My latest project, The Rusty Romulan, was begun to solve a very old problem. When I was a teenager (yes that long ago, when Star Trek the Original Series was still on the air on NBC) I built all the available Star Trek models from AMT, including the Romulan Bird of Prey.
There was one problem with that model. There was something wrong with the spray paint I bought (memory fades) either at my neighborhood hobby shop or perhaps a hardware store was faulty and the metallic paint was rough and potmarked.
Somehow, unlike all the other models I built in those days, the Romulan Bird of Prey was the only one that survived. Like some other models, it ended up in a box of books that I unpacked when I retired. (Yes it was that long ago).
So the Bird of Prey was hanging around on a shelf until one day I had an idea. Living in northern British Columbia you often come upon crashed cars in the bush, completely rusty and overgrown. Or illegally abandoned vessels rusting on a shoreline and also becoming overgrown.
So why not make lemonade from the Bird of Prey and turn it into a rusty Romulan.
So that’s what I did.
The Romulan Transportation Safety Board has not yet investigated the crash. The Bird of Prey is listed as missing. So the reasons for the crash (and if the crew survived) is unknown. The space craft managed to reenter the atmosphere intact. There was no significant battle damage and the crew did not trigger the self destruct. However there was clearly some exterior damage, either in space perhaps causing the emergency landing or during reentry.
I scored the old model with my Dremel sander on a very slow rotation. Then painted some areas black for the re-entry burn and then added the initial rust in light washes.
I wanted the Bird of Prey to be somewhat upright, so it came to rest against a ridge so that the livery can be seen. With that design in mind, the decades on the surface of this planet alien to both Human and Romulan will take its toll on the unlucky Bird of Prey.
I wanted an alien look while maintaining the scale. The Bird of Prey has four decks and is 21.9 metres (71.8 feet) high by 90.6 metres (297.2 feet) wide. So the trees and other vegetation (allowing that this is an alien world) had to be proportional.
One of the species of vines on this part of the world are made from ornamental moss from a dollar store, the kind usually put in planters.
The “conifers” are the standard, cheapest, model railway trees, with purple foam added.
The trees are Woodland Scenics Light Green Forest Canopy using just the very tops of the plant material. (Chaos theory is at work here, the tiny tops are just like the bigger trees designed for a model railway.)
The original AMT model did not have the portholes in the Bird of Prey so I drilled the holes. The fibrous material is a model railway grass and the orange fungi is a chalk.
The built up leaves on the hull are just that. Autumn leaves collected, dried and then pulverized in a blender. (It is another model railway technique. However if you are using a blender make sure to use one that comes with both glass and metal containers–and use the metal one).
The final touch, the second species of vines, are “silk” from corn-on-the-cob.