Monday, September 22, 2014

Project: Heavy Arms Rebuild #3

So, I encountered my first real 'oops' moment for this project: The chest. Or rather the covers for the chest cavity. The larger gatling cannon barrels I inserted sit just higher enough compared to the original part that it very very slightly interfered with the panels staying closed by their original design mechanism. Well I used a trick from my warhammer projects to rectify this problem: Magnets!
the modified chest compartment of the Heavy Arms gundam with open panels showing the magnets I installed to keep the panels shut.

Yep, I counter sunk 2 pairs of magnets on the sides of the panels. these magnets are quite strong enough to keep the chest panels closed, but not so strong as to be a hindrance to opening the panels if I so choose. I used kneaditite modeling putty to secure the magnets and then used super glue to adhere them in place against the panel sides.

I also got a layer of paint down on the shoulder cannons. This is the same "Dark sea grey" I used on the Wing Gundam Buster rifle. I still need to come back and pick out the cannon barrels.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Project: Heavy Arms Rebuild #2

Show some leg baby!

Okay, maybe not. The idea of a 200 tonne mecha doing a Can-can is slightly terrifying in my mind. But I am working on the legs of the Heavy Arms model.

The Endless Waltz version of the Heavy Arms mounts 2 missile pods on each leg while the TV version only had one such pod on each leg. So for my model, one of  'em had to go. Simple enough, just don't use the 2nd pair of missile pods. The catch is that leaves the mounting point for the second missile pod. So that needed to be addressed.

When I first started working on the left leg I tried to cut down the extruded mounting portion before I tried to fill in the space with model putty. The work involved in it was incredibly tedious and I realized it's not gaining me anything in the long run.
 So with the right leg I filled the space with putty first and then worked to shave it down. Frankly, it's less effort this way even though it's more difficult due to having to grind through the cured putty before filing down the surface.

With the required drying time elapsed the putty had hardened up nicely and I was ready to proceed. The left leg was honestly more difficult to sand down despite being a shorter stack of putty to work through. It took a solid 2 hours to sand it down with various files and sand papers before getting it somewhat smooth.

The right leg was easier and was finished in about 45 minutes. Using a jewlers saw I simply cut off the mount right about at the same depth as the surface of the leg, and then came back with some files and sand paper to smooth it out.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Project: Heavy Arms Rebuild #1

So first progress in rebuilding the Endless Waltz Heavy Arms Custom into the TV version of the Heavy Arms, namely converting one of those monstrous double barreled Gatling cannons into a single barreled version.

Endless Waltz Version Heavy Arms Custom Kai double Barreled gatling cannon converted into a single barrel design.
Converting it was actually fairly simple. Take the front mounting plate, the part that would otherwise have 2 mounting points for the two barrels, and cut off the mounting ports. Just make a clean cut right down the bottom of them. That gave me a mostly smooth front, but I added a layer of Sheet styrene to help build up some detail on it. I was then able to build the cannon barrels and simply glue them into place.

In order to help the cannon mount on the fore arm I took a trick from my warhammer models and installed magnets, one in the fore arm and one the base of the cannon itself. Thanks to the face that the cannon itself is hollow, the magnet holds it in place very well. I'm still going to build an enclosing arm sheath that the form arm will slip into more like what the Heavy Arms had in the tv series. Got some ideas about how to add some additional mounting support to hold the cannon to the arm better. Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

New Gundam project: Heavy Arms!

So with the 1/144 Wing Gundam now complete I've found myself revisiting Gundam Wing in other ways. The OVA follow up the original series Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz introduced re-designed versions of the major Mobile suits that had featured in the series. All of these Endless Walts versions received 1/100 scale version models of them, even if the original version never got one. The Gundam Heavy Arms is one such example of this. There never was a 1/100 scale version of the original TV show design of the Heavy Arms, but there is a 1/100 scale version of the Endless Waltz variant. Well, I've become inspired to convert the 1/100 scale Endless Waltz Heavy Arms Custom into something resembling the TV Show version of the original Heavy Arms.

