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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rain rain!

Its been raining for a couple of days which is great!  ...except that...  I need to primer the exterior of the Thunderhawk.  I'm at a point where I need to assemble the bits containing the wiring harness so that I can insert the cockpit.  After pinning shut the front assault door (FAIL!) I will have to insert the cockpit from the top and guide it into position through the forward landing gear well.  This is way more complicated than it had to be but...there ya are!  Its still doable It will just take longer and it means I can't adjust the cockpit lighting much after the its installed.  The lighting for the cockpit at this point is an indicator light on a console between the crew members and some under dash and side lights.  Using the light to actually provide illumination turned out to be overpowering so it will be accent only... although I do hope there will be a faint glow through the canopy when its lowered... the canopy will normally be viewed in the open position and the lights will work well there.

I'll need to paint the hull enough to add the landing gear and the center line engine next.  The spotlights are going to be added to the back of the main hull and will really need the gear deployed to safely sit.  Once that is done the wiring can be finished and the installed harness retested.  I'll paint the top of the hull and all of the upper superstructure and wing flaps separately from the main hull just to reduce handling of the hull and to minimize handling the full weight of the hull at one time. I'll have to see if I can avoid installing the outboard engines when I attach the lower wing assemblies.  I'd like to hold off adding the weight of the outboard engines until I can add the upper wing support.  It won't be fatal if the engines have to be installed it just makes the whole business a bit harder to maneuver.

I'm still not certain what the whole mess will weigh at the end.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Worky bitz

The major task today was detailing the cockpit.  While I was doing that I came up with and interesting idea for lighting that I'll test tomorrow and see how it plays out. Basically I'll mount a 5mm blue LED inside the center console drill out an indicator light and drill a hole to illuminate the under dash area.  If that leaves insufficient glow I'll add another hole  to allow more direct access to the seats.

Other tasks were filling gaps in the Battle Cannon and the turret housing section, base coating the forward heavy bolter array, and working on the Runtbot display base. 
The Battle Cannon promises to be a chore.  Its not really round, even after a tremendous amount of filing.  the two halves are also not well cast and seem to really be only distantly related.  I'm going to add some wire piping to even out some of the details that are unbalanced looking and see how convincing I can make it.  Ultimately it may be easier and more visually satisfying to just fabricate a replacement barrel.  Because the model is rare I'm inclined to keep to the original parts as much as possible and have limited wholesale scratch building to  things not included in the original design... like the cockpit and the search lights. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A Runtbot, a cockpit, and lots of green primer.

 Today I started laying out the display base for the Ork Runtbot.  So far I have the wooden core and the vague idea that the Runtbot is standing on a scrapheap.  Tomorrow I'll base coat the core and dry fit the major components.  The major fitting aim is to create a socket for the game base to sink into that disguises the removable game base... at least from the front.  I'd like this to look like its permanently mounted to the base but still be easily removable. 

Project Thunderhawk saw a lot of progress.  Several sub assemblies got a primer coat of green and more interior spaces got the flat black treatment.  The heavy bolter forward mountings were assembled and had some minor sculpting adjustments.  Mostly to continue the power cables which basically were just hanging out there.

The major work of the day was looking into a cockpit solution.  I discovered that the nose of the Thunderhawk can accommodate the lower chassis and cockpit of a Landspeeder.  The great thing about including the entire floorboard of the Landspeeder is that the cockpit assembly becomes enclosed and there is ample space on the floorboard to secure a LED mounting.  This should allow me to aim the LED very precisely.  At the moment I'm aiming for a blue illumination under the control panels.  If that doesn't go as well as imagined I may do a few fiber optic strands to more directly illuminate sections of the panel. 

Tomorrow, in addition to working on the Runtbot base I'll start painting the cockpit, drill the LED mounting hole, and look for an actual windscreen to replace the metal one that has been removed.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Books, Bomb Squigs, and Blue Tape

Today sees off the Bomb Squigs and started the interior prep for the Thunderhawk.  Since the model will be lighted I decided to caulk the interior with a paint-able caulk to eliminate light leaks.  Once the caulk is dry I'll spray the interior flat black.  I'm also spraying the interior engine well so the whole model ended up being taped.  The front assault door has been a huge issue.  The hull is not perfectly square and neither is the assault door.  Ultimately I had to set in four (4) pins to compensate for warp.  I elected to align the top of the ramp with the door, set the sides and an even elevation all round.  This left the bottom join slightly out of square but will sit in the position of least visibility.  I may add some flashing to the bottom lip to restore a square appearance

The interiors of the wing assemblies should not require much caulking as the LEDs associated with them are mounted on plugs and should be largely external.  I'll still spray the interiors black just to aid in painting.  Similarly the upper superstructure is separated from the main hull and should get the same treatment as the wings.  Once the caulking is finished I'll start on the cockpit detail.  My initial idea is to start with a land speeder cockpit.  It should get painted,  assembled, and illuminated prior to installing it in the hull.  Prior to affixing the cockpit the lighting harness will have to be installed.

Finally is a shot of the Codex binding for the Arbites Army.  Its a great job and will be fun to work with.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Books and Bugs!

