Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Reaver Titan Pt 5 (Legs Major Parts Assembly)

Well, it's been a few days and I'm happy to say the Reaver progress is coming along nicely. This blog will focus on the major (large parts) assembly. Without any further ado, let's go!

The first part is a no brainer. The titans thighs come in two large pieces. These I put together with one pin in the large piston of each leg. Not a lot of chance of weird stress angles or twisting, so I deemed one pin to be sufficient. For all these large pieces an old wire clothes hanger provides the pin material and a dremel tool and appropriate sized bit make the holes.

Next I moved my way down to the knee joint. The shape of the knee joint with all it's little ridges means that there is little chance of twisting, so once again a single pin does the job. A hole is drilled in the calf...

Then a hole for the thigh...

Then the two are joined. This is not so simple as it seems though. There was a lot of dry fitting to test and make sure that the knees were at an angle that would not interfere with later assembly. Once this angle was set (technically prior to drilling of course!) a pin is prepared and JB Kwik two part epoxy is mixed. I use a toothpick to slather the epoxy into the holes as much as possible, then on the pin itself as well. Hold the two leg parts together for a couple minutes and presto!

Next we move on to the feet, and a trick for making sure your pin-holes line up reasonably well. Just as in previous steps there is a lot of dry fitting to finalize the position I want. As a side note, whether I use the small individual foot bases I made, they have become invaluable in moving the feet around in once piece as I'm not ready to glue the toes yet. Now, to make sure that our pin-holes line up I use the following trick. Drill a hole in one of the two pieces like so...

Next, mix up some of your favorite sculpting putty. Here I've used Green Stuff. flatten a bit of the putty on the piece without a hole.

Lubricate the surface of the putty and place the piece with the hole down onto the piece with the putty being careful to press the two together in the same shape you want the final joint. Press hard. Pull them apart carefully and you will have a squished bit of putty... except where the original hole was! There you will find a little bump cast from the hole.

Stick your hobby knife through this bump and mark the spot. Now you know where to drill to get the receiving pin-hole where you want it.

Now if you are like me, you will have a little bit of play in the fit of your pinned feet before gluing. This is a good thing. After preparing both feet and legs for attaching, I get the hips handy. I placed the epoxy in the holes and on the pin as mentioned above. I then place the legs down into the feet. To make sure the angle is right, I hold the two legs together at the tops of the thighs with the hips in place. The epoxy takes a few minutes to set, but it's time well spent just holding the legs in place.

A priest jumped into this photo to show scale. I'm going to try to remember to place him around during pictures to show the scale of things.

The next step is to epoxy the hips together. This will involve no pins at this point... they will come though. I follow the same procedure of holding the legs in place with the hips as I did above, except this time it's the legs and hips being glued.

This works fine, but what about pins? This is a ball joint, a major ball joint which is susceptible to twisting stress in several directions! The answer is simple. Looking at the instructions I know there will be a cod piece and a butt piece in place that will cover the front and backs of the hips. So I mark a spot on each hip front and back and get ready to drill...

This area on the front and back are completely covered in a later step. Plus, the holes will line up because the pieces are already glued in place!

And after filling the holes with epoxy, placing the pins, and trimming the excess, we have very well pinned hips that are not likely to succumb to any twisting stress!

I used this same procedure to add another pin to the bottom of each foot. Once again, it will never be seen due to it's location and it's easy to do as the parts are already together.

This leaves us with the major assembly of the legs finished from Hips to Feet. Everything else is really just things that will be added on. The astute among you may have noticed that the upper thigh developed a ball joint to fit into the hip after the first step above. Those pics came out something awful but it is simply a circle shaped joint in the thigh. This was pinned with two pins as this is another joint that can move if only one pin was used in the center. Here is a picture of the final leg assembly as it sits on my workbench right now, as you can see the priest is still walking about blessing the feet (it's all he can reach)...

