Base Jabber

This the Base Jabber, which I first saw in 2017. I wanted to get it there and then but after looking at the price, I realise it was not an original Bandai. It is a carrier for MS Suits as what I saw in some YouTube videos, their movement in Space is rather limited and maybe slow.

For me, I kinda think of that as a space flying carpet… Anyway, I loved the single-seater cockpit area at first but after examining the kit, the module is solid plastic which is a challenge for me to replace with a clear canopy. But there is another part of the kit which made me feel excited:

-The pair of fuel tanks, and
-The grey side skeleton structure

There is another version which is called the Type-94 and it is so much better. But then again, Premium Bandais are not cheap for what I am going to do with them…

Base Jabber 001
Here is a picture of the Bandai Premium version of the Type-94 Base Jabber. It does look nice except for the asking price which is about 4 times more…
Base Jabber 002
From the box you can immediately tell that this is an extremely normal HG kit. And now, it looked more like a flying turtle.
Base Jabber 003
I do not know what to call it but the label, Skeleton Sides seems about right. If I recall correctly, the first time I saw this model (bootleg) and compared with the Bandai version, there is not much difference except that the details on the original would be much more pronounced.
Base Jabber 004
This is the base of the Base Jabber which does look big (and flat). The detailing on the surface does make one tempted to put in some white or yellow lines.
Base Jabber 005: Fuel Tanks 01
These are the pairs of fuel tanks. I was hoping they would be at least comprised of four parts or more, leaving the tanks completely free by themselves. But by golly, they are still nice.
Base Jabber 006: Fuel Tanks 02
As I am going to put in some LEDs into the tank, I do not want the details to look as if I drilled a hole and stuff the LED out into the open. Therefore, the LED must be of the SMD type and not the usual 3mm ones. I also used these leftover 1/35 tank tracks, taken from an ex-Hobby shop’s box of parts. Until now, I still do not know what kind of tank tracks they are but they did help me out in many kit-bashing projects.
Base Jabber 007: Fuel Tanks 03
The ‘hole’ on the track fits the 0803 White SMD LED! I do need cut the tracks into half and trimmed away some parts to make it look ‘functional’. At this point, I was thinking of adding decals to the ‘flap’ but it is so tiny.
Base Jabber 008: Fuel Tanks 04
Looking at the tanks, they are quite hollow and spacious. One can actually put in electronics without any problem. So, yeah, this is one of the instance where I can just stuff things as I please. Do note the yellow masking tapes which I am using it to align where the 6 LEDs will go.
Base Jabber 009: Fuel Tanks 05
I drilled two 0.5mm holes for the wires LEDs but I did not take any photos on how I soldered them. Sorry.
Once the LEDs are in, I turned them 90ยบ to sit flush on the tank’s surface. Yeah, you need to measure the holes so that the soldered wires from the LEDs would not snap and destroy the LED. I forgot the measurement but it needs to have a gap from 2.1mm to 2.5mm between the tank half and the holes.
Base Jabber 010: Fuel Tanks 06
When all 6 LEDs are in, it is time to glue the 6 tank tracks. Make sure their orientation is correct as each half of the modified track has their own directional flap. Here, I have glued them the way I want them to be. Note that they are on the slightly lower half of the tank part and facing INSIDE.

Base Jabber 011: Fuel Tanks 07
Because the LED is ‘stuck’ fast into the tank, I would have to perform minor surgery of stripping the wires but using some tweezers and a ‘sharp’ pair of cutters. The trick is to grip the cutters firmly and holding the cutter whose blade direction is facing AWAY from you, make a sharp pull. This will need some practice and broken LEDs would be the result.

Of course I can just pull the tank part away, remove the LED, strip it, tin the exposed wires, out it back to its holes and glue back the tank track. But, where is the fun in that?
Base Jabber 012: Fuel Tanks 08
Because I am using 5volts, I will use 150 Ohm 1/4w resistors which would give me about 10mA. Of course I can use 78 Ohms but the LEDs would be too bright. So, I am connecting them in parallel and using some heat-shrinks to make sure they do not short when I glue and seal up this fuel tanks.
Base Jabber 013: Fuel Tanks 09
Of course, some hot-melt would help as well, to keep the wires from ‘moving’ about.
Base Jabber 014: Fuel Tanks 10
The most important thing is that you would need to tie a small knot at the exit hole so that the wires do not get accidentally pulled and undo all the crazy work. The exit holes were drilled from the anchors located outside. I used magic putty here because this is the second set of fuel tanks and I forgot where the original holes should be.
Base Jabber 015: Fuel Tanks 11
OK, this is how the fuel tanks looked when powered up. Do note that it is still very bright.
However, once I hit them with some dark and matte paints, most of the brightness would be absorbed.
Base Jabber 016: Fuel Tanks 12
So, when untreated, and placed onto the Base Jabber directly, it would be too bright. The semi-gloss of the unpainted plastic is reflecting the light all over the place.
Base Jabber 017: Fuel Tanks 13
First treatment is to use Mr. Surfacer 500 to *ahem* fill up all those minor scratches and my stupid mistakes of trying to hide the seams. This is the second tank so, it should show some improvements over the first. Well, almost. I mixed it too thick and so my airbrush spluttered the mixture out, causing a very nice harsh surface.

