Friday, November 14, 2014

Project: OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon Part 3

Battleship Libra, that is the topic of today post. More specifically the construction of a stand that is intended to represent a piece of the battleship that will act as a base for the Epyon model and provide a location to house the majority of the electronics for the finished product. Now previously I had a flat panel with some bracing and a pair of raised sections to house the switch and the battery pack for the Libra base.

The bottom of the base for the OZ-13MS Epyon Gundam.
The base for the Epyon Gundam.
So obviously the next big step is adding the sides for the base. The sides are made up of alternating sized triangles, the wide sections on the longer sides, and the corners being covered in a thinner triangle shape. So in theory I should just be able to cut out the 4 wide triangles, and the 4 narrow triangles, glue them together and call it a day. Right?

Well, in theory yes. That is what I would need to do. See, here’s the thing: Reality isn’t theory. Here’s a prime example of this  concept in action. When I cut out the shapes I used the measurements for the two-dimensional shapes, and I didn’t take into account the dimensions of the depth of the part. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing so long as I’m willing to do the work on the next stage. 

The problem the lack of consideration for the depth measurement creates is one of sides not lining up the way that you would expect them to in theory. 2+2+2= 6 yes, but 1.99+1.99+1.99= 5.97 and that’s where the problem comes in. This construct has 8 sides. 4 of those sides are supposed to be the same, while the other four are different from the first four. So using the previous example of 2+2+2=6, well now it is 7.0625+1+7.0625+1+7.0625+1+7.0625+1=32.25. Again, in theory.
 But lets say it becomes:  7.062+1.01+7.0725+0.92+7.0425+1+7.1625+1.09=32.3595.
A difference of 1/20th of an inch one way or the other on each piece amounts to more than a 1/10th of an inch of difference in sizes.

But remember, these are pieces that are being assembled into a three dimensional structure. Once the parts are attached to the structure, it’ll be really hard to cut the parts. So in this particular case, I’m advocating to take more off then leaving too much. Which is what brings me to this:

Building the Libra Starship base for the OZ-13MS Epyon Gundam. The pieces don't line up perfectly.
The Libra takes form.

In building the pyramid structure I was able to mostly marry up the edges in such a way that just a little bit of sanding will be needed to hide the seam. On this last facing however, this is where all those .02 and .01 inches worth of difference finally added up to close to a quarter inch of gap. I had to slide in an extra segment of sheet styrene to fill the gap and even then there is still a sizable space between the parts. So I will need to fill the space with a putty and sand it down.

With some advice from a friend at Hobby Town I picked up a tube of Tamiya Putty white and went to work filling the spaces. The putty is really hard on the skin, and it’s best to wear gloves when working with this stuff. Beyond it being best to wear gloves, using the putty is very simple and straight forward. Apply a portion of putty to the seam and then smooth it down with your finger tip. Let it sit for 24 hours so that the putty has a chance to cure and harden properly. Once it had cured I just needed to come in sand paper and sand it down smooth. I started with 200 grit sand paper and worked my way up to 1200 grit for a smooth finish.

The next step was scribing the lines of the panels . If you look at the image of the Epyon perched atop the Libra, you can see the divisions between the parts of metal that make up the surface of the ship. These are the panel lines.

The first step in this process was to mark out the lines. This sounds like it would require a lot of measuring, and in truth there is a lot of allowance for that sort of detail. But once everything is said unlike the process of building the pyramid itself, this really had no reason to be such a detailed process. So the only measuring I did for this part was the distance from the apex of the pyramid down the sides. I marked out lines with an interval of 1.5”. So 1.5” from the top of the pyramid to the first line, 1.5” from that line to the next and finally 1.5” to the next. I used a blue fine tip marker to draw out the horizontal lines that will be etched into the surface. I then went in and basically put in random vertical lines to mark out various sized plates.

After smoothing out corners with Tamiya white putty, I came back and marked out the panel lines for the Libra Battle Ship base for the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon

Once I had the lines marked out, I came back along with label tape and lined the tape along the horizontal lines. The label tape is that plastic sort of tape used in those label maker guns. This tape provides a hard edge with an adhesive back to it that can be stuck on the surface of plastic. With the tape applied I then went to work with my scribing tool. I went for a depth of 5 passes with the scriber. This gives a really solid panel line. Once I had the horizontal lines scribed I went to work on the vertical lines.


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