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 Scratchbuild: Timber Wolf

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soothsayer
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PostSubject: Scratchbuild: Timber Wolf   Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:13 am

While this was originally within a thread entitled Make a Mecha, I thought it best to delete that particular thread and start a new one, considering that that thread was intended to be a generic catch all as far as mecha builds go, but it quickly became something more specific once I figured out what I was going to build. I apologize for the confusion.

A few days ago, I had posted that I was going to scratchbuild one of my favorite Battletech mecha, the Madcat, and that this was going to be built to scale, with a GI Joe sized figure acting as both pilot and reference point (for scale). It is my hopes that this project does not go the way of most of my others, to be half finished and buried someplace in my basement. Additionally, I would like to see this thread becoming the step-by-step of the build, or at least show some of the steps.

So I suppose the best place to start would be the beginning, yes?

Step One

For those who may not be familiar with the Madcat (or Battletech in general), the image below is that of a Madcat.



From reviewing numerous gaming boards, the Madcat is definitely a fan favorite. With it's speed, weapon assortment, and appearance, the Madcat is the mecha of choice for newcomer and veteran. According to official Battletech posters, the Madcat stands 11 meters; there is some confusion in this, as it is unknown if this is from the top of the chassis or the rocket pods on the shoulders... other sites proclaim that the Madcat stands 16 meters. For this project, I am using the full height, to the top of the pods, from the official Battletech poster.

While the Madcat is a favorite of mine, the one thing that bothered me with the design is that the limbs seemed too skinny; the mecha just doesn't look as if it can take a hit. Sure, there are more beefier designs as the Madcat "evolved", but at the same time, they all shared the same flaws. While searching for an armored Madcat, I stumbled upon the Timber Wolf.



This design I like: the limbs are thicker / armored; the cockpit is armored with shielding plates; it just looks like a more solid design. I will probably take some artistic licensing though, and take elements from various mk Madcats and piece things together. As an example, I'll probably swap the feet of the Timber Wolf, give it the extra toe length of the Madcat.

Note that the weapons on my final model may or may not be the same as depicted. While these are good weapons, I'll have to wait and see what the visuals look like, perhaps make things look more "meaner" or aggressive.

The Timber Wolf "plans" I found HERE, a 3D printing site. I saved all the images as a reference from here because the detail is rather good, and it gave me a lot of angles to look at.

While creating a visual library, I found THIS SITE, which shows the final project of someone making their own to-scale Madcat. It's cool that other people have done this, but I'm sharing the link to show that there was an obvious lack of detailing in the final project, and that is in part due to using the Madcat as the basis.

Now that I have the design I want, it was time for Step 2.
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PostSubject: Re: Scratchbuild: Timber Wolf   Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:50 am

Step 2
Size Does Matter

What scale is this? If you read the original thread, I did a lot of going back and forth in trying to figure out the scale and size of things. To say I was having a bad math day would be an understatement!

I first based the scale off of the pilot being 3.5" tall. After all, that's what GI Joe figures measure at... or so I thought. I then learned that they stand at 3.75". Figured out the scale, determined how tall the mecha would be, and was quite happy.

I then went to Walmart to get me a generic figure from the CORPS! Elite toy line. I really hoped they had something I could work with, something that would look right piloting a mecha, as I didn't feel like buying a figure online. Luckily for me, Walmart had what I was looking for, and then some: I walked out having purchased Ivan "Condor" Lushka packaged with his jet fighter.



The aircraft was a good deal, as it gave me the one piece of the build I foresaw having problems with: the canopy. And with Lushka, I believe after some minor modifications and a repaint, it'll be looking pretty good. Anyway, yeah, with the aircraft I'm mainly interested in the canopy and maybe the cockpit, just so I can get the shape right for the Timber Wolf's cockpit.

I did notice on thing though upon measuring Lushka.



He's not 3.75" tall. Appears to be 4.25". Now, I didn't go so far as to measure the thickness of his boots or the helmet; I am just going to base his height on the male average (5'10") and that the gear puts him at 6'.

Rounding up, I determined that the scale for this project would be 1:17, or one actual inch would equal 17 to scale inches. With the scale determined, I calculated that Lushka, with gear, stands 72.25" tall (just a tad bit over six feet tall), which would then put the Timber Wolf model at roughly 25.5" tall... 11m equals roughly 36.09 feet, or 433.08 inches, which, when divided by 17 (the scale), gives is 25.475.

As an added bit of confirmation, the site where the person made his own to scale Madcat, he wrote that his finished model stands 22", is 15" wide, and about 13" long. Our numbers (for height) are pretty close, only off by 3.5", but that equals to 59.5 scale inches, or almost five feet. I am not saying mine is going to be more accurate or that his is wrong. It all depends on the size of the figure used, and his model could very well be to scale with the figure used.

So, in closing of this post, the scale for my model is 1:17, with the figure being 6' tall in scale, and the model itself to stand roughly 25.5" (11m to scale).
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PostSubject: Re: Scratchbuild: Timber Wolf   Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:28 am

Step 3
dem bones

Something of this size is probably going to need an internal skeleton. I haven't gotten around to measuring any of the components or limbs yet to determine what I'm looking at as far as pieces go, but most of this build may be crafted out of PVC, plastic hangers, foamboard and styrene sheets. Again, without measuring, I'm thinking the rockets may be crafted out of pen caps.

Note: while I do have a variety of foam insulation, I don't know how well that will work. It'd be fine for a display, but foam does chip or dent easily. Suppose I could skin that with styrene as well... will just have to see. Would made the weapons more stable though. Will think upon this.

Just on appearances, it looks like the skeleton will be a combination of PVC and plastic hangers, with the styrene going over (the skeleton). I'm thinking the legs and torso would be PVC, with the shoulders and arms (and toes) being plastic hangers; this should give it a sturdier core. The foamboard would be used in the construction of the weapons and larger block areas, with styrene used to skin the board. Overall, this should keep the weight down, while still making it pretty light.

The person who made his own to-scale model used a combination of paper, wood, and plastic. While that works, I'm thinking that by my using related materials, I can use the epoxies or glues I already have on hand, as well as the tools used for my normal kit making (including paints); using a wood / plastic combination just seems more involving and problematic in creating joins. Though, as I haven't seen how he did this, I cannot say if it was difficult or not, or if I'm just basing my opinion on a false belief.

As my styrene does not arrive for a couple more days, all I can do for the moment is start measuring, or look for blueprints. I could probably measure things out myself since I know the scale, but I'm still going to need the right images.

...

Well I'll be... that wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I was able to download a few more, I'm just posting these for reference.




{EDIT} I printed the bottom image (forward looking) on an 11x17 sheet of paper, which makes the mechs stand just over 10.5 inches... I'd say 10.53125". So. If I want to use that image is the basis, then that makes the print roughly 2.42 times smaller, right? If I use the other scratchbuild as reference (or comparison), my width would then be... 7.625 multiplied by 2.42... 18.4525. The other model is 15 inches wide, which, yeah, puts it on equal terms with this.

Based off the front image, and thanks to the 3D print images I saved, I think I should be able to do this. Not easily. Not even fairly easily. But easy enough, especially if I break things down to their component shapes.
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