Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Chimera's V-Fin

One of the things I didn't like about the Unicorn is its flimsy folding V-Fin.  I've heard horror stories from early Unicorn owners about how easily it can break if the kit happens to fall down from a table (that can be attributed to its weak double jointed ankles.).  This weakness however, won;t really matter afterward as you may see in a while.

I've made and customized V-Fins before, so this wasn't really much of a challenge.  I got two large-enough scrap pieces of 1.0mm plaplates, cut/trimmed/shaved them according to the shape I had in mind, taking note of the symmetry, and stuck them on the base of the single Unicorn horn.  I trimmed off the horn up the point shown.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Random Modifications

PG 00 Waist Modification

I've modified my PG 00's waist to add a little height to the torso. Like always I used 1.0mm plaplates for the armor sheets and beams for support and connectors.

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I also modified the Shoulder Fin so it won't obstruct the head movement.

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NG Astraea Waist Modification:

This is a modification similar to what Erix93 did to his Exia ( a few years back. Erix was actually one of the people who inspired me to do modifications. I've extended the modification to give the chest a swivel similar to that of the MG Exia. Trying to figure out where and how to cut the chest frame took longer than it did actually cutting the darned thing, mainly because I had to maintain the critical connective parts that would hold the shoulder joints, but also be able to put a pivot on the chest.

First off, I separated the lower waist from the abdominal section and mounted an aftermarket polycap cup/ball joint assembly. This will give the waist the much needed articulation for a dramatic pose.

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Then I did major surgery to separate the chest parts into manageable sections so I can add the swivel/pivot on the chest. I used an 8mm tube and 5mm round beam for the swivel mechanism, then plaplates to secure and reinforce the sections.

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Here is the modified chest, in a part-by-part assembly.

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Articulation test.

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I've uploaded a descriptive video of the assembly, for those who asked.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


UPDATE:   While checking my stats, I chanced upon a web search for my blog title, and within it, my original WIP at ZeroG for the infinity.  I believe I am encountering the same problems now as I did back then, so I might refer to the modifications I did with that one.  I believe that that WIP also made me shy away from using putty because of how messy it can be, but, I might try using Selley's, which is what DonC has been using and highly recommend.

Check it out HERE.


I was rummaging in my surplus parts stash when I found the Vfin I designed for my very fist attempt at full modification I codenamed Infinity about a couple of years ago.  I abandoned the project, which was a bastardized 00, which I bought as soon as I saw it at STC Makati.  That kit later on became part of my 00Q kitbash along with my first Exia (which was also the first kit I bought when I restarted my collection 3 years ago).  That kitbash project, coincidentally, got abandoned as well because I sensed the arrival of both the 1/144 and MG 00Q months apart.

I'm starting to see a pattern with my abandoned projects, which I would keep to myself. But I digress.

What prompted this Gundam-related post within my Gunpla-hiatus (I have one every year after every major build so it seems) is the Vfin design for the Infinity project.  I dug my old sketch of the Infinity posted deep within my Photobucket account, only because I realized something when I saw the actual Vfin amongst the multitude of parts.  This was that sketch.

And this was the Vfin mounted on the head.

And this is the 00Q Prototype from a screen shot, a couple of years after.

With a few exceptions, I realized my design of the Infinity had an uncanny resemblance to the 00QP, which is not really far fetched since I did base the design from the 00 as well.

On that note, I'm restarting the Infinity Project after the holidays (or probably sooner).  The project will have 3 Gundams; the Alpha, the Omega and the Infinity, complete with back story.  As I have conceptualized it more than 2 years ago when I got the 1/100 00, it will be set 20 or so years into the future of the current 00 era, after both the 00 and Exia R2 got hammered.  Celestial Being will reconstruct the Exia and ditch most of the 00.  The new Exia will later be renamed Infinity, and will be the MOST powerful Gundam in all of Gundamverse, making the God Gundam's Shining Finger feel like a pin prick, and the Unicorn's and Sinanju's psycho frames sane (just to annoy UC fans; all in good fun guys).