Now, see how the lighting has somewhat dimmed until the rays have trouble reaching the opposite tank. The rough surface has absorbed the light.
Base Jabber 018: Fuel Tanks 14
After doing some light sanding with a 3000 grit sandpaper to remove the rough surface, I gave it a coat of Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black. I love this stuff!

Now, see that the light is dimmed further. well, OK because I dabbed some Mr. Masking Sol R which covered the LEDs slightly.
Base Jabber 019: Fuel Tanks 15
Now, all I have to do is to paint and decal the tank with yes, you guessed it, black basing! Here is the shot of the first tank which I am so disappointed with the stupid seam lines. Of course I can redo it (but I am lazy) or just give it some subtle rust and leakage effects.
Base Jabber 020: Crew Quarters 01
OK, now is the second part of my idea. I wanted the base Jabber to be a long distance carrier and so, the crews or Pilots would have to take turns sleeping or have some private time. So, I am going to create a pair of portable capsules for them and light them if necessary. From here on, I am driven only by imagination and nothing has been planned.

Base Jabber 021: Fuel Tanks 16
OK, I could not take this out of my mind and so, while I used Plastic Putty on the second fuel tank, I decided to do the same to the first tank as well. The Plastic Putty is quite nice to use and it is water based. It spreads to a fine thin mixture, does not shrink and you can use a damp brush to well, smoothen it. For this case, I applied the putty and then use a silicon sculpting too as a spatula to thinly spread it. Once it dries, I lightly sanded it away with a 3000 grit sandpaper and finished it off with a slightly damp tissue.

Base Jabber 022: Fuel Tanks 17
Now, the second fuel tank (bottom) is ready for some black basing!

11.11.2020: Fuel Tanks 17
Base Jabber 023: How I did the black basing
1. The first coat after the Mr. Surfacer 500 was the Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black
2., Then it was mottled with a very diluted Mr. Color #72 Intermediate Blue as the first layer.
3. Since the paint has been diluted, the paint sort of absorbed itself into the black primer and so it is nice to mottle in a second layer
4. Then, when everything looks good, I’d lightly mist the whole surface with the same paint about 4 inches away (4). But if memory serves me right, the original paint was actually Gaia Notes #062 of the same name.

Base Jabber 024: Fuel Tanks 18
This is more or less how the lighting effect looks like from the bottom. I am not sure why my camera is giving it a slight bluish or purplish tinge though. The matte surface helped a lot in absorbing the bright LED lights. But I might still need to touch up on the tank track or, maybe not.

Base Jabber 025: Fuel Tanks 19
Another view of the fuel tanks. At first I used the blue to cover up the whole white Plastic Putty repaired section but it looked kinda out of place. So I redo the streak using the same four steps, starting with Mr. Surfacer Primer 1500 Black and now the repaired long streak looked a little darker….

Base Jabber 026: Fuel Tanks 20
Maybe I should have pasted the decals in a slightly off centre to make it more interesting….

Base Jabber 027: Crew Quarters 02
For the crew quarters, I scratch-built as I went along. The walls are a little slanted due to the skeleton frame slanting inwards.
Initially, the skeleton frame looked as if it contain some details inside but I guess my crew quarters turned out too big.

Base Jabber 028: Crew Quarters 03
Each of these containers would house two person which would be separated by a wall and they would have a LED each.

Base Jabber 029: Crew Quarters 04
While I’m doing this, I have cut away the walls leading to the skeleton frame. I wanted to cut out the holes for the skeleton frame as well but looking back, it is really not necessary. But if I did, it would look nice, exposing the crew quarters and all.

