Firefly X-K427

Article Index
Firefly X-K427
Chapter 1 - Construction
Chapter 2 - Final Assembly and Paint
Chapter 3 - Detail Paint and Weathering
All Pages


The XK-427 Firefly is a lesser known SF3D creation. It was designed by the SDR as a test bed for improved antigravity technology. Earlier generations of Strahl AG technology proved to be harmful to humans which is why only unmanned equipment like the Neuspotter or Krachenvogal has AG as a means of propulsion. The main fuselage was based upon a heavily modified KH503 fan lift aircraft.

Four spherical antigravity pods were located in protective housings which were placed on each corner of the craft for a total of 4 AG pods. No additional means of propulsion is indicated or shown. It had a crew of two and carried a single 128mm cannon as the main armament. On its maiden voyage, the Firefly crashed in Mercenary Army territory. The Mercenary scientists were able to duplicate the technology which was later used to power the Falke Anti-Gravity Raider.




Click the Next button for the complete Build Diary of the Firefly



Firefly from Hobby Japan SF3D Special Edition

The base kit was offered by FutchFactor in 2008. It comprises 110 resin parts and miscellaneous multimedia parts. To finish the Firefly, two additional donor kits are needed. An Italeri 1/32 BO105 Helicopter kit and a Tamiya 1/35 Krupp Protz truck. The basic design is a real grab bag of donor kits. These make up the bulk of the original model but this is by no means a complete list.

1/8 Tamiya McLaren Indy Racer
1/8 Hasegawa Clerget Radial Engine
1/32 BO105 Helicopter
1/35 Tamiya T-62
1/35 Tamiya Churchill Crocodile
1/35 Tamiya Matilda
1/35 Tamiya Field Kitchen
1/35 Tamiya Chi-Ha
1/35 Tamiya Krupp Protz x2
Ping Pong Balls x4

Assembly has been straightforward. FutchFactor did an outstanding job on the instructions considering how complicated the kit is and included very clever glue pads to help locate the detail parts. Besides making sure I align everything properly, the hardest part has been cutting the Italeri BO-105. They used very thin, brittle plastic with almost no alignment pins nor means of locating parts.  Everything else has gone smoothly and I’m surprised by how quickly the kit has gone together. I need to prime and paint the insides of some of the parts before some of the sub assemblies can be glued.


December 07, 2009

It doesn't look like much progress, but some major milestones have been achieved. Assembly of the BO-105, wiring, and major assembly of the upper and lower fuselage.

I used five min epoxy glue to bond two 1x1 hardwood blocks to the interior of the upper fuselage and inserted screws through the interior of the lower housing, which was tricky since one of the screws had to be tightened though the 1/4-20 insert. I felt screws were going to be much more secure than just super glue for these large parts. The block with the insert has been raised and shimmed to be flush with the lower portion of the bottom fuselage.

The wiring and plug are complete. A 12V power supply powers the two LEDS. A 6V or 9V would have been sufficient but the 12V was all I had on hand. The leads from the LEDs have been managed and wrapped with shrink tube to avoid any shorts. I dipped the clear LEDs in Tamiya Clear Red and Cler Green to simulate the colored lights on real aircraft. "C" channel styrene will form the basis for the wire cover. Managing light bleed will be a real challenge. The butt plate was dressed up with some parts from the Tamiya Pink Panther jeep to conceal the receptical.

The flimsy BO-105 halves have been reinforced with styrene strip and sheet. Also a few more greeblies have been attached.The bottom plate has been sized and future panel lines have been doodled in for scribing later.




December 15, 2009

Slow and steady. No blue tack magic this time, these parts are secure. The BO-105 has been attached. Some minor mods were needed to the BO-105 locating features on the resin parts, but 5min with a Dremel took care of that. I also added a strip of 1/4" styrene rod as additional glue area for the cockpit. Most of the detail parts have been added to the fuselage. I replaced a few details with styrene since it was a little easier than filling and sanding. I also rebuilt the cannon barrel with stryene and alum. tube as the kit part was a tad warped and I didn't feel like fixing it. My first two attempts at frames for the screen in front of the AG spheres are so far a bust. They were also too small after I double checked my references. Hopefully the third attempt does the trick. "Bob Dole Grip" makes an appearance again. His clothes are a litlle ratty, but he offers a good sense of scale and size of the FireFly.





