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Will Vale

Robo-pterodactyl (Zoids Pteras)

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10 hours ago, Thud4444 said:

Can I put on my nerd glasses? 

<snip>

Sorry about that long winded response to a unasked question. 

 

Nah, that was cool. I should get hold of the Storch/Archeopteryx wind-up from eBay, I think it's a neat design. Not convinced about the Zabat! 

 

The official explanation is better than my muttering of "it's some kind of magic field" :P It's tempting to write it down and give a lecture about the history of the type as some people do for obscure destroyers, or Lord Nelson, or whatever...

 

You probably know already, but Kotobukiya announced a Storm Sworder for release at the end of the year, that's quite a temping one too:

 

https://hlj.com/product/KBYZD101

 

The aerodynamic-ness is quite cool compared to the Pteras, which has more of the OJR/OER Zoid DNA in it. I like the third engine in the breastbone as well.

 

10 hours ago, Thud4444 said:

I like your faux polycap paint work the best.  I assume they are fake and not functional like on the motorized kits?

 

Yeah they're just a sprue of normal styrene parts. There's something funny and cute about that, they even have a little extra detail compared to the vinyl caps.

 

I sprayed them grey and then misted a highlight over the upper/outer end. They had a black enamel wash and a drybrush, then flat varnish. Very easy to paint! I think the pale gradient may give a slightly translucent or stressed effect which recalls the vinyl caps? Not sure.

 

Cheers,

 

Will

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8 hours ago, Will Vale said:

Yeah they're just a sprue of normal styrene parts. There's something funny and cute about that, they even have a little extra detail compared to the vinyl caps

 

They look really good compared to the motorized kits parts. I worked hard to figure out how to paint those. I eventually settled  on a vinyl paint to allow for some flexing. But they never looked quite right. Yours looks like they were lifted straight out of the anime!

 

giphy.gif

 

 

 

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Thanks all, glad my big plastic tub "pro photo system" is delivering the goods :)

 

I haven't done much more on the Pteras as I've been busy with other aspects of life (I damaged a knee ligament recently and finally got around to seeing GP/physio etc.) but I did start on a base this evening. I've glued and screwed a chunk of dowel to a wooden coaster, with a cut-out thin MDF profile on the other end and a block of foam trapped in between so it fits over the dowel between the coaster and cap.

 

Once that's set up I'll carve the foam into a rocky column and sit the Pteras on top with some pins running up into its legs for stability. I need to find a standing pilot figure too, ISTR having some nice resin tank crew in 1/72 who might work, but I have no idea where they are!

 

I also picked up some metal guitar strings today (finally, after seeing Nick do all kinds of things with them for years) to lay into the rock to create some of the Planet Zi biomechanical ambience. Or at least that's the kind of thing I've seen and liked in other Zoid dioramas. Hopefully it'll work out.

 

Cheers,

 

Will

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Here's the base blank, now to carve it:

 

36086135042_0673365c4b_b.jpg

 

I looked at some rock pillar pics on the internet and found a couple of candidates. The first is Zhangjiajie National Park in China:

 

34064666145_1d3d193893_b.jpg

Zhangjiajie National Park by Norbert Trewin, on Flickr

 

This has really nice sandstone textures and lots of strong verticals and horizontals, deep fissures etc. The greenery is also really pretty.

 

The second is Isimila in Tanzania:

 

23040813666_5c3cb04174_b.jpg

Tanzania - Isimila by Gio Ananda, on Flickr

 

Also sandstone, much more rounded textures which maybe look more like Planet Zi, but less greenery. On the plus side it looks less like the Tyranid Jungle I did last year...

 

I do wonder if the waisted columns might look a bit fake, I think in real life they're capped with a layer of hard stone that prevents the top from eroding?

 

Cheers,

 

Will

 

 

 

 

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Went for the Tanzania option, did some basic carving with a snap blade knife and glued on some other bits of foam to bulk out the shape in places.

 

35861622990_e58be17a7f_b.jpg

 

Looking back at the reference, it's a bit of a coarse caricature, but that's fine. I can add some more detail (I think mainly vertical striations) when the glue dries.

 

35861624150_db268da070_b.jpg

 

The toothpicks are just holding things in place - I usually pull them out or clip them off after it's all set hard. PVA doesn't usually cure properly in foam like this because the foam and glue effectively keep the air out, but it cures enough to get a solid object out of it.

 

Cheers,

 

Will

 

 

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Thanks, it's satisfying how fast foam things take shape.

