Monday, May 25, 2009

Aluminum + Green Metal Flake + Thinner = Poisonous Fumes

Finally got around to painting the armor. Used a layer of primer, then a mix of Testors Enamel Aluminum and Green Metal Flake. I tried using a wash of Green Metal Flake over the Aluminum, but that didn't work as well, creating a semi-uneven color at points. Mixing the two together provides a good shade of light green metallic color. I'm not too sure whether the finish is what's considered decent for painting models, but I'm definitely not going to cover it with a layer of gloss lacquer. I've inhaled enough toxic flammable fumes this month. Anyways, here's where Aelia currently stands in terms of construction progress. Still spear-less and sword-less and in need of decent hair.

I'm not liking the gloves too much. I may need to redo them, and that's painfully long and tedious work.

Next stages: going to work on the weaponry and the armor rivets. Someday, I'll find better hair, and fix up the head a bit more.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This Weekend's Project: The Magic Gauntlets

There's a reason why no one sells 1:6 scale gloves with individual fingers. The majority of the dolls you will buy will have molded gloves. Why? First, you'll need the prerequisite of individually movable fingers. Again, you may ask why that's necessary. You can't put on gloves if your fingers are non-flexible. Aelia's hands have wire understructure that allow her to have one set of hands that handle all her poses, rather than make her have multiple hand sets like other dolls.

Second, 1:6 scale gloves with individually separate fingers are a pain to make. Perhaps the most expensive part to make if you were to actually make them for a mass produced figure. It's too much sewing for a small part. Luckily, I'm the only guy willing to try making it, since I only have to do it twice.

The gloves were made by sewing four individual tubes around her fingers, then sewing them together to form a glove. It's infeasible to sew them like gloves done at 1:1 scale, since the size prohibits them from being turned inside out to hide the seams. Therefore, the seams are on the outside of the gloves for all five fingers. Aelia's gloves are armored, which gives me the benefit of hiding the seams with armor plating. A bit of Magic and a bit of hot glue allows me to stick the plating onto her gloves. Each finger has separate armor plating segments that also allow her to retain her finger flexibility.

The only problem I've had so far is that her fingers are too short inside her glove finger length. She can do some limited gestures, but lacks the finger tip dexterity to fully grasp items. Still enough to hold a polearm. They are pretty good looking despite their bulk.

Aelia is nearly complete. Just needs some refinements to her waist armor segments and she'll be ready for priming.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Roundup: ACEN and Ribbons That Make UPS Proud

Last weekend was ACEN, Anime Central's convention up in Rosemont, Illinois. Apparently the midwest's anime and manga convention. I prefer to consider that event a one stop shopping center that lasts three days.

My main goal for any store that sells Japanese import toys is to find interesting and unique specimens. I'm very particular in not buying two of anything in the same product line, since that provides no new information for developing new structures. That thereby excluded purchasing a Revoltech, Kaiyodo's Trigun: the Planet Gunsmoke figures (I already have three anyways since I loved the series and build quality), a masterpiece Transformer, a BBI doll, and some random Halo figure. That said, I was left with some possible targets:
  • Max Factory's Figma line
  • A ball jointed doll (such as Obitsu or Volks)
  • Wildcard figure I discover (my favorite option)
After a $35 admission fee, $5 parking, 3-4 hours of browsing, I came home with my single find:

A Book.

A book I have a scanned copy of. A book I can't read. A book that cost me $110. (Technically $150 after all costs.)

To be fair, it's two books, out of print, and the only artbook from the Valkyrie Profile series worth buying since Silmeria's artist Shunya Yamashita doesn't do a good job with armor. I can't find this book anywhere for any price; only the combo Lenneth-Silmeria Artbook for $87. And that book is apparently hardcover too. This one's paperback with a sleeve.

So much for buying figures. I passed on a Master Grade Sinanju ($95 of potential gundam building fail, at some random stall), every single Figma I saw (small, and very unappealing selection), and there were only 1/3 scale ball jointed dolls. As for the wildcard, some mildly exciting Full Metal Panic blindboxed figures were tempting, but not for $13 apiece. At least the artbook stores nicely on my cramped shelf.