Comparison between the Endless Waltz Heavy Arms Custom and the originalt TV version of the Heavy Arms
Time to bring Ole' Painless out.
So we can see a comparison of the Endless Waltz version on the right, known as Heavy Arms Custom Kai, and the original mobile suit Heavy Arms as it appeared in the Gundam Wing TV show.  There's numerous details that I will need to address and a couple that I'm choosing to not deal with because I like the way they look on the 1/100 scale Heavy Arms Custom model. First really noticeable difference is the weaponry. The Heavy Arms Custom is equipped with 2 Duel Gatling cannons while the Heavy Arms is armed with a single gatling cannon mounted on a shield. The large yellow... erm... antennae? Those big yellow things on the shoulders. Those need to be replaced bu the single micro-missile launchers of the tv version.

And finally, there's the machine guns on the head of the mobile suit. The Custom version has the machine guns mounted on the cheeks while the standard version as them on the sides of the head. I haven't decided yet what I'm going to do about those. Add gun barrels, and cover the helmet mounted ones? Add the ones in the head? Leave them as the they are out of the Custom kit? I think I'm going to keep the check mounted guns from the Endless Waltz version.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #6

"Target, acquired!" Wing Gundam Takes flight!
Wing Gundam Takes aim mounted on a Gundam Action base

So the Wing Gundam is complete! I posed it in a way to imitate several shots of it shown through out the Gundam Wing Series where it was effectively falling backwards, had it's shield positioned to protect it's pilot from enemy fire, and took aim with it's Buster rifle over the level of the shield.

This was an enjoyable project and I learned a lot about working with the Tamyia brand paints. I like how the faux-special coating effect turned out, though I made several mistakes with it. But that was largely the reason in this project: Making mistakes and learning from them. The biggest mistake I made was under estimating the drying time of the clear colors. 10 minutes is simply not enough and even 20 minutes leave the paint in a jelly light stage that will still deform and pick up details like finger prints if handled. I am considering doing a 2nd stage to this project where I have 2 models on one base, on of the models will be configured into it's 'Neo Bird' mode, and the second in front of that model in mobile suit mode.

I'm going to look into using an Air Brush to apply the clear coats if I go forward with the 2nd model. I think that will allow the colors to be applied more evenly and help deal with the drying time problem.

The model is mounted on a clear variant of the Gundam Action base, a separate kit  available for the purpose of supporting Gundam model kits in various poses or in the case of the clear variant to suggest flight.

An upward shot of the finished Wing Gundam mounted on an Gundam Action base.
Close up of the finished Wing Gundam model.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #5

So been hammering out work on the Wing Gundam. Actually made a lot of progress in the last couple days. As I previously mention I got the blues and red painted with the faux-special coating effect and gotten the buster rifle painted. I had to track down a fine-line black Gundam paint marker and was able to use that to apply the panel lining on the white parts of the model. You can see a good example of the panel lining here:
The lines on the chest and the thighs are both panel lines, small lines of black paint drawn between two panels to show depth.

The last major part of the model I have left to finish is the wings on the back pack. Probably get that hammered out in the next couple days.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #4

One of the biggest points in this project for me was learning to work with the Tamyia pants. I've only used a couple different types of paints of the years. When I was a child I used Testors brand oil paints because... well it's what i could get for $5 at Wal-mart when my mother went there for other stuff. They work... in that it allows you to put a colored medium on the model. When I got older and into 40k I started using Citadel Paints, or rather the Coat of Arms version of them (Thank you to the two people who know what I'm talking about). I've used a couple P3 paints over the years and they are largely comparable to the current Citadel paints.

Well Tamyia paints are something different. For starters they're not water based the way P3 and Citadel paints are. They're Alcohol based, so they can't be properly thinned with water. You just wind up with this sort of clumpy goopy mess that will absolutely destroy your brush. For another the metallics are a lot more challenging to work with then say acrylic based metallic paint. The Alcohol base separates out from the metallic particles much more easily then in the acrylic bases in other paints so I had to almost constantly mix it in order to keep the paint usable.

Something that Tamyia does is produces a range of it's paints in spray cans. I've seen it said that it's all of their paints, and like wise all of their paints that are in spray cans are available in bottle form as well. I haven't gone out of my way to confirm this, only having used the gloss aluminum spray and a 'Flat aluminum' from a bottle. These appear to be the same but there is a major difference in consistency between the thinned down paint and the spray paint.

