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> Mangozac scratchbuilds: Centurion Mecha, Finally he's finished doing BFG stuff...
Mangozac
post Jan 22 2012, 08:20 PM
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Hi WAU, it's been a while since I did a project log over here. But I'm chuffed with my latest flurry of progress on this one and wanted to share, both for gushing and for (hopefully mainly) some constructive feedback. The latter reason might be difficult, since I'm just kind of winging this; more on that later.

So a little over a year ago I decided to start building a 28mm mecha model that was part dieselpunk, part 40k, with the intention of releasing it as a resin kit. It was a style I wanted to have a go at (as opposed to the clean ultra-futuristic Tau mecha stuff I had worked on in the past) and I figured a few people would want to use it as a Knight Titan stand-in.

The project got off to a nice start but a couple of months in it got shelved. I don't quite remember why, although the influx of BFG commissions didn't help. Oh and work got really busy. And having a girlfriend sucks away hobby time (single again - woohoo!). Anyway after getting the last in a line of BFG scratchbuild projects finished I decided I'd had enough of stupidly small details and turning up 1mm diameter gun barrels on my lathe and would get back to some 28mm modelling. Ahh what a breath of fresh air!

Now I consider myself pretty good at scratchbuilding, however I know what my talents are and drawing is not one of them. At the outset of the project I did have a couple of attempts at sketching up designs but let's just say they were worse than atrocious. I mean they kind of conveyed basic forms but really there wasn't enough information to reference for the build so I scrapped them. I figured I've had enough experience at this stuff I'll just wing it and design as I go. That's not to say I didn't have basic mental ideas for the design; general proportions, configurations, etc. I looked at a lot of Warmachine Warjack models and concept art as inspiration, along with the awesome work of Luca Zampriolo (Kallamity)

Before the project got shelved I had the leg designs 75% done. All that was left was detailing and finishing. I'm going to dump a bunch of randomly selected pictures of the progress to that point without any explanations. Feel free to ask questions.

IPB Image IPB Image IPB Image

IPB Image IPB Image IPB Image

IPB Image

Last year I bought myself a small Chinese CNC router so my model making process is now a combination of 3D modelling, vector drawing, CNC machining, turning shapes on my lathe and good old traditional pushing putty around (Milliput is still the putty of choice). The CNC routing I generally use in just a 2.5D mode, drawing parts in Inkscape and then cutting them out in styrene sheet. It facilitates beautiful geometric shapes that would simply take far too much time to cut/file/sand manually. For example the tread on the sole of the foot was all cut on the router:

IPB Image

The lathe has become an indispensable piece of equipment in my scratchbuilding quiver, to the point that I don't know how anybody else does without it! I could never turn something up by sticking it in a dremel again! It's an old Sherline miniature lathe that I scored for AU$90 a couple of years back. You can read more about it and some of the mods/attachments I've donehere. The CNC machining of many pieces meant that some degree of the model has been drawn up digitally, either before or after it was physically built. So I guess I did do some pre-design/concept work...

Once the parts are nearing completion I hit them all with a coat of Mr Surfacer 500. It's a fine putty/primer that's great for both filling small gaps/nicks/flaws in the master parts, but the primary objective is to get all of the parts a uniform colour (rather than the random mix of white styrene, green-y Milliput and grey Tamiya putty, plus pencil lines, grey Kotobukiya parts, etc.), which help immensely in getting an overall feel for how the parts are actually looking. If being real hard core one would do this a couple of times for each part, but I'm too lazy for that - it takes a lot of stuffing around setting up the airbrush (and more so cleaning it afterwards). Here's a shot of the primed parts:

IPB Image

Actually, a lot of that primer gets sanded back as all of the little flaws are repaired. Oh also note the yellow tape around the large cylindrical hip joints of the upper legs. It's just Tamiya masking tape and it's there to prevent damage to the nice crisp edges as I much around carving and sanding the thigh armour plates.

The thigh armour plate banding as seen in one of the earlier WIP shots was deemed too thick and thus replaced with some beautiful CNC cut pieces in 0.5mm styrene. I simply laid the parts on a scanner, scanned and scaled the parts to 100% in Inkscape and then drew up the new banding. 5 Minutes with the CNC router and I have perfectly formed new banding ready to be glued on armata_PDT_34.gif

So this weekend's distinct lack of lack of social or other engagements meant that I had a wonderful weekend of modelling and have now got something serious to show for it. All of the leg components (excluding the knee armour plate) have been moulded and duplicated in resin and the hips/pelvis are well under way.