After that midly disappointing haul, I finished off the last few annoyances on Aelia. I finally bought some brown ribbon. That means belts. Having belts made means I can prime the armor plating soon. Time to showcase what ribboned belts can do. Certainly better than masking tape.

Generic test pose. I like to use this as a comparison to the artbook so I know what's missing.

I finally have the straps holding her skirt plates together. Two paper clips had to die in order to make this. Their sacrifice will be remembered.

A back shot of the skirt plates. A bit of undesired overlap.

Having working belts for holding the greaves together is really nice. Masking tape really doesn't work.

Now, having obtained my brown ribbon, I need to find some brown cloth for the gloves.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

J.Norad Is The Worst Doctor Ever

You've probably seen enough Team Fortress 2 Medic Etiquette posts on miscellaneous blogs. You've seen the usual stuff like:
  • Don't spam for "medic!" over and over and over...
  • Don't steal a burning medic's health kit
  • Don't monopolize the medic's time
  • Don't lead the medic to certain death and expect him to come after you
  • Don't microphone spam because J.Norad's too busy listening to Bee Gees to hear you, etc. etc.

Someone's got to teach your team some manners.

But you probably weren't warned about this happening to you if you violated those rules:

Medic is traitor to team!

For those of you who are staring at this pic for five minutes not seeing what's wrong, here's a summary:

(Medic + enemy spy + voice chat teamwork + assisted backstab on same teammate)x4 = domination on your own teammate.

(Yes, dominations also work on your own team. They'll be VERY unhappy 0nce they find out what you're doing.)

That'll teach that heavy to steal your medkit. And as a bonus, healing your spy friend makes him look more legitimate, thereby making it easier to lead him to your target. Remember kids, just because you and your friend are on opposite teams, it doesn't mean you can't help each other out.

J.Norad will be back with the regular post content next week. Until then, happy griefing!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Doing Some Remodeling

I'm loving the Dremel. Greatest tool I've bought. What once took several days of sanding and settling for mediocrity, now becomes several days of quick and decisive milling and shaping with great results. Admittedly, if you haven't thought so already, I've really half assed making Lia. Then again, that implies you've been around for a year to know who that refers to.

Nevertheless, I've reworked Lia's face a lot. No more conical point for a nose, no more odd cheekbone structure, no more round puffy face. Still the same messy hair. What wonders a Dremel does for sculpting. It's like giving an amish man power tools.

I've personally favored Hotaru over Lia for the reason of me not doing as well of a job on Lia as I could have. Lia has resulted in being the test subject for later improvements: shoulders, hips, hair. I didn't mind if Lia suffered some irreparable changes: gave me an excuse to fix her up properly.

I went ahead and remodeled her legs. They were ugly. Practically cylinders with some creases resulting from bad construction. However, when making Aelia, I developed a proper method of doing limbs by adding a sheet of Magic card for the skin to reinforce it. Dremel magic smoothed out the surface, making a much sturdier and smoother finish. Well, relatively smooth. 110lb cardstock isn't as magical as Magic in smoothness.

For some reason, I spontaneously realized that I knew how to braid hair. I remember learning how to braid hair at one point in my life around 2nd grade. Must have been the side effects of ingesting Magic: the Carcinogenic Dust. Magic powder sure does wonders for the mind! Why, just look at what I've made by inhaling that stuff in large quantities. Anyways, I went a bit overboard with the braiding and ended up with a Swiss Alps/southern looking Kris Mage. Since I don't have 1/6 scale hair decor, electrical wire will suffice.

I haven't taken a lot of photos of Lia ever. She was just too unphotogenic back then. Now, she's my new favorite photo model. Too bad I've forced her into permanent Kris Mage status due to a lack of clothing variety.

I've also modified Hotaru's face, but that one didn't end up as great as Lia's. I'll keep working on that. After these cleanups are out of the way, I'll get back to working on Aelia's armor.