You can see a marked difference in the paint between the spray (shown on the top silver wing) and the bottle paint (shown on the lower half of the bottom wing). I had an accident and flipped the wings too soon after spray painting them silver so the paint adhered to the board and when I pulled up the part it tore the paint from it. So I tried to fill in the space with brush painting it on. I still have ways to go in learning Tamyia paints it seems.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #3

Once again I'm working on the details of the model. Today I'm talking about the Torso and the head of the model. The real challenge here was actually the chin. It's red and thus would have the metallic red finish other red pieces would have, but the chin and the eyes are all one piece. Once again the kit has a sticker that is intended to be placed over the eyes to make them 'stand out'.  So I have to paint the entire part gloss aluminum, and then come back with the red coloring on the chin. Once that was set, I came in with a detail brush and painted black around the eyes and then filled in the eyes with the bright green. I used "Dark Sea Grey" to pick out the cannon barrels on the shoulders.

Using the same grey I achieved a tone coloring effect on the buster rifle:
The grey paint is brighter then the plastic the buster rifle so it provides a good contrast. Mixing the grey with black provided a third dark grey for the E-caps around the main body of the rifle. Once more using the bright green, I painted the targeting sensor on the top of the rifle body.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #2

Last time I talked about my plans for this project and how I was experimenting with alcohol based Tamyia paints.  Now I'm talking about the Wing Gundam model itself as I worked to apply those effects to the model. I had built a 1/144 scale Wing Gundam years ago, but that was actually a different kit to what I bought for this project. The new kit is a huge leap in quality and design over the old one. Better articulations, more detailed parts, better designed parts. Just all around a better kit. So I had to study the instructions before I started figuring out what to do. Once I had a good idea of what needed to be do, I got to work.

Wing Gundam model parts primed in silver and begining with the blue coloring.
Wing Gundam model parts primed in silver and begining with the red coloring.
Here you can see several parts in various stages of being painted. Suspended on tooth picks I used the Gloss aluminum spray paint to base the parts that would get the fuax-special coating. I then worked to apply 3 coats of Clear Red or four coats of clear blue. I used the paint straight to get good color coverage.

One of the biggest challenges in performing this effect is the drying time. The clear colors take a solid 15-20 minutes to dry enough to not pick up smudges, finger prints, or brush strokes. This was something I didn't realize right away, and even then I did I under estimated the needed drying time. So there are parts with this fuax-special coating effect that have the remains of finger prints and brush strokes in the finish.

Wing Gundam torso assembled
I used the same lime green paint I used to color the rubber cement back on that Nurgle Daemon prince to paint the space that would be the chest jem. The kit as a metallic green sticker that was intended to be placed under the lens cover, but I dislike using stickers for these sorts of things. So I used the green paint instead. Again I under estimated the needed drying time and the water evaporated under the lens cover causing a clouding effect.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Project Wing Gundam #1

So I've been working on the Wing Gundam Model. There are a number of differences between the likes of Gundam Models and the likes of Warhammer models. These aren't notes of one being a better model over the other, simply differences in how the model was designed and what the end result of the model was intent to be. Warhammer models for instance are smaller and are typically what I call "Solid core" Parts, meaning the parts are generally solid hunks of plastic. Gundam Models by comparison tend to use parts that are panel formed. Like if you look at the legs of a Gundam model, and then split that leg in half to get two pieces. You will not have 2 halves of a solid piece, but rather 2 sides of a shape that is largely hollow. Another big difference between the two is what the intended end-result of the model is. A warhammer model is intended to be a single, representative figure that won't move but rather be moved by being picked up. A Gundam model's end result tends to be closer to something of an action figure by giving varying degrees of movement at the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, neck and ankles. So switching from Warhammer models to Gundam models is a major shift in models. And to add to those differences I wanted to try Tamyia paints and using those paints in a fashion to achieve a special effect.

See, there are 2 broad categories of gundam model finishes. By 'finish' I mean how the final model appears. The first is known as "Special coating" and is achieved by coating the model in metallic materials, while the second is regarded as 'normal' or 'standard'.

This is an image of the standard Wing Gundam Zero Custom, molded in flat colors. The pieces are actually made out of colored plastic, so if you scratched the surface of a blue piece you will find that it's solid blue plastic through the entire part.

