Friday, 12 December 2014

Sandable primer onto the leopard

So first sand is done (all the blue finder coat off) now its onto 2 steps of sandable primer. This is a primer/filler mix gets sprayed on then sanded back with 400git this should fill any pits on the surface.

Again this is just loose fitted together resting on its belly (no landing gear) with some TT models for scaling.

I probably do two coats of the thicker surface primer and a 3rd/4th for any trouble areas to get a good smooth surface then a final spray with finer finishing grade primer and 1000grit buff down and we should have a good surface finish. I also have to finish some of the trickier areas (like the intake ribs) using a dremel and buffing bit since there isn't enough room to work with sand paper or a needle file.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Leopard dropship progress

I've been surface finishing the dropship this past few weeks, Progress has been sporadic (new baby and toddler who caught a well timed nasty cold for us to share).

However its looking sweet

After scrubbing the power residue off. I used some left over blue spray paint (wooden truck i made for my son)  to put a light coat over all the parts so i could see where i was sanding and make sure I didn't take off any details. I still have the nose to do (its in black because the blue paint ran out) and the underside of the stern then I'll need to use my needle files to get into the nooks sand paper couldn't.

Once that's done I'll give it a wash and then it give it a coat of dissolved putty primer and another fine sand. That should result in a good quality surface finish. Then surface seal it and on to thinking about mould making.

The internet was also down for a few days (its amazing what a pc cant do with out it). But it did enforce a real world job break and give me the chance to make up some instructions for the leopard. Mostly my mech don't need these as its clear what parts are an where they go, but the leopard does have an assembly order which needs to be followed your you'd have to pull glued bits apart and it can be hard to tell which way around some parts go.


I've also added a link on the right had side to my DA finished models gallery. Where you can see everything I have made and painted so far!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Dropship landed

Good news!

The Leopard dropship came yesterday. Its hard to say 100% that it came out great till I get all the media off it and it has a first coat of primer but at first inspection it looks real nice. It came missing 1 part and 1 part needed reprinting so those are getting done over the weekend.

I tempted fate to get some of these shots  loosely fitted the body together with no spine just so i could check out the scale (i laid on the turret and the bridge too).

As you can see the atlas stands up fine and I think he;s the biggest TT mech currently. He did have to till to get him in the door and access height will be a few MM lower when the bay doors are on but it was a price worth paying because otherwise the model would of been to expensive to print.

Above you can see the bay floor with the b'tech hex patten and below you can see the ships spine, thruster, and bay doors (inner and outter)

Ok so the badish news;
I had a cut on my leg 2 weeks ago I was trying to ignore it and help the wife by doing her chores/child care (she's pregnant and due 3 days ago, so were very much into over time) but that was a mistake, it became infected and I got seriously ill the last few days and I'm on a strong course of antibiotics. I should be fine but its very painful and I can't walk much, I have to bed rest to get it a chance to heal but that means no progress on any models as much as I'd like to get started.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Holding a circular patten, waiting to land.

The leopards eta was 7to10 working days and 10working days would of been yesterday. The 3d printers contacted me yesterday to say they were 2days behind (plus a day ro 2 for shipping)

So just a little longer hopefully Friday if not maybe Saturday or worse case Monday (I hate weekends).

In the mean time I've been getting the armorcast vulture and madcat ready to paint. I was thinking for the madcat the same jade falcons scheme (duck egg green and pink accents) but for the vulture this

Which kinda looks something like this from the cartoon Kristen Redmond mech grey/purple/green but i'm not a fan of purple that's going to ceramic red;

 I might try to mixed a hint of grey/green for the barrels and a charcoal strip for the nose kinda like this;

My photo shop skills failed me the barrels should be more matte and more subtle tint of green, not sold on the centre being grey either will have to stare at it some more.

And the madcat something like this

Again the green to pink would be much more subtle

Saturday, 18 October 2014

TT dragon and cent

degreased given a base coat. They're just free standing in this photo

Not great prints but for the price I wasn't expecting miracles, just some cheerful TT scaled mechs.

Coincidentally a friend had some of his concept art turned into 15mm models and the prints look A1. I'm going to have to get in contact with those guys and see about prices for the bigger stuff.

As for these 2 I'll make a spruce for them and cast them at the same time I do Leopard.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

No its not a Borg cube but dropship tetris and hey what did UPS bring me!

This'll be a long post td:lr "leopards gone to the printers, TT scale dragon and cent arrived."

My printer services uses swept volume to price prints, it means you pay for the an imaginary box that your model would fit in. Pricing in 3D priniting is cubed so every mm oversize you playing a hefty multipul for it. But the up side is you can stuff a lot of things in to the void space around and inside larger parts.

