Sunday, October 02, 2016

The Undying Legion

This is a revisiting/revamping of an... ages old idea I had. I think I originally had this idea back in 4th, maybe 3rd edition. But it was back when "Legion of the Damned" didn't have official rules. So I had an idea to do a Legion of the... Legion of the Damned. Same general imagery as the LotD, lots of skulls and flame imagery. Almost no vehicles, all foot slogging, and silent save for the cry of the bolters and the crack of enemy skulls!

So the revamped idea is a bit more like the Black Templar in temperament, the undying loyalty and commitment to eradicating the enemies of the Imperium, even beyond death! Screaming from the skies comes the skull heralds of the legion, appearing to plow into the ground yet incurring no damage and hovering over top of the ground when the smoke clears. Hauntingly, the Legion then appear about the ghastly totem to bring the devine and fiery wrath to the enemies of the Imperium of man! So far I just have a couple little random bits for the army. But... here they are!

So surprise, surprise Halloween is coming up so lots of skulls for sale for super cheap. I was walking through Target when I found a bag of smaller skulls and larger fist sized skulls. Well this reminded me of my Undying Legion idea. So I grabbed some!
One of the first challenges was on the back of the skull, where in very predominate raised text it spelled out the various forms of "Made in china". That had to go. Started with an exacto blade and shaved off the raised letters. Then I came back with sand paper. I started with 600 grit and then moved onto 1200 grit. I wanted to keep the damaged and worn sort of look so I didn't want it perfectly smooth.

One of the first challenges was on the back of the skull, where in very predominate raised text it spelled out the various forms of "Made in china". That had to go. Started with an exacto blade and shaved off the raised letters. Then I came back with sand paper. I started with 600 grit and then moved onto 1200 grit. I wanted to keep the damaged and worn sort of look so I didn't want it perfectly smooth.

One of the defining images I had in my mind for this army was the idea of skulls that come screaming down from the skies, come to 'land' in a big plum of smoke and dust and then only as the dust settles do the enemy first catch a glimpse of the Legion forming ready for battle. So these larger fist sized skulls are going to be the 'counts as' drop pods and will be modeled on bases to be hovering above the ground.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

The legion is born...

This started as a random idea while I was doing a live stream one night. I was working on some Raptors when I had an idea for a Sorceror. So I went to work on the Sorcerer who has become known as Arian. The idea grew into being a Sorceror who has found a new way to produce new semi-chaos marines. In agreement with the Dark Magos Varagos, Arian takes bronze statues cast in the form of Chaos marines and puts the souls of his most 'loyal' thralls into them, casting powerful spells to animate the otherwise dense and un-moving bronze. By doing this he is able to create resilient, powerful warriors on par with most Chaos Marines with out the resource commitment normal Chaos Marines require. They are not perfect constructs as the souls exist in a sort of phase and they may be slow to react to the real world. Short version: These guys count as Thousand Sons!

 The Sorcerer himself in the making! Built on the base of a Dark Angles robed body with a chaos marine front torso, I used green stuff to build up an over robe and then cut off the handing bars from the Tzeentchian icon from the Chaos Space Marine box set and attached them to the front of the robe. Ultimately there will braiding that attaches to the bars so they are handing off his shoulders rather then hovering there. The arm is the icon bearer arm while the staff is from the Terminator Lord set.

In order to swap weapons and options I put a magnet in Arian's shoulder. The helmet is a Warp Talon's with the... erm... the antlers? carve down and smoothed out to give it more of a corrupted mark 3 helmet sort of look.

I once again used a pre-cast base from Dragon Force for my Brass legion. In order to help with painting, I put magnets in the feet of Arian so I can remove the model from the base to paint the base as needed.

To show his obsession with souls, I'm going to have a series of skulls hovering over his backpack. So I added 2 more exhaust vent arms, turned the vents upward, and pinned a skull hovering a couple millimeters over the exhaust vent. I'm going to come back with green stuff and add in flames. It's the same idea that I'm going to do with the heads of the Bronze Legion members themselves. Basically the idea is when the souls were infused into the statues, the heads of the statues shatter and a floating flame wreathed skull is the head of the marine.