While this is Special Coating Wing Gundam Zero Custom model. You can see the while parts are silver metallic while the colored parts are given a metallic glossy finish to them. Unlike the standard version, the metallic finish is actually a coating over standard plastic. The special coating was actually an innovation meant to make use of scrap plastics. By taking all the scrap plastics, that were already molded in their respective colors, and using that supply they could cast additional models getting a better return on the investment in materials. The problem is they can't guarantee they'll have enough blue plastic for all the blue parts for instance. So what do they do? They do the special coating, covering the possibly mis-colored plastic in the colored coating.

Well I wanted to emulate a selective special coating using the Tamyia paints. I ran across a tutorial on line about using the tinted clear colors from Tamyia over top of a bright silver color to achieve the reflective metallics.

So the first thing I did was gather up some parts and pieces to experiment with the Tamyia paints. Tamyia paints are ethanol based, as opposed to water based Citadel paints so they work a bit differently. For starters I have to thin them using rubbing alcohol rather then water which has it's own challenges attached to it. Alcohol evaporates must faster then water does, so I have to very frequently add more to the paint to keep it thinned properly.

So, the parts. As I explained, the process I was going to use involved putting down a bright silver as a base coat and then putting down layers of the tinted paints to color the reflection.

my first effort using Tamyia paints on some extra pieces
I made many attempts before I found a method that I felt worked well enough for what I wanted as an end result. My first effort was on the long section in the middle bottom of the picture above. The one with the yellow front, blue middle and silver back section. Here I tried hand painting a layer of Chrome Silver paint and then used several layers of thinned down "Clear Blue" and "Clear Yellow". I thinned the paints to a ratio of about 4 parts of Alcohol to 1 part paint. This mixture worked alright with the yellow paint, but the darker color of the blue it just took too many coats and too much time to achieve.

The next part I tried was that weird angled part above the first. Here I tried a brighter "Titanium Silver" paint as the base while I cut the thinning of the paints to a 2:1 of alcohol to paint. The colored paints worked much better here but was still quit thin and required a lot of work to achieve what you see here.

My third attempt was on the leg to the right. This time I used straight "Titanium silver", no thinning of it. It took a mind-numbing 4 hours to get the 2 sections you see there painted. That quickly became a "No thanks" sort of result. Doing some reading I found that Tamyia produces a "Gloss aluminum" spray paint. Based on the color comparisons this seemed to be more what I was looking for. So I swung by Hobby Town and picked up a can.

I tried this Gloss Aluminum on the forth part, the second leg section you see to the left. It gives fantastic coverage and looks great. This time I used the clear paints straight, no thinning. I think the results speak for themselves as you can see with the red and blue sections on the leg. A couple coats of the clear blue and clear red produce very solid, vibrant colors that shin.

So with a good approach to the painting taken care of it is time to move onto the model itself. I selected the titular Wing Gundam mobile suit, in the 1/144 scale, as the subject of this project. The series Wing Gundam (Also known as New Mobile Report: Wing Gundam) served as my introduction the Gundam franchise back in the 1998 so there's a certain nostalgic value for me with the models from that series.

the yellow parts painted in the Tamyia gold spray paint.
 I elected to recolor the yellow parts with gold. Tamyia produces a gold spray paint that, like it's Gloss Silver, produces fantastic coverage. You can see the difference it made in the image above. The yellow space is where my gloved fingers were holding the piece so that didn't get painted.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Changing gears for a little bit

So I've been running this blog for a good and solid 2 years now. And I think I'm kind of burnt out on 40k for the moment, but I'm not exactly dropping the blog or 40k.  But I am going to shift my hobby focus a bit. What am I shifting it to? Well I've decided to go back to some model work I haven't really done in about 10 years: Gundam models. Don't know what Gundam models are? Well they're models, based on the Mobile Suit Gundam Franchise. In connection to shifting to Gundam Models I'm also going to experiment with Tamyia paints. So stay tuned.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

the March of Chaos...

So I'm a masochist. I enjoy torturing myself. I have to be. There's no other answer for why I keep coming up with more projects to under take and keep throwing myself into them to the depth that I do! In the last 7 months I've under taken the following projects:
And those are just the projects that I can actually be bothered to list off the top of my head with out really searching. There's a bunch of other models sitting on my project shelf that isn't included in that list. So what am I getting ready to say? Yup, I'm working on something else. Actually I've been working on it for several months now. With the revamp of the blog it seemed like a good time to talk about it. So what else am I working on? Well remember a couple months back I took that info on Atomic Warlords and remade the Chaos Space Marine army list? Weeeeeell I'm taking it further and rebuilding Codex: Chaos Space Marines, actually rebuilding is the wrong word. Replacing is more accurate. See I'm not actually rebuilding the Chaos Space Marine codex, I'm replacing it with a series of three codecies; Codex: Chaos Renegades, Codex: Chaos Legions and Codex: Books of Chaos.

