On The Bench 37: Vince Hoffman’s Hyperian Cruiser

From 1998
Vince Hoffman returns to the workbench with this model, a Hyperion-class cruiser, from Babylon 5.

After drooling over the Earth Alliance Cruiser in Babylon 5 for nearly 3 years, I decided to take the plunge and build one of my own. The model is 25″ long and is mixed media. This model is 2 months along in construction and about 75% complete.

The main hull in front (painted green) is carved from balsa wood because it was too large to fit on my vacuum former. The towers, upper and lower hull protrusions and the hanger were all vacuum formed using .020 plastic. The towers were reinforced on the inside with extra card plastic.


The engine section, reactor section behind the hanger, and the structure behind the tower were built up from .030 plastic. These items could not be vacuum formed because they provide structural integrity to the model.

The trusses are built up using Evergreen plastic shapes, they will be painted before installation because of all the inside corners. These pieces must fit perfectly because they support the weight of the rear half of the model.


Close up of the hanger section. The model was built in 3 sub-assemblies, the foreward hull, hanger section and engine section. After each assembly was completed they were dry fitted to each other and checked for fit and alignment then shimmed and sanded until everything was nice and straight. At this point the model was mounted on a 12″ X 3′ board which will eventually become the display base.


Cast resin engine parts. The engine bell is a 2 part mold (in background). The engine is created using the main casting with a second piece applied to the front to create the straightened exhaust (shown) The smaller nozzles will go on the rear section of the main hull.

More resin castings. The turrets will be detailed using model parts and the gun barrels for the 5 main turrets will most likely be cast in resin. The saucer shaped part is a mystery… I believe it is a sensor array, but speculation aside… it was created with 2 parts, the first part is a 2 step casting, the top textured area was cast separately, sanded and shaped to the right size, then the dome was cast around it. I had very good results with this process. The top and bottom are attached using a small strip of plastic to create the recessed slot around the circumference.

I plan to have this model finished before the year is up… Now that the major parts are completed, all that is left are the details and painting. I’ll be doing some housecleaning in my display case to make room for it.


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