Friday, April 29, 2016

Next up: Project A-H.

With the Archer production line closed down, it's time to turn the resources to the next task.  This time. Project A-H.   This one is a build of a salvaged FCY Kit, with fabricated new parts and, of course, the usual DropshipSerenity updates and mods.

What I have is 2/3 of an FCY Dire Wolf kit.  We won't mention how we were able to obtain this rare  BattleMech salvage, because we would like to keep our agents in the field.  The fight must have been brutal, as both arm Omnipods are missing, however we have the full torso structure and the legs are 90% complete.  The shin myomer muscle shells were missing, so we'll have to fabricate those along with left and right upper arms and omnipods.

The project is not for the DropshipSerenity Expeditionary Forces, once it's complete it'll be delivered to one of our allies: Mechwarrior callsign 'AngryHippy.'  At his request, the DireWolf will be kitted out and painted up as Victor Steiner-Davion's Prometheus.  (ugh.. green.. that'll be fun to highlight and weather...)  The loadout is pretty straightforward and I expect this one to move at a decent pace.  The torso will need to be cleared out and access made for the cockpit and pilot.  That will probably be the part that takes the longest.

Pics will come once I start construction and painting.  If you'd like to see what the full kit looked like when FCY still had them; you can follow this link here to his buildup.

While the shop gears up for this build, the Engineering department is toying with drawings for a Spider or Jenner.   Some of the guys on the line have expressed interest in a Kodiak, but with 2 Steiner Scout 'Mechs already on the wait line, I'm thinking that a light 'Mech or two may be a good addition to the DSEF Drop Deck.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Project-R Complete. (Reveal)

Reveal.  Project R complete.  (98% is close enough for Commander's work)

Reveal Video Linked here.

This was an amazing experience of learning and discovery.  I am both very happy with what I've accomplished and yet still see very many things I can do to make them better.  Practice practice practice.

My thanks go out to FCY for the hints and guidance.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Teaser pics

A little more to do, and then need to set up the final pics.. but a couple of teasers:

Wolf's Dragoons.

The Back:


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Project R - Final assembly and Painting commencing

The challenge with doing a kit like this is that I have to piecemeal the assembly.  I'm building it up and I'm not making this solely with the intention to kit it for future builds, which means I don't need to make replicable parts.  On the other hand, I do want to be able to have either spares or enough parts if I change my mind.   What that means is that I'm only duplicating the big parts and not the detail pieces.  Besides, I'm no Jimi, and I can't really do those detail parts well at all.

With that said, I've moved on to the final assembly.  I've pulled detail parts from several model kits I've got lying around.  Those little parts add levels of interest and a bit of less "big blocky anime" look.  It's something like the Knight Titans from GW, lots of little machine-like details.   I put the forward loading hooks on the torso at first because I wanted to break up that line, but it also makes sense, like tanks having tow eyes on their torso.  I mean, why not?  If you have a big 70 ton BattleMech, tell me you wouldn't use chains and hooks to haul out damaged Mechs or drag salvage away as well as carry them in the hands.  

Warning and rescue decals are spread around the machine in various places.  Again for the same reason.  I would like to put a radiation warning on the two back stacks but since I can't find a good decal for it, I'll just have to paint it.

I keep finding more little details I need to do on her.   I think that the last things I need to actually fabricate are the missile launch tubes for the torsos.  All I need are inserts out of 1 or 2 mm sintra to drop in, and if I do them like boxy drop-ins, then they'll stay true to the aesthetic and be duplicable.    With the doors closed, it's not that big a deal, but since I made them able to be opened, I need to have that bit of detail done. I thought about making large laser housings for the arms as well, but I might do that for a different Archer.  As a side note, having laser housings for torso mounted lasers would be interesting to do, but I have to consider the angle of the projectors.   Add that to the Archer wishlist too.

Once that is finished, then all I have left is to paint the final weathering, chipping and battle damage, as well as finishing off the cockpit details.  I got started but I want to have the legs be a bit more beat up than they are.  Possibly, there should be some more on the forearms as well.  Like most models of this sort, I figure there will be quite a bit of weathering off and on, here and there, until I'm finally happy with it all.

I will be honest, this has been quite the project, and I'm thinking I'm a little bit happy with it.  The engineering came out better than I thought, and while I'm finding that I learned a great deal about how these things all work, I like how I solved some of the problems I came up against, while also staying true to the main design drawing.  It's one thing to kitbash a model up from nothing to something that can be whatever, but this is the first time that I've pretty much taken a drawing and built up from that drawing to a finished product.

Yep, I see a lot that I would do differently, but it's all about learning, and being happy with the result of the learning.  Sometime I'd love to get a kit to the point where FCY would ask to take it, polish it and kit it.  That's a long way off, but it's a good goal to have.  As it is, I'm somewhat happy with what I've been able to do.  Next up will be Prometheus, and then another complete custom build while I paint and build one of my Steiner Scout 'Mechs.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Project R. Camo'd

I like the way the camo works.  Much better than just the base blue.  Now I can set to putting on the details, decals and the rest of the parts, and then weather the heck out of it.

Happier now. 

Project R. Starting to come together.

I finally have the Archer to the assembly stages. I had a couple of the rubber bushing sets that I could use for the legs and that meant I could leave it poseable.  That made me happy.   I also magnetized the shoulder so the arms have mobility as well.  I would have preferred ball-and-socket joints, but I don’t have any of them on hand.  I’ll try to get some so I have a stock to pull from should the need arise in the future.  FCY swears by them and uses them often.   The last bits to make still are the shoulder armor “pauldrons” and then the top Medium-laser turret.   Those are basically just add-on pieces though, which leaves me to get chewing on putting it all together and then starting the hard part:  Painting. 

That part makes me ask the question: Is it arrogance or idiocy (or just bad writing) that causes a famous Mercenary Leader to paint his BattleMech with a colo rscheme that is Blue and frakkin' gold!?  I started to work on giving the Archer the base coat and I really, really, really hate the way it looks.  The more I look at it, the more I hate it. Yeah, I know I still only have the base coat on and I haven't yet finished making it all uniform, but I still hate it. 

I was partway through this whine, trying to figure out how I can add some better realism and look to the design and it struck me, the description of the 'Mech happens twice in Wolves on the Border, but I don't recall having read more of it.  I'm sure there were in other books that I haven't read, but since I haven't read much past the first Trial of Refusal, and the raid on Strahna Mechty, I'm going to go with what I have.  So.  The description is simple: "Distinctive Blue and Gold."  

So why not Blue camo?  I am thinking of going with a blue/light blue/grey or black camo scheme instead of just straight blue.  I figure that will help break up the lines on the mech, and help with making the paintjob look better.  Highlighting and shading will be more straightforward after that, and I have a feeling that the whole thing will end up looking more like a war machine much more than it would if I just went with straight blue and gold with highlights/shadows.  It might even be fun to put a gold/white/tan camo on the Yellow highlighted parts, just to pay back to the arrogance of the Leader of Wolf's Dragoons.  

I'm going to take one of the failed shin castings and try the camo spec on it and see what I think.  For now, this is how far Project R has come. 

Edited to add: camo options using Mechlab  Hmm.. I think I like the tigerstripe