Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Angelus Rising Part IX: Powering up the MonoEye

While working on the Unicorn improvements I got a chance to finish ALL the painful engravings on the Angelus' armor, but kinda screwed up the shield.  Sufficed to say that I'll be fixing that.  I'll start working on the diorama this week, and hopefully my plans for the dio will pan out.

Alternatively, I've been thinking on how to power the Monoeye and decided on a rather simple setup.  Instead of building an external power pack, I opted to use the main back pack to encase the batteries.  I've used two of the second to the smallest batteries I have on stock (each is 2mm thick).  I built a battery case by sandwiching four ample-sized pieces of 1mm plaplates together and carving out the middle to fit the diameter of the batteries.  I then cemented 0.5 mm at opposite sides to enclose the case and drilled a small hole underneath to help push the batteries out. 

For contacts, I used metal wafers used in electronic circuits.  These nifty little buggers come with connector modules or can be purchased as is.  I simply mounted it on the 0.5mm plates by punching slits on the plates inserting the legs, and securing it by bending the legs.  The bent part become the contact points.

I then added 1.0mm wave springs (which I now prefer over kotobukiya springs because the latter have the tendency to rust over time), and simply encased the setup between and withing the back pack frame.  The only modification done in this case is removing one of the connector pegs to fit the battery pack.

I'm still deciding if I'll include a micro switch in the setup, or simply employ a contact assembly as it is now.

The Monoeye Wiring.  I decided to be neater with this build by hiding the wiring altogether.  Since the Angelus' head frame is actually small, there wasn't really enough room to maneuver the wiring if I have decided to use springs (as I have done with the Impaler).  It's a good thing I was forced to use thin wires here because I don;t have to worry about the wires coming into contact and causing a short circuit.  I let the wire run inside the head cavity towards the back of the head. 

There's enough space between the head frame and the head armor to let the wire run through freely without being stressed.

From there, I simply routed the wires into the neck frame into the chest cavity, then out the lower back, just below the back pack mount. When mounted, the back pack hides the wires coming out.  I'll be mounting 1.0mm springs over the wires at this point for consistency.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hobby Link Japan's "Playing with Plastic" Competition Winners

DonC already blogged about this, and we both didn't know till someone mentioned it to him, and till I visited the MAC Forums where he posted the results just a few minutes ago.

DonC won the Best Diorama category with The Graveyard, while I bagged the Best Modification Category with the Ice Queen.  I like how HLJ described the Ice Queen as "composed, cold and callous."

The second placers in both Diorama and Modifications were also impressive.  I don't really like the Overflag, but Hadi did a good job with the modifications.

Click HERE or the contest image above for the complete list of Winners.  HLJ's results page is more concise and descriptive, with the gallery of enties, so you might want to check that out too...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

More Itchy and Scratchy...

Like I mentioned previously, I cut the top part of the hind leg armor fins and reattached them "flayed out" to allow the free movement of the knee joint.

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The Unicorn now kneels more naturally, with the addition of the waist articulation and extension.

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With the waist comes the neck. I was trying to avoid having to extend the Unicorn's neck (to no avail), mainly because it's significantly smaller than the Sinanju's, and as i discovered later, had not much leeway for cement hold with a core extension even after a full day's curing (letting it cure for longer than that wouldn't have made any difference because the PS core simply had too little to hold onto the ABS base).

The solution: I shaved a V-shaped cut that tapers towards the plaplate sandwich extension (a total of 2mm thick). I then cemented a piece of plaplate of the same shape as the tapered cut. The taper helps hold the PS extension to the ABS along with that of the core. I also extended the neck casing with small pieces of shaped 0.5mm plaplates.

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I used the single Unicorn horn as the base for a smaller, simpler, custom Vfin (which I may or may not detail later).

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I've also lengthened the part that locks the back of the Unicorn in Destroy mode. It now serves as an articulation lock. Along with that, I've shortened the middle part of the waist that hampers waist rotation. The waist can actually rotate more than 90 degrees, similar to the improved OVA/HD version.

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Strike a pose...

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Sculpting" Plaplates

Plaplates. Those venerable sheets of plastic that we all use, have used or will use, here, now and again. Its versatility is bound only by the imagination of creator who wields the knife brave enough to cut it, and maybe a piece of flesh every now and then. People have cut it into pieces and recreated scale architectures, or have peppered armor with it till its almost bullet proof, repaired parts and and even built armor, made sandwiches good enough to eat (if one is hungry enough) with it, and whathaveyous from days on end.

My favorite part of a build is modifying or even repair work, so much I am starting to believe I break things just to get a chance to fix them, and with all these, the mighty yet humble plaplate reign supreme.

But today, I tackled something a bit different. Instead of deliberately finding things to fix, I made something instead. Like I mentioned a few posts before, I have redesigned the Sinanju's emblem to make it some of my own and have somewhat become overly ambitious. The Angelus emblem is more than a challenge to make, not because it's difficult to cut plaplates, but, difficult to cut in SMALL curved details.

