My next Maschinen Krieger build - Nitto AFS Mk I

the Baron

Ich bin ja, Herr, in Deiner Macht
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Hi, all,

It's high time I shared with you another of my many irons in the modeling fire. This is my second build from the Maschinen Krieger world, the Armored Fighting Suit Mk I. In the MaK story line, it was the first fully powered armored suit used by the mercenaries in their war against the overbearing Strahl Demokratische Republik.

I started taking pictures after I had completed some basic assemblies. MaK kits can go together relatively quickly (famous last words, in any build), and the initial build-up did go pretty quick. Here is the torso, assembled:



and from the back:

AFS_2_Torso_zpsd2e372e9.jpg

The kit comes with two different heads for the pilot, as the soldiers operating the suits are called. There is a Caucasian male, and a female head with vaguely Oriental features. Both heads are cast bare, no headgear of any kind. I chose the male head for this build, and originally planned to add a padded crash helmet. It was to be an exercise in sculpting, as well as a bit of an improvement to the basic kit. I fashioned something that was halfway between a Soviet tanker's helmet, with its thick, padded ridges, and a modern NFL helmet. I wasn't happy with the result, and then I changed gears altogether. I decided that the suit and pilot were from a Sikh battalion fighting for the mercenaries. Why not? It's science fiction, and I figured that the Sikhs would have maintained their ethnic and military identity 800 years into the future. So I removed the original work (which I did not photograph, so I can't show it), and reworked the head with the full beard that the Sikhs' faith instructs them to wear, and a simple puggree:

AFS_PilotHead_2_zps3144e766.jpg

The beard, I carved from the original helmet's chin piece, the moustache was new putty work, and the puggree, I made from strips of putty that I rolled thin and applied to the head. I alternated the strips on the left and right sides as I applied them, to replicate how the puggree is wound. I was much more satisfied with this result.

Then, I painted the head, to complete this part of the build. Here is a four-panel shot, showing the sequence:

AFS_PilotFace_zps19101469.jpg

The colors are a mix of Vallejo, Andrea and craft store acrylics. I mixed a basic flesh with a little burnt siena to get the slightly darker skin tones, and otherwise, it's straight black for the beard, white for the cap, and red for the puggree. I researched historical and contemporary Sikh units and toyed with the idea of using blue, or using the colors from Skinner's Horse in the old imperial Indian Army, before deciding that this unit wears red. After taking that photo, I did some additional touch-up, to narrow the pop-eyes a little more, and set the head aside.

The next area to address was the right hand. The hands on these old Nitto kits represent a weak spot, and most modelers replace them. Here's the kit hand's palm, off the sprues:

Hand_1_zps8edbe5f3.jpg

The fingers are molded together as another piece, and the hand pretty much dangles uselessly at the figure's right side. There are aftermarket pieces available, or they'll take the hands from the newer Wave kits (which have been improved through re-engineering), or they'll scratchbuild a replacement. I'm taking that last course. This figure will go into a small vignette, and I need the hand posed dynamically, palm flat and fingers splayed, as if resting on a relatively flat surface. So I made a small armature out of florist's wire, shown here inserted in the wrist:

Hand_3_zps7953843a.jpg

I used Sculpey for this piece, covering the palm, and inserting wire for the fingers:

Hand_4_zpsdc939e5b.jpg

I fashioned the fingers from more Sculpey, baked it, and wound up with this:

Hand_5_zpsdda03b8e.jpg

Here it is, side by side with the kit hand, which I also built up, as a backup, in case I don't get a satisfactory result with putty:

Hand_7_zps2376d429.jpg

I have decided not to use this first effort, it looks a little too Wallice-and-Gromit-y for my purposes. I could sand and file it to remove the rounded shape, but the fingers aren't anchored and come out of the palm too easily as I work with them. I've made a second hand, again with florist's wire for the palm, but with fine beading wire wound around the armature to anchor it, but I'm not happy with that result, either. I have started moving in the direction of using Plastruct tubing to build the hand, with a little putty, but haven't executed that yet. I still may use the kit hand, though to splay it, I'd have to cut the fingers away from one another, and then separate each one at the knuckle joints, drill them out, and wire them back together. Fiddliest of fiddly work.

