Jun 282015
 
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It’s getting down to crunch time. A little less than a week to go and things are slowing way down because things just need time to cure/setup. On Friday, I mixed and poured clear resin with some blue and yellow dye; but much more blue so the clear resin came out a deep blue. I should have mixed more yellow to get a greener tint, but I may just do some clear green tinting to get that effect. Or I may just leave it as it’s more “anime” effect if I keep it the current blue. I may just run out of time so that it may need to stay blue.

The first step was to apply a silicone sealant around the bottom, I did this last Thursday. I really did not want the resin leaking. The way the thing was put together, there is great potential for leaking; so I’m doing everything I can in precaution. Once the sealant was applied, it was left to set up over night. Friday afternoon, I mixed the clear resin and added the dyes, then poured. There was a little bit of a leveling issue, so I got some spillage from the front; but nothing too bad. I lined an empty MG Sazabi box with parchment paper too. The whole base was placed on top of two rolls of blue painters tape. Again, another precaution that if it does leak, I don’t have the entire base sitting in a pool of clear resin. Excess resin was poured into another mold that I keep around for making moon bases.

The resin I used is an enamel based resin that takes several days to cure. Since the base is too big to fit into my pressure pot, I needed a slow curing resin that will allow for bubbles to escape. The whole thing was then covered with the top of the Saz box to keep dust out while the resin cured.

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Jun 252015
 
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So this week started off fairly normal. The weekend’s progress was good and I started to focus on getting the base completed. The pylons and water facing areas were weathered with a sponge and Mr Surface 500 to give it some texture, then painted, then weathered. I then went and picked up some clear window sealant that dries clear, is watertight, and sand and paintable. The stuff works as an adhesive to mate the two halves of the base together. This is very important to be watertight so that when I start pouring the clear resin, it doesn’t start leaking and run all over the place. Lessons learned from the Z’Gok paper weight experiment. So hopefully I’m better prepared this time around. The sealant needs a few days to fully set up, but I only used a fairly thin bead of the stuff so it shouldn’t take that long. I’m hoping. The tube says 7-14 days. I really need to start pouring the resin soon, as that takes several days to fully cure. Time is running very short.

While the base is sitting pretty, I get back to the Zeonic frogs and apply a quick filter/wash to dirty them. I used model master enamel navy gloss gray, over thinned with tamiya enamel thinner. The tonight, I sprayed on a clear semi-gloss to finish everything off and set it ready for the base.

Earlier in the week, I was picked up a battery box for the base at the local electronics shop. Battery longevity was on my mind; because a single 9V square cell just does not have the capacity for long hours running the LEDs. But a battery box that lines up 6 AA cells does; so off I went to get a box. While wandering the evil store; I glazed over at the site of Arduino products. Namely some starter kits. I’ve seen some folks online do some pretty cool things with a microcontroller and their gunpla. The east coast modeler Squee (Chris R) has done some damn cool things with micro controllers. So I grabbed the bluetooth starter set and started learning the ins and outs. There’s a little bit of programming, but so far it’s pretty basic and my programming skills are VERY rusty; but the damn things are pretty fun, and seriously powerful.

So I get home, and the board’s been drying for a day. I flip the sucker over and start drilling pilot holes. And end up cutting out a chunk of the board just above the wiring. Why? So I can stick my chubby sausage fingered hands into the area to rip out the already redone wiring scheme…

And here’s a video of progression from this point on and the results:

Jun 232015
 
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I’ve been doing panels and workshops at Anime Expo since 2006, wow, 9 years of promoting the hobby. But I’ve been pretty lucky the AX staff enjoys the panel and we have been decently successful with attendance. This year, we’re changing things up a little and we’re adding the whole group to the panel. The format will change a bit and possibly be more round table-ish. Every couple of years, we like to change up things to see how they work. We want to encourage questions about everything to do with gunpla. From basic build techniques to bootlegs to scratch building custom work to how to enter the various contests such as Southern California Gundam Model Competition (SCGMC), International Plastic Modeler’s Society (IPMS), and Gunpla Builders World Cup (GBWC).

We have two workshop/panels the first is set for Friday night, July 3rd at 8:30 PM and is an 18+ workshop. If you’ve been to a previous 18+ gundam model panel at AX, you will probably come back; if not, be prepared to be offended!

Gundam Model Building (18+) July 3, 2015 @ 8:30PM Workshop 1 (WS1) LACC 403A

The second workshop is set for Saturday morning, July 4th at 10:30 AM; and this is an all ages workshop.

Gundam Model Building (All Ages) July 4, 2015 @ 10:30AM Workshop 1 (WS1) LACC 403A

We will also have our 2015 T-shirts up for sale at the panels, so come support 2015 SCGMC and pick up 1 or 2 of our damn cool shirts! Or if you cannot make it to AX but want a shirt, click here!

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Jun 222015
 
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Another productive week/weekend for the diorama project. Last I left off, I had just finished base coating the Zeonic suits. A few days were spent masking off the two kits and getting the main colors painted. I have a bunch of different thickness masking tape reels from a company called Aziu. This makes for an easier job for masking off a simple design. Running off a fractal style scheme, this works to add some style to the basic color scheme, since I was trying to get close to the stock colors for each respective kit. Hours of masking and only minutes of painting. Then waiting for the paint to dry a little before removing the masking tape.

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Jun 152015
 
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I did a partial update post early Sunday morning for the work accomplished over the previous week through that Friday. I have day on Saturday and accomplished a ton of work on the project. So here’s that bit of an update. Returning to the base itself, I started laying down the groundwork for the “water” part of the water front. I needed to lay some wires down, so I taped some wires down and laid plaster cloth over the area. I typically use plaster cloth as a start point for terrain, wrapping it around cut styrofoam as the basic shape. Here’s I’m just using it as a surface prep as well as to hold down the wires. I will be adding some paper clay on top of this so the plaster cloth acts as a intermediate.

The plaster cloth is measured out, cut, and dipped into water to “activate” it. One wet, the stuff is just laid out and using wet fingers, the plaster is spread along the water area.

The base is left to dry. While this dries, I can focus on the two other “actors” on this stage, the Zeeks.

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Jun 142015
 
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Work on the diorama continues. Some areas slow down a bit as a good deal of work is not overly visual, at least from a progressive standpoint. Getting tired of just the white base coated base, I masked off a small parking spot, then painted on some yellow. Then masked that off and sprayed a light grey over everything. I failed to snap pictures of the masked off base and the results after I painted. With a project this size, I end up juggling things so that while one area sits and cures, I can focus on another area; but also keep from working on too many separate pieces so that it becomes overwhelming. I learned this lesson last year around this time when I really wanted to push this sucker out. I simply got overwhelmed and the interest to even work on it died. I currently have an outline written out for this project. This is the first time I actually wrote something out; the help with organization is amazing, and I can see that certain things should be done before other things. And with areas of the project are completed, I can cross those off as being done and keep the focus. Currently, I’ve finished the containers, the GM’s, and recently, the base light that I had trouble figuring out the last time around. That’s at least 40% of the players for the diorama completed.

As the title says, I had to do some wiring work. I previously wired the base up; but as the build progressed, things changed and the wiring scheme must also evolve. I have a video of the re-wiring process after the jump!

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Jun 112015
 
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I often overlook the importance of the tools I have in my workbench. We’re often asked, “what do you recommend for tools?” That is a bit of a loaded question. There is a missing quantifier there. I’ve built my current set of tools over a period of 16 years, and it’s still in the process of building. But I’ll do some quick breakdowns for the tools I have for basic building, to some more specialized tools and their uses.

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