Saturday 27 January 2024

Jessie's Prints - Episode 32 - Cowboy Bebop Spike Spiegel Swordfish II

This week, I are mostly been printing... The Swordfish II

Cowboy Bebop Swordfish II - Thingiverse: Thing 3082811

Anime fans will instantly recognise Spike Spiegel's red starfighter the Swordfish II.

Cowboy Bebop Swordfish II

This is an older file designed for FDM printing and is therefore a abit on the low-poly end of the spectrum  but it is very well put together all the same.

Meet the Parts

I opted to print this on my Resin SLA printer and I was mindful of the large size of the model.  The main core of the ship needed to be split in two using meshmixer and I took the opportunity to learn how to use the hollow functions. 

I couldn't believe how easy this was and it's definitely something I will be using in the future when I make larger objects as I reckon it saved a metric ton of resin and didn't lead to those peeling and splitting issues I experienced when printing my 3D Printed Akira - Kaneda Bike.

Cowboy Bebop Swordfish II

Sub Assembly

Once I had worked out what parts I needed and got them all printed to my satisfaction, I began gluing up the sub assemblies.

The core body and nose were split in meshmixer so needed to be joined back together.  Despite a really good print whenever I use mesh mixer I need to putty the seams.  The hollowed out core and nose also needed the drain holes filled and sanded.  I then doubled pinned the wings to this main assembly.  In hindsight I should have spent more time on this as there was a little bit of an alignment issue between the wing root and the wing itself.

The back half of the model was an utter nightmare of badly fitting airfoils and I bodged as best I could.

The cannon barrel, cockpit and reversing gear were painted using various colour shift paints and left until final assembly   

This was all given a solid black primer with my go-to rattle can matt black car paint from Poundland.

Panel Scribing and Underpainting

I knew I was going to want to try out the underpainting technique I've seen a lot of AFV modellers use to create their panel lines, but this model didn't really have any.  I dug out a ruler and scribed the aileron's and the folding wing joins with the back of an x-acto blade.  The rivet detail was simply drilled with a pin vice and a few other panel lines added.  This was all recoated in black ready for underpainting.

I used a Daler Rowney FW artists white ink straight out of the bottle through the airbrush.  I'm a pretty novice airbrusher and I have always struggled with thinning and getting the right consistency of paint and prerssure to prevent spidering.  

However, this ink added the new complication of fisheyes.  I'm not sure if it is the ink or the undercoat, but it was a real pain.  Several coats went on and some had to be wiped off.  I persevered and finally it was time to add the red coat. 

Weathering and Paint Chipping

The Swordfish is an old ship and given the meagre budget that the crew of the Bebop operate with, there is only the money to do basic maintenance.  A scuffed up worn out appearance was a must.

I use the sponge chipping method lightly dabbing some black on all the leading edges that would take the most punishment on re-entry.  This was then highlighted with some bright silver from Army Painter.

A simple but effective method to weathering whilst maintaining a clean look and not taking an age to dry.

Spike Spiegel - MyMinifactory

No model of the Swordfish II would be complete without it's pilot and the main hero of the show, Spike Spiegel.

I found a lovely model of Spike on MyMiniFactory which was a breeze to print and paint.  I think it makes a great addition to the model.  Shout out to sculptor EthanTSavage whose work is prertty amazing and scales up really nicely. 

The Base

I considered lighting this model but to be honest it was a bit of a pain once assembled.  I had a plan for routing the LEDs to the engine and the two spotlights on the nose, but I was not confident that the effect would be worth it given the low-poly detail of this model.  

I did want a modern looking base and found the perfect match in a box style frame in a thrift store.  Removing the glass and gluing the mdf backer in place proved a sturdy enough platform for a coathanger to be glued in place supported by a generous volcano of milliput on the underside.

I also took the liberty of drilling an extra hole in the corner for Spike to be glued in place.

The Swordfish II Plaque - Thingiverse: Thing 6455107

One of the more iconic graphical elements to the show is the logo.  I love the big kanji script but wanted the center to bear the name of the ship.  I found a suitable image online and modified it with GIMP.  I then converted the JPG to an SVG using Convertio and imported this into Tinkercad.  I added a simple solid back to the object and exported as an STL.  

From start to finish this took no more than 10 minutes.  You can download the STL file for free using the Thingiverse link above.

Many Thanks to...

A big shout out to Lou Dalmaso aka Aztek Dummy on YouTube.  I've thoroughly enjoyed his forays into 3D printed models and it was his channel that inspired me to give it a go myself.  

Big thanks also to the rest of the Youtube modelmaking community for giving me hours of enjoyable content over the years. Plasmo, Mr E Models, SpruVerse, World of Wayne, TrekWorks, Interstellar Modeler, Boylei Hobby Time, Luke Towan, MSPaints, Squidmar, Ground Affected, Midwinter Minis and so many more...

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