Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Please excuse the mess

So I'm taking a little bit of a break from my projects for a little bit. I'm doing this for a couple reasons. Firstly, my work space has become largely unmanageable so in order to work on much of anything larger then a single space marine
So I really need to clean up my work space and get stuff put away and organized. I spent all this time building the space and I can't really make use of it right now. So I need to deal with that. Also I'm starting a new job so that's going to eat up some of my time. That combined with the fore mentioned need to clean is going to chew into any sort of extra time I have for the next couple weeks.
Also I'm going to be working on re-designing this blog some over the next couple weeks, so please excuse the mess.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Project Thunderhawk update 7/19

You know what I dislike the most about working on one of Pataroch's templates? The level of details on it! I'm not saying he's done a bad job with details in his templates, or that the detail is a problem. No, something quit different. The sheer amount of detail he puts in his templates is staggering compared to most other scratch build templates out there. As an example, look at the diagram showing the construction of the pilot deck:

instructional breakdown for assembling the pilot deck of the scratch built Thunderhawk
Breakdown for assembling the pilot deck of the scratch built Thunderhawk
 That lists 40 separate components to build that deck. So whats the big deal right? Well, here's the thing. Most of those components are in turn made of several pieces. Like the center console between the pilot seats. One component. That is made out of 6 pieces. The pilot seats? 12 pieces each. The computer console behind the pilot seats? 16 pieces.

So yeah, you have times where you can work on these for several hours and get everything assembled.... on only have like 3 small sections built. It's a bit disheartening at times. That being said I have been working on the project today and gotten some work completed on it.

Canopy for the Scratchbuilt thunderhawk painted with the beginings of the Blood Ravens color scheme
I finished building the canopy cover. Now I'm sure you're saying "Wait, what? I thought you built that a while ago." Well, yes sort of. See if you look closely at this new image you can see that I'm put in the clear plastic planes for the canopy. It's a solid part so I count that as building. I had to wait until I got the primer on the piece and decided to go one step further and put down the base coat for the piece. The Thunderhawk is going to join my Blood Raven army so it got the maroon color needed for that.

Blood Raven Pilots in the pilot seats of the Scratch Built thunderhawk

Got the pilot station glued in and am now working on painting the pilot deck.

the ceiling of the embarkation deck of the Scratch built thunderhawk
Here is the ceiling of the Embarkation deck. Here is where that level of detail comment came from earlier. Everyone of those boxes are made using at least 3 pieces of styrene each. And then there's the piping between many of the boxes. Oh and I had to pass the wires for the LEDs though the pipes too. Yeah.... lot of work. Not a lot to really show for the effort.

I've been working on other stuff besides just the pilots and  ceiling of the embarkation deck for this bird though.
inside left wall of the scratch built Thunderhhawk
inside left wall of the scratch built Thunderhhawk   
This is the inside left wall of the Thunderhawk's embarkation deck. There's not a lot to say about it that you can't see from the pictures themselves so I'll just let the picture speak for itself, you know being worth 1000 words and all that. The ribbed cables I'm using are from Dragon Forge Designs.

I've also started working on the engines. Well one part of one engine. See the model uses a series of 6 half-tube sections around the engines. One of the top of the wings, one on the bottom and then 2 along the bottom of the main hull. Here is my current state of progress on this point:

Yeah... lots of small parts and sections. The capping on each end is a section of "House siding" paneling from Ever Green plastics wrapped around the end of the half tube and glued in place. I needed to use clamps to hold the piece down long enough for the glue to set because my hand would start to cramp after a couple minutes while still failing to hold the piece in place properly. Once that was glued down I went back with smaller strips of 1mm thick styrene and then glued those down along the edge of the siding piece. It gives a rather nice mechanical look to carry the idea that this is a working machine I think.

The piping isn't even half done yet and it still a lot of experimenting as I go so I've had to start over several times. The center pipe running along the back of the tube was accomplished by cutting strips of .01mm thick styrene, gluing down one edge of it to the pipe and then rolling it around the pipe and gluing it down once I had reached the desired thickness.

