Friday, March 23, 2012

1/20 FSB: RMX-000X Raptor X Part 7

Take a Seat

With the relative size of this build, I had to decide whether to leave the cockpit empty, or detail it with a fully-functioning hatch. It got the better of me so I decided on the latter. So, first off, the pilot seat.

The seat assembly will comprise of several parts mainly because of casting considerations. I used a few references for form, but this is basically my design. Using my foot metal ruler as width guide, I cut several slabs of HIPS, then using my smaller ruler centered on the slab, scored parallel lines, and made v-grooves halfway through. Using the same technique on my previous post re: the Shin Saga, I bent the HIPS along the grooves far enough to make a slight angle to simulate the seat form. These will become the seat, back and head rest. Conversely, I made a control module where the HUD, handle bars and pedals will be mounted on. This slide locks onto the seat.

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I didn't have my camera with me at the time, so I was unable to take pictures of the other parts as I was building them, so I'm jumping ahead a bit. If this was a simple build, I would have made this as a single unit. Since that is not the case, I made connective parts that joins the main seat assembly.

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As always, these parts are modular connect in sequence and partially interlock.

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And viola! I'll be adding the control panels, HUD and miscellaneous details later on, and this will swing 90 degrees forward in flight mode.

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That's it for now.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Skin Deep...

A HUGE BIG NOTE:  If you try to comment anonymously, it's automatically regarded as SPAM.  I only value informed opinions from people who don't post anonymously.  

Why do I say no to bootlegs?


Forget the legal stuff.  Forget that when one buys bootlegs, one is actually violating several copyright laws, infringing IP rights, and not to mention, promoting piracy. 

Let's stick to the juicy, technical stuff. 

For one, the quality of the plastic is SUBSTANDARD, regardless of the argument that some of them look close to the original.  I for one have touted I can make a bootleg look good, but that's not because of the bootleg, it's because I have skills.  Anyone with skills can make a bootleg look good.  We often hear people complain about original kits being flawed, like I have.  Guess what, those flaws are magnified n-fold with bootlegs.

No, they're not identical twins...

And, if I had made that bootleg look good, then what?  It's still a bootleg.  People will still commend the skill in working on that kit, NOT the kit.  It will look good outside, but it's still a bootleg inside.

Practice?  Sure.  One can practice on bootlegs. Then what?  There's no difference in mangling a bootleg and mangling an original, because one is still merely mangling it, at least, that is true in my case.

Okay.  Sure.  Mangling a bootleg is practical.  Then what?  What benefit would I get, except that when I mangle a bootleg, it's still a bootleg?  It's still a piece of crap.  I often complain about an original having flaws, but, guess what, those flaws are mere challenges to people who see them as such.  When one has skills, one can actually practice on original kits without fear.  When one accidentally mangles a piece, one's skill should be enough to fix it, if not, transform it into something new, something unique.  Some would even use bootlegs for spare parts, either to replace broken or lost parts from original kits, or for kit-bashing.  But that, to me, is tantamount to replacing parts of a Ferrari with substandard aftermarket parts.

When I said before, "If one is afraid to cut plastic with a knife, one will never grow as a modeler," I was talking about original kits.  Since people buy bootlegs because they're cheap and justify mangling them, the above does not apply.

The price you say?  It's economical to mangle a bootleg.  Because they're cheap.  We'll, at the end of the day, that's the only reason why people buy bootlegs.  They're CHEAP.  They can afford to mangle them cheap plastic, hence why they practice on it.  They can buy three bootlegs for the price of one original MG.

Then what?

If one decides to compete, and the build is good, can one really justify entering a bootleg in a competition?  Sure, you can enter it, probably even ask a non-competing "friend" for his box, or buy one, as the case may be, but, there goes one important facet of competition; honesty.

Sure.  Maybe a bootleg kit can win because of the skill of the competitor, but, at the end of the day, he's a cheat.  A cheap cheat.  I'm pretty sure someone has already done this 

Not to mention, that since these bootlegs are made from substandard plastic, they do not go under the same rigorous quality control original kits undergo.  The plastic's toxicity level is unknown, and who knows what other unregulated chemicals are added to that plastic for them to economize.  It kinda redefines the adage "more bang for your buck."

