SF3D / MASCHINEN KRIEGER
SOW'S EAR SAFS - WESPE
Last modified: Saturday, January 19, 2002 3:30 PM
01/12/01- (Man, I've gotten nearly as much mileage from that HOF Spandex wetsuit as I've gotten from the Palpatine robes!) It doesn't look like I've done much since the last pics, but actually I have-- the bottom half of the suit has been painted with primer, I've added details and made stuff fit better. There's still a lot of final detailing to do, ideas for add-ons, and of course, the decal & paint job. But this is a good point at which to "play" with the figure; to assess where it is and where it's going.
It's interesting to note how much influence the human operator figure has over the "personality" of the whole thing. Using the Via Borracho figure as the operator pointed it in a snarly glam-gal direction; adding the Bobby Woll cap, "leather" Elvis jacket and using all that black gave her a mean, S&M-ish look, with blatant WWII Nazi overtones. And she smokes: We all know what that means. By extrapolating from this, other comic book-ish stereotypical characteristics can be inferred of the operator. No, this probably would not be a warm, friendly person. (Considering all the figures I've made so far, this is a surprise?) This in turn suggests how the suit --which is really an accessory to the figure-- might be decorated and what "world" or environment the whole thing fits into. The cupola pic suggests that she might be addressing her contingent of more lightly-armored troops. They're probably not fighting on the side of Good and Justice. This helps define relationships to the other figures I've already created and suggests ideas for new projects. Of course, appropriating the SF3D base material and inventing one's own backstory tramples all over whatever official backstory there is! But this ain't Star Wars and ignorance can be very liberating.
01/17/02- Even though the black looked okay, it was too easy. Everything looks good in black. If I weren't worried about the boring sameness, everything I did would probably end up black. Faced with the choice of the babe wearing black or the suit wearing black, I decided to paint the suit burgandy. Add black to red and you've got burgandy. So naturally it goes with black. Add gold trim and you've got "regal". Burgandy can also connote a "dangerous", insect-like appearance: I've done battle with big-assed wasps that were this color. That suggests the suit nickname "Wespe", German for "wasp"-- it's also the name of a WWII German self-propelled howitzer which doesn't look anything like a wasp. Nevertheless, this is very tidy since the SF3D stuff has that WWII German tie-in with names like "Fledermaus" or "Mk II ausf..." yadda, yadda, yadda. "Wespe" is a classier nickname than "Sow's Ear", doncha think? So be it. Now to think of modifications that tie in with the nickname... (The operator lady looks WASP-ish... does that count?) I've added a small (Max Steel?) missile tube to the arm to give it a little sting (I know... bees are the ones with the single-use stinger.) Adding an atmospheric flight thrust nozzle to the back gives it the natural aerodynamic potential of a flying boat anchor. Hey, it's sci-fi, so why not? It goes with the concept of this being a command hardsuit-- the officer might need to be more mobile. The nozzle's a casting of the top part of one from the Fireball SAFS; the complete thing would be too big and look klunky.
The choice of dark colors created a slight problem with the finish detailing: To be visible, decals need to be light colored, and that's more difficult to do. Decal printing on clear film isn't very opaque; even though the ALPS printers can print a white undercoat, it's more of a hassle than I'm willing to endure. I therefore tried Bare Metal Foil's white decal sheet... what crap! The film lifted from the backing even before soaking in water, and the decal film itself seemed too thick and stiff. Oh well. Not a big deal-- I had plenty of real decal sheets left over from models and found a few that seemed appropriate. And you can paint directly on the model's surface (duh!). To break up the monotony of the solid color, I painted the white band on the left shoulder cover and stuck a sculpted German eagle on it. Hmmmm... kind of like where the thing's supposed to go on an SS outfit. It just looked kewl there: This isn't supposed to be a recreation of the WWII nazi thing, although it does have those overtones. I need to get rid of its tiny swastika though: That's too literal.
This dark color issue is relevant to detail painting and weathering. I wasn't quite sure how to approach weathering-- with light color, just about anything you put down will show up. Furthermore, I wasn't sure if I wanted to do weathering: I've already done two that way and the virginal painted model just looks so... clean! But I realized that I had to do it to make it fit in with the other suits. The idea was to make it not as dirty, so it looked like it had been maintained, but out on the field for a while. As it turns out, just about any dirty wash color shows up really well on a dark surface because it's lighter-- in fact, specks of real dust do too. After discovering this the hard way, I tried to remove lots of it so the suit wouldn't look quite so grungy. On the other hand, the rust color, which has some orange in it, ends up looking like a subtle color variation.
In addition to those already mentioned, I've added a few more details since the last update. The canopy underside was (hastily) detailed with model/found parts, and with a wiring harness leading to the suit. The wiring harness is kind of kewl-- the idea of bundled wires came from seeing some great pics of the Pooyan Toys suits sent to me by Dennis R. (Yah, we steal an idea here, an idea there...) The wires are held together with short rings of heat-shrink tubing. A padded real leather seatback (only the best for Queenie) was made for the interior. As with the Nitto SAFS, the right front panel opens, but this time I created interior detail close to that found on a 1:20 SAFS model. The partial oxygen tank was cast from my mutilated 21C SEAL rebreather and altered to fit in the low profile space. The minigun has a few extra parts added-- minor stuff. The utilitarian hardware look of the original gun is an effect I like, so I didn't want to alter it too much. A wire grab handle was added near the entry hatch. The front mounted Racoon snout ("IR sensor") was detailed on the inside with a mylar circuit sheet from a digital watch's keypad and covered with a windowpane from an N-scale building, cut to size. These were all very minor things that were added after the main stuff was taken care of. It's not impressive stuff, but it does take time to think of and create.
Funny thing about those SF3D designs... when I first ran across 'em, I thought all the pipes connected to their arms and legs looked soooo neat! At this point, I've come to see them as things I don't want to add. (Heresy!) This comes partly from the fact that the fat springs that come with the kits don't bend and drape naturally (even though they're extremely soft springs) and have to be posed with a wire run through the center. That works okay for static models, but not so well with articulated figures. I've looked but haven't found a suitably thick and yet flexible replacement. It seems like it would have to be made of something like the stuff they use in fishing lures, or cast in BJB F25 (or softer). Fishing lure worms have a nasty habit of melting styrene... I don't know what it does to vinyl (and don't want to find out the hard way). The other issue for me is the way they look-- the body to lower leg pipes seem way too long. Why would you want something like that hanging outside the suit where it's vulnerable and could snag on stuff? Oh... I forgot. This is sci-fi! Hell, I may come around eventually, but in the meantime I prefer to imagine the hose attachment openings to be some kind of vent port.
So there ya have it... from a funky recast model that I was initially so disgusted with, transformed into my current fav SAFS (until the next one). There's still some stuff that I may work on (like the funky legs), but for now, that's good 'nuff.
|One last thing: In the Guestbook, Super Six One recently posted this image (cropped here, so that I won't be as guilty of "borrowing" an image-- I had to ensure that you could see this since it's disappeared from the Guestbook) and a link to more pics of a robot shown by The Armoury at the Hong Kong toy fair. Wow--kewl huh? Okay, the robot is kewl, but I really like the concept: SF3D-ish, but expanded to include other combatants of WWII (This one's Russian, wouldn't you agree?). And with large-breasted babes... Man-O-man, this covers a bunch of my personal areas of interest in one swell foop!|
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