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Friday, March 25, 2011

Kampfer Part6: Standstill

I am sorry to report that my Kampfer project is on hold indefinitely. A series of events has forced me to stop working on the kit for the time being, but hope to return to it as soon as possible. First and foremost, I continue to find that I am missing major parts of the kit. The kit has been kicked around for the last eight years, so I am not surprised to be missing a part here and there. The problem is that the missing part is one that is crucial to the completion of the project and I would not have started the build if I had know it was missing. I guess that I must have counted the same part twice, but I realized the mistake too far into the build. I have a plan to duplicate the missing part in resin but I have to wait until I can buy more supplies.
In addition to the part shortage, I am totally getting burned out on the kit. This was supposed to be a simple mental health project, but my vision keeps evolving and the build seems to gain complexity at every step. This is compounded by the fact that I just got a new job and am looking at an upcoming vacation. All in all, the Kampfer project seems more like a chore at this point than a relaxing hobby. All I have to say is that I want to complete the model and am determined to see my vision come alive.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Road Blocks

A couple of weeks ago, I went to my local hobby store to pick up some thinner and primer for painting my most recent project. To my suprise, I found the shelves empty. I then went to my second choice hobby store to find the same situation. Apparently Tamiya stopped shipping primer and thinner for the time being and everyone is unsure of when more will come in. To add to things, Japan was hit with that one-two punch the other day and now the outlook is super uncertain. So, I am off to find an alternative source for my supplies and I might not meet my deadline for the build. Big Boo to that:p

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kampfer Part5: More Engine and Head

My vision for this build is a stripped down Kampfer, so when it came to the head, I wanted to take off the back cowle so that the head had a meaner look. This missing peice means that I have to make sure that the guts of the head still looks good. Long ago, I had put an LED in the head, but over the years the parts went missing. So, I cut down the eye area and added some detail parts to construct a new eye assembly. Also, I had to add some details to the jowls to fill in some of the gaps.

I also added more detail to the engine parts by adding more pipes and mechanical pieces. I used part of a Zaku engine and more of the Tamiya detail to fill in more details. I was trying to find the ballance between too much detail and not enough. I think I acheived my goal and I am happy with the results so far.

Here are a couple of close-up veiws of the engine. I had a stoke of luck by adding a little gusset to the end of the main pipe. This gusset allows the cone to fit snuggly, also it make the cone removeable.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kampfer Part4: Main Engine

The engine is pretty much at the heart of my conversion. Previously, was thinking about using the lower part of a Zaku leg to house the engine, but I ultimately decided against it. Instead, I have decided to see what I can do with some parts that I had laying around. I am a notorious hoarder and at the same time I never want to parts because I am afraid I will find a better use for them. I am trying to break myself of the fear, so I dipped into a Tamyiya set that I have had laying around.

First, I had to prep the body for some of the parts that I wanted to use. I cut off the two side engine mounts with my hobby saw. The areas that I cut are highlight in red in the pictures below. After the rough cuts were made, I smoothed them out with a file and sandpaper.

After the main body was prepped, I started adding bits to see if I could make the Kampfer look how I imagined. Overall, I think that I am on to something and will fill in more detail as I go on. For now here are some pics of what I came up with.

All the engine parts are from the Tamiya kit bellow except for the main nozzle that I made back in part2 of this build. This kit has a lot of little engine parts like hoses and filters and what not that I plan to use to make the engine compartment look as "realistic" as possible.

Here are some wide shots of the Kampfer with two of the fuel tanks installed so that I could see how the composition was coming along. I really like how its coming along and look forward to hammering out the details.

The main engine

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kampfer Part3: Feet Etc.

It doesn't feel like I am getting anywhere with this kit. This week I spent most of my time patching up various parts of the Kampfer's body. I decided that I wanted to change the feet in order to loose the two claws in the front. Unfortunately this isn't as simple as I thought because of the way the top and bottom of the foot fit together, so I had to take a chance with some new techniques that I have never tried before.

I used Aves Apoxie to fill in the big gaps on the upper portion of the Kampfer's foot. I didn't want to have to so any sculpting myself, so I tried to use plastic card where ever possible so that I had something to go off of. I was afraid that the putty would eventually break out, so I used some plastic card to back it up and give it some support. I guess that the trick is to make sure this card backing does not interfere with the lower half of the foot. This also takes allowing for the plastic card used to back up the lower portion.

Again, I used plastic card for the lower portion of the foot. I had to shape this backing so that it would fit in the upper half. After I was sure that the foundation was well fitted, I used more plastic card to make up a sort of step design on the bottom of the foot. I used .5mm card so that the top of the steps was even with the bottom of the foot. Ultimately this card will help when adding the Apoxie so that the foot looks complete.

After the plastic card was installed, it was time for the Apoxie. Before I could start filling the gaps though it was important to shape the top part of the foot further so that it had a sleeker look. The Kampfer has ridges near where the toes poke out. You can see these ridges in the first two pictures of this post. I simply used a knife to smooth out the ridges and finished the job with a file and sandpaper.

