Well, this is it – final WIP post on my Barbatos Lupus Custom.
All the mods are complete. By the time I finish writing this, I’ll probably be halfway through the decal stage.
Well, maybe not all the mods. I set a deadline for this build – 31st December. Without it, I’d probably end up working on it for another year. Considering I still needed to paint, decal and weather the kit, I had a tough decision on my hands. I needed to ask myself which mods should I finish and which ones to drop. And so I axed a bunch of things I originally planned to add. Things like Sinanju-style backpack, Rex-like tails/whips and some more weapons. This clear distinction helped me greatly over the last few weeks. Instead of endlessly wondering how to approach some future mods, I could focus on actually getting shit done.
I’m still far from done, but with the modding stage closed, end of this project is finally in sight. Strange feeling. Anyway, let’s get on with the mods.
Replacing side skirts
This one was on my to-do list for a couple of months now. While original Barbatos Lupus side skirts look interesting, somehow they just didn’t fit. Especially with all the proportion mods. It’s also one of the more challenging mods I did. Going in, I had completely no idea how to tackle it.
|Initially I started out with a big rectangle of 2mm pla-plate that I slowly filed into shape. Later on I created side walls using 3mm L-shaped styrene strips and added layer of 1mm styrene to close it off.
Next I evened out the edges with epoxy putty and carved out some space for a vent. Done.
“That’s it?” You might ask.
Yeah, that’s it.
I hated how it turned out. To the trash bin it goes.
Actual new side skirts
For the second attempt, I decided to try and actually design them beforehand. Mostly by doodling random stuff at work. I probably had 10 pages like these before finally settling on a design loosely based on Freedom 2.0 side skirts. Obviously I won’t be adding rail guns to Barbatos, but the piece that holds them looks really nice.
I wanted to draw the final design on a millimeter paper to create a template – like the sword in WIP#1. I couldn’t find any though – I must have left it behind while moving.
That’s when I remembered those awesome Tamiya masking sheets. I bought them months ago, but never got around to using them.
|Advantage of drawing a design on a masking sheet. Cut it out and you have an instant template you can stick onto the plastic.
This time around I decided to start with 1mm polystyrene to make the whole thing a bit slimmer.
|Next up, I built them into boxes using 1x2mm styrene strips. Also added some leftover 1mm pieces inside, roughly where I wanted mounting pegs to be. I left the bottom edge open for the vents.
You can see how the shape compares to the initial prototype.
|Next step was adding the original side skirt joints. They needed some trimming, as the original circular shape blocked the modified back skirt from moving. Peg itself was also too long – needed to sand it down a bit to make sure the piece can be closed.|
|Initial test fit.
For most of this mod, side skirt cover was held in place with poster putty.
Adding the vents
Now comes the fun part – vents. I also wanted the skirts to be slanted at the bottom.
First, I used 10mm masking tape to draw a line parallel to the bottom edge. Figured it’d be more pleasing to the eye and easier to duplicate than some random angle.
Using scribing tape as a guide, I sawed off the lower part of the cover.
On a side note – I wouldn’t recommend this kind of hobby saw. The blade is way too flexible and can easily jump out of the groove while sawing. The only reason I used it – I was still unpacking at the new place and couldn’t find my proper saw at the time.
|Next up, I sanded down the side walls at an angle. There was a slight gap between cover pieces, but I easily fixed it later with some putty and thin strip of plastic.|
|Finally, I cut out the space for the vents. This was probably the most challenging part – took me like three tries to get both sides right.|
To make them more interesting, I added dividers in the middle using 0.5x2mm polystyrene strip.
To ensure they stayed upright and where they needed to be, I marked their positions and secured everything in place using poster putty before applying glue.
Later on I sanded them down to match the angle of side walls. With dividers in place, I glued on bottom part of the cover and filled the gaps with epoxy putty.
|I wanted to add some more details to the vents. Tried couple different methods, including textured plastic and photoetch parts. In the end, none of them produced the results I was hoping for.
Eventually I decided to leave the vents open and simply black out the inside of the part. To do it I added additional strip of 1x2mm plastic (compare with above photo) and painted on a couple layers of Citadel Abaddon Black, directly onto the plastic.
|Once the black paint cured, I glued on second part of the cover and slapped on a bunch of epoxy putty to fill the gaps.
