Friday, February 26, 2016

Project Overload

So, it's like feast or famine sometimes.  Actually, it's more like "I wanna do that one.. an that one.. an that one.. an OOH! this'd be a great idea! and I-wanna-build-a-Battle-of-Stalingrad-gaming-table! and...SQUIRREL!"

My build table currently has a bolt action Soviet army, Project R, Project L and now Project A-DDC all on the high-priority list.  Added to that, I have Project "D" main parts actually on the way as well.   I need to keep chipping away at the BA army, I just am not the biggest fan of painting people.  Well, the occasional mini here or there isn't bad, but the Soviets kinda used massive amounts of men as a strategy.  I really enjoy doing the armor and machinery, but the people are slowing me down a bit.

Project R:

This one has to be priority #1.  I'm so close to getting the build to the final phases, I just need to get stuck in on it.  The arms are next to master-up and then cast.  I have the basic joints sketched for the engineering, and it's just a matter of starting to make the parts to build.   I mentioned that I prefer the look of the MWO aesthetic and the arms are especially subject to that opinion.  The TRO look is kinda "meh," especially with the hands, and the armored club-like forearms and fist of the MWO version are much more to my preference.

That leaves the main torso and cockpit.  That's just a matter of completing the detailing and finishing it up.  I'm actually closer than I thought I was.  There's just a bunch of fiddly "paint, then glue, then paint, then glue" phases to go through.  I know that I tend to put off getting into those steps, and that's what's happening here.  It doesn't help that I just recently got the Atlas and Loki dropped on me.

What I find however, when I work on this, especially when I compare to the 2 new kits that recently arrived, is detailing.  I have some large plate detail, as evident on the thighs and shins, but what I wonder about is the more fine details.  When I look at things like the 1/35 scale armor (tanks, self-propelled guns, etc) the greebies and details all make sense and give a sense of interest and realism to the feel of the build.  One thing about Battlemechs is rivets: they don't belong.  The ferro-fibrous armor isn't a riveted thing.  The Atlas has some fairly nice detail parts and it's hard to describe what I see as differences.  The parts I've used feel "clunkier".. just a bit "not right."  

I'm giving thought to actually doing just what I mention above: picking up some ww2 armor pieces and scavenging bits and pieces.  I've already gotten some Gundam parts and they've been neat.  Specifically, if I look at the arms used in the MWO images, I see some fairly detailed arm main struts with added over-armor on it, and that's the kind of look I would like to try for.  I would have liked to do something similar for the knee linkage, but it didn't quite work out that way.

I also am kinda comparing this to the GW Imperial Knights.  There's a gritty realism to the Knight that I would like to feel a bit more in the Battlemechs.  The Timberwolf MkII has a good feel that way as well.

I don't know if I'm going to re-master this up or not.  We'll see if I'm happy with the overall build when I'm done.

Project L:

It's an awesome Kit.  It's a clanner kit, so it's a bit lower on the priority list.  It'll definitely be either Wolf's Dragoons or Wolves-in-Exile.

Project A-DDC:

Oh. My. Gawd.  This thing is amazingly wonderful!!  This one is definitely hot on the tail of the Archer.  I have no idea how I can actually build a cockpit in this one, so I may end up just making a back-lit slide for one of the windows.

I also will definitely be reworking the torso autocannon and making it into a Gauss Rifle.  I'm not sure what other adjustments I will make, but I suspect the Torso LRM will get swapped for the SRM loadout I take on my MWO brawler.

I'm also really not sure about the painting scheme here.  I'm leaning toward my personal merc unit's Grey and Maroon, but I might want to either match a historical (cough) unit or the one I take into MWO.

Project D.

This one was something I hadn't anticipated showing up before August or September, but the stars aligned and there was an opportunity for a Tech swap that brought "AngryHippy"'s build closer to reality.  That puts this one third on the list, right behind DDC.

All of these are running concurrently with living life and doing the needful.  I'm also looking to cast up a few Mandalorian Helmets based on my custom build, and some vibroblades to possibly sell at Origins.  Maybe.

So, that's the current status.. stay tuned.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Followup on the Unboxing:

Following up on the unboxing vids I do.  Yeah, I know (now) that I got a lot of the guesses wrong for the Atlas.   The whole point of unboxing vids, for me, is to give the unglossed look at what I see when I open it up.  My first reactions, my impressions, and thoughts based on those first moments of opening it up.  I get things wrong.  It's ok, and in a way, it's a good thing. You see, it points out the essential aspect of looking up the instructions and the details of the build, any build, before cracking in.

These kits are amazing and there's always work to do on them. With that said, looking up the build notes is an essential step and will really save the modeler a headache going forward.

You also get a good look at what you can expect.  If a part isn't perfect, you'll see it.  I'm not selling these things, and if you hear me gushing over them it's because I really feel that.  If I'm disappointed, you'll see that too.   My intention for the vids is to let you have a realistic view into what it'll be like for you if you pick up one of these boxes.

So, there ya go.  The build-up guide for the Atlas is available and corrects the assumptions I got wrong.  And I tell ya, in my opinion, the aesthetic beats the heck out of the one Armorcast did so long ago.  Have fun with this one, all.  I know I'm going to.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Project A-DDC: The Ultimate Steiner Scout Mech.