So as not to get scooped since I told a couple of people about the concept, back then, and just a few hours ago, Celestial Being went underground after the Infinity's trial run where a new Unified Earth Government, unaware of the existence Infinity, killed almost everyone in Celestial Being and destroyed their resources.  Only Ian, Halleluja, Setsuna and Noriega was left, with Setsuna rescuing Noriega from a vengeful Billy (he became nuts somewhat) and escaping with the Infinity.

They lost contact with Ian and Halleluja (who was experiencing a resurgence of a deadlier, crazier Allelujah) for 5 years until Ian discovered the two Astraeas (I'll get into the nitty-gritty of the lore later on), reunited them.  By that time, Noriega is 8 months pregnant with Setsuna's triplets.  Soon after they were reunited, Hallelujah snapped, killed Setsuna and himself in a blind rage over some old issue when he pushed the former to their deaths. 

Meanwhile in those 5 years, the UEG gained full control of global power, both in resources and have developed powerful new mobile suits based on the Masurao, GN-X and Reborns.  With the Earth in control, the Space Colonies have little or no resources to resist, and no Celestial Beings to intervene.

Fast forward 15 years.  The UEG, for the first time in two decades, will face the New Celestial Being Gundams.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Poll: Which should I build?

I'm still on "break," though that doesn't necessarily mean I don't have Gunpla in my mind.  I have been "fixing" my PG 00 (it's not damaged or anything) and will eventually post something about it later on, along with nicer shot pictures of the Chimera and the Angelus.  My place is still quite a mess and I haven't really cleaned up too much, at least not enough to do a decent shoot.

So, I'll try a "speculative poll," as to what I should build next.  No matter how I try, I just don't have the speed of DonC in building these things, but, who knows?  I might get hit by lightning and gain powers of hyperspeed, which can come rather useful in speeding up my modifications.  I might get an AB early next year, and might even start auctioning off certain projects or accept commissions.

On to the poll, the choices are:

1:60 Masurao/Susanowo
1:100 Turn X
1:100 Gerbera Tetra
1:60/1:100 Arche Gundam
1:100 00Q Prototype
An entirely new design
Cast your vote now!

(Note the above is JUST a list of the choices, the actual poll is at the top right of this page).


The Gerbera Tetra had an early lead a couple of days into the poll, but was just recently overtaken by 00Q Prototype, followed closely by the Gerbera tied surprisingly with the Masurao. 

1:60 Masurao/Susanowo
  12 (20%)
1:100 Turn X
  5 (8%)
1:100 Gerbera Tetra
  12 (20%)
1:60/1:100 Arche Gundam
  7 (11%)
1:100 00Q Prototype
  14 (23%)
An entirely new design
  9 (15%)

30 more days, still a lot more time to cast your vote.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Directionality of Plastics Part II

Note:  Read this ONLY if you are interested in trivial matters because this is a long one.

David D, from Canada, asked:

Interesting post. Though this brings up relevant which is, how you test the directionality of the plastic without bending it like you did? And what about curved surfaces? I guess those have to have directionality as well, but in that case, should we send along the curve or the direction of the plastic. Just wondering.

(This was one of the comments from DoP Part I)

To which I replied:

One can't really test for directionality using any other method, but, for molded thermoplastics especially curved surfaces, it's always safer to assume it's along the line of the longer curve. Most modern kits, specifically the PS armors, have more panel lines inside than out. I believe those are placed there to increase the strength of the molded plastic rather than for show.

Also, plastic can be molded from one gate, but, why do we have molded parts injected in two to four places? The logic behind that to distribute the directionality in several places instead of one. Polystyrene Sheets (plaplates) are perfect examples of this directionality, since they're fed in one direction and thus the plastic's molecules orient themselves in that direction as well.

Now, the issue came up because the "expert" thought I said to sand it along the grain of the plastic, when I said no such thing. Regardless, in my experience, I always sand in one direction as much as I can, and that's along or parallel the seam or longest edge (even with curved surfaces). Since I also do progressive sanding, any deep scratches can be eliminated by the process and the primer should cover the rest.

Pardon the color coded text, as I do not want to be misquoted nor misquote anyone.

