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Pegazus

Speintz 3D Printed Custom Mech (2017 ReaperCon Entry; Mad Dash)

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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

 

Edited by Pegazus
Accidental double pictured
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Here is what will become the alien palms.

 

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Then in a screen shot of the CAD.

 

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Those little nubs on the pelvis barely printed at all. The printer basically went over to the spot, squirted a little dab of plastic, then moved on. The smaller detail plate had no chance at all.

 

But I did make some progress. I went with gel superglue, which I might regret. PLA and superglue don't work too well together. But, this is gel, so maybe it'll work better. It's not going to be a playing piece, so I think it'll hold up well enough. Thinking back now, that was a stupid thing to do; risk the whole model's progress because I was too lazy to mix up the epoxy. Sheesh! Anyway, here's the shot of the two major assemblies glued together. I'm going to hit it with some grey primer and let it dry overnight... and I guess while I'm at work the next day, too.

 

IMG_3165.thumb.JPG.0d68f27a13b5f5d9d1ecb4943337717a.JPG

Edited by Pegazus
Switching between devices.
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Finally got around to getting a base coat on it. Really tried hard to find a color that matched the stems of the “trees” but I didn’t find anything that was a green brown. Thinking I might have to resort to giving it a green wash or something afterwards to get it to be more of a match. Although... I could just paint the stems... nah. That would make it too monochromatic.

 

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Added in there is the base I’m planning to use. I did have the thought of trying to print out a base as well, but I don’t think I have any good ideas for a shape. A big wi-fi symbol did come to mind, but I’m not sure it would connect.

 

Ew... inadvertent pun.

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Day off, so I’m spending the morning working on this. Just finished green stuffing the base. I’m nearly half finished with the tube I bought a decade ago. Anyway, gs’d a little desert or beach, depending on the way I go. Ran the putty through the pasta/clay press but forgot to wet the rollers, thus had a little mess to clean out. Easier than smooshing it by hand. Laid down a middle strip the. Another couple to form a small dune. Textured the surface with some open cell foam. Cut off a stem to measure it to see what size hole I should put into the spots where I will want a tree, then realized I could just use the stem as a poker. I’m only going to use the top two inches at most, and since they are floral supplies they’re a foot or more long. I figure I can spare a few inches. Plan to drill the holes through the base once everything is cured, and glue the stems heavily on the underside. Still will be a bit fragil, but I can handle that. 

 

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1 hour ago, Pegazus said:

Day off, so I’m spending the morning working on this. Just finished green stuffing the base. I’m nearly half finished with the tube I bought a decade ago. Anyway, gs’d a little desert or beach, depending on the way I go. Ran the putty through the pasta/clay press but forgot to wet the rollers, thus had a little mess to clean out. Easier than smooshing it by hand. Laid down a middle strip the. Another couple to form a small dune. Textured the surface with some open cell foam. Cut off a stem to measure it to see what size hole I should put into the spots where I will want a tree, then realized I could just use the stem as a poker. I’m only going to use the top two inches at most, and since they are floral supplies they’re a foot or more long. I figure I can spare a few inches. Plan to drill the holes through the base once everything is cured, and glue the stems heavily on the underside. Still will be a bit fragil, but I can handle that. 

 

 

Can you bend the underside of tthe stems over?  It would increase the strength of the hold considerably.

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2 hours ago, rfusca said:

Can you bend the underside of tthe stems over?  It would increase the strength of the hold considerably.

 

It’s a dried floral arrangement material, so the stems are pretty brittle. Having the stems poke out the bottom means I can hot glue them where nobody will see. 

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Continuing to base coat the vehicle, mostly where I was holding the upper section in the clamp. Picked out a highlight color and a shadow color, but didnt have time to do them tonight. Helping my wife out at her craft show, so need to get to sleep soon. But managed to prime the base with two coats which goes surprisingly fast when one remembers that there’s no need to use a tiny brush to do that with. Half inch flat synthetic had the job done in seconds. 

 

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Worked on the presentation part of the entry with a companion piece. I printed out a second copy of the parts over the day, and glued them all to an identical base. Gives a bit more info on exactly what is involved. It’ll accompany the finished piece.

 

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Busy weekend kept me from working on things, but 2am found me filling in a gap in the foot with gel superglue. Mind wasn’t letting the body sleep until that got fixed.  So it no longer has a broken ankle. Even managed to get it painted over as well.

 

Then worked the base some. Got the sand painted this morning and then just now painted the “wet” sand. I’ll let that dry well, then pour a little water effects onto it to make the little bay it’s sitting in. Wondering now as I write this if I should go even darker in places to make the terrain more interesting. Hmm. Probably could. Have to figure out that color now. 

 

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Yeah, looks better with some darker streaks added in. Took time to make it look natural, but hitting that “wow this sucks” point, then realizing it, accepting it, and continuing until it doesn’t  has been one of the greatest benefits of the ReaperCon classes I’ve taken. I then dry brushed the dune with a bit of a lighter color, and actually is planned for the vehicle’s highlights. One little dry flake of that color has landed in the river, but I will wait until it is very dry before trying to remove it with a soft clean brush. But now is the time when we show pictures. 

 

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Water effects dried, and after looking up how to trim the taped edge of the Realistic Water, I maybe should have went with something else. I was thinking it was a hard epoxy once cured, and I’d simply trim and buff to a nice shine. Nope! So a slightly beveled edge is what I went with. 

 

Then an hour or so with a hot glue gun and my floral supplies, and I have the beach ready. I’m thinking of naming the piece “ELINT on the Beach”, but not sure if the drink reference will be obvious enough. Doesn’t really tie into things.

 

Next step is to try to freehand paint the same leave look to the top of the antenna. Not sure I’ll be successful. 

 

Helps if if I add the picture. 

 

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Edited by Pegazus
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Nearly messed everything up! I worked on the base, and thought I was finished. I would post pictures but I’m not at the house. Anyway, glued the legs to the base and was in the process of glueing the cockpit when I realized I hadn’t added a detail to the top. It would have been impossible if it got glued!

 

I’ll get some current pictures up soon and then try the details. It’s planned to be a bunch of slight silver panels, with the normal paint still visible underneath.

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