Friday, October 31, 2014

Project: OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon

The Gundam Epyon stands atop the Battleship Libra with its saber blazing as it prepares for battle.

The Gundam Epyon: the demon to the Wing Zero's angel, Trieze's ideal of chivalry. The Gundam Epyon was first hinted at only a couple episodes after the introduction of the Wing Zero but its’ true ability would not be revealed until much later in the series. A suit designed for dueling and engaging the enemy face to face, the Epyon was originally armed with an over charged beam saber and a segmented whip that could be heated and used to cut through even heavy armor. Like the Heavy Arms Custom Kai, I built this model years ago, and like that I'm looking back at my work then and thinking "Wow... I didn't have a clue what I was doing back then."

This project is going to involve several things and major phases. The first major phase will be the "scratch building" phase. If you look at the image at the head of this post, you can see the pose I’m going for with this model. Epyon, standing at the apex point of the Libra Battle station, with its beam saber powered on, its search eye activated and its eyes glowing. Since I’m going to build LEDs into the model I will need a power source. When I do lighting projects I like to have the battery pack accessible so that I can replace batteries as I need to. So, the battery pack will be placed on the underside of the base along with the control switch. To keep with the image, I’m going to be fashioning a base to resemble the Libra battle ship to house the majority of the electronic components.
Epyon is online, ZERO system active! The Epyon's eyes, search eye and Chest jewel will glow with the use of LEDs.
The Second phase will be the “casting” phase. One of my objectives with this project is lighting up the beam saber and the chest mounted combat eye/camera. To accomplish this, I’m going to recast the parts in green-tinted transparent resin. By being able to cast the parts, I can embed an LED in the resin and then connect those LEDs to a power source to illuminate the resin. That is my hope, at least. Time will tell if I am able to follow it through. With the base, the cast parts and the lights, I think the entire model will work well enough without the means to move the arms around. I think the trade-off will be worth it though.

The third phase will be about modifying the model to become a mono-pose setup. This is going to involve replacing the poly-vinyl joint caps with styrene pieces that will be glued into place locking joints into the configuration. The other part of this will be modifying parts of the model to accept the wires and LEDs. For instance, the head would normally use a poly-vinyl cup that would sit on the ball joint of the neck. That will be modified to be styrene, and thus not pose-able, so that I can pass the wires from the LED through the neck.

The last major phase of the project will be the assembling and detailing phase. In this phase I will be using pigment powders and paints to add details such as shadowing and panel lines. I’m going to use a sheet of decals from the master grade Epyon to add some additional detail to this model.
This project is really turning into the prototype effort for my Wing Zero project. I originally settled on this project with the intention of just lighting up the beam saber, then that turned into lighting up the eyes, which turned into lighting up the chest gem. The building of the Libra base was more a choice of doing something aesthetically pleasing, more than just building a box for the model to stand on.

So the first thing I went to work on was designing the base that will house the electronics and the batteries. For that I turned to a friend of mine who is an architect (helpful hint for modelers who scratch build: If you don’t know architectural design, become friends with someone who does).  I explained to her that I wanted to design a base that was effectively an eight sided pyramid with the even sides being small and narrow and the odd sides being wide. We exchanged a couple more notes and she came back to me with this:

the parts lay outs and size information to build the base of the Battleship libra for the Gundam Epyon.
While it’s fairly simplistic, it gives me the information to start work on the base with my own skills. After a few hours of cutting and gluing I came up with this:
The base that will serve as the bottem of the Battleship Libra to mount the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon and hold it's electrical componenets.
The larger box in the middle houses a 4-AA battery pack, while the smaller box to the side of that box houses a single pole switch that will control the entire circuit in the model. This is a fairly simple circuit and anyone who has any experience with electronics can build it. That isn’t the real challenge for this project, however. The challenge is changing the model to accommodate these changes, and creating the new parts.

Next time I’ll be talking about creating the molds for casting the new parts.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Project: MS-07B3 Gouf Custom Part #4

 So, the weathering pigments. This is new stuff for me. I’ve read about them, I’ve seen videos, I’ve heard people talk about them, but this is my first time using them. Since this is a new modeling tool for me, I didn’t want to go down the “Hey, which brand is best?” question route. Rather than asking people on forums and such about pigments, I instead went online and watched several tutorials about using them. Then, I went to my local Hobby Town and saw that they had the Vallejo brand pigments on hand.  Okay, so I’m going to start with Vallejo brand pigments.

I mentally made a list of what sorts of materials and colors the Gouf Custom would have been exposed to during its’ battle in the series. So let’s take a look at some of the shots and see what the environmental conditions were that would leave marks on the Gouf.

One of the first shots of the B3 we see in 08th MS team is of it launching itself into the sky to engage jet fighters in mid-air with close combat attacks. To accomplish this, the Gouf uses its’ back thrusters to propel itself skyward. So some heat damage and burning materials on the back of the model. Some black soot.

We then see the Gouf land back on an outcropping. While the animation doesn’t show it, again for reasons of simplicity and time, we have to assume that such a landing would kick up a fair amount of dust and dirt. So need some browns for the dirt.