 

Last night I went back in with a scalpel to add detail - mainly vertical - and smooth out obvious knife work. Then I carefully dragged a wire brush up the sides of the rocks, and finally attacked it with a heat gun to smooth and stabilise the surface. I use a temp controlled gun between about 130'C and 150'C for this. Care is needed as you don't want to burn anything, and ventilation is very important.

 

35878343790_6795e44940_b.jpg

 

That gave me the rock surface, and I added some putty to fill construction gaps, blend in the top, and fix some other minor issues like areas of boring surface.

 

35878346420_cf652d4a09_b.jpg

 

I think it looks pretty good now, I should be able to get it sealed at lunchtime, although I probably need to lightly sand the filler and pick off any remaining dags first.

 

Cheers,

 

Will

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Finally got the detail legible, although this is still glossy and it'll dry quite flat:

 

35471656333_b58f6158ef_b.jpg

35471653773_70469018f9_b.jpg

 

This is a coat of gesso (canvas primer) mixed with acrylic from a cheap "studio quality" set. I usually paint rocks with the tube acrylics too as they're cheap and stay workable long enough to brush-blend them.

 

Having a run of unsuccessful photos at the moment, I think it's because we've got some sun so my diffuse lighting is less so.

 

Cheers,

 

Will

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Got the canopy attached now - I edged it in black paint since it's very thick, and scraped off any excess with a wet cocktail stick cut into a wedge.

 

36146819631_97d9dd13f1_b.jpg

 

It's glued on with PVA and I'm glad it's done as it'll stop me from being tempted to fiddle with the harness, as well as mean I don't need to worry about dust getting inside anymore.

 

I also had a more serious look about posing. The original plan was to drill the legs and run wire pins into them so the Pteras could perch on the back edge of the rock. However my shortened calves mean the claws can't angle forward very far which limits the terrain it'll look sensible on. And there's not much leg to drill into. It may be better to sit it on the forward edge and support it with the groinal (stand) socket. I can either use a clear rod or make it out to be a (well dodgy) fuelling hose.

 

I can also sit it down on legs and tail, but it looks so saaad :(

 

36112284572_46c987ee0b_b.jpg

 

I'll see if I can get that all figured out tonight because I want to paint the rock!

 

Cheers,

 

Will

 

 

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Had an evening of videogame fun which retarded the rate of progress slightly, but I made up time at lunch and put some layers of paint on this. Simple stuff so far, all with tube acrylics.

 

36194580931_0661a9b3b0_b.jpg

 

Started with a base coat mixed from yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and raw umber. The harder rock that caps the eroding layers has some raw umber blended in since it's darker.

 

35934738090_48b0de7f01_b.jpg

 

Added a heavy wash of mars black and raw umber, with a bit of soap to break the surface tension, then removed much of it with a paper towel leaving dark recesses in the traditional way :) I did much of this with it upside-down so I could spot places where I hadn't managed to get the base-coat into the cracks, and there were many.

 

35522528083_f54442a849_b.jpg

 

It was a bit too dark, so I added some of the mid-tones back in with more yellow since it was all a bit too red.

 

36162294562_0ac0a8bab4_b.jpg

 

Finally I dry-brushed it a bit heavily with a lighter cream mixed from yellow ochre, raw umber and white.

 

This evening I've been doing the more detailed stuff - trying to find and darken more cracks and make it look less like an obvious drybrush job. I used Citadel paints and washes for that and I don't have any sbs pics, sorry! The cracks had Agrax Earthshade and some very old and smelly Badab Black. Then I washed the mid-tones with very thin Kislev Flesh and blotted it off again, to lower the contrast and make it look more like rock. The dark bits had a black drybrush, and the light bits Flayed One Flesh (pale cream). 

 

To bring it together and move it from red to yellow, I washed it all quite heavily with Seraphon Sepia in sections so I could remove it again, and did a final drybrush with pure white.

 

The ground at the base is a bit un-finished, I've treated it along with the rock and left it fairly simple, but I'll add some loose ground cover after I get a bit further so that it looks like stuff has fallen and settled.

 

More pics tomorrow, but in the lamplight it looks quite cool :)

 

Cheers,

 

Will

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Outstanding! What game you playing?  I've just picked up CoD Infinite Warfare.  Despite all the complaints I've read online, it's not a bad game.  I really enjoyed the space fighter levels. I got to impress my son and his friends when I dusted off my old Colony Wars/ Babylon 5 skill set.

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Thanks!