The first couple members of the Brass Legion! To show the relative low quality of the statues, I added damage to the models. In the legs what I did was drill up into the leg with progressively larger drill bits until I had largely hollowed out the leg. Then I put a drill through the leg adding a hole, then came in with an exacto blade to rough up and break the holes. To help carry the idea of soul animated statues, I'm thinking about priming the model in 2 stages, the spaces inside the army and the neck and gorget will be primed in white while the rest of the armor is done in black. the areas that are white will be done up in bright blues and greens while the rest of the armor will be done in the darker bronze color. So... here we go.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Yeah I'm still alive

Hey all. I know I haven't posted on here in a while. Live has been life and I've learning at least the basic ins and outs of streaming so the time has really gotten away from me. But I am still alive and I am still working on various projects. Depending on how you look at it I'm covering them in more detail by streaming. See, I can just record my live stream and then load it up to YouTube. Now I highly doubt anyone will actually sit and watch the entire live stream, but the information is there and it helps to provide a record for me that I can go back and review when I type information up. For easier organization I've begun assembling the various recorded live streams into play lists.

This live stream is of me building the Marauder bomber in paper-hammer form. Well Cardboard form

This playlist is of the Chaos play through of Dawn of War: Dark Crusade I did:

Then we have my project reviews. These aren't live streams but if you want some quick overviews of prior projects, this is it.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Paper hammer research project

So I'm going to put together a series of videos about scratch building with the first section of the series talking about Paper crafting, or more commonly known as paper hammer in our circles. As a prep for the project I'm doing a bit of an exploratory project to build a paper-hammer baneblade, that way I can make the mistakes, and find the screw ups, make note of them and address them in the finished project. So here's my progress on the exploratory or as I call it "This is what I screwed up!" As a bit of fellow-40k blogger support, and credit where credit is due, I'll be pulling a lot of references from Virtual Stranger's blog "In The Grim Cheapness of the Future...". He completed a paper-craft build of a plague reaper based on the same plans I'm using for the BaneBlade. He chronicled much of his work and much like myself, he believes in showing people his screw ups so others can learn from them. So now I'm the one making the screw ups and you get to learn from my screw ups.

The Lascannons were actually the first parts I built for this project. I had a brain storm about how to go about building them. By rolling strips of cardstock that have been saturated with white glue around the body of a tooth pick and then rolling additional pieces to affect the extra details. Then affixing pieces of cardboard for the under barrel support and muzzle. This allowed me to build up details and get that more unique Lascannon shape and design. Overall, I am pleased with how the lascannons turned out.

The next part I worked on was the main body with the demolisher cannon. The cannon doesn't move sadly. Perhaps in the next version. This is an example of one of the things that the plans I'm working from leaves out. There are no plans for the demolisher cannon beyond the side mounts. The back of the mounts, the cannon, the barrel base, none of them are in the plans. So I have to design them myself.

I could see that the major join between the forward hull and the upper hull was going to be a critical point of connection. So in order to reinforce that added extra layers of cardboard to the connecting planes and added braces on the under side of the turret mount.

The mounting for the main turret was a bit of a challenge for a couple reasons. Firstly because there isn't any sort of mount in the plans. You just have the turret, and then you the upper hull. Nothing to really mate the two together. So another part I needed to design and build myself. What I did is I measured out a circle that would fit inside the space for the turret, it turned out to be about 5cm in diameter. Using a little geometry I cut a strip of cardboard that would roll up to be a tube with a diameter of 5cm. I rolled it up to form that tube, then glued a cap on one end of it. To help reinforce the tube I added cross bracing inside the tube. Then I put a lot of white glue into it and allowed that to dry for a couple days.

A nice trick I found for when you need to make something round you can cut a series of shallow cuts across the width of a piece of cardboard, you can more easily roll it into a tube. In this case each cut is 4mm after the previous.

I mounted a series of 4 sheets of cardboard in the bottom of the upper hill section all with the 5cm hole cut out to accept the mount for the upper turret. By layering the cardboard like this it greatly increases the strength of the part.

upperhull base

Always such a challenge finding ways to hold parts together while glue dries.