After prepairing the foot, I added the Apoxie to the model. I didn't want to do too much sanding, so I went easy on the Apoxie. I used the surounding plastic to float the Apoxie even with the rest of the model. After the Apoxie dried, I hit it with a file and sandpaper in order to blend the putty with the plastic. It is often hard to see if you are on the right track when sanding any putty because of all the color variations and what not, so I like to prime a piece to see where what areas need more work.

As you can see, the imperfections are easy to see after the primer was added.

Here are some pics of the shoulders. I hit them with primer too because I am totally out of my depth when it comes to shaping these larger curved surfaces. The primer really helped on these and I see that I have a lot more work to do to make these look good.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kampfer Part2: Thruster and Fuel Tanks

My work continued this week with the casting of the fuel tank parts and the creation of the main thruster that will be mounted on the back of the Kampfer.

The first part of my adventure started with the duplication of my initial fuel tank. I made a two part RTV mold in order to make some resin copies. I've been casting for a while and have casted some pretty complex objects before, but this little tank proved to be quite a little pain in the rear. First of all, I two halves of the mold got stuck together on the sides. This sometimes happens to me and I can usually pull them apart with little damage. This time the two halves stuck together so bad that I had to cut into the mold about a cm around the outside before I got to the part where the mold release had kept the two parts separate. In the end, I salvaged the mold so, no harm done.

The next hurtle came when I poured my first cast of the tank. I don't know if it was because I was up to late or what, but the first cast was horribly deformed. I have never had a cast that was so lumpy and pitted as this first tank. The picture below right to left: the original, the junk cast, and an example of a good cast.

The next day, I cast the four tanks with no real problem. It is not my best casting work, but I am pretty satisfied with the results. I am excited to see how they look when they are all painted and installed on the kit.

I also had some time to start to work on the shoulders. I didn't want to have the big shoulder pads, so it was important to do something to make the Kampfer look complete. I remembered seeing Toymaker do something on the Kampfer that he did a while ago, so I hit up his site at I pretty much used the same technique that he did. I'm not sure what type of putty that he used, but I tried Aves out for the first time. So far I like the putty and so far the shoulders look pretty good. Now all I need to do is smooth them out and add some details.

The best fun that I had this week was making the main thruster. I stayed up late one night and worked it while I watched the final season of BSG. I started out with one of the thruster from the Bandai AGX-04 Gerbera Tetra kit. I really like the shape of these thrusters, but they are so boring. After playing around with some spare parts, I came up with a great way to spice it up. I used a road wheel from a Tamiya tank and one of the Kampfer spikes to make some internal parts. In addition, I had a stroke of good fortune when I found a part to make the wall appear thicker. This part is the outer edge of a Wave thruster that I turned around backwards. It worked great and after some glue and sand paper I was super happy with the result.

Lastly, I have been toying with the idea of using the lower half of a Zaku leg for the thruster housing. I figure that it would be a good idea since the thruster was intended to be a one-shot deal, the Zeon engineers would try to use something that was already on hand. I like the idea, but I will have to flesh it out more before I make a decision.

Kampfer Revival Part1: Ground Work

This week marks my modeling come back. After nearly a year off, I've decided to tackle an old busted kit that I have had laying around for years. I bought this bad boy when it was first released and have taken a couple of cracks at it over the years with absolutely no success. So, now that I have some time on my hands, I have decided to try to do something with this kit once and for all. For the most part this kit represents two challenges to me. First of all its a time challenge. I only have about 45 days to finish this kit because I want to complete it before my family trip this April. Also, this kit is going to challenge my determination because I've not completed a Gundam kit in years and really have never completed a MG kit. So, I am trying to keep my nose to the grindstone and work on it every day to meet my goal.

This past week was spent laying down the ground work for the project. Really, this kit was completely in parts and I had to go through all my model boxes to collect everything I needed to bring her back together again. Here is an example of one of my parts boxes. I do have some kits squirreled away in baggies in a drawer, but the rest are in boxes like this. My Kampfer was mostly assembled, but I searched out the rest of the existing parts just in case.

The concept for this model is pretty simple. I want to create a version of the Kampfer that is as stripped down as possible. I'm thinking that it would be like a mass production model that would be used for close assault. It would be for combat in the close quarter so colonies or other space structures. To achieve this, I am doing away with the big shoulder pads and removing a lot of the extra detail throughout the model. I am trying to smooth out the panels as much as possible while still maintaining a tough military feel.

In addition to this, I will be making two major changes to the model. First I will be replacing the three thrusters on the back for one big thruster that will be incorporated into a sort of detachable backpack. And second, I will be replacing the two thrusters on each hip with fuel tanks. The concept is that the main thruster and the fuel tanks are a temporary one-use type meant to get the Kampfer into an area fast and then break off to give it better mobility.

Here is the fuel tank that I fashioned to replace the hip thrusters. It is made from a part of a technical pen and detail spare parts. I plan to duplicate this one to create the four tanks.

Here is a view of my tank mock up to show how the tank should look in its final position. I really think this tank thing is a good idea, but I'm not sure how it's going to look in the long run.