Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Transport Plugs - a Tutorial

Bit of a departure from the usual fare here, as I have a short tutorial featuring a product that you can buy from my Shapeways store.

Every game can benefit from the involvement and distraction of civilians, and in a game featuring space ships, civilians are often represented by traders and freighters.  This allows for convoy action in scenarios, movable terrain, ragtag civilian fleets and so on.

What I designed was a sprue of ships designed to mate with a plastic tube to produce civilian trade ships carrying a standard cargo pod.  Happily at 1/3788 scale, a standard cargo pod is the diameter of a Bic stick type pen, which most people have in vast quantities, could "borrow" from work, or can buy for a nominal fee.  Each sprue contains five ships of five designs, which can be mixed and matched fore and aft to make more cargo ships than most will want!
What you get in Frosted Ultra Detail

What you need to make these ships: razor saw, sprue of ships, and a Bic type pen
Step one is to acquire an 8mm diameter tube from your Bic style pen. You may need to use a pair of pliers to remove the end cap if it is a new pen, but in older pens this tends to be looser.

Step two is to remove the ship portions from the sprue, which can be done with some gentle pressure as the plastic used in Smooth Fine Detail Plastic (formerly Frosted Ultra Detail) is brittle.

Step three is to use the sprue to measure your cargo pod, as I have designed it to be 52.8mm in length, which corresponds to the scale size of the cargo pod.  If you like, you could make your pod longer or shorter as desired.
Measuring the pod length
Step four is to cut your tube with the razor saw, or with a standard utility knife if you do not have the saw to hand.  If you use the utility knife, use a rocking motion to roll the pen body back and forth a bit to ensure that the cut is as even as possible.
Step five is to select a fore and aft portion for this ship. Again, the plastic is brittle, so a gentle pressure should separate the two pieces, or you could use clippers to cut the connecting plastic rod.

Step six is to glue the two portions of the ship to the tube.  Your interpretation of how to place the drive section or fore section is just as valid as mine!

Step seven is to drill a hole in the center of mass.  Depending on the fore and aft portions that you chose, this should be around the letter O of the measuring sprue.

Step eight is to spray prime the ship(s).  I favor black for spaceships, but do what makes the most sense for you.

Step nine is to paint the ship.  Here I have gone with a standard off white color for the ships, and red and blue for the pods, but the sky is the limit as far as commercial paint jobs go in our real world, and I expect that to be so in the future too.

Step ten is to enjoy adding a new ship to your fleet!
Klingon ship comes in for the kill

This is really an easy way to bulk out your transport fleet.

If you have any questions, please contact me.


Mordian7th said...

Nice! Those are super cool.

Stew said...

Very nice tutorial!

Lasgunpacker said...

Thanks chaps, certainly not the most sophisticated ships in the 'verse, but they are easy to do, and certainly much cheaper than having shapeways print up a full model with the tube!

Maj. Guiscard said...

That is one nifty idea. Thanks for sharing that!

Dai said...

Very cool idea LGP, and I like that they are so inexpensive as an option compared to the alternative.
Can't remember, you are building all these for Star Fleet Battles, or some other, less rules(read: MATHS ;P) intensive system?

Lasgunpacker said...

Dai, more of my own thing than SFB, but since these neatly replace the official ships, could do that too...

FourEyedMonster said...

Simple but it gets the job done for sure!

Sean said...

Great design and a nice tutorial.