John Ovington’s Cylon Basestar

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Replica Unlimited is the first kit maker I’m aware of to tackle a subject from Sci-Fi Channel’s new twist on Battlestar Galactica. Their initial offering is the wildly re-envisioned Cylon Basestar. If this ship is any indication, the Cylons of today are as much into art and sculpture as the Cylon “toaster-heads” of my youth dug polishing chrome. I love how over the top the design is, yet retains essentials from its original source: symmetry, balance, and no visible means of propulsion or direction.

This was definitely an impulse buy. At $30 bucks from Federation Models, its hard to beat. The kit doesn’t build a very large model (only 7-1/4″ long) unlike its Monogram predecessor from the original BSG, so it doesn’t take up much display space. The kit itself consists of two identical resin pieces which are expertly cast – not one single bubble, pinhole, or flaw to fill. The only real clean-up was a little flash to trim off at two tips. Overall, it took maybe three minutes to prepare the halves for assembly. The kit is also supplied with a very handsome cast resin base and steel rod to support the finished kit.

There’s not much to tell about the assembly, but I fit an Evergreen styrene tube to help center the two halves for gluing. The styrene tube is open to the bottom of the finished model to receive a K&S brass rod that’s little thicker than the kit supplied steel rod. Did I use two whole drops of glue for this kit?  Anyway, gluing was done with Pacer’s Zap-A-Gap, my favorite construction adhesive. I primed the two halves separately, then assembled.

The paint instructions supplied with the kit are specific in some ways but vague in others . So I did my own variation of what I thought they were trying to get at. My paint was Artist’s Acrylics (Liquitex, Winsor & Newton, and Golden) in thin washes and light dry brushing over a primer/base of DuPont 131s gray acrylic-lacquer automotive primer. The colors were used straight or as paletted mixes, with water to thin and acrylic matte medium for added binder: gesso (white), mars black, iridescent bright silver, raw sienna, burnt umber, deep brilliant red, and payne’s gray. The outer hulls were finished in acrylic gloss varnish. Krylon Ultra Flat Black was used on the base and support rod.

I’m not entirely happy with the finished paint, since I’m not completely sure what the new Cylon Basestar really ought look like. Its kind of an elusive devil at this point in its career, so I felt like I was painting blind. I hope as it’s seen more in the show and I’ll be able to get some good screen grabs, then perhaps I’ll strip and repaint to make a more accurate rendering. But for now, it represents all I know about the subject.

If you dig the new BSG as I do, I can definitely recommend this kit. For me, its a nice in-between project, where some longer term builds have me a bit strung out. I also feel pretty hopeful that this kit is the beginning of a flood of kits of new BSG subjects.

John Ovington

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