The first thing I did was get the cockpit built and ready to install. Anyone who knows me knows that I have this thing for cockpits. I really like to look at a ride, whether it's a Viper, a figher, a 'Mech, a tank..whatever, and see that there is a cockpit, controls and possibly pilot. I think that all goes back to the first large-scale plane I built when I was younger, a 1/48 F-14. There's something about it that adds to the realism and believeability of the models. In this case, the MkII cockpit has forward windows rather than a canopy, so the detail can be a bit less than would be for that F-14, but still want it to look good.
I ended up just building a tub, and using photo-etched instrument panels. The pilot is a Catachan guardsman with a Cadian's head/helmet. Clanner helmets are smaller and more fitted than the I.S. Neurohelmets so that works for me. Heat, however, is still heat, and so the bare-armed and vest-wearing Catachan jungle fighter felt right for me. I put him in a fairly dynamic pose and then placed all the final details. Finally, lights. I really didn't have the materials to light up the instrument panels, but the way the cockpit is shaped and formed, the majority of everything is going to be in shadow and darkness. So, I decided that, hey, in for a penny in for a pound; let's light it up.
I mounted a pair of small yellow lights up in the uppper back corners of the cockpit tub, that will shine down on main part of the cockpit. They'll be powered by 3 small watch batteries. I needed to have a space where I could swap them out when they ran down, so that factored in to the what/where/how of placing them. That also cascaded a few more decisions on how to mount the hip to the body. I needed something I could remove, but would also be stable. I thought about magnetizing it, but that was just a bit too insecure for me. So, I just pinned it with some brass bar stock I have. Friction will hold it together just fine and also enable torso/hip twist. I then hollowed out the space for the battery compartment, and it'll sit just above the front part of the hip piece. The position of the space, combined with the hip in close proximity will hide the opening quite well, once everything is painted.
Cockpit from the outside..unlit
The cockpit before it was put in.
And the same, from the side.
I had a small slider switch on hand, and there is a very convenient space on the main body, behind the shoulder mount where it fit nicely. I hollowed out a hole for it to mount and drilled a channel for the wires to go. A little greenstuff to seal the gaps and it's good to go. So really, all I need to do now is solder everything together and then start assembly. The "glass" for the window is from a trimmed down plastic bottle and should give the effect I need.
I made a video of the first stages of the assembly and work, and that can be found here:
Next up will be paint scheme and weathering.