Moebius Models 1/32 Cylon Raider (late)
MSRP $29.99 $28.49 from Squadron Mail Order
Images and text Copyright © 2014 by Matt Swan
The Cylon Empire originally designed and fielded the Raider during the initial Cylon War as a three place piloted vehicle. The early Raider while lacking the ability to hyper-jump was capable of atmospheric flight and was heavily armed, much more so than the defending Colonial Vipers. After the Cylon Empire withdrew at the cessation of hostilities the Empire continued to develop the Raider but moved in a new and unexpected direction. Colonial defenders were unpleasantly surprised when the new blended biomechanical Raiders made their appearance over Caprica. Now they were dealing with an aggressor that was more a trained animal than a piloted vehicle and more than capable of confronting the current series of Viper in both space and atmospheric flight. Another shock to the Colonials was the new Raider was jump capable. The new late version Raider was armed with conventional nuclear weapons and kinetic energy weapons plus an offensive electronic ability to transmit a Command Navigation Program (CNP) computer virus rendering the Colonial vessels inoperable. Fortunately for the Galactica their older model fighters did not use CNP software and were immune to this devastating attack.
Moebius Models has already established themselves as a premier manufacture of unusual kits in addition to their strong automotive kit line and that continues with this release. The kit is not overly complex with only a minimal number of parts, 21 light grey high pressure injection molded pieces and five clear parts. The sprue gates are fine and consistent, the exterior surface detail of the parts is top notch and the surface texture is very clean. The parts test fit together very well and the general lay-out lends itself well to the addition of electronics packages. The kit utilizes large, well designed locator pins on the primary body sections that provide lots of support for the structure and make for very secure attachment points. The kit instructions consist of a single fold sheet with stylish cut corners. The construction is laid out in four panels with six exploded view assembly steps with some painting tips included. There are no decals for the kit even though the box art clearly shows Cylon markings on the wing panel..
I'm going to light this kit up without question and need to evaluate the various lighting kits available on the aftermarket. Very quickly I was able to find four different lighting kits through an internet search. All of these were priced about the same in the $45 to $55 range and all offered video demonstrations of their product. After much consideration (hey, I'm spending twice the plastic kit price on electronics here) I settled on the Piscean Works kit out of Malaysia. I choose this set for several reasons, none of which was price even though it was on the lower end of the scale.
#1 This kit uses ten 0603 surface mount LEDs for the roving eye which produces a much smoother, consistent motion that approximated the effect seen on the television series best.
#2 The board is very compact and shaped to fit into the "head" of the Raider nearly perfectly.
#3 The designer spent a lot of time and effort ensuring a near perfect fit with as much electronic capability packed into as compact an area as possible.
#4 This package includes red LEDs to light the missile bays.
It's not all good though, there is a down-side to this package. While there is an option for lit missile bays there is not an option to light up the laser cannons. Piscean Works is really just a very talented modeler who designs these awesome boards, connects with a local fabricator to produce a limited run of product then moves on to the next kit that catches his attention. This is all great for him but for the rest of us it means once one of his sets becomes available we need to jump right on it before it sells out and we are left in the cold. And, sadly for those of you reading this now, I expect all these sets are long gone. Go to his website or find him on Facebook and send him an email if you really need a set and he might find one still hiding out on the workbench.
When the kit arrived I found it to be extremely well packaged and to include an excellent set of instructions that not only covered all aspects of installing this into the kit and how to make some electrical modifications if the user is up to it (really it is pretty much a plug and play package) but provided a degree of humor as well. I am very pleased with my purchase. Here is a short video of the eye in motion.
With the basic lighting package decided on and acquired it's time to start putting the pieces together. Test fitting the light board showed a few areas that that needed thinning inside the Raider's head which was done with a Dremel sanding barrel. A test with the lights on showed some serious light bleed through the plastic which was not unexpected. A couple coats of Krylon gloss black inside and out followed with some Alclad aluminum fixed that. The board was secured with a couple spots of super glue and the base piece was installed to finish holding everything together. I want to light up the laser cannons and will do this by fabricating new cannons with brass tubing installed into resin pieces and fiber optic cable threaded through. My mold making process is pretty simple using Lego blocks to form my mold box and modeling clay as a base. I added some plastic rod to the kit cannon part to act as a place holder for the brass tube. Once the two part mold was made from RTV material I cast my first cannon. The barrel end of the brass tube was cut off and the aft end bent to conform to some internal structure of the kit. The barrel end of the fiber optic strand, secured with super glue, will be chopped off after painting.
The insides of the engine nacelles were done with Krylon gloss black then White Ensign Aeotake to try and create a blue cast to the lights. The clear inserts were detailed with some blue paint on the three raised points and backed with some semi-transparent clear packing tape. Back plates were made from plastic card stock and drilled out to accommodate the white LEDs.
Construction Update 12/28/14
I want to open up and light one missile bay. With my Dremel the doors are removed, interior detail is from Evergreen plastic card stock and spent guitar strings. Using several different 1/48 and 1/72 air-to-air missiles I cut them apart and reassembled to create a space worth nuclear missile then used the one creation as a master to make resin copies. This way I could have a couple queued up to fire inside the bay. One of the red LEDs is mounted aimed into the bay with some fogged clear plastic card in front of it to diffuse the light a bit. I used some more clear card stock to create a partial bay door in the retracted position.
The second red LED is going to feed my laser cannons. I need to open up the interior a bit between the engine back plates and the front to fit everything so out comes the Dremel. Once the fiber optics are cut to length two small holes are bored into the resin cone of the LED then the fiber optics are superglued in place with some accelerator to prevent fogging. This is all wrapped with some black electrical tape to prevent light bleed.
The fascia lens is masked and attached with clear parts cement and the final parts are assembled. I had to use a selection of bar clamps and cloth pins to hold everything together while the glue hardened but it all came together nicely. Some of the deeply inset areas were primed with gloss black prior to final assembly. Note that I have my power lines running out two small holes right next to where the display stand will attach. This way I can feed the wires through the stand to power the model. It is pretty much ready for paint now, just a little bit more masking and I'm ready to go.
Construction Update 8/24/2015
I actually completed this build some time ago just was severely delayed in taking pictures and video. For a build like this video is necessary. For paint the entire model was done with Krylon gloss black as a base then got Alclad aluminum all over. Once that had cured for a day I went over the entire body with Alclad steel then Alclad magnesium generating random splotches everywhere. I wanted to create a dappled look. Once painted the masks were removed from the AI (Artificial Intelligence) sensor and the missile bay. The ends of the fiber optic cables used in the laser cannons were chopped off and that basically completed the model. I ran the power lines (fine magnetic wire) down the display base securing it in spots with superglue then into a small wooden box acquired from the Pat Catan craft store. In this box went the battery pack. Click here for a video of the AI Sensor motion.
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