BUILD:ARIES 1B by MangaMax from SFMuk Admin's blog

And it started so well...

Following on from my Orion purchase while on a 2001 bent, this was my next addition. This is my favourite design from the film and I've always wanted one. Monsters In Motion had one on their site but it was out of stock. Finally it was back and I could order. It cost £60 delivered and took two weeks to arrive.

It's 1/44th so the same scale as the Orion which was handy as I've an idea to eventually make a little diorama of the two together. Being that scale its not too big - about the size of a fist - but the casting was excellent. It came as the upper hull, two halves of the lower hull, the engine area, five engine towers, the engine cowls, multiple parts for the legs, the leg cowls and a rather nice large moon base (below). So, all well and good. Then I read the instructions...

Huh? Part 1

The instructions were in Japanese which stuck me as odd as there was no mention on the MIM site about it being a Japanese kit, plus the box had Monsters In Motion headed photos, so I figured it was produced by them. Looking closer at them, something wasn't right at all - they showed how to build parts that were already built. The four hexagons at the top of the photo here are each complete but the instructions have them made up from 10 pieces, the instructions have the attitude thrusters being separate but they were actually already casted on.

"Recast" goes the voice in my head over and over. But it does seem to be far too well cast to be a rip-off. Hmmm...

Back on track

So, all the bits get a wash and off I go. The two lower hull halves were glued together with Araldite Rapid, along with the round engine plate. On to that went the four engine towers. I noticed once they were on that they weren't all even. Something to rectify later before putting on the engine cowls I thought. I left the engine cowlings till the end as I they're pretty thin and I didn't want them damaged with all the handling.

The Monsters In Motion site mentions that the landing gear can be built raised or deployed, although there's no option in the instructions except deployed. Fine, I think, I want them down anyway - then, when attached to the base it'll look as if its landing, and at a later date I could always make a part of Clavis Base for it to rest on.

So I start - and that's when things really started going wrong.

Huh? Part 2

Each leg is made up of the foot, a vertical brace, a horizontal brace and a diagonal brace. After trimming each part, I assembled it with Blu Tac then offered it up to the engine area. And found the whole thing juts far too far out from the hull. That got me fuming, even more so when I realised that I couldn't shorten the braces to make them fit as some of them have gaps in the middle and, if I did that then I'd lose at least one side of it.

Back on track Part 2

So then I decide I've no choice but go with the landing gear up option. This was tricky, as the kit clearly isn't supposed to do that, as all the parts for the leg just don't fit when folded up.

Actually, that helped me as I had no choice but dispense with some of the parts to make room so that was a lot of trimming and filing dispensed with. Once all four legs were in it started looking pretty good and I felt better about it (below).

I thought I'd have the leg cowlings be open as then it'd look more like the ship was coming in for a landing plus it'd enable more of the lovely detail to be seen.

Each cowl was made of very thin resin with a lot of flashing attached so it was quite a job to get them trimmed and ready.

The cowls are held away from the body by two arms, which come out horizontally from the engine area. Surprise, surprise, on this kit the arms are far too long.

No problem thinks I, I'll trim them down to fit.

So, go to position a cowl with the Blu Tac and...

Huh? Part 3

Now I'm REALLY hacked off. When putting the top of the cowl to the top of the opening, the opening is wider than the cowl. Which means I can't glue it there. If I raised the cowl further up the hull to where I can glue it, the bottom of the cowl doesn't keep in line with the bottom of the hull.

I also noticed at this point that each cowl opening is a different height to its neighbour.

Back on track Part 3

The only way I could see round it was to have the cowls shut and putty up the gaps that'd be caused.

And boy were there some of those. Copious amounts of P38 was used and there was a fair bit of sanding until smooth.

Once that was done I had to address the problem with the engine blocks not being level, meaning the engine cowls would be uneven when I stuck them on. I got round it by plopping a small disc of Green Stuff on each engine block then gently placing each cowl in place, making sure that it sat level. The Filming The Future book was invaluable at this point, with its excellent line drawings of the engine area.

Once that was done I could glue the upper hull on, again using Araldite Rapid.

By now I was beginning to see the end of the tunnel and thought was turning to painting it. Uppermost was how the heck to get paint in all the recessed engine areas.

To start off I primed it with Halfords Grey Primer (below left) then gave the engine area a copious squirt of Chaos Black (below right) which darkned everthing up nicely.

Once all dry I turned it up the right way and gave that area a dusting the grey primer. Now was decision time. Looking at the film, the ship appears to be a very light grey - something repeated with build-ups of various kits I've seen. The Filming The Future book would have it that it's the same cream as the Orion, so what to do?

I decided to keep it simple and go with the grey. Unfortunately the primer was far too dark so it was off to Halfords. The only light grey they do is Ford Polar Grey so I gave it a coat of that, but not before masking the engine area with Clingfilm. I wanted a distinction between that and the hull area so decided to keep it in the primer.

Oh dear - far too dark still and waaay too shiny. A light dusting of Skull white lightened it up a treat and dulled the shininess right down. It also had an unexpected bonus of leaving the grey in the recesses, bringing out the detail with zero effort (left). Next trick was to pick panels out in various greys and I did that by mixing my own up with white and black. some small ones I also did in cream. And then it was pastel, pastel, pastel - using just a black and a dark grey. I really went to town here as the studio miniature is really quite grubby.

That was sealed with Matt Varnish then I put some small red marks here and there and painted the passenger windows in Tamiya Smoke.

The cockpit windows were done in Tamiya Clear Red.

The moon was sprayed black and heavily drybrushed in greys, making sure it wasn't anywhere near the same greys I'd used on the Aries.


Finally it was done and I could breathe a sigh of relief.

I am pleased I got it and it ended up looking real nice but, with the amount of effort I've put in - along with the inaccuracies, there's no way I should've paid more than £25.00 for it.


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By SFMuk Admin
Added Nov 22 '13



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