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not an elitist.  I don't discriminate against people who buy bootlegs to "practice" on.  I don't judge people's kits, but I commend their skills.  I even bought a couple of bootleg HGs just to see what the fuss is about, but I'm saying now as I have then, it's a TOTAL WASTE of my hard-earned cash (to which, I could have splurged on famous and tasty Binondo Lamien and dumplings). That's why we at least allow links of (bootleg) works to be posted at the Forums, because I for one appreciate the skills behind it.  But the end of the day, it's still a bootleg. If one openly supports bootlegs, it's STILL A BOOTLEG, regardless of his skill.

I champion the use of alternative tools and cheap materials, just so newbie's who live on meager allowances can learn the skills needed for the hobby.  I even openly admit to buying second-hand, built kits, some of which have missing parts (which is not an issue, since I can basically build anything from scratch now, if you allow me to boast a bit), and am constantly in the lookout for kits on sale, just so I can get my money's worth.  That's more bang for my buck.

But if I can't afford it, if my own budget will suffer, I'd rather wait it out and get what I want later on.

This hobby is a WANT, not a need.  Most if not all hobbies are.  There's no other reason for one to go into a hobby except that it is a want that needs to be satisfied, if you can  appreciate the irony in that.  I'm not saying you can't go into this hobby if you can't afford it, but even bootlegs cost money.  The hobby itself costs money. 

All in all, personally, I won't waste my time and skill working on something that remains worthless inside.  Beauty is after all, skin-deep.

Note: 

I wrote Skin Deep as a result of a discussion with MP admin/co-founder Richard Leo Borromeo Ramos, because he and I share similar views on the matter and how certain people go out of their way to justify why they purchase bootlegs.  I have also been very vocal about bootlegs, even before the MAC Forums was born.


Addendum:  Somebody tried to comment anonymously that he has won 2nd place in a contest with a bootleg.  No DUH!  As If I didn't already know that.  I'm not rich either.  Each peso I spend on these kits are hard-earned though projects I get as a freelancer, and I only get them AFTER my bills have been balanced.  This is NOT a cheap hobby.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

1/20 FSB: RMX-000X Raptor X Part 6

Power to the Pistons

I'm currently working on the fuselage and cockpit designs, letting them run in my head for a while mainly to incorporate how the hip will connect to the fuselage. With it was an incessant itch (that I have had since the initial build) to add a dual opposing piston that will run and connect the back of the thigh to the front of the knee in between the knee intermediary. This serves both as void filler, as well as functional mobility to the leg, which theoretically speaking, gives the leg more hydraulic power and support.

Instead of the usual exposed piston barrels like what I have done previously, I decided to encapsulate these in a plaplate "box." On very rare occasions, I do use superglue for quick bonding work, as well as the fact that these tubes are unaffected by cement. I glued the pistons on a slab of 1mm HIPS, cut it to size, and glued the other side. I then cemented a small piece of HIPS on each end, boring holes aligned to the tubes. I then cemented 0.5mm HIPS on the sides.

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I drilled holes 1mm + 0.5mm deep on the wider side of the box, rounded the tips of 3mm round beams, and cemented them into place. I made the usual T-shaped beams for the shafts.

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This box piston will be held in place by the side pegs, which in turn will move freely along the length of the knee intermediaries. I ran this scenario over my head quite a few times as I was doing the foot and the shin armor when I realized that that section will look rather empty.

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I modified the thigh and shin frames to fit the box piston by cutting away a bit of material from each that come into contact when the leg is folded. I also added a few strips on the calf section of the leg, both to reinforce the part and as detail prep. The thigh and shin "cheek" frame intermediaries were also "slightly" modified to hold the T-shafts of the pistons. Though the modifications were simple enough, I made a few mistakes aligning the holes, so I had to plug and re-drill a few times, which took a lot of time just waiting for the cemented plugs to cure.