Next we have the photographic proof of an assembled set of resin components. They assemble very easily with a few drops of super glue. Some of the moulds have a couple of small bubble air issues so I'm cutting wider/extra air channels into them, but these test parts are still a little bubbly. And have some more-than-slight mould slip in areas. None of this will be an issue for production moulds.

IPB Image

Note that the left leg isn't attached to the pelvis - the hip piece will be a duplicate of the right leg hip piece (so I only need to master the one).


Dammit pic limit!


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Mangozac
post Jan 22 2012, 08:20 PM
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Continuing on...

The next shot shows what the leg looks like side on - pretty much the same as it always has, I know, but everything looks better in monotone grey resin. Also included is a shot of the foot showing the resulting tread pattern - very happy with how this turned out!

IPB Image

And finally we have a montage of the pelvis progress. It's kind of hard to see in this state, especially with the ball joint sections made from clear perspex. The ribbed hoses are a great product from Dragon Forge Design. Although I assume they are just casts of regular wound guitar strings, being pewter they are so easy to bend into the desired shape and they stay there! Seriously anybody doing any kind of scratchbuilding or even just conversions should get some!

IPB Image

And that brings us up to date pretty much to the minute. Planing to get the pelvis done over the next week - it's just a process of packing in more details, and then I'll run around with some Milliput and fill in all the gaps. And then prime it to check for uniformity before casting. The hip piece I'll cast at the same time as the knee armour panel (I'm still contemplating whether to add more features to the knee armour), but I've got to wait for some styrene hex rods (for bolt heads) to arrive before I can finish the hip.

I have to say, any reservations I have had about this project have well and truly evaporated following the assembly of the resin parts like this! I'm really excited about where it's going! Once the hip is completed and cast I'll be able to start playing with torso mockups made of clay - I've got some cool ideas for that too!

Thanks for reading, feedback is always appreciated!


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cmdr_roy
post Jan 22 2012, 09:06 PM
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I hate you.

Also:

QUOTE
Having a girlfriend sucks away hobby time (single again - woohoo!).

#bestfuture

This post has been edited by cmdr_roy: Jan 22 2012, 09:06 PM


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Comrade
post Jan 23 2012, 12:12 AM
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+1 to the general hatred. The legs are looking fantastic.


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Dr.McNinja
post Jan 23 2012, 03:46 AM
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I remember!

Very excited.


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jas
post Jan 23 2012, 06:35 AM
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Nice work Zac!
What's your thoughts for the top half? Is going to be arms holding weapons or weapons instead of arms? Is it going to have a head, sunken head, no head?
I really like the legs so can't wait to see where this is going.


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Mangozac
post Jan 23 2012, 07:50 AM
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Thanks guys. You know you're accomplished when you start generating hatred like this wink.gif

QUOTE(jas @ Jan 23 2012, 06:35 AM) *

What's your thoughts for the top half? Is going to be arms holding weapons or weapons instead of arms? Is it going to have a head, sunken head, no head?

Good questions and indeed something I have given though to.

Personally I'm a big fan of weapons arms (either the weapon attached directly to the shoulder or the weapon in place of the forearm, I'll probably go with the former), but the issue I always have with those kind of designs is that what happens when the mecha needs to handle something? Sometimes you need a little more delicacy than just blowing away obstacles! One solution to this is going original XV8 Tau battlesuit style where the weapons mount onto the arms and then rotate out of the way when the hands need to be used, but I feel that to limit the styling too much.

My preferred solution is to go with a second set of manipulator arms mounted lower on the torso. They're generally pretty weedy in comparison to the main weapons arms and intended solely for light duty tasks. Although it looks cool when the manipulator arms are holding (and using) an infantry heavy weapon too wink.gif

The head I'm not sure about yet, it will largely depend on what I do with the front of the torso. Will likely be very small and slightly sunken. I'm contemplating the idea of a simple optics suite covered with a Spartan style helmet, even if it is a bit stereotypical.

