Saturday, September 14, 2013

Of Dreams and Nightmares


Time has passed so quickly, and I barely noticed it was halfway through September. I've given myself a deadline; If I haven't started painting by now, it'll be another photofinish to the end of the line. Worse, I might not finish it on time at all. In most cases, I dream about my builds, often having a solution to a tricky thing upon waking, but sometimes, it comes to a point of it being a nightmare. Well, at least, close to it. (I no longer "fear" nightmares).

The weather isn't much of a help either. With it the main enemy of any painting stage, an unpredictable weather (redundant, if you ask me) condition can prove detrimental to a the smooth tango of a well-planned painting schedule. Paints curl. Topcoats frost. Oil residue defines itself.

I keep telling myself that majority of the crucial modifications are done anyway, so, there's a good chance that SIN will make it. But, I later remind myself, I started this project as early as June. The kit, I bought as early as April.

So, as the two inevitable ends each bare their proverbial teeth, I now prepare myself to more delays, as "real-life" work projects literally slammed themselves on my lap. Some have been on-going since the year started, some, just recently started, and others, though speculative, have a high possibility of pushing through. Murphy hasn't bared his teeth yet, but I suspect he isn't too far behind. If my experiences with the Ronin, the Angelus, the Bathala and the Haribon has anything to say with regards to the matter, is to not be to sure of anything.

The Pillars

I've cleared my actual work table so I can already mount the diorama's individual parts. I've been working on the couch ever since I got a laptop (and got a little more than I bargained for, gaining a little weight and a few inches in the process), And all my clutter along with it. The diorama is made from several sections; the main base LED-lighted, the modified Keiko Action Base 1, and what I'd like to call The Pillars, which are mostly scratch-built, augmented with a couple of parts from the Keiko base. The overhead section mounts onto the Pillars, and will also have strips of LED to provide the Overhead lighting. The Pillars themselves each might have a 3pc LED strip, to light the front of the kits if needed.

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Pop Quiz: What do you suppose is this contraption is?

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Last entry coming soon...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Misdirection

As per my previous post, I've already blown my budget as much as I can afford to, but, I guess there's nothing wrong with having something but not need it, than needing something but not have it. I actually need some of the stuff I've recently purchased; it's getting extras of each of them that blew my budget like the Hiroshima. The recent storm actually derailed most of my projects since I couldn't go out to get some of the other stuff I need, and while stuck at home, I couldn't prioritize properly, since my brain was mush all the time.

Anyways, In my quest for a solderless (or at least almost solderless) circuit design, I've stocked up on the essential solutions. Ironic, though, I bought a new soldering iron (from eGizmo), but a couple of weeks before that, bought a soldering gun at CD-R King. The soldering gun took a tad too long to heat up, and barely, so, with my old iron rusting, and the new gun unreliable, I bought another one from a reliable source as back up.

Winded Wiry Worries
Solderless circuits are almost next to impossible especially when dealing with wires that need to be soldered. A few years back, I wouldn't have thought of these simple solutions because I wasn't trying to avoid having to solder anything back then, because I had nothing to solder.

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Wired pin connectors; top left, F double-pin (Alexan); top right FF single-pin (eGizmo); bottom left, FF double pin (eGizmo); bottom right, MM single pin (eGizmo). The ones on the center are 9V battery clips (DEECO). In all my hunting expeditions, eGizmo has the most complete stock of items, though they do run out from time to time.

Geared Gnawing Gets Going

Although having a turntable display is but an add-on if I finish everything on time, my mush of a brain couldn't help ponder on how I will make the SIN's diorama base spin, or turn.

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On separate trips to eGizmo, I bought gears, rollers and geared motors, with a devious plot to rule the world, but even with those assortment of gears, I couldn't finalize a design schematic for the turntable. For one, them gears don't have standard shaft diameters, that even with my varied stock of beams and pipes nothing would fit the ones I needed. So, while rummaging for gears on the RC section of Lil's, I remember them having 3-speed crank gearbox kits, so I got that one as well.

Dastardly Detail Disasters

The support structures I built for the overhead hangar repair module was too bland for comfort that I initially planned to simply scribe panel lines on them to liven them up. But, the more I looked at the modified base, the more convinced I became that it needed raised and recessed sections, to balance it with the rest of the structure.

