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  1. So one night I'm painting away on my second ReaperCon entry when it hit me that it didn't qualify for the Open category, which I was shooting for. So, brushes down time and had to think. Next day, decided that I'd skip to my third planned entry, since it would qualify for Open and Ordinance. Thus starting a mad dash to finish a custom created Mech/CAV/BSR with only about three weeks until the convention. Spent a few days drawing up the figure in 3D, then over to the printer to pop it out last Saturday. And while it came out more or less fine, the phrase "what have I done to myself" came to mind. Why? I designed it to be small, and much smaller than the mobile howitzer I did last year. It's supposed to carry around a phased array antenna as some sort of ELINT or AWACS (GWACS?!) vehicle. Not meant to be a brawler, so it only need a set of small guns. And came up with a cool shape for the cab/upper part of the figure. No problem there until it came out from the print bed. The picture below shows off all the pieces but one. Didn't have Sir Forscale handy, so a paint bottle will have to suffice. The two curved pieces are the top and bottom of the array, printed like they are shown. I've found that curves work well as long as it's not curving across layers (circle laying flat versus on edge). But, as it was printing, it was a mere single pass along the curve and another coming back. Two whole filament passes. Uh oh. It's very thin and flexible, and that's when the alarms started going off that it wasn't going to be a rugged little piece like my previous design. But... let's roll with it anyways! It wouldn't be the first time I've done something with a product the salesman never intended. In reality, bending it a bit back and forth, it was rather plastic. Well, duh. But I mean in the sense that while flexible, it wasn't being damaged. And that one piece missing I mentioned before? The features were so small, they didn't print. I was left with a single flat layer of plastic. No reason to even bother with that then, since it was meant to be a decorative plate. So on to the next step! Artists gesso aka the poor man's body filler. The general concept is for the gesso to be lathered on, filling in the spaces, gaps, and layer lines. Won't get them completely, but will make things a lot better. The results are below. That piece at the lower left was started to be sanded when I remembered I might want to make a WIP thread, and so it looked more like the one in the right when I started. Spent yesterday going over all the pieces with a sanding stick, and getting down to about where the plastic starts. That should give a sufficiently smooth surface to get to priming and painting. And that is where it stands at present: ready to be assembled a bit and then primed. Originally, I was planning on making a bunch of evergreen like trees (found a cool tutorial using floral wire and fibers), which would have led to a grey and white camo scheme. But a trip to Michael's to get a birch disk for my first entry uncovered some really cool floral items that look like really odd alien palm trees changed my mind. So now it's going to be a sandy base with some tropical overtones. Active camouflage is going to mimic the tops of the trees, and I might put in a beach. But... I might go with a desert palm look, too. Tropical fits in with the faction concept I have going. Have to see how well things work. The most difficult of my plans (other than vehicle markings in three languages, two alien and one English) is how to work in something that makes the phased array appear, but camouflaged at the same time. I'm thinking a masked off grid on top after the camo is done, then lightly hit with a metallic paint, going with either gold or silver. The paint underneath should show, but have a slight sparkly appearance. All the painting starts tonight! As a reminder to myself, I need to post up pictures of: 1. Screenshot of the CAD 2. The floral find
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