This subject is quite trivial since most modelers don't really care about stuff like this.  Let's just say I prattle on with regards to this because I simply cannot stand people who accuse me of spreading misinformation because what I know goes beyond what they know or have read from a book.  As such, what I know based on actual observation is being challenged by what another knows academically, so, please do note that what I said above is an educated guess on my part based on observation, in this case, how gates are positioned on molded plastic parts.

To wit:

From Chapter 7, Page 147 "Thermoplastic Mold Design," Bayer Material Science website, specifically on Sprues, Runners and Gates and how they are located into the design of a mold.

Gate position can have a direct impact on part moldability, performance, appearance, and cost. The location of the gate determines the filling pattern and maximum material flow length. Ideally the gate would be positioned to balance filling and minimize flow length, typically near the center of the part or at strategic intervals for multi-gated parts. Often these best gate locations for filling are unacceptable for other reasons. For example, they might result in unsightly gate marks or weld lines in cosmetic areas, or increase mold construction costs. Cavity layout restrictions and mechanisms in the mold such as slides or lifters may also restrict gating to less-than-ideal locations. The best gate position is often a compromise between molding ease and efficiency, part performance and appearance, and mold design feasibility. The Design Engineering Services Group at Bayer Corporation has the experience and resources to assist you in choosing the optimum gate locations.

Gate position determines the filling pattern and resulting flow orientation. Plastics typically exhibit greater strength in the flow direction. Glass-fiber-filled plastics can often withstand more than twice the level of applied stress in the flow direction as in the cross-flow direction. Keep this in mind when choosing gate locations for parts subjected to mechanical loads. When feasible:

Position gates to direct filling in the direction of applied stress and strain.

Emphasis mine.  Now, even without Thermoplastic Injection Molding background, or a degree in thermoplastic injection for that matter, why do I know this fact?  Does that mean I was pulling things out of thin air, or does molded thermoplastic indeed have directionality?

I'm not an expert on the matter, but working on and with molded and sheet plastics gave me a lot of time to observe their properties.  Looking at gated parts on runners, for example, modelers often complain why such gates are placed at such awkward locations.  Gates are located not to annoy modelers and hobbyists.  Those gates are placed there to exploit the inherent directionality of plastics as they are injected into molds (aside from balancing the distribution of the plastic being injected). 
The above text explains just that, and it came from reliable and credible source. Something a so-called "expert" should know off the bat.

Additional resources:

The second resource has illustrations and is more concise, and practically confirms most of the presumptions I've had before, like rib (reinforcement) placements in parts that require them.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Black Red, and Gold!

The expert who didn't want to argue is still arguing about the difference of injection molded plastics and sheet plastic when I've reiterated it had no bearing in the discussion, and the one who claims to be ignoring me and my posts is checking out my blog.

Kewl.  I've always known that guy was too insecure for his own good.  I don't often talk about issues like these on my blog, not that I don't consider them any less important, but there are times that even I run out of patience or get annoyed with the very same type of people.  I'm still human after all.

Anyways, Murphy's starting to rear his ugly head as I enter the final leg of the build and, I realized the grainyness of the metallics are quite reduced if I don't layer them with black or another color.
Here's the shield of the Angelus.  The gold stands out quite nicely against the black and red.  The "Stringy" texture is done by scribbling lines using Technical pen over Flat Black.  The India ink dries semi gloss.  It's one of those techniques I discovered quite by accident back in the days I was drawing/coloring heavily on paper (there weren't computers or Adobe for that matter).  I'd often use ink over flat black poster color, and sometimes, through an overshoot of dexterity or being too careful, I'd overshoot my target line and into the flat black.  Later I realized it could be used to my benefit, as you see now.

I made a few mistakes removing the mask and the red edges are quite uneven.  I might be able to fix those with clear red enamel later on.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Directionality of Plastic

Does plastic have grain or directionality?

Looking back a bit, there was someone from one forum who disagreed with me as to whether or not the LED modules that came with the MG Exia IM can be disassembled or not in order to replace the LEDs with that of another color. He said they can't be disassembled, vehemently stating it as a note (because I was supposedly being ignored), whereas I demonstrated that it can be disassembled, with pictures.

