Friday, October 10, 2014

Project: Heavy Arms Rebuild #8

“This is battle 001, Pilots name: Trowa. Just for the record.”

So, the Heavy Arms conversion is complete! It’s an odd sense to look at the finished project, comparing it to the original kit design and note how much and how little changed between the anime version and the Endless Waltz version. The short version is that there are lots of little details that were changed (I’ll talk about them later), while the major stuff remains largely the same. The basic mech design stays the same, which is really what made this entire project possible in the first place..

The Heavy Arms Custom as it appeared in Endless Waltz compared to the anime version Heavy Arm.
Now remember: my goal for this project was to convert the Heavy Arms Custom Kai into something more resembling its anime counter-part. There were several places where I decided to keep the Endless Waltz design, either because changing it would be considerably more work than I was prepared to commit to this project, or because I liked the redesign better. There was really one part of it that I needed to change from the original kit and that was the mounting for the second set of missile pods on the legs. Everything else was either a case of gluing a part in place so it’s not an opening panel (The backs of the shoulders) or of building new pieces to be added on to the existing model. I’m going to talk more about these points in my project review but I know not everyone wants to watch videos all the time, so I’m going to cover the same points here in this post as well.

So let’s start at the top of the model and work our way down. The shoulders are the first thing that I had to change. The Anime version of Heavy arms had a single compartment in each shoulder that housed missiles, while the Endless Waltz version had 3. One compartment in the shoulder itself, two affixed the shoulder: one in the front that fold open and the second in the back that rotates out. For this conversion, I glued the back panel to the shoulder itself, removing it as a means to deploy more missiles. The second thing I had to do was not insert the plate that had the additional missiles into the forward panel that flipped up from the shoulder. To help make this part look more functional rather than ornamental I added some bracing to the inside of it with a strip of plastic.

1/100 scale Heavy Arms model converted from the Heavy Arms Custom Kai showing the converted sholders.
I needed to fashion an additional micro-missile launcher to go on top of the shoulders. I did this both to be somewhat more anime-accurate and to cover the hole left by the uninstalled  yellow… dog ears? antenna?… whatever the large yellow hook looking things on the shoulders of the Endless Waltz design are. The Anime version didn’t have them and frankly I don’t care for the look of them anyway, so I didn’t put them on. Making the additional missile launchers was pretty straight forward. I used a length of ¼” square plastic and then added some additional 1/16” sheet plastic around that foundation to build up the housing. I cut out the missiles from the extra plates that I didn’t use from the shoulders and then glued the head of the missile to the form. Once those pieces are built it was just a matter of gluing them on over the holes.
1/100 scale Heavy Arms model converted from the Heavy Arms Custom Kai showing the micro missiles on top fo the shoulders.

The chest was a fun challenge, and honestly if I were to do this project over again I would do it differently. What I did this was take the heads of two of the Gatling cannons and cut down the length so that it would sit with in the cavity of the chest and then came back to build in the additional details later, as I talked about in a previous post. Were I to re-do this project I would scratch build smaller Gatling cannons and build up the details around them more in line with how the weapons appeared in the anime.
1/100 scale Heavy Arms model converted from the Heavy Arms Custom Kai showing the converted chest cannons.

One of the changes that was made between the anime version and the Endless Waltz version was the removal of the Heavy Arms single close combat option, a large combat blade housed on the underside of the right arm. So I had to add that back into this model and I accomplished that by scratch building the weapon and attaching it to the arm. I wanted to go with something that looked more like an army issue combat knife as opposed to the large sword style blade the anime version used. This was where I made a mistake with this effort. I made the blade too small.

I made the blade about the same length as the forearm but didn’t compare that to the size of the arm over all, including the hand. So now the blade just barely clears the depth of the hand. I think I have a way to address this shortfall. I’m looking into clear resin casting for a potential project down the line. In conjunction with casting the piece I need for that project I think I can cast a beam effect for this combat blade, the energy blade extending out beyond the length of the arm itself. Future efforts on that front.

1/100 scale Heavy Arms model converted from the Heavy Arms Custom Kai showing the scratch built combat knife under its right arm.

The Endless Waltz version of the Heavy Arms had deployable missiles built into the sides of the skirt armor. The anime version did not have these. To address that difference I simply glued the missile racks into place in their closed position.  As I talked about the legs previously, I won’t go into considerable detail about them now. Originally the legs were meant to mount 2 packs of missiles, while the Anime version of the Gundam only mounted 1 rack of missiles each so I modified the legs to remove the upper mounting points.
I had to modify the legs of the 1/100 scale Heavy Arms Custom Kai to only have one mounting location for missile pods instead of 2.

I made one modification when I built the feet, and that was to fill them with fishing weights. The Heavy Arms model is extremely top heavy and will very easily tip over by itself. To help rectify this I filled the feet with fishing weights to add close to 6 ounces of weight to the bottom of the model.

The Gatling cannon. That’s been an interesting effort. In the Anime the cannon was affixed to a large shield with a sheath that the Gundam’s arm slide into. With the Endless Waltz model the larger scaled double-barreled Gatling cannons are simple held by the models’ hands. In all honesty, they don’t hold it all that well anyway. Both approaches have their problems. The Anime version appeared to be little more than 6 barrels attached to a motor on the shield, with no hint as to where the ammunition was hidden. The Endless Waltz version is much more suggestive of being a functioning item and has space to suggest its actually carrying the ammunition for it. So I wanted to try and bring these two together to make something that looked like it worked. Well… put my efforts under the “partly failed” category. I took the double-barreled weapon, modified to have a single barrel, and then built the sheath for the arm. I took one look at it, and realized that any effort to build the shield on top of it was going to out-balance the entire rest of the model. So I abandoned the effort on the shield. I may come back to this somewhere in the future, and build something like the Gatling cannon and shield assembly from the Katoki redesign of it, which uses a large drum on the back of the Gundam to carry the ammunition.
So that completes my Heavy Arms rebuild project. Next up, the MS-7B3 Gouf Custom with weathering and battle damage.


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