Today the Sister's of Battle fortress Monastery gets another push in the form of an Adeptus Arbites Codex that a good friend has painstakingly assembled and bound up for me!  I'll use this as the basis for my Urban Suppression Army which will form up around Sisters of Battle and Adeptus Arbites.  I've been collecting bits for this for a long time and am anxious to start organizing units!  Of course I'll have to manage my time even better if I want to work on the actual army and still maintain my work schedule for for Geekfest Orks, Project Thunderhawk, and the Golden Demon 2011 submissions.   

I also finished up the Venomthrope and Hive Guard.  The Bomb squigs are getting their basing treatment but are otherwise finished.  Time to go delve into the new book!

Gunwagon Zzap!

Here is a more complete version of the Zzap! Gunwagon.  The last shot of it did not include the exhaust pipes, the big shoota on top of the 'ard case, or the weathering of the tracks and lower portions of the chassis.  I'm still deciding if I want to add a crewmember to the model.  I opened a hatch specifically to do that but have yet to come up with a working idea for it!  At this point I've realized that I need to do some searching around for some good source photos for distressed vehicles to really get a grip on the patterns and textures of rust.  I did experiment with some powdered pigments for the first time and I like the results... although I think I'll add more of it when I review the Ork vehicle fleet.  The weathering effect is, fortunately, something that can be added to or expanded upon easily after the model is otherwise complete.  I think I'll address the Ork fleet all at once to get a complimentary level of weathering across the whole thing.

Today I'm finishing up 2 Hive Guard, a Venomthrope, and 4 Bomb Squiqs.  That should make a good sized hole on my table that I can fill with Project Thunderhawk related work.

I'm thinking about bringing Orks to Geekfest this year so I'll have to be certain to review the army and inject projects into the workstream!  In the same vein the core of the display base for the Runtbot has been constructed and is ready for its work up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Project Thunderhawk P.2 Light Harness

The light harness is complete and undergoing stress testing to verify battery life expectancy. With this 9v. configuration I'm expecting a bit less than 3 hours so am planning to move to an AA configuration with a target of 10 hours of operation.  This harness is for all the onboard systems while a separate circuit and power supply will address the offboard lighting.

Here are the dry fits off the spot light housings.  I think that they'll look fine when painted and should not require a diffusing lens cover to achieve the spot effect.

I've started the filling and sculpting to finish all of the roughed in areas now that I know how the harness will fit into the model.  The next block of work will be on finishing the greenstuff and primer/base coating the subassemblies.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Project Thunderhawk p2. prep

Today the mounting holes were drilled for the three belly searchlights and for the wingtip navigation lights.  The searchlights will be lit and should illuminate the landing gear while the Thunderhawk is on the base.  The navigation lights could not be mounted on the wingtips as would be traditional due to the placement and design of the wingtip bolter positions.  I assumed the craft to be readily visible from the rear with the huge engines firing and mounted the navigation lights on the leading edge of the wing just before the bolter positions.  This should give the best visibility.

Drilling the navigation mounts.
The searchlight enclosures were fabricated by turning some hard plastic boltcaps on a lathe.  Tomorrow they get drilled, have the telescoping swivel mounts fabricated, and have 5mm white LEDs set in. The cockpit will get a lighting feed with a blue LED.  The cockpit has yet to be fabricated so it will just be roughed in for the moment to test the loading.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Project Thunderhawk Phase 2

I acquired an old Workshop Metal Thunderhawk in 40k scale a few years ago and decided to actually build the thing.  The progress got interrupted for a bit as I moved and was unable to locate one of the two boxes it had been packed in.  A second move resulted in the rediscovery of both boxes so work can finally resume.

Phase 1 of Project Thunderhawk was construction, bracing, pinning, general engineering, and dry fitting of the major sub-assemblies.  This has been completed.

Phase 2 is designing, testing and installing the lighting solution.  This is where I am at the moment.

Phase 3 is designing, cutting, constructing, and lighting the display base.

Phase 4 is painting and final assembly. Some sub-assemblies are painted in earlier phases but will get final finishing in this phase.

Here are some shots of the end of phase 1:

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Nothing is quite finished yet but there are some updates as I have been working!

I've had three projects make good progress:

An update to a Gobsmasha...  I've had this Epicast piece kicking around since second edition and It was painted in one of the very bright cartoon Ork schemes that were popular at the time.  Here I've simply dirtied it up and distressed it a bit to make it better able to blend with my current grubby Ork scheme.
Updated old Gobsmasha

Continuing in the red theme there is a new Tyranid Hive Guard.  I love these guys and the strongly remind me of the old Zoat!  I may actually use some Zoats in this capacity for a lark... I'm liking the fleshy look of the cannon and am working on a second one of these.  This guy is essentially done except for the base.  I do a paper mache treatment for the Tyranid bases so like to do them in batches.  This guy is waiting on his sibling and a Venomthrope that is being worked along with it so they can benefit from the same base materials batch.

Finally there is Old Greasus...  I really hate this guy!  He is a huge figure and has been the reason why the update has taken so long.  I actually like big projects but this figure just takes a lot of work! He's only about 40% at the moment.  I hope to finish him up by ... Wednesday..ish... before I get to work on Project Thunderhawk!

So there are the active projects for this week.  Next week sees Project Thunderhawk enter phase II, work on the display base for the Runtbot, and work resumes on Campaign based fiction. Worky worky!