The first quote I received was enough to floor me enough to buy a small second hand car. But it was a rough cobble together just to get an idea of cost I knew there a lot i could do to get the swept volume down.

And so began a 2day game of 3D Dropship Tetris. I managed to get a swept volume decrease of 50% yippee!

what you see below is the final result "resistance is futile"

That brought the print into an acceptable price range along with the following adjustments;

- I had to scale the drop ship down to 6.1cm door height (the ceiling I thinned to allow 6.4cm ceiling height) so the altas may have to stoop to get in but that small decrease in high brings in good cost reduction.

- I added a pop-out panel to the dropship nose (top left) to be able to utilise the interior space. I managed to get in one of the thrusters (netting a big cost saving) and a few other odd items. The void space in the nose will be filled and the pop out panel added back for casting.

- I still had some voids left over and decided to fill this with dropship bric-a-brac. I made shipping containers (six), crates (six) and ammo boxes (eighteen). I made them stackable too. You can see them nested in the top right picture. If I have any left over RTV I'll make some casts of those but that's a stretch goal otherwise They'll be for decoration for my personal model.

- I knew all along I would have to go for SLS printing on this. Since it would be larger than the mechs I've printed and cost would be high. SLS is common form of printing and one of the cheapest profession grade prints. However the surface (pitted/printlines) needs a prep and details can easily vanish in the printing process. With that in mind all the details I added are chunky and scaled appropriately for what the printer should be able to do. I have some special filler paint and i plan to spend a good deal of time surface prep'ing the model so that it should be good to paint right out the mould.

So the order has been placed etc is 10working days.


And something that came from UPS today;


Fresh out the bag. Table top scale dragon and centurion. I'll pop them into the sonic cleaner with some degreaser to get the free off the printing wax. If your wondering the cent looks a little taller but that's just because I didn't fuse his parts before printing so he's a bit stretched. I'll glue him before casting (tosro, left arm, left leg, right arm, right leg) The details aren't going to be super sharp at this scale but they're on par with the metal Battech minis. Just some fun to go with the dropship and scales of the bigger 1/60 stuff.

And finally

We expecting another addition to the family before the end of the month (the wife's thinking next few days). So once that does happen it tend to be chaos for at least 6 weeks which dumps us right at the 4weeks of Christmas chaos so more updates might be sparse.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Leopard - Scale and bay progress

"What is table top scale?" - Well MWO is based off Battletech and battletech is a board game played with metal miniatures around 5cm in height on a hexagonal board.

In green are 2 mechs scaled to table top height. Those centurions are 4.8cm tall so you can see plenty of head room for the larger models with bases. All said and done you could probably fit 6 models in the drop ship (three on either side)

I've also added a battletech themed floor to the bays there's some finishing touches to be added but making those hexs work took longer than I thought.

As well as seeing how the new central spine works you can also see the lugs I have been adding for strength when gluing the sections together.

I have to add some more lugs then go though the model again to make sure there's no holes in the parts or internal geometry then I should be ready to get some print quotes (if i dont get side tracked adding details).

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Leopard Hanger

So last night I start to fret that the midsection of the drop ship wouldn't have the strength to support the bow and the tail without falling over like a deck of cards since the its only connected but the top and the bottom of the mech hanger.

I solution was to add a vertical central spine the turning the top and bottom of the hanger into an I beam

The spine is about 1cm thick and you can see there's a shutter door I made 5cm x 5cm as well as lots of cross beams (Should you want an open hanger but keep the strength you could drill out these sections). I've also added cross beams to the the other walls as well as personal doors and observation windows. I might add something to the floor but i wanted to keep it flat so models don't wobble.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Leopard update

Not much work has been done on the leopard. Our 2nd child is due this month so I've been running about finishing all those jobs around the house that need taking care of before the gremlin arrives.

But i have been musing how to break down the drops ship this is the first draft

As you can see allot of parts about 40.

I might put the 2 bow slices together and the 2 stern slices but I have to make sure they all fit in the vacuum/pressure chamber (the cylinder you see behind) with enough clearance for a few cm of rtv and the mould boxes. Ideally I would cast them in as bigger chunks as possible means; less rtv (cheaper), less seams, quicker casting. But it never so simple as I also have to think about orientation and where the moulds will open, so I will have to take my time and think this one through carefully.

On a side note I finally painted my mini commando thats been sitting around in a spray can lid for a year.

It was a last minute idea to rescale and print so the detail was never really there (lost in the rescaling). The paint job was quick done between MWO drops in a Saturday and I think it looks cool. I enjoyed it so much I sent a TT scaled cent and dragon to the printers, which turned out to be a far more involved job than a 2min rescale end up being 2 days of fighting my 3D modelling software daemons which hates any thing tiny and detailed!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

How the Leopard breaks down

Often it helps me to see how I've broken down parts by colouring them so I can see if something might be too unwieldy to cast. There's a physical limitation I have to consider size of my pressure pot which I use for both degassing the silicone and pressure casting the parts.