Sadly, for one other guy in that same forum, this is one of those cases where one contest what I say in the context of his "expertise."  I'm not saying he doesn't know anything or what he said was wrong, nor do I contest what he has said in the context of thermoplastics, but, I'm saying he doesn't know what I know through experience, and I simply won't say anything here or anywhere just because I feel like it. When I say something, you can be sure it's not hogwash.

I am currently reworking the Wings of the Angelus, and this gave me an opportunity to prove my point and that I am not spreading misinformation or making things up.  The issue came up when I posted something about the sanding process to remove seams (i.e., my presanding method).  What I said was "treat the direction of the seamline as if it was grain of wood,"  and the guy came in, guns ablaze, with his knowledge of thermoplastic and degree in engineering and that plastic has no grain.  To quote him:

"Really sorry to have to say this, but this post is filled with misinformation. As a person who has created injection molding and studied material properties for an engineering degree I can happily say this without any caveats."

I have engineering background as well and familiar with materials and structures.  I don't mention that fact often because it doesn't really matter in most cases in my line of work (I'm a Graphic Designer and Creative Consultant by profession).  In this case, however, the guy had to qualify what he was saying with his degree and basically said he was an expert and I was lying.

Plastic has directionality, if not grain (though by definition, grain indicates directionality so his point is moot), as a result of the direction they flow into while being extruded as well as how they settle into the molds. This directionality is obvious with those uneven tones that form around a gate. The reason why you see gates at odd places, sometimes smack in the middle of a part, is to prevent that directionality allowing the plastic to spread into different directions instead of one.

This directionality is more obvious with sheet plastic, like plaplates.

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The example above is a 0.5mm thick high impact sheet, also known as polystyrene sheet or plaplates (the more expensive branded type) to most. The green arrows indicate the folds I made, whereas the red indicates the directionality. Since the piece is small, note that even though I folded the sheet in one particular angle 90 degrees of the other, the sheet still broke at that red line. Is thist an indication of grain or directionality, or was I spreading misinformation just because a certain thermoplastic "engineer" didn't know this rather obvious property of plastic? 

I reiterate, I am not saying what he said with regards to thermoplastic was wrong.  What I am saying is he doesn't know what I know, based on my experience and, as demonstrated here.

Here's another example, bent in multiple directions. You can clearly see the directionality of the plastic here by looking at how the ridges formed close to breaking point.

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I exploit this directionality when doing scratch builds and reinforcing fixes.  Logically, I sand in the direction of the length of the part, or along the seamline because it's easier to sand that way.

What annoyed me and prompted this blog post (as well as reply to that subject in the forum) was his patronizing tone and basically calling me a liar.

Hi MatX, looks like you're up for an argument. I'm not. I'm glad you have a lot of experience with gundam, but its a bit world out there, and thermosetting plastic has particular properties which have little in common with your descriptions. If you don't actually know about something... you shouldn't just make it up, you're just misinforming people who come here for help. Best of luck.

Copied and pasted verbatim.  He called me a liar, then, wished me luck.  He wasn't up for an argument, but started one.  It is a big world out there, and my profession exposes me to more than just Gundams.  I could have taken what he said with a grain of salt, pun intended, but I believe he should study the actual plastic more than just the process he got a degree on.

Directionality of Plastics Part II

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


No, I'm not talking about that song by Spandau Ballet.  I still have more than half a can of Gold 351 from last year's Ronin build and that's what I used here to create a stark contrast from the main color scheme and accents. The small one was the prototype I did a few weeks back, and instead of making it a "museum piece" as I have mentioned before, I decided to use it for the final build since the gosh darn thing is difficult to sculpt on 1.0mm plate and I'm not sure If I have enough time to sculpt another one.. It took me a good half day to do the larger one for the shield, and despite the small difference in scale/size, it was much easier to cut and shape.

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Things of beauty, aren't they?

Anyways, I'm getting an itch to rebuild the Angelus wings because of weight and articulation issues, but I'll tackle that today along with a rather "simple" diorama. I'm procrastinating again, mainly because I have finished the major painting obstacles for both kits. All I really need to do are the panel wash for the Angelus.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mishaps, Contemplation and More Kossute Magic

As the BACWC draws near and most everyone are doing the finishing touches on their entries, I've also slowed down a bit from painting especially with the weather changing like a woman who can't make her mind which donut to pick.  In my experience, I've been able to "sense" the weather changes and adjust how I paint parts.  The good thing about painting with cans is one can work quickly even with layered colors because of their fast drying properties and most primer-based paints like the Flat Black I adore so much doesn't really care what kind of weather there was (or for that matter, what mood I was in).  With flat black, my layering works still, but with longer drying times since I was going for a smooth finish instead of textured this time off. 

