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Builds By Baz - Full scale MKII Colonial Viper

Discussion in 'Non-Halo Costumes and Props' started by Sandbagger, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    MkII Colonial Viper from the 2003 reimagined series of Battlestar Galactica

    I first had this idea years ago, along with a couple of other projects I may move onto after it. With all the iron man stuff, photography, astronomy and knife making going on, it didn't look like I was ever going to do it.

    A few years ago, I tried upscaling a paper model from online and started a life-size cardboard version, but didn't like the shape of it. After sitting in my shed for nearly a year taking up space, I destroyed it.



    Next, I grabbed a Mobeius kit and took Vernier caliper measurements from the plastic model and multiplied them by the scale factor of about three. I made a concept model three times the size in cardboard and wood, threw some lights in it and worked out how the modular sections might assemble on-site for transport and pull-down.









    I only built one side of it so the other side can stay open for future visual planning. I mirrored a couple of photos for fun. (above)

    I've been collecting plywood and foam, among other materials for many months. For the last couple of years I've been trying to get shop drawings out of any CAD specialist willing to help, but I understand it's a lot of work for free and it's a big ask to dedicate the time.

    Even using verniers and blowing it up three times, brought inaccuracies I can't accept, so I really needed to get dimensions accurate.

    Now that I have a CAD expert helping me, I finally have accurate shop drawings and have started on the first two and a bit metres of the nose.

    The craft will use a variety of materials to make it, depending on strength/safety and where it is needed. The majority will be plywood frame, some aluminium longerons etc for strength, polystyrene foam fill for sculpting, then skinned with fibreglass.

    The cockpit and undercarriage will be constructed in such a way that it is safe to support and adult's weight and then some.

    The entire ship tops out at 8.4 metres in length.

    I have big plans for the rest of the ship, but I will tell the story as I go, rather than skip to the last chapter.



    Since my first thoughts of this years ago, I was dismayed to go online searching for blueprints, not finding any, but finding at least two other full scale Vipers out there. One is in full aluminium and a little further along than mine, the other is a plywood, completed and recently unveiled in Manchester. I think they are both 1978 versions, where as mine is the reimagined 2003 version.

    Just goes to show what can happen if you don't act on your dreams right away. Someone else will!
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  2. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    I have been working with my good friend Pete on building a website to cover all of my ambitious, outrageous builds so I can house it all under one roof.

    So now the new website is up and running. There is a little bit of work to do to refine it's structure as I get to know the front and back end editing, but repetition will soon teach me. Many thanks to Pete for hosting and mentoring me in this new venture.

    Take a look, follow along, comment, have fun!


    Builds by Baz – Just build it.
  3. gamingfreak

    gamingfreak New Member

    Oh wow, I am seeing a very beautiful finish product.
  4. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    Trying to be sooooo super quiet with the impact driver. It's getting late. Perhaps tomorrow I might get a chance...


    Attached Files:

  5. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    Grinding the ends off the stringer screws.


    Next stringers plotted out for cutting tomorrow. I have a full day on it tomorrow, so should get a fair bit done. Might even get started on polystyrene bodywork if I'm not interrupted. Not holding my breath though.

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
    Dirtdives likes this.
  6. Dirtdives


    I'm blown away w/ this.......I remember watching the original series way back in the day........Very cool!!!!
  7. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    I got quite a lot done today. Finished all the horizontal and vertical stingers in the nose. Then some strategic weight reduction was in order. I broke my 30 year old hole saw set, so it was off to Bunnings for a new and better set.

    Once I plotted out all the vertical stringers I removed them and cut the centres out of all the formers.

    Tomorrow I will attach them permanently and fix some aluminium longerons along the top and sides to lock it all in. Mission accomplished, the frame is now set to be rigid and light.

    To see WIP photos click here


    TurboCharizard and Dirtdives like this.
  8. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    Help? Trying to find some reference as to scale, (dimensions) of this panel so I can start making it.



  9. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    TurboCharizard likes this.
  10. TurboCharizard

    TurboCharizard RMO 405th Regiment Officer

    Good find. I was going to suggest basing scale off one of the input jacks on the bottom section in the full cabinet photo. It would have been best guess as to what each diameter was originally but thankfully there's only a few commonly used standards. Finding a design document makes life much easier than fiddling around with Nifegun or PS.
  11. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    I found a few demo videos on youtube of the actual unit, so I've asked the owners if they could take a few measurements for me.
    TurboCharizard likes this.
  12. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    I got about three hours of frantic cutting, drilling and grinding done this evening.

