Hey guys, welcome to Episode 3 of my Barbatos Lupus Custom WIP!
I’ve tried to start writing this post for almost a month now, but, just like last time, I kept pushing it back, trying to fit some more work in this episode. I should probably start setting myself some deadlines… Sadly, I still couldn’t finish some of the mods I set out to do for this episode – I’ll be moving soon and my entire workbench is already packed up.
Anyway, let’s talk about the kit.
Knee Armor, Continued
As you might remember, in WIP #2 I’ve started reworking knee armor, as I hated the original crown shape. Initially I went with a rather spiky design, reaching much higher than original piece.
Once I finished both legs, I realized I didn’t really like the result. Those big spiky knees looked like something from a fantasy game with bad art direction. I filed them down to smaller, flatter shape.
|Next up is adding some details. In the process of reshaping knees, I also erased some panel lines. As of now I’m not yet sure if I’ll scribe something new in their place.
For now, inspired by Freedom 2.0, I decided to add some forward-facing thrusters on the lower knees. Decided on using big, rectangular ones from MS Thruster 01 Builder Parts set, as they contrast nicely with a smooth, curved armor.
I’m not sure why I decided to cut out part of the knees where they’d sit, rather than simply filing it flat. I think I just wanted to try the technique, as is the case with most of the mods on this kit.
It allowed me to angle them downwards some more though, so that’s a plus. I used AB putty to blend them with the armor. While at it, I also drilled small holes in each thruster frame, so I could easily remove inner part for painting later.
More Leg Mods
Once knee armor was done, I felt it was time to spice up the back of the legs by adding some verniers from 1/100 MS Vernier 01 Builder Parts.
I decided I’ll try to use those yo-yo shaped parts – that way I could snap them in place just like the original piece.
First, I needed to glue both halves of the base, as there were no pegs holding it together. Next up I cut off the yo-yo and reshaped the base using some leftover styrene pieces and AB putty. I needed to make it more rectangular to actually have the verniers pointing down.
With that done, only thing left to do was adding a ball joint for the vernier to snap on. Rather than gluing on entire joint, I cut off the round base and drilled a hole for the peg to sit in. Otherwise verniers would end up too far out, making them look weird. Downside of this solution – shorter peg somewhat limits the articulation.
|And here’s the finished mod. I really like how the verniers are mostly tucked under the armor, popping out just a bit.|
|While we’re on the subject of leg mods, you might remember I’ve extended the thigh frame (I described entire process in WIP #2). Because of it, thigh armor would no longer fit, as the back half was sitting much lower and pushing out front piece.
I got around the issue by cutting off a fair bit of it, creating some cool armor separation in the process.
There was still a matter of exposed seam line on the back of the leg though – something that was originally covered by back armor. Since I kept both halves of the thigh separable, even after the extension, I couldn’t just remove the seam using glue/putty.
So rather than remove the seam, I decided to add detail, just like I did with the head. I glued a strip of styrene on one half of the thigh and cut it to match the shape. Added some vents from the MS Thruster 01 set for extra detail.
Balance of the original kit was somewhat alright, but with all the extra plastic and putty I added to it (not to mention the sword), I felt I needed to lower its centre of gravity.
To do this, I used a product I found while browsing some online RC store – Liquid Gravity. It’s like tiny metal ball bearings that easily fill various cavities. Quite heavy too. Apparently they’re not made of lead though.
I poured some into the heels, toes and the frame piece that connects them. Used CA glue to cement the stuff in place.
There is definitely a noticeable difference. With all the extra weight in the feet, Barbatos Lupus seems much more stable on the desk.
|While improved balance is appreciated, I hate how the claws filled with ball bearings and CA glue looked. Sure, feet will be on the ground most of the time, so it’ll be hidden, but it kept bothering me.
I closed up the bottoms of the claws with 0.5mm pla-plate. While at it, I did some minor reshaping with AB putty, making them a bit more round. Also extended claws on one foot for some asymmetry.
Figured I’ll leave some surface imperfections in – it goes well with the suit and should help weathering stage a bit.
I really like the Tekkadan logo cutouts on the shoulders. It’s a great detail, which, sadly, has no place in my custom Barbatos Lupus.
Filling up the gaps turned out to be rather easy, though slightly tedious. I started out by applying excessive amount of epoxy putty, just to make sure it’d get into all corners. Once dry, I scraped and sanded off the excess. Afterwards – a couple rounds of basic / dissolved putty, sanding and priming, until the surface was smooth.