There is a little extra bend in the right leg. Not too dynamic, but better than just standing spread eagle I think. I'd like to thank you for joining me for another installment on what looks to become a 1000 part blog project. I know this was a long one, I'll try to make smaller more frequent posts in the future... this one just got away from me! And, as usual, leave me your comments, questions, criticisms, hopes, dreams, anecdotes, or whatever you've got. I have to get some use out of that fancy new comments program!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Off Topic (Fighting the disqus beast)

Sorry to clutter the blogosphere, I'm just jumping on the new DISQUS comment bandwagon and need to test it out. I had several errors trying to get it set up. Finally deleting my cookies and restarting the pc, along with saving the template as an xml sheet on my desktop then uploading instead of editing it within blogger seemed to do the trick. What a run-on sentence that was! Anyway, we'll see if I got it or not...

UPDATE: This procedure seems to have worked! I believe the trick is in the uploading of the template that disqus makes you instead of just pasting it in.

Reaver Titan Pt 4 (Legs and Bases)

Welcome back! Today is kind of a hodge-podge of an update. A little of a couple different things going on. Let's go have a look...

First off is another tip. I ran across a situation and had to use my trusty sharpie marker to bail me out again. There are some resin pieces that have a part number or other designation on them. Such as this one (note the "F" cast in the center).

There is a half cylinder bit that will cover this letter up, forever hiding the important information that is cast in the piece. So, before gluing that piece on I used the marker to replicate the information. So now even with the extra piece glued on, we can tell this part is "F", or 'front'.

Another bit of advice I have is on gluing parts together. As this project goes on I will be using a lot of epoxy. Sure, for small stuff I'll still use the Super Glue. But, for larger pieces I'll be using an epoxy called JB Quick. I love this stuff. It takes about four minutes to cure to the point that the piece is totally secure, but that gives you some working time. It also has another great feature... From about four minutes till around twenty minutes the consistency of the epoxy is such that if you have allowed some to squish out of the joint, you can carve it away with an exacto knife and it will fill any crevice automatically! Here are a couple shots of epoxy in action...

This is a shot of the first piece to get the epoxy treatment. It is an interior view of the leg armor. The bits you glue on the armor to (later) mount it on the legs are a pain. You have to apply glue then hold the piece onto the leg to ensure that the pieces are in the right position. Super Glue drys too fast, so the four minute work time is perfect here. Plus the resulting join will be stronger than the super glue could have ever hoped to be!

As you can see, some small parts are being glued already. These are all minor pieces that are required to go onto the major parts before actual assembly. I've spared you the tedium of explaining every single tiny bit that's glued on. I assure you though, that I will be sharing all the major assembly and any smaller bits that warrant special attention or are just plain cool!

Finally we move on to the dilemma of the base. I've narrowed it down to a couple of options. These are based (ha ha 3d6 pun damage to all readers) on several factors. Playability; how will it work on a game board, will it even fit? Functionality; will it hold the titan up and add at least some stability? I've decided that the pose will be fairly static. I will probably bend one knee a bit, but this thing won't be dancing a jig anytime soon. With this in mind, I bought some MDF board and did some cutting on the band saw and some sanding to bevel the edge. Thanks to my wonderful Dad for having these kind of tools laying around in his garage, even if he does live across town!

This first shot is a two base idea. One for each foot. Minimal 'foot print' (wow I'm punny indeed) but still adding some stability and preventing too much pressure ever being put on one or two toes are the main advantages here...

Then there is the full base option. This adds maximum stability at the cost of being freaking huge. The item at the bottom of the pick is a standard 12" (30cm) ruler. Also worth noting; this is a 14" diameter base, I also made a 16" in case this one doesn't allow enough leg room.

You may notice that I left the feet on the smaller 6" diameter bases in this last shot. A third idea I've had is to use both methods. I could mount the feet on the smaller individual bases, then use powerful magnets to affix those to the larger base.

I'm hoping to get to the big stuff, drilling and pinning large parts, in the next few days. So keep an eye out for another post when that's underway.

Any comments, questions, or better yet suggestions are appreciated. You can even toss in a pun if that's how you roll.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reaver Titan Pt 3 WIP Resin Tips

As I'm trimming and preparing the pieces of the Reaver Titans' legs I thought I would share some tips on working with resin. Of course, the first tip is always safety, never inhale the dust from sanding or grinding this stuff! Next we have the washing which I covered in detail in an earlier post. The following are just a couple more tips in regards to trimming the pieces...

