Air Drop - Jesta

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This was only supposed to be an exercise in simple details.

It proceeded to manifest itself into something much, much more.

The Air Drop project started out as a “out of box” build to showcase what simple details could do to a model. It was a break from my, then ongoing, project the GM Spartan. I became bored of that and switched to the Jesta and months and many LIVE streams later, this is the fruit of that labor.

This project also became an homage to the real life 67th Tactical Fighter Wing.

I stayed true to my word that this was an “out of box” build at it’s core. The Jesta itself is not heavily modified or altered in any way. I just added simple details and plastic plating to it. The most extensive modification came in the scratch built box magazine for the rifle.

Starting with the Jesta’s head I filled in the round holes in the visor with Loctite Super Glue and sanded them smooth. I also replaced both round details on both sides of the head with Kotobukiya minus mold parts. A small chin protrusion was added as well as new panel lines.

The shoulders were plated to increased the armored look and hoist bars were added to both sides. A small vent was installed to the top of both shoulders along with new panel lines.

For the arms I only added additional plastic plate and new panel lines along with Kotobuikiya Diagonal Cross plates to the left arm.

The collar has small added plates and simulated lights as well as new panel lines. The two chest vents were filled over with plastic plate and new panel lines were added all around the upper torso.

The front, back and side skirts saw similiar treatment with added plate, panel lines and notches.

The upper legs have added plastic strips around the outside of the front to achieve a recessed look as well as new panel lines. The lower legs sport minimal added plastic plating panel lines. A small Kotobukiya vent was installed on the front of each leg, just below the knee and Kotobukiya Diagonal Cross plates were added to the sides. Additional plastic detail was added to the backs of the legs just above the main thruster. Small vents were also sculpted in with chisels on both sides of the knees.

The feet have added plastic plate and details as well as new panel lines. Kotobukiya Minus Molds were added to the ankles as the stock kit is very bare on the ankles.

The backpack has minor plastic plating and panel lines added. The shield has added plastic plating over a large portion of the upper part and a scratch built serated edge along the lower part of the shield. The inside of the shield has added plastic plating and minor additional panel lines.

The rifle, as stated before, has the most extensive modification of the main unit, in the scratch built box magazine. I used the exsisting magazine and scratch built the box shape out of plastic plate and strip. The vertical forgrip was replaced with a pad made of plastic plate and rod. Additional panel lines were added to the rifle as well.

Beyond the core model I scratch built the jump pack out of plastic plate, strip, tube and rod, as well as Kotobuikiya detail parts. The thruster bells were salvaged from my parts box and inflation needles were added to the inside of each to simulate mechanical detail. The hunchback part was also was also completely scratch built using plastic plate and strip. Both the jump pack and hunchback part are held on by magnets.

The parachutes were easily the hardest part of this project. I went through four rounds of development to get what you see in the final pics. To make them I finally settled on vacuforming them. I created a positve shape (or buck) out of solid MDF (medium density fiberboard) that I shaped with an angle grinder, files, and my Dremel. Once I had the shape I vacuformed the three parachutes out of 1mm plastic sheet. The rigging was all installed by hand with thin, braided steel jewelry wire that was enrobed in clear viynl. Small pieces of half round tube were added to each wire around the perimeter of each parachute for added detail. All the rigging was secured to the mounting points with super glue. The mounting assemblies were scratch built using plastic tubes, and sheets. It’s all held together by very strong Neodymium magnets.

The base is made from MDF sheets that were laminated with plastic sheet and then detailed. The based is constructed so that it can break down for travel and storage using sturdy 1/4-20 bolts and threaded inserts. Since I wanted the Jesta to look like it was floating down to the earth I found an image of terrain and applied a central radial blur in Photoshop and laminated the print to a thin piece of plastic plate. A plexiglass sheet was custom cut to fit the insert to give the image more depth.

The entire project was painted using Mr. Color paints and weathered with Tamiya Weathering Master sets. Various bought and custom made decals were applied throughout the piece. The 67th Rooster logo was found on a military sheet that I purchased when my local hobby store was closing down. That logo set the stage for the color scheme and overall design of the paint and weathering process. It helped spawn the 67th T.M.S.S. An homage to the real life 67th Tactical Fighter Wing.

On the base I painted the sky and clouds using various shades of blue and white. The sky parts are clearcoated in high gloss and contrasted with a matte clearcoat on all other parts. This helps to simulate a windowed look.

Even though this morphed from a simple “out of box” build into something much more, I’m very pleased with the results. The illusion of the Jesta falling is pulled off rather well, I think. I hope you enjoy it!

Most of this build is documented on my LIVE streams. Over 100 hours of work on this piece can be seen on my YouTube Channel and Facebook page. I show how I achieved the details and the techniques that went into them. You can see them all with the following playlist.


If you'd like purchase 67th T.M.S.S apparel or poster sized prints to hang on your wall, you can buy them in various sizes in my online store!