Base Jabber 030: Crew Quarters 05
So, yeah, the crew compartment is a tight fit when the skeleton frames are mounted. I would need to search for some greeblies to represent doors/airlock to the quarters. I can flatten the height of the crew’s quarters but it would make them look more like coffins already.

Base Jabber 031: Crew Quarters 06
OK, so the hollowed out skeleton frame is a little empty even with the crew compartment installed. I would need more greeblies…

Base Jabber 032: Crew Quarters 07
I have pictured the greeblies to be round cylinders, something from a 1/72 Macross Valkyrie missiles or even some small bombs. But they cost money. Instead, I made do with some tubes and more plastic strips and moar scribing.

Base Jabber 033: Crew Quarters 08
OK, they look good and I cannot put much since the area is quite cramped. By the way, I am testing the square rod to see if I can actually friction fit it into the hole of the skeleton frame thus joining two base Jabbers. This would means I can link two Base Jabbers side by side and form some kind of a mini Operational Base.

Base Jabber 034: Crew Quarters 09
Yeah, the grey paint sort of failed (maybe kept too long?) and now the cylinder has a cast metal look. Darn. Maybe I can sand it down slightly and also, hide some areas with decals.

Base Jabber 035: Crew Quarters 10
Going against my own decision, I decided to try these 1206 SMD LEDs with a dome at the top. It is very big compared to the 0805 (in the foreground) which I used for the fuel tanks.
It is definitely going to be too bright even at 10mA current but what the Hell.
I could have resorted to using the smaller 0603 but they’re fragile and also, not as bright once the painting is done.
Base Jabber 036: Crew Quarters 11
After soldering the LEDs, I drilled two 0.5mm holes below the whole assembly. Since I do not want to break the covers open and so, I had to use some sharp objects to mode the LEDs into position after bending it.
There is nothing to hold the LED inside the compartment so the dangling wires would be determining its position. SO, that needs to be taken care of.

Base Jabber 037: Crew Quarters 12
The LEDs will float around in there, and I will glue a plastic bracket to the wall to keep it from moving about. If the LED falls, then the whole compartment would be dimmed and it would look more like an exposed morgue . I want the light to be at the top or as near to the ceiling as possible.

Base Jabber 038: Crew Quarters 13
Unlike the grey Mr. Surfacer, the Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 Black is quite thin and so, I am not surprised of the light leaks.

Base Jabber 039: Crew Quarters 14
Now with the two crew compartments done (those were the easy parts) it’s time to prepare the crews.

Base Jabber 040: Crew Quarters 15
I am using the Bandai Builders Parts MS Figure 01 in 1/144th scale. They will have some form of platform beds for them. I bent and re-glued the guy’s hands (on the bed) so that he won’t snag with the walls later.
The beds were made from coffee stirrers

Base Jabber 041: Crew Quarters 16
OK, yeah, even with the 150 Ohm resistors, these LEDs are still too bright.

Base Jabber 042: Crew Quarters 17
I took my Aves out of the freezer the night before to thaw them out and then made some pillows for them. I also used Aves to glue these figures to their ‘beds’. To make the figures less detailed, I gave it a coat of Mr. Surfacer 500 and then went over with a mix of some Tamiya Panel Line Black and Dark Brown.

Base Jabber 043: Crew Quarters 18
To solve the light-leaking issue, I coated the crew compartment with silver and then back to Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500.

Boy, the surface is very rough and so, I might have to go over with some 3000 grit sandpaper later.
Base Jabber 044: Crew Quarters 19
So, yeah, that’s basically how they looked. I am now regretting using those 1206 SMD LEDs which were way too bright.
Base Jabber 045: Crew Quarters 20
Curious, why did the figures looked so rough?
Base Jabber 046: Crew Quarters 21
To give it a transparent window, I used a transparency sheet which I kept for so long, it turned brownish. Then I used scraps of slightly dark window tints (you can find a lot of tint scraps from car accessory shops but of course, you need to ask permission first, even if its on the floor)
16.11.2020: Crew Quarters 22
Base Jabber 047 Two blobs of UV adhesive gel (more in another post)
Base Jabber 048: Crew Quarters 23
Once the ‘windows’ are in place, I zapped the adhesive with UV light for at least 10 seconds for the polimerisation to take place. Most of these UV Glues does not stick well or maybe I did not hit them with UV long eough.
Base Jabber 049: Crew Quarters 24
The final look. On the left, it is unlit but will give you some sort of brownish reflection while on the right, you can see the crews. Now you know why they wore helmets (to keep the bright lights out)