The Dragon Ronin was one of my most ambitious attempts at full-blown modification and scratch building. It was originally intended as my entry to the 2009 BAKUC, but I ran out of time and abandoned the project after a frustrating bout with plastic not "molding" the way I wanted to. So, I moved on with other projects, like The Ice Queen, and thenafter, The Chimera.
I decided on a total redesign of the custom armor, removing the articulation thereby simplifying the construction and overall feel of the armor. Though I've simplified how the armor looks, how it's assembled is a different matter.
Waist, VFin, DragonBow, Back Pack and Skirts
First, I modified the waist articulation and added about 5mm or so to expose the pistons (not necessarily to give it additional height).
I made a larger Vfin to match the redesign. The one on the left is the stock, the one on the right is what I made a couple of years ago. I'm itching for a double Vfin, similar to what I did with the Chimera.
I ditched the old shotgun Dragon bow and opted for a custom long bow instead as one of the weapons. I might keep the shotgun and mount it on the back pack.
I've modified the stock backpack so I can mount the Gerbera Straight and Tiger Pierce opposite each other. To achieve this, I inverted one of the mounts by cutting it and reattaching it with cement, reinforcing with a small piece of HIPS.
The Skirts. Both the front and back skirts are multi-piece assemblies similar to MGs and PGs. The scale texture is done by cutting small pieces of thin HIPS (or plaplate, for that matter) and overlapping them as such.
The Dragon Claw and Dragon Tail Arm Shields
I initially planned to make this into a single unit, Including the Dragon Claws, but I was reminded of how difficult it would be to paint later on since the claws would be of a different color from the shield mount. So, the single top claw slide-locks into place, while the two main claws are mounted with pegs and twist lock into position, using the scales.
I've reinforced the the old "Dragon Tail" Shield, and added details to it.
The two end layers are mounted via slip lock, and the three mid layers are snap-ons that overlap and hold the previous one in place. The top slip lock layer locks the third snap-on.
A quick shoot of the shields mounted on the arms.
I've added an extra removable layer to cover the top portion of the rear skirts. (And I thought the reason of redoing these was to make it "simple.")
Test fit. I couldn't shoot this with the Ronin standing alone since I've removed the armor attachments of the legs and feet for retouching.
Like in previous builds, I often break parts while I do test fits and tighten loose joints. In this particular case, D14, an ABS part, broke due to the stress of being constantly pulled off from the back pack. But, as you can see, how it's designed also plays a huge part in it, though I can understand that it needn't really be that sturdy because the pack is rather light. The part broke on the thinnest section that comes under stress when the lateral swing bar is mounted.
At any rate, I tried simply fixing it by cementing it where it broke, and reinforcing it by cementing it on the top, but, it proved a futile attempt because the area the cement can hold onto. So, I rebuilt the broken section with a combination of HIPS and plaplates, cut and sandwiched together like so, and reinforced with a tiny perpendicular plug that holds the small broken part to the sandwich, and another layer of plaplate on the top edge for additional support.
Normally, I wait for at least half a day for the cement to cure before making any additional mods and testing, but, the bond was already tough enough to handle and test fit after an hour. I added pistons on both sides of the mount as detail. As it turns out, my fixes end up often stronger than the stock part.
This is purely a cosmetic part for the Ronin. I'm still deciding if this would be mounted on one of the shoulder guards, or the back pack.