I apologise that there haven’t been any updates for a while. I had an epic trip around Europe in June (which I actually extended longer than originally planed) and most of July was spent catching up following that. I’ve been focusing on updating the Centurion’s thigh parts: adding extra detail to the armour and the hip “hub”. I’ve got one of them done, as per the following pics and I’m pretty pleased with how it’s turned out.
We’re getting oh so close!
Consider these pictures to be of the “pre-release” kit design. As of this week I have moulds to produce them in this format and I have begun casting a few copies for a select few mates before I head off on an European vacation this coming weekend. I was showing this to my mate Jas a week ago and he suggested that in order to match the chest armour I really need to add some extra detailing to the thigh armour plates. I do agree and in fact would like to do another detailing pass over the entire upper legs, however that won’t be until the current leg moulds have worn out.
Excuse the poor pics: I really should get some daylight bulbs as even colour correcting for the standard horrible CFL desk lamps I’m using for lighting makes the resin look far more yellow than it is!
I forgot to take a photo of the completed Gatling cannon and the extra details I added to it. I am however really pleased with how it and the countermeasures launcher turned out.
This will be my last post for a few weeks. I’ve got some more big projects planned for when I return from holiday (in addition to volume production of the Centurion) – keep an eye out!
This time it’s an update on the close defence systems!
As discussed on the RA Forum I decided that I wanted to bulk out the torso silhouette a bit by adding some close in defence weapons. The weapon of choice was a gatling cannon so I put a design together. The intention was to have one on each side, limiting the design as I had to make it easily mirror-able (so that I didn’t have to scratchbuild two complete separate guns).
The problem was that I wasn’t 100% happy with it. The gatling cannon design was OK and could do with some durther detailing/refinement. My main concern was that everything was just looking far too symmetrical: the mirrored main cannons and now the close in defence weapons. I felt that it made for quite a boring design, so the decision was made to ditch one of them in favour of something else. This was particularly annoying since I’d already made design compromises to make the gatling cannon easily mirror-able and I’d already made gatling cannon moulds for both sides!
I threw around several ideas for the “something else” before settling on something I liked. Initially my mate Seb suggested smoke launchers, but I didn’t like the aesthetic of the standard tank mounted smoke launcher. I toyed with the idea of a sensor pod and then just a plain armour plate (of which I even made a mock-up in styrene) but ultimately decided to return to some kind of smoke/chaff launching system. I was inspired by some photos I took aboard the US Amphibious Assault Vessel “Bonhomme Richard” as the guest of Battlefleet Gothic “royalty” Nate Montes last year and the countermeasures launcher pods mounted on the side of naval aircraft.
Here’s what I came up with: the galting cannon and smoke launcher. I realise the smoke launcher looks similar to a missile pod – they have very similar functions so it’s not surprising. Hell somebody can claim it is a missile pod on their model if they want!
There is another problem though: the gatling cannon sits out too far. This was a limitation of the mirror-able design and another thing I was never happy with. To prove the point I grabbed a tertiary cast of the cannon, hacked back the mounting socket and drilled a new one into the side of the cannon body. This brings the cannon in much closer to the torso and I think it looks far better:
Subtle, sure, but it’s just one of those things I need to do to be happy with it. OF coure, that was only a demonstration and I now have to do it for real. After some deliberation I decided to hack up the original gatling cannon master parts. They have no other use and I can always cast more from the now redundant moulds if need be. Plus I’ll take the opportunity to update the gatling cannon a bit more: it really needs another detailing pass!
I have a deadline of 3 weeks to get this finished and some samples cast – let’s see if I can manage it! Nothing spurs productivity like a deadline 😉
While other projects have diverted some of my attention over the past couple of weeks, I have not neglected the Centurion! I’ve recently been discussing detailing of the chest armour with one of my close design mentors, Xeones, and we came up with a cool design based around laurel branches.
The problem was that it required laying out some quite fine and intricate details like the leaves. I did a test one night with some leftover Procreate on some scrap styrene but the result was really poor. That was several weeks back and I decided it was easier to ignore it for the time being (and focus on other parts of the model). With those other parts completed I had to get the chest armour completed.
After some more brainstorming I came up with an idea:
- Draw the design in vector art (at scale)
- Use the CNC router to machine the shapes at a depth of 0.5mm into some 1.5mm styrene sheet. Areas surrounding the shapes would need to be milled down 0.5mm also. This effectively leaves a 1mm thick sheet with 0.5mm details protruding.
- Use a sharp blade to slice the details off the sheet
- Glue the details onto the armour
It seemed feasible so I gave it a go. Here are the results half way through and I have to say I’m really pleased! The process of slicing the parts from the styrene sheet tends to curl them up a bit, but straightening them isn’t a big deal. The edges are all a little bit crisp but some running around with sandpaper will sort that out.
Once I’ve completed the other side I’ll hit it with some primer and smooth things out a bit where necessary. Stay tuned!
You read it correctly: not a Light Cruiser but a full blown, cruiser size, Zeus pattern ship design!
This project began following prompting from friends that I need to round out the Zeus fleet with a distinctive cruiser model, different from just slapping a Zeus prow on a plastic GW Imperial cruiser. Scratchbuilding larger ships takes a significant amount of time, something I just don’t have at the moment!
