Thunderbolt Fighter, Part VI

Well, I have to be honest.  I’m done working on the Thunderbolts.  I’m very sorry for those of you who’ve been following along.  Please let me explain why...

When we last left off, I’d built the engine components and was getting ready to install them in the secondary fuselage.  But then I had a realization.  There’s nowhere for this component to attach to the main fuselage.  There’s just the card-thin edges of the engine housings and that’s it. 

I needed to add a tab inside the housing before installing the engine.  So I cut a piece of card 1 1/2” square and scored it about halfway through.  Then I  bevelled the sides a bit, and glued it to the bottom of the engine housing.  This gave me a tab to connect the fuselages (fuselagi?).  I did this for each engine on all three planes.

And this is where my frustration peaked.

I have to be honest, I got frustrated a lot with this template.  Anyone who’s been following this geeky blog for a while knows that I don’t mind tweaking a model.  In some instances, I’ve openly changed things and/ or adapted to cover gaps in the design.

This Thunderbolt just had a few too many design gaps, though, and it just got more and more annoying as I had to figure out how to make things work that weren’t explained in the template.  How to make the rear engines sit in the fuselage.  How to fill in all the gaps around the canopy.  How to attach the canopy.  How to attach the wings to the secondary fuselage.  How to attach the secondary fuselage to the main one.  Also, because the main fuselage is just one large, elaborate piece, it’s very difficult to make it all line up straight.  All three Thunderbolts ended up crooked in slightly different directions.

I’ve often praised Jeff Vaughn for the simplicity of his designs, but I think this is one case where it’s just too simple.  There needs to be more to this.  Some cross-pieces and sections that lock together to form much more solid shapes rather than leaving gaps that allow for far too much shifting and bending in the assembled model.

Part of me wants to finish this with lascannons like the ones I built for the Baneblade and autocannons based off that design.  But I already know I’m not going to like the end result.  That frustration’s just been building and building and it’s making me dread working on this.  I don’t want to leave anyone hanging, but--at the same time—the whole idea of this is that it’s supposed to be fun.  At this point I've spent six weeks working on a three page template.  That's not fun.

I’m just going to have to build something else to take out Matt’s Warlord Titan (which, rumor has it, is getting some upgrades).

A few last words to conclude...

If you’ve got the patience for it, and you’ve got a lot of  experience with Paperhammer and scratch-building,  I still think it’s possible to make a decent Thunderbolt from this template.  If you’re aware of all these issues from the start.  For everyone else, though, I think it’s just going to end up as a pile of crumpled cardboard in the corner.

Give me a couple of days and I’m going to show you a really cool, fast-and-cheap landing pad (or teleport pad, depending on your preference).  And then some super-cheap buildings.  And then some relatively cheap Grotesques.


  1. It happens. I was quietly rooting for you, but I had a similar experience with the same template a couple of years ago. That fuselage is just too unstable.

  2. Thanks for the moral support. ;)

    I think the fuselage firms up pretty well with the weapons mount in place and that piece I added to the front of the cockpit, but even then it still leaves the tail a bit wibbly-wobbly, yeah. And not the good kind of wibbly-wobbly.

    Really, I think this is a case where the individual components are fantastic, there's just no good way to connect any of them.

  3. Have you seen this template?