Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The HELLRAISER Part IV

Shoulders to Cry On

Apropo, the title above should explain (or confuse) much of how this build has been coming along. Contrary to this post, as those who are familiar with me at Facebook, I'm actually farther ahead in the build, and I'm just a bit preoccupied with the project itself (as well as work, among other things), that I have not been able to catch up on writing the actual current work-in-progress. So if you'd like to see how far ahead I actually am, just click HERE or HERE for the up-to-date and complete WIP photos (you'll also notice that those are arranged based on the dates they are shot whereas my WIP posts are arranged in story mode, with some of the photos left out).

Anyways, I've decided to scrap the shoulder armor except the connective part of the frame, including the ball and swivel joint that the entire shoulder armor connects to. First, I modified the shoulder connective part so I can easily encapsulate it with shaped 1.0mm WHIPS. This became the mounting base for the shoulder armor's entire structure. I've layered WHIPS, overlapping the edges for a more solid connection. This will also give me enough material to shave off when rounding the edges. I initially made the entire thing solid, then cut the top part off to make way for the shoulder "blades."

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Blades On

These I actually made before I made the actual shoulders, just because they're so goshdarned devlishly KEWL and I couldn't wait to make them. I initially planned to make just one (for casting), but it was so easy I did both in just over an hour (of course, like always it actually took me longer just to figure out how to do it, and actually waiting for the cement to set solidly enough so I can continue working on them). To achieve the curve, I simply placed (cemented) a brace in the middle of two shaped WHIPS and cemented one section, worked on its twin while waiting for the cement to set well enough, them cemented the other section. I used double clips to hold curing parts in place in most cases. I then worked on the top section of the blades in a similar fashion, using the MG as a guide for placing connective slots.

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Next: Raising Arms

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The HELLRAISER Part III

The Tale of the Terrifying Truncated Torso

In our local folklore, we have a creature of the night called the "Manananggal." It is a vampyre/bat hybrid, usually female, and the reason it's called as such is because it can separate itself at the waist, with the upper torso transforming itself into a ghoulish form and grows wings. The mananangal often comes out during the full moon and hunts for human flesh, preferring the unborn. Of course, it rips the womb of the unlucky pregnant woman as well as it sucks the unborn fetus. As as kid, I was terrified of the manananggal more than anything else, and I often spread salt over our window sill and hang garlic cloves as well. I outgrew the fear eventually as I entered high school.

I was reminded of the creature while working on the Hellraiser mainly because I had to work on it in sections, but the Truncated Torso bit came mostly from how the PG WZC was built. It's mid torso "armor" was made of red rubber, so there's no other way around it but for me to build that entire section from scratch. That, too became part of the challenge.

The rubber torso attaches to four pegs on the chest frame, and is secured at the bottom by the lower abdominal armor. I will have to sacrifice full mobility of the torso, especially since it will have to support heavier wings. I initially planned to make a single, wrap-around piece (like the rubber piece), but I realized that won't be possible since the pegs are positioned at the front and the back of the chest. The rubber part was used because it can be flexed into position, something that can't be achieved with a solid piece. The pegs also connects the chest armor parts, so trimming them was out of the question.

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While I was trying to figure out how to solve the Torso predicament, I proceeded building the hatch. Like I mentioned on Part I, the goshdarned torso frame is made of metal, so there was no way for me to do any other modifications, except to build around it. I had to disassemble the metal frame quite a few times, which got annoying since the screws and nuts always manage to fall. I used the original cockpit seat, trimmed and modified it, and retrofitted it at the front of the frame using the same fitting for the chest. I then added a 5-layer sandwich underneath the cockpit seat and shaped it as such to serve as both support for the seat and as mid brace for the peg attachment of the swivel mechanism for the hatch. The hatch covering itself is made of inter-spaced pieces of 1.0 WHIPS with 2mm beam braces, arranged in such a way to create a rectangular slot for the hatch peg.

This was a welcome accident, since it allowed the hatch covering to be inserted with ease, and the action doubles as a locking mechanism for the hatch when it is closed. I had to remove material from the lower abdominal armor to give enough space for the hatch.

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Going back to the mid torso, There was no other recourse but build a three-piece section. I decided to work around the pegs and use them as mount points for the mid torso. These parts will now be locked onto position when the chest armor has been mounted.

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Next: Shoulders to cry on...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The HELLRAISER Part II

Making the Impossible Possible

Although I started preparing myself, the kit and the plans for this build last November, I was only able to start i earnest cutting and hacking the parts as it drew to a close and December started coming in. Eventually, I ditched the plans I had made after assessing the kit, disassembling it and reassembling it so I'd know where things would go with or a without a manual. After making major modifications to make the WCZ head into the Hellraiser, I realized how much more work will go into its transformation from one to the other mainly because of how radically different those two looked.

Hatching a Plan

The main issue was the cockpit placement. The WZC's copckpit is located direct under the neck and deep inside the chest of the kit. The MG DSH has the cockpit at the center of the torso. This posed a problem because the PG WZC's entire torso frame is die cast metal. I will have to compensate for that and sacrifice build space later on, since I want a cockpit hatch.

I began my ordeal by slicing off the top mid front part of the chest. I realized later on that I sliced too much, following the upper slope of the chest which was way too steep. So I rebuilt that section with 1.0 WHIPS, and continue to modify and add volume to the structure to make it as similar as possible to the DSH. This in turn made the chest exaggeratedly too forward and pointy, but, as it turned out later, was a good thing.

I continued to make modifications, like slicing off the front of the chest to make room for the grills and vents.

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As I have done in previous builds, I usually employ sandwiches (1.0mm WHIPS cemented over each other) to make some of the parts. For the collar , I made 3 pieces, cemented into a cornered "U" shape, and shaved it to match the stock collar. The mid section is a 3-layer sandwich. Up to this point, I haven't made any ruler-based measurements and have relied strictly on visual estimation. To make the parts as precises as I can when I can't use the connective part itself to make estimates, I usually employ the the "masking tape transfer" method, which is laying masking tape over the part, outlining the "measurements" with a pencil and sticking that over a piece of WHIPS using it as a guide for cutting. It works all the time, with very "minimal" margin for error.

For the grills, I cut 2mm strips of 0.5 WHIPS, stair-stepped them, and mounted them on another piece of 0.5mm.

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Venting Out

Initially, I made the vent by cutting a strip of WHIPS and bending it, but I gave up on that method after it failed twice. I had to be creative with how to make it, so instead of just making it one solid part that is bent or sculpted, I decided to combine techniques. I sandwiched 3 pieces of 1.0mm, then shaped it to make the base of the vent, the cemented a piece of 0.5mm on top of it, bending it to form the pointed section. I turned the part over, and cemented another 0.5mm piece and shaped it as I proceeded. I had to make sure that the connections were saturated enough to weld together, but at the same time cure fast. (Side note: I have started working on other parts as other parts cure so I can work faster, but it's rather a bad habit that is hard to break).

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As the vent was curing, I sealed the sides of the chest, cut slots for the vents, then laid over WHIPS to encapsulate the slot. The side "seal" also serves as "detail."

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Up Next: The Terrifying Truncated Torso

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...