Builds By Baz - Full scale MKII Colonial Viper


Sr Member
Fitting the undercarriage.

I really want to make this safe around people. My plan today was to get all three legs attached and supporting the spacecraft, but it took all day to do just one and get it right. The craft modules are light, (except the cockpit), but I am well aware of accumulative weight and the effects of cantilevering over a support.





Over-engineering is the way for me, so lots of steel. I had engineering friends calculate the failure points for me and then I added extra strength to have absolutely no doubt.

I found a 10mm height difference on the horizontal centre line from front to rear over eight metres. I'll fix it in time.




Sr Member
Cockpit canopy frame, MkII.

It's time to replace the temporary plywood frame with a solid aluminium one. Using the ply frame as a guide, I calculated the amount of aluminium I needed and bought it this week. I over-calculated by 170mm, which was pretty fortuitous, considering I just stood in front of the Viper one day and guessed that I would need fourteen metres of flat bar.

Thanks go to my friend Ewan, for helping me roll-form this aluminium bar stock for the cockpit. The piece still has some obvious clean-up and cut to length, but bending it was a lot harder than we both thought it would be. This piece is the very back of the canopy at the top where it seals against the headboard. It's messy, but the basic curve is there so I can now tidy it up with the grinder.



Oh the mathematics...ugh! I hate calculations. I got the radius worked out from the known values of my arc and scribed an accurate radius to tool the edge.




Right now, I am bracketing it all together and grinding in bevels so all the work is done when the TIG welder, (person) welds it all up, hopefully saving me money. If I deliver it to him clean and ready to weld, then all he has to do is fillet all the joins and it's done. I will take it home from there and grind-finish where I need to.

Dog tags for the flight suit arrived as well. I cut them out, drilled, sanded all the edges. Now just ageing them a bit. Another costume prop done. Big shout out to my friend Dar from Gelandangan Marking System for laser etching these for me and another friend Chris for providing the template.





Sr Member
I spent today mitring all the corner joints and connecting them with plates, ready for welding, then matching the sides to mirror each other. Good thing too, because no amount of careful measurements and calculations will ever get it right, when you have to fit it on something this big! The plates allow me a little movement to fit it onto the cockpit and adjust for a perfect fit.




This evening I had a bit of daylight left, so I went back into the shed and made a neck seal for the flight suit. I just beat it over the jaws of an open vice then finished it off with a planishing hammer around the outside of my post anvil. I cut and filed a hinge in the aluminium and pinned and peened it. Later a padded lining gets attached to the inside of it.





Sr Member
Memoirs of a Viper builder...

Every fortnight I have a Saturday to work on the Viper. I often get overly ambitious as to what I think I am going to get achieved with that one day and am often left disappointed and discouraged. Today was no exception. This time, i deliberately set my sights a little lower and vowed that I would only work on the rear legs of the undercarriage and get them DONE! Long after dark, I was still going and had to shut down the grinders, drills and welder for the sake of sleeping babies and the spirit of being a good neighbour.

I got one leg on and the other leg half done. Lots of false-starts, standing and staring, contemplating and planning before a single piece of steel was cut. The tricky part was to avoid getting too elaborate with the way it fits together. Keeping it simple and basic is actually quite hard, but I got there in the end. When I take this thing to events and shows, I don't want to be spending half a day assembling it. At the most I'd like to get it down to an hour, to an hour and a half.

After curfew, I shut the shed door and did some quiet drilling on the press and prepared the steel for tomorrow's cutting if I get a chance.



Sr Member
I did however, steal a little bit of time today to finish bracketing the canopy together. It's all done now, ready for welding. It fits nicely on the cockpit now, with both bottom bars parallel. I can now go ahead and install the track and rollers for it to run in so it can slide forward.







Well-Known Member
Canopy is looking cool! Looking forward to seeing what you're using for the rollers and cockpit windows.


Sr Member
Second test fit on the flight suit. Once the adjustments are made, we start cutting the real material.

Last night's fitting was a wake up call for me and I'm embarrassed. Initially, my measurements were taken and the first cloth suit was made. I had a fitting and found I had put on weight and it was tight. So, the tailor made another one and added 2 cm in each side to give me some room. Last night I fitted up and it was again too tight, showing I have put on MORE weight. OUCH. Thiscan't go on.

Now he has to add MORE size to the suit and we will try again.

In the meantime, my diet has got to change and I have to find some sort of aerobic activity that chews the calories without buggering my knees and ankles any more than they already are.

Two problems... I hate diets and I have little time for extra exercise. Something's gotta give.

So, colonial warrior fitness training started this morning. 5km run laced with sit-ups and a self administered uppercut for allowing myself to get fat. I'll do the run 2 to 3 times a week and increase sit-ups. Will also add pushups and heaves.





Sr Member
My friend Jacob has again volunteered his skills as a welder. I'm pretty good at MIG with steel right now, but hopeless at TIG welding. Jacob has his own machine and has been practicing for a little while.




Sr Member
The last former templates have now been printed and cut for the top engine. This is the last major module of the ship. After this it's just wings and armaments. Ready to trace onto plywood.



Photo of what I have so far. Accessories on their way - gloves and gun belt pouches. Still to find - shoes. Flight suit in chromoflair under construction. I think I may have a prop addiction...







Sr Member
^^^ Thanks guys. :D

Everything laid out, measured and marked. Ready for my fortnightly big day to get as much done on the Viper as possible. If I get this undercarriage finalised tomorrow, I can move straight onto building the top engine. All the formers bar two, are cut for that. I also have all the steel I need for it's internal support frame. Let's see what the day brings.


Top engine formers cut and now the internal support frame holes are also marked, ready to cut out and slide over the frame.


Making all the frame bolts tool-less and high vis. They will be chained inside the frame, hanging next to their fixing position so I never lose or forget to bring them. Some bent ones in there. Easy enough to bend straight tomorrow.