Remember when I posted this a couple days ago?

Well I got some work done on the thruster nozzle that attaches to this part, buuuuuut I'm not all that thrilled with the end result so far:
It's just... so plain, There's nothing there. So working on that. The catch is I'm trying to accomplish fixing this with out ordering anything right now. See Plastruct is crap at filling orders. Last time I ordered it took me 5 weeks to get my order and when I got it in there was mold on it. They also require a $50 minimum for private orders, but they only supply 1/19th of their entire catalog to distributors like Hobby Town. So... yeah. I have one maybe worked out:

Basically there is a raised edge along the outer perimeter of the panel. It adds some to the piece, I'm just not totally sure it works well enough. Any thoughts from anyone else?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

So I made something

Got a new piece built for the Thunderhawk:

Scratch built engine cowling for a Space marine Thunderhawk Gunship
Got a guess what this is? Well I'll save you the trouble:

It's this:
a Raptor Thunderhawk with the engine cowling highlighted
Yup. That is one section of one engine on this bird.

Now want to know the really twisted part?

Well, yes there's the point that I have to build 2 more of these things. But beyond that point. This one part is built out of 88 separate pieces of styrene. Yup. 88 pieces.

 So now I have to make 2 more of 'em. That'll mean I have to cut out 176 pieces and assemble them. I'm sort of tempted... in a weird I want to torture myself sort of way, to actually count up the number of pieces of styrene it ultimately takes me to build this monster. And then I'll have to at least double that because I want to build a 2nd one that I can convert to go with My Chaos Forces.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Project Thunderhawk

So got some more work done today. You know one of the things I dislike about scratch building projects like this is that I can work on the project for multiple hours and only get a small section complete. Not exactly a complaint just a point of annoyance with the project. As a point of comparison, in 8 hours I can build a complete Land Raider kit, fill in all the seems, clean it up, and probably get started on painting it, and by get started I mean getting base colors down and started on highlights.  I've been working on the Thunderhawk for a bit over 8 hours today. And the most notable piece I finished is the canopy.

The Canopy is actually made out of 3 layers of styrene affixed to one another both for strength and for the bonding plane to... well actually exist. The first layer is .02mm thick styrene. Then there's a layer of .05 mm styrene on top of that is just slightly larger then the  .02 layer, This larger layer is principally what is actually holding everything together. And then ontop of that there's a layer of .01mm  sheet styrene on top of that that is cut to create the panels you see. And then of course there's the 62 rivet details on the canopy. The rest is pretty straight forward and speaks for itself.

I was also able to add some more material to the cockpit of the craft to help fill in space a bit more and got the torsos of the pilots built. Gonna get 'em primed tomorrow I think. I used the weapon firing arms from the Space Marine vehicle accessory sprue as the pilot arms. I decided to get a little adventurous with the left side pilot and made one arm with a pointing finger like he had taken one of his hands off the yoke to push a button on the control panel.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Continuing with Project Thunderhawk

Okay so got some more work done on the Thunderhawk today. Annoyingly for at least the next week or so any progress I do make on the Thunderhawk will be extremly small and mainly limited to small details or perhaps painting a small part and there is a reason for this. I have to wait for several orders of materials and parts to arrive before I can continue working on the large stuff. I don't have enough styrene of the proper thickness to build the body for instance. I decided to use some bitz to make building the consoles on the control deck a bit more reasonable and keep them fighting with the other Space marine Models so I need to wait for those parts to come in. I've decided to use rectangular LEDs for some console displays, rectangular LEDs I had to order so I have to wait for those to come in before I can do much more like wiring in the circuits for them them to be used.

But I have been working on the Thunderhawk!
the Underside of the Thunderhawks control deck, or the ceiling on the embarkation deck.
 Here you can see the underside of the control deck. I'm sure you're wondering what those two holes are toward the front of the panel. Well Those will be fore red LEDs that I'm going to install in it. Something to give you an idea:

the Underside of the Thunderhawks control deck, or the ceiling on the embarkation deck with a red LED stuck in the hole for demonstration purposes.