The finished upper hull and the main turret mount. Turned out really well if you don't mind my being a bit boastful.

The main cannon. This one I'm rather proud of. See it's built in layers. The first layer is a length of Cardboard 8cm long with 3mm shallow cuts made down the length to allow it to be rolled up. With that innermost portion built I then cam back and rolled lengths of Cardstock around the base of the barrel and the end of the barrel. I them added a second layer of cardstock, but shallower then the first, over top of the layer at the base. Then I added one more layer of cardstock over top of that. I came back and added some barrel bracing with thin strips of cardboard. I then designed the barrel vent piece for the front of the barrel. Was a royal pain to cut out the vents. I have to use only the sharpest and newest blades. I wound up using 4 blades to cut that one piece out.

Here's the main body with the demolisher cannon, twin-linked heavy bolter turret, and main turret. Somehow it looks like some sort of boat to me at this stage.

And then come the tread assemblies. This is a part that isn't 'in' the plans exactly but if you get creative you can get them from the plans. I then had to cut out all that circles. Was rather tedious.
Stranger actually pointed out how to build the treads from the plans for the Baneblade, even though there aren't any plans for parts to build the tread assemblies.

And... somehow I thought it was a good idea to make 64 links like this. Why?

Monday, April 11, 2016

Shen-long Gundam

So I picked up a 1/100 scale XXXG-01S Shenlong Gundam at Hobby Town a while back, not for any specific reason and in all honesty I'm not really a fan of the mech. Even in the world of Gundam Wing (yes that is the Gundam Series that gave us a Mecha with feather wings), the Shen-long struck me as being too fantastical and impractical in the real world. Still, for $12 can't complain too much. The model seemed like a good option to practice air brushing on. I know the model, having built it back in the early 2000s. It's mainly primary colors so the paint should be easy to match up.

maverike_prime's 1-100 Scale XXXG-01S Shenlong Gundam album on Photobucket

Update (4-11-16): At the time of this posting, I've had to put the model on hold. I've lost several parts and can not build the rest of the model with out them. I have ordered a second model off ebay, but until that comes in I can't work on the model much more.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Just a heads up

Hey all, I know I've been absent a bit of late. Time and life and all that have been taking me away from the hobby for a bit. But I do have an announcement to make. I am in the process of setting up a weekly stream for my hobby work. Right now I'm shooting for my first broadcast to be April 16th. I don't have a lot of details for the stream just yet like weather it will be done through or for instance. I'm considering both options, but will ultimately select the service that best meets the needs of the information I wish to present to my viewers. So keep your eyes pointed here for updates on my incoming stream.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

F-103 Excalibur Space Superiority Fighter Part 6

So sorry for the delay in posting new info. As I said last time, I'd had an accident while working on the Excalibur card board mock up which resulted in a destroyed model. It was a bit of a bitter-sweet kind of screw up since on the one hand, I had to start over on the mock up. But on the other hand I specifically chose to work in cardboard for this part of the project specifically so that if I had a screw up, it wasn't going to cost me $20 in materials. So... I guess it is like planning for a problem and having the problem occur. Yeah you're prepared and ready for it, but you still had a problem. So.. yeah.

Anyway I have been working on rebuilding the mock up and been making good progress. Having built it once already I can zip through a lot of it while also correcting some mistakes I made the first time around.
Here you can see I'm built the mark 2 model up to the level of the previous version at the time it was destroyed. The main body is actually stronger then the first version and has cleaner joins between the various parts.

So that's it? I got back to where I was last week and now I'm done with this post?

Yeah, not so much. I have started working on the next sections. Firstly there's the cannon mounting under-carriage, the part that holds the reaper cannons in Wing Commander 3.
You ever start to work on something and think it'll be super-easy and you can just zip right through it, but once you start working on it, you find out it's actually way more difficult then you thought it'd be? Well, that was this part in a nutshell. Cut 2 side parts so they line up with the under side of the body and the forward boom, what's so hard about that? Simple, I have no formal 3D design experience or training. So because of that I had to re-cut the sides a couple times after I found I had not measured properly.

