The Swift was a class of exploration craft launched from Earth. Four Swifts took off from Earth in 1996 along with a mothership, on a mission which disappeared without trace.
The Swift appear to slightly larger (mostly longer)
than the Eagle. Therefore, the studio model which measure 96.2 cm (37.9") is
estimated to be about 1/32 scale.
The Swift built in this project is in scale with Product Enterprise's
12" Eagles (1/87th) and will measure 35.4 cm (13.9") once built.
Before starting the pattern, lots of references and specs were gathered from the Internet, books and from the precious help of members from EagleTransporter.com. Careful planning is essential to make sure the pattern will be easy to mould, well engineered and easy as possible to assemble (good parts breakdown).
I have decided to start with the command module (beak) because it is the most complex and therefore the most difficult section to master. I have started by cutting out the contours into styrene from the top, side and front views that I glued all together to make a frame.
The frame is then gradually filled with styrene bits and pieces and sanded to shape.
Epoxy putty is used to fill in the remaining voids and for the more curved areas.
After adding a few details, the pattern is given a first coat of primer to help reveal imperfections.
I was unsatisfied with the overall look at this stage but I was fortunate to get some 'last minute' and much better references that will help to accurately replicate the beak. Below is the result after some relatively major surgery... Notice the holes (two on top and two beneath) for the four sensor disks which will me made in aluminium.
Another light coat of primer was applied. Notice the 'radiator' like parts on top behind the windows, that like on the original studio model comes from Revell's Gemini kit. However, because the 1/24 Gemini kit is just to big, I used the 1/48 equivalent and reduced the needed part even more (by 35% more) with a special moulding technique.
Details are still missing underneath the command module. The hatch door is hypothetical because the nose cone does not detach on the studio model (final kit won't feature the hatch door).
To make sure I got the 'look' right I have made a quick test with black cardboard to simulate the windows and the anti-glare sections. Of course, these will be made as decals in the kit but it gives a good idea and confirm the overall look was right (looks like a Swift to me!)
Even though the command module is permanently fixed on the studio model, it has clearly be made to look like it can separates, just like the nose cone of an Eagle. Therefore, I wanted to test that concept with a Product Enterprise Eagle that I have modified for the occasion and it fits perfectly!
To push accuracy a bit further I have decided to hunt down most of the kit parts - or 'wiggits' as called by the model staff on Space 1999 - that were used in the construction of the Studio model. Of course, those same kits won't fit because I am building a smaller Swift at 1/87th (remember that the studio model is 1/32), so I am rather looking at the best substitute kits in the closest scale. Here's the list of kits used for this project
Obviously, some parts were not found in the needed scale so I had to reduce them
with a special technique I have been testing over the last few months.
Here's my article on how to reduce kit
That particular part (took from a Dragon kit) is used on seven locations on the Swift, whose one showed on the picture below.
This same part reduced to the right scale (left) that will replace the earlier scratchbuilt one (right).
Mike Reader's aluminium sample set (a beauty!) Some minor adjustments are still needed to make it even more accurate. Click here to enlarge.
Sensors and boosters temporarily fixed on the command module (more detailing work has been done too). Notice the reduced part (as seen above) installed on the neck of the module. Click here to enlarge.
Again, the same part is partially used to detail underneath the command module, between the two sensor holes. Click here to enlarge.