"BATHALA" - PMX-003 MG The O vMatX Part IV

Skirting by. I decided to modify the the front skirts to more appropriate proportions, reducing the width in the process. I cut the ball joints and one of the vent connections on each of the skirt frames, then cut the skirt armor along the length of the thicker section. I then cut the side section to remove a few millimeters. I then made a new connective framework by merging the connective ball joint with a shaped WHIPS, reinforced at the edge with 3mm beams. I then rebuilt the armor with WHIPS, maintaining the vent connector. These will undergo further detailing.

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I've also rebuilt the midsection of the the rear skirt by modifying a spare part from my PG Astray kit (coincidentally, this is also a rear skirt section) and modifying the frame to add shape, detail and volume overall. The assembly comes three sections for easier painting later on.

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Last but not least, I've decided to build the rear skirts entirely from scratch, mainly because the modified stock skirts seemed off, and any further modifications would be a waste of time. Unlike the Front skirts, I'll be making these in once-piece sections, mainly because of the curvature I need to accomplish.

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Prototyping frustration
. Initially, the rear skirts looked nice to me, that is, until I've wrapped the top part. At this stage the flaws of my design bared its teeth, with the curves looking forced and uneven. I was going to simply cover it with my planned layered armor design, but that also posed a problem since even though it's a single piece, the thing got too heavy with all the thickening I had to do to get enough surface area on the edges for the curved surface to adhere to. So, I had to do a "quick" rethink.

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At this point, I was already working on the layered armor for the initial design by curving shaped pieces of WHIPS. Without using heat, one can get a more spherical curve by combining smaller curved pieces. I prefer doing it this way since the armor is layered after all, and I can still make small adjustments later on.

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While I was working on the layered armor, I decided to make the darn thing a two-piece assembly. I used the initial failed skirt as a mold for the layered armor, removed the top ugly part, and kept the base as it was, made adjustments as needed and mounted 3mm beams (that will serve as connectors). I added "ribs" on the inside part of the armor, which doubles as connective stops for the frame base.

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The original one piece skirt with the two-piece redesign side-by-side justified my frustration earlier on. Aside from having a better, streamlined shape, the two-piece assembly is actually lighter than the single piece without the layered armor.

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I'm using WHIPS exclusively now (I still have a whole 1.0mm, cut 0.5mm and 0.3mm Tamiya plaplates), to test its useability. Compared to plaplates, WHIPS are sifter and easier to cut, shape and bend. Filing and sanding is also a non-issue, though the softness does take a bit of getting used to.

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