For detail and variation I took a pencil and darkened the inner spaces of the under carriage where the reaper cannons would be placed.

And then, there is the power-plants... er missile bays.... er... whatever the boxy shapes on the sides of the main body are. This proved to be more challenging then it first appears.
The initial shape was easy enough to accomplish, measure and cut the upper and lower sections as they appears in the line art. I had to do some interpretation to make the side and inner-section. There's little enough I can say about the sides that would really help any aspiring crafters. I had to estimate my measurements, cut a piece and test it. Find out I was wrong, and try to correct it with a new version.

No the real challenge was the scoop intake covers. See, it's an angle that extends in 2 dimensions, backwards relative to the body, and outward relative of the body. It's something that isn't immediately apparent from the 2D line art. So I had to cut and fit the ram scoop cover about 6 times before I got a sizing that fits.

Friday, December 18, 2015

F-103 Excalibur Space Superiority Fighter erm... had an accident.

Well...... ssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttttt! I have to start over on the mock up. I was gluing the bottom panel of the body in place. What I didn't realize was some glue had leaked out of the body and onto my work space. So when it dried it dried to my work space. I went to pick up the body, and in the process tore it apart.

Well this is why I started with cardboard. So I could make these sorts of screw ups and not have to pay through the nose for it.

Still, this sucks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

F-103 Excalibur Space Superiority Fighter Part 5

Okay, so I've got a notable update today. I haven't finished taking measurements yet, and I'm still working on that front. What I do have is a partial card board mock up of the forward fuselage. This is little more a simple mock up with the basic measurements I've got already. Not complete. This is meant to be an exploration of the construction of the finished model. As one example, I've already encountered one mistake. When I figuring out the parts based on the measurements from the line drawings, I thought the triangular section that would make up the side of the cockpit section was a right triangle. Well, it's not. So the original part I made based on the measurements didn't fit in the space.
The mock isn't so much meant as a means of exact build, but rather a means of low-cost construction that will lead back into additional design work. As I've said I do not have design experience or training. Add to that my rather dubious knowledge of geometry... yeah. Up hill battle with a fairly substantial learning curve involved. But that's also the appeal of the project for me.

 More then anything else, the mock-allows me to work with the physical design and understand how sections work with each other and see details that may not have been apparent in the line studies.

Monday, December 14, 2015

F-103 Excalibur Space Superiority Fighter Part 4

I don't have a whole lot to show this time. Because of the nature of this project, it's going to have several phases of intense work for little immediate result. This is one of those phases. Where I get to go through the line images I created, and begin extracting measurements. And measurements. and measurements. So far I have 25 measurements and I'm only... eh.... 80% finished. With the back view. I still have the front, side, top and bottom to do. And the top and bottom are going to be the big data-dumps! For reference, understand that the entire space the rear view takes up is 87.5mm high by 182mm wide while by comparison the top view occupies a space of 170mm wide by 305mm long. And the top and bottom views have a lot more detail then the rear. Still, gotta get started somewhere right? So what do I have to show today?

Well, this:

Friday, December 11, 2015

F-103 Excalibur Space Superiority Fighter Part 3

So I've got to give a shout out to a fellow modeler with a Wing Commander obsession. Whiplash, thank you for your help and encouragement sir!

So what am I thanking Whiplash for? Well first off, Whiplash is a member of the Wing Commander community I met via the forums when I posted work on my Excalibur there. Whip was directed to my thread where he then provided some guidance to me based on his own project. Whiplash had done a similar project to my own a bit of a ways back in that he built a model of a Wing Commander fighter. He chose to base his project on the Hellcat V general purpose fighter and he chose to work in wood rather then plastic, but he was able to provide some extremely valuable insight in translating information from 2D designs and images to 3D designs and plans. 

The single biggest thing he told me about was how the limits of the technology used in the games at the time does not lend itself well to gaining measurement for production of a model and instead suggested I use art work for my basis rather then in-game screen shots while using in-game cut scene shots to collect detail information. So to that end I assembled a pair of fairly substantial libraries of artistic references and cut scene frames for the Excalibur.

