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Shadow Scout

Model by Vaughn M.



Sculpy Putty, Piano Wire

 Model Specifications:
Scale = 1/1000
Length = 20 cm
Width = 17.5 cm
Height = 12 cm

The Shadow ships from the TV series Babylon 5 have always drawn a strong reaction from fans of the show; a mix of dread and fascination. The ships are 'alive', built of 'organic' technology and use living sentient beings as their central control system. The ships are built to instill fear and are both hard to see or to kill.

After doing extensive research I decided on the shadow 'scout' as I hadn't seen anyone model it before. I downloaded the great views from Starship Modeler to start with, then used the size comparison at Meshweaver
 to get the size. As to size, it's interesting to see a ship the size of a WWII battleship called a 'scout' ! After deciding on scale I reduced the views I had to the appropriate size.

I worked the clay till it was soft and then rolled it out to a thickness of 1/4 in. To give the body the support for the raised areas of the body, I rolled aluminum foil and placed it over the outline taken from the drawing. Then I pressed the clay down over it, trimmed and rounded the edge to the outline of the hull while pressing the clay down around the center hump.

Once satisfied with the look, I carefully lifted the half body off the paper and onto a glass pie plate and into the oven. Fifteen minutes later it was taken out and within a half hour was cooled enough to start on the bottom half. Again foil was used and the clay molded and blended into the top section.

Then back into the oven and 15 min. later it was done. Lumps, ripples and finger and hand prints pressed into the clay were left and add an interesting effect to the 'skin' of the painted model .

Piano wire was cut about 5/16" longer than needed, bent to shape, and the clay molded over it and worked to get the look of the 'feelers' (the body of the ship strongly resembles a beetle). A hole was drilled in the front of the ship and the wire slid into it and the part smoothed into the body. After doing both "feelers" the ship went back into the oven for hardening
The ' legs' were made the same way but were baked separately and mounted with gap filling super glue. I put the outer sets of 'legs' at a more sloped angle from the it's a 'living' ship I figure the legs can move.

I was amazed how fast it came together, 4 days from start to being ready for paint ! BUT...then I began to realize why there are so few Shadow ships on contest tables...they build very easy...PAINTING on the other hand is a nightmare!

 Shadow ships are organic the skin of the ship moves and flows, changing as needed
All paint is Tamiya acrylic. The first two coats are gloss black, then I mixed my own blend of semi-gloss black with chrome silver to get a light gunmetal color. This was painted on with a fine brush in cross hatching and ovals to get the 'skin cell' look. Then more black was used to thin the lines and bend them into more 'organic' looking shapes. Four days to build...two and a half weeks to paint !

As with the ships on the show, " your eyes seem to slide away, they're hard to see". Getting photos of the ship was very difficult; either too bright, so the gleam from the 'skin' reflected too much light, or too dark, fading into the black backdrop, which I'm pleased with as it seems I've caught a bit of the 'Shadows' in the model

Photos by Vaughn M.