This was also the last time I used Tamiya’s Smooth Surface epoxy putty. When sanding, damn thing just started falling off. I suggest sticking to their Quick Type, never had this problem with it.
|For the final detailing I added an extra layer of 0.5mm pla-plate, as well as some 0.8mm rivets.|
Giving Barbatos some 00 flair
Offhand melee weapon for Barbatos was another big point on my to-do list. Throughout the build I’ve tried variety of things to check it off. From sticking spare Astray daggers somewhere, as a suggestion they can be used, to extendable claws. Eventually I ended up with much more interesting weapon – somewhat similar to Exia’s GN Sword.
|First things first. This one wouldn’t be possible without my friend GunplaDude, who sent me a bunch of HG Customize Campaign parts.
Drop by his Facebook page and leave him a like – he posts some really great stuff!
|Out of all the sets, those two pieces – shield and a blade – caught my eye right off the bat. They matched really well, and the only modification needed to make GN Sword-style weapon was adding a pivot point.
First, I cut a piece of 3mm pla-plate that matched the shield’s angle. While test fitting the blade, I marked position of its pegs on the added piece. Once I drilled a hole for them to fit into, I test fitted it again. You can see the result on the pictures.
Afterwards I added more layers on either side of 3mm piece until I matched the thickness of the shield.
|Alternating sanding and epoxy putty, I reshaped this piece to follow the line of the blade.|
Fixing the hollow shield
While it looked great from the front, back is another story. As with most of Customize Campaign parts, the shield was hollow and full of various mounting points.
As a first step to remedy that, I glued a layer of textured plastic to the back and sanded it to shape.
|With initial layer finished, I moved on to creating a trim around it.
First I used masking tape to create a template, which I then stuck on a piece of transparent 0.2mm pla-plate. I traced it with a marker and roughly cut to shape. I left a little extra though – it made next steps a bit easier.
|Next up – creating the guidelines for the trim. Using 2mm masking tape, I traced a uniform pattern around the piece.|
|Finally, I cut out the middle, leaving just the trim. Having extra 1-2mm of plastic on the outside helped me avoid bending the pieces during cutting.
Once glued, I blended the edges with a bit of putty.
I still needed to mount it on Barbatos’ arm somehow – can’t use poster putty forever.
For this I created a simple 2-point mount, with a 1x5mm plastic strip in the middle of the shield, and 2mm rod higher up to stabilize the shield in place. I cut matching slots into forearm armor.
Not the most elegant solution, but it works quite well. Somewhere around this point I realized just how little time I had left. As the crunch started, I no longer had the time for fancy solutions.
|I felt something was still missing though.
Clean shield didn’t make much sense to me, considering I want this kit to look battered and weathered. Shield should be the first thing to get damaged. And so I went at it with a file, drill and some cement for spot plastic melting.
Detailing the chest
Another mod I planned on doing for a while was some extra detailing on Barbatos’ chest armor.
|As a first step, I had to cut out the hatches.|
|Next, I needed to close them from the bottom. It took some effort, as that’s exactly where front part of the chest plugs in. It took some trimming, but eventually I got it to fit.
As for actual detailing, I began by adding small pistons on both sides of the chest. Hatches still looked somewhat empty though…
|Next bit required me to work with a tiny 0.5mm drill and 1x1mm plastic strip. It was pretty painful and didn’t get much easier once I broke this tiny drill bit. Thankfully it still worked.|
|Why go through all this trouble?
Well, inspired by Vonschlippe’s amazing Armored Core diorama (definitely my favorite build this year), I decided to try and add some cables.
It was mostly a proof of concept, just to see how it’d look on a Gunpla kit. I liked the effect, but didn’t have time (or patience) to work the cables in all over Barbatos.
Something to consider on a future build, I suppose.
|As a final step, I added small armor plates around the center area.|
Well, that’s pretty much it.
I’ll write down some more thoughts for the final gallery, but let me tell you one thing – it was a wild ride. Nearly seven months of building, modding, learning and breaking stuff. A seven months project I sure as hell wasn’t ready for. Despite all the mistakes I did and all the ideas I didn’t see through, I can’t help but love this kit. Last night (that being 13th December 2017) I was up till 3 AM, working on decals for nearly 7 hours straight. Grinning all the time. It definitely won’t be my last custom build. Not the best one either. But I’m pretty sure it’ll always be special to me.
I hope you also got something out of those build logs. Cheers for being along for the ride. Hope you’ll drop by in two weeks or so for the final reveal!
I found some pictures of the mods I dropped. Looking at the kit now, I think it was for the best. Still, figured some of you might find them interesting.