Moya 101
reprinted with permission


by Christopher


MoyaFinal090.jpg (119963 bytes)

This article was based on material I presented at Wonderfest 2003 in the "Advanced Scratchbuilding Course".

Scratchbuilding isn't a specific art or activity, but more of an approach. It is an approach that encompasses skills that can be learned from many other areas. This is my personal approach. I would strongly encourage you to evaluate the approach and skills here with others you encounter along the way.

Most modelers build from kits, which have several advantages. The parts are pre-made, engineered to fit, and you have an explicit assembly order carefully illustrated by printed instructions. The shortcomings can include accuracy, and short-cuts taken by manufacturers. The instant you begin complaining about the accuracy or quality of a kit, you're ready for scratchbuilding!

Kit bashing is often a first step for scratch-builders. Taking parts from existing kits to make new ones is rewarding, but you're still relegated to using someone else's parts also your scale is pre-determined by the parts.

A common myth is that you have to be a master modeler to scratch-build. That is not true at all everyone has the base skills needed to scratch-build. All that is required is a desire and a plan.

What is Scratchbuilding?

 Scratchbuilding vs. kit building

  You have no instructions!

  There are no parts to work with

  Accuracy and quality are up to you

 Scratchbuilding vs. kit-bashing

  You aren't tied to parts that are out of scale

  Kit bashing forces you to use parts designed by someone else

How do I get started?

  Choose a subject

  Ask, and answer questions

  What scale is it?

  How big will it be?

  Will it be hollow?

  What will it are made from?

  How many parts? Etc.

  Collect Source Images, if possible

  Draft plans draw your own instructions

  Orthogonal views

  Make Templates from your drafting

So how does one get started? First you need to select a subject - seriously. Making basic decisions is the core to any scratchbuilding project and this is the first. More importantly you need to ask, and answer, as many questions as you can about your model. Will it be hollow, what scale is it, how big will it be, are there any moving parts, how many parts etc.

If you're re-creating an existing design then you need to secure as many source images as you can. Look for clear shots that define the form and, if possible, find them in orthogonal views (top, front, left, right, etc.), because you will be drafting them later. The best views are straight-on shots - use dynamic views more for color and surface references.

Now you need to break out your pens and draft model scale views of your model. By model scale, I mean drawings that are sized to your final model. Many questions will be answered by these drawings. They are your instructions and will become reference markers later on. 

Example Farscape's Moya

Today's example will be my scratchbuilding project Moya, the living spacecraft from the TV show Farscape. She is referred to as a Leviathan in the show, and as you can see there isn't a straight line on her. Worse, she's covered in contour lines that would be a bear to emulate.

I knew there was never going to be a model kit of this ship, and nobody in the garage market appeared to want to sculpt one. It was after my first trip to Wonderfest that I decided I would take a stab at making my own Moya.

For the better part of a year I answered my own series of questions. I knew that this was going to be a difficult project, full of new techniques, so I wanted a larger size in the end 16 inches. It needed to be hollow so that I could light it from the inside. This meant I would have to cast the parts.

We will see, in the following slides, how the master was created. The master or pattern, in modeling terms, is the primary form used for casting later on.

.. Continued Here


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