The big trick will be working out where to fit the cockpit, which I do plan to build (and sculpt a pilot). Will probably just have the front armour panels clamshell open. The back will be home to a big reactor looking system and associated exhaust and cooling ancillaries. Weapons will be a single big, long barrelled F off cannon and maybe a missile pod on the other side. Depending on how I feel at the end of the project I might do other weapons options later. I guess I'd have to do a CC weapon arm option too...


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jas
post Jan 23 2012, 10:59 AM
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Sounds sweet dude. For a suggestion for the f off cannon, do you think something based on an oversized, exaggerated ratio MG42 with drum mags? It would give it an ol' skool look.
Can't wait, definately something I would like to paint up.

This post has been edited by jas: Jan 23 2012, 11:00 AM


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Mangozac
post Jan 23 2012, 01:35 PM
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Read into it what you like but I'm a big fan of single barrel, large bore, oversized cannons. I'd love to do something really over the top like Gundam Deep Striker, but alas I think that would be going too far for this kind of firing platform. I'm thinking something probably 1 to 1.5x the height of the model in length. Energy based so it doesn't need a giant magazine to hold shells.

But following your suggestion I really like the idea of a pair of giant, exaggerated MG42 sized guns with drum feeders. That would look pretty badass! I'll collect some more pictures of them for planning, but that's probably jumping the gun a little at the moment - I want to get a good start on the torso before too much weapons planning gets done wink.gif



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jas
post Jan 23 2012, 01:50 PM
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QUOTE(Mangozac @ Jan 23 2012, 01:35 PM) *

Read into it what you like but I'm a big fan of single barrel, large bore, oversized cannons. I'd love to do something really over the top like Gundam Deep Striker, but alas I think that would be going too far for this kind of firing platform.


Not really. Depends how you do it. Since the mech is supposed to be dieselpunk maybe give the gun some howitzer style fold-out girder legs at the rear and I think you could pull it off. I suppose the beauty of this project is in time you can model swap out armament.

Now hurry up and get building so I can paint one!!!


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Mangozac
post Jan 23 2012, 04:09 PM
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QUOTE(jas @ Jan 23 2012, 01:50 PM) *

Since the mech is supposed to be dieselpunk maybe give the gun some howitzer style fold-out girder legs at the rear and I think you could pull it off. I suppose the beauty of this project is in time you can model swap out armament.

Good idea, but still is effectively a large mod to the firing platform. For the meantime I'm going for a more mobile walker. Indeed can always do it as an option later on (way too much work for now!) wink.gif

My hex styrene rod just arrived so I can get the hip finished ASAP! Yay! But before I can mould it I need to finalise the knee armour...

Actually since you're stimulating such useful discussion I'll get your feedback on the knee armour too. You could see it in WIP form in this picture mounted to the leg, but here's some shots of the finished piece:

IPB Image

IPB Image

I'm happy with how it looks (really fond of the faux cast iron texture on the back), but feel like perhaps it should have some kind of extra detail. I guess I'm used to GW models which have all sorts of iconography sculpted in spots like that? I was tossing up concepts of either extending a piece of the banding from the top centre section down, or adding a tie down point like the tow hook in this picture.

Slight tangent: I'm loving the cannon and turret design from that same model. It would be almost perfect tacked onto the side of a model like my mecha!

Thoughts?


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jas
post Jan 23 2012, 04:51 PM
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Love the shackle idea but I would mount it on the lower part of the knee, leaving the majority of the plate bare, implying that the mech would be tied down on it's suspension.
As for the cannon, it lools a little modern but the dimensions are cool. I think some slight styling changes and it should work well. Muzzle brake?


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Arch_Magos_Kasen
post Jan 23 2012, 04:55 PM
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You are crazy talented. Glad to see you around here again making stuff smile.gif


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Mangozac
post Jan 23 2012, 05:08 PM
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QUOTE(jas @ Jan 23 2012, 04:51 PM) *

Love the shackle idea but I would mount it on the lower part of the knee, leaving the majority of the plate bare, implying that the mech would be tied down on it's suspension.

Ahh yeah that is what I intended. How important is it that the shackle be "poseable"? I.e. it's quick and easy for me to do it as an integral part of the armour plate (all cast as one piece), but it would have to sit flat against the armour and thus could not be posed to hang vertically based on the positioning of the leg. The other alternative is to have the shackle mounting point sculpted onto the armour and have the shackle itself as a separate piece.

