Saturday, January 1, 2011

Scratch Building: Thrusters

In this post I'm going to do my best to show how I created a scratch built set of Thrusters for my Zeong Bear model. I'm relatively knowledgeable when it comes to modding, however this is my first attempt at scratch building. So the techniques and notes I share are what I found to work best for me. Just know that there are many ways to go about building anything really and the way that I do it may not be the best way for you. But, hopefully you'll get something from this tutorial.

I thought I'd start off by sharing a list of tools and materials that I used.

TOOLS:
-Side Cutters (a must)
-Modeler's Cement (another must)
-Hobby Knife (a modder's katana)
-Sand Paper (600 and 320 grain)
-File set
-Good pair of scissors
-Tweezers
-Drill bits (roughly 1mm and 2mm)
-Metal Spike (I don't know the technical name for it but its a sculptor's tool)

Supplies
-Pla Plate (.75mm and 2mm)
-Pla Tube (assortment of sizes)
-Some thruster verniers ( I'm using some from the 1/144 Zeong and some from 1/144 Methuss)
-Poly Caps
-Possibly some other option parts
-And of course some good old fashion creativity (I buy mine off Ebay)

All right, so the first thing that needs to be done is to design what you want to build. You want to create something that will mesh well with the accompanying model. Best thing to do is to draw a couple ideas on some small pieces of paper and hold them up to your model to see how it will look. Keep in mind it doesn't have to be very elaborate, start with basic shapes and angles and go from there. I already drew out a shape I liked and cut some pla.


I'm going to make two large thrusters out of these shapes that sit on either side of some fuel tanks that will attach to the back of the model. I'll get to the fuel tanks later. The next thing I did, was to go through some of my scrap poly caps to find a way to attach the thrusters to the fuel tanks. If you have built a decent amount of Gunpla in the past you should have a decent amount of left over poly caps. It is always a good idea to keep not only the spare poly caps but also the spare pla plate you'll be cutting up. You never know when you might have a use for them.


I think these guys will work. Now I just have to find something that fits in them. I went through some of my pla tubing to see if any of them fit. Luckily, one size seemed to work which was roughly 3mm wide. I'll have to do some sanding on the tube though to get it to fit in snug.


Before I go and attach these poly caps to those thruster pla plates I need to clean them up a bit. For me, prepping your mods and pla plate is a big key in making it successful. Because once its glued to something else it can be a lot more difficult to sand and clean up the surface. So I'm going to go ahead and sand and clean up the surface and edges a bit.


The next thing I want to do is figure out where I want these things to attach to the fuel tanks and where the poly caps should go. This is very important because depending on where I put them the articulation may be poor. This is a good time to hold the thruster pla back up to the model to help make the decision. While I have a rough idea of where to put the poly caps I'm going to cut out some pla pieces to hold the poly caps. Then I outline an area to cut out for the poly caps.


NOTE: these holes will be hidden so I wasn't too concerned with cleaning them up. I did sand them a bit.

Now with the other pla thruster pieces, I cut some thick (roughly 5mm) pla tube to act as supports for the corners of the thrusters. I did check and measure in proportions with the model how thick I want these thrusters and then cut the pla tube accordingly. In order to make sure all the tubes were the same length, I taped them together and then filed each end. After a while, and a little testing, I added some more tubes for more support.



While I let the glue dry on that, I went back to attaching the poly caps to the others side of the thrusters that had the holes in them. I ended up cutting some 2mm thick pla pieces out to attach to the sides of the poly caps so they would have more area to be glued to the inside of the thrusters. Ideally, I would have liked to use angle pla but I had none. After I glued them onto the thruster pla pieces I tested the strength of the poly caps to make sure everything stayed together. The last thing I'd want is to finish and then the poly cap falls out of place. This seemed to work fine.



I will update this soon with what is going on down below here.







That's all for now, I'll add on to this post once I get more work done.
Thanks for reading.



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