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36 Inch Firefly

Props So Nice They Had To Show Them Twice. Or more.

Re: 36 Inch Firefly

Postby msglaigaie » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:32 pm

Nice ship. I have heard the tales of "Large" ships made of paper in the three foot size. I want to build one with guns.

Your patience in this matter is amazing. You are a better Man than me, Gunga Din!
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Re: 36 Inch Firefly

Postby pennausamike » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:37 am

Part One of the saga of the Three Foot Firefly:

Yes, that is a three foot long, HO scale, fiberglass Firefly.
Which, for a few years, was no longer a project, because I sold it to finance the 2011 BCB trip.

Image

Image

Image

After I sold my 3 foot Firefly to finance a trip I didn't take
:-(
I bought this 15 inch replacement.

Image

And honestly, it would have been easier to build and display than the larger one.
But, I just never could garner much enthusiasm for the "small" Firefly
(which is only slightly smaller than the Big Damn Replica Firefly)
and I ended up selling that one, also.
At that point, the only replica Firefly I owned was the old Hallmark ornament version; about 5 inches long.
I saw another kit come up on eBay for $400 that I think was being offered by the original builder, Ron Shanko.
Hi-lariously enough, the listing used my green pool table pictures of my Shanko Firefly, but it was definitely not mine for sale.
I didn't buy that one because of both the price (considerably more than I paid)
and because I just couldn't face the amount of work needed to join all that fiberglass together.
Never mind a fully detailed build.
I bought one of the Firefly Yahtzee ships for fifteen bucks, but that really didn't suit what I was looking for.
So, I still didn't have a nice big display ship that suited me.
Until......


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Re: 36 Inch Firefly

Postby Yellowjacket » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:54 am

Drumroll...
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Re: 36 Inch Firefly

Postby pennausamike » Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:21 pm

...another Ron Shanko, three foot, fiberglass Firefly came up on eBay.
This one was already built, with nearly no basic cleanup of seams and so forth,
plus some rudimentary electronics (which I have no interest in.)
Still a little high on the price, but closer to what I was willing to pay,
which is about what I was willing to pay the first go-'round.

Image

I kept it in my watch list for awhile, and yeehaw, it came down to what I originally paid for the kit, plus shipping.
Well yeah, I can do that!
So I'm back in the big display Firefly club.
There is still a fair amount of work to make it displayable, but all that ambition-killing fiberglass work is out of the way.
Knowing my limitations, I'm keeping this really basic; no interior, no electronics, no Altrans display base,
(that was the original plan, I even have the basis for the HO scale Altrans hover-locomotive)
and no super-detailing.

This thing just really looks nice,
with good basic shapes and a sense of impact that the smaller Firefly models don't give me.
Here is the Yahtzee Firefly with one of the 3 ft Firefly engines.

Image

Thank goodness, 'cause I really needed another project....

Mike
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Re: 36 Inch Firefly

Postby AZSneed » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:45 am

Mike, I never built a fiberglass model before, so I can't relate, resin, yes. Good luck on the work ahead.

I still have a resin kit of Serenity to build, I just not sure I will do it, I suck at painting details to match on screen shots.
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Re: 36 Inch Firefly

Postby pennausamike » Fri Nov 18, 2016 4:26 pm

AZSneed wrote:Mike, I never built a fiberglass model before, so I can't relate, resin, yes. Good luck on the work ahead.


Once the assembly of the basic shapes is done, working on a fiberglass model is basically the same as working on a hollow-cast resin model.
But until you get to that point, it is more like repairing a damaged fiberglass car fender.
I built a fiberglass New-Battlestar-Galactica helmet out of a kit,
and the hardest part is twisting the 'glass pieces together at the seams,
and then using fiberglass mat and resin to bond them together.
On this 36 inch Firefly I just bought, that part is already done.

AZSneed wrote:I still have a resin kit of Serenity to build, I just not sure I will do it, I suck at painting details to match on screen shots.


Which screen shots?
That sounds like a smart-a question, but the CGI model Serenity varied a lot in the pictures from the series.
I think most folks use a multi-colored shot of Serenity that was generated as a TV show publicity still,
(which I don't have the time to hunt down and post right now)
but really, in the series the ship was mostly shown as a dark silver-gray with weathering and panels of a slightly different hue.
The multi-colored scheme is how the new one I got is painted,
with a lot of greenish-silver and the multi-colored panels brush painted.
It is far dirtier and worn than the eBay pictures show; but for me, that is fine.
Right now it looks like it has leprosy, with unsanded putty that I put all over it to fill pin-holes.

I guess my point is, by all means, build your Firefly.
Spray it overall silver and start adding paint detailing until it is just starting to look over-done.
Then weather and viola! you have a Firefly Serenity!

