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This Episode:  Eagle’s Return.

E. James Small

Note: Most of the construction and painting techniques shown here are also suitable for building MPC's brand new 22" Eagle kit!

“…On course and holding, everything is fine!”

Round 2’s re-release of this classic 12 inch long Space: 1999 “Eagle” kit is a long awaited and welcome addition to the many new and vintage models in their ever spectacular line-up of exciting building opportunities! The kit has remained unchanged over the years since its original release in 1975 but is now finally released with a greatly improved decal sheet which will enhance and help to authenticate the look of the finished model beyond its basic paint job. But also, with some extra work using simple techniques suitable for the beginning airbrush user you can make the model look much better than you might think!

First, build all sub assemblies as per the instructions until you have the parts as shown here...

 sanding down seams and trimming flash and mold parting lines as necessary when cement is dry. Leave off all other parts which will be painted separately. Next, prime and spray these parts with GLOSS off-white (basic white with just the smallest hint of gray). Using gloss paint is important to help the decals stick, as decals do not stick well to non glossy surfaces.

“Lean on it, John!”

When the paint is fully dry, take an old business card or similar stiff paper and cut out various rectangular and square patterns similar to those shown here...

Using your airbrush loaded with thinned light gray paint (gloss again, I used Krylon Pewter Gray decanted into my airbrush directly from the spray can), hold the card edges randomly against the surface of the painted parts and lightly spray small, short burst against the corners, edges and angles to make a kind of mottled “panelled” look over the entire model’s white surfaces, including the framework. Make it look logical by having the resulting squares and edges line up with or at 90 degrees to the geometry of the model. Wild angles won’t look good. You may have to hold the parts gently in a vise or clamps or similar as you do this to hold the parts as you work. Practice on scrap material before doing the model so you get the feeling for it.

When you are done the parts should look as shown here...

There are many other weathering techniques you can use but this is the quickest, easiest and is most effective in matching the way the studio miniatures looked as filmed for the show.

“Human Decision Required”

At this point, when the weathering is done you can decide if you want to paint the passenger pod with either the red stripes for a Rescue Eagle, Commissioner Simmonds’ orange VIP pod, or leave it white, as the model was seen throughout the bulk of the series. Apply all the decals to the model as shown in the instructions and box tray. Look over the model to make sure that all areas where decals are to be applied remain glossy. If you have some flat overspray due to the weathering processes, coat the area with a clear gloss and allow to fully dry before proceeding.

When you apply the decals, make sure you cut them apart carefully and trim as close to the actual printed image as possible. This is especially important for the black window sections on the nosecone and passenger pod so they snuggle properly into the corners. Be patient and do each decal one at a time.

When all the decals are applied and have dried overnight, you can spray the assemblies with dullcoat to seal the decals and give it a smooth appearance.

Another thing that makes the model look good is to make the latticework cages look hollow. Many people have tried various things like cutting out the hollow sections or hand painting these areas with a brush (I always hated doing that)… but there is actually a much, much easier and quicker way…. Just use a pencil!

“I haven’t had this much fun since I burned Grandma’s wig!”

Get a regular HB pencil, sharpen it normally and then make it absolutely needle sharp by dragging and turning the point across a piece of sand paper like this...

 Carefully use the freshly sharpened point to outline the inner edges of the sunken areas of the cages then fill them in solid. You will need to sharpen the pencil very often, especially for doing the corners under the pipes. If you make a mistake, use the point of your Xacto knife to GENTLY (you don’t want to rub out the paint!) scrape off the unwanted marks. When your pencil work is all done, hit the area with more dullcoat to seal in the graphite and take the sheen off.  Now that the main body is done, let’s finish the other parts.

Spray the landing gear feet with flat medium gray, then using your spray card, use the same technique on the “toes” with the light gray again.

 Airbrush a little shot of black on the bottom of the pad for a bit of weathering there. Paint the oleo strut silver. Paint the rectangular feet on the bottom of the passenger pod at this time as well.

“Back-up Power!”

Holding the main rear bells by the root with a set of alligator clips (like those helping hands tools) or sharpened clothes pins, spray the bells (with your airbrush or directly from the can) with a bright silver paint like Krylon brand “Chrome”. Well, honestly, the paint is a long way off from looking like chrome despite the electroplated lid, but is very bright and looks very much like the turned aluminum that the studio Eagle models’ engines were made from. But this type of paint goes gray if handled, even after it’s dry. So, we need to seal the paint to withstand handling.