Last modified: Saturday, January 6, 2001 6:20 PM

08/15/99- I like this high-contrast picture, and I needed to start a new page anyway, so here it is. I'm confident that this is somewhere near finished, except for painting and a few other things.

Here's one of the things I needed to take care of. Although it's not finished yet, it's a different approach-- the kitbashed approach, instead of the sculpted approach. This was done in an unused Ultraseven head cast, so it was hollow and easy to work with. I used the sliced off top of a Zap-A-Gap tube as a neckpin guide inside the head. It worked out well, since it's made of nylon and pressure fits the head to the neckpin. The eyes are mini light bulbs from a toy, and the rest is styrene and parts from other stuff I found lying around. This is just a design exercise, so everything's just lightly tacked into place: It needs putty work and priming. This seems closer to what I'd wanted to do in the first place-- she's supposed to be a robot after all.

The facemask wasn't sculpted to be a mask, so getting it to fit the shaved-off head took a lot of trial & error. I noted where the gaps were and filled them, blending the putty into the pattern of the existing piece. It ain't perfect and it took a while-- You can't do it all at once, and putty takes quite a few hours to cure. In the process, I devised the method of attachment. It's a press-fit: The mask has a downward projecting pin at the top which keys with a notch in the head. Below the chin is a tab which mates with a slotted cutout. The internal pieces fit snug and keep the mask from shifting around.

Another cheap gimmick: I added a tinted clear dome to the back of the head. The interior is decorated with scrap vinyl from the Marmit Stormtrooper & decorated with some pins & wires. The pins look pretty cool because they reflect through the blue tint.

A problem you run into when detailing like this is that you know you're eventually going to get down to painting, but you might want to keep some of the parts unpainted. Some of that you can take care of by making parts removeable. The other parts have to be masked off. Since you'd have a really hard time getting masking tape around irregularly-shaped parts, it's much easier to make rough masks with plasticene clay. You don't want to smear the clay onto the parts (cuz you'd have to clean it off later), just make rough, loose fitting covers. You can sculpt the edges for a tight, shape-conforming seal as necessary. The clay does get "polluted" with dried paint, but it's pretty cheap and reuseable for masking. It's great multi-purpose stuff to have around.

08/18/99- The parts breakdown. After these are gone over and painted, they'll be assembled probably for the last time... Wait! How about cutting up the upper torso base pieces like the head? Naw, who would ever see them? But still... t'would be cool, huh?

I've got a confession to make: I'm not an A+ grade modeler. There are guys out there (like Jerry Buchanan fer instance) whose workmanship is breathtaking, and who strive for perfection. I see myself as a prototyper, who's happy experimenting with designs, but not patient enough to take things to that level of perfection. Now that I'm at the final phase of the project, this becomes very clear. Up through this point, the main focus has been on designing the figure-- experimenting to see what was going to look kewl, since there weren't any blueprints to follow. I've tried to anticipate a few things in advance, like making sure the figure could be disassembled. I've also known that there were "one-shot" opportunities, which couldn't be undone without a lot of work. Linear processes pit perfectionism against the impatient desire to test out how an idea looks.

One of the things which I regret is how sloppily I sculpted the front upper torso plate. In my rush to test out the vacuforming idea, I didn't bother with cleaning it up. Hey, the clear vacuformed plate fits the rushed job perfectly! Unfortunately, now that I'm undertaking the final finish, I'm looking at it more critically. I can't radically alter the torso plate, or the vacuformed piece won't fit. I can't re-vacuform the piece because I've made the boob cut-outs. Fortunately, the symmetry is good, but the collar, arm & boob-borders are irregular. I can't add putty to 'em now, so all I can do is remove putty to make them look more precise. This will have to do, but it's far from perfection. So patience, discipline, and working at a consistent level of excellence are the traits of an A+ modeler.

With the hodge-podge of colors and materials present in a modeling project, it's often hard to see the surface flaws. This can be things like poor blending of putty, flat spots, low spots, hairline cracks. Putting a coat of primer on the piece as you're developing it is a good way to bring the flaws to your attention. You can use the primer coat as a flatness indicator when you're sanding-- if a spot retains primer when the surrounding area doesn't, chances are that it's a low spot that needs to be sanded down to, or filled with putty.

Well, STARE why doncha??? Haven't you ever seen a robot on a smoke break before?