I had it before where a mould was just too big to get the lid on lucky it was just case of trimming down the top of the mould box (usually you make it 2/3 model 1/3 expansion room for degassing)

As you can see there's lot of parts. The more parts the more the silicone cost go up since you need a few CM of silicone around the part to give the mould strength the more it costs to make so the dome turrets for example are up for debate where they rotate or not. I think there's about 40ish part so far lots of long flat pieces with honestly are an unknown casting wise for me. So there be a bit of research on the best way to break this down and cast it.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

More 3D work done on the Leopard

  • All the exterior detailing is done.
  • Turrets have had their articulation added (T peg for the big turret and dowels for the smaller dorsal and engine turret).
  • The body has been sectioned for casting just adding locating lugs 
  • The upper doors have some trick hinges to hold them open while the lower doors will be dowels, when the doors are closed the upper door clasps the lower to hold it shut (in theory).
  • Interior I'll add some simple details but nothing too mad, bulkheads, cargo door or two.
  • I'll also thinking about adding some reinforcement to the spine for the ship

  • The door bays are 6cm high and 4cm wide enough to fit the Atlas re-sculpt (inc base) with a few mm spare.
  • Over all dimensions are approx; Length 33cm  -- Width 38.5cm(wingspan)/16cm(body) -- Height 13cm (might be subject to change)
My concerns are keeping it TT friendly size but I also want it too hold 4/5mechs.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

TT scale Leopard - Maybe?

Working on this at the moment. It would be table top scale (should take 4 TT mechs inside) just the back end to finish detailing and then the interior to make then work out all the joints/hinges for the doors and how to break it down for casting.

Its still up in the air to produce it, might be too tricky to cast or to expensive to print.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

About scales and battletech - definative guide.

So I'm sure many of you guys know battletech is very light on details on exactly how tall mechs were. That makes them a scaling nightmare. I've spent a lot of time trying to find the right balance its not something i start blindly and hope I get right its something that's worked out beforehand and build too.

lots of things effect the height of a mech;
- Leg design

- Mass
- Bits that sick up above the design

Armorcast(AC) got to 1/60 scale mech first so everything is based off their 3 designs.

AC Atlas is 26cm,
AC Madcat is 20.5cm

So those are the base lines that everything else needs to fit into. The AC atlas is tall to the point of its head which stick up a cm from the main body and part of the lore mentions it was designed to be tall than other mechs. This is where I think a lot of builders go wrong they see the atlas and they try to match its height but the fact is they should consider it to be 25cm and even then only for Humanoid 100tonners.

The madcat is a much better bench mark to start from since it sits more in the middle of the tonnage range (20-100). Taking its height and the height of the tall atlas you start to get a range and you can work back from there;

Lights; 13cm to 14.5cm
Mediums; 15cm to 18cm
Heavies; 18.5cm to 21.50cm
Assaults: 21.50cm to 25.5cm

Its not a straight line for height since lights can only get so small before they look out of place same with assaults they get a bit more because other wise their bulk starts to look out of place.

- Then you have to factor in centre mass which is the highest point in the mech. This is what i scale too it can be seen here (I made this infographic years ago);

- Then you have to allow 10% artists judgement to see by eye if the mech looks right. This takes into account bulk, leg design, if the centre of mass isn't so clear cut.

Once that's done I like to print out a too scale silhouette just to be sure;

After that then its design. For the hand builders its important that material growth doesn't creep the height up +1mm soon can add up when you have 5 subcomponents stacked up.

Finally you should end up with something bang on like so;

Bang on

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Mechwarrior Online Davion Guards Centurion and Dragon

It's great to see these finished after such a long time span. They are going to look great as a lance next to my ELH lance.

First is the 1/60 scale Centurion he's the most advanced of my builds numerous small parts and joints as well as different variant options go into making this model look as close to the MWO original as possible. It was a pleasure to paint I think he really suits the Guards scheme. The pose was at ease stance i felt this looked the best. He has the same magnetics in the barrels as the PGI model to allow quick changes.

Mechwarrior Online - Centurion
Scale: 1/60
Size: 17cm tall (to main mass)
Articulation free: Elbows, shoulders, waist
Articulation glued: Ankles, Knees, Hips

Following on is the MWO 1/60 scale Dragon. Here he is shown with a UAC5 barrel this can be swapped for the AC barrel. This model needed more prep than the centurion as the printing process wasn't as good. I did this and based coated it before putting it aside so I could paint the centurion and him as the same time. I'm most please with the dragons mouth. I painted something similar on the PGI version but for there's I stuck to their artwork. On mine I had more free rain and added more shading and an outline. I chose a striding stance to show off how much articulation you can get with my models and how stable they are.