I printed the design of the Angelus Emblem to scale, on paper, and as soon as I've seen the printed version, I knew I was in trouble. This one in particular is the chest emblem of the Angelus, so it's smaller and more tedious to work on.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Unicorn, Torsofied!

Adding the torso armor on the Unicorn was a bit tedious, mainly because I had to consider the articulation range I've given it. Incorrect armor placement will render the modification useless, so I had to build the armor in layers as well. I've test fitted the entire setup to gauge the proportion of the torso to the rest of the body.

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The modifications are far from done. Like this, the Unicorn's waist looks like that of Barbie's, so I will have to add volume later. The mod added a about 15mm and balanced the overall proportions. Even at Destroy Mode, it's still smaller than the Angelus.

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Also, New Ice Queen Photos added to the Gallery.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Itch is now a RASH!

(And this tutorial is ALMOST becoming a WIP).  I thought once I've done the knee mods I'll be done and over with this thing, but modifying the knees and putting it in kneeling position exposed the rather obvious proportionality flaws of the Unicorn (the main reason I didn't like it back then, just looking at the box art). Even at Unicorn mode, the lower legs are too long and the thighs are too short. Even putting the thighs in Destroy mode didn't compensate for the difference.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Itch. Par Deux...

As I contemplated the "simple" modifications I've made on the Unicorn's knees, what I told myself bugged me to no end. I HAD TO extend the leg/knee joint to further increase the angle.

I thought of two things I can do; modify the already modified knee case by extending it downwards and giving it a new swivel point. It seemed easy enough, but the gears in my head somewhat got stuck on an obvious drawback to the solution; the extension will be unstable.

So, I have no recourse but to perform more plastic surgery on the leg connection itself. The solution is simple, but the process on how to do it wasn't because I would have to cut through enough material for the pla plate rebuilding to hold on to the ring that the knee case attaches to, and maintain enough area at the base. Simply cutting it laterally won't do it considering the section where the knee psychoframe slides, and I pondered for an hour what to do because I would have to "cut deep." I also hope my measurements are enough to give me at least 20 degrees more.

I cut through the base laterally with a thin saw (transparent white) so I can get the ring intact with enough material underneath (red). I then sawed off the rest of the part along the base line (blue), but this can only be fully removed by drilling the base of the cut (yellow).

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When I Have an Itch...

...I Modify.  In this case, that wretched Unicorn vKa knee that had so limited an articulation they might as well have kept the darned thing in a fixed position.  This thing has been bugging me ever since I got that second half-built Unicorn.  After the ZeroGunz Unicorn/Astray Group Build officially started, I asked Rayloke if he planned to do any articulation modifications to the Uni's knees.  He can, and it is indeed possible, even from my perspective, but, he hadn't any plans to pose his build in a kneeling position, so, he didn't do any.

Even the OVA/HD version, which sported a darker ABS frame, was a disappointment, as if the "150%" increased articulation angle (from 60-75 to a full 90 degrees) was a big deal.

Armored Hindrance.  Assessing the knees (I have been doing this on an off for quite some time now), I've identified the obvious problem spots with the armor attached.  Those "calf fins" would definitely have to me modified.  But, instead of cutting it short, I decided to cut the upper section and make the fins "flay" out, like the twin rudders of the F22 raptor.  The protruding central knee will also have to be modified for it to move inside the flayed fins and so I won't have to flay the fins so much.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Rayloke's SappFire Unicorn

Rayloke of ZeroGunz is probably one of the modelers I have seen so far who make subtle but effective modifications.  He recently finished his Unicorn/Astray Group Build entry and I'm astounded at how he made the Unicorn THAT likable.

I don't like the Unicorn that much, in any mode, although the untransformed Unicorn Mode grew on me.  Which, for all intents and purpose, will make you wonder why I got two of them MG buggers and two of those flimsy stands.  My main reason is I got both MGs cheap.  I bought the first one, still unbuilt to this day from another modeler/collector for only PhP 1900 (depending on the Yen's value, that's approximately 3500 Yen, a huge discount from the original price of 5000 Yen).  Then I got the second one, half-built at 1400), from the same modeler I got my second Sinanju from (this guy is CRAZY).  But I digress.

Here are a few pictures of his modifications.

You can see the whole progress of his work at ZeroGunz, and the completed version HERE.

Angelus Rising Part VIII: More Quick Fixes

Like I mentioned in the previous update, the ankles were a bit unstable due to the extension made to the hole section of the assembly, so I decided to extend the peg section as well with the core method.

Using a 2mm bit, I drilled a hole through the center axis of the peg, dabbed a bit of cement over the hole and inserted a 2mm beam which extends about 3mm over the length of the peg.  I then sandwiched two pieces of apt-sized 2mm plaplates, drilled a hole through them as well, and laid that over the peg/core assembly, cementing the core to the plates in turn. 

After 10 minutes or so, I trimmed the excess off with the side cutter, then filed it into shape.

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...