I'm gonna try and wire those red LEDs into a blinker circuit that that it'll be like when they open the bay door, there's a red flashing light. Might build a Captain getting ready to jump out of the Thunderhawk, along with an  arrogant little twerp of a 'veteran' marine complaining that such acts are not in keeping with the codex. And then he promptly get's smacked by the Captain with the codex as he tells him that as soon as you start limiting your battles to a pre-written book you may as well surrender.
The green lines are pigment powder I used to mark out the boxes and sections I marked. See the template I'm using builds in a tremendous amount of detail and I'm going to try and use that detail to my advantage with regards to the electronics. See the lights will be... well the lights on the Embarkation deck and control deck will be in the front of the model, while the power supply will be in the back end. So I need to run wire up the body and into those respective sections. Well I'm going to try and hide those wires in plain sight by positioning them to be the cables and conduit that run over head on the embarkation deck and under the control deck.

here is an example of one of the extra bits of detail the template makes:
That's not all the details that go on that panel, but it gives an idea of it.

Here's the top side view, along with Calgar for Scale:
 I am going to build the console stations and piloting stations but like I said I have to wait for the supplies to arrive to do that. To give you an idea of what I'm going to light up in the cockpit I made this using the template:
The Green glow from the panels is what I'm intending to light up. Actually I've already made one part for the process:
So... yeah. Little tiny updates for the next week or so I guess while I wait for materials and parts to come in.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Return to Project thunderhawk

So, who remembers project Thunderhawk? Yeah I know, it's been close to 18 months since I posted about it. what can I say, between my Army Builder attention deficit disorder, school, work, family, and medical stuff my brain tends to jump a lot. It's just the way I am. Anyway, with this years apoc game behind me I decided to return to project Thunderhawk at least for the immediate time being. I still have a great many other projects I'm working on, not the least of which is Codex: Chaos.

So Project Thunderhawk. Last time I talked about this I was talking about casting the parts for the thunderbolt fighter. A year later I haven't gotten any better with that and with my current financial situation I have not the means to practice at my disposal. So that has annoyingly been put on hold. Which is a bit of an upset because with the plastic thunderbolt I was building and the paper-hammer version I had built previously I was moving closer toward having a full flight of Thunderbolts. Be really fun to be put a flight of 6 Thunderbolts on the table for a future Apoc game. Well, may still happen one day, but not just yet.

Returning to the Thunderhawk I actually started with the upper cannon housing first. This is largely an arbitrary choice because of how the template is setup.You could very easily break the finished model down into 8 seperate parts that you could start on and work on in virtually any order and only need to make extremely minor changes to your project plan to accommodate the changes. The wings, the main body, the forward section, the upper cannon housing, and the forward stabilizers are each separate sections of the template So the upper canon housing seemed like a good enough place to start while still having to work with some of the electronics I had previously talked about doing.

So I constructed the upper cannon housing using .4mm thick sheet styrene over a support structure of 1/4" thick hollow square tubing. here is the end result:

A scractch built Thunderhawks upper cannon housing built out of sheet styrene
Fairly good work here if you don't mind the self congratulations. The only part I'd do differently if I did this again is the vent stack covers. I made them too tall.

Now, there's not much point in building a cannon housing if you don't have a cannon is there? Well I'm working on that too:
Using various diameters of tubing I am working on building this Volcano cannon.
The Turbo Laser Cannon for the top of the Thunderhawk

Building the Turbo Laser has been a bit more of a challenge then it first seemed it would be. See money is an issue right now so I'm trying to do as much of this with out buying anything as I can. Basically what I have on hand right now. So while I had the material to the build the mount housing at the base of the cannon, and I had the materials to build the cannon barrel... mating the two parts was a bit more of a challange. Basically I had piping that was 1.8mm  on the inner diameter that I used for the cannon housing, and I had piping that was 1.4mm on the outer diameter which is the cannon barrel basically.  So I had .4mm of space to fill across a depth of 3.5cm. Well I think I got it settled moderately well. Basically I used stacks of .2mm thick styrene to build 3 stacks that I then glued around the base of the cannon barrel and then used those stacks to fill the space between the cannon barrel and the cannon housing.And then I went back in and filling in the forward most space with green stuff. I'll see need to go back and add on a bunch of detail on the cannon and the mount for it. The hydralics for it, the additional bracing, the bolts, ect.
How I mounted the cannon in the housing.

