OK… first Leslie Nielsen and now Irvin Kerschner. Now many donâ€™t know him, but he was the director of arguably the best of the 6 Star Wars episodes, namely Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. He also happened to direct a guilty pleasure of mine, Robocop 2. Yes, the one with the psycho kid wielding a folding submachine gun.
As a kid, I preferred Return of the Jedi (yes even the Ewoks) but as I’ve grown older, I appreciate ESB more for being much more dramatic and not dispensing on characterization. So now it’s actually my favorite. ROTJ is now 2nd 🙂 .
Anyhow, thanx for being a part of my nerd childhood sir. Godspeed.
It all began after I took a short web design course over a summer in 1998. I was also into abit of scale modeling then. So I did what came naturally; do up a website about scale modeling. And wow, more than 10 years already and I’m still doing both of them.
So take a trip with me down memory lane as I present here a short history of Rocket Punch.
When time began…
This was during the Internet’s infancy and many websites offered free webspaces without requiring ridiculous amounts ads (both popup and non-popup ads). In fact, GeoCities only required a small animated banner somewhere on the website. Such good times.
I called the first ever incarnation of my website Mecha Model Factory as I was doing primarily mecha kits. This was in 1999.
As GeoCities became more draconian with their ads, I moved the site to a starhub.net.sg domain (I had a dial-up account with the ISP) with one of those free short URL redirectors (http://modelfactory.cjb.net if I remember correctly). This was in 2000. I renamed the site The Model Factory as well since I’ve gone into other genres of scale modeling, namely combat aircraft.
Then myrightfoot.com came along…
I then decided to get a domain name for my personal site. I settled on myrightfoot.com. Why myrightfoot.com you say? Well, it was catchy and My left foot was a movie, so I didn’t want to confuse people. I know, so considerate right?
The Model Factory (TMF) resided as a subdomain http://tmf.myrightfoot.com . It was at this time that a good friend of mine Lion (pronounced Leon) helped me design a mascot for my website which you see below. I drew the airbrush.
My foot disappeared and something mad happened…
My webhost went kaput and along with it my domain name which I couldn’t get back. So I decided to get a new domain maded.com. It’s pronounced Mad Ed’, which is a combination of my fullname.
Instead of a subdomain though, the hobby section resided as part of the main site.
It went through a few variations until…
MadEd also got lost and we come to Rocket Punch!
Yeap, due to an administrative cockup, I lost the maded.com domain also. Meh. I then tried to find another domain name that actually reflects what the site is all about.
At the end of the day, I decided on Rocket Punch, because 1) it’s catchy, 2) it’s easy to remember and 3) it’s a robot cliche. Best! Why a .biz domain though? Well, all the others were taken! So I took the only one that’s available, which is how we get rocketpunch.biz.
When I first began, I had an idea to use the main rocketpunch.biz domain as a freelance web design site so for the first 5 years of existence, my scale modeling site resided at the http://toys.rocketpunch.biz even though I still referred to it as Rocket Punch.
For 4 years it remained like the design you see below.
Finally in 2009, I received some feedback that the thumbnails I used were too small, especially now that 90% of screen resolutions out there are more than 1024×768 that I’ve always designed for.
My good buddy Chairul, graciously helped me design (FOC no less) the Rocket Punch logo that adorns the site. So what you see next is the finetuning of the site.
In the end, I spent a weekend integrating WordPress with Rocket Punch. WordPress has evolved to something that is ALMOST what I’m looking for structure-wise. There’s still some things I needed that aren’t available but I’ve worked around them somewhat. As of 2016, it has gone through 2 designs.
So what does the future hold? Who knows to be honest. As Rocket Punch has evolved into a blog and updating is so much easier, I’ve started exploring other aspects of my hobbies. Things like G.I.Joe, Transformers, Star Wars and other things I like are now starting to popup here and there on the site.
This site now generates about 7GB worth of traffic a month (as of 2016) which isn’t a lot, but at least it means it’s getting out there to some folks.
One thing’s for sure, it’ll always remain as a site where it’s about one guy cocking about his hobbies. ONWARD HO I SAY!
Manufacturer: Morr Models
Price: USD 104.95
The atmospheric booster was an optional attachment to send VF-1 Valkyries into space orbit. The booster is discarded once the Valkyrie reaches space. Advances in technology will eventually enable future variable fighters to reach orbit unassisted and render this equipment obselete.
I’ve had this kit for awhile now and have only gotten to previewing it now. I purchased this online from the Starship Modeler Store. It’s sculpted by John Moscato, who goes by the nick ‘Captain America’ in the Macrossworld Forums.
