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ReaperCon Vehicle Entry - "Pereth" Mobile Howitzer (3D Print)

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Been working on a few big stompy robot designs since June, with an eye towards making my own independent faction for CAV, but also making them generic enough to be used elsewhere. This is the first one I've picked to work up fully as a ReaperCon entry, and be printable from a more-or-less standard 3D printer. The thing I've found is that curved shapes in the vertical axis really don't look that good. Too many "steps" as the shape is sliced into flat slivers. So, the trick was to print all the curves and other angled items along the plane of the print bed. Here's what the CAD looks like (PTC Creo Elements Direct Modeling Express 6.0).




Each color is just making it visibly separate from the adjoining pieces, and doesn't mean anything once it is printed, as you can see all the blue pieces below. It's not all of the parts, since I forgot to take the picture of the other lower half.




But, it is now all glued together, and some of the very flat parts were sanded smooth. I set out with the concept to also include some standard modelling items, so the barrel of the gun is a 5/32" (3.97mm) brass rod. I've got a couple of other ideas on some other little battle bots that use common items too... I just need to figure out what those common items could be.


First shot shows the crewed side of the upper body. The gun itself is centered over the legs, and it is currently modeled in a split leg configuration. I've got it worked up that it can stand on two legs, as shown in the CAD render above. All that would need to be done is to swap out some short pegs that pin the joints together with some longer ones that go through both leg pieces, just for alignment and stability.




Then here it is from the other side. This contains a fully decorative block of pieces, and the above shot shows a little block of deco as well. My intention is that should I keep making these, I can "upgrade" the later vehicles with missels, gun turrets, electronic suites, and other little fiddly bits. So this would equate to a Pre-Production Vehicle. Fully functional, but not something that'll be sent out and mass produced.




One final shot to show the size comparison with a Spectre CAV that I've painted up before. I'm a little worried about how big of a base it'll have to be placed on, but then again, it's in a firing stance, and that's just how big it'll be.




I've got the entire figure now drying from the slathering in acrylic gesso, which I'm using as part primer and part gap filler. Not something that would normally be used, but due to the nature of 3D printing, I believe it does well. I did do a couple test pieces back at the first of the month, and found a lot of modelling issues, but felt that the gesso worked rather well for what I wanted it to do. The plastic parts quite often had small gaps where it didn't fill in all the way, which I later changed in a couple small pieces to be 100% infilled internal spaces rather than the default 15%.


I'll wait for everything to dry, then give it a good sanding. I might do a second coat as well, I'm not sure, but I really like how it came together. That is, once I got some epoxy glue that would actually work.

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Making progress. First picture up is the figure with the gesso applied, then sanded well.




Not really that concerned about the blue plastic showing through, as I planned to hit it with some spray primer anyway. That's the next two pictures. Second picture is because I realized I never showed the back.






Now it's getting into the good stuff, where color paint is actually applied. However, it's green spray paint that I originally intended for the CAV Kickstarter figures, but for some reason thought that it wouldn't work on Bones. Just checked, and acetone is not the propellant and that's what I personally believe is the culprit for Sticky Bones. Got a Bones sprue drying now, as I had to stop writing this post and find out.





Now, the spray didn't hit everything, so I was worried that I was going to have to mix up some of my Reaper paints to try to cover over the missed areas, or just paint the whole thing. Decided to go with as close as I could then repaint everything. And that's when the happy showed up. Pine Green (09010) is spot on with Liquitex Sap Green spray! Here's the picture I just took, and I did NOT paint everything with the Reaper paint. I can't tell myself holding it in my hand where the paint is or is not. The inside of the legs and the top of the crew compartment were for sure painted. If I apply a high-contrast filter three times, I can start to see where I have painted and where I haven't, and then I can notice it. In other words, close enough! Bad part is, I'm noticing some crackling going on. Probably started painting too soon after the spray. I did wait several hours, but I guess that's just the nature of the beast. Hmm. Might do a thin coat over everything then.




Now it's time to saute some carrots from the garden for lunch, and then I'm going to start in on detailing things. I'm planning a big banner flag for the independent faction I've come up with, and I've only got the glimmer of the design I want.

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Got the detailing done, at least for a large portion of it. Got into a groove, so didn't stop to document each and every step. What you see below is sealed with matte, as I'm insuring myself if I have to clean off and redo the freehand I'm planning on the two large flat surfaces of the gun itself and the crew cabin. I'm thinking I'll put the banner of the faction on the crew compartment, and unit number for the gun, with maybe some pin-striping down the sides, for artistic reasons. Now I just have to invent two alphabets and a banner, so that'll be something I fill the time on Monday while I wait for the work computer to cycle through processes.


Oh! And the test sprue is not sticky at all, nor has it crackled on me. So I've narrowed the crackle problem down to the primer. I'll make a note for myself to not use that primer anymore, as it really doesn't dry fast enough for me.






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Okay, so I started over. I decided that the crackling paint was just too hard. Plus, I had some fixes to the sizes and leg angles to fix up. And since I could just print out another cheaply (less than $2 for the PLA used, including the extra stuff it prints such as a strip to clean the nozzle and the little encircling bits), no reason to not start over. Also, bought some Harbor Freight two part epoxy glue. It's amazing how much easier it is to use when the two halves aren't tied together in a single syringe.


This time, I did take a picture of every piece to show exactly what has to be glued. But then, I forgot the aluminum tube that forms the barrel. Oh well.




Got it all glued together, then airbrushed both some Reaper primer (no cracklin' this time) and then the green. I have it glued in a pose I thought would elevate the barrel to a better angle. And it did... but it was high-stepping on the left outer leg. Second picture shows it really well. Panic time. I don't want to start over yet again, as there's no guarantee that I'd not screw up the leg again. Figure I will need to design and print a leg assembly tool for next time and future projects. But how to fix the problem?!





I kept painting the details up, as I was confident that I'd come up with an idea. Aha! I was planning to do a city street base, so I just had to paint yellow stripes to denote the lanes, or if I felt a little frisky, paint it light grey-white, and make it a runway or testing proving ground. Thinking was that since this was the first unit I've made, it would be a test unit. But now? Nah. It needs rocks. Time to break out the cork that I've had for years waiting for a nice base use!




And then I worked up around the feet and made the entire terrain rocky ground. I'm hoping I can really get the base to work. Should be a simple grey spray, light grey dry brush, then work up some small bushes and foliage, and done. Right?




So that's where I'm at. Nearly to the same point on the details as I was on the previous copy, and ahead for sure on the base. I'm thinking I might bring the previous, crackled-paint version with me. Maybe see to work it into a CAV game and see how it handles, or find a test pilot to do that for me.

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Well, I sort of finished. And forgot to take pictures. But after ReaperCon, I'll take a few and pretend they were WIPs by clever cropping and such. Then a show-off thread. Until then, it's safely tucked under a dragon's wing (oh! yeah, I can enter that) and protected by a bunny and a lizardman (huh, another one I can enter).

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