I've had a few mishaps, but, nothing I can't handle.  I've finished the Chimera in less than week, considering that painting that monstrosity was a PAIN to begin with with all the parts interlocking with each other.

Anyways, most people think my entry consists only of the Chimera Diorama, but, to some, it should come as no surprise that the Angelus hopefully will also ascend this weekend.  My previous blog entry, the Sinanju cables, was the clue that I'm cooking up more than just one mythical beast.

It seems that my itch turned rash turned zombie infection of a build called the Chimera superseded the Glory of the Angelus, but I was actually deciding if I'll simplify the Angelus wings further.  While deciding (after completing the Chimera's paint job), I did start painting the Angelus, almost with disastrous results.  The shield basically disintegrated before my eyes as paint trial upon paint trial just wouldn't work.  The red bled through the paint mo matter what I did. I even layered both flat black, and primer gray to shield the white paint (Bosny 40 White and Flat White) to no avail, so, Instead of ruining my momentum and wasting any more paint, I realized I should use that to my advantage.  I shan't be showing the booboo turned "innovation" just yet, though.

Also, I've got a few "negative" reactions from some people about the Chimera's chosen scheme (Owing that I was using the same Nickel Alloy) paint, but, hopefully, they'll change their minds later on.  Sufficed to say, the Angelus and the Chimera, both being mythical creatures, have similar schemes with different accents.

Anyways, here are a couple of snapshots of the Angelus' main back pack frame, painted with the usual flat black then enhanced with Kosutte.  To achieve the effect on the thruster bells, I masked the outer then painted the inner of the bell with my layered red combo.  I left the outer plastic bare and progressively sanded the surface (400-500-2000) for the Kosutte to give it that "almost-metal" shine everyone likes.

I mentioned before that all will be revealed on the 5th of November (as a post-dated entry), but I misread the details of the submission regarding the dates.  Deadline for emailing is on the 3rd, actual submissions on the 5th and 6th, NOT the 4th and 5th as I originally thought.  I originally set it on the 5th because I though that was the second day of submission, and Kisapmata offered me a ride on that date.  Worse case scenario is I will have to submit on the 6th to maximize my build time, because I still don't have a diorama to speak of.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zaku/Sinanju Cables Quick Sanding Tip

 (Note: I'm not sure if anyone else does it this way, but this is the same method I used more than a year ago with my first Sinanju.)

If you've ever built a Zaku or a Sinanju, I share your pain in sanding the nubs off the teeny tiny cable modules. Here's a quick way of sanding and painting those buggers.

Get a runner stem with a diameter small enough to fit the Cable module and long enough to fit at least three rows (12 pcs). If the runner stem is too thin, wound enough tape around it so that the module will fit snugly and won't slide freely while mounted on the runner, but not too tightly to allow it to slide enough for distance adjustments.

These modules are often cut at angles so they form a "closed" cable around curved sections. Use this to your advantage by aligning them opposite one another (see picture). Once done, cut the rest of the nubs as close as possible and sand the rest away including minute mold lines that become more visible after painting.

When you're satisfied with the sanding results, separate the modules a bit in preparation for painting and paint away. The tape "holds" the modules just enough for it not to slide off while you're painting them.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Chimera Borne Part IX

Clawed.  The storm came in as I added the finishing touches to the main kit.  I felt the weather change as the temperature dropped and the wind started to blow, taking with it much of the humidity that accumulated.  I'm glad that the sudden change did not affect the curing paint, as I really don't want to redo anything.  I've had a few mishaps and misfires which I have easily fixed, and I've noticed that I could work faster with cans even with the changing weather.  I screwed up the shield earlier since I used a paint that smelled like Tamiya Basic Putty and dried/cured just as slow, so I had to forego the effect I was going for with that paint.

