Friday, 24 July 2009

Drop Ship XXV

Well I'm about to disappear on a surprise trip for a week but I took a little time to pour a couple of the molds.

Firstly the one piece molds of the engine mounts. This is a second cast from them and I used a cotton bud to 'paint' resin around the inside of the mold before I poured. This seems to have done the trick and has removed 90% of the problem I had with air bubbles. Yay Result!

Next comes the tail plane.

This looks quite promising - not a single bubble in sight, and a very smooth cast. Some flash to remove, and of course the problem with the RTV that flowed under the master, But I'm confident that with a new mold this part will be an easy cast!

Next the Engine, and the biggest surprise of the lot. The mold for this piece looked pretty disastrous with a lot of tiny undercuts caused by RTV seeping between panels. But the cast (again painted before i poured) is actually pretty good. Only a couple of air bubbles, and those seem to be where I was too slow pouring the resin and it's begun to set before complete.

I think this mold might actually be usable when I have got a bit faster and smoother at the casting process. And the gear locating mechanism to pose the engines works a treat!

Finally the piece I've always been worried about - The Landing Gear. Well, the good news is... it's not a complete disaster!

The mold didn't fill completely and there are some large air bubbles in the corner of the feet, and the smaller 'leg' of the landing gear didn't fill properly with resin, but I think that's because I was slow (poured this after the tailplane from the same resin batch).

I will need to adjust the master to fill in a couple of undercuts But i think this piece will then be fine with a new mold. The good news is that even with the problems on this test cast, the landing gear will be up to the job of supporting the main body!

All in all a pretty good result I think. I'm a bit more optimistic than yesterday.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Drop Ship XXIV

Well, I finished the RTV moulds for all the pieces and again have mixed results.

On the plus size they've all cast and set well and there are bo air bubbles in any of the moulds!

On the down side there are a few problems. The most significant of which is one i never expected.

When I was building the master models I've used plastic sheet to create 'panels' that sit on a number of the surfaces (mimicking the plating on the Old Crow vehicle range). These panels were glued on using plastic cement sparingly in the same way you'd put together a model kit. This glue melts the two plastic surfaces together. The problem is that it hasn't fully sealed the edges of the panel and in a large number of places the RTV rubber has actually flowed between the panle and the underlying surface giving almost all of the panels a ragged'flap' of very thin RTV.

Its quite depressing.

The worst effected by this problem is the engine mould. You can see that almost all of the edges have a flap of rubber where it has seaped between the layers of plasticard.

Then there is the landing gear where I think the rubber had a job filling the complex detail in the centre and looks incredibly ragged.

The simplest of the moulds is the tailplane as it has none of the edges that seem to have caused problems on other moulds. But here the rubber poured on the escond half of the mould has seeped under the master model and adhered to the first rubber pour. You'll see in the circled detail.

Probably the cleanest of the moulds is the largest, the cockpit. I need to cut a pouring hole at the rear of the cockpit and some vent holes still.

I think the way to fix the problem might be to seal the masters with varnish before I pour the rubber moulds. A gloss varnish might seal the panel edges so that the rubber cannot get underneath?

I guess the proof of this will be what the first resin casts look like - and I'll probably pour them this evening, but its all looking a bit disastrous about now.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Drop Ship XXIII

Progress on casting!

I've poured the two part rubber molds for the engines, tail plane, landing gear and cockpit and am waiting for the rubber to cure. Fingers well and truly crossed.

The single piece mold for the Engine Mounts is complete, and I've cast the first set of pieces from it.

The results are a little mixed.

On the plus size there has been no change of shape, so the gear which enables the multiple placement of the engines still works well and fits snuggly, and I'm able to get the resin out of the mold without any problems.

On the down side I'm clearly suffering from some problems of trapped air. especially around any sharpe corners in the master. I expected this somewhat as I am casting these items without using any kind of de-gassing chamber or pressure pot; however the number of bubbles is a little depressing.

On the models I'll make for myself I can rectify this by filling and sanding after I've cast them but the idea of selling these is looking remote now as the quality isn't there. I'll have to investigate cheap methods of making vacuum chambers and pressure pots.

Anyway It'll be tomorrow before I'm able to make the first casts from the other two piece molds and for the first time assemble a full drop ship.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Drop Ship XXII

Just a little update today; I started the preparations for getting some of the parts resin cast.

