Under The Sea
So, perhaps it is a small shock that I sometimes build non-Star Wars kits. Or, you noticed the header image on this page and have been wondering why I have a picture of a kit I have never written about. Or, you do not really pay that much attention and are wondering why I am even bothering writing an introduction like this.
Wherever you stand, I cannot pass up the opportunity to talk about this fantastic Nautilus model kit from Pegasus Models. I have been a fan of Jules Verne and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea since I read an abridged version as a young kid. I was equally fascinated and terrified by the giant squid and the underwater adventures of Captain Nemo. I received this kit a couple years ago as a Christmas gift and was putting it off for a while because I did not have a plan for the paint job. I started it last summer and finished it in the fall.
I normally do not share work in progress photos on here, but I like this shot because it provides a good view of the different parts of the kit. The base is resin and the kit comes packaged with photoetch parts for the handrails, ladders, and lines. More on the photoetch later.
The most important part of this build in my mind was the paint job. I spent some time researching other people's builds and saw that no two were the same, which gave me some freedom to play a little. For the base I did some airbrushing with stone gray and dark earth to create the mottled sea floor. The squid is a mixture of pink and red with a dark brown wash. Finally, I started the ship itself with some pre-shading, then covered the whole thing with various light coats of metallic copper and burnt umber. I then went back and further darkened some of the spots with more burnt umber. I was very happy with the final result, as it has a steam punk, Victorian aesthetic that works well with the original novel.
The two most annoying parts of the kit were the windows and the photoetch parts. The windows are tiny, and the included masks work decently well, but some of the window parts are too small to really fit any mask. Then, you have the issue of residue from the tape left on the clear parts. I imagine there are some aftermarket masks that might work better than the provided ones. As for the photoetch, I think I mostly need more practice. The railing is super thin and easily bent, and I had several moments of frustration trying to position them correctly. I was able to rehab one of the bent rails to fit with the squid tentacle crushing the ship, so my frustrations ultimately worked out.
This is a must-buy kit for all the detail, the unique stand, and the bonus photoetch and masks included in the box. In addition, Captain Nemo's salon is included for painting, although it is barely visible through the windows. Pick one up wherever you can find it!
A ship load of frustration
I wish I could say that every time I build a model kit, everything is joyous, fun, easy, and super rewarding. Usually it is. Last year, however, I finished a model kit that had occupied almost a year of my life and left me feeling extreme amounts of frustration. That kit was the Swedish Vasa made by Revell.
Occasionally, I branch out from Star Wars, and when I do, it usually is because of some personal connection to the build. Many years ago, my family visited Stockholm and the museum that houses the Vasa, a doomed and ill-constructed Swedish warship that sank in the harbor on its maiden voyage. In person, the ship is absolutely incredible. Preservationists were able to salvage almost the entire ship, and it is housed in its entirety in a beautiful museum in Stockholm.
With that personal experience in mind, I was excited about building my own version of the infamous ship and adding it to my collection. I should have recognized some warning signs. I have previously built two naval ship models, a Roman warship and a Viking longship. Both times after finishing those I vowed never to build a naval ship again. Rigging with tiny thread is a nightmare. Apparently, I am a glutton for punishment.
To make a long story short, I had so many issues with building this model kit. There were a lot of issues with parts not fitting well, and all of the tiny human figurine details that make up the elaborately carved decorations around the ship looked like a bunch of mushy blobs with legs. Needless to say, this made detail painting difficult.
For long stretches of time, I would just let this model sit because I had no desire to bang my head in frustration. Finally, however, I determined to finish it and put the specter of frustration to the side. I did minimal rigging so that I would not lose my mind over the extensive network of tiny threads, finished off the paint job, and dirtied up the sails a bit. The result is not terrible. Check out the slideshow and make a judgment for yourself, while I say good riddance to this model kit.
Model builder, board gamer, and all around lover of small scale stuff.