Arg! (Really? You’re going to start this with ‘Arg!’) – (Yes, yes I am.) Heh… ok, so I’m having a bit of a hard time formulating how to write this because I suspect that this update is going to be a bit scattered. So I guess I’ll just start at the beginning and go from there. While on a certain level I should be painting (the Dragoons will be getting a coat of primer soon enough) when I can find the time for personal projects, I just haven’t been feeling the groove for that and I’ve only had the itch to build. So I figured as long as it’s in my list I may as well not fight the flow and I turned my attention to the Kastelan robots I’ve been alluding to.
Up front I want to say just how impressed I am with how the Kastelan kits assemble, using small hidden locking pins and tabs to make it easy for those who want to build them as-is; but if you remove the pins and tabs the model becomes adjustable at the ankles, knees, and hips, providing a more ambitious builder the option to change the pose however they’d like. Even the toe caps on the feet have a simple rocking mechanism to provide a little bit of added flexibility to the pose of the feet. Whoever designed this kit had the right idea, that’s for sure.
When in doubt, mock it up. Sometimes there’s no alternative to just making a few quick tests using some paper and minimal materials.
I never liked the curved magazines on the Phosphor Blasters and always felt that they should be at least larger ammo drums. The way the Kastelan kit assembles, it’s all but begging to have the lower arms totally replaced and I think I’ll be doing that when I get to making alternative Close Combat Weapons. So I considered creating large ammo drums attached to the arms, but then I saw a conversion with a back-mounted ammo pack with a feed leading to the arm and it really seemed appropriate. In order to get the right length and an idea of what kind of curve would be the best starting point, I did some quick-n-dirty mockups with some arcs of paper. I’ve also always been underwhelmed with the barrels, so some bits of styrene tube quickly visualized some obvious barrel swaps that will help complete the updated look.
Not only did the test with paper strips help me with the shape and curve of the ammo feeds, it also illustrated that the ammo feed will really want to swing back-and-forth depending on the position of the arm. Where I would have likely made the ammo belt feed straight out of the ammo box if I didn’t do these tests, this gave me the idea to make the attachment round so it could rotate. Not only will it be functional, I think it adds a good detail that will tie the components into the rest of the model.
Happy with the shapes and forms I was getting after a few tries I figured it would be a good idea to test just how easily I could expect the materials I’ll be working with to bend and twist. No matter how I design these components the ammo feeds are going to need to be bent and shaped to fit the model.
I’m pleased to discover that the resin used by Servitor Solus is thermodynamic (Oooo… a $4 word) so there’s no problem heating it to deform it.
While I’m not sure I’ll be taking advantage of this property all that often in the future, it’s nice to know I have the option to 3D print something flat and heat-form it if that is useful. I also took the time to quickly do a test with the polyurethane resin that I use to cast. Resin has the same properties, letting you heat it, deform it, and when it cools it will hold the new shape, but I’d never actually done this deliberately with this resin so I just wanted to make sure it’ll play nice. I’ll be 3D printing these parts for my own use but when I do them as a kit for the shop in the future I just wanted to make sure there’d be no surprises. To anyone wondering, yes, I will be producing all of the kits I create for my Mechanicus army project to be offered in the shop, but they’ll be happening sometime in the future when I’ve got a few other projects done first.
I wasn’t sure which I preferred, so I did versions for both of the barrel ideas; an over-under ‘two fingers’ pew-pew style, and a tri-barrel rotary spray-n-pray version.
Since neither is too elaborate it wasn’t too hard to do a 3D model for each idea so I can see how each one looks in the end. I’m very tempted to do another version of this idea that completely replaces the lower arms with more elaborate ‘death rays’ with large swags of cables to attach to the power plant, but for now, I think this is a solid upgrade that wasn’t too much work and should blend nicely with the model. I think it’ll go a long way to elevate the badass factor of the Kastelan a notch or two.
I do have plans to do Close Combat Weapons, but they’re going to be more elaborate and I don’t have any melee Kastelan Robots in my list right now, so I’ll return to do those in the future. I think what I want to try to create is three ‘buzz saw’ blades that have a snipping scissor action so they can emulate the original fists a little. A suggestion to incorporate Combustors into the weapons is also something I think I’ll add as well. But, as I said, unfortunately there just isn’t enough time to tackle them right now but expect to see them appear sometime in the future.
Well, that is after I do something about that damn head… “Oh, this won’t do. You’re such an interesting monster. An interesting monster requires an interesting hair doo!” ~ Bugs Bunny
I respect how faithful they’ve tried to be in creating the Kastelan model; I’ve seen the original concept sketches so I understand why it looks how it does and why it stands out in the Mechanicus line.
When the Mechanicus line was first released, to me, the Kastelan Robots seemed a bit out-of-place and they didn’t mesh that well with the rest of the models. While their look has grown on me over time I still think they have several design elements that make them unique within the line. If someone thinks this is a good or bad thing is obviously subjective, but my point is that I didn’t think I could do anything that would dramatically change the look of the models, but I could address a few choices that were made to be faithful to the original concept sketch, but which I think detract from the design. In this case, it’s gotta’ be the egg head with the derpy ‘viewport’ that provides no peripheral vision.
The concept on the right was my original plan when I started this, but the version on the left, that’s truer to the original, happened along the way; once I got the armoured shell done it was just too easy to add the smooth screen/glass to create an alternate version. I think both do a good job to provide the model with a unique look while getting rid of that niggling problem of no peripheral vision. Taking a few design cues from the Omnispex I’m quite pleased with how they both turned out and I can’t wait to see how they look on the Kastelan model. As with the components I made for the Dragoon/Strider kit, I won’t know how well they will fit the model until I have a chance to 3D print them; odds are good that they’ll need a bit of adjustment to perfect the fit.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time *Subtle’s eye twitches* to get Servitor Solus working on these yet… *Teeth clenched, Subtle’s face contorts horribly and then relaxes* … so these digital previews will have to do for now. Once I find the time *Eye twitch!*, I should have some prints to show in the near… *Looking as if he’s about sneeze, Subtle’s head suddenly explodes! After a moment, his hands begin to blindly collect the pieces raining down and awkwardly attempting to reassemble them on his neck.* ...