Beyond all of that I did start crunching some numbers for the model again based on the Warbird images. I've decided I'm going to scale back a bit for the project and rather then do a 16" long model, I'm going to do a 12" long model instead. I've done lots of small scratch build jobs before, but never a full blow from the ground up total scratch built model before. And I'm thinking about doing some lighting effects in the model as well. So the 12" version will be easier to manager and I think closer to my skill set at present. I want to challenge myself, not waste my energy and materials.

So, I took the warbirds image and pulled it into Photoshop where I upped the size by a factor of 6 so I have some room to work and make notes. The image is small enough that I will be forced to 'interpret' a lot of details, but that's what the reference library is for. With the image in Photoshop I started working out some numbers. I had to go way back to Algebra and Geometry to remember how to work with scales and conversions for this and I'm not totally sure my math is accurate. So if anyone who actually knows what they are feel see a mistake, please point it out.

Here is what I have:

Whiplash has also provided me a break down how he went about translating the sizes of the 2"x2" thumbnail images into something large enough to be used. It helped shed a lot of light on the approach and the hows of why it worked for him. It also gave me some inspiration for a new direction to take the project. As he explained, trying to measure the warbirds image that is less then 2" long is only going to lead me to compounding errors from earlier in the project. Don't ask me why, but that clicked with me in regards to digital graphics. I'll explain:

See in digital graphics you have 2 types of graphical engines each with their benefits and minuses to design. The first is known Raster graphics, or sometimes referred to has bit-map pictures. This format uses individual colors dots to render an image. The more dots you have in a given space the sharper the image can be. A line is simply a series of dots of comparable color. This format has the advantage of being capable of storing far more graphical information and being the foundation most directly based in traditional art work so many of the concepts from that medium translate to this format. The second type of graphic is known as Vector graphics. These use mathematics to form shapes rather then recording each individual position of every point contained in the image. This has the advantage of being vastly easier for a computer to deal with but doesn't translate from math to art very well.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, the two graphic types have another consideration between them, how well they scale up or down. See a bit-map can only be scaled by either adding or removing details. How the program add details will effect how well the image scales up, but generally you can only scale a bit-map image up about 50-60% before you start seeing a noticeable loss in sharpness as additional quasi-random extra material is added.

As an example, look at the corner on the right side of the Excalibur image where the forward section of the fuselage meets the side of the wing and side mounts. On the 1 1/2" sized image it's moderately decent.  

 But enlarge it about 400% (so that the over all image would be about 4.5" long for reference) and suddenly it stops looking anywhere near as sharp.
Vector Graphics however, because they are mathematically based can scale infinity. The program simply remaps the location and calculates what's between the points as needed.

So why did I just explain all of that? Well you gave me the idea to start with a series of vector graphics, based on the Warbirds images, then upscale those vectors to the size I need them. Since the vectors expand infinitely, there's no lose of detail in the process. I started with just tracing the major sections visible on the Warbirds image. I did some digging and found my hard copy of the Wing Commander 3 stuff and scanned the warbirds images at an obscenely high resolution of 2700 dpi then pulled that scan into photoshop (as an aside, it's always a challenge working with 5"x2" image that's a staggering 400megs :eek: in size) and went to work with the pen toll to generate the vector graphics. the high resolution pulled out some details, but the size of the original image simply doesn't have a lot of detail to start with.

Remember how I said enlarging a bit-map image is done by adding material? Well scanning a printed image at such a resolution results in basically the same thing. End result? I could trace out the body, the engines, and the cockpit. The rest... eh I kind of had to take some artistic license with those.

Remember that library of images I assembled of the Excalibur? Well I used that a lot in this process. I primarily referenced the "armada" rendering of the Excalibur for filling in the details that were lost in the up-scaling of the scan. So after a couple hours worth of work, I assembled the following top-down image of the Excalibur with (website friendly version displayed. If you want to grab the 300 DPI version it's linked here)

I mentioned that these are first passes, why is that? Well... it's because they don't match up exactly with each other. It's too late for me to go into all details but as an example. The widest part of the front boom where the cockpit is, it is widest on the front view, narrowest on the top view, and just slightly narrower in the bottom view.

