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The Cylon Basestar is another bit of Battlestar Galactica hardware that was updated for the new series that ran on the Sci-Fi channel from 2004 to 2009. The Basestar is the Cylon's big gun ship, and home to squadrons of Cylon Raider fighters.
This kit is from Timeslip Creations and is currently out of production. Cast in resin, it consists of approximately two-dozen parts, and goes together pretty well. There were some gaps and defects to repair during construction, all of which were easily fixed.

Paints Used

  • Tamiya "Silver Leaf", decanted from spray can and shot through airbrush.
  • Alclad II "Magnesium"
  • Alclad II Brass and Copper used as very light highlights here and there.
  • Tamiya clear "Smoke" for depth and shading on inner hulls.
  • Tamiya clear "Blue" and "Red" for light effects on inner hubs.
  • Krylon semi-gloss black from the spray can for the base, after several coats of shellac and Duplicolor High Build Primer to fill the wood grain.
  • Alclad II "Jet Exhaust" for Cylon insignia on base.

The kit is hollow-cast, which would facilitate lighting, but I wasn't up to the challenge this time around. I used that internal space to reinforce the model by embedding steel rod through the six arms; resin will sag over time if not properly supported, and with this thing being nearly 20" across when finished, the thin, spindly arms were prime candidates for future drooping.

Painting presented a myriad of choices; most of these "models" that never existed in the real world tend to do that; nothing ever "existed" to replicate the paint from. I went back and forth between silver and gray for several weeks, did some test sprays, etc, and finally decided that since I painted the Cylon Raider in metallics, then it would make sense to follow suit with the Basestar. The overall coat is Tamiya Silver Leaf, over a primer coat of Mr. Surfacer. The Silver Leaf paint only comes in an aerosol rattle can,, which I decanted and shot through my airbrush (I don't trust spray cans for fine finishes). Once that dried, I masked off panels on the outer hull and shot it with Alclad II Magnesium. I then free-handed with the airbrush various details and shades on the hull using the same Magnesium, following the scribed panel lines and hull contours.

The inner parts of the hull were likewise sprayed with Silver Leaf, then shaded free-hand with the magnesium. I brushed Tamiya acrylic Smoke paint -- a dark gray translucent color -- into various recessed areas to increase depth and shading. Once the two hull halves were assembled, the inner parts of the arms looked a little bare, so I made some masking templates and airbrushed several panels here and there, again using the Alclad II Magnesium. A bit of damage on one of the kit arms from a casting defect was given a treatment of burnt metal, black, and some scraping: instant battle damage.

The base was cut from a simple block of pine. Wooden craft plaques from Hobby Lobby with a brass rod for mounting doesn't cut it for me. I overcame "plain rectangular base syndrome" by making two cuts into the wood, to sort of mimic the effects of shadow from the model. I then sealed it with shellac, then primed and painted it, using several coats to fill the grain and give a smooth finish. At one point I got impatient and really screwed up one small spot on the base. It became a case of starting over, or hiding the problem. I cut the Cylon insignia out of three consecutively smaller bits of styrene, glued them together, and airbrushed with Alclad II Jet Exhaust and Copper, and stuck the insignia over the offending blemish. Problem solved.

Overall this was a pleasant build, and could have been more so if I hadn't kept getting in my own way. I spent way more energy thinking about how to do this build than actually doing it: this six-month project was probably only two actual weeks of build and paint time.

~September 2013

Photos were taken with my Canon 400D (Rebel Xti) and 50mm fixed lens, and also my Canon SD700IS, as it has a better macro lens. I used both my airbrush booth with backing construction paper of both black and blue as the photo studio, as well as background paper set up on our kitchen bar/island, as the Basestar is just a tad large to get good shots in the airbrush booth. Lighting is with several external daylight-corrected CFL light sources. Post-processing was done in Photoshop using a gray-card reference shot.

 

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