Thursday, February 21, 2013

More Modeling Musings

A Cold Day in Hell

If you're wondering what the hell is happening to the Hellraiser, well, it's still on-going, but Arvin and I have agreed to keep the rest of the WIP private, at least until I am halfway through the wing/cloak.  Right now, I have finished the feet and ankles, and would be finishing up the skirts, the other arm shield and shoulders.  I've also made a rough design of the wing (which Arvin agreed to show).  These are screen shots of the wing (done in Adobe Illustrator) showing how I intend to segregate the parts, and the folding mechanism within.

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I might have to sacrifice articulation over design or vice-versa, but nothing is final at the moment as I may get new ideas on how to execute this so I don't have to sacrifice anything.  So, no WHIPS will be cut unnecessarily for experimentation, like I did in the past, unless I become desperate enough to do so. I don't want to use boards to make templates as well, since I won't be able to bend them the way WHIPS bend.  I was actually writing part 4 a couple of weeks back, but I keep getting sidetracked.  The story-version WIP posts will have to wait.

LEDs, Batteries, Resistors, and why I Don't Use the Latter

One of the very fist modification I did was to light up my MG FC Crossbone with a 3mm green round LED, which I modified so it can fit into the Xbone's tiny skull, pun intended.  I'm no stranger to basic electronics, especially when it comes to shorting batteries just to make the contacts spark.  Ever since I was a kid, I often got scolded for mangling battery powered toys and motors just to find out how they work, which of course, I didn't back then, because I didn't know better.  You would think I would have stayed away from electricity after having a generic DC motor explode on my face, when due to lack of batteries, I foolishly plugged one into an AC socket.

Those were the days of discovery.  That little mishap never "learned me my lesson" because I continued to work with motors and electronics through high school, and why I took up Electrical Engineering in college.  Just a couple of years ago when I started doing more than just snap-building kits, part of my learning process involved doing research in forums, and like most newbies then and now, I got snarled on by "pros" who were into the hobby far longer than the years they've spent college on.

So far, I've never used resistors on my LED mods, mainly because the circuits are so simple they never need one to begin with.  In electronics, you need to take note of three things;

1) Power - specifically, electrical power, measured in watts.  Without it, there's nothing to talk about. 

2) Current - measured in amps.  This is the "tingle" you feel when you hold anything electrical and your improperly grounded.  For the batteries I used, which are button cells, this is hardly an issue to worry about (in the manner of which, no one has so far been electrocuted with button cells).

3) Voltage - is the resulting "force" when a device is connected to a power source, thereby creating a circuit.  The voltage rating or "load" is the amount of "force" a device can handle.

Let me put this in a simple analogy of a water tank with a faucet, a hose, a gate valve (with two outlets at the end of the hose, and a bucket.  The water tank is the battery.  The first faucet is a switch, the hose is the circuit, the valve at the end of the hose is a resistor, and the bucket is your load (in this case, an LED). 

When you turn the faucet on, water flows (current) towards the end of the the hose where it encounters the valve. The valve regulates the flow of water into the bucket so it does not flow too fast, to do this, it diverts some of the water out into another direction.  Ideally, if we follow the logical outcome of this, we could divert the water back into the tank, thus conserving water, but, bear with me, a resistor does not work that way.  A resistor "resists" current at its rated value, and it consumes energy at that rate.  This energy is radiated as heat, and is not recycled back or "saved." 

I had a conversation a while back with someone that he read somewhere that people put resistors to "save" battery energy.  In my mods, I avoid resistors, and the best way to do that is to use button cells.  These cells carry enough power and have enough voltage to light up a 1.5V LED for a long time without it burning up.  Putting a resistor on such a simple setup will shorten the battery's life, and does not help preserve the LED in any way whatsoeverTo further the analogy, a button cell is a very small tank with a very small hose, a 9 volt battery, in this case, is a significantly bigger tank with a significantly bigger hose. Whereas one can be confident that the small tank won't overload the bucket with water with that small amount of water flowing over a longer period of time. one can also be confident that the reverse is true for the bigger tank with a bigger hose.

The only reason why resistors are used is when you use batteries with voltages and current capacities significantly higher than the rated capacity of the load (like powering a small LED or set of LEDs with a 9 volt battery, which is something I would not do unless I really have to).  Resistors limit the current going through a circuit by consuming some of the current (the larger the resistance, measured in ohms, the more current it resists, in our tank analogy, the ohm value is how much water the gate valve throws out).  That's why electrical devices heat up.  So, if you're planning to light up your Gundam's eyes with an LED, you don't need anything else but button cells. 

Unless of course, button cells are rare and expensive where you're at, or you're planning to use more than just one LED, like say, lighting up an MG Unicorn in Destroy Mode, then you'll need to do further research on battery packs and series and parallel connections.  This LINK is a good place as any to start.

Of course, LEDs and other devices also have inherent resistance, but it is very low because they are made to allow current to flow through rather than resist it.  The current they consume is transformed into light or sound, or data for that matter.


I've had a few additional commission inquiries especially after I've started working on the Hellraiser.  It's interesting to note that I might be able to work on ALL Gundam Wing Mobile Suits in PG scale, especially after my conversation with Arvin where he and I talked about finalizing the Hellraiser.  Here's a list of those inquiries so far.
  • "Hercules" — HG Stark Jegan vMatX commissioned by Bryan Mallorca (next in line)
  • "Zed One" — MG Zgok vMatX commissioned by Alex Gervacio (finalized, next in line)
  • "Gattler" — PG Heavy Arms Conversion (PG Strike Base, tentative)
  • "Azrael" — PG Gundam Wing EW conversion (tentative)
  • "Tiger Ronin" — PG Red Frame Astray Series 2 vMatX (tentative)
  • "Cassandra" — PG K'Shatriya vMatX (Full SB/kit conversion, tentative)
  • "X1 and X2" — Megaman X conversion (tentative)
  • "Goliath" — 1/144 Destroy Gundam (tentative)
  • "Firebird" — MG AGE 1 Phoenix conversion (tentative) 
I'll be starting the Hercules mid March while I finish the Hellraiser, and might start Azrael and Zed One simultaneously.  Regardless if the commission for a kit pushes through or not, I might still do the project if and when time permits.

One thing I have been meaning to address regarding commissions is, I won't do a commission and allow that to be entered it into a competition without me at the helm.  During the last GBWC, someone accused someone else that he commissioned me to do his entry, and that entry won second place in one of the categories.  If it wasn't too obvious that I myself wasn't able to finish mine own entry, The Haribon, because I ran out of time, mainly because I was SWAMPED with projects and classes last year, and it's not as if that the guy being accused didn't post a WIP of his entry, let me categorically state that whomever said that is a fool and an idiot, if not an insecure buffoon.  If I had any involvement in the project, it's more in a consultant capacity, as the builder asked me tips on how to go about his modifications.

I rarely vent nowadays, and most modeling-related issues that come my way aren't even mine to begin with, but I somehow end up being in the middle of it.  Never will I allow anyone to use any of my work as their own, but, honestly, Arvin and I have agreed to enter the Hellraiser at the GBWC this year UNDER MY NAME.  If that doesn't tell you anything, maybe you need a new brain, or a life outside Gunpla, because I believe whatever skill it is you believe you have, have rotted you inside out.

In closing, here's a teaser of the Hellraiser.

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