I returned to the torso, and upgraded the joint covers with Apoxie Sculpt, using a toothpick to shape the folds. A couple of shots here:

AFS_Torso_2_zps1a08ad8b.jpg

AFS_Torso_3_zpsd2f4857b.jpg

and the same work on the legs:



and finally, for this post, here is the suit, torso and legs attached, with the initial coat of paint and some weathering and detailing begun:

AFS_Progess_15Jan14_zpsbe40b4dd.jpg

I'm experimenting with a technique for weathering, using Army Painter matte black as the primer, and then scuffing the top coats to replicate chipping. I goofed, however, in that the technique usually involves using acrylic for the top coat. The acrylic is delicate enough that you can use a Scotch Brite pad to do the scuffing. Without realizing it, thinking only of the color (dark sand), I used a can of Model Master enamel. D'oh. I realized it, when I took the Scotch Brite pad to the model and saw that it didn't even scratch the surface. As Michael Caine said in "A Shock to the System", "You, you and you, panic. The rest of you--stay calm." I took a worn piece of 60-grit sandpaper instead, and found that I could scuff down to the primer, as long as I was careful. I have removed the primer, too, in spots, but I can touch that back up with black acrylic.

You can also see some battle damage, on the torso and on the crotch plate. It represents grazes by heat or particle beam and projectile weapons. For the beam grazes, I used a round rattail file to file a longish gouge in the surface, and for the projectile hit, I used--very carefully--a fine grinding bit chucked into the Dremel, to make little circular gouges. My idea is that in both cases, the weapon superheated the ceramic-metal alloy armor, which then solidified again. My inspiration is David Drake's description of battle damage in his Hammer's Slammers novels. So, each area got some black pastel chalk for the surround, for some carbon staining, then black acrylic in the scars, with flat aluminum to represent the exposed armor. Over that, I will use a very thin blue wash, to replicate the discoloring that some metals show when heated and cooled (again, a nod to Drake and his concept of iridium as the metal used in composite armor in the Hammerverse). I did one attempt, with a wash that I have--without thinking--made from isopropyl and blue ball point pen ink (from cleaning the tubes from used-up pens--never throw anything out!). Of course, that had the effect of liquefying the aluminum paint, and then drying again, and the effect is invisible. Note to self--do not use a wash thinned with an agent that thins the paint below. I can hear William Demarest as Uncle Charlie saying, "Holy cow! What's wrong with you?!"

Anyway, now you're caught up! My next steps are to finish the hand; to add more weathering with filters of oil paints; to add the other joint plates, including one with the Sikh Battalion's formation sign; and to start on the base.

I hope you enjoy having a look, and as always, tips/criticisms/comments are welcome, thanks for looking!

YbiC
Brad
 

tigrazor

audentes fortuna iuvat.
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Messages
371
A Sikh warrior? Now thats completely new! But I know what you mean. Some people said "How dare you placing a steampunk lady next to a Falke?!" when I posted the WIP in another forum that I dont want to mention here ;) - well... its SciFi, so what?! I dont care. It looks cool (imho), and ladies are more than welcome! ;)

So this Sikh is something completely different and makes this dio/vignette even more interesting! Very well done.

