Modelling > SciFi & Fantasy

Testors Area S4/ and Lindberg Area 51 UFO Models

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Jeffry Fontaine:

(Thumbnail image source: Fantastic Plastic)

Testors (kit number 576) 1:48th scale Area S4 UFO
Lindberg (kit number 91006) 1:48th scale Area 51 UFO

This is a good example of a mold being used by another company to release the same model kit with a new name with the same tooling as the original model kit. 

This post is intended to allow discussion on various ideas and perhaps solutions to problems and not something to show my WIP unless I get far enough along to deem it worthwhile to share such images.  For now, the kit I am working on is still in the box, taken out occasionally to inspect it and do some check-fit on various parts I have rediscovered in my stash of spare parts that looked suitable for inclusion in the project.   

The Testors interpretation of the popular UFO/flying saucer was produced and made available for sale to the public sometime in 1995-1996.  Fantastic Plastic has a nice description plus an image of the box top and finished model at this link: Testors' Area S-4 UFO Revealed!

Another page on the Testors Area S4 UFO with images of the instruction sheet plus box top and bottom images can be viewed at this link: Area S4 UFO Revealed 1:48 Scale Model Kit

As you can see from the images at the above link this is not a complicated model to build.  It only gets complicated when you try to use logic and a common-sense approach to what you would expect to find inside of an alien craft modified to allow human (Terran) occupancy to control and fly the craft.  The three tiny and very plain looking seats included in the kit obviously are not going to work for a 1:48th scale human size figure of any proportion unless you are modeling a child.  The only other pieces included in the kit for the top of the deck are three rectangular shapes that are supposed to interface with three cylindrical objects on the deck bottom.   Taking the easy way out would be to just do as Fantastic Plastic suggests and paint it after assembly to be done with the thing.  The two saucer halves look like something that was originally some kind of light fixture cover for a ceiling light or maybe a hub cap.  The bottom saucer half is very plain looking, no surface details at all and again, a ceiling lamp or hubcap shape.  A third part molded in grey plastic looks like a small salad bowl with some engraved rectangle shapes around the circumference, nothing spectacular to be honest. 

After opening my own kit and inspecting the contents I decided to remove the figures, deck parts (top and bottom) and the seats.  The top of the deck has a small hexagonal area engraved into the deck that is supposed to be the access port to the lower area of the craft.  I sanded this feature off of the deck along with the details on top of the areas where the seats and rectangular shapes were to be glued.  This was a good start but I feel that at some point I will need to sand or cut away the remaining raised surfaces to achieve an overall smooth surface for the upper deck in order to allow placement of new seating and various pieces of equipment to make it look like a craft capable of flight in the atmosphere or space.  Why?  Well the layout is too simple in appearance and it begs for interior details of some kind or another.  The interior is pretty much a blank slate awaiting your input, things like black boxes, tanks, proper seating for human occupants, control panels, circuit breaker boxes, cabling and some kind beg to be included.  In addition to the desired internal clutter it would be nice to also include a series of bulkheads and internal framework to suggest a structure of some kind beyond the engraving in the top half of the saucer shape.  I did cut open the door engraved in the clear plastic top half and was not pleased with the fracturing of the plastic around the area of my cut.  While I did try to be careful by scribing the area to be cut and following up with razor saw it was still a fail from my point of view.  The door part was a write off as it shattered and that means additional work to make a new door. 

Another issue I found with this model is the lack of any kind of display stand for the thing.  Your only choice is to let it sit on a flat surface or hang it from the ceiling.  I found a solution to this issue by purchasing the Lindberg Independence Day Alien Attacker model kit (link to Fantastic Plastic).  The display stand from that kit is perfect for a UFO shape since it is an inverted tripod that will hold your Testors UFO model without overwhelming the model. 

Jeff - This kit is basically two clear-ish plastic salad bowls with some interesting parts thrown in. I sold mine years ago because I just couldn't get motivated to build it. Clear styrene is extremely brittle; if you sill have the parts, glue them back in the hole and back them with a  styrene sheet then putty the cracks/gaps. I think a hot knife might work better at "cutting" through clear plastic like that. Maybe a #11 blade in a suitable soldering iron with an adjustable temperature.

Jeffry Fontaine:
Too late for that Frank.  I tossed the broken door part in the trash.  I am now looking at possibly cutting the entire area within the engraved archway as an alternative that would make for a much larger door.  I really have not been motivated much by the kit either which is why they have been collecting dust in the stash for so many years.  I figured building something so simple would help restore my mojo but it is not working as planned. 

I think salad bowls might fare better or the plastic plats as done by kerick with his plates in space build. 

There are times after fiddling with this kit that I want to find that asshole Bob Lazar and kick him in the shins because of the frustration he has created.  :) 

As far as ruining the kit, that is no big deal as I have three of the things in protective custody so if one goes FUBAR I can always move on to another one and not make the same mistake twice [I hope]. 

Luckily the damaged door is only on one half of the saucer. Toss it, install the "floor" , add greebles or other interesting bits, wave the scale-o-rama wand and you can make something like this:

You can also cut out the conning tower (or whatever the central protrusion on the top is) and glue it to the floor.

Jeffry Fontaine:
When I start bread boarding the placement of "stuff" inside the saucer on the main deck I try to keep in mind that balance is an important thing so spreading the weight around makes sense.  One of my main complaints is the placement of the crew seating so near the center and so far away from the edge of the saucer.  Also the lack of any kind of control panel drives me nuts.  Where is the steering wheel or control handles for the bloody thing?  Should I add a joystick from a fighter aircraft?  Or a steering yoke from a bomber/transport?  Maybe controls like you have on a helicopter would make more sense.  The insides of the thing are a blank slate/canvas just waiting to be realized.  Starting to think painting it one color and being done with it is the right thing to do.  Q_%*(%T_AW* Bob Lazar...  :)


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