At around that time I was contacted by a fan of my work who goes by the screen name Armand. He wanted to share with me some pictures of Battlefleet Gothic style models that he was creating in 3D and some of which he was even having printed! I was impressed with his work and had an idea: why not get him to create me a 3D model to use for the Zeus Cruiser? I have contacts for getting high resolution 3D prints done economically so it would definitely be feasible!
Over the following weeks Armand and I exchanged many emails as he gradually put together the model and I gave him feedback on certain design decisions. He came up with some really cool design ideas also! There was a bit of a hold up as the printer I had originally planed to use was too busy so I ended up trying out another printing service. The print finally arrived this week so I wasted no time in moulding it up and casting a copy!
I’m very pleased with the result! As you can see I’m using my original Zeus Prow sculpt and the weapons batteries I did for the Zeus Light Cruiser with the new hull. Also note the size comparison with the standard Imperial cruiser: length is quite similar but the Zeus Cruiser is a lot more streamlined.
Thanks to Armand for his fantastic 3D modelling work – it certainly made this project a lot easier than it would have otherwise be!
Enjoy! Following tomorrow will be a Centurion project update!
[I was going to place a picture of the Citadel tool kit here, but Games Workshop would probably harass me for it so I decided not to]
Once again Games Workshop has proven that it reigns supreme when it comes to gouging prices and has now taken things to a new level with the release of their new Citadel Tool Set. Tom Schadle has written a great post explaining just how ridiculously overpriced this is and shows you how to get a better range of tools for literally half the price!
To be fair, I do think the new GW tools and their packaging look very nice, but let’s be honest: the only thing that really matters for tools in functionality. I’m not going to pay double the cost for a tool just because it looks better!
I’ve got a really old thread discussing the tools I use over on the RA forum, however it’s now quite old and out of date. I’ve upgraded a lot of the tools and now have a much more efficient set. I’ll have to do an updated post some time soon…
Gothicomp, the annual Battlefleet Gothic painting competition is on again! I’m providing a pool of prizes for all of the categories so get busy people! I especially want to see some scratchbuilds and conversions.
Check out the announcement on the Specialist Arms Forums and help spread the word.
On the weekend I was Skyping with my mate Dan (Arkangel) and gave him a look at the Centurion. I pointed out that I was feeling unsure about how far out from the shoulder the cannons sit – when viewed front on it didn’t look quite right. Dan agreed with me and I thus decided something needed to be done about it.
I was going to hack up a resin copy of the cannon mount, however the existing mould was really poor and producing kind of warped parts. So last night I decided to take the plunge and just hack up the original master part.
The ball part was cut down smaller, the shaft shortened and the power cables shifted closer to the cannon end. Here’s the original version (in resin on the right) next to the new version (on the left):
I’m much happier with the result. All up I’ve shaved about 4mm in length and I think it looks much better. Yes, it has sacrificed some of the ability to yaw the cannons independently, but in this case we’ll just go for form over function 😉
I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post! There’s been a lot of non-hobby stuff going around here of late which has had me a bit preoccupied.
First off the big news is that Games Workshop have released their Imperial Knight kit, causing a lot of chatter in the wargaming community. Now let’s be honest, the Centurion is a similar size and type/role so one can’t help but compare. I know I’m biased, but I’m really not a fan of the Imperial Knight design. It continues with GW’s parodic style of the last couple of years and I just don’t like the proportions. I’m obviously in the minority though, as overall the kit has been well received.
Anyway back to the Centurion!
In the small bits of hobby time I have been able to scrape together lately I’ve been focusing on finalising the cannon and making up more moulds. Oh and the undesirable task of some fine detailing. I pulled the first casts from the new cannon moulds last night (only the right hand side – I’ve still got to mould the left side cannon body) and am very excited about how great it looks in resin!
I’ve also abandoned the head with the extra sensor cluster, instead opting for a cleaner design with banding around the edge of the armour. The extra targeting optics were added to the exterior of the cannon bodies instead (as seen above).
One thing I have noticed looking at the silhouette of the assembled mech is that the areas to the sides of the chest armour plate feel a little bare. So I’m thinking of taking a design cue from many other sources and add in a pair of machine guns to provide close-in defence against infantry. The position means they could even swing around to be rear facing (or one front, one rear). The downside is that this is yet another part for me to fabricate…
Ermagherd! It’s alive!
The rest of the torso parts got moulded up this week and I finally got some copies done in resin. This has finally allowed be to fully assemble the entire model. Properly. With glue rather than blue-tack. To say it’s exciting is an understatement. As is often the case I apologise for the poor photos – I just snapped them quickly before I headed to work this morning.
You can also see the cannon design – in particular the muzzle. This is the third iteration of muzzle design and I’m really happy with it. The cannon is pretty much finished now, although seeing it all assembled I can’t help but feel that the barrel is a little too long. I might shorten it a bit.
The armour plates are still the master parts so they’ll be going into silicone next. I have some sculpted surface detail planned for the chest armour – I just need to find a moment where I’m feeling particularly sculpting-able. Which will probably be never so I should just bite the bullet and do it.
I’ve also been doing some work on a resin head copy. I decided that this ranged weapon variant of the Centurion would require more targeting systems and that would be a perfect solution to add some head details. I’m still not sold on the choice of sensor elements – I may swap out the trio of tiny antenna parts for another disc shape.
The last thing I need to do is finalise the pilot’s arms and where they attach to the control “sticks”. Again for when I’m in a sculpting mood 😉