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So I made detail parts using sandwiched 1.0s then beveled them to give them more depth. These are affixed on a predetermined spot on the support structure.

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More to come...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Serendipity


Twice, so far, that I went or passed by a certain place because I was looking for something specific or the location was along the way and found something else that is nevertheless somewhat an "ongoing" necessity (in these cases, for Project SIN). I'm already over budget as it is, with just the cost of Stein alone, so I wasn't too keen on a splurge.

There were two sets of things I was actively looking for: cranes, haulers or anything similar, and chains small enough to pass as 1/100 scale. The logical place to look for the cranes/haulers were in TK or TRU, but each cost about PhP150++. I could also go and look at Divisoria (which I still intend to do later on, but I'm so swamped, I didn't even get a chance to go there the last time I was in the Binondo area). I looked for the chains at silver stalls, and even found a few "faux gold" ones at Japan Home/Daiso, but I just wasn't ready to give up looking since I do still have enough time.

I have made rounds a few times at the newly renovated Glorietta, seeing "old" shops mixed with the new. I was there to pass time because I was waiting for my new camera to get cleaned at a service center "nearby" (a story for another time, but I believe mentioning the camera is significant to the continuity of this story). I window shopped in the usual places, and there I found the first of what I was looking for:

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Mobile cranes. I found a couple of them, "hiding" in plain sight, but out of clear view, in one of the shelves at Japan Home. It was easy to miss if one wasn't looking for it, and in that clutter, I might have.

A week after, I had an "impromptu" meet with a model, who then decided to have an impromptu photo shoot. The route to the designated meeting place will take me to a place I rarely got to nowadays because it's either out of the way, or there was just no reason for me to go there. But, little did I know, my curiosity as to why a flock of girls/women were all battling for position in front of a shop at Farmers Plaza, Cubao, gave me that tingling sensation of serendipity after I saw what they were buzzing about.

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Chains. LOTS of them. They are not as fine as what I need, but at 1mm diameter, and P50 each, they would do just fine for my SIN. I found it quite funny how one girl's badly designed fashion jewelry can become one modeler's source of material. These chains will be part of SIN's Hangar Bay scenario.  At this point, I realized that the camera is the commonality in these two serendipitous events.

There is no Rust In Space

I've seen quite a few well-made Hangar Bay dioramas set in space, and when I say well-made, I believe the modeler has taken care in making it look as realistic as possible, except for, maybe one tiny detail: There is no Rust in Space, especially in an active Hangar Base. Most Gundams and mobile suits also won't rust, even on Earth, so, it's one particular detail I don't ever intend on putting on any of my current and future projects, unless of course the theme actually calls for it.

I'll leave it to your imagination (or googling skills) as to why.

Anyways, the SIN's diorama/base is almost done, with most of the main components built or modified. Previously, I've shown a teaser of the main diorama base and I plan to reveal it by then end of September or early October along with everything else. For the meantime, I've done something totally different with the detail on top of the main base, instead of the usual walled hangar (which I see quite a lot nowadays, especially with ready-made chain bases available). Kotobukiya has quite an assortment, but the one I needed/wanted was unavailable locally (it's out of stock online as well), and I wasn't about to order online mainly because of time constraints. Bandai's mechanical system bases are 1/144 scale, which I could probably modify, but again, I was already over-budget. Also, I took note of the fact that if I do use chain bases, it might look just like any other hangar-based themes whether I intended it or not (and I've seen recent and older entries not to be doubtful), so I dropped the idea together.

A year or so ago, I bought a Keiko Action Base at GTO on a whim (even at that time, I wasn't too keen on hangar scenes and chain bases, especially after my first attempt at it was a bust).  But, this one is rather rare, and I've only seen a few of them around being used anywhere. As I have already started modifying it, I had no before shot to speak of, so I'll simply borrow one from Kakashi and a generic shot from the manual.

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Regardless, I wasn't about to use it as is, so I modified it later on to fit the "overhead repair bay" concept I had in mind. First, using 1.0mm WHIPS, I scratch-built whole sections as vertical support systems, using excess parts from the main kit as added detail, and shaping them as similar as possible. Earlier, I thought of getting another such kit so I wouldn't have to build anything else any more, but, with the weather and my schedule as bad as a woman having hot flashes, I decided against it and made most of the time I'm stuck at home working on other projects.