If I start with shackles here then the entire model will need a bunch of them around the place so I could probably do the second version and supply a bunch of the shackles on a single sprue. Man the parts count keeps creeping up! dry.gif

QUOTE(jas @ Jan 23 2012, 04:51 PM) *
As for the cannon, it lools a little modern but the dimensions are cool. I think some slight styling changes and it should work well. Muzzle brake?

Yep that's what I meant by almost perfect wink.gif
Muzzle brakes are cool, but can detract from a large bore cannon style. Sketches may be in order!


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jas
post Jan 23 2012, 07:33 PM
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QUOTE(Mangozac @ Jan 23 2012, 05:08 PM) *

Ahh yeah that is what I intended. How important is it that the shackle be "poseable"? I.e. it's quick and easy for me to do it as an integral part of the armour plate (all cast as one piece), but it would have to sit flat against the armour and thus could not be posed to hang vertically based on the positioning of the leg. The other alternative is to have the shackle mounting point sculpted onto the armour and have the shackle itself as a separate piece.

If I start with shackles here then the entire model will need a bunch of them around the place so I could probably do the second version and supply a bunch of the shackles on a single sprue. Man the parts count keeps creeping up! dry.gif
Yep that's what I meant by almost perfect wink.gif
Muzzle brakes are cool, but can detract from a large bore cannon style. Sketches may be in order!


I mean muzzle brake in that 88 king tiger stylee not naff overdone 40k stylee.

As for the shackle I would think a separate shackle but modelled with the mounting points would be the go so you could use it on other points of the mech.


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Mangozac
post Jan 23 2012, 09:20 PM
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After brief googling of the King Tiger muzzle brake I do agree that is a cool style! Still we'll see how it pans out when I actually get to that stage wink.gif

Separate shackles will be the way to go. So basically there will be a sprue of U-shaped pieces that glue onto the intended mounting blocks about the model. I sized up some styrene rod and it looks like I'm going to have to pick up some 1.5mm stuff from Toyworld. I avoid buying the Evergreen styrene from them like the plague, since it's so ridiculously expensive, however for times like this when you don't want to wait around for mail orders it's really the only option.

For the record, I have rod in 0.5, 0.8, 1, 2 and 2.5mm; it's only the 1.5 that I'm missing!

I finished off the waist turntable base tonight by drilling holes and adding the hex rod bolt heads around the circumference of it. The small hex rod bolts look so much better than rivets! I also did a pass of puttying up all of the gaps on the pelvis.

IPB Image

I decided this morning that the cylinder between the hip piece and the ball on the pelvis was too long so I chopped it off and made up a new one about 2/5 of the length, which I think will work much better.

I went to start adding the 1.5mm width hex rod bolt heads to the recessed holes in the hip piece, but the 2mm holes don't leave quite enough gap around the bolt head for my liking. Although I think increasing the holes to 2.5mm diameter will work well, I'd a bit tentative and would like to try 2.2mm first. Unfortunately my new 0.1mm increment drill set is still in the post so I might not have a choice - I'll just do a test mockup on some scrap styrene tomorrow night before committing to the hip piece.

That's all for now!


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Kargan DaemonClaw
post Jan 24 2012, 10:39 AM
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I think you should go with an ED-209 style head with side by side weapon pods. Then you can sell alternate weapon layouts. The two mounts could also be use to form mouning points for a larger central weapon like a calliope rocket battery.
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Mangozac
post Jan 24 2012, 12:54 PM
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I'm personally not much of an ED-209 fan. And I'm going for a much more anthropomorphic style here. It's funny because when I was younger my preference was more for the less humanoid mechs from Battletech (i.e. the Madcat/Timberwolf). I guess that's because there wasn't much cool stuff in the way of humanoid mechs back then. Now it's more the other way (but I'm still not keen on Gundams).

The weapons hardpoints will be modular though so that different options can be fitted...


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Kargan DaemonClaw
post Jan 24 2012, 01:12 PM
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I wasn't much of a battle tech player but I remember the old marauder model had a sort of egg shaped body mounted on the horizontal axis.

The Mech from Falling skies also look like that with those freaky scanning lasers.
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Mr X
post Jan 24 2012, 01:17 PM
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Just wanting to say this looks amazing.
I'm hoping that when you get around to selling these things that you'd be willing to sell certain sections and not just the whole model. There would be so much conversion potential that way.


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