Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Work on Project A continues apace.  I am just about to the point where I'm going to call done on the legs.  I need to scribe in panel lines and other small details and then pin things together.

The hip assembly is framed up and I'm in the process of applying the armor plating and those details.  Still have some details to look at there, and then drill the pin holes so I can pin the upper legs to the hip transmission pieces.  Speaking of those, I ended up pulling a mold for left/right hip transmissions.  The same modeling for hips are used in MWO for the Atlas, Timberwolf, Highlander and several others, so I figure that if I find that I want to try another one of these, I'll just pull 2 more castings of each and I'll have those.  The detail came out better on these than the foot, basically because they're much simpler. 

Once that's all set, I'll turn my focus to the torso.  The main weapons mounts are things I plan to make modular, but the primary model will likely be as a bog-standard DDC.  The torso ballistic weapon is something I can easily make a magnetic-swappable module, with PPC, Gauss or AC20.  The same with the torso missile housings, I can build it with a 'bay' that will take a modular LRM/SRM etc.. mount.  The arm-mounted weapons are all external to the forearm housing, so that's also a simple swap. 

This brings me to the other question that I should answer at some point:  Kit it or just build it for me?  I was talking with He-who-musn't-be-named, and he thought I should kit it out.  The thing is, I have no idea where to go or what to do about that.  There's no way I want to try doing it myself, I just don't have the resources, equipment or space to try creating all the castings. lists one resource that might, and I could reach out to find out what I'd be looking at to kit it out.  (Timeslip Creations... they list 2 others but both links are dead)   Of course, there are tons of considerations here.

First, this is my very first attempt at making something like this and once I paint it up, detail it and so on, it might look just fine.  For me.  I'm really not convinced it'll meet the scrutiny and standards of the kinds of folks who would want a kit like this. I've seen the work of the modelers out there who've done this kind of thing and I'm definitely in the "raw apprentice" category in comparison.  All the techniques and tricks are new to me and I'm just getting to the point where I think I grok what can be done.   Second, and a corrollary to the first, is cost.  The kits out there are in the average of $120+.   FCY's Timberwolf II, which has been restocked ( If you want one, go *here* and act fast!) at $175.  His Dervish, (same link) currently in pre-order, is an even century with a req'd 15 for the model to go to production.  That tells me that the cost of having a kit mold made and cast up has to be in ballpark of a grand at minimum.  Yeah, I can ask, and I should just to know.. but..yeah.  Cost.   Thirdly, demand.  Let's face it, I know I'm something of a rarity, being that big of a battletech fan *and* a 28mm gaming fan at the same time.  

If I want to kit it out, I have to *not* do the painting and detailing to finish it off.  The caster will have to work with the base/primed pieces.  The other thing I can't do is put it all together, so I really can't see it all together at once either. 

/shrug.  Dunno.  I don't have to decide right now, but as it is, I'm leaning toward just building it for me and that's that.  I'll be happy to have it and will have the experience and reward of having done it. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Project A. With Pixez

So. Now with Pix. 

Keep in mind, this is the "rough, still working on it, etc..etc.." stage, so do bear with me. 

The initial sculpt of the foot seemed to be ok, and while I could see some imperfections, they didn't seem to be too bad.  Now that I look at the closeup images, it's much more obvious.

Yeah, then I cast it.  Like I said yesterday, I didn't make absolutely certain that the foot was flush with the base of the mold cylinder, so it was slightly off true.  That meant it cast up in such a way that would mean a lot of sanding of the base. 

However, that wasn't the worst of it, since all those imperfections were really magnified by the casting.  I LOVE this mold/casting material.  All the nice detail comes out crisp and clear.  Even the guitar-wire details looked good, but the supposedly "flat armor surfaces" didn't because..well...they weren't.  So, putty, sanding and filling time. 

Moving on to the joint, I still think the best place for the knee is at the upper-shin spot.  It seems to give decent articulation and should look right when posed. 

There is still more needed to finish off the thighs and the hip actuator, along with filling in the knee with details and armor. 

Looking at the general dimensions of the legs vs the overall height, as compared to the 90-ton Timberwolf Mkii, I think I'm fairly close on size.  It should come out just about right.

This is quite a challenging project, filled with all kinds of engineering hurdles and need for creative solutions.  Slow going, and it's driving me nuts, but I'm really enjoying it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Next update - Project A and part casting. wave.

So, the last couple of weeks, I've been absent from my workbench while taking part in a martial arts event.  Upon returning, the mold-making material had arrived and it was time to do my first cast attempt from a clay-sculpted master.  Let's say it didn't quite go as planned.  I used moldstar 16, the first time I'd used a mold material that set up that quickly.  To be fair, I think the mold came out quite nicely.  There were a few bubbles present, but when I pulled the air out of the cylinder, they mostly appeared near the top, away from the part. 

The issue presented when I found that the flat side of the part didn't quite mate cleanly with the floor of the mold cylinder, making it off-level a bit.  This meant that when I poured the plastic resin, it didn't fill quite properly.  It also manifested many more bubbles than I expected, and so I had to pour a bit differently, to avoid huge bubble gaps.  In the end, that didn't matter as much because of the other main issue:  my sculpting ability sux.  Well, to be fair, I got the general part dimensions ok, but I didn't see all the surface imperfections and out-of-true lines.  They all showed up when I poured the part.  In the end, what that meant was that I spent a great deal of time with putty and sandpaper.  I still have a little more to do with it, but they are close to being ready for what I want them for.

Project A also needs a bit of decision making.  Looking at the legs, there are two locations that serve as the knee joint.  In fact, it's entirely possible that the bottom of the thigh and the top of the shin parts BOTH articulate in the MWO model.  It's hard to tell and the fact that I can't get a good yootoob of it is frustrating.  So, I need to decide which point is the actual knee articulation.  The more I look at the stride and stance, the more I think I'll go with the upper shin point.  It's also easier to pin and work with at the moment, so that's what I'm going with.  Unless, of course, I see something that changes my mind.

Goal for tonight, finish detailing the thighs and cut the main pieces for the hip joint.  I test fit the pieces together so far, and stood them next to the Timberwolf II, and I think the dimensions are coming out just about right.  The Steiner Scout Mech should be just about the same shoulder height as the missile pods, if they all work out.  So far, so good.