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I separated the parts into useable sections, modified them to increase the structural integrity (the plastic is made of glass-like brittle material, similar to what most Kotobukiya kits are made of), and the kit itself is a complicated mish-mash of interlocking parts, making it rather easy for me to repurpose them.

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As it is, without it mounted on the main base, it kinda reminds me of imperial walkers.

More soon...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Deception

What's a hangar base without lights, right? When the year began, I actually already had the idea of a hangar diorama brewing in my head, mainly because my very first ever hangar dio was a rushed bust. Simple as it was, it took me a long time to build, mainly because of inexperience. I wondered back then, as I was engaging my warp engines if I can even pull this one off, because of the lighting it will involve.

A couple of months after, March to be exact, I already had a circuit in mind, bought 5mm and 3mm LEDs, to augment the 5's and 3's and SMCs I already had on hand, as well as some two prong wafer connectors, a new soldering gun and batteries. That being said, I don't like soldering because it's too inconvenient for me, and I try to avoid it as much as possible, hence why I developed non-soldering methods. Little did I know that those purchases (and my soldering woes) would prove to be somewhat "useless" since I "discovered" something I've known and been aware of for quite some time, but, the gears in my head was on low. CD-R King has them for quite some time, but, with my mind being set on building a circuit myself, I ignored it.

In one of my sojourns to Quiapo (Hidalgo for camera stuff and Raon for electronics), hunting for parts and such, I saw an assortment of the thing I ignored at CD-R King. It was then that the gears in my head kicked into high gear, and I told myself, "why didn't I think of that sooner?"





LED strips. They come in all sorts of color variants. This particular roll contains 60 LEDs per meter at 5 meters per roll, and can be bought at P100 per meter. Prices range from P100 to P400 depending on the type (there are multi-color and double types which of course, are more expensive), and for this particular type, the cheapest I found so far is at P100/m. They are rated at 12 volts, but they can run on a 9V battery as well with a slight (but acceptable) dimming.

With these, I can lay down a strip of lights with little soldering involved, and no worries about the overall circuitry. The strips can be cut in 3 LED sections, and each section can be re-soldered onto each other or onto a circuit. I can simply cut a strip of appropriate length, and since it is self-adhesive, is easy to mount on almost any solid surface. I've used a 120LED/m type to light the underside of the base, and will use the 60LED/m type (the one pictured above, which incidentally has a black mount wrapped in weatherproof silicone) for overhead lighting. It's a good thing I ignored my impulse to buy the LED strips at CD-R King, because the non-weatherproof type they are selling is already at P680 and the weatherproof type at P780, the only plus is, both have an AC power source included (which I won't need).

Dark Power

Now, with that out of the way, I had to figure out how to power the LEDs. I've always managed with button cells for a switch-less single or double LED setup, but with this, those wouldn't be enough. Four 3V button cells in series can power an entire roll, but since they are not made to handle high loads, the batteries got depleted in a matter of minutes. So, I opted to power them up with 9V batteries. I got 9V battery clips, easy enough to set up with the LEDs and the switches (I will till try to avoid soldering altogether by using two-prong connectors), but to ensure longevity, I'll wire two 9V batteries, either with an interrupt/interchange switch, making one battery the main power, and the other an auxiliary. Switching from main to aux will still be manual, with a main power switch.

Connecting the batteries would be simple, but I didn't want to just leave the batteries loose inside the dio, especially if time permits, I'll be rigging the diorama to a turntable (for that effortless 360° view). So, I built battery cases that will mount on the underside of the dio. At first, I cut pieces of HIPS using the battery as a guide, but I realized it was taking too long to wait for the individual pieces to mount and cure, more so, I would have to reinforce each joins, making the case too thick and heavy as I would like.




So, I did what should have been obvious. WHIPS are more flexible and easily bendable, so, I wrapped a strip of 1.0mm WHIPS onto a 9V battery and cemented the sides with another strip of WHIPS centered on one of the longer sides of the battery, then I cemented a base on one of the ends. The battery fit snugly into place, as such I drilled a 3mm hole on the center of the base so I can simply push the battery out when needed.

