Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Hellraiser Part VII

Breaking a Leg

The phrase "break a leg" actually means "good luck" in stage plays, and is often said to actors about to go on stage on opening night. I theater, as far as acting superstitions are concerned, wishing someone good luck is actually bad luck. In some circles, it could actually mean giving an exceedingly lively and exhaustive performance, to the point of "breaking a leg" in the process.

Similarly, or at least, I'd like to think so, I have still not shed my need to make things complicated, or think of complicated things first, in lieu of its simple counterparts, to the point of breaking some things in the process. It has considerably lessened to the point that, as far as the build time is concerned, I have actually been able to do a lot more work all around unlike before. With this update, I'm about a couple away from catching up and synching my progress.

All "Thigh-ed" Up

Much of the flaws I've encountered with the PG WZC has to deal with how the armor latches on to the frame. The frame itself from head to toe, with exception of the upper arms, is too slender for its armor. Whereas modern kits, like the PG 00 and Astray (which uses the Strike frame) and newer MGs all have frames and armor that have little clearance space in between, the PG WZC have too much clearance for comfort. The frame looks more like a large, misshapen MG when bare.

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That's not really an issue altogether, as it does give much leeway for modifications on the frame and inside the armor. But bear with me, those aren't really flaws until you've handled the armor parts, especially the thigh armor, as extensively as I have.

The thigh armor's main and necessary modification is carving out the lower portion just above the knee, to give allowance to the minus mold detail. The front and back parts of the thigh armor also slide when the knee is bent, as they are connected on articulation mechanism on the frame. The front slides down, while the back slides up. The flaw? Since there is a HUGE clearance between the armor and the frame, pressing on the sliding edges tend to bend the armor pieces inward, stressing the plastic. The not-so-strange thing is, both back armor pieces developed the same stress lines at the same relative position.

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The first one broke (a clean break, which is a "good" thing) while I was testing the sliding mechanism, which I decided to keep fixed, but later on had to put back because of how it affected the knee articulation with the minus mold in place. The second one developed that fracture earlier on, but since I haven't really worked on it yet, hasn't broken. I fixed the broken part by cementing them together. For the other fracture part, I opened the fracture slightly to reveal a minute gap and brushed it with thin cement to seal the fracture. I then secured the inside of each armor piece with strips of 0.5mm WHIPS.

If you are wondering why both pieces broke (or fractures) at relatively the same position, it has something to do with how the gates are positioned relative to the molded part.  In this case, the hot, liquid plastic coming from either side of the part during molding "met" at that region.  You can clearly see this region on the surface of the plastic as an obvious "swirl".  This swirl or region somewhat affects how paint behaves as well as it cures over plastic.  Maybe the mold-release agent seeped into that region, making the part less able to handle stress at that specific location (the other side did not develop any stress fractures).  This is usually mitigated by putting seemingly useless "detail" inside armor parts.  The bumps and recesses help strengthen sections of the plastic,  like how bars reinforce otherwise "flat" ceilings, in most light-handling stresses.

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With that done, I simply added sliding support to the sliding edges of the armor by attaching small "tongues" on one, and slide "slots" on the other.

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On Your Knees

This is one of the few things the WZC and the DSH do not have in common. Whereas the WZC's knee armor are slender and "softer," the DSH's are broad and "square." I decided to work around that by using the stock knee armor regardless and modified it by separating it into two sections. At this point, the connective "tongues" on both pieces have already broken away (they were too stuck for me to even carefully pull), and like in the case of the thigh armor, there were too much space between the armor and the knee frame, that wiggling it stressed the thin tongue until broke from the base. I had no other recourse but rebuild the connections later on with pegs.

The larger section basically holds the smaller section in place, which in turn holds the knee blade.

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For the knee blades, I initially planned to use sandwiched WHIPS then carving them later on, but decided to make a "skeletal frame" and encapsulate that with WHIPS, giving the part a smoother look on the onset. This technique actually reduced my build time significantly and gave me a far sharper edge than I can achieve by carving sandwiched WHIPS. (This is the same technique I used for the skirt, and as far as chronology is concerned, this was done first).

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When I inserted the knee blade into its respective receptacle, I couldn't help but blurt an evil "BWAHAHAHAHA! IT'S ALIVE!" laugh.

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Tippy-Toes

This part probably took me as long to do as the Chest and Head modifications, mainly because it was so darned simple, I couldn't help but make it complicated. I initially decided to simply slap on a blade/spike similar to that of the knee blade over the toe and be done with it, but the MG DSH has a slight toe articulation I couldn't ignore. So it took me a while just deciding if I'll go on and punish myself with complicating things.

The masochism wins in the end, but it was ll worth it. I began by cutting the foot armor into sections, making sure I retain most of the connective material for adjustment later on. Again, this could have been simpler by simply treating the base and the top as one piece (as I have with the skirts), but I saw relative difficulty with later modifications, especially when the toe-blades have been mounted. The toe articulation is rather slight and insignificant, but nonetheless kewl in all things modified.

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For the articulation, I used a couple of spare "hinge" polycaps from my stash, encapsulated each with WHIPS, and mounted them on the main feet sections. This is the part where being OC about working on the base and the top of the toes separately proved my being OC right, because it allowed me to "see" the modifications and make further adjustments as needed, something I couldn't have done if I have fixed the two sections as one.

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Articulation test.

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I've also added a few details to match with the MG DSH's.