    All the horizontal and vertical stringers are now secured, along with three longerons along the top for dealing with tension force. As there is compression on the bottom caused by the weight cantilevering over the front skid four metres back from the tip of the nose, there will be a lot of compression on the bottom, particularly closer to the skid. The rear former will need to be reinforced with a solid plate/mounting points. More on that when I get there.



  13. NZSpartanz

    NZSpartanz New Member

    Awesome start. One of my favorite space ships. Made a 3d model in Blender of one of these. Look forward to the updates.
  14. blackout11c


    Oh, very nice.

    So, you planning on giving her a full interior?
  15. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    Thanks mate. As my CAD guys and I have discovered, it is one thing to build it in a render, it is quite another to make it for real. So many holes in virtual models.

    Sure am!
    NZSpartanz likes this.
  16. ReClaimer8015


    Wow, a very ambitious project!
    But what i`ve seen from you so far.... i bet it will turn out fabulous;)
    Btw, my favorite ship in the new BSG Series was the cylon base star.
    But for that i have to be content with a smaller size model:lol:

    Excited to see more from you!
  17. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    To start building the body of the fuselage in layers, I found some Sikabond foam construction adhesive at Bunnings. Messy stuff, but does the job well and once you understand how it flows, sticks, spreads and behaves generally, you get the hang of it pretty quick.

    The foam I am using is a combination of soft and hard, but when it’s free recycled packaging and produce boxing, one can’t be too fussy. At the end of the day, once shaped, it will be coated in fibreglass anyway. I’ve built it high and then done some rough shape-cutting with the hot wire cutter. The nose was a little tricky because of all the angles, so the next spaces between formers should be a lot easier.

    I think my hot-wire cutter is running a little cool at nearly two feet long, so i’m going to have to hit the calculator and see what I need do do to turn up the heat.

    Later tonight/tomorrow afternoon I might get a chance to shape it more with a rasp and sandpaper. I have shaped foam before in a small scale and it’s surprising how smooth you can get it. Larger surfaces are obviously easier than intricate hand-models.




    TurboCharizard likes this.
  18. NZSpartanz

    NZSpartanz New Member

    Sika product are great, as is Bunnings where I get my EVA foam from. Good start on the nose! I have a couple of those produce polystyrene cartons also. Made a Halo magnum out of one of them.
    Then I got some Knauf XPS Climafoam from Bunnings and got better result due to the density of it. Free is good though.:)
  19. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    Today I couldn’t do much while babysitting, but while miss two watched on in the back yard sunshine, dad drew templates and threw balls of screwed up paper at her. What fun dad! Giggling her head off!

    A total of about an hour today was all I could manage. I cut some formers for the second half of the fuselage, finishing at the firewall forward of the cockpit.




    I also spent about five minutes with some 60 grit sandpaper on the nose polystyrene.

  20. Dirtdives


    I'm sure child services would frown upon hearing something like this.....but it sounds pretty funny......;)
  21. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    I've been researching the instrumentation inside the cockpit, drawing from several sources around the internet. Mostly I'm trying to keep it as accurate as I can, and I really like the cockpit layout in the life size MK II that went up for auction a few years back.

    Many of the instruments are everyday items in modern aviation, along with a few consumer bits of tech for the last 40 years or so.

    Some of the instruments I can source on ebay and the like, others I just have to scratch build. All I needed was a known dimension so that I could scale the rest, using educated guesswork and a Vernier caliper.

    I have an altimeter being sent to me, but these other two instruments I have built from scratch, using the Perspex from a refrigerator crisper drawer, a discarded McDonalds food tray and some printed reference photos hot off the internet.



    TurboCharizard likes this.
  22. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    Latest article I've written up on all the real-world avionics instruments I am gathering for the cockpit, including warnings about radiation in some instruments.

    Viper MK II cockpit reference pictures.
  23. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

  24. RYNO 666

    RYNO 666 Well-Known Member

    Amazing job as always!
  25. Sandbagger

    Sandbagger Well-Known Member

    Thanks Ryno. :D

    After a quick paint, (I know it's not the genuine colour.... yet) I used some cardboard to rough out a dashboard cover unit, then transferred it onto 12mm plywood.


    vshore100 and mblackwell1002 like this.

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