 

8 hours ago, Thud4444 said:

Outstanding! What game you playing?  I've just picked up CoD Infinite Warfare.

I played the (generous) demo of that and was quite enjoying it too. Not quite space-simmy enough for me (I was lead coder on Independence War II) but pretty spectacular

 

Currently though, I'm playing The Surge which almost a remake of Dark Souls set in a sci-fi universe. It's really surprisingly good - again there was a generous demo, and when I got to the end of that the game was on special so I unlocked it. Structurally it's almost identical to the Souls series, but there are some neat ideas in the combat and I like the level design.

 

Here's the rock as it stands now:

 

35504108934_717864fdc5_b.jpg

35504109534_4b986ece95_b.jpg

 

I think with some scatter, maybe a dusting of pigments, and mechanical detail, that should do?

 

Cheers,

 

Will

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The rock's looking great Will. You've really nailed that weather eroded look perfectly.

 

Are you going to add more banding, like the grey-ish layers in the Isimila photo?

 

Andy

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14 minutes ago, AndyRM101 said:

Are you going to add more banding, like the grey-ish layers in the Isimila photo?

Thanks Andy, the wire brush/heat gun combo makes a great surface with little effort :)

 

I'm not sure about more banding - I like those hard lines in the grey fades, but I don't know if they'll fit. My rock's shorter and fatter than the Isimila columns, so it might look cluttered? The colours have diverged rather from the original as well, although it depends which photo you look at.

 

I'm thinking that I might brush some pigment onto it to get closer to the sandstone, which will lower the contrast too. The other thing I want to try is painting white glue around the top and dipping it in some kind of rock kibble to replicate the hard capstone which seems to have a coarse crystal structure like flint.

 

Cheers,

 

Will

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Cheers! There as couple of obvious knife cuts still but it worked pretty well.

 

Haven't done any more yet as my evenings are still being taken up with The Surge. So good :)

 

Cheers,

 

Will

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On ‎7‎/‎31‎/‎2017 at 8:12 AM, Will Vale said:

I can either use a clear rod or make it out to be a (well dodgy) fuelling hose

Run pipes up the side of the rock to a refueling perch on the top.

That way you can pose it as you need to and it will look like it is supposed to be up there.

Great rock. BTW.

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Yeah that's sort of the plan, 'cept I wanted the pipes to look biomechanical. Maybe if I fair them in at the bottom it'll look like the fuel is being drawn out of the planet somehow :)

 

The "dodgy" bit was in reference to the up-the-bum nature of the refuelling pipe!

 

I've been cleaning the office today, so nothing done but I'm going to go and find the brass rod and pliers and see what happens next.

 

Cheers,

 

Will

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OK, so I have a solution along Pete's lines - I had a rummage in my tray of "round things" and found some moderately heavy piano wire - I should think it's about 0.6-0.7mm diameter? Far too small for the anal socket, but potentially strong enough to (partially) support the Zoid.

 

I did some experiments and settled on folding a U in the wire which (when covered in heat-shrink) is a friction fit in the socket. Then bent this to one side in smooth curves so the bend is close to vertical and the two tails of the U lie parallel to the ground, and finally bent both tails at 90' so they stick vertically into the top of the pillar. It's heat-shrunk up to the 90' bends and hopefully looks like cables or hoses rather than an obvious stand. Artifice! If I'm cunning I can add some curvy heat-shrunk brass wire on the ground to sell the illusion a bit further, with a nurnie to hide the join.

 

The steel's strong enough to support the model on its own in a boingy kind of way, so the feet resting on the front edge are functional in keeping it stable. To that end I've added a patch of filler to take the claw impressions and hold it steady. (The feet are wrapped in clingfilm booties while it dries!)

 

I also ran three lengths of guitar string up the cleft on the front side to get my biomechanical justification, here's hoping it works out. I'll need to build a little mechanism for the top, I'm sure some scraps will suffice. 

 

Pics, as ever, in the morning because it's bedtime :)

 

Cheers,

 

Will

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OK, so here's the prong on which he sits:

 

36368566766_afccea22be_b.jpg

 

and here's the result:

 

35578396984_359dba00c0_b.jpg

 

In hindsight it was pretty dumb to remove the long shanks as he'd have stood up just fine with those - the shorter legs were supposed to look better in flight. But then here I am making a not-in-flight base.

 

I swear modelling would be easier if I made plans, but it might not be as much fun :)

 

Will

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I know its early days and a lot more to be done, but for now I really love the contrast of the metal cables against the natural looking rock.

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