1/32 Fantastic Voyage Proteus Build
By Stephen Dymszo
Have you ever worked on a project…for what seems like forever… and then once you get it done, you can’t wrap your head around the reality that it’s finally finished?
In 2016, Moebius released the Fantastic Voyage Proteus kit in 1/32nd scale… so about 15″ long. Yippee!!!!
Since this is one of my top-ten favorite sci-fi ships, I pre-ordered it immediately.
And thus began my 5+ year journey. This was to become my own white whale as it were. Call me Ishmael…
The instructions say that they assembled a team of experts to make this kit incredibly accurate.
Not exactly true. While they did a great job of it, the model kit is not actually accurate to the miniature OR the full size set. It’s kind of a mix of both. And the rear laboratory is copied right from the Crow’s Nest model which was wrong.
Fortunately, there is tons of reference material on the Internet. During filming, they took detailed turn-around shots of all the interior sets… Which is awesome for us modelers.
But I digress…
NOT mentioned, you also have to purchase:
-Voodoo FX lighting kit
-Crow’s Nest resin figures kit -Aztec Dummy photo-etch brass and back-lit gauge faces set
-Randy Cooper resin parts set
-AND fabricate about 100 new parts. THEN you have something pretty accurate.
To be fair, some of these details (like the little desk lamps) were just too small to practically injection mold, so I understand their omission.
And the shapes of the upper windows were completely wrong, but that was a limitation of the injection molding process as well.
So some scratch building and rebuilding was in order.
The trick of course, is to make it look like you didn’t do anything to the kit.
This has a new bow and keel, the rear laboratory area was completely rebuilt, as was most of the control room. The upper row of window frames were rebuilt with plastic sheet.
The rear lab windows were milled out, with PE framing and clear polycarbonate “glass” added. (In the movie these viewports were covered with metal panels, but they were obviously windows.)
All four hatches on the ship are now hinged, and open and close.
I also added all of the missing interior walls, ceiling, and lots of piping that was not included in the kit
I drilled out the front map rack and added teeny, rolled-up maps. Yes, you can actually pull them out and put them on the light table.
Such is my madness.
Lots of nano LED’s and wrapping wire, and fiber optics stuffed into tiny spaces.
The front molded-clear-styrene plastic window had flow marks in it (as they usually do) so I cut individual polycarbonate sheet panels to fit each window pane separately. Each one had to be bent to fit into the compound-curved frames, as the windows are not flat. But first, I added all of the black rubber gaskets around each window frame. That was agonizing. Um, I mean…FUN! One errant drop of glue and a window is trash. Start over.
I am not super-happy with my job on the figures. Painting super-tiny faces is not my forte. But after some initial re-shaping of the castings, their faces actually do look like the original actors now, so that’s cool.
About 15 coats of paint on the hulls, all sanded out and polished.
I made the front intake grills out of tiny steel strips, so that if you bump into them, they won’t bend in and snap off.
The anti-slip pads are extremely thin pieces of black sandpaper, cut to size.
The upper hull is removable via two screws and a bunch of magnets. (Of course). The pilot seat swivels on a magnet as well.
I lost track of the timing a long time ago, but I’m going to guess well over 300 hours.
There are a few micro-boogers here and there, but I’m pretty happy with how it came out. I give it a 8.5 out of 10.
On a few details, I just said, I don’t care anymore, and left it. Maybe I’ll go back and fix some things later. Some day. For now, this is done.
I am just surprised that they made a plastic kit of this at all, so I am (relatively) happy.
With all of the amazing, large scale plastic kits of science fiction subjects that have come out over the last five years, this is a pretty good time to be a sci-fi modeler.
Just be prepared to do some scratch-building and modifying…