If the booster doesn’t look familiar to you, it’s because it appeared in the Macross TV series for less than 20 seconds onscreen. I vaguely remember the scene where a couple of these are launched into space. I don’t even remember if any of the protagonists were actually piloting them.
The kit comes in 39 pieces. It also comes with 2 small decal sheets and a letter-sized double-sided instruction sheet. First impression of the kit is that it is BIG. Parts are also in both white and tan resin for whatever reason.
The thruster bells are all one piece affairs with the smaller rockets all molded within them. You will need to attach the booster rings and the vanes separately. One very nice feature is the kit comes with 2 extra pieces of the rings and the vanes each. Just in case you screw up.
Casting details are not as crisp as those from the established resin companies (NeoGrade, SMS etc) but considering its source as a home-casted product, I’m perfectly fine with it. Nothing that some finesse, putty and sandpaper can’t fix. The rivets are abit too shallow for me so I might just fill them up with epoxy and rescribe.
The VF-1 kit will need to have some parts replaced with resin pieces. These are mainly the intake/leg section as they need to fold a specific way before they can be fitted on the booster.
I dry-fitted the intake to the Hasegawa part and the fit is very good even without clean-up.
The instruction sheet is very clearly done by a fellow named ‘Tyranus’. There’s also a handy guide on which parts you need to leave out on the Hasegawa VF-1. 2 things I noticed from perusing the instructions:
- You can probably build the Valkyrie separately and keep it in subassemblies before attaching the booster around it. Nice.
- My copy of the kit seems to be at least the 2nd production run as the sheet indicates that the thruster bells are separated differently from my copy. In the sheet, the thruster bell has the vanes attached already while the connecting point to the booster is separate. Chance of the vanes breaking while in transit in my copy is lower.
The decals look to be ALPS printed although the backing is thicker than what I’ve seen. The colors are also washed out, especially the red on the UN Spacy chevron. I’ll see if I can replace them.
By now you’ll realize that this is NOT a complete kit as you will need to add a Hasegawa VF-1 Valkyrie kit as the command vehicle. It also doesn’t come with a stand so you’ll need to figure out a way to display this. John Moscato actually has 2 additional options for this: the Launch Pylon and the humongous Launch Vehicle (which doesn’t come with the Launch Pylon). Some might not like this but I’m fine with it as it allows me the option to totally splurge or just get the booster and find another way to mount it by itself.
I’d like to end this preview by quoting Tyranus’ last sentence in the instructions:
First a disclaimer: this DVD does not teach you how to assemble a kit. It does teach you how some simple techniques can really ‘pop’ a kit and bring it to another level.
Traditionally, weathering and finishing of model kits are done with oil, enamel or lacquer products. The general understanding is acrylic-based items are not suitable for the job since acrylic paints tend to be have bad coverage and chips easily.
Miguel Jimenez was the man behind Mig Productions, one of the more popular products for weathering and finishing model kits. He has since parted company with Mig Productions. This DVD is a joint release with Acrylicos Vallejo, the manufacturer of the Vallejo line of acrylic-based finishing products, to show that good finishing and weathering can be achieved, even with acrylics.
I have been using acrylic-based products more or less exclusively for about 6 years now. I like how there’s very little smell (especially Vallejo products) and it’s toxicity level is much lower than enamel and lacquer paints. However, I still have to use some enamel, lacquer or oil-based products when it comes to weathering. This DVD is of particular interest to me since given a choice, I’d switch 100% over to acrylic finishing.
I mailordered the DVD from Panther Models Ltd in merry ol’ England. One Paypal payment and 10 days later, the package arrived. A pleasant surprise was the inclusion of a 5% discount coupon I can use towards Vallejo products. Nice.
Included with the DVD is a 7 page full-color booklet summarizing the contents of the DVD. Sort of like a crib sheet. The DVD itself has Mig himself building a Panzerkampfwagen II kit from the start of painting to completing the kit with weathering and detailing. A nice touch is how the whole video is split into convenient chapters so you can always go back and re-watch one particular aspect of the finishing process.
The narration (by Mig?) is clear and concise although a bit fast. But if you’re used to the English language, it shouldn’t pose a problem. There is a hint of accent in the voice but it’s nothing jarring. Best of all, the whole video is done with the kit covering the entire screen so you can see the processes clearly. I gather you can even ‘get’ what’s going on even if you turn off the sound.
The chapters are divided logically and I like how nothing is glossed over. For example the chipping section, Mig actually shows you how he does chipping on more than one part of the kit so you get a more concise idea of how and why it’s done the way it is.
He does do some things differently like adding gloss varnish in his paints so he doesn’t have to gloss coat the kit before the decaling stage. He also doesn’t preshade or use red brown as base color but it still works.
