dry like that overnight. Then, when dry, you can sand down the joint nice and smooth and no puttying is needed. Most joints on the kit can be handled this way. The footpad bottoms, as above, seem to be the only exception. 

 Now glue the nosecone clamps to the back of the nosecone section. Before the glue sets, offer the assembly to the front cage section to make sure the pins locate properly to the holes in the frame.

Now glue the frames to the spine (watch orientation!! Doors on cage boxes point towards each other!) and you should have all the subassemblies as shown in this final picture below. Some parts, such as the little sensor dishes for the nosecone and the black ribbed bits for the top of the Passenger Pod doorframe are left attached to the runners for easier handling when painting. Do what is easiest for you. I left out the assembly procedure for some of the simpler parts like the engine bells as that should be a no brainer. Clean up any unsightly seams etc. following standard modelbuilding procedures. At this stage you are ready to begin painting. That will be covered in a later post. Stick around!

Space: 1999 Models: New 1/72 scale Eagle kit Pt. 5

posted by JamieH 10:56 AM
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Welcome back! Your eyes do not deceive you! This continues our guest series reviewing the new 1/72 Eagle test shots. Enjoy!

Engines of Construction.

By E. James Small

For many people, doing this engine assembly might be the trickiest part with all the piping and so forth, but if you follow this procedure, you will find it actually pretty easy. First grab the octagonal engine mounting main frame and the four supports with flats as shown.  Glue them in place, making sure the flats (tinted red in this photo) point toward the centerline of where the top and bottom engines will be mounted. See arrows.

Next glue the cruciform section in place.

Then with the glue still soft, cement in the four angled braces as shown. Do two opposing corners first, then the other two.  It’ll do a lot of wobbling around on you as you do this, but you will find that once all of the braces are in place everything will self-align. Put the unit down on the table as shown and press down gently on the center of the cruciform to weld everything together for a strong bond. Make sure the cruciform is not twisted in relation to the main frame when you sight straight down on it. 

Next assemble the sphere halves onto the sphere frames and then glue those assemblies in place between the main frame and the cruciform as shown. It’s easier to put the end onto the main frame first, then swing it up into place in the cruciform. You can flex the parts just enough to allow the pins to clear.

Now, grab the longest of the squiggly pipe parts and glue them to the main frame as shown exactly in the picture. It’s the same on both sides. Tweezers will help a lot here. Pay close attention to the orientation of the parts, exactly as shown. Just glue the center down on the pin in the middle and make sure you sight it all up and keep the tubes level and parallel as shown. Allow to dry. 

Now you can put the main engine bottles into place. Push the back ends through the cruciform hoops first, then swing the front pins down and cement them to the main frame. Line up the piping so they fit with the previously placed squiggly pipe sections and glue the joints together. 

Glue on the remaining piping that goes from the spheres to the back of the engine bottles.

Now you can also put in the center pipe that goes from the center of the cruciform to the main frame. Make sure it is centered and seated as shown. You can offer the assembly up to the rear of the cage assembly to make sure it all lines up before the glue dries. 

And you’re done that section! That wasn’t so hard, was it?  You can either glue it to the back of the cage assembly now, or you can leave it of and paint it all as a unit. Enjoy! More to follow…

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