On The Bench 54a: Joe Brown’s Maintenance Fury

From 1999:


Construction Details:

I started off by freeze-framing the VCR during playbacks of Thirdspace and several of the Season 5 episodes in order to sketch out the basics of the ship’s layout. I apologize for any errors–blame it on my VCR! I decided to keep this one as simple and inexpensive as possible and to make it the same scale as the Revell/Monogram Starfury Mk.1.

I used the cockpit window from the Starfury to trace out the pattern of the ship onto a block of very dense Styrofoam. Source of the foam? Packing from the breadmaker we received as a present during the holidays, so I’m not sure where to obtain more. . . but it’s very similar to the foam from computer equipment boxes. For the support girders, I used long wooden skewers that I obtained from the grocery store, which are usually used for grilling food. The engine pods were blocks of blue Styrofoam (you knew it had to blue in there somewhere!), which were sanded into a cylinder. The mouths of the big engine exhausts are end caps from hand cream tubes, and the small exhausts were trimmed from cat flea medication ampoules. The fuel tanks are wooden dowels cut and shaped to a proportionally correct size. I strung them on floral wire, which was there as the hypothetical fuel lines. I used white glue everywhere, except where I specifically mention superglue.

The landing gear is scrap plastic from old windshield wiper frames. It’s a fairly nice plastic that takes drilling and most glues, plus it paints well. I also drilled decreasing sized holes in the legs. I used roughly half a bottle of superglue and a tablespoon of baking soda to get the landing gear put together and aligned. The circular item on the back of the Mk.II Maintenance ship (back of it’s mini-reactor? a hatch?) was duplicated by cutting the end from a dried out hi-liter marker.

The manipulators are disposable precision glue/paint applicators (Micro Brush), after the small brush tips had been used and removed. The pincers at the very ends of the manipulators are small styrene strips superglued onto the manipulators and gently filed to shape. I have an old (but still working) Mattel VacuFormer and lots of clear sheet stock. So, I used the cockpit canopy from the Starfury Mk.1 as a master to vacuum-form a copy, and the copy became the Mk.II’s canopy, with very thin strip styrene serving as framing. The teddy bear was an earring, (juvenile jewelry section of Walmart) with it’s backside pin clipped off and then painted brown, white and red.

The engine nozzles were also painted chrome silver, and after they dried, I painted them acrylic flat black. After a few moments, I used a tissue to wipe away most of the flat black, giving a used engine look with minimal effort. I also used chrome silver to paint the hatch on the back and on the manipulators. The entire Mk.II Maintenance ship was painted Testors Yellow, a close match to the ‘bulldozer’ yellow that I had in mind for the color scheme.

I then carefully ‘dirtied-down’ the entire ship, since it looked factory-fresh. Next, I painted the inside of the cockpit and the pilot and that pretty much finished the ship; if I ever find acceptable looking work lights to place above the cockpit, I’ll add them on later. But overall, it’s a spiffy little ship that really took very little time and effort to scratch-build!

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