Anyways, another snippet.  I decided to sharpen the Lion Claws, for maximum effect and consistency with the Dragon Blade and Ram Daggers.

I also had the idea of making the claws independent from each other for that middle finger action, but decided against it because of stability issues.


More sneak pics...

Just in case you're wondering, the pictures are in duotone, and do not represent the actual colors of the kit.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Chimera Borne Part VIII


As the days pass me by,
with Bosny getting me high
I look back to the itch
that started this all.

The deadline looms so close
and I continually scratch my nose
I stop every now and then
And my build comes to a crawl.

I'm almost well and done
and sure do I have fun
but somehow something seems
to make my body stall.

With still a ways to go
there is no way to know
I got to answer that
one last delaying call.

Here's how a jumble of painted parts looks like.

I sure do dig RED.

And here's the RAM SHIELD,

Which should give you an Idea of the color scheme.  As of this post, only the feet, hands and the scratch0built, er, backpack, remain unpainted.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Chimera Borne Part VII

The mods are 90-95% complete, then it's off to painting and the diorama. I'll say again that this has been the most challenging project I've tackled as of yet. I'll be very "tame" in painting this. I won't be posting any more full updates, but a few snippets every now and then. I'll keep the major scratch-build under wraps until November 5. For the meantime, here's a sneak peek.

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What a jumble of parts prepped for painting looks like.

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Some of the modified parts. The Ram shield is now lightly detailed.

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The modified back pack. This one is a simple modification to fit the polycap attachments. The plaplates are added to "lock" the modifications in place when the pack is assembled

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Monday, September 27, 2010

The Chimera Borne Part VI

I've finished the Lion Claws and have begun sanding the parts. This is also the first time I've employed wet sanding with 2000 grit paper and I'm quite amazed how it actually helps smooth the plastic, giving it back its factory shine.

I've only one minor modification to do, and it's painting time, during which, I will do a major scratch build that will complete the Chimera. I intentionally made it the last build of the project since the Chimera can stand without it, just in case I ran out of time while doing the diorama.

Carbonized. I've done the "carbon metal" look with the Jinx and was quite satisfied with how it turned out, so I decided to employ this on the frame of the Chimera, as well as the weapons.

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To achieve this, I used my all-around paint of choice Bosny Flat Black. This paint is rather versatile since I can use it both as a primer and base coat. I'm not too fond of glossy or semi-glossy blacks anyways, so this one is a mainstay in my armory. I then used the magic powder Kosutte Gin San, which I believe if highly refined graphite. The stuff is rather sticky to the touch, but gives most anything that metallic silvery look or mirror-like finish, depending on the surface you're working on.

Applied lightly over flat black with a cotton swab, the powder gives a cast-metal/carbon metal effect without polishing. I tried this technique with the Ram Daggers with a bit of polishing.

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The result is good enough for me, with that textured metal, but, I felt I needed to enhance the blade a bit further, like so.

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I've given the "sharpened" edge a mirror-like finish in contrast with the textured metal look. I'll keep this technique a secret for the meantime and post it after the BAKWC, though I believe there are guys out there who probably have an idea how this was done.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Chimera Borne Part V

Rammed. It's been bugging me that I needed to have a Ram head somewhere. Looking at the shield gave me a rather nice idea (then it was later confirmed by someone else), to place the Ram on the shield. The holes does make it seem there's a face there somewhere, and all it really took was adding a couple of horns and voila!

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I've also modified the Shield attachment for a hand-held look.

Clawed. I actually had this idea after the Lion head modification, but wasn't quite sure if it would work at all. I've seen some claw modifications elsewhere, and I didn't really want to spend too much time trying to figure out how it would look like or how I'll execute it because I wanted something retractable without making it overly huge.

Again, with plaplate sandwich magic, I made claws arranged in a way that it should just cover the back of the Chimera's hand. I've also modified the hand plate to reduce the thickness I have to contend with. It's a good thing that the pegs are also secured to the side of the hand plate, making it easy to maintain connectivity and stability of the pegs.

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Test fit.

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And These Came in the Mail

Rather, I had these sent to my school since I was on an off-site training.  Bosny Philippines has once again graciously sent me free...