Tuesday 10 October 2017

Jabberwock Pt.4: The Airfix Monster

This then, the first build, was what I would generically call The Airfix Monster (other brands of kits are available…) There was no proper form or function to it, or even a proper plan beyond the roughly dinosaur-like sketch above, and it did spectacularly toss-aside the notion of being a functional machine, but I just wanted to see what would happen if I glued together almost-randomly a selection of suitable model kit parts to create a mechanical monster. 

I wanted a random assemblage of industrial components which came together to make a monster, and so I raided the selection of old, some very old, model kits, spare parts, and unused components which I hoard (much to the exasperation of my family who have to put up with cupboards full of odds and ends).  Well, I rarely, if ever build things to the instructions…

There isn’t a lot to say about the build process- I just had in my mind a sort of dragon from machine parts, and kept gluing on more bits until it looked ‘right’.  There are, somewhere in the mix, parts from:
Dapol ‘Pug’ locomotive kit
Dapol ‘Breakdown Crane’ kit
Dapol ‘9F/”Evening Star” kit
Dapol "Rocket" kit
Airfix ‘DeHavilland racing plane’ kit
Airfix "Sea King" helicopter kit
Airfix "M-E262" kit
Airfix "Harrier" kit
Bits from a Lima HO gauge goods van
Dapol “City of Truro” kit
And a load of other Airfix bits from the spares box, and other misc. including some scraps of felt for the wings.

It was assembled fairly hurriedly, then simply painted with sprays, black, then a dusting of bronze before a little bit of detail work, but I wasn’t going to go too much to town on the painting as really this was just a kind of 3D sketch so I could nail some ideas down.

I tried to do some fairly atmospheric shots outside at twilight, to get some loose idea of how it would look in the 'real' world, but I wasn't happy with the results...

...so I built a very basic set to photograph the models on indoors.  More on this in a later post...

It looks alright, but it did raise some important issues to influence the rest of the design process… these could mainly be summed up as pros and cons:

It looks good- conveys the atmosphere of the machine-monster, with lots of detailed parts recognisable from other sources.
It looks quite intimidating, a good ‘metaphorical’ monster in terms of the machine age invading the rural past, as mentioned in an earlier blog post.

It would be a nightmare to build- I don’t have access to large amounts of scrap metal, and ‘faking’ from found objects would be time consuming.  Scaling at 1/72nd (as almost all of the kit parts are) its pretty damned huge...  Being as I lack a budget, a lorry, or an aircraft hanger in which to construct the real sculpture, this will have to be taken into account.

Finally, and somehow the one I most have problems with, it doesn’t look like it can operate logically.  Steam locomotives have to run fairly on the level; if the machine reared back, then it would expose the metal of the boiler and likely explode.  Likewise it would be too heavy to fly, so why would it have wings?  If I went down this route then I’d be just like those people who glue unnecessary watch parts to everything to make it ‘look’ Steampunk.  It needed to follow a more logical progression…

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