More to come...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Sinner's Tease


Getting back into Gunpla (or more like it, cutting plastic), proved to be another painful transition as my hands adjust from light to heavy handling and vice-versa. As I type this, my right-hand fingers are all stiff. mainly because of the pressure I had to apply in cutting the patten I plan to use for the Sin's diorama base. In this case, however, I could have made it simpler if I just cut the pattern through and through and reassemble the pieces like a jigsaw (and used a 0.5mm piece of WHIPS instead), but, it wouldn't serve the purpose of the effect I have in mind overall.

I laid down half of the pattern on a large piece of 1.0mm WHIPS and cut off pieces where I needed, leaving notches in between cuts that would hold the entire piece together, marked by a pencil crossing the main lines and adjusting them as I went.

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And viola! I simply mirrored the piece onto another piece of same sized WHIPS and assembled them side-by side. I was able to replicate the mirrored pieces closely as if it was done on Photoshop. This is the main piece that will lay above the diorama's base.

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Trick Question:  What do you suppose this is?

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More to come...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sin is Inevitable


As July drew to a close, I realized that I haven't really thought of what I'll be doing as my (possible) entry to this year's GBWC. This is quite a busy year for me, mostly in the "real-work" department. I had to put the Hellraiser on hold because I couldn't quite get enough steam to continue working on it even if I wanted to, especially when I always get a call from clients just as I was about to start working on it.

Which was somewhat a good thing. The Hellraiser's wings need a radical redesign, not that my initial design wasn't radical enough to begin with. As usual, I had to contend with weight issues. The magnet solution didn't quite work as I have planned, even with the strong neodymium magnets I got. So, I'll be integrating gears to the redesign.

For the moment, GBWC. Even with ample time, I still wasn't able to start on anything, but I have had the plan in my head for quite some time. My initial plan of making a "frankenstein" monster using a Sinanju and a Stein will take a back seat as I realized there simply wouldn't be enough time for me to do all the modifications needed to make the project work. So, for the first time ever, I'll be working on an entry with very "basic" modifications, and will simply call it "SIN."



What? Another Sinanju? Why?

For one, I consider the Sinanju one of the best MS designs ever. It has a nice combination of curves and lines. It's well-balanced proportion-wise, and has ample detail, that it is sometimes frustrating to add more details to it without ruining it. The Stein, as the lore depicts, was based on the Nu and is actually more its counterpart. I believe, and I'm just speculating, that after the events of Char's Counter Attack, Anaheim was able to recover the Nu, then later on redesigned it as the Stein.

When the Stein was announced, I didn't like it because it was a) white, b) too blocky, c) white. I outgrew that ill-conception as soon as I got one for my planned entry. I still have reservations because its shield's construction is too basic, but it was the shield that made me believe it was the redesigned Nu. It's rifle was also based roughly on the Hi-Nu's rifle. <<<<(You may want to ignore this part altogether, it's just me over thinking the obvious).

I will still use two kits, the Stein I bought last April, and parts from my now dismantled Angelus, plus armor scraps I got recently. Even with all the scraps, I still had to get a few pieces from one of my unbuilt Sinanju kits, plainly because I didn't have any of them in the scrap pile.

Those two kits, side-by-side, will be on a hangar-type diorama. Some, if not most, of you who have seen my work and my modifications would probably wonder why I have resorted to such a "simple" task when most entries nowadays have become so complicated and vast, that, it might just be a waste of time.

I'm not competitive. When I work on something, It's because I want to work on something. Sure, I time certain projects with the GBWC, but I won't rush them into completion just so I could enter, as in the case of the Haribon last year, and the Ronin 3 years before that. As some of you know, I rebooted the Ronin, and the result couldn't have been more ideal at the time.

The modifications were simple enough (I have literally done half of it in a few days), but I'm banking on the concept behind the diorama to boost its chances competition-wise. As we all know, dioramas score 30% of the overall, so a well-made diorama with a good story behind it can score high with the judges.

Well, at least that's how I see it, judging from how the past winners were chosen. It seems there was no clear pattern, but, there's a logic to it, albeit random.  Somewhere in this post there is a ruse.

I won't be posting a WIP, but I'll be taking photos of the project's progress as a whole, and would be posting tidbits and teasers from time to time, if and when time allows it. Half of the time I spend on entries actually involved taking step by step progress, including how I do things, for tutorial later on, but, right now, I can't really afford that luxury, as I still do have projects coming in soon.