I also worked on the electronics for this part as well. I installed a 1cm yellow LED on the housing where the cannon will mount and then wired in the switch. I installed the monetary switch in the upper housing so that way the cannon will light up as long as I push the button.
I installed a monetary push switch so that the Thunderhawk cannon would light up while I pulled the switch.

I had a bit of a happy accident of sorts when I was working on the cannon. See the Cannon has a sort of recoil suppressor or something on the end of the barrel, and I didn't have a section of tube small enough to accommodate this so I used a length of clear pen tube body for it. The happy accident? The suppressor glows yellow when the light is applied to it.
The clear pen body I used as the suppressor on the cannon actually glows when the light is used.
If I had know the pen body collected light like that I would have used a red LED instead of the yellow one. Oh well, next time I guess.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

So what did I learn from the Apoc Game?

So I finished the Apoc Game and it was a lot of fun, but there were several problems that came up during the game. Not being any sort of a negative nanny or anything here, but I do feel the issues I encountered are worth noting, and like wise I feel these issues should be shared along with my thoughts on them so that others may benefit from my efforts both positive and negative.

A points disparity between the teams. This was a huge issue as 36 hours before the game one team was estimated to having 56,000 points and the other team having 58,000 points. With the 12500 points worth of units I was bringing everything looked like it was a set to have a really great 120,000 point battle. And then we had some people drop out bringing one team to a near crippling 32,000 points compared to the other teams 58,000 points. I handed the lower team everything I had but one person really can't be expected to make up nearly 20,000 points worth of models in an army.

So for next year I think I will put a max-points cap on each team, say 30,000 points. And then break down on a per-player basis. So let's say each team has 10 players. That means each person would be individually responsible for bringing 3,000 points to the battle. If the respective warmasters for the team wants to change this break down so that something unique can be brought to the table, they would be able to do so, one person only brings 1,500 points while another brings 4,500 for instance so that second person can bring 3 Thunderhawks or something of that nature.

Another big problem I ran into was with the tables. I had the tables set up in a sort of 'U' shape, that way people could use the length of the table as the battle field. Well, nice idea... in theory. In practice it lead to horrible bottle necking. On one table there was this huge cathedral terrain piece that basically blocked half the width of the board forcing the invaders army to progress down one side of the 4' wide board. On the other section, the invaders army stalled against the defenders as the units in the front simply didn't move beyond the engagement.

I'm not totally sold on this plan just yet, but it has sufficient merit to it that it's worth serious consideration. I'm thinking of setting the tables up as 3 rows, each row being 24' long by 4' wide, placing rulers/meassuring tapes of some form along the edges of the board, and just assuming that there is no gap between the boards. Like this:
And then for the actual game it would be played long ways. There's also been a suggestion to put the defenders in the middle of the middle board and give them a 4' x 12' deployment area and have the invaders deployed around that area with a 12" no-mans land between them. Like I said, not totally sold on the idea just yet, but am considering it.

Another problem I had was the sewers. Yeah, they were a great idea and the finished product looked really good, but those were honestly the high points of the sewers. That they looked good and were an interesting idea. Here I think my original idea of having multiple levels and dozens of pipes through out the board would have saved the map. As it were, the sewers just created a bottle neck in the 2 cross overs and that bottle was plugged by 30 terminators. For next year I'm looking at options and idea for multiple levels to the sewers and having larger utility rooms and spill ways and the like.