Battletech... paper dolls, I guess?

Kakanian

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Kind of at a loss where to put these, but I suppose this is the best spot for what´s quasi an action figure. And sorry about the shitty photos, I have to find a charger for my old camera´s battery yet. Can´t just nab my old dad´s.

I felt like blog posting here like I´m trying to tell you all about some chili dish recipe, but I´ll cut to the point - I´m a bit obsessed with Battletech robots and after a lot of reflection, I settled on a number of criterions good papercrafts of them should fulfill to satisfy me. They are as follows:

1) The lot should be in some existing scale and within the size range of all those already available giant robot plamos and there should be some relation to common AFV models. I eventually settled on 1/72.
2) The lot should actually have a range of motion comparable to plamos. I wanna brag about my mechs, but that´s kinda hard when I´m building statues and everybody else has those fancy boy dolls
3) These machines, in their own fictional universe, have a ton of variants and paper is hella cheap, so making something that isn´t capable of representing at least the majority of those variants on a single chassin is a waste of my time. Heck, the game even has a specific class of machines that were deliberately built to hot-swap almost any system, meaning I´d have to wrest with the issue sooner or later anyway.

Point one - honestly - came down to a Sturmtieger´s upper casemate and missile launcher being an almost perfect proportional fit on the Blackjack variant design I used as a starting point. After scaling a buch of other mechs of other weight classes to it, I found that they all ended up within the size range between HG and MG kits, with the majority being around Frame Arms 1/100 models.

Point two stumped me for the longest time, as I, like many others, couldn´t really see beyond cylinders when it comes to creating articulation. It´s just that cylinders are pretty awful to make in paper and their tolerances are rather low if you´re aiming for decently stiff articulation, making using them a rather frustrating effort. Recently though, I found くじら 's v7.3 paper doll skeleton that had hinges based on cones and truncated cones and attained stability and stiffness through the interaction of stacked and glued paper. Now that one was nice. Much higher tolerances all around and parts that are actually designed to make use of paper and glue, plus his dedication to making the hinges and other parts that will come under stress easily replaceable was inspirational. The hip and arms are fixed in place and kept articulated with a little nub that grabs over an edge, the way 72 scale tank turrets are, but everything else is a variant of Kujira´s hinge system and skeleton architecture. Bless her/his/hir/zir/them/they/whatever prefered pronouns cheaseless efforts to make anime dolls.

Point three was... formally more problematic. BT art is famous for its lack of consistency in any port, barrel and other orifice that´s supposed to be pointed away from friendlies, but at least that naval mine launcher gave me some hint. Turns out that light naval autocannons fit on 72 scale mechs. Missile launcher tube diameters could be taken from standard ground-to-ground or multi-role RL missiles as well, even the largest twenty pack still fit into the arms of this 55 ton machine, which solved both the missile-problem and the highly non-standardized autocannon problem. The scifi-weapons, such as lasers, Gauss type weapons and PPCs I nabbed from illustrations and scaled to the 55 ton machine, with the caveate being that they should be smaller than autocannons and missiles as they´re generally lighter and more compact according to the game´s construction rules as well. Turns out I can put them on most designs up and down the weight scale, with minor issues only appearing in 20-ton machines. Fixing the guns into the body will be done with dovetail joints. I have some background in woodworking and triangles are easier to create in paper than pipes.

Should be enough material for an opening post. I´ll be back with better photos and more progress shots in the future.
 

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micahrogers

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And you are designing these yourself? Holy Moly... Great work so far. I'll be watching these. :BRAVO:
 

Rhaven Blaack

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To answer your question as to where to put this thread, YES, it is indeed in the right place. So, do not worry about that.

As for being obsessed with Battletech, there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG with that. We all have our "vises" (Mine is BSG and Buck Rogers). So, by al means, carry on as much as you wish about this.

As for making paper/cardstock model of these vehicles and robots that rival that of PLAMOs, again GO FOR IT! @Revell-Fan is making screen accurate models for both BSG and Buck Rogers (most of which are either not made well or not available in other mediums).

The photos that you have shared, are quite interesting. I am curious to see how these turn out.
 

Revell-Fan

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:surprise::surprise::surprise:

WOOOOW!!!

I made an articulated Crichton model you can DL here (build thread here). Julius Perdana's fantastic Iron Man model taught me a lot about building stable and working joints. Thank you for the link to the Japanese page. That little doll looks adorable and the breakup is very interesting. :)

Did you make the skeleton which is in the v73 picture?
 
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Kakanian

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Did you make the skeleton which is in the v73 picture?
I did build most of the skeleton to get an idea how the parts interact, but I cribbed the image from the creator´s blog for illustrative purposes.