Decembar 29, 2009

Last update before the end of the year. Primer makes everything look better. I used Tamiya Primer Fine from the spray can. This stuff is one of the best rattle can primers I have ever used. Where necessary, I also used Gunze Mr Surfacer 500 and 1000 to fill in any boo-boos. The last major area to tackle on this build are the AG pod housings. Given their complexity and me adding details, these things are like small models on their own. The AG housings always looked unfinished. The screeen covered nothing and the bare edges of the screen bothered me so I scratchbuilt a frame for the screen and added a piece behind the screen to make it look like something is going on.

The resin kit included a sheet of styrene for the bottom plate, but omitted a few of the details on the bottom. I added the missing plates with styrene sheet and scribed in a panel to replicate the battery housing door in Kow's original model. Not obvious in the photos, but highlighted for effect, I replaced a few of the rows of rivets on the AG housings. A misaligned seam in the parts needed to be corrected and the molded in rivets were sanded off in the process. I found .043" rivets form the model railroad store that matched pretty well. The ping pong balls fit a little tight between the sides of the housing, so I used a rounded dremel bit to grind in a dish shape to locate the ball, relieve some of the stress,  and have a good spot for glueing.



January 13 2010

Just about there, sans cockpit (which will only be assembled after parts are painted). The AG housings are gueld in place and all the loose bits are attaChed. If you see it in the photos, it's glued down. The only remaining items are the wires, which will be the very last item installed. I still need to  replace the Crocodile tow loop which I broke off but I haven't figured out a good replacement other than the piece from the Churchill kit. I fabricated a new stand which is much cleaner and will be the final display stand. It will have groundwork, but that should wait until I know what type of scheme it's going to have so the terrain is appropriate.

Next up is a nice coat of primer, check for flaws, sand and repeat as neccessary.




Jaunuary 15 2010


Camo Study for FireFly - Mottled Three Tone Green with Sky Blue Underside. Orange ID Bands. Markings to be determined



May 7 2010

It's been a while since the last post on this guy, but I have been making some progress.

I first preshaded the model with thinned Tamiya Black. I used a lot of it too. This is the largest model I have ever painted and was surprised by how long it took me to pre-shade this beast. I spent over 1.5 hours for the black alone. After the black, I airbrushed on browns and rust colors as the underlay for weathering with the "hairspray" technique.


The following are some detail shots with some paint applied and scrubbed away. Sorry, no product placement action shots with my hand off camera holding a clean brush. The underside is worked over, but the top side has only been painted on the mechanicals that would be weathered the most. These parts are going to be mostly rust while the rest pf the model will have more or less the same level as the underside.



May 12 2010

The model has been given the same treatment as the underside. I airbrushed two coats of hairspray over the brown/rust combo. The colors are Tamiya Acrylics thinned with their Lacquer Thinner. I was careful not to overspray the paint boundaries as I didn’t want a buildup of paint  to make it difficult to reactivate the HS. I also tried a little of the salt mask technique, but that didn’t work as I hoped – more later. Once the paint had set for a little while and dry to the touch, I started attacking the paint with an old paint brush dipped in water. When the paint started getting loose, I would rub the paint off with the brush or a toothpick for the longer scratches. The salt mask did not want to come off as easily and ripped the paint off down to the primer. Well, the pitted surface should make for more interesting touchups. There are a lot of touch ups next and I still need to paint the AG spheres. I put about 3.5 hours into the top surface painting and chipping and I’d say I’m only about half way done with base color  painting.





May 18 2010

Interior Painting and Details. Those aren't decals. All instruments were hand painted with Vallejo. I then applied a drop of MicroScale Crystal Clear on the gauges to represent the glass.



June 1 2010

Look, my favorite part; masking. The canopy was actually easier than the stripes. If you look closely, the interior of the frame is the same buff color as the rest of the interior. After all the Tamiya Masking tape was applied, I airbrused the interior color first, then black for opacity and then the exterior color. I learned that off a model aircraft site and now I'm passing it on to you.



June 28 2010

Weathering is nearly complete. Lots of filters, washes, straight oils, and chipping with acrylics.



July 7 2010

The base is a block of 1 inch thick MDF, painted with black hammertone spray paint. The groundwork is my usual miture of Acrylic Gel Medium with sand, dirt, gravel, and root litter. The vegitation is lichen and Woodland Scenics Turf.



August 9 2010


The pilot is the driver from the Krupp 6 wheel donor kit. The helmet is modified from the one supplied with the Bo105 kit. The figure is painted with Vallejo Acrylics. The visor received three coats of Future Floor Polish to achieve the desired gloss level.