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"Topo's "Chickenhawk" Ship For 15mm Firefly, Serenity?" Topic

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Cacique Caribe23 Aug 2013 6:02 p.m. PST

This is the ship I'm talking about, though not as grand as Serenity herself:




More pics here, some with 28mm figures next to it:


Here's where the plans are, and for several versions:


But here's the civilian version:

PDF link


If I was to make it out of styrene (Evergreen and/or Plastruct) sheets and strips, instead of paper/card, are there any special suggestions you can offer to make the project a successful one?

I'm hoping to use it to create a styrene skin over a few clear plastic boxes somewhat like these (compartments and corridors of the ship):




TMP link

Thanks so much,

TMP link

Mako1123 Aug 2013 6:40 p.m. PST

Make the underlying structure out of either blue foam, and/or balsa, and then cover with cardboard, for strength.

Try to match the overall plate shapes as closely as possible, with the underlying structure.

Be prepared to fill small areas as needed, with putty, or other materials, and to use lots of Green Stuff, or other filler to clean up the joints, as needed.

I like that vehicle, and others like it.

I wish someone would produce them in resin, and make them hollow, so they don't use too much, weigh less, and don't cost an arm and a leg.

I don't have the patience for making one out of paper and cardboard, and suspect it might not survive long anyway, in my hands, or those of others.

War Monkey23 Aug 2013 6:46 p.m. PST

You may have to build up an air frame to support the outer skin and give it strenght as well


something to think about, you could start out with thin card board from cereal boxes or poster board, to make the airframe first before going to plastic then you would have all the right shapes and angles, then the card board could also be your templates

Toaster23 Aug 2013 8:56 p.m. PST

How about giving a line art version to someone with a laser cutter and having them produce your kit complete with etched detail, then you just have to glue it together.


Cacique Caribe23 Aug 2013 11:00 p.m. PST

OMG, check this out …



Gaz004524 Aug 2013 4:44 a.m. PST

Good link- never seen that detailing stencil thingy before…!

Similar ….

Cosmic Reset24 Aug 2013 4:55 a.m. PST

Dan, My suggestion would be to simply use styrene. Not even use the clear containers. You can build the spaces in the ship with the styrene.

Solvent weld the styrene with a plastic solvent, apply with a disposable syringe (I use 5 cc, it will last weeks of daily use), use automotive red/orange glazing putty as a filler. Superglue with work for some joints or filling cracks. Scribe tour cuts with and X-acto, bend and snap many of your part, don't even have to cut through the styrene most of the time. Course shaping can be done with grit type files such as for use with ceramic tiles, but is very fast. Sand with Squadron wet/dry flex sticks, and or wet/dry sanding paper from the automotive or paint store.

Glazing putty is nothing like green stuff. It is much thinner, apply in thin coats, sand each coat, dries in a couple of minutes.

I would suggest using .06 inch thick styrene for basic construction, .04 where scale/dimensions won't allow .06. Detail can then be added with thinner or thicker plastic, as needed. Don't drown the plastic in solvent, only use what is needed.

Once you have the design, styrene builds fast, is very durable, takes primer and paint well. The perfect material for this type of project.

War Monkey24 Aug 2013 7:05 p.m. PST

Just a thought, If you reduce that down to 60% (15mm scale) you can do a whole hanger bay, on some assault ship of squad size assault landers. Or a whole field of them like some Vietnam 1st Cav assault landing.

TheBeast Supporting Member of TMP25 Aug 2013 8:16 a.m. PST

You can build the spaces in the ship with the styrene.

I'm pretty sure the plastic is styrene, or compatible, and already built, which makes your suggestion seem like an extra step. Unless you mean, 'build spaces differently because those shapes are really hard to build around.'

Which makes PERFECT sense, but I think Dan likes those shapes.


Cosmic Reset25 Aug 2013 11:47 a.m. PST

Yeah, you're probably right, just an extra step.

wminsing27 Aug 2013 6:47 a.m. PST

I think the paper model would great for a non-Firefly in 15mm. Fat Dragon games has a similar (not free though) model that would also be perfect.


Cacique Caribe27 Aug 2013 5:03 p.m. PST

I see what you mean about starting with foamboard:



Gaz004528 Aug 2013 4:19 a.m. PST

That is a impressive build CC, somebody should put it into production!

Cacique Caribe28 Aug 2013 6:15 a.m. PST

That fella did an awesome job, didn't he.

Well, I can't wait to build my own. I've already printed out the pdf and I'm psyched to get started.

The originator ("Topo") has instructions in Spanish, which work for me nicely, but the English version's gotta be around somewhere in his website:

PDF link


Kyn ell28 Aug 2013 10:21 a.m. PST

It's a very cool site, there's loads of good stuff on there that's easily plundered for 15mm scifi gaming (just print out at 50%-ish)
The cube crate system and base board is excellent for cheap and easy scenics!