So, whether I finish this in time or not, you'll see SIN this October or November.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Stripping Paint? Try Denatured Alcohol



I haven't been able to work on anything Gunpla quite recently (except for assembling a couple of kits or so, or further mangling old kits, just to break my monotony) mainly because I currently have overlapping projects, aside from a pending domicile change.  There's also no relevant issue for me to rant on, so this blog has stagnated a bit

So, here's something I posted over Facebook, which I am only now able to post here, for the benefit of those who do not know who I am on FB.

Stripping paint is a pain.  We all know this for a fact.  We tried different soaking mediums with varying results.  Hobby kit plastics (PS and ABS), as we all know, melt in certain mediums, so it's quite important to know which one works for our purpose and which do not.

As far as my research is concerned, brake fluid seem to do the job quite quickly, but the downside is, it's highly toxic and may not be good for plastic in the long run.  Hobby grade thinners are only good for thinning paint, but they also seem to damage certain plastic over time, making them brittle when saturated (as I have experienced with my NG RF Astray and MG HiNu).  It might just have happened due to my carelessness, but, I have stopped using hobby grade thinners, especially since I use mostly industrial grade spray can paints (which HGTs work poorly on) and Vallejo Hobby-Color and Game Color Acrylics which are water-based.

Then, there's denatured alcohol.  I have long known the potency of the stuff even before I tried it myself, from other modelers who have been using it.  Since it's alcohol, it's basically "safe."  It's only toxic if you ingest it, and the only real downside of it is, it can dry your skin after prolonged use (which gloves can help with).




Denatured Alcohol strips paint from parts quick and easy. The "time lapse" above shows parts from one of my old projects, the Angelus.

The paints used are Bosny Flat Black/Flat White/Grey Primer, Nickel Metal Alloy, Honda Red 67 and RJ London Pearl White. Bosny paints are industrial automotive paints.

Frame 1: The parts, before soaking.

Frame 2: Denatured alcohol, in 40mL soaking canister

Frame 3: After a few seconds of soaking. The liquid starts working as soon as the painted part is dropped.

Frame 4: The clear Honda Red "dissolves" into the liquid.

Frame 5-6: With the still un-soaked part in the background, the metallic nickel and flat white soften and loosen hold from the surface, simply rubbing it with bare fingers dislodges it from the plastic. At this point, the primer/flat black becomes "powdery." Majority of the paint can be easily brushed off with a medium-bristled brush, or a used toothbrush, even in the nooks and crannies/details.

Frame 7: The second kneecap armor, still un-soaked. This was later thrown in with the rest of the parts.

Frame 8: While the first batch of photos were processed, the parts continue to soak. They were then taken out and given a stern brushing.

All in all, Denatured Alcohol can strip paint, even as hardy as industrial ones, in as little as 30 minutes.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

When in doubt...

When in doubt, I ask questions.  Everytime I go to unfamiliar place, without a predisposed knowledge of the ins and outs, I normally just ask people nearby; the vendors, the trike drivers, the guards, or, the cops, when there are in the area, for directions.  Most are helpful, some are not, and if it was the latter, I simply ask more people until I get it right.

I've written a few tutorials, some of which might be helpful to some people, or not, depending on the fact if I have written the tutorial well, with enough descriptive pictures supported by descriptive text.  Most of my WIP posts are tutorials within themselves, especially when I include step-by-step photos.  Also, when there's something I can't find online, I go ahead and try it myself.  Even if I find something online, I still go on ahead and try it myself, because, I might not get the same result after all.

I've also started selling a few items that I actually use.  White High Impact Polystyrene Sheets (WHIPS) are cheaper alternatives to Tamiya Plaplate and are of comparable quality.  They are also slightly softer than plaplates and are more pliable and bendable.  My White Sticky Stuff and Clear Sticky Stuff (yes, there's a joke there somewhere, as the names came from a joke in one of the groups) are cheaper alternatives to Tamiya Regular and Extra Thin cement.  I have never kept it a secret; the Sticky Stuff's base formula is Hudson Polyurethane Reducer (PUR).  PUR is available at local and mall hardware stores, usually in 1L and 4L cans, and although I keep telling people that, they prefer to get it at smaller amounts instead of the whole shhh-bang.  You can use pure PUR directly as cement, as I have repetitively mentioned, as well as numerous buyers can attest.

