Monday, July 12, 2010

Hellfire Construction Progress - July 12

Construction on the remaining Hellfire SMG bodies has begun. Body 5, designated HX, has been completed. All that remains are Bodies 1-4: the TD, KKA, TEK and RF designations. Body 1, despite being the most mediocre in game, is by far the most difficult to build due to the fragile sight mounting region, with the windowed frame. I had difficulty constructing the top sight rail for body 4, and that consisted of just a slit with two holes.

Figure 1: Patrol SMG Body Schematics

Here's the remaining schematic for the Patrol SMG series. A lot of the details need to be supplemented by in-game screenshots. I've detailed all the necessary information I need to get construction going, which means some of it will be ambiguous to the causal builder.

Today, I'll be documenting construction of the modular rail system used for the Maliwan Hellfire.

Figure 2: Starting the Laminate Tracings

This portion details the construction of Body 3: the TEK series. With the diagrams from the previous section regarding the rail details, I've traced out the TEK body and overlaid the internals on the tracing. A slot for the magazine 5mm deep and 9.5mm wide can be seen in the tracing in Figure 2. Provisions for the rails have been shaded as a guide.

At this stage, I've gone into a color-type card system to help differentiate pre-glued card thicknesses. Usually, I use 4-card thick stacks documented here, but this project necessitated the use of 2-card thick laminates. Conveniently, I have a crapton of X-Men TCG cards to use. As a result, you'll be seeing a lot of multicolored sections. Magic: the Gathering colored parts are 4 cards thick; X-Men blue means 2 cards thick.

I'm taking advantage of thicknesses by carving and peeling layers off laminated cards to avoid cutting multiple tracings.There's a small recess for the magazine on the outer layers, about 2 cards thick, shown in the above figure.

Here's a view of the layers assembled partially, allowing you to see the individual thicknesses used to make the rail system. A narrow 2mm wide "rail" goes on the bottom and interfaces with the grip's "T" shaped rail. The regions in contact with sliding parts were left unsanded, to let the default coating on the cards have less friction and wear when sliding. Once the layers are assembled, there's little hope for repairs.

Test fit of Stock 3 and Grip 3 on Body 3.

Another view of the sliding rails.

For attaching the Fire elemental accessory to the body, some structural assistance was required. I was essentially gluing two rounded objects together, leaving little point of contact. To minimize future re-gluing repairs, I opted for metal rod reinforcements. 5mm long rods were made from a paper clip, and holes were drilled into the surfaces to be mated. Loc-Tite glue kept the pins into the holes. Once the two parts were joined, the metal pins would reduce problems associated with shearing to a minimum.

Semi completed TEK body. Details were achieved by carving out large sections, then assembling strips of card or cardstock into the cavities. The raised elements in the center of the body were achieved with a single layer of cardstock on a MtG card. At this scale, small bumps can be modeled by the thickness of cards. Some details require etching or peeling a layer partially. Some details require carving, as demonstrated below.

The rear section of the body tapers on Bodies 2,3 and 5. The TEK series tapers from 5mm to 3mm. To handle the taper, I've marked off the material required to be cut, using a black marker. This body belongs to the KKA series, Body 2.

Magic cards behave like plywood, and this can be taken advantage of in carving sloped surfaces. You can use the edge of a knife to slice away at the card stack, thus revealing the individual layers that comprise the card. Approaching the surface at a shallow angle, you can peel off layers lightly.

When you carve, you'll see lines due to the different layers of the individual cards. You can use these lines to judge your surface's flatness by seeing how uniform the lines are. You ideally want straight lines and uniform separation. However, any deviations can be solved by light sanding or gluing a flat surface on top of the slightly uneven one. I'm just going to sand it down, since minor unevenness won't be very noticeable.

Here's the current assortment of parts, semi-grouped into part number. I'm debating making 5 total grip sets and having 5 individual SMGs, but I'll never need all five assembled at once ever.

Here's all the parts available so far, separated. I'm missing five of the 20 parts and it's still workable for a good assortment of combinations.

I'm getting rather fond of the TEK body. This configuration's the TEK 400, with the less popular "Thumper" magazine. Unfortunately, due to the way the grip is designed in the actual game, most 1:6 scale figures cannot properly hold the weapon. A similar configuration would be the FN-P90. Not a lot of figures can hold that gun properly.

Depending on circumstances, I'll either move onto priming the parts for painting, or attempting Body 1 and Stock 1: the most pain in the ass parts to build.

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