I guess it stands and poses now. I´ll have to see how much load it can actually bear beyond its own in the near future. All the hinges are of his Kujira's sandwich type while the axis are held in what´s half of his "bun sandwich" type joints, but they look more like reversed fish traps to me. They´re the hex-baskets that have a truncated cone on top and one nestled inside, creating the two walls you´d have to pass a paper pipe through to hold an axis stable. Here, they contain a lose rolled paper pipe which is supposed to dissipate the stress on the trunchated cone's openings and give friction and hold to the square axis. It works as intended and has absolved me from having to create multiple, highly precise tubes that fit into each other with very low tolerances and having to cut and glue a lot of tabs around multiple small diameter pipes.

I already have a test build of the upper body that´s been cut and assembled in such a way as to allow all components to be fit together without glue. I mainly feel that´s necessary to allow easier access to the cockpit interior for people who want to superdetail that part. The body I´m showing off right now is the second pattern I created in Inkscape while most of the current work´s being done in Blender, with only the unfolded parts being fixed up in Inkscape. Version one would be that big, lunky thing there, which was created the old-fashioned way. Version two and three are around the size of that Frame Arms skeleton.
 

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zathros

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This looks very very promising. Great work and thought processing!! :)
 

Kakanian

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:surprise: this looks realy good, now I can learn how to make joints. :animated:
Kujira detalied most of the assembly process in blog posts, which are really helpful, but incomplete. You still need to refer to the PDO to get the whole picture. I google translated and compiled them into a PDF for my convenience. It´s formatted for double-sided print because I´m an old-fashioned book person.

Anyway, my old camera´s back in business. I loosely put on the leg armour today to check for fit and potential assembly solutions. Might as well show off how the torsor comes appart while I´m at it. It turned out that a specific part of the barrel/tank/engine housing where the outside is stacked on glue tabs became a bit too thick, throwing off the fit of the rest of the back parts. I´ll have to correct that through trial and error in the near future. The other major part that needs refitting are the covers for the knee hinge. The hinge joint is a bit thicker than expected and I´ll probably be compromising on looks to make room for the glue tab. Some parts of the shin skeleton also need to be reworked as they´re maybe two tenths of a milimeter too high and out of line with some referential edges of the shin armour.

The skeleton in general can stand, but it won´t remain on its feet for long without some sort of support.

Might as well add a better shot of the Hasty here. The Hasty/Thunderbolt is a rather popular heavy among players and while there currently is a Plamo available that´s of pretty similar dimensions (being 1/72 as well and all...), but I didn´t like some of the lines on it and felt that it´s a bit wider than the anime reference sheeths suggest it should be. Plus the plamo company naturally has no reason to accomodate people who want to represent BT-specific loadouts on it.

The last one that´s currently got progress beyond paper plans is the Banshee. That one was picked for the memes, naturally.
 

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micahrogers

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You can use glue strips to replace the tabs on the parts, this method will let you make butt joints on your pieces too.
 

Kakanian

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I really didn´t think about that yet, but recall I also have a pattern from my first hip hinge that I imagine could apply here.
 
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zathros

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A good way to get focus is to put a blank sheet of paper behind the piece you wish to photograph. The camera will pick up the sheet, hold the button, to keep that focus, remove the paper, then press the button all the way. You will get sharper images that way on parts that are hard for the camera to lock onto. :)
 

zathros

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You are far more patient than I am. All those joints!! :)
 

Kakanian

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You are far more patient than I am. All those joints!! :)
It's the most hassle-free system of joints I found.

Anyway, this is what I came up with as a means of getting the joints and skeleton in and out of the hull after some big thinks. The sides of the back parts that hold the connectors are a stack of three pieces that are shaped and cut to slide over the front part. The result is very stable, but I might have to glue the connector bits in to actually properly hold them in place and position. Which will probably be a tradeoff that´s worth it, considering that it'll allow me to move on instead of trying to break myself over fulfilling dumb requirements.
 

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Revell-Fan

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Is that a real ball-joint hip or a combination of two swivels?
 

Kakanian

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There are no actual ball-joints on the model, everything is solved with swivels and axles in plain bearings. The model generally only uses single swivels plus axles right now.

I did find this kit that does use ball joints, but I feel that they aren´t worth the bother. It´s six parts vs +16 for a smaller total range of motions.
 

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zathros

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Plastic balls, like you get a Micheal's Crafts Stores, make great ball joints, you just melt a hot metal piece into them for an attachment point. For the socket, you coat the ball with Vaseline, and form the part out of two part steel epoxy around it to the shape you meed, it can be sanded to actual poportions. The Vaseline prevents the Epoxy from sticking to the Ball Joint you've ust made. It's not hard to do. Not a "paper' solution. I like what your doing though. I just wanted to point out another easy method. I used it once trying to make a bearing for a gyrocopter paper model, too much friction, but one helluva strong Ball joint. :)