Unboxing the Ultimate Steiner Scout Mech: the FCY kit of the MWO Atlas.  This vid runs long, but it's because there are a ton of parts and lots to go over.  There are not enough recommendation words to use for this kit.. it's fabulous. The part count is huge, the quality is amazing and the design is excellent.  A TON of options for posing and customization.  All kinds of things to play with on this one, a modeler's and painter's dream!  I can't wait to get ripping into this one. 

The Video of the Unboxing

As always shout-outs and credits go to: 

Tim Fusco's Battlemech Site: 

Scott at Messy desk, the original kit's designer and builder:

The Atlas Buildup Link: 
Mechwarrior Online; the source for this design:

Thanks for watching.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

casting ruminations

Well.  That was interesting.

I was in the process of prepping up a few parts to send away for someone, and I found that I really, really suck at casting.  Ok, I have really really crappy equipment so my casts suck.  I had to pull about 4 tries for every actually moderately successful part.  Now, if these were for me, it wouldn't really have been a big deal.  I make casts as shortcuts, so I can duplicate the major work and don't have to be super-symmetrical which is something I always struggle with.  Any of the mistakes or issues just become part of the overall modeling process.  So, if some things aren't quite right, I just fill, sand and move on.

Since I'm sending these out to someone else, I really can't let them be quite that bad.  It's when I put it through that lens that I realize just HOW bad my casts are compared to some of those really good guys out there in the Garage industry world.  Which just dovetails into the discussion on getting what you pay for.  There are folk that whine about the price tag of these 'Mechs, but I'm still one to say "I dare you to make it for less.. or better."   Heck, a Warhound Titan from Forgeworld is about $600 and JPG's quality has Forgeworld beat to hell.   Even a GW Knight Titan is on par with the medium 'Mechs.

Ok..tangent grip over.  Looking at mine, I'm working on trying to improve in steps what I need to do so I can minimize the extra effort.   I am going to try a little trick that T.F. mentioned and see if that fixes one of the major issues, and go from there.

While I was getting these done, I ended up ruining one of the molds and had to re-mold and re-cast the Archer's thigh part.  The new cast actually came out better, as I was a bit more cautious about how I did it.  But still, I find myself thinking about de-gassing and pressurization machines.  (and I'll have to change the mold rubber and casting resin from this 20 minute set stuff).  Hmm..maybe just changing out the rubber and resin will make enough of a difference, letting the air settle out as it cures.  I should probably reach out to JPG and pick his brain to find out what he uses.  The quick set stuff I use is decent for the purpose, and it's cheap (ish), but if there's a better way, it might just be time to start looking into that.

Anyway, enough whining. I need to finish up one more task then I can bundle this up and get it off to the Dropship.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Trust the Engineering. Project-R, pt 5-a. more pix.

Trust in the engineering.

I mentioned that she's got legs.  Well, she does.  I wanted to get an idea of how they went together and would stand, as well as get feel for the overall look, so I pinned the hip joints together and stacked up the parts to get an eyeball.  With the raw master of the center torso sitting on the hip block, it showed a pretty decent start to the assemblies.


Of course, once I saw that, I started to wonder about the scaling. I had taken the ortho diagram and scaled it up as compared to the FCY version of the Victor, and worked from those drawings. As with the Hatchetman, I worked from the ground up, building the feet first and then the shin, etc.  One of the worries I had there was for the design to expand as I did, but making those drawings first helped keep the parts accurate to the original look.  As I built, I found that they had a tendency to end up being thicker than the ortho showed, so my original drawings were off a bit in the X axis.  As the parts go together, though, it still has the look I'm after, and as it progresses, I'm still content.

Now that I'm to the final block-out parts of the center torso, this is the last opportunity I have to address any issues of scale.  The general size compared to the pilot looks about right, but as the parts started to come together, I still had a bit of concern.  With it standing, the top of the center torso comes in at just about 8"; which is, again, right at the correct height from my drawings.  Of course, that just had me second-guessing again on whether I'd scaled the drawings correctly.  So there was only one way to check the feel.   I pulled down the Timberwolf Mk II and put them side-by-side.

Trust the engineering.  Seeing her next to the 90 Ton Timberwolf, I'm content.  I'm pretty content that she comes in with the right look for a 70 Ton.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Project - R - pt 5. She's got leeegggssss...

Right, ok, so while you try to get ZZ Top out of your head, movin on with the construction.

**update** now with pix. 

Finally got the hip assembly formed up and cast.  That leaves the last parts still to make are the main torso and arms.  The torso is about 1/2 way there, but it's going to take a bit.  Building the cockpit in and setting up all the lighting is what's going to slow that up a bit.  I think that'll be the one part I end up *not* casting.  If by some chance I ever get someone wanting me to get them parts for the Archer, I"ll just build up another. 

The arms I definitely plan to cast.  I like the look of the MWO design and I have a thought of how to do the joints.  I would definitely like poseability built into this one.   

 I've got all the cast parts sitting in the soap bath and getting ready for work.  I would like to get a little progress in on just putting some of it together.  You know, ADD and all. 

Pics coming later.. not today.  : )..Ok, I lied, Pic today:

The stack of parts after washing and first pass of color on the foot.

The rough layout of the Torso with the cockpit plug.

with the raw canopy

Flanked by the LRM launchers.

Lots more to do.. but getting there.