I made up some MDF boxes with the mitre-saw and nail gun, and embedded the engine and landing gear half way in plasticine.

These will be the first 2 part molds I have made so I'm a bit unsure. But i've VERY (emphasis on VERY) carefully embedded them half way so I can pour the RTV on top and then remove the plasticine to pour the other half. I'll cut breather holes and pouring holes after the RTV is cured.

I was surprised how difficult this process was - its taken me a good couple of hours to get the plasticine smooth and tight to the components ensuring it is in all the detail.

These are the two compionents I'm most worried about, especially the landing gear as it has a few nooks and crannies. The tail plane is smooth and simple so that's OK, and the engine mounts only require a single sided mold.

RTV should be mixed and poured tomorrow, then real life calls, so I'll be unable to do any more until Wednesday next week.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Just for Inso

Inso left a comment on my last blog entry, and asked

could you put a miniature next to a 6mm turret so that I can see how big they are? They look rather cool and may be just what I'm looking for...for a project ;)


Click on picture for a much larger version.

For comparison, the two figures are a 28mm Inga miniature now OOP from Spyglass(RIP) on a 30mm display base and a Grym Sergeant from HAsslefree miniatures on a 25mm gaming base.

Descriptions (I can't remember exactly what I bought, but all of these are old crow and i've compared these turrets to their website - so I hope I got these right.

FRONT (left to right)

C6202 - Double Missile Turret 6mm range
C6201 - Small Double Barrel Gun Turret 6mm range

Both of these are 18mm across. There are other smaller turrets i the 6mm range which are 10mm across but I don't have any of those.

MIDDLE ROW (left to Right)

Missile turret - discontinued 15mm range now replaced with a similar but not identical unit, 22mm base. (alternate missile units shown behond the turret)
Comcen Turret 15mm range 22mm diameter base
Tac missile Turret (resin turret with 4 white metal missiles - blu-tac not supplied by old crow) 15mm range 22mm diameter base
Support Turret - discontinued 15mm range. 22mm base.
Mini Turret - 25mm range. 22mm base.18mm base.

BACK ROW top right

2 versions of Single Weapon mount with cannon and missile launcher. 25mm range. 18mm base.

Drop Shop XXI

I took the plunge and altered the front screen of the cockpit, raising the lower sill substantially and lowering the upper one slightly. Coupled with the angles of the side window I think this gives a much 'tougher' look more suitable for a military vessel.

In addition I've been working on where the landing gear meets the body of the ship. I wanted the outer hull of the ship to be quite simple, but here where the landing gear doors are open I wanted a glimpse of what it would be like in the 'gubbins' of the machine. Shown here with the landing gear mocked up in place.

Ideally these details would be recessed slightly into the bay but its too late for that. When I scratch build another hull with a detailed interior I'll fix that.

No, the observant amongst you will have seen that the arc of fire of the under turrets is limited by the landing gear. I knew that was going to be the case, but decided that I could live with it.


What I hadn't fully thought through was what would happen to the landing gear doors. There must be some sort of covering door that covers the landing gear when it's retracted.

My worries were justified...

Not only did the door obscure a huge area of the arc, but it also fouls the ground; and its not much better in any other position...

So rather than the single door that I had wanted to make (trying to keep down the number of castable parts), I'll have to make double doors. First attempt looks as bad as the single door for obscuring the turret.

So, the only option left is...

Well, thats the best option I have. I didn't set the mock-up for the photographs correctly as I'll have to make the doors so that they open fully, flush with the underbelly but that shouldn't be a problem... its just more work.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

DropShip XX

I posted a thread on TMP about my progess on the DropShip, and I got a great reply from BillChuck. I'd mused that the windscreen looked too big, I think it looks more sleek spaceship than functional plummeting brick drop ship.

So BillChuck suggested that raise the lower edge of the screen and divide it vertically. Like so:

Well the first thing that popped into my head was "I wanna learn how to do that in PaintShop!" (But i really need to finish one thing before learning to do another!)

I do like the raised lower edge a lot. However I'm not so sure about the vertical divide - it reminds me too much of old VW windscreens! However having seen this, some sort of division looks like it might be needed.

What do you think?

Drop Ship XIX

I've done some work on the Landing gear, removing the frankly archaic compression spring and adding a hydraulic strut with a couple of hydraulic fluid pipes.

They're Hydraulic fluid pipes I tell you! Any similarity to a live and earth wire from old UK mains cable is purely coincidental - honest!