Later on we see the Gouf using its’ main cannon to shoot up a lot of dirt and dust to cover its’ advance up a side road using the dust cloud as a mis-direction, then cover until it was able to shoot out the beam rifle from Joshua’s Gundam’s hand. It then slammed into the Gundam, knocking it to one side and attacked the GunTank Joshua had been covering. Now the Anime shows the dust cloud to be brown, implying that the cloud was mostly dirt. However, if you look at the action itself you can see that Norris was shooting a road. Now roads are generally built out of concrete, and asphalt. Asphalt is a tar like material and doesn’t really generate much in the way of dust. Concrete on the other hand is mainly rock that has been pulverized into a dust, mixed with water and other chemicals, poured into a form, and then left to dry as the water and chemicals evaporate. So chances are much more likely that the dust would actually be the result of the concrete being shot up rather than dirt.  With this understanding I needed some white and grey pigments for the concrete dust.

So what color pigments did I pick up? Well, I picked up 73117-Rust Oxide, 73116-Carbon Black, 73113-Light Slate Grey, 73114- Dark Slate Grey, and 73.101- Titanium White. The Rust oxide is a brownish yellow, while the Carbon black is a solid black. The White is… well… white and the greys are pretty self-descriptive. 

So I began with the black pigment to fill in some shadows.

The first step in weathering with the pigments was to apply the Vallejo Carbon black. This provided a lot of shadowing effects to the model.

Here we can see the shield with the black pigments applied. Just a quick dusting makes a notable difference. As you can see it dulls the silver I put down in the bullet marks previously so I will have to come back and repaint them a bit.

For the concrete coloring I made a mix of the Light Slate, the Dark Slate, and the white pigments in a roughly 1:1:1 ratio. I added a dash of the black to give some shading to it. Then I applied this mixture to the model.

the concrete colored mixture then got applied all over the model.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Little late to the party but here is the update

As promised, here is the information for the Dragon Forge Kick Starter (Click on the image below to be taken to the kick starter page)

NOTE: At the time of this posting, the entire kick starter had already been funded so now it's all about stretch goals.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Project: MS-07B3 Gouf Custom Part #3

So battle damaging the Gouf Custom. The first big thing I decided to undertake was the physical damage, the scratches, the cracks, and the bullet marks. The bullet marks were first on the list. I wanted to emulate the sort of damage that the Gouf custom would have suffered from its actions in the 08th MS team series. What kind of damage am I referring to? Well let’s take a look..

So, first notable sort of damage the Gouf Custom suffered in the series: Bullet damage! Yes the majority of those bullet shots were against the shield. That doesn’t matter. The shield can only take so much damage and then the shield will break. Now I know I know, they didn’t animate the damage in the series to save time and animation budget because anything that is one screen needs to be drawn. With all the moving around the Gouf Custom was doing that would mean they would have had to animate the battle damage in each frame. In a major multi-million dollar animated movie, sure they can commit the time and efforts to animate the damage. In a 13 episode series they have to deal with the budget constraints.

What other damage did it suffer? Well how about smashing through the ceiling of a building? Granted the damage from such an act would amount to some minor scratches on the armor, it still provides damages. In the case of the model it provides texture that could be spots for weathering pigment to gather providing additional shadow and coloring.

Oh and there is also the damage from the close range fire it took, like when the Gouf Custom was charging the EZ8 to point blank range. Yeah, that’s going to inflict more damage not too dissimilar to the earlier bullet damage, though in this case the damage would be greater. 
So what have I worked on today? The bullet and explosive damage of course. So here is what I did to achieve the damage from bullets, minor explosive and the environmental scratches and such.

First thing I did was use a 1/2mm drill bit in my pin vise and drill out bunches of shallow holes in the shield, the shoulder armor, the right fore arm, the helmet and the left leg. Once the holes were drilled I came back with my exacto blade and stressed the edges of the holes by carving at them with the tip of the blade. With the holes widened and stressed I then came back and carved out further deformations from the bullet marks to show the explosive damage as well as the impact damage. I also used a 3mm drill to create a couple larger depressions to show damage from larger weapons, perhaps mobile suit sized grenades. This was basically the same process as the smaller marks, with the difference that once I used the 1/2 mm drill, I came back with the 3 mm drill and re-drilled the space and then used the exacto blade in the same way.
I began damaging the MS-07B3 Gouf Customs shield by drilling out a series of shallow bores into the shield, and then came back with an exacto blade and stressed the edges of the holes while carving out small chips from the edges of those holes.
So with the physical work done I made use of some Tamiya black paint to fill in the deformations with just solid black. Nothing special.

Once the holes were drilled and carved out I used black Tamiya paint to paint them in to give shadow and form to them against the blue of the shield.
I gave the paint a good 25 minutes to dry and then I came back with a 0/5 brush and used Tamiya Titanium Silver to paint in the deformations leaving some edges of black.

I used Titanium Silver paint from Tamiya to color in the bullet marks on the MS-07B3 Goufs Shield and armor.
I went too deep on a bullet mark on the side of the leg and actually went through the piece.  I decided to run with it and made a second hole on the back side of the section to make it look like the shot has passed right through. I them came back with the black paint and painted a line of fluid leaking out of the hole. I used the Silver paint to touch out the edges of this mark but not cover the leaking fluid.
I carves out a hole in the side of the leg armor to make it look like it had taken a shot directly through the armor.

Almost purely on a whim I decided to go with the oil splattering as blood effect from when the Gouf attacked the second GunTank. This was achieved in a couple steps, one of which is covered while the second will be covered in my next post on this project. The first step was to use the black paint and make the oil splatter marks across the head of the Gouf, it’s chest and it’s left shoulder. I tried to emulate the pattern as it appeared in the anime. Moderate success I’d say. Next time, my first effort using weathering pigments.
I used black Tamiya paint to paint on the oil splatter across the head and shoulder of the MS-07B3 Gouf.