AMT/Ertl's Star Wars Episode 1 - The Tra-don

(Page Two - Conversions)

Ok, now that I've gotten that out of my system and laid the groundwork, I can talk about the conversions I made to my AAT.

As noted in my description, I wanted to add both some perceived speed to my tank, along with beefing it up in the weapons area.

(Conversion/Addition #1: Engines)
I stumbled upon the idea of using the engine nozzles from a Starfury kit (that I just happened to have laying around). The large engines had the bottom ridges removed, resulting in a flat surface area that could easily be attached to the rear of the Tra-don. Two medium engine nozzles would be glued onto the middle portion of the tank, pointing outward. Four of the small engines would also be glued in place at the front of the battle tank, pointing forward.

After working on their positions, I finally came up with acceptable locations for them.

(All engines would be ultimately airbrushed M. M. Silver and their openings airbrushed either Flat Black or Tamiya Clear Blue).

They were removed, (to be reattached, once the Tra-don was painted).

(Conversion/Addition #2: Rear "winglets")
I first sketched out a design on paper. When I came up with a satisfactory design, the pattern was transferred onto a section of thick Evergreen sheet styrene. A total of four winglets were cut out. Two were glued together for each set to form the left and right wings. Plastruct Liquid Cement was used to attach the wing halves. The edges were then trimmed and smoothed down afterwards, followed by being sanded to a tapered pointy edge at the middle.

After most of the Tra-don was painted, they were glued in place using some of the thick Zap-a-Gap cyanoacylate glue. Since I was not sure that this would be sufficient for keeping the wings in place, I drilled numerous holes down through the wings and through the rear ridge of the battle tank. I then super-glued the tips of straight pins (that had been cut down in size) through each hole.

(Conversion/Addition #3: Hordan - surface-to-air missiles)
My Hordan missiles started life at 1:35 scale Hellfire Missiles and launch rails from a 1:35 scale Model Rectifier Corporation (MRC) AH-1T Super Cobra "Gold Cobra," (Kit #BA105).

I position one launch rail onto either side of the front of the laser cannon and drilled two holes through them and into the gun assembly. Then, this step was repeated for a third launch rail, which was attached to the top of the gun.

Four missiles would be mounted onto each rail. The missile halves were glued together and the seams cleaned up.

Next, the launch rails were painted Model Master (M.M) Flat Black. I opted for a light green color for the missiles, (M. M. SAC Bomber Green to be precise). I felt that this would give a nice color contrast.

I then masked off the ends or each and painted the tips yellow. They would be super-glued to the rails, after the Tra-don had been finished.

(Conversion/Addition #4: Phlar-lex - nuke - missiles)
Life for these started out as bombs found in Italeri 1:48 scale F-16 kit, (#840). The four bombs were assembled, cleaned up and also painted the light green M. M. SAC Bomber color. Red was then added to the tips of these missiles.

Next, I scratch built 4 sway braces from Evergreen tubing. Small cylindrical sections 7/8 of an inch wide were removed and then bisected. The edges of these were sanded smooth, followed by drilling a hole through the center of each. A small section of rigid brass wire was cut to size and super-glued into the hole.

My customized mounts needed to be squeezed together a bit. The nukes were then super-glued in place.

Four holes to accommodate the ends of the brass wire were measured out equidistant from each other and drilled up into the lower front indention of the Tra-don tank. Again, as a final assembly, after the tank had been painted, these makeshift mounting units would be glued in place.

(Conversion/Addition #5: Scratch built rapid-pulse laser cannons)
After designing a rather kool looking laser cannon, I went about constructing three of them. Various pieces of Plastruct square and cylindrical shapes, some rigid brass wire and flexible telephone wire were used in their construction.

After the laser cannons were constructed, small holes were drilled into the tank. One was drilled down into the top portion of the saucer platform, on each side. The third was drilled up into the rear section of the tank.

The laser cannons were attached to the tank with a section of the cylindrical part glued onto the wire bases on the other side of the tanks surface. (This allowed the guns to rotate around).

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Copyright 2012 by Anthony I. Wootson Sr. No material may be reproduced without permission. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.