I find it interesting how he even controls the tones during the primer stage: he highlights parts that get more exposed to light with white primer. Best of all, he gives reasons to why he does everything, which you can then adapt to your own skillsets.
Of course this being a Vallejo sponsored DVD, everything you see in there is from Vallejo. This includes the primer, paint, gloss/matt varnish, decal softener/fixer, pigments, wash and even the paintbrushes. If you thought Vallejo only had paints, think again.
Everything that Mig uses in the video has a different branded alternate. The alternative might not be acrylic-based, but there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s the beauty of it I think: You might not use acrylic products, but all these effects and finishes can still be learned through this DVD.
The topic of this DVD is armor, which lend themselves to a ton of weathering and detailing. However, it won’t be hard to adapt the skills shown here to other genres like aircraft and sci-fi.
If you’ve ever wondered how modelers achieved their finishes and detailing, or if you’re thinking what can be done after switching to all acrylic products, or if you just want to see what can be done to bring your kit into the next level, this DVD is for you.
I hope Mig comes up with more DVDs of this quality. Highly recommended!
The Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon (originally developed by General Dynamics) is a multirole jet fighter. It currently serves in no less than 25 nations, with over 4,400 aircraft built.
Commonly known as the â€˜Viper’, it features innovations including a frameless, bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while under high g-forces, and reclined seat to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot. It is also the first fighter to be built to sustain 9-g turns.
The current 414th Composite Training Squadron (CTS) is a US Air Force unit based in Nevada. It is responsible for hosting Red Flag, Air Combat Command’s largest air training exercise. It is assigned to the 57th Wing’s Operation Group and currently flies F-16C Block 32s in the DACT (Dissimilar Air Combat Training) role.
I actually finished this kit one day (December 3, 2008) short of the 3rd year anniversary of starting this project. It was supposed to be for a groupbuild I had with 3 friends of mine. But they have finished their kits way sooner than me heh. I’ve finally taken good pictures of my build so it’s finally up on the site.
Anyhow, I tried to replicate some of the features that Hasegawa left out in their what is now close to 20 year mold. These modifications include:
- Resin ejection seat from Legend Productions
- My good friend Gerald contributed a scratchbuilt oxygen tube in the cockpit (which can’t really be seen unless you peer into the canopy)
- Scratchbuilt RWR sensors on the wings
- Scratchbuilt AOA vanes on the nose
- Scratchbuilt static dischargers on the wings, horizontal stabilizers and tailfin
- TwoBob’s ‘Fighting Fulcrums’ decals
The build didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped though. In between starting and completion of the project, I had a kid, had 1 more coming, moved house twice and moved between countries once. And those aren’t even related to the build itself 🙂 .
Some inaccuracy and mistakes remain due to various reasons:
- No reinforcement plates on the fuselage
- Wrong placement of the checkerboard band on the tailfin (TwoBobs’ instructions were wrong and I didn’t research firstâ€¦ sighâ€¦)
- Two decals (the numbers on the nose) went missing
- The placement of the plane number on the base of the tailfin is wrong (again, I based on the TwoBobs instructions)
- I had to guesstimate some of the camouflage demarcations (yup, TwoBobs again)
- My oil wash looks a bit heavy handed in hindsight
- In my hurry to finish, I left a fingerprint near the ‘eject’ decal on the left side of the fuselage. I think I didn’t wait long enough for the flat coat to dry before handling the kit
- A friend pointed out that I forgot to attach an air scoop on the base of each side of the tailfin. Found out the base F-16N doesn’t have it so the instructions didn’t reflect them. Not enough research on my part
- I also missed painting the wingtip and tailfin lights
- I need to figure out a way to reduce the amount of dust that landed on the kit
Lessons learned. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed this build as I find Aggressor schemes to be very distinctive (though challenging) and will look good among the normal dreary greys of modern aircraft. Certainly won’t be my last colorful aircraft.
I entered this kit into the 7th Jakarta Miniature Model Expo and Competition organized by Peter & Partner. It was put under the 1/48 Aircraft (Advanced) category and didn’t win. But it served as a good lesson for future entries into the competition.
- WIP : Tamiya 1/72 F-16CM Fighting Falcon Pt.3 – Painting
- WIP : Tamiya 1/72 F-16CM Fighting Falcon Pt.2 – Construction
- WIP : Tamiya 1/72 F-16CM Fighting Falcon Pt.1 – Construction
- Completed : Hasegawa 1/48 Lockheed/Mitsubishi F-104J Starfighter
- WIP : Hasegawa 1/48 F-104J Starfighter Pt. 6 – Finishing