One question:what does "YbiC" mean?
 

the Baron

Ich bin ja, Herr, in Deiner Macht
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A quick update, without photos. The suit sat pretty much through the month of February, as I focused on soem other projects. Last night, I returned to it. I have been thinking about this all month, but I did not like the way the hoses from the knee joints to the torso looked. They're made of a fine piece of single-strand insulated wire, anchored in the joint, and covered by a fine spring. They look OK, but they're not quite rigid enough, and there are a couple of kinks, where there should be smooth curves. So I decided to rip them out and replace the wire with solder. I've removed the hoses, which included a little bit of surgery, since they were anchored in place with a knot and CA glue. In the end, I had to cut them at the base and use the Dremel to drill out the holes. Thank the Lord for a steady hand! I did learn that the solder I have is took thick for the spring, so I'm fixing some pieces of aluminum wire instead. End effect will be hoses that will resist the occasional bump, till I finish. I'll take pics, when I have that finished, and tonight, I return to making a replacement hand.
 

tigrazor

audentes fortuna iuvat.
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Messages
371
Do you know a musician or is htere a music shop around? Guitar strings are perfect for that, and they cost very little money. ;)
 

the Baron

Ich bin ja, Herr, in Deiner Macht
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tigrazor said:
Do you know a musician or is htere a music shop around? Guitar strings are perfect for that, and they cost very little money. ;)

That's a good idea, mei Liaba, and I haven't ruled anything out yet. I can still use a piece of wire, with the kit springs. Do you have an idea what gauge to look for? I've used some 3/32" Plastruct tubing for the new fittings on the knees, to cover where I've drilled out the old material. That's the outside diameter, the inside is probably about 1/32". So, I'll need a string with a gauge somewhere around 3/32" or a little smaller.
 

Junkie

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8,830
Cool build and great work on the figure's head.

I have to find some of those springs...
 

the Baron

Ich bin ja, Herr, in Deiner Macht
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Scott Girvan said:
Cool build and great work on the figure's head.

I have to find some of those springs...

Thanks, Scott!

HobbyLink Japan sells sets of the springs, made by Kotobukiya, like this one:

http://www.hlj.com/product/KBYMS07/Sci

I haven't looked to see if Starship Modeler carries them, too, but it's probably roughly the same price either way.

A post-script, I found a couple of sets made by Wave, too, who are the current licensee of most of the MaK line:

A 2mm spring:

http://www.hlj.com/product/WAVOP-552/Sci

and a 1.5 mm spring:

http://www.hlj.com/product/WAVOP-556/Sci
 

the Baron

Ich bin ja, Herr, in Deiner Macht
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Hi, all!

This project has lurched forward a little. I solved the problem of the right hand.

I remembered a post somewhere in Bryan Krueger's Maschinen Krueger forum (http://www.maschinenkrueger.com/forum/) about guys replacing kit hands with the hands from Gundam kits. Or more precisely, the hands are aftermarket sets made by Bandai and other makers, for use in Gundam kits. The poster recommended getting hands in 1/144 scale. I picked up a Bandai set and another maker's set on eBay, and was very pleased with the sets. I wish I had remembered this before; I'd have saved myself some time spent trying to sculpt or scratch the hand. The Gundam hand looks right in terms of size, and it has just the mechanical look I was shooting for, when I tried to scratch the hand out of styrene scraps.

Also, since the hands are engineered in multiple pieces, it's possible to reposition them to any pose desired. The other set I got--the maker's name currently escapes me--includes some with individually-molded fingers.

So, here's a mockup with an assembled hand in place:


Hand_9_GundamHand_zpsd76791ed.jpg

With this puzzle solved, I'm moving on to install replacement hoses. That will be the next installment, and hopefully much sooner than I made you wait for this one.

As always, criticism/comment is welcome, and thanks for looking!

YbiC
Brad
 

the Baron

Ich bin ja, Herr, in Deiner Macht
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Oh, and here are some shots of the surgery to remove the kit hoses. After yanking them out (I followed the instructions to tie a knot in the wire, and then I secured it with CA glue), I had to clean up the holes a little. I drilled them a little wider:

KneeReplacement_1_zpsef067f58.jpg

then used some Plastruct tube stock to make new sockets or whatever they should be called:

KneeReplacement_2_zps2d5cba96.jpg

I also cleaned up the points on the torso where the hoses connect:

KneeReplacement_3_zps7593946e.jpg

and then I took a little epoxy putty (Aves A&B) and made weld beads around the tubing:

KneeReplacement_4_zps8fc66507.jpg

KneeReplacement_5_zpsc03e1bae.jpg

It hides the damage done with the drill, and is de rigeur for MaK, anyway.