Mike
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Re: 36 Inch Firefly

Postby AZSneed » Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:29 pm

Thanks for the advice. I have the publicity still and more, as I have a big folder of whatever I can find on the Serenity from the net and DVDs.
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Re: 36 Inch Firefly

Postby pennausamike » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:41 pm

Today is the start of my holiday season, so
MERRY CHRISTMAS! to all.

And in the Yuletide spirit, here is my project I have been working on as I can:

Image

It took a little bit of searching (but not too much, actually) to find a Serenity-sized Christmas hat.
The base will be stained in dark walnut, the riser is made of clear plexiglass (currently with the brown paper protective covering)
and the builder's plate is from a nearly decade old RPF Junkyard run.
Of course, the 12 oz Mountain Dew can is the "standard" to show the size of the thing.

Image

I checked the QMx site, and their large Firefly is 27" X 18", cost $7,500, and is "sold out".
There is still a lot of basic work to do to make my 3-foot Firefly presentable
(and I know to many folks, it would never be "right")
but I am still thrilled to have it (tho' I'm not so thrilled with the puttying and sanding.)

Mike
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Re: 36 Inch Firefly

Postby Yellowjacket » Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:13 am

You should be thrilled. Isn't it significantly more rare than the QMx version as well?
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Re: 36 Inch Firefly

Postby pennausamike » Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:42 am

Yellowjacket wrote:You should be thrilled. Isn't it significantly more rare than the QMx version as well?


Ha, well, some would tell you it is rare like Edsels are rare.

I think there are between 6 and 12 in existence.
I can't remember the number in the kit that I bought, but this already-built one is number 1.
This is NOT the one maker Ron Shanko put on youtube, because that one was built with landing gear down,
and this one of mine is gear-up and was hung from a wire.
That means I can account for 3 of these 36 inch fiberglass Fireflies, personally;
the Shanko youtube model, the kit I bought and then sold, and this one I just bought.

As far as the production figures on the QMx Fireflies, I'm sure we'll never know.
Aside from wall stickers, pillows, slippers, and the nice, small polystone "Serenity"s,
QMx has only released two, large display, Fireflies.
The 19" X 12" Big Damn Replica and the 27" X 18" Film Scale Artisan Replica.
(In case you're thinking you never heard of "film scale", you're right; it is a QMx made up description.)

QMx first released the BDR after a protracted gestation period
that saw the price point go from the pre-release MSRP of $500, to the actual initial cost of $2,000,
(with a $500-off coupon for the original subscribers) to the "retail" price of $2,500 which went to
the last price of $3,500.
The edition is now listed as sold out, tho' I highly doubt production ever hit the 500 unit cut off point.
I know at least one kit was sold by the original maker outside of the QMx umbrella.
My educated guess is that somewhere in the neighborhood of two to three dozen BDR's were pre-ordered and bought for two grand,
and after that, another one to two dozen were sold at full retail over the next few years.
I feel certain that BDR production never topped one hundred units, and that actual production is probably closer to half that.

The 27" X 18" Film Scale Artisan Replica?
That was released after I lost touch with the RPF crowd that is connected to the various prop and model makers.
If I were to wager a guess, I bet the $7,500 Film Scale Artisan Replica probably has production numbers
like the 36 inch fiberglass Firefly; that is to say, less than a dozen.

For differing reasons, none of these things retain much value.
I've seen a few people attempt to sell their BDR's, and even offered at a loss, they are just too expensive for most Browncoat fans.
In the past, I would have followed up to see if they sold and for how much; but I just haven't had interest or opportunity to do so.
I rather imagine that for all intents and purposes there is no market whatsoever for the Film Scale Artisan Replica.
I mean, I literally only paid a coupla hundred dollars more for my used V-8 Seville which I have since driven over 100,000 miles.
A seventy-five hundred dollar dust catcher is something only the "money-is-no-object" crowd is purchasing!
Finally, the Shanko 36 inch Fireflies just aren't really all that nice; or at least the ones I've seen come up for sale.
Weeks went by on eBay where I was the only person watching the one I bought at a listing price of $350, shipped.
And I would only buy it after it dropped to $300.
I intend to do a fairly simple display build that I hope will look decent,
but even at that, with display base and all, I don't see mine ever bringing even $500.
If someone did a fabulous job of building one of these 36 inch fiberglass Fireflies, with many issues corrected and BDR style electronics,
the builder might be able to hold out for a BDR price.
But I seriously doubt there is anyone looking to invest that kind of time and effort into one of these kits.

Like much in this hobby, the satisfaction is in what my personal feelings are, irrespective of monetary value or popularity.

Mike
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