I’ve had a few distractions – like a trip to the Severn Valley Railway – but have got on quite a bit.

I finished Bumblebee. As you can see I broke his front piece off. I broke several pieces on Bumbleebee, mostly on the pegs when I tried to remove pieces, so ended up using piano wire as an extra piece of support and drilling holes in the two broken pieces:


Bumblebee back

I need to put LED lights behind his front piece and it’s a snug fit so they’re going to be a tight squeeze:

Bumblebee breast

Bumblebee breastplate

His gun isn’t on yet as I am lighting it. I cut an end peg off and cutting an LED sized hole:

Bumblebee's gun

And here’s the finished product:

Bumblebee's gun

I’ve still got to paint and hide the wire feeds but they are going to the breastplate next. The wire is winding wire which has a thin clear coat on the outside. I’ve used it before and it seems to cope ok and is very thin.

Optimus also got his eye lights in. I went into Maplins to buy LEDs last week and bought 4 4.5v blue LEDs but they didn’t have any white ones. I ended up ordering 4 blue and 8 white 3.5v LEDs from their website as the voltages matched. I cut alot of the LEDs down (you can chop the plastic away to save space) but overcut the blue ones. Having trashed 3 I’ve now resorted to the superbright 4.5v ones which seem to work ok with the batteries I have. I found an old fibre optic brush thingy with a nice battery holder for two AA batteries. It’s giving out 3 volts and is easily lighting my LEDs:

Optimus lit up

There’s a bit of underglow (I have painted all the LEDs black except on the tips) but it’s not as bad as Bumblebee (hence him still be faceless!). I’m trying all sorts on B but the jury’s out on what’s going to work…

In the meanwhile I finished Sam’s head, glued the remaining sub assemblies on the Humvee and trashed the bits that might get rolled on: mirrors, front brush guard, aerial. I also tried recreating an alien energy blast. Ho hum. It did not go well. The blast is hitting in the middle of the side between two doors. I melted the upright with a soldering iron (and used it to bend the mirrors). It does melt which is ok for an energy blast I guess… I then tried bending the doors. Most people recommend thinning the plastic but I wanted the doors to be viewed on both sides. I had to melt the centre of the doors… Boiling water didn’t do it, nor did a bulb nor did the microwave. I put them in the oven in the end where the fan blew them away… They melted all wierd, the sprue marks have pulled in causing wavy door edges! I think a liberal dose of black spray and charring is in order and maybe some ash/concrete chunks to hide strategic parts… Not my best modelling so back to the drawing board before I do that again! They’ll do for here as it is an alien weapon so goodness knows what it would do to Aluminium doors in reality.

I also painted the sub assemblies. I’ve done the interior colour (Nato Green) and some Olive Drab and am onto the Sand exterior when it has all dried and hardened enough to mask again. I sprayed with Tamiya surface primer this time (I usually use Halfords black or grey) and it gives a lovely smooth finish. Wish my airbrushing gave it justice! I’ll do some photos when there’s more completed.

I still need to do the final gloss coat touching up – although Bumblebee wasn’t as bad at blistering when cut as Optimus – I don’t know if the Tamiya coats helped or the fact that there was only one Vallejo gloss coat. I also need to do the worn paint and dirt look. Can’t wait.