Because I am going to cast these legs I've had to fill any gaps between the hydraulic fluid pipes and the struts so that there aren't 'holes'. The blue you can see is Apoxie filler.

Test assembly to the underbody with the shp resting on supports.

And Finally a size comparison to a Grymn Sergeant.

Looking at the landing gear I'm a little unsure whether it'd be robust enough in Resin to take "Normal handling" during game play, or whether this item should be cast in metal?

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

TOBSEN77 - Interesting stuff

I came across the Tobsen77 site a couple of months ago, but at the time there was only this that caught my eye:

Some of you that have read my blog previously will know that I normally like my machines believable (or at least with a plausible nod to the laws of physics). So I find myself torn over this unicycle figure. Its so completely stupid from a physics point of view, and yet I want one. No, I want hundreds; swarming down a long sloping battlefield with Grymn gunners shooting up everything that stands in their way! It's just sooo cool.

Since then, the range has grown somewhat. There are a few so-so tank sculpts, but there are a couple of recent additions that are quirky and uber-cool. The first is Globo - a one man submarine, and the second The Seagull - either a 1920's inspired speedboat or with the enclosed cockpit fitted a 1950's Flash Gordonesque spaceship.

There are more pictures on the Tobsen77 site, including disassembled images.

I should state that I have absolutely no need for any of these models, but we all know that despite my mantra of "No more new projects" I'm going to buy all of them.
To hell with Physics I say (although the idea of giant walking mechs is still wrong!)

Monday, 13 July 2009

Drop Ship XVIII

So today I finished the mounts for each of the turrets and weapon systems. I'm using Old Crow 15mm and 6mm turrets for this, and I brought all of the elements of the Drop ship together for a couple of pictures.

I only have engines and mounts and tail fin for one side of the ship (as I have yet to cast the others), hence the slightly artistic angles to try and get a representation of what this will be like when finished.

On top of the ship you can see a rear missile turret for air to air defence during the descent. On the froward port mount is a radar array.

Here you can see the under mounted forward turret - a 6mm Old Crow Turret - used for anti personnel defence duties while the ship is grounded. Also visible is the forward port 'tube' in which i was originally going to mount forward pointing machine guns for ground clearance - I think now these will house forward firing Air to Ground Missiles instead.

Finally a close up of the forward and aft undermounted turrets. You can also see the rectangular areas that need to house the undercarriage/struts which I have still to complete, and at the moment are giving me a headache as I can't get a design that i both like, and i can cast to recreate...

The big thing I've noticed now that I have all this assembled is the very large windscreen. It's in keeping with the windshield on the old crow gecko and goanna vehicles which was its inspiration, but now I look at it and can't help but thinking "That's one hell of a lot of glass!" Especially given that this craft needs to dive through the atmosphere. Its also a large expanse without any detailing on it and I'm not sure it fits with the rest of the vehicle...

Ho Hum... wonder what I can do about that then?

As always, comments and criticism are welcomed

Friday, 10 July 2009

Drop Ship XVII

I thought it was about time I resurrected my Grymn Dropship project. I ran out of steam on it last year and I've been meaning to get back to it. But then if I actually finished a project I'd have to change this Blog's tag line.

I left this project having built three different versions of the engines and decided that the most popular one was good but too long. Well, today i roughed out what I hope is the the final engine.

There's still a fair amount of cleaning up and light sanding to do to get everything smooth enough to cast, and I may add a few more detailing elements. The blue end is the front.

The gear which allows the engine to be posed on the final model is shown assembled to the engine.

As this comparison shows, the construction is the same as the previous engine design but around 12mm shorter which makes it match the squat nature of the drop ship body better. I may cast both so there is a choice to assemble the drop ship with either engine type or a mix of the two.

Friday, 3 July 2009

New/Old Sci-fi vehicles.

I just saw that Mirliton are re-releasing some 28mm sized (28mm is a size not a scale) resin sci-fi vehicles. I've not seen these before, but apparently they are old Grenadier resin models. I assume that these came from Grenadier US as I never saw them in the UK back in the day.

The three better ones I think are these.

As some of you will know, I have a pathological hatred of walkers and giant Robots (I'm an engineer and a phycisist so i can't suspend my disbelief enough to make them viable or efficient) so I haven't included that one here, but i know some of you will love this...

I'm thinking that the second and third models might make reasonable partners to :