I use the industrial board as the basis of my modern streets, I just stick my buildings on and I'm away!

Gaz004528 Aug 2013 11:32 a.m. PST

CC – the English version is in the Workshop section under Chickenhawk…..!
The range of stuff there is amazing -all card stock too……..Viva Topo!

Cacique Caribe09 Sep 2013 6:52 p.m. PST

Hmm. The UD-41 shown here looks mighty similar:



War Monkey09 Sep 2013 9:00 p.m. PST

Firefly's Mini-me!?

Cacique Caribe11 Sep 2013 7:31 p.m. PST

Actually … Firefly's Mini-me is the "Sandfly":





Go a third of the way down for more pics of the Bellflower:







Ship Class:_Sandfly Class____

Dimensions: L__95 ft__ W_56 ft_ H_37 ft_
W (wings extended)__85_ft__
Tonnage: _1900_____ tons
Speed Class: _4_ cruise; _6_ hard burn
Crew Quarters: __2 single cabins_____
Passenger Capacity: __2 single cabins__
Fuel Capacity _40_ tons ( _400_ hours)
Cargo Capacity: ___300____ tons

And I would ABSOLUTELY LOVE to have one of those Bellflowers as a model for my 15mms (with interior space for gaming*)!!!



* TMP link

War Monkey11 Sep 2013 8:10 p.m. PST

You and me both, it would be awesome to have that on the table!
In the mean time I have printed off several copies of the chicken hawk one for the main body the others for cuting out the outer plates and vents to have them stand out more and to add more detail

Mako1111 Sep 2013 8:31 p.m. PST

Oooooo, I want one, preferably, in a one-piece resin kit/model, with separate, swiveling engines that can be rotated on magnets.

Hollow resin would be best, to reduce the weight, and cost.

I suspect it will have to be built at 2X, or slightly larger, in order to match up with the Inara's Shuttle ornament.

So, instead of being slightly under one foot long, it'll have to be about 24", or so long.

I wonder if anyone has this for sale on eBay?

They've produced a lot of other models in wood, and have them for sale there, including the Firefly as well.

Of course, you need about $200 USD – $300 USD, or more, but as a time saver, and an impressive tabletop model, it might be worth it to some who are still making a decent living, and have surplus cash.

Cacique Caribe11 Sep 2013 8:35 p.m. PST

Mako11: "I wonder if anyone has this for sale on eBay?"

Do you mean Inara's Shuttle ornament?




Mako1111 Sep 2013 11:09 p.m. PST

No, I meant the Sandfly itself.

Here's a wooden Serenity model:


Cacique Caribe24 Sep 2013 6:05 p.m. PST

Too cute!


War Monkey24 Sep 2013 8:52 p.m. PST

I printed off about ten copies of the "ChickenHawk" reduced down to 55%, I hope to make a small assault fleet with them, and use additional card stock for raised panels and such plus plans to change the window layout, thinking a nice paint job will help as well after a nice coating of varish to harden the paper to more of a plastic feel, and plan to do the same with the ful size one as well as a support craft

LostPict Supporting Member of TMP29 Sep 2013 4:49 a.m. PST

You may also want to try this one, Resilence Star Shuttle: link

Both the ChickenHawk and the Resilence were easy to build:


Lost Pict

Kyn ell29 Sep 2013 5:55 a.m. PST

anyone had a go at this?

War Monkey29 Sep 2013 6:09 p.m. PST

No but thanks saved the link, will have to try this at a later date.

Psyckosama06 Oct 2013 6:42 a.m. PST

@Kyn ell

Yes. It's too small. This one is almost exactly the right scale.



Kyn ell06 Oct 2013 9:14 a.m. PST

Is that 28mm? Very cool looking! :)

Lion in the Stars06 Oct 2013 10:18 a.m. PST

Good lord! That's some major-league paper modeling!

Maybe I should dig out the Chickenhawk I have sitting around and build it. Once out of paper, and the second time in sheet plastic. FWIW, I prefer using .040" (1mm for the metric-speakers) for building. It's plenty strong, but it's also easier to work with. Need more thickness? slap another layer on there.

Psyckosama06 Oct 2013 6:00 p.m. PST

Well, technically its under scale for 28mm.

Though it's just about right for 15mm.

Cacique Caribe15 Apr 2014 6:00 p.m. PST

War Monkey: "I printed off about ten copies of the "ChickenHawk" reduced down to 55%, I hope to make a small assault fleet with them, and use additional card stock for raised panels and such plus plans to change the window layout"

Any progress on those? If so, please share.



War Monkey15 Apr 2014 6:35 p.m. PST

Not yet I had print a lot out as well, just haven't gotten around to them, I printed about a dozen of them at about 60% plus a dozen or so print offs at the normal size, they are on my to do list.

I have started a draft review for my blog, just a bit of a write up so far, but no real work or details yet, been working things and stuff for a spaceport so far.

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