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Hence, why the Matx Hobby Stuff Page was born.  My main products are the Sticky Stuff and WHIPS.  As was expected, I get a lot of inquiries regarding the two items, and although current sales are a bit slow, I have recovered my investments a few times over. 

I sell WHIPS at PhP80 for 1mm and PhP40 0.5mm, quite a steal considering Tamiya's 1.0mm plaplates are now at PhP170 a sheet at the same size.  My Sticky Stuff are at PhP80 per 85mL bottle and comes with a free applicator, whereas Tamiya cement are now at PhP180 at 40mL.  So, simply put, that is my main selling point.

I have been using these items even before I decided to market them as MatX "signature products" hence I can guarantee that they work.  Hudson PUR is actually a thinner for Polyurethane Varnishes.  The term "reducer" is a fancy name for thinner.

It's not uncommon for me to get questions regarding my tutorials (even though the inquiry was something I specifically showed on the tutorial, with photos) or about the products I sell.  My Sticky Stuff often get hit.  So, it's quite amusing when I get inquiries like this:
Him: boss you there? one quick question

Xander Xinger: ?

Him: i find one store here that sell one of your suggested alternative for tamiya cement..polyurethane reducer, i can use this as it is?

Xander Xinger: yup

Him: im still cautious on using this it might melt not only the sheet but also the armor part

Xander Xinger: a little should be fine.  also, TEST it on runner slabs

Him: and the clerk said its not a glue its a thinner.  is that okay?

Xander Xinger: dude, I've been using it. who do you believe, the clerk, or me?

Him: you of course. haha. okay..

Xander Xinger: again, it won't really hurt if you try it

Him: ill begin testing

Please note, I am not offended nor annoyed, but rather amused by what transpired above.  It's one thing to ask questions about something that isn't obvious, but quite another to do so when it is too obvious, like on a tutorial.  I don't blame the guy for having doubts, in his position, I would probably have doubts, but I've been into Gunpla long enough to realize no amount of asking questions or getting answers for them will suffice for something I don't do or try myself.  That's how I got to develop most of my tutorials, and discover alternative materials, after all.  My consistent use (and getting consistent results) of the Sticky Stuff should have been enough proof.

Anyways, No WIP update for the Hellraiser yet, but here are a few teaser pics (all of which are either modified or scratch built with WHIPS and Sticky Stuff).

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Hellraiser Part VIII

Death-Defying Dastardly Details Part I

Note: With this post, I've finally caught up my StoryWIP with my PhotoWIP. But the story you're about to read has set me back 2 weeks.

It's been more than 3 weeks since my last update, or blog post, after that Pinoykon event at Magallanes. I make no excuses, but, I wasn't slacking off or anything (though I wish I had been). After the Pinoykon event, I was so heat-stressed (the event was held in a tented open-air spot) that I probably lost a few brain cells that day. I was disoriented and tired, that I led Bryan Mallorca to a long walk along the Magallanes line, only to walk back to EDSA/OsmeƱa to get a jeep to Waltermart (because there were no empty cabs passing us by). We went to Kitaro and gobbled on Shoyu Ramen, which I craved for after that long day of relatively mild humidity. Humidity has always been mine enemy, not during paint jobs, but, I'm rather sensitive to it. When relative humidity goes up, so does my inability to regulate my body heat. I sweat like a pig, then stop sweating altogether, leaving my skin so uncomfortably sticky, I just feel hotter thinking about it.

After parting ways with Bryan, I still managed to get some groceries.  It was a bit cooler at Waltermart, but not cold enough to relieve my heat-stress. Carrying those groceries, plus two red GTO bags with full kit boxes, I still had to contend with my backpack, which was already heavy by itself. I marched on and got into an Advanza cab (it's relevant), with ALL the things I was carrying at the back. Along the way, the cabbie and I did some chitchat, but I was so tired, I didn't really care nor could remember what we were talking about. It was a short trip from Waltermart to my place, and I couldn't wait to get home, take a shower, slip in into something cool, and fall asleep on the couch while browsing.

When I got down, I got all the bags, except I forgot that I put my backpack on the floor of the cab, right behind the passenger seat, something I wouldn't have done if it was a regular, Sedan-type cab. I didn't realize it until I was next in line to the elevator (which was a good 5 minutes after). I ran as fast as I could to chase the cab, insanity and logic fighting inside my head, because I left ALL my other bags unguarded near the elevator door, but after a few blocks, I realized and have accepted that the cab was long gone the moment I let my guard down.

