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Photon Chaser High Performance Tactical Viper | by Blake Foster
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Photon Chaser High Performance Tactical Viper

Fast and light, the Photon Chaser is built to get in, perforate some hulls, and get away fast. With minimal armor, it can't take much return fire, but it is fast enough for that to not matter much. While not as heavily armed as some beefier fighters, its dual 5-barreled cannons can still do some damage.


Built for Nnovvember 2020, this is my first ever Vic Viper. This actually started in late October with one of the wings as a vertical fin on another ship I was working. After messing with that for a while and getting nowhere, I realized that what I really had was a Vic Viper wing, and since Novvember was coming up, I ran with it. That other ship may still make an appearance at some point, but now that I've used the wings for this I'm going to do something different with that build.


This build was a pretty significant departure from my usual style--I've come to specialize in chunky greebly spaceships, and while this does have a fair amount of greebling on the bottom, the Vic Viper was not exactly chunky. That and the deliberately garish color scheme made this a really fun and different build. I accumulated quite a lot of dark azure and trans neon orange while working on this, and may build in this color scheme again.


I've used numerous different tricks to emulate the cockpit glow effect featured on older Lego box art. My current favorite (at least for the colors where it works), which I used in this photo, is to take two photos, one with a blacklight on and pointed at the canopy and one with it off. I use the remote control for my camera so it doesn't move between shots. Then I layer the blacklight photo on top of the other, and mask out everything but the canopy, and add a bit of outer glow to complete the effect. It could theoretically be done with just one photo, but the blacklight tends to give everything a purplish tinge and also creates purple specular reflections that are too much work to clean up. I've found that the blacklight trick gives a more convincing effect than just masking and brightening up the canopy in Photoshop. I used the same trick here, except I went a little heavier on the glow like true M:Tron box art.


Shout out to Nick Trotta whose awesome Vic Vipers were an excellent source of inspiration when building my own; to Simon Liu for sparking my interest in the art of cutting Lego stickers; and of course to nnenn (RIP) for starting the whole Vic Viper craze.


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Taken on November 22, 2020