Filled shoulders looked great in black primer. Still, inspired by N.Maker’s GBWC 2017 entry, I tried to cut a new design into them. Didn’t really like the results I was getting and in the end settled for having both shoulder armors filled smooth. They’ll make a good surface for some decals later on.
|Last little thing I want to touch on, before moving on to the main mod of this episode, is the ‘cheek’ armor. While I’ve hidden seam lines on the head itself in last episode, I didn’t touch this one.
Even though it’s hardly visible, it kept bothering me. Figured the feeling it’s not gonna go away, so I might as well do it right. I added a thin strip of transparent 0.2mm styrene over it. Just like other ones, it’s only glued on one side, allowing the piece to be disassembled.
Articulating the Back Skirt
Here we go. This is probably the most challenging mod I’ve attempted on this build. Mainly because entire back skirt of 1/100 Barbatos Lupus comes in two pieces. One for the inner frame, that also holds the hips t-bar and waist polycap, and one for the armor. Like on most HGs, it’s a solid piece with zero articulation.
Still, I like the challenge and was looking forward to tackling it.
|First step: sawing off the skirts, making six pieces out of two.
After cutting, I noticed all the pieces will need serious reshaping to fit a rod the skirts could rotate on.
|The first order of business was adding the polycaps from Kotobukiya’s option set to skirts’ frame. Since the material they’re made of doesn’t cooperate with most glues, I had to set them in place using AB putty. I sanded the excess down a bit, though I’ll have to come back and refine it some more eventually.
I have since learned there are some products which allow for polyethylene and other rubbery plastics to be glued using basic CA glue. There are very few shops that sell those where I live, but I’ll definitely try to score some next time I order supplies.
Next up, I did some initial reshaping on skirt armor. I got rid of the uneven leftover plastic from the cutting and left plenty of space around the rotation point. At this point I figured I can just rebuild the sides once I have a working prototype.
Final piece of the puzzle was the center section. I cleaned up both parts and slightly extended the frame part for a better fit. Then I drilled a hole across it to house the rod skirts would rotate on.
As you can see, center armor has huge gaps on the sides that needs to be hidden – we’ll get to it soon.
|You might have seen this picture on my FB page or r/Gunpla already, this is my proof of concept. Up to this point I was rather nervous – cutting up the parts, hoping I got it right.
Once the above mods were completed though, I’ve had all I needed to test it. It worked pretty well, so I could move ahead and focus on refining the armor parts.
|I began with the center armor piece. I wanted to add one or two layers of armor to make it seem stronger (and to hide the gaps it had).
First off, I created a template from masking tape. With it, I cut out two identical pieces of 1mm styrene and glued them on at a slight offset. I had to do some minor filing to make sure they fit the frame piece. I also drilled through them to create an opening for rotation rod. Later on, I repeated the process, adding another layer of 1mm pla-plate on each side.
Next up, I reworked skirt armor pieces. It was a pretty lengthy process, and sadly, I didn’t take many pictures of it.
I rebuilt the sides on both using 1mm styrene sheet and white putty. Like the center armor, I gave them a slight step by adding slightly smaller layer of 1mm plastic on the outside. Later on I filled up the panel lines on the top part of the skirt armor. Rectangular-ish shape scribed there didn’t really work for my vision.
I also enhanced the existing armor separation using 0.8mm Madworks chisel.
|Last step was adding some micro thrusters, made from IC sockets. For now they sit in place on friction alone, but I’ll probably glue them in after painting.
There’s still some refinement to do, mainly on the frame parts, but I’m very happy with how this mod turned out, especially the articulation.
Waist Hydraulics: Episode 2
I always intended to come back to waist hydraulics and somehow add another pair (preferably working one). After two extensions the waist area is wide open and can definitely use some extra detail. First things first though:
This is it for this episode of Barbatos Lupus WIP. It’ll probably take me a while to get set up at the new place – probably two to three weeks before I can restart the work on this guy. As for episode 4 – I’m thinking November. There’s a bunch more stuff to be done, but I’m still hoping I can finish this project in 2017.
Barbatos Lupus Custom WIP #1
Barbatos Lupus Custom WIP #2
> Barbatos Lupus Custom WIP #3
Barbatos Lupus Custom WIP #4