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Ankles Away

This was also a relatively simple modification, but it also took me a while to decide how to do. I wanted to maintain the front detail of the armor and build around it, so I cut the material I thought were unnecessary. I later realized I made a mistake in that department, but somewhat was glad to have made because the part would have been too thick if I simply slapped on WHIPS on top of the material I have cut. I layered WHIPS as needed and filed the surface smooth, so the 0.5mm top layer WHIPS would have a smooth surface to latch on.

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Test Fit.

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Next: Death-Defying Dastardly Details

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

PINOYKON


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The 1st PINOYKON is a Pinoy Komiks, Toy Collection, Gaming and Cosplay Event and will feature various artists and talents in the local (and international) comic book scene, most notably, Gerry Alanguilan of WASTED and ELMER fame.  I myself was once a comic book collector, collecting the usual Marvel and DC superhero comics, but I was also one of the founding members of Alamat.  Back then, I was part of a group that promoted the use of computers and digital imaging to render, color, letter and layout comic book pages, and have written and drawn a few pages, most of which are in Alamat's flagship comic book (flagship, having been the FIRST one to come out with the Alamat insignia) P-NOISE back-to-back with INDIGO VALLEY.

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P-NOISE#2 Cover.  Those were the days indeed.

I would like to believe that I, as part of that group, helped contribute even if just a little bit, in our comic book culture, even if there were certain elements that do not want to put our small contribution in the history of Pinoy Komiks.

I've "met" PINOYKON's brave organizer, Jeffrey Benitez, quite by accident while I was browsing Facebook.  He and I hit it off mainly because of our mutual appreciation of comic books and Gundams.  As such, he gave me a deal I couldn't refuse, so I'll be there with a few of my Gundam and Hobby Stuff.  I'll be doing a few demos on modifications and scratchbuilding, and selling a few WHIPS and Sticky Stuff.

The Event will be at the Paseo de Magallanes, from 9AM onwards.  So see you all there this Saturday!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Hellraiser Part VI

Waist in Haste

Well, this wasn't really done in haste, I just didn't have a "kewler" catch phrase to put. Anyways, at this point, I had to keep the torso and waist frames assembled, mainly because It takes time just to unscrew, disassemble and reassemble the darned thing while I was making modifications overall. It kinda limits my movements, but that's easier to work around than having to unscrew parts and them dropping by accident. I've sometimes spent 30 minutes or more searching for a very small screw, which lead me to another time saving idea.

But I digress. My story WIP is playing catch up to my actual progress and I will try to have the two in synch within the next few days or so.

The Front

I have tried to use much of the stock parts and simply modify them mainly because of their connectivity to the frame. I started by modifying the groin guard to make it look as similar as possible to the MG DSH's.

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I'll be putting a clear part over that window later on.

Next, I used the entire base frame of the front skirts, and except for a few peg repairs, it remains mostly unmodified. Conversely, the leng of this part is already proportional to that of the MG, but I didn't want to cut or modify it any more than I have to, so, I decided to build the skirt details around it. I modified the top (blue) part of the skirt armor and ditched the lower (white) part altogether). Having done that, I took some liberty changing the design a bit, at least on the proportions and thicknesses of the edges, especially since the skirt armor (both front and back) are already "thick" to begin with. I had to work around that, since I wanted to keep the connectivity as much as possible.

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The Back

In direct contrast, I've only used the central part, plus the top sections of both the frame and armor for this, and built everything else from scratch. I separated the single back skirt into three, kept the middle section for more modifications later, then continued to trim the remaining pieces till I got what I needed.

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I then added connectivity to the modified parts by drilling holes and adding pegs correspondingly. To keep the holes aligned, I drill one part, clip on the second and third parts, and use the holes on the first part as guides. I used a 2.0mm round beam for pegs, and a 1.8mm drill bit for the holes so I can make adjustments, enlarging the holes later on during fitting.

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At this point, I was thinking of making the armor of the back skirt thick enough for me to apply a triangular cross section by shaving of one side at an angle, but after my adventures doing that with the Turn X and Raptor, I finally managed to simplify the process by cementing 1.0mm beams and placing a bent piece of 0.5mm WHIP over it. The beams hold the apex fold of the bent WHIPS. Ive done this in less than 30 minutes, whereas cementing sandwiched and carving them into shape would take much more time with inconsistent surface.

Double clips are handy, not only in aligining parts being drilled together, but especially in holding cemented parts together as they cure. Whereas previously, I would have held this part for as long as the cement is curing and letting go when it no longer pops out of bond (which is probably stupid of me to have been doing then, and one of the reasons why I work slow), I can now simply clip them together and let them cure while work on a different part.

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The Side

The WZC's Side Skirt is a two piece assembly (with a polycap in the two piece frame which I cemented permanently). It has no similarity whatsoever with the DSH's side skirts except maybe the pointy part, so this entails major surgery like that with the arm shield mod.

I separated the armor into two sections each having connective parts to the frame. I've also modified the frame, shaving some material away to fit the modified armor pieces. The side skirt is actually similar in shape and form with the arm shield, so I built around the the modified shapes of the separate sections. With the new technique, I can now avoid having to shave parts into shape, especially triangular ones with subtle curves. The part isn't fully completed even now since I'm still deciding whether to keep an incidental detail. More of that later on, with a post dedication to detailing.

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Next: Breaking a leg...

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...