Why am I making three books to replace the single book? Well because from my view of Chaos you have several distinct major factions of power and influence that can potentially feed into any given army that is assembled under the 'Chaos' banner. These forces include the following:

Traitor Legions: These are the 9 traitor Legions that turned traitor during the Heresy.
Renegades: This is the mix of Astra Militarum and Adeptus Astartes units that have turned traitor following the heresy. The occasional squad of Marines that want something more, the disgruntled Militarium units, the detachments of marines that have been lost in the warp for 5,000 years.
The Dark Mechanicus/Chaos Titans: Yeah, there's the Dark mechanicus. What more is there to say? These are the dudes who create and maintain the Forge fiends, Mauler Fiends, Defilers, HelDrakes, Chaos Knight Titans, Lord of Skulls, and all those fun little toys.
Chaos Daemons: the Chaos Daemons.Yeah, it's the Daemons.

Largely any mixture of these four powers can be used to create an army under the banner of "Chaos" and each have their own strengths and weaknesses, too many for any one book to be able to properly facilitate into an army. Thus why I feel the need to create a series of three books.

Chaos Renegades: This is the book most closely based on the current Codex: Chaos Space Marines. This book will focus on the more combined war-bands as an army aspect of Chaos. See, this is NOT Space Marines with spikes. This is Warlord who has cobbled together an army out of various groups. Each group has been paid/coerced/threatened/blackmailed/ or in other form asked to perform some duty with in the army. Once again, this is NOT a space marine army with spikes. Some of the units may have come from Space Marine chapters, but they are no longer Space Marines. They are augmented, genetically enhanced, post-human warriors. They are in this for their own gain. Bonds of loyalty are rare finds outside of the smaller war band/squad. Armies built from this book will be extremly diverse and may even appear to be patch work armies where mobs of Traitor Astra Militarum solders fight along side Dark Mechanicus daemon engines while a unit of Marine Bikers zooms up the field.

Chaos Legions: While the legions as they existed during the Heresy are gone, there are still groups that emulate their operations and organizational structures.So while technically speaking these armies are not THE Legions, in-game there is no appreciable difference. Yes, all of the original World Eaters got the Butchers nails stuck in their skulls and thus became Berzerkers. Yes all of the original Thousand Sons became Rubrica. Yes all of the original Death Guard became Plague Marines. But there are other groups that emulate them and in so doing have formed a sort of second generation of the original Legions. The Sons of Horus reformed when Abaddon forged the Black Legion, while aspiring butchers emulate the World Eaters. Here is where you will find the resources to field these second generation Legion armies. The Traitor Legions are still extremely powerful armies with many of the strengths of the original Space Marines Legions including technology that has been otherwise lost to the throes of time AND formations and operational standards that were handed to other groups following the formalization of the Codex Astartes.

Books of Chaos: Initiative 5 Terminators with Sonic weapons. Plague ridden dreadnoughts dedicated to Nurgle, exuding clouds of flies and noxious as it stomps forward. Daemon infused war engines utterly removed from what the Dark Mechanicus can build. During the 3rd-4th edition era, there was a series of Sub-lists in the Chaos Space Marine Codex called "Books of Chaos" and the idea behind them was that it would allow players to craft and field armies that were dedicated to a given god of Chaos. These sub-lists gave us a lot of extra options that have since been removed. Some of these options include God-speccific upgrades available to the likes of terminators which is the basis of the often lamented "Cult Terminators". Books of Chaos will be the renewal of this concept and will be expanded so that it will be a viable army on its own right.

So whats my point to all of this? Well I've set up a second website to serve as a central point for all of my efforts in re-craft the Chaos Space Marine codex into these 3 replacement books. So I invite all of you to go there and check out my efforts on that front. At this time the majority of my work has been focused under the Chaos Renegades book so that have the majority of info at this time.

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?