Mechwarrior Online - Dragon
Scale: 1/60
Size: 19.5cm tall (to main mass)
Articulation free: Elbows, shoulders waist
Articulation glued: Ankles, Knees, Hips

And here we have the full guards lance ready to deploy;

- I'm still searching for that perfect 3D printing process I still want to move to plastic injection.
- I wish I hadn't made a custom mix blue for these guys its a grey blue and boy was it a pita mixing it to match. But there isnt many off the self grey shades.
- I'm really pleased with the guards scheme it pops nicely without over whelming the details and to me screams Battletech!!
- Whats next, not sure I have some old armorcast models in boxes maybe paint them in the style of the B'tech cartoon.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Quick update

It looks like I've finished painting the dragon and the cent I'm just waiting on the kristal klear to dry its like a thick gloss varnish PVA glue mix that dries clear giving more depth to the lenses (google its many modelling uses).

I've ordered a some 1mx1.5m canvas background because up until now I've been using my over size mouse mat as a photographic back ground and its just two small to work comfortably with. The new one will be plenty big enough to take a lance photo of my guards all together. Once it arrives I'll get some nice photos done.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

More guards

So both mechs have been shaded and highlighted. The legs have been glued (2 part epoxy) I'll leave the glue 24hrs to cure to full hardest. I found it feels strong after about an hour but still comes apart/weaken if knocked, while after a week the resin will break before the glue. 

Tomorrow I'll add weathering this amounts to shades of sepia one all over coat (to tone all the colours together) and then small drips and runs will be added.

After that I need to make the aerials and rails. I'll paint the aerials black and the rails I'll give a rusted out look.

Then black is added to lenses, inside barrels, vents and the cockpit. Jewel all the lasers and cockpits and that's the painting done ready for a final clear coat and gloss for the glassy bits.

Excited to see my 2nd lances worth of mechs coming together.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Some more guards progress

All grimed up and shaded. Highlights next and then weathering. I still have to make the rails and aerials but I left that to last as they tend to get lost and or broken same goes for the missile flaps. Dragon is still being grimed up atm.

And a boring photo of the stencils I made;

cut to size the smaller one is for the shoulder of the dragon (bigger one goes on the thigh). I use a mix of scalpel and small curved scissors. For very curvy shapes I cut into the letter with the scissors then heal the cut with masking tape. The cut also allows you to work the paper without fear of ripping it.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Stencil work done

I've finished up the stencil work which takes me on to weathering.

All my stencils are hand cut, I don't use decals because at this scale decals look obvious, they don't like to  conform to the model closely enough. With the stencils you get a little over spray (which looks nice imo), you can weather them back, and run them around corners which I think adds to the realism of the model.

Dragons - "Their GGGGggrreat!"

I think I'll thicken up the black out line some, just deciding if I'll use a wash or paint to do it. I'll sleep on it and decide tomorrow.

Weathering 2 models at a time is going to take a while I'm not in a rush so I'll try to do a few sections per day hopefully will be done in a week or two. Then that's all the big jobs done and its on to painting in details.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Back to mech stuff - Painting

I love painting.... but i could kill the inventor of airbrushes. 5hrs of cleaning but i got it working in the end ^^

So Davion guards I have a raven and commando now the cent and dragon will complete the recon lance. Base coat is down just need to tidy up some of the over spray.

Unwrapping the masking tape feels allot like Christmas :)

Friday, 4 July 2014

Somethign defferent - Toy for my son (that he can have now instead of 10years)

Here the timeline from my personal face book page;

So at My son's nursery they have these wooden trucks  big enough for a 3/4year old to ride on. Thomas is mad about them but they cost £120. Since i recently bought a chop saw I decided I could build my own for less and much cooler looking using the same materials. I decided on aims; it would be tough enough to last 100years, Appeal to a child's idea of what a truck looks like and simple design and resist the urged to add detail.

The second pic is the roughed out 3D design I came up with. Once the wood shows up and I know whats sizes I have I should be able to build a scale 3d model and get started.

Nostalgic for me as a child I'd spend Sundays building wooden toys with my grandfather.

So once I knew the sizes of the maple i could buy and what size the casters i could use, I redrew my design to scale and added added the colour scheme.


 Once the wood arrived i chopped everything to length. This is where i found out my chop saw doesn't really cut straight lines ho hum.
First I got the chassic up and rolling and then placed all the blocks out to see how it was shaping up.

There was about 2 weeks of doweling, screwing, plaining and sanding to get us to this point

Then is was onto painting which was helped by the great weather we had here.

And the finsihed product with its happy new owner. It ended up costing the same but mine used more wood,  better parts and was painted but defiantly cooler!