So now you're up to date. Next post will show the method I used to make new power hoses.

Criticism and comments are welcome and thanks for looking!

YbiC
Brad
 

MrT

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Apr 25, 2011
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Very cool! I must remember about the Gundam hands. Keep it coming!

Terry 8)
 

Grendels

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MrT said:
Very cool! I must remember about the Gundam hands. Keep it coming!

Terry 8)

Same here, I have a few Gundam after market kits for stuff like this, but I didn't think about the hands. I will have to keep that in mind...
 

the Baron

Ich bin ja, Herr, in Deiner Macht
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OK! Finally, I got the hoses added! And I'm embarrassed that it took me so long to figure this out--it's easier to wrap a piece of wire around a piece of wire solder, if the solder ISN'T installed on the figure. Yep, that's what Ol' Knucklehead here was doing. I had the suit mounted in my third-hand holder, like this:

Hoses_1_zps1e4c7a15.jpg

I was wrapping the wire around the solder, which is one of the fiddlier things to do in a hobby full of fiddly tasks. And it was taking forever. Then it occurred to me--"Bonehead! Take the solder off the suit and wrap it. Idiot". And suddenly, a task that promised to take a couple of hours was finished in about fifteen minutes. Well, I like to say that I learn something in every build. Here's what the raw hoses look like:

Hoses_2_zps31613583.jpg

Hoses_4_left_zpsfa6b5710.jpg

Hoses_3_right_zpsc0f3886a.jpg

If they look a little ragged, that's OK. I'll seal and prime them with Mr Surfacer, and do some touching up. I want them to look a little battered, and I'm thinking of a patch or two. But boy, was I doing this the hard way!
 

the Baron

Ich bin ja, Herr, in Deiner Macht
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Thanks! I want to get this done by my club's next meeting on the 6th.
 

the Baron

Ich bin ja, Herr, in Deiner Macht
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Oh, boy! I finally finished something! Tonight, I put the last touches on the suit and the base, and I'm calling it done. I had missed completing it for our February meeting.

Here we see our Sikh warrior, vaulting over the wall of a bombed-out school building in an assault at the Battle of New Canberra:

Finished_1_zpskgnxfdgz.jpg

You can see he's taken some grazing rounds, and fired off some of his own just before leaping the wall:

Finished_2_zpsay8us8yx.jpg

The wall is a core of foam insulation board, with Elmer's wood putty used to provide the texture. I thinned the putty with warm water and applied it with brushes. On the interior wall and floor, I wanted to represent finished concrete surfaces, and I used a piece of card to smooth the surface out. On the exterior wall, I used an acid brush to stipple on a layer, for a look like stucco. Rubble is gravel from the curb in front of my house, and the gravel on the outside is Woodland Scenics ballast. For the sign, I wanted something akin to the enamelled metal signs that are common throughout Germany. I printed the sign itself on paper, then glued it to a piece of styrene sheet cut to fit. I warped it a little, to show the effects of the blast that demolished the building and nearly blew the sign off.

Two close-ups of the suit:

Finished_3_zpsyv69maik.jpg

As it turned out, the windshield didn't fit, its shape is way off, so I dispensed with it.

Finished_4_zpsosxs4spb.jpg

The weathering is intended to show a piece of ordnance operating in a hot, dry environment, so I tried to fade the sand color with lighter filters, and to show the kind of wear from blowing sand or walking over it.

So, I started back in December 2013, and wrapped it up 14 months later. Now I have something to take to our club meeting Friday night.

Criticisms and comments are welcome, as always, and as always, thanks for looking!

YbiC
Brad
 

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