So what does this mean? Well, it means I have to go back, pair up the line art pieces with each other and decide which part of which version I want to take as the 'correct' version. While the web version of the image above sizes out to be about 4" wide, I want to build a 12" model from these designs. So if I scale everything up by a factor of 3, and I have one part from the bottom that is 1mm wider, then the same part from the top view, but the rear version is 1mm to the left, I'll wind up with a part that started out as a rectangular cube but when built comes out as a lop-sided rhombus. So guess what I get to do over the next few days....

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

F-103 Excalibur Space Superiority Fighter Part 2

When I built the paper-craft version I used Pericles' paper-craft designs for the Vampire. The... I don't want to say the word but it's the only one I can think of, the 'problem' with Pericles' plans is they are quit literally the in-game model transferred to paper, which while it makes a game-accurate model, I'm shooting for something that is more universe accurate. The best example of what I mean on the Vampire can be seen in the nose:

If you look at the art work for the Vampire:
You can see it has a pair of twin-linked cannon barrel barrels (I want to say those would be the partial guns if memory serves based on placement).

But compare that to the nose of the in-game model:
You can see how the two barrels and assembly have been condensed down into what... well whatever that is. It's just something that didn't get translated from the artwork to the model or vice versa. Also the in-game vampire have a much leaner body thus appearing longer then in the art work.

For the Excalibur I want to go for display value. So I'll be interpreting and adding additional details, but I want to stay closer to the Wing Commander 3 version of the craft, but if I come to a point where I have a source of data from in-game compared to a source of data from say universe, unless I have an explicit reason to do other wise I'm going to take the source from in-universe as more accurate.

As I progress through the project I'm going to be posting a lot of information regarding how I go about things, how I got sizes, how I build parts, ect. I'm going to do this for a variety of reasons, and not all of them personal. As I said, I have no 3D design or architectural experience what so ever, I toyed with Miya for like 20 minutes once about 20 years ago, and have never had enough of an interest to go back into it. I've built.... the dark gods only know how many kit-models and I've converted hundreds more over the last 30 years, so I have a mind for "unfolding" things from their 3D construct to a 2d part. Still, there is a difference between knowing how to unfold an object and knowing how to build it.

So I will be posting pretty detailed progress updates on the project as I go both for a personal record so I can come back to it and see what I did, and to give people with more knowledge then I an opportunity to look at my process and provide feed back. And finally I'll post the detailed info as a basis for anyone else who wants to give it a go. I seek to inspire after all.

F-103 Excalibur Space Superiority Fighter

Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger is one of my favorite games of all times, and I absolutely loved piloting the Excalibur fighter in the game. So this is my effort to scratch-build a large scale (about 16" long) model of it. This is going to be a long term project. So this is going to be my project thread on here as I work through the project.

I did a paper-craft version of the F-109 Vampire recently, and that really rekindled an old interest I've had to have a model of the F-103 Excalibur.

Here is an image of the finished Paper-craft Vampire:

 And if you want to check out more images of the construction process of it, check out the album:
Paper craft F-109 Vampire

I'll warn everyone now, this is going to take a while to complete. It will also be my first totally scratch built and self-designed model. The real challenge... I have no actual 3D design experience or systems. So I'm doing this all as I figure it out. Who wants to go on an adventure?

First thing I did was load up Wing Commander: Secret Opts and swap the in-game Excalibur with the Panther Fighter, that way I could control the fighter while I took screen caps of the fighter. So I took head-on shots of the craft from each of the axis angles. I then assembled those images into the collage you see here in Photoshop. I then used the full sized print out to gather measurements of the craft. here is the first batch of measurements.

This is the full size print out I assembled of the top-down shot of the Excalibur. Nothing particularly fancy here. Took the top down image, up-scaled it until it was the size I wanted (about 16" in length), and then printed it out. Cut the parts out and glued them together to get one sheet. From this I'm able to take measurements, which I record in the collage in photoshop.