Mold lines. They suck. That's not the tip, just a fact. On resin pieces we want to trim the piece so that there is no line. Easy enough if it is a traditional plastic type of mold line where the piece is one uniform level with the line protruding out from it. But what about when the piece is not uniform and the line is the result of an uneven cast? We still need to get the pieces to match up while trimming the least amount possible. Here is an example of such a mold line.

This a trick I use to help ensure that I trim just enough. I take a sharpie marker and make trace over the line. Make a couple of passes if needed, but get the whole mold line black.

Now you can begin to trim along the mold line. You may use a file or a hobby knife, whichever you are comfortable with. Where the part doesn't need much trimming, the marker will come off quickly. Where marker remains, the part is not even, or flush.

Concentrating on areas where the marker remains, you will see less and less marker as the two sides of the part become more flush. Use common sense here, you may have to trim down areas where the marker has already disappeared to reach the parts where it has not. The idea is to use the marker to help you see where there is more trimming to be done and where the part is already even. The line will eventually disappear completely, but it is not always necessary to go that far. This much marker is acceptable to me for this particular part.

Another thing to remember about resin, it cuts a little funny when you use clippers. Sometimes where the vents (the extra sprue bits colored black below) are you can cut too close and break off a bit of the actual piece. I believe this happens because the resin tends to be weaker in these areas. So, when trimming these large bits I recommend clippers. But, I also recommend trimming different ways according to where vent is located. On a vent like the one below, where the vent is on surface you will see when finished, you do not want to have your clippers flush with the piece. I would leave some space between the clippers and the edge of the piece, then trim the remainder with a knife or file.

For the next piece, you may notice that the vents are on surface I've designated with marker. This surface will be hidden as it's the inside of a joint. The hip joint to be exact. I will put the clippers right against the piece in a situation like this. If a small indention results from the close cut it will never show.

I hope you've enjoyed this quick trip to resin land. I'm sure as this project moves forward there will be more tips and tricks that pop up and I'll be happy to share them all with you. The trimming is coming along and I hope to have all the leg parts trimmed by the end of this weekend. Now I'm just trying to think of a way to stick the legs together to do mock ups for positioning. Some sort of super blu tac may be in order!

Thanks for stopping by. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or entertaining insults, by all means leave me a comment!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reaver Titan Pt 2 (legs and questions)

I've decided to follow the order of the instructions and start at the legs. I think they have you knock these out first because if you can get these done, you probably won't be scared of anything else that has to be done.

With that decided, I have to consider what I'm going to do with the legs. Should I go for a completely static pose, or try for something more dynamic? I am leaning towards at least having one foot in front of the other, but every once in a while I think one foot coming up off the ground might be nice. Not off the ground, mind you, but maybe up on some of its toes.

Another thing I need to think about; what kind of base should I make... or should I make one at all? I've thought about one big base, or one base for each foot. With one big base there could be problems with maneuvering and placement. Does something this size warrant a base for each foot leaving room between for troops or some such? With the feet close together (inside toe to inside toe) the outside toes are about 14" apart. So any posing whatsoever and this could increase to 16" or 18" or maybe more!?!

Here is a photo of the leg parts laid out and ready to begin trimming.

I'm hoping that while I'm trimming the leg bits this week I can get some feedback from you guys out in blogland about my above questions (dynamic or no and base or what). I may even post a poll, so keep an eye on the left column. I'm hoping to have the leg parts trimmed up by this weekend so that piecing them together can begin.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, drop me a line. I have had one question recently regarding scanning the instructions. I'll have to familiarize myself with the lingo in the GW IP. I may be possible that I could scan myself some soft copies and share a sample with individuals on request, but I don't know yet so I'm not making any promises.

Take caer and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Reaver Titan Pt 1

The adventure begins!

I'll not waste a lot of time on preamble and we'll jump right in. The box as shipped is well packed. The parts are all nestled away in their individual bags, organized by sections of Titan.

First off are the bags with Laser Blaster and what I like to call, "Piston Hell"...