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Without actual measurements and just basing it on visual estimates, the box piston fits perfectly inside the void of the legs (which I had to modify) when the assembly is folded.

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In order for this to work, the intermediaries had to be modified as well. I drilled 1mm holes 2cm apart and drew a straight line between them, drilled a few more holes, and progressively enlarged the holes to 3mm to fit the box piston pegs. I shaved of the excess plastic with a knife, then filed the surface smooth.

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Test fit. I wasn't sure if this will work, or will lock the entire knee assembly, ruining hours upon hours of work and imagination, but sometimes, I do amaze myself when something this random actually works the first time I do it.

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Up next:

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Trivia: This is one of the rare posts wherein I didn't need to include a thumbnail...

Friday, March 9, 2012

1/20 FSB: RMX-000X Raptor X Part 5

The Shin Saga

I've had a few sketches as well as a few more bad dreams and nightmares as to how the shin armor would eventually look like, but not of them quite made the cut. I had about 4 or 5 cardboard prototypes of the shin armor, and posted the last two in my previous post.

Even in my initial fittings, I deliberately made the armor over-sized since it's easier to remove than it is to add later on. Using the cardboard prototype, I cut whole sections of 1.0mm HIPS for the side and mid sections of the armor.

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To fold the HIPS (or plaplate, as the case may be), I scored the underside of the slab twice, 0.5mm apart, and at most 0.5mm deep. I then carefully ran my knife along one of the score lines at an angle to create a V-shaped groove. This can also be achieved with a V-shaped scriber, but it'll take a lot more control as opposed to a knife. I also used a very blunt knife for a more controlled cut, and as you may well see, even a blunt knife can cut deep.

Using a ruler placed along the groove, I carefully folded the slab into the groove to the angle I needed. This is the same method I used to fold the shin armor's main sections.

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At this point, I've double-layered all the parts (making them 2.0mm thick), including the intermediaries that will hold the three main sections. Like in previous updates, pegs, along with tension between parts, will hold the entire assembly together.

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With that done, the shin armor connects to the leg frame via slots. This was a bit of a challenge since the sides are angled, so I had to cut identical angled slabs 3mm thick, attached two of them to either side of the prepped leg frame and aligned them with each other with slight difficulty. This locks the leg parts that hold the calf pistons, and the opposing action also partially locks the shin assembly as well. Regardless, The peg assembly is employed in consideration of part casting (and painting, for that matter). The shin armor, ultimately, will be glued together as one part.

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Test fit. Further detailing will be made, and I might trim the shin armor. I've been itching to make the front of the foot larger, and this just made the itch a rash.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

1/20 FSB: RMX-000X Raptor X Part 4


This one took more time than usual with me deciding on what joint to use (aside from having a class early this week and the previous week). It would have been simple with a ball and socket joint, but since this is going to be a resin kit, I anticipated a few problems on my part with the lack of available add-ons I have in my stash. Also, I prefer hinge/swivel joints anytime.

With that in mind, I needed intermediary parts that would bring the leg, the ankle and the foot together.

Say Ankle!

The ankle intermediary is a simple "catch" that joins the leg to the ankle. I sawed slits to the lower leg joints' "cheeks." This is where the ankle intermediary will slide onto, locking the leg joints in turn.

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Footloose!

The foot is made of several parts that interlock. The heel is a simple two-part slide assembly, that will connect to the "core" of the foot via pegs on either side.

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The core sandwiches the heel, and the main foot locks the core with a three-piece assembly, and finally by the fool intermediary. As planned, the foot is similar to a raptor's foot in walker mode, and folds onto itself in flight mode.

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I wasn't able to take step-by-step pictures of the main ankle joint, but it's also a three-piece assembly that is interlocked by the ankle intermediary via pegs.

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I've also made a video of the Ankle and Foot assembly.




Next up, the shin armor. This also took a bit of time thinking about how to execute it, so I use cardboard to make trial and error templates.

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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...