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WIP: MP Prowl/ How I build

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Old 06-16-2011, 05:22 PM   #1
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WIP: MP Prowl/ How I build

Update, 6/27 page 23

I've gotten numerous requests on how I go about building stuff, what tools I use, where to get stuff, etc. So, I figure this is the perfect opportunity to showcase that all.

With that said, expect this to be a VERY picture heavy thread, with, hopefully, plenty of text too. I hope this thread will answer some questions, but at the same time give some tips to beginners and old-timers alike. Let's begin

This first post will cover what I'll be using for Prowl:

The kits I'm using:

AMT's 1/25 Datsun 280ZX Turbo:
I could choose between a Tamiya 1/24 Tamiya 280ZX, or the above mentioned kit. Tamiya's kits are of exceptional quality, and it was in my preferred 1/24 scale....but it was the wrong model car. There are some minor differenced between the non-Turbo and Turbo, most notably the hood vents. In the end I felt the proper model car was more important than the ever so slight difference in scale and the slightly lower quality of kit.

Bandai's Master Grade G3 Gundam Ver 2:
I'm using this kit for numerous reasons. Foremost is probably the nearly fully articulated hands! But there's lots of Gundam kits with those, however this kit (and the RX-78-2, by default) has such fantastic, generic, blocky arms and upper legs. They transition easily into Transformer limbs with just the proper outer details added. This kit is also very sturdy, nearly all the joints use ABS on ABS plastic versus polycaps(*See later) for stronger joints that won't sag over time.

My Tools (all listed from left to right):

Tamiya Modeler's Knife:Blades are sharper (and cheaper!) than X-acto brand
Tamiya Side Cutter: Great for small pieces of styrene, and of course model parts from their sprues.
Rulers: Metric and US, plus the right angle is VERY useful.

Pin Vise with drill bits.
X-acto Razor saws in various sizes, included sized to fit a knife handle

Blade style Line scribe: Great for straight lines, or over/around edges
Bare Metal Brand Line Scribe: Carves a ridge-less channel
Pick style Line Scribe: Great for curves or coners
One of my various files

Wire Cutters/Craft Clippers: Great for cutting metal wire, thick plastic, etc
Fine-tip Gundam Marker: Perfect for marking styrene!
Scissors: Cuts styrene easier than you'd think.
And up top, various styles of specialty knife blades.

I use (nearly exclusively) Evergreen brand styrene, mostly just because is convenient and cheap! I mostly used various thickness's of sheets, strips and tubes. However there's textured sheets out there too, usually meant to resemble various roofing, building, siding, and even sidewalk patterns. Alot of those work great for mechanical detailing too

Polycaps (or Poly-unit, or poly-joints, or just plain old "joints")
Whatever you want to call them, this is what I get asked about the most. These are mostly found in Gundam (and such) kits, and are the softer, rubber-like parts used to create the smooth, resiliant joint rotations. I use Kotobukiya's Poly Unit parts, which you can buy from HLJ, here: Kotobukiya Poly Unit . I feel Koto's poly's are very tough and hold a position much better than the typical Bandai Polycap.
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:37 PM   #2
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The first thing I do when starting a project like this, is draw a rough (and I do mean ROUGH) 1/1 scale sketch of the car and robot modes. Basicly this just lets me measure to make sure the parts I want to fit into the car will fit. I already know how big I want to robot mode, so I just want to make sure it will fold into the car body.

Next, time to start dismantling the car. To do this, I start with my Bare Metal scriber. It will carve out a thin line, and works on curves easily. It'll take a number of passed, but will eventually cut right through the plastic. I use this method when I can't access a point with my saw...or if the cut is curved.

After most of the door is free, I'll use my knife, or small saw to get the smaller areas

And the door fully cut out. The edges can be rough(especially where the saw is used), so I clean them up with my knife and/or sandpaper.

I've used the Gundam Marker to mark where I'll make the rest of the cuts. Then using the same method above, plus my razor saws, cut the rest of car apart.

I've assembled what I'll be using from the Gundam. The arms will mostly likely be using in their entirety....probably not the shoulders tho. Most of the waist will be used, as well as the upper legs and knee blocks. The lower legs, feet, and abdomen will mostly likely not be used at all, but are just place holders for now.

And lastly for today, a VERY early look at robot mode
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:41 PM   #3
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an awesome thread right here
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:44 PM   #4
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thanks for sharing so far,you are one of the best scratch builders there are!
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Old 06-16-2011, 05:46 PM   #5
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I haven't even read it all yet, but I just wanted to say thanks.

You're a brilliant artist and very generous with your time for sharing this.
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:06 PM   #6
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:26 PM   #7
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Though I've been doing this stuff for years, I always feel like I learn something from your threads! (It helps that my 'bash style is a lot more wild and woolly )

Your precision builds are always a thing of beauty!


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My take away from Charticon 2013- The world wants more Saw Boss.
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:54 PM   #8
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tnx for sharing bro

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Old 06-16-2011, 06:59 PM   #9
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We're learnin' from one of the Pros boys an girls! Thanks for Sharing Jarrod!

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:01 PM   #10
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More for today!

I wanted the upper legs to collapse into the lower legs like the G1 toy. It'll give much needed height in robot mode, but a compact car mode.

First thing I need to do, saw off the lower leg, leaving just enough to build a sliding block from.

Then I measure how wide I want the lower leg to be, and mark it on some 1mm styrene. I use my ruler as a guide and score (just a shallow cut) the styrene with my knife. Then I grab the styrene on both sides of the cut, bend it, and its snaps at the score line.

I measure how long the lower leg needs to be when fully collasped, and cut the previous strip to this length.

Four pieces are cut in total, but I only glue three together for now...gotta leave it accessible to put the upper leg in

In order to keep the legs secure, I want some kind of "clicking" joint that will hold the leg into positions. I've selected some rectangular Polycap leftovers from some Gundam kit. These have perfect little extensions on them, and have enough "give" to slide between positions.

Now I need to built a secure "block" around them, and leave the little nubs out. So I cut a small rectangle of stryene.

Then I measure out where the nub will stick out. I use my drill to start to open up the slot, then finish cutting it out with my knife.

After that, I just continue to add panels to the block until its solid. Often I just glue mostly-measured piece of styene on, then cut it to the final shape.

And the finished block. I've sanded it smooth, getting rid of any bits that could catch inside the leg.

Now, using a special blade that is flat on the top/tip, I cut a groove into the inside wall of the leg. This will be the groove that the polycap clicks into. I repeat the process on the extra panel as well.

After that, its just a matter of gluing the fourth panel on. The leg now collapses with a solid, locking "click" in both positions. More details, etc will be added later.
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