The loss wasn't tragic. I was over it the moment I left the police precinct (wherein, I already know they weren't going to do anything, and if the cabbie, or whomever got in after I did had any plans of giving my stuff back, they would have already done so, because I have identification documents in that bag), got my spare keys from my (cough) ex-wife (my keys were in the backpack), got home, took a shower, and fell asleep on the couch, after sending a lock command to my iPad, which happened to be in my backpack.

The day after, I realized I lost more than just the backpack, since my trusty old camera was also there, along with my tools. So no work can be done at all that day. I only managed to get new "replacement tools" a few days after since my entire body wain in pain from the heat stress. I got a couple of side cutters, a toothless pair of pliers, three DAFA knives (two as cutting knives, the third, smaller one as a needlepoint scriber), and as a treat, a small cutting mat (which I was planning to get since I work mostly on the couch nowadays).

Still, I couldn't get any Gunpla work done, since I got called into a few afternoon meetings, along with visiting my sister, over the past couple of weeks. I haven't really fully recovered from my heat stress, and the funny thing is, it's not really even that hot yet.

Finally, I was able to start working on a lost detail part (I believe I popped that in into the toolbox I lost along with one of the knee spikes of the Hellraiser), then I realized both my Tamiya pin-vises were in the toolbox, because I needed them while working on the replacements. So, it's off to Lil's tomorrow to get a new one. A week before Pinoykon, my client loaned me one of his dSLR cameras for a project, so that covers that.

Lesson learned: Since I basically have two of each tool, I should NEVER bring all of them with me, especially if I'll be out all day with 99% chance of heat stress ruining my brain cells. I should also NEVER leave my backpack or bag on the floor of the cab behind me, where, in case of burnt brain cells, I could forget.

The Devil in the Details

It might be strange to you if I tell you that losing the iPad and/or the camera wasn't really a big deal and that it didn't affect me as much as it would anyone else. I didn't feel a pang of loss upon realizing that I may never recover those things, but I did feel a bit heavy-hearted when I realized I also lost my tools. The silver-lining of the entire ordeal, also strangely enough, was at least, I didn't lose the Ronin and the Hellraiser. I consider those two irreplaceable, and when I contemplated selling or auctioning off the Ronin to cover for the cost of replacing my tools, I felt a pang of guilt, which is something I rarely feel nowadays when it comes to Gunpla.

Which makes this story actually relevant to my post, about paying attention to details. Well, okay, not so much, but, it sure sounds kewl.

Anyways, a month or so ago, someone lost one of the yellow, skirt detail part (gray for MG DSH) of their MG Deathschythe Hell. Since I'll be building the same part for the Hellraiser, I thought why not make a tutorial for building detail parts from scratch using WHIPS (or plaplates)?  It'll be good practice on my part.

The part is simple and easy enough top build from scratch. I used one of the 4 detail parts from mine own MG DSH as reference (they are all the same anyways), starting with a relevant-sized piece of 1.0mm WHIPS. I simply estimated the shape based on the reference part and filed as needed.

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I then used a small strip of WHIPS as the connector, using the skirt base slot as a guide. I then cemented the main shape over the connector (waiting a full 30 minutes for the cement to cure enough to be handled, then added relative details afterward.

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The Devil's Advocate

I beveled the lower part of the skirts, then added 0.5mm WHIPS to the main skirts to create the panel line running from top to bottom instead of scribing them, for an even groove.

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Next, I cut the top sections of the main skirts to make way for the detail parts, but I decided to change the Hellraiser's skirt detail a bit by skewing the bottom side of the detail part, making them mirror-symmetrical from each other. Using the masking-tape-transfer method, I cut the same shape on a piece of 1.0mm WHIPS, the attached another piece for 2mm, placed that on the skirt groove, and drilled a hole for the peg. The peg is attached to the base of the detail part, and the secondary piece of WHIPS helps hold the peg in place even without cement.

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I added more interlocking WHIPS (for a stronger connection), allowed the part to cure for a couple of hours (while in that time, I was doing the other three), before beveling the edges, giving it that gem-like shape.

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Next: Scythe Beyond Sight

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...