Thursday, 28 November 2013

Making A Retro Rocketship

Back in 2008, Pete Murray on the Lead Adventure Forum very graciously offered some drinks cups from an American fast food chain called Denny's to forum members. As I have a large collection of retro-scifi figures this was ideal for conversion. I was lucky enough to get my personal message off quick enough for one and it arrived not long after. Here's a photo I found online, that shows the cup in it's original condition next to a 28mm figure

Roll on 6 months (that is pretty quick for a project for me) and the decision was made to 'get it sorted' So, for those interested, here's the process... 

Step One, File Extra Lid Details Down & Insert Nose Spike 
I carved off as much excess detail as I could with a heavy duty knife then using a heavy file followed by fine sandpaper smoothed it down. The nose spike was a golf tee I managed to get off a work colleague (he did look at me funny when I explained what I wanted it for....)


Step Two, Side Doors & Windows  

Cut out a pair of doors & window frames from .30 plastic card for detailing the body and stick them on with superglue. The plastic actually stuck quite well, I was concerned that the plastic of the cup might be too greasy but it was OK

Step Three, Rocket Ports
Take some plastic tubing, cut lots of 10mm lengths, then superglue them around the body as rocket ports. The tubing I used was 1/8" / 3.2mm styrene tubing from Plastruct. It took two lengths to cut enough pieces, with some spares left over afterwards.
Once finished have a strong drink to settle the nerves!

Step Four, Front Window Frame
This was cut from the same .30 plastic card that the side doors were cut from. This needs to carefully curved to apply it to the rounded surface of the cup. I have created a file that shows the size that you need to cut to

Step Five, Wing Stubs
Taking a rounded slide binder (used to hold papers together), cut two 25mm lengths, glue the open edge together then cut end pieces and stick them on the outer ends (inner ends will stick to hull) You then need to glue them to the opposite sides of the cup, making sure they are level & line up with one another when viewed from the front

Step Six, Paint
With all construction complete, time to add paint. I decided on the classic silver scheme and sprayed with a can of Tamiya silver for polycarbonate (to make sure it covers the plastic ok) Next paint in windows & edge doors etc using a black base and adding high lights in various shades of blue

I finally gloss varnished the ship to protect the paintwork as I wasn't sure how the paint would hold onto the plastic cup surface

This article was originally posted on my website but as I will be closing it I am transferring it to my blog


  1. How absolutely wonderful, such a great idea and a fabulous transformation.

  2. Oh, yeah...I could use this! Nice conversion, sir.

  3. "Send out war-rocket Ajax to bring back his body..."