Next we have the huge bag O'legs...

The Gatling Blaster and Torso...

Then there is the Head and Interior parts...

And, of course, the Instructions and Certificate. Number 122 for the record...

Now comes my first of what I'm sure will be many apologies. Somehow I've lost pics of two more large bags containing large parts. I assure you, there will be plenty of opportunity to see all the parts as we begin assembly!

Now that we've ogled the parts in bag (those that I managed to show you), it's on to the wash! The parts have a coating of a release agent from when they were cast. This has to be removed or paint will never stick. My weapon of choice for this process is Simple Green. I went to my local DIY store and bought a couple of 2.5 gallon buckets for under five bucks. The blue one has several small holes drilled in the bottom, this will be my rinse bucket. The Red is intact and will hold a mixture of Simple Green and water in about a one to ten mixture.

I place a bag or two of parts into the cleaning solution and let them sit a few minutes. The parts go in no particular order, but I be sure to keep only one category or small parts in the process at once. So until all the small leg parts are completely through the process I won't run any small torso parts through. But, I might add any bags of large pieces. The process itself is pretty simple. I pick up one piece at a time, scrub it with a soft bristle brush, and rinse it manually then put it in the rinse bucket. At this point there is a slow stream of water flowing into (and out of) the rinse bucket to facilitate the first rinse and a soak in water. With some care, the water going into the rinse bucket and out of it will be about equal. Once the cleaning solution bucket is empty and the rinse bucket has a good pile in it, I fill up the wash bucket with new parts and let them sit while I give the parts in the rinse bucket their final rinse. I turn the water on a little stronger and hold each piece under the flow again. Then it's off to a towel or paper towel to dry. Repeat... repeat... repeat...

(in my meager defense, I was making a face for the camera... thanks sweetheart!)

A couple hours and sore back later and we have all the parts cleaned and drying!

Some large parts in no particular order...

Some small leg parts...

Some small head and interior parts...

And, some small torso parts...

It's about a metric ass-ton of parts. Now, on to what I've learned so far about this kit.

The quality is really good. In fact, I'd go as far as to say, excellent. The washing process gives you a chance to handle each and every part... several times. I noted one part that may need a little filler in a non critical area. I also noted two parts with very slight warping. For the sheer number of pieces in this kit that is amazing! Of course, I might find more as we begin the assembly process, but I don't think there will be too many. This kit also included no chipped or broken pieces... amazing! Maybe I'm too easy to please, but I must say, I'm happy with the quality of the kit so far.

I hope you've enjoyed this first step in building a titan. If you have any questions, comments, or critiques please let me know. I'll happily clarify or, if I can, re-photo anything that's not clear. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Well, that was fast... Mail from Mars

So the long wait is over... for the two of you dying of suspense. I placed this order to Forge World on Monday afternoon. Despite their claims of being behind and allowing between four and several weeks for delivery, my package arrived here in the states this morning. Please excuse the marginally crappy picture, I took it with my phone here at work.

Yep, it's a Reaver.

This project has come about only recently, and this is how. As many of my fellow bloggers know, my grandmother passed away recently. She had set aside some money for me when she died that I didn't know about. It's not an extravagant amount, but I decided that I would like to splurge a little on me as well as pay bills and maybe replace my sweethearts laptop, though she'll insist that I don't have to (it really is quite crappy).

This will be my largest project to date. But I'm not planning to do it alone. I'd like to invite all my friends here on the blogosphere to come with me on this adventure. There will be updates here at every step. There may be polls to help me decide on a name or other details... I can be very indecisive left to my own devices! I'll be looking for input, both ideas and maybe even more tangible contributions as we go... for instance, I might commission banners from Ron over at From The Warp.

Unfortunately, I'm moving this weekend. There will be no immediate update. But, it won't take long to get unpacked and set up a workspace. One advantage of the new abode is the extra room. I'd look for an update by the middle of next week. The Simple Green, Dremel, hobby knives, and Epoxy are ready!

Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to sharing this project with you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's Coming...

In a bid to be mysterious and cryptic I'